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As a Sword Needs a Whetstone...

"A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep it's edge." -George R.R. Martin

As we look ahead in 2023, one of my favorite things to do is to gather up a list of books to read over the year.

I keep a running To-Read-List and when the year turns over, I look at which books I read and which ones I added throughout the year and I create my new list.

I'm so lucky to have a lot of friends who send me great reading recommendations!

Some come from podcasts, some from people I follow on social media, some from business mastermind communities, and a few of them come from my husband, Chris!

Most people don't know this, but Chris is actually the biggest "reader" I know.

Here's the thing though... he has ALWAYS struggled with and hated reading!!!

Despite this hurdle, Chris probably reads over 100 books a year without flipping a page.

Isn't that nuts!?

Thanks to audio books, Chris reads all kinds of books, fiction, non-fiction, history, mysteries, westerns... while he works, while he drives, and while he is in his shop at home building and working on projects.

Here are the two free apps he uses to listen all these books for free.

All you need is a library card from your local library branch!



I listened to a lot of great books this year while I worked my "other jobs" too, thanks to these two apps!

I used to hate audio books because I would just daydream through them.

I finally figured out, though, that if I play audio books on fast-forward, they keep my attention, because I have to focus on them harder to hear all of the words.

It is kind of silly, but it works really well for me and I can power through some really great books and pay attention to them for much longer than I was able to before!

2022 Books That I read and liked:

Fox and I

The Body Keeps the Score

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Atomic Habits

Deep Nutrition

My Friend Flicka

Farm and Other F Words

The Meadow


The Reason for God

Birth Without Fear

A Promised Land


The Power of Now

Start With Why

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck


Chris's favorite books he read this year were:

Non-Fiction: Holding Back the River by Tyler J. Kelley

Fiction: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

I wanted to share these books I read and enjoyed in 2022, and the ones I am looking forward to reading in 2023 with you because I figure you might enjoy reading some of them as well.

I am a non-fiction fan. I do read fiction books here and there, but my reading selection is inherently dominated by non-fiction.

I can't help it...I love to learn about things like:

-Finding and Eating Local Food

-Preparing Nutrient Dense Meals

-Diet-Based Supplementation

-Adventures in Cooking At Home

-Supporting Local Businesses

-Sustainable Living

-Environmental-Friendly Lifestyle

-Travel and Culture

-Wildlife and Livestock

-Traditional Trades/Skills

-Anything to do with Learning and Gaining New Skills In General

I love learning, to a fault... As soon as I feel like I have an idea of how something works I want to be onto the next thing I want to learn!!!!

This leads me to be a Jack of all trades Master of Absolutely NONE...

Is it me, or is life is just too short to stop learning?

It is a pretty important goal of mine for 2023 and beyond, to keep learning new things by listening and reading, and I would love to pass this love of learning and reading onto my kids.

So, I was very excited when Peter received big pile of children's books for Christmas!

Chris and I have already been reading these books to him and he loves it!

A lot of these books I haven't read since I was little, and it is fun to re-experience them as an adult. I cannot wait to see Peter connect with these stories and pictures in his own ways as he grows and starts to understand and memorize them.

I also have been listening to some audiobooks and podcasts around Peter and he seems to enjoy hearing different voices that way too!

Without Further Ado,

Here is my 2023 List of Books to Read:

-The Milagro Beanfield War

-Big Team Farms

-Once Upon a Farm

-Braiding Sweetgrass

-The Gut Immune Connection

-Pastoral Song

-This Is Your Brain On Food

-The Foxfire Book

-The Inflammation Spectrum

-The Soil Will Save Us

-Lazy B

-The Western Range Revisited

-Stalking the Wild Asparagus

-The Salatin Semester

-Women Who Run With the Wolves

-The Unsettling of America

Care to share yours?

I whipped up a quick batch of Mini-Pot Pies this week.

They were SO good, so I wanted to share my adapted version of this recipe, from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook with you.

I think this pot pie recipe would be great with beef, lamb, or poultry.

I used 4 cups of leftover turkey from a holiday dinner we had with family.

I made the crust as well. It was pretty easy.

I have been making more crusts, and breads in the past few months because the pre-made ones at the store have so much extra junk in them. They really aren't too hard to make if you keep the ingredients on hand.

Preheat oven to 425* F


2 and 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup cold lard or butter

7 Tbsp cold water

Mix the flour and salt, cut in the lard or butter. Combine lightly until the mixture resembles coarse meal/tiny peas. Sprinkle water over the mixture a tablespoon at a time and mix lightly with a fork until the pastry holds together when pressed into a ball.

I chilled the dough in the fridge (actually on the porch, in the bowl I mixed it in) while I made the filling.

Pot Pie Filling:

6 Tbsp butter

6 Tbsp flour

2 cups broth

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

4 cups cooked chicken or turkey

1 white onion, diced

1/2 cup peas

1/2 cup of carrots

Melt the butter, add the flour and stir until smooth, add onions and simmer for about a minute. Then add the broth, pepper, turkey, carrots and peas, stirring in between each ingredient. Bring to a light simmer, then turn off the stove.

You could make a large pot pie with these components if you want, but I like the mini pot-pie cups because they are much easier to store and reheat for lunches later!

Break off little balls of dough from your dough ball and squish them into the compartments of a muffin tin.

Once you have made all of your mini crusts, fill each compartment with the filling from the stove- level with the top of each compartment.

Place your muffin tin in the oven on a middle rack and bake for 25 minutes or when the tops just barely start to turn golden brown.


P.S.- Because the crust is fat-based, the little pot pie cups popped out of the muffin tin really easily on their own.

No need to grease your pan!

What is the first thing you made in 2023?

I would love to hear about it!

Happy Sustainable 2023!

-BJ and the Taste of the Wind Crew

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