Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Backyard Poultry: Naturally by Alanna Moore.

BackyardPoultry: Naturally by Alanna Moore. Paperback book published by Bolwarrah Press 1998, 153 pages with black and white photographs and some black and white illustrations and colour photographs.

What’s the difference between a Frizzle and a Fav? a Pekin and a Polish? a Welsumner and a Wyandotte? How do you successfully determine the sex of day-old chickens? What natural products can be used to treat lice infestation? And what should you do if a broody hen won’t get off the nest to feed? Backyard Poultry — Naturally answers all these questions and more. From housing to feeding, from selection to breeding, from pets to production, and from the best lookers to the best layers, the book covers everything the backyard farmer needs to know about poultry husbandry including preventative and curative herbal medicines and homeopathics. Backyard Poultry — Naturally is an excellent resource. It is entertaining and informative, and will appeal to amateur and avid poultry farmers alike.

It's been a while since I thought of writing about chickens or chicken books. I think my decision to go down this path has to do with some very rare poultry books I saw at the Rare Book Fair at Melbourne University last weekend. There were a few other choice items from the fair that have stuck in my mind and a few of them even tempted this book seller to crack open his wallet (… I didn't...), but the truth is that I don't have any rare books on Mongolia and the Great Game, or books about Pop Art with signed ink stamped illustrations ($12,500) to write about, so it's a chicken book that will have to do.

There's always a demand for a good book about our feathered friends... even if they are friends that some of us eat. A bit like bee keeping, many buyers/collectors want that rare item that no one has seen since the Colonel took fried chicken to a whole new dimension. Then there are those other buyers who want to know the basics, which is where a book like this one steps in. Most of us don't know the difference between a Frizzle and a Fav and most of us want the best layers possible. A good book is a good beginning to finding the answer to these and all those other tricky chicken questions that we all might have.

As some of you might know from my past blog posts, I was involved in a bricks and mortar retail book shop here in Clunes as well as selling through my on line book selling empire(?). Chicken books were something that I was always on the look out for, as I found out pretty quickly that this is a subject that sold to those casual chicken owning book buyers who happened to stumble upon the shop. They didn't sell as quickly as bee keeping books, but chicken books did tick over. I'm no longer in the shop... it's a long story, which has a lot to do with a distinct lack of cooperation from others... so I no longer have any direct contact between myself and chicken enthusiasts. Despite this, chicken books will still be on the menu here at Huc & Gabet... as well as bee books... and any rare signed Pop Art books that I might find.

Click here for my ebay listing of this book.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Strassenbahn St. Gallen - Speicher – Trogen by Jurg Aeschlimann and Hans Waldburger.

StrassenbahnSt. Gallen - Speicher – Trogen by Jurg Aeschlimann and HansWaldburger. Hardcover book (no dust jacket) with pictorial boards published by Prellbock Druck & Verlag 2003, 224 pages with colour and black and white photographs and a few black and white maps and illustrations.

...and who wouldn't be interested in a book about Swiss trams.

A tram.  It's Swiss.

It's the attention to detail in this book that is truely amazing... detail of which there is quite a lot of... and the photographs both historical and more recent are an obsessives dream come true... and yes, for those out there are who are not jiggy with the full plethora of transport subcultures, there are indeed tram obsessives and I get the impression that this book is written for those that are interested... particularly those that are interested and can read German.

A box that does something with trams.

I've never met a tram obsessive, but I have met someone who has a friend who is seriously into Trams and as hard as this is to believe, this third person is a German speaker mainly due to the fact that they are German and live in Germany. Unfortunately postage costs tend to discourage even hardened German Tramers from the casual purchase of a book about a neighbouring country's tramways, from downunder (Australia). I have a few other German language tram books currently in stock... What was I thinking?

Another tram

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Portland Bay Settlement: Being the history of Portland, Victoria from 1800 to 1851 by Noel F. Learmonth.

The Portland Bay Settlement: Being the history of Portland, Victoria from1800 to 1851 by Noel F. Learmonth. Hardcover book (no dust jacket) published by The Historical Committee of Portland 1934, 285 pages with a few black and white photographs, illustrations and maps.

FOREWORD: Turning over old records yields many pleasing thoughts and arouses many gratifying memories. The placing of such records in an imperishable form where they can be referred to at any time and a renewed enjoyment experienced is one of the most praiseworthy of human efforts. It, in fact, savours strongly of that ancestor worship which distinguishes us from the dumb beast and has uplifted the whole human race. Within these pages Mr. Learmonth has gathered together such an amazing array of facts and figures relating to those pioneers who built up the south-western part of Victoria, so long fondly known as Portland Bay, that one stands amazed at his tirelessness and industry. The happenings of those early days, rough as were the conditions and meagre as were the rewards, are placed before us in an admirably interesting and attractive way, causing the hardships to be forgotten and the brighter side only of the lives of our fore-runners to be realised. 

1934, the year that this book was published, is not really that long after the history that the book is about, took place. 83 years is all it took for all of the ingredients to be gathered, pickled, brewed and bottled. It then took another 81 long years for this book seller to find it (...not that I was particularly looking for it for the 81 years...and it was more like a 'stumble upon it' than a 'find it'...and NO, i'm not that old...) and fully appreciate it's historic and $$$ value.

Often when unearthing this sort of vintage local history, you/I need to consider how accurate is the history by todays standards of diligent research and processes. If it's complete rubbish and obviously someone's historical fantasy, then no one will be interested... especially rare book buyers 81 years after the initial bottling. According to my sources of people who know about these sort of things, this title has stood up nicely over time, and is still looked upon as being a good source of information about the area concerned. It was reprinted in the 1980s which I think is a good indicator that the book has held it's interest and relevance, but apparently the reprint is slightly lacking in quality re the reproduction of photos*, hence the $$$ value of this earlier edition.

*I haven't seen the reproduction so this comment is based upon rumour and innuendo...

Monday, July 6, 2015

Practical Kites and Aeroplanes: How to Make and Work Them by Frederick Walker.

Practical Kites and Aeroplanes: How to Make and Work Them by Frederick Walker. Hardcover book (no dust jacket) published by Guilbert Pitman 1903, 78 pages with some black and white illustrations.

THE kite, from the toy of a schoolboy, has, by the ordinary laws of mechanical evolution, developed into the aeroplane, capable of carrying loads vertically, and sustaining them at a certain altitude by the ordinary wind currents, but so far the airships of the future as a problem admits of no solution by the aeroplane or a aero-curve surface alone; unless it may happen to a future inventor to cause a flat disc, of gas or air, which by its inherent high pressure shall impinge upon the inner surface of an aĆ«ro-curve, and by diversion overcome gravity, and thus cause a vertical ascension. This may occur in the future, but according to our present lights (1903) a captive aeroplane may be only used for raising a single passenger, to the height permitted by the tension rope or cord and the pressure of the air current prevailing in the atmosphere. For military and other signalling purposes such a kite or aeroplane is invaluable, because of its construction affording facilities in the way of transport, without the necessity for compressed gas apparatus. Further, the comparatively easy application of an electrically released stop for a camera properly constructed to give bird’s-eye snapshots of the environment of an enemy’s movements, is yet another advantage that tends to place the kite or captive aeroplane as a useful adjunct in war time. etc”

Is it a kite? Is it a plane? No, it's a kite/plane thingy.

There was a time... a long time ago... and in this galaxy... when a kite and a plane were sort of closely related. So close in fact that with a bit of imagination they were pretty much the same thing... or near enough the same thing.

This footage is of the Wright Brothers who are credited as being the first people to successfully fly a powered and sustained heavier-than-air vehicle. Yep, they built a souped up kite, put a motor in it and flew it. The year was 1903, the month was December. This is the same year that this book was published and flicking through the book it seems to me that it was published at a time when interest in, and the frenzy for flight was reaching high altitudes. The book is filled with ideas and instructions, but notably absent is any diagram that looks anything at all like what the Wright Brothers were building at the time. From the text above I would guess that the author wasn't really looking at round the world solar flights and that frequent flyer points were just a crazy notion that wouldn't be notioned for many years to come... and the author probably had no idea what an aeroplane would end up looking like having not seen what we in retrospect have seen. Military uses, that's the most obvious thing a serious kite/aeroplane could be used for in 1903, or so the author suggests. I guess the Wright Brothers changed that idea... or maybe not.