Your tax dollars at work
December 14, 2013 10:46 PM   Subscribe

The book on Wood-Frame House Construction (with diagrams) is brought to you by the USDA Forest Service. Here is the full online index of USDA Agriculture Handbooks. They're public domain.

The National Agricultural Library is a treasure trove of useful information. Here, for instance, is the Organic Roots Collection. And loads of assorted other content, like Agriculture Then and Now.

Previous, previous, previous, previous, previous, previous, previous, previous, previous and previous are posts that all highlight interesting content from the National Agricultural Library.
posted by aniola (14 comments total) 91 users marked this as a favorite
this is why governments exist, and i am excited to have it here.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:43 PM on December 14, 2013 [13 favorites]

Yes, yes, work little tax dollars. You do your best. Look at them go!
posted by louche mustachio at 2:12 AM on December 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Holy crap, the US government was capable of amazing things in the postwar boom.
posted by Pazzovizza at 4:35 AM on December 15, 2013 [6 favorites]

Wonderful and *useful.* Thanks so much, aniola!
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:49 AM on December 15, 2013

fantastic post
posted by fraxil at 5:33 AM on December 15, 2013

This wasn't at the USDA, but I used to work for an organization that produced agricultural education materials. When we discussed the idea of re-issuing our old poultry waste management handbook, nobody even cracked a smile at my proposal to call it, The Poultry Waste Management Handbook: When You Don't Know Chickenshit.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:36 AM on December 15, 2013 [7 favorites]

The forest service has some fantastic and very detailed resources online on trail construction and maintenance, including resources on how to build different types of bridges. The trail construction and maintenance notebook is a good place to start browsing.
posted by jamincan at 7:55 AM on December 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

I used to do maintenance for Forest Service cabins in SE Alaska in 1983. The crew was usually 4 people. It was terribly hard work and great fun - we would go out for ten days at a time [mostly by boat, sometimes by seaplane or helicopter] to chop wood and repair weather and bear damage and maybe move the outhouse. After work was over it was exploring or fishing time. At night, safe inside the cabin, warmed and perfumed by the wood stove and by dim lantern light we would eat the freshest seafood you can imagine, play cribbage and maybe consume some or another thing we had smuggled in. And talk to each other.
posted by vapidave at 8:10 AM on December 15, 2013 [14 favorites]

I have that book sitting on the self behind me. Neat.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:23 AM on December 15, 2013

In the first link, the PDF is OCRed. The scan isn’t high-res, but AFAIC, that make it better than the original.
posted by davel at 11:37 AM on December 15, 2013

I work across the street from NAL. They gave us heirloom tomatoes last year to celebrate the 150th anniversary of USDA. They do cool things but, man, they're really getting killed on their budget.
posted by wintermind at 3:33 PM on December 15, 2013

Re the wood frame construction book. It's amazing how little the big concepts have changed in the last 60 years. Most changes are in improved materials and in detailing for improved air exchange management.
posted by Mitheral at 4:10 PM on December 15, 2013

Just needs to be in metric.
posted by wilful at 4:18 PM on December 15, 2013

Ha! Just found #335 - Beekeeping in the United States referenced in a 1975 homesteading book. 335 isn't online, but sounds like local libraries can get a print copy from the NAL.

At the time, it cost $1.50 from the US government printing office and was described as "almost 150 pages of solid information on all phases of beekeeping."
posted by sibilatorix at 11:45 AM on January 7, 2014

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