Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A project that's never done

Over the years, I've bookmarked many fascinating websites, articles, and other online resources that I thought worthy of future reference. I have a massive "bookmarks" file on my computer (which, I suppose, I should really clean out one of these days). Sometimes I bookmark a site for a passing fancy, and sometimes I bookmark a site for a legitimate interest.

But in the early days of having my own laptop, I was naive about a few things, most notably that articles and website can disappear. Bookmarks aren't forever.

I realized this a few years ago when I went back to look for an article I know I had bookmarked some time before. I found the bookmarked, clicked on it, and it brought up... nothing. The page was gone.

After a few more similar experiences, I realized that if I really wanted to keep an article, I had better start copying-and-pasting the relevant information into a Word document, and include the online link just in case.

This became particularly important as I began collecting information on preparedness, homesteading, gardening, etc. If I wanted to keep the information from an online source, I'd better copy-and-paste.

But even that only goes so far. It goes without saying that if the power is out, those copied-and-pasted articles are useless. So... I needed hard copies.

I began the very lengthy process of printing off my collection of information last April.

But I only got so far before my elderly and much-loved printer broke down. Such is life.

This is our new printer. It's one of those whiz-bang combo models that scans, copies, prints, waxes floors, and hangs laundry.

Last week I set up the printer on the kitchen table with my laptop and finished the job of printing the articles I had accumulated.

I have the information roughly divvied into nine categories: General Preparedness, Farming, Building Projects, Cleaning, Hygiene, Medical, Lighting, Kitchen, and Recipes.

Coupled with the material I printed last April, the binder is filling up.

It goes without saying that this project will never be "complete." There's always more information to be found, but it's an easy thing to make sure I have a hard copy should the need arise. Just this morning, for example, I printed out articles on how to make vegetable rennet as well as animal rennet. Hey, ya never know.

I urge everyone to consider doing the same thing. Computers are marvelous things, and the internet is just about the best invention since sliced bread; but if neither functions, nothing beats hard copies of important information.


  1. You are so right! Just went to some of my book marked pages and they are gone. Guess I'm going to be busy tonight. Thanks for this important tip, Patrice.

  2. I started to do this too. Some of what I printed off is organized in my binders and some are in file folders. I need to do more though!

  3. People who are organized, or try to be, make me consider violence.


  4. It might be work your time to look at evernote. It will let you save information from a webpage without having to print right away. I have used a free acct for years & love it.

  5. You should check out evernote. It lets you save and organize this type of stuff right from your browser window. You won't have to print or worry about page not found errors.

  6. Where can I get a printer that does all that? Maybe I can find one that would rub my feet also!
    Kelly in K'ville,NC

  7. And so it was when my wife and I (parents of a then 4 year old girl)first came across Rural Revolution an article called Follow Your Spleen had just been posted. By the time we were done reading we knew it was something we'd want to share with our daughter when she is old enough to absorb the insight and humor and the lessons to take away. It was copied, saved and printed. ...we've been hooked ever since. :-)

  8. I had this same problem with YouTube. Those temp internet files will go away if the video is pulled. My son-in-law installed a program called Handbrake and now I have those saved YouTube videos even if the author pulls the video. Idaho Bill

  9. I realize your point is the importance of getting hard-copy of the important articles & books, but if a web page no longer exists you may find it on the Wayback Machine part of the Internet Archive ( Try looking for the article based on your bookmarked URL. They might have it.

  10. I do the same. And then my hubby and I also look for old books at thrift stores on topics that interest us. We've found quite a few books dated from the 1930s and before that that pertain to holistic medicine and all sorts of useful information that would be relevant to homesteading in a time with no electricity and no access to real medical care. Also love the edible native plant books for different areas of the country and of course books that discuss many historical crafts.

  11. What an amazing idea. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  12. If you ever come across a link in your bookmarks that shows the website is gone you can look it up on the Wayback Machine at

    They actually catalog a large number of websites and you can often find older websites that have been archived there.


  13. I am also guilty of having much DL on the laptop, I know I need to get an inexpensive printer because i may not have reliable electric to access all i've stored. I had been using local library printer when I was in school, but that info was all on line not stored on LT. Thanks for the reminder, Patrice!

  14. We started doing this last year. We keep in with our 72-hour kit(bug-out-bag as others call it). We have a section for medical, bushcraft, cooking ect. I guess great minds think alike.

  15. My thoughts exactly for the past couple of years. The way things are heading, hard copies and cataloging important information is necessary. Just another part of being "prepared".

  16. We have that printer. I consider it one of my domestic servants. Nice choice!

  17. I started doing this several years ago, printing out articles, recipes, how-tos, and the like. I call it my "Book of Doom," and which so far takes up two huge binders. Mighty handy.

  18. I don't know if anyone else has noticed this, but information written down is disappearing. Old books are becoming endangered and there is less and less to compare new information to. Since the television and internet have replaced society and neighborhoods for many people, there is no one to pass down things by word of mouth or example.

    There was a bunch of debates on Irish Slaves in the 16 through 18th centuries on facebook. No one had ever heard about this. They were all astounded. I had heard this from the older people in my family. In the Irish way of understating things (like calling the potato famine "The Hunger"). So if I didn't know this from my family, how would I know?

    I just find it interesting. And something to consider. Maybe a library that is handed down would not be such a trifling thing anymore. Maybe one day it will be worth its weight in gold. Maybe we should all be keeping written journels to be passed on to loved ones.

    Just a thought.

    1. You just reminded me of the dusty library of books that crumble to ashen pieces when touched in the great George Pal production of "The Time Machine." What we don't read we lose.