Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: The Guide to Colorado Mammals

This guide offers identification and an overview of  128 species of mammals native to Colorado. Intended for casual hikers, outdoor recreationists, wildlife watchers and other non-professional readers, the book emphasizes unusual behaviors may be seen in the field.

The Gray Fox, for instance, is famous for its tree-climbing - grasping the trunk of a tree with its front legs and scrabbling up with its hind feet in pursuit of prey. Nicknamed the "tree fox," it will sometimes be spotted resting on a tree limb.

by Mary Taylor Young
Fulcrum, 2012
Continued in The Nature Pages

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Review: Hunter's Log

The essence of autumn on the northern plains of America, and North Dakota in particular, is bagged and brought home in this collection of hunting poetry.

In a preface to his work, the poet explains that hunting has taught him accuracy of observation and, as a writer, accuracy of expression. Both skills are effectively employed in poems like "Missouri Breaks":

A blooded dog quarters the feral rye,
and my body's long quarrel with my mind
is silenced by a landscape and a sky
legible as a Bible for the blind.

Inspired by Ortega y Gassett's "Meditations on Hunting," gifted to him by his father, Timothy Murphy feels "the killing of the game is a ritual preparation for our own mortality." In "The Blind," the poet describes an outing with an aging father:

By some ancestral code
fathers and sons don't break,
we each carry a load
of which we cannot speak.

Here we commit our dead
to the unyielding land
where broken windmills creak
and stricken ganders cry.

Father, the dog, and I
are learning how to die
with our feet stuck in the muck
and our eyes trained on the sky.

Continued in ... The Nature Pages

by Timothy Murphy
The Dakota Institute, 2011.
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Friday, October 19, 2012

The Natural Navigator

This book explains how to find your way without GPS or even compasses, but with shadows, stars, tides, plants, clouds, the moon, the sun and wild animals. Also known as ‘wayfinding,’ natural navigation techniques can be used on land, sea or in mid-air.

Here's a good example of "natural navigation" at work in the Florida Everglades.

The Natural Navigator
The Rediscovered Art of Letting Nature Be Your Guide
by Tristan Gooley
Linden Publishing, 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

Reading the History: American Windmills

From the earliest days of European settlement, Americans have cherished the sight of a windmill—an instantly recognizable feature of the American landscape. Boasting nearly two hundred striking images, this book is the first devoted to photographs illustrating historic wind machines throughout North America.

T. Lindsay Baker, an expert historian on windmills, has written about wind-power history for twenty-five years. His album contains historic images captured by professional windmiller B. H. “Tex” Burdick and from corporate archives of windmill manufacturers. It depicts windmills in a wide range of settings and uses—not only on ranches and farms but also alongside railroads, in industry, and even in urban areas.

The photos chosen for this book illustrate windmill manufacture, distribution, and use in all regions of the United States, with an emphasis on the Great Plains.

An Album of Historic Photographs
by T. Lindsay Baker
University of Oklahoma Press, 2012
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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Farm and Garden Picks: Organic Gardener's Companion

Lifelong gardener Jane Shellenberger brings us this comprehensive, hands-on guide to growing organic produce in the Rocky Mountain and western region, including Colorado, parts of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and eastern Oregon.

The text covers soil cultivation, plant selection, water, microclimates, and other concerns specific to semiarid and high-altitude climates.

Growing Vegetables in the West
by Jane Shellenberger
Fulcrum, 2012
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