An Ode to Spring

If you have any heart for the outdoors, spring will fill that heart with elation. Summer and fall, even winter, have their charms, but spring is the rebirth of hope. It is that time of year when the gates of ice and snow are opened and the long-imprisoned molecules of water are released into the…

The Best Books I Didn’t Read in 2013

We love telling you about a great book when we find one. Both of us writing on the site read quite a bit. What we never get around to sharing are the books we meant to read, or the ones we never quite finished even though they were quite good. To remedy this contrived shortcoming,…

Great Explorers Need Great Guides

This week I’ve been reading a classic in the area of ecology writing, May Theilgaard Watts’ book, Reading the American Landscape. I was going to rave about the book and the way it so deftly elucidates the way native species have been pushed to the edges in North America. I was going to go on…

Field Test: Cricket 5-Minute Firestarter

The challenge: Burn a mess season’s worth of fallen tree limbs in a backyard that has been drenched by one of the coldest, wettest Aprils on record. The tools: One paper grocery bag and a box of the new 5-Minute Cricket Firestarters Like most dads, I like to consider myself an expert at starting fires….

Crazy with Books

My house is crazy with books. Right now I am trying to read a book on landscaping with native plants (specific to Michigan) as well as one for folks with tiny lots who want to homestead. There’s also What the Robin Knows, Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with…

Fridge Pickles: Indian Style

I really love to cook and experiment in the kitchen. Because of that, I love checking out blogs of others who cook and experiment in the kitchen. Since it’s winter and there’s not much going on outside (wind chill near -20 here right now), I thought maybe you would like to see what I’ve been…

A Different Kind of Green Gift

While a lot of folks look forward to this day after Thanksgiving, I am not that much into shopping for shopping’s sake (Go to Walmart at 5 a.m.? Isn’t that what the Internet’s for?). But November is a very full month for us. In addition to the usual full social calendar, school parties and activities,…

Autumn Escapades: Nature Centers

When Grace went back to school, Tater and I were at a loss. So much of his time is spent playing with his sister. Now that he was an “only child,” we had some retooling to do. This past summer I visited a lot of area parks doing research for a book. Many of them…

Keeping Your Cool at the Amusement Park

So, you have young kids and are heading out to the amusement park… What are you? Nuts? This is what people asked me when we were planning to take our kids to Cedar Point in Ohio earlier this year. It’s been years since I’ve been to Cedar Point. Last time I was there they had…

Dino Week

Kids love dinosaurs. I remember years back my friend’s five-year-old son reciting the names of what must have been a hundred dinosaurs. He had dino toys, posters, and place mats. He was even pointing out where lazy editors had misidentified dinosaurs in his books. I am not sure he still retains this info at 12,…

Summer Hiking Montage

I love summer, but when it gets this hot, the risk of heat stroke is very real for me. After a long day, after I come home and wring the sweat from my shirt, I’ve just been too exhausted from the heat to sit at the computer and dream up posts. So I am cheating…