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,…

Wilderness Wednesdays 1

John Muir was the founder of the Sierra Club. He died on Christmas Eve in 1914. He’d lobbied the government for what became Yosemite National Park. Thus, many call him the “father of the national parks.” When they made those statehood quarters awhile back, California’s featured John Muir. As such, and having been entertained lately…

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…

What Can a Kid Do?: A Book Review

A 5-year-old may or may not summit every 4,000+-foot mountain in New Hampshire. Let that sink in a little. For perspective, if you live in or have visited New England, you may have climbed the popular Mt. Monadnock and felt the pain. Now realize that it is 3165 feet. Yeah. So “small” it was beneath…

At The Edge Of The Continent

“Low ebb, high tide. The lowest ebb and highest tide… At the edge of the continent” —R.E.M., “I Remember California” You know the feeling. You show up at the beach, and it’s a nice day with a soft breeze, and… “Hey, Dad, what is this?” And sure, it’s a crab. But don’t you wish you…

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…