Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturdays in the Garden - Cranes and a Shack in the Woods


This week has been crazy but pretty amazing.  I began a lengthy vacation on Wednesday so the early part of the week was all scrambly trying to wrap things up at the office.  Wednesday morning I gave a talk on frogs and toads in northern Iowa and then headed east to Madison, WI where a couple of my friends were visiting because of a conference.  I was feeling a little stressed when I got there but the trip ended up being the perfect way to start the vacation.

Madison, WI is in some ways the epicenter of the origin of modern ecological thought because UW-Madison was where Aldo Leopold spent much of his career and where he wrote his most famous work A Sand County Almanac.  I have spoken of him and this book many times on this blog and it should be apparent that I hold him, and the philosophies of wildlife ecology he developed, in great reverence.  So my friend and I sallied forth, into some of the most gorgeous fall weather, to Baraboo, WI to the Leopold Center and to the shack by the Wisconsin river which features very heavily in A Sand County Almanac. Also in Baraboo is the International Crane Foundation, a non-profit group doing amazing conservation work around the world for cranes including Whooping cranes here in the U.S.  I went into this vacation feeling worn down by the demands of my job and the often felt feeling of fighting a losing battle, so I can't overstate how perfect this trip was.  We ended the trip with a hike around UW-Madison's Arboretum, through the first reconstructed prairie in the world, initiated, of course, by Aldo Leopold.  Here's some pictures,(taken with my phone so pardon the quality):

The Autumn Prairie

Leopold Shack - a converted chicken coop where he and his family spent much time 

The Wisconsin River

Leopold's Pines - they planted many thousands of trees on the farm

Siberian Crane

Brolga - an Australian CRane

Whooping Cranes

Whooping Cranes

Golden-Crowned Crane


We've been getting some cold nights with frost warnings which signals that the peak of the growing season is past for most and my growing season is pretty much over.  I haven't spent much time in the garden the last couple weeks but I do have big plans for it in the next couple weeks - cleaning up beds, harvesting anything that's left (including some horseradish(!), planting garlic and transitioning some of the more delicate potted plants indoors.  If the weather stays as it is now it should be a delight!

BOOKS and the BLOG

My reading has slowed down the last couple weeks but I did just finish and thoroughly enjoyed Bill Bryson's At Home though perhaps not as much as A Short History of Nearly Everything (not surprising since science is my jam:0). I am currently reading Murder in Grub Street by Bruce Alexander which is the second in a mystery series featuring Sir John Fielding and the Bow Street Runners, The Martian by Andy Weir which so far is excellent and should be giving lectures on how to perfectly pace a book, and I just started the second in the middle-grade City of Ember series The People of Sparks which reads very young but is developing some interesting themes.  I've also just begun reading Howard's End by E. M. Forster and hope to spend a little more time with it soon.  Of course some of these may be put on hold (or not) for Dewey's Read-a-thon next Saturday!!  One thing I know I want to tackle during the ReadaThon is the Little House on the Prairie books; I've never read them which is a travesty and a shame.  I'd also like to maybe do a little re-reading which I used to do all the time but don't now for some reason. 

Because of the work craziness and travel and a seriously wounded computer, the blog was kind of non-existent this past week though I did manage one real post:

TUESDAY:  Top Ten Tuesday - Books for People Who Need People.  A list of character driven novels. 

I do also hope to get back on track in the next couple and maybe even ahead. 

SUNDAY October 12: A review post of three young adult/middle grade books.
TUESDAY October 14: Top Ten Tuesday  - Ten Places books have made me want to visit.
THURSDAY October 16:  Dewey's Read-a-Thon sign on and goals post!!
SATURDAY October 18:  Saturday in the Garden AND Dewey's read-a thon progress posts. 

That's it for this week.  I am SO looking forward to having some time off to putter around the house and read.  How was your week?  Anybody else planning on participating in the read-a-thon?  Where is your favorite place to go to be inspired and to rejuvenate the spirits?

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