I’M BLAMING LIZ GILBERT for my sudden craving for a massive writing project to hold me prisoner for years. That’s what I imagine it took her to write such a layered and wildly original tale as “The Signature of All Things,” her new novel. It’s the story of plant-passionate Alma Whittaker, born in 1800, who, “was never scolded for returning home with muddied boots and hems, so long as she came home with good specimens for her private herbarium.” Lucky girl. I had such fun this summer reading an early copy, I bought four extras to share now that it’s out. [read more…]
I share this piece of land I call my garden with an astonishing range of creatures tiny to large: from insects to black bear. I'm (mostly) glad for their company, and always learn something from every encounter.
YES, MANY HAVE FLOWN THE COOP—er, the local landscape—heading for milder spots to spend the offseason. But many other birds are arriving, settling in for the long haul alongside year-round garden residents. It’s time, says Ellen Blackstone of BirdNote, the daily public-radio show, for us humans to do a few bird-oriented chores—and also to engage with birds more fully. Here’s how: [read more…]
‘WHERE ARE THE MONARCH BUTTERFLIES this year?’ one of many recent emails on the topic asked me. Headlines about monarch decline seem to confirm gardeners’ observations: Populations of the once-familiar orange-and-black creatures are not what they were. What’s going on, and how bad is it? Is there anything we can do? I invited conservation biologist Dr. Karen Oberhauser, a University of Minnesota professor and leading force in its Monarch Lab, who has studied Danaus plexippus for almost 30 years, to my latest radio show to explain. [read more…]
MY SISTER CALLED this morning to wish us well on a dozen years together–”us” being me and Jack–but at first I didn’t know what she meant. I lose track of dates in this rural life, but she had not forgotten: It is 9/11, the darkest day, but also the day that I met Jack. I suppose you could call him my silver lining–or at least a black-and-white one. A recollection on finding some small comfort in a large cat. We wish you all comfort, too.