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Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Walk in the Park.

So my boss made me take a day off. It was sunny and warm on Monday, and I decided to walk down to McCormick Park here in Duvall and just wander. What a great naturalist's day!

The first thing I noticed was that there were LOTS of birds around (and in the interest of time and space, today I'll not bother with the Latin names). There were Mallards and Wood Ducks on the water, and a couple of duck varieties that I have to look up. Robins, Redwinged Blackbirds, Sparrows, Kinglets, Stellar's Jays, Thrushes, and many more were singing and/or going about the business of the day.

Plants are putting on new growth, and lots of them are in bloom. I saw that others are picking the young Stinging Nettle plants - I like mine in potato soup!

I saw a bunch of young Garter snakes sunning themselves in the leaves by a bridge abutment. They were only 5 inches long (a guess, as I didn't measure).

Iwas taking pictures of a Chipmunk that was busily eating cherry blossoms when one of the Residential Program students, Kate, caught up with me. We walked on south together and watched a pregnant coyote in a field of dandelions. On the way back, Kate found a Hummingbird nest with eggs! I'm really looking forward to my next day off!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Randon Thoughts

Wow, it's been a while since I've posted anything. I confess to going home from work and settling in with a book most days...I've been walking (25 minutes to work from home - 35 back up the hill after.) It's beautiful, with trees in bloom and mild weather. I've seen nest-building birds this week. A robin (Turdus migrtorious - look it up if you don't believe me) in my neighborhood flew off with such a big lengh of yarn that it made me laugh to watch.

I've also noted that the local Blacktail deer (Odocoileus hemionus) are looking pretty shaggy. Loosing your winter coat must itch! I saw one just along the road near Taylor Park one day as I drove home. She was grazing on the new green grass in a yard. People were walking dogs and riding bikes. It makes me happy to see them, and a little afraid that I'll witness an accident.

What I've been reading: "The Serpent's Daughter", the 3rd Jade del Cameron novel by my friend Suzanne Arruda. I love her descriptions of post WWI Africa.

"The Education of Little Tree" by Forest Carter. We sell this book at the Wilderness Awareness School website, and have had some complaints. Recently, nine staff members, Residential Program students (current and past), parents, a forner English teacher, and invited guests read the book and did some research about the author. Yes, it seems that Mr. Carter misrepresented a work of fiction as autobiographical. Yes, he does not appear to have been a nice man - and was in fact a member of the Klu Klux Clan at one point in his life.

And, yes, he wrote a wonderful book. The story, written for young adults, is lovely. None of us detected any underlying message of hate. Regardless of the man's politics, we found no reason to pull it from our shelves. We wondered how it happened that near the end of his life this book came from such an unpleasant person...we found no answers to that question.

I know that I've done and said and thought things in the past that I'm ashamed of now. Perhaps that's what happened to Forest Carter. Something else to wonder at...

My Favorite Fiction Authors and Books

  • Suzanne Arruda- the Jade del Cameron mysteries: "The Mark of the Lion" "Stalking Ivory", "The Serpent's Daughter", "The Leopard's Prey" and "The Golden Cheetah"
  • Ken Goddard - "Balefire" and others
  • Stephen White - the Dr. Alan Gregory books are all great. "Kill Me" is my favorite.
  • Harlan Coben - anything he writes is great
  • Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody mysteries

My Favorite Nonfiction Authors and Books

  • "Coyote's Guide to Connecting With Nature" by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown- 2nd edition coming soon!
  • Gavin De Becker - "The Gift of Fear"
  • "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales- the best survival book I've ever read! Not a how-to, its more of a who does,and why.
  • Candice Millard - "The River of Doubt -Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey"
  • Anything that starts with "Peterson's Field Guide To..."
  • Tom Brown, Jr. - "The Tracker" and others
  • Mark Elbroch - "Mammal Tracks and Sign" and "Animal Skulls"