February Reads

March 5, 2015 at 6:32 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

One of my literary counterparts, Neon Gods, posted a “February Reads” article.  In general, she’s more organized, I think, in her reading ventures.  We’ve kept track of each other’s reading habits for years, having met on Shelfari about 5 or 6 years ago.  Despite my aversion to meeting people on the internet, she has been a pretty stellar internet friend.  I’ve never met her in person, and yet she has influenced me – my reading life, atlas – greatly.

My reviews these last few months have felt less consistent than usual, so  I thought I’d take a page from her book and do a monthly summary.  At least for this last month anyway.

UnknownWe wrapped up January with One Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith. 5962aa9fa44e441668ea01c6c249b2b1 The original, not these new media tie ins you’ll find with the Glenn Close movie cover on them.  For once I can actually say, No, it’s not the same book!  Typically you can tell book buyers that it was just a marketing tactic.  They put a movie cover on an old manuscript and sold the same book again.  That is not the case with One Hundred and One Dalmatians.  Pay attention when you purchase.   Also… now that we’ve read the original, I’ve discovered that there was a sequel.  Of course, now me must find it and read it too.  (Until then, we are tackling The Wind in the Willows as our evening family chapter book.)

As previously mentioned, I read Guide to Wild Foods & Useful Plants by Nyerges.  But I also read through A Game of Thrones last month. (And caught up on the tv show.)  There’s a reason the masses are in love with George R.R. Martin’s world.  It’s impressive.  It’s grossly human.  It’s epic fantasy.  The prude in me would like a little less nudity and sex out of the show – the books are far less detailed in that regard – but from a cinematic point of view, I’m blown away.  The sets, the actors, the crew, everyone just seems to have nailed the feel for the world.  Clearly, I’m very late to this party – as usual – but I love it.  Obviously, it brought a whole new appreciation to this moment from Comicpalooza in 2013:

942684_365985830168949_1655553349_n

Yes, that would be me, braiding the hair of the Father of Dragons. I knew what I was doing, knew what we were emulating, but I didn’t really have a full appreciation for it all until now.

Then, I kind of went all self improvement in my reading.  I read through The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace and The Homeschool Life by Andrea Schwartz.  I don’t particularly care for self-help books, but I do manage to keep them in my life via my “read for every discipline” mentality.  No section of a bookstore is left untouched by the end of the year, if it’s a good year.

I also read through Garden Crafts for Kidsby Diane Rhodes.  Unfortunately, this was a library book and I had to turn it back in, but we’ll be purchasing it as soon as possible, because it’s such a great homesteading resource for a homeschooled kid.  I love it and can’t wait to dive into all the projects with my kiddo.

Finally, I finished The Gardener’s Bed Book by Richard Wright.  I’m not going to touch too heavily on the book here, because honestly, I have far more than an online book review in mind for my experiences while reading it.  My favorite thing about a reader’s life are the books written in response to other books.  They are like love letters through time and space to people you’ll never meet or know, but feel more akin to than any other humans on the planet.  I feel like Melanie Kerr’s Follies Past was her love letter to Jane Austen.  I have projects in mind that will be odes to Madeleine L’Engle and Richard Wright.  They have moved me so completely and become a part of who I am, it’s only right they are responded to with ink and paper.

Advertisements

Permalink 2 Comments

Hello Wilderness, We’ve Missed You

February 13, 2015 at 3:04 am (Education, The Whim) (, , , , , , , , , )

Since moving away from our beloved Timberlane Estates, we’ve been in dire need for nature.  Especially with this winter we just had – harsher than I remember winter being – wet, muddy, colder sooner, and nowhere cozy to defrost.  Temporary living arrangements have caused us to leave the comfort of having a nearly 1000 square foot library just down the hall from our beds.  We also don’t have a fireplace here.  It’s been a long time since I lived without a fireplace.  But the change is good, it’s helped us redefine necessities, discover the beauty of new public libraries we hadn’t yet visited, save mP1000764oney for the land and dream home we want, and teach our daughter lessons she might have otherwise missed.

We’ve also discovered the Lake Houston Wilderness State Park.  We went from 100+ acres of trails and exploration that we knew like the back of our hands to not having anything most of the winter, to Lo! And Behold! 4700+ acres of trails and wilderness closer than we could have ever imagined.  Ask and ye shall receive.  Take a ride down the highway and pay attention to those marvelous brown signs!

It costs $3 per adult to get in, kids under 13 and senior citizens are free.  OR (and this is what we’ve done) it’s $25 for a year pass for an adult and three adult guests; basically, a family pass.

We’ve been back about every other day since we’ve discovered it.  We walk, tromp, and read.  We snack and picnic, we play in the creek, we stare at the trees.  We read all the sign posts and discover new plants we’ve never heard of.  We soak up vitamin D and work our muscles.

P1000723

To the left you’ll see a Hercules’ Club. We were pretty excited about this discovery and did a mini-research project on it when we got home.

In all this much needed tromping and new library resources at my fingertips, I stumbled across a Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants by a fellow named Nyerges.  It isn’t the best resource for Texans, only a few plants were ones I recognized, but if you hail from California then it’s right up your alley.  Either way, if you’re in the foraging scene, this book is a great read.  Nyerges personalizes a lot of his foraging facts with anecdotes of how he has confirmed or debunked various myths, legends, and general assumptions for certain plants.  My favorite was a bit about the Native Americans and poison oak – eat the young, red leaves and you’ll be immune to the rash for the rest of the season/year.  The science of immunizing oneself at its finest.  Already this is how we tackle seasonal allergies when it comes to pollen, it would not have occurred to me that there is a practical pre-remedy for poison oak.

 

Permalink Leave a Comment