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Showing posts from December, 2008

THE PLAIN OLD STICK: INDUCTED INTO THE NATIONAL TOY HALL OF FAME

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IN THE MEADOW where our dog loves to run, you'll find slash piles of deadfall - broken limbs, twigs, branches - piled in neat mounds awaiting snow deep enough to make burning the debris safe. Gathering the wood may seem like work, and for the volunteers who do it, it is. But it's also child's play, reminding us of when we built forts from discarded lumber, or pretended to be beavers, piling sticks into wigwam like structures, scrambling on our knees into the drafty bellies of these precarious dens.

DOGS, especially, love to fetch and carry sticks, chasing them, propping them up between their paws to snip away at the shoots sprouting from the main branches, peeling the bark away, sharpening their teeth on the smooth, hard grain.

And now, the stick has officially been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame, housed at the Strong National Museum of Play. Just when parents are struggling to afford high-tech gadgets, there's an inexpensive option - even free! According t…

Featured Author: Wendy Johnson, at work in the wild and cultivated world

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"How does a gardener go about learning the raw truth of a place?" Wendy Johnson asks in Chapter One of Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate. "Every spot has a voice, a particular taste, a breath of wind unique to itself, a shadow, a presence. The best gardeners I know slow way down in order to receive the tidings of the land they are bound to work."

I met Wendy Johnson this summer through Natalie Goldberg. Wendy's friendship with Natalie goes back several decades and it is a blessing to call them both friends.

If you're a gardener, don't wait to add Wendy's new book to your collection. If you’re a writer whose work is informed by the natural world, you'll quickly find yourself immersed in the beauty of her carefully cultivated prose.

In this same chapter, appropriately titled “Valley of the Ancestors,” she writes about slowly pacing Redwood Creek, where thimbleberry and red osier grow in abundance. She writes of the ancient silver salmon that come the…