|My First Bird Book|
Gardening books are not classified well at that store. The selection seems random so I look over the spines for something new and different. I often take a book to the coffee area and page through it, inwardly groaning at the gardening cliches and obvious duplication of ridiculous ideas. "Give this rose extra fertilizer." By all means, try your best to kill the rose and keep it from blooming.
My favorite forehead-slapper is "Scratch Epsom Salts into the soil." Epsom Salts instantly melt into water, so that is like scratching coconut oil into one's skin. In other words, the expert had no clue - Martha Stewart in this case. She reminds me of the Stuart kings, who left an indelible bad impression on England. Besides that, Epsom Salts are great for the feet but seldom useful for soil or plants.
|Sharon Lovejoy's A Blessing of Toads is a good starter for gardeners.|
My second big find in the last year was Sharon Lovejoy's A Blessing of Toads. The book gets its title from Lipton's classic Exaltation of Larks, a book listing the names we have for groups of animals: a pride of lions, a parliament of owls, a murder of crows. I was already aiming for more toads per acre when I saw the book and realized this could be good. However, I had no idea that someone could pack so much knowledge into one book.
Lovejoy matches the density of information (useful knowledge per page) with Teaming with Microbes while keeping the language simple and the work fun.
So the birdbook arrived, which I ordered in haste. For children, hmm? I paged through it and noticed Lovejoy covers all aspects, with beautiful illustrations. She explains everything about birds in great detail and has the advantage of many years of observation. Her story of chickadees ridding a section of cabbage worms (as I recall) is illuminating. She can dig up statistics, but she has great stories to tell from her own experiences in gardening and observing nature. This is the best combination - anecdotes plus hard facts.
Besides that, the book includes an excellent bird identification guide.
We used to have those guides around the house, first when I was a child and later when I wanted to know what was flying around in the backyard. I never found those editions useful, because they featured a picture and a map of where the birds were found. Lovejoy's section is far more interesting and useful for anyone.
|Sharon Lovejoy's Trowel and Error is an encyclopedia of tips for the gardener.|
Snow Cover Gone - For Now
March 1 was going to be the tipping point, when the weather warmed up in Springdale. Instead, we had snow falling Friday night, Saturday snow and sleet, Sunday ice slicker than Church Growth promises.
Last night was above freezing, so the snow cover is gone, and all the plants and mulch are newly moistened. The starlings and doves are busy working over the soil around the Jackson Bird Spa, and the starlings are splashing in their newly melted baths. In cold weather they leave tracks on top of the snow and ice-filled dishes, as if to say, "Why didn't you invest in a birdbath warmer for us."
- it shall not return unto me void,
- but it shall accomplish that which I please,
- and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. [bullets not in the original]
Admit it - you did not know they existed.