Category Archives: books and field guides

Nature table

Every good naturalist needs a nature table. Here is a picture of mine. It’s a combo of skulls I have found or have been given to me, my favourite field guides, track casts, and projects I’m still working on.
I find it inspiring, as it brings
Some nature into mu urban bedroom, and it makes others ask me questions and so helps us better to get to know each other, with all my cards ( read: skulls) on the table.

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The Joy of Journaling

Journaling is one of the sacred arts of the naturalist. I journal almost anything, and everything new I find. It helps me work my minds eye, in order to better remember that plant, track, bird, etc in the future. There are a few steps to journaling that I recommend.

1. Take your time sketching it. Take good measurements, and notes on colour. That being said, don’t take too much time. Nothing like being that person who sketches for 1 hour to keep you from ever journaling again. Take stock of the gross details, and put them on your page. Who cares if it doesn’t look exactly right? Your own mind knows what you mean, and that’s what’s important.

2. Take good notes about your surroundings. Tracks, plants, and birds will reappear in similar habitats, so taking notes on the habitat around you will help you notice this trend. Make sure to note surrounding vegetation and animals you may have found, as well as weather your in a meadow, near a river, up a mountain, etc

3. Write your naturalist questions down. Things like: Who made this track? How is this animal moving? What family is this plant in? What can you make with it? What is this bird’s alarm call?

4. Hit up the field guides. All the good naturalists I know go everywhere with multiple field guides. Though this can be a burden when on a hike, definitely check your field guides when you get home. Write the answers down in your journal for further resource!

(Photo by Emily Gibson)                                                (Photo by Suzy Wimbourne)

Me journaling tracks                                                 Me looking a plant up in a field guide

The Wonder of Girls

One of the best books I’ve read that details the biological and spiritual growth from girlhood to womanhood. It looks beyond overt feminism and self esteem issues, into the role of women in our world, how our biology determines it, and how to make sure that those girls you mentor, or mother, have the experiences it takes to turn into exceptional women, with scientific support and personal stories to prove the point. One of the highlights was the important of extended family and mentors for brain development, something lacking in our current culture. Enjoy!

 

Nourishing Traditions

My absolute favourite book on diet and nutrition. Based on the works of Weston A. Price, this book talks about the important of fat in one’s diet, as well as fermented food to help with digestion (yoghurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, etc), raw fruits and veggies, and sprouted and fermented grains. I eat this way as much as possible. Since I’ve begun this diet, I’ve lost weight, gotten more energy, and feel generally better.

I have a lot of friends who cook this way and use nourishing traditions daily. The recipes can be a little weird, and the instructions a little confusion. But, at the beginning of every chapter, Sally Fallon gives info on why these foods are good, based on solid research, and for that alone, the book is worth it.

The Revolution Won’t be Microwaved

One of my favourites. Includes recipes at the end of every chapter. Outlines the history and business of farming, as well as food activism. Highlights include thoughts on small town farming culture, info on websites that link up farms with farmers (mostly for free) and a whole chapter on feral foraging, including wild plants and roadkill. A must read.

The Dirty Life

A wonderful, true love story that reads like fiction. I highly recommend it! The story of how a city girl meats a farmer, how they find a piece of land, fall in love, and start a full CSA which provides fruits, veggies, grain, dairy, eggs, and meat.

Crow Planet

Ever wonder how the best urban survivalist of us all, the crow, does it? Check out this book. Its full of uplifting personal stories by the author, who deals with a lot of issues concerning how to be fully alive and aware in an urban setting. Her observations of the crow, both energetically and literally, are incredibly fascinating, and entertaining.

check out Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness  by Lyanda Lynn Haupt