Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review: Home Cheese Making

The notable primer on making cheese at home, Cheesemaking Made Easy, was revised and updated as Home Cheese Making with more recipes, profiles of cheesemakers, and sources for supplies and equipment.

Home cheesemaking can be a fun hobby or educational activity, or it can be a lucrative sideline for farmers market sales or even a steady business. While this book is intended for beginners, it includes recipes and instructions for taking the art to a commercial level.

Continued in ... Here's How To Make Cheese
by Ricki Carroll
Storey Publishing, 2002.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Nature Pages Review: Hunter's Log

The essence of autumn on the northern plains of America, and North Dakota in particular, is bagged and brought home in this collection of hunting poetry.

In a preface to his work, the poet explains that hunting has taught him accuracy of observation and, as a writer, accuracy of expression. Both skills are effectively employed in poems like "Missouri Breaks":

A blooded dog quarters the feral rye,
and my body's long quarrel with my mind
is silenced by a landscape and a sky
legible as a Bible for the blind.

Inspired by Ortega y Gassett's "Meditations on Hunting," gifted to him by his father, Timothy Murphy feels "the killing of the game is a ritual preparation for our own mortality." In "The Blind," the poet describes an outing with an aging father:

By some ancestral code
fathers and sons don't break,
we each carry a load
of which we cannot speak.

Here we commit our dead
to the unyielding land
where broken windmills creak
and stricken ganders cry.

Father, the dog, and I
are learning how to die
with our feet stuck in the muck
and our eyes trained on the sky.

Continued in ... The Nature Pages

by Timothy Murphy
The Dakota Institute, 2011.

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Review: Specialty Cut Flowers

At a time when farmers struggle to make a profit from crops of corn and potatoes and soybeans it rankles the mind to learn of folks who buy spotted knapweed and Johnson grass as ornamentals, and of gatherers and growers who make money off such weeds. The fresh and dried cut flower business is blossoming in American but its not coming up roses.

Florists whose cut flower arrangements were predominantly roses, carnations or mums a dozen years ago are now experimenting with and creating a steady market for asters and bellflowers, coneflowers and dogwoods, lobelias and statice. Even stem cuttings of ornamental onions, sage and thistles are growing with value.

The Production of Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs, and Woody Plants for Fresh and Dried Cut Flowers 
by Allan M. Armitage and Judy M. Laushman 
Timber Press, 2003

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Reading the History: American Windmills

From the earliest days of European settlement, Americans have cherished the sight of a windmill—an instantly recognizable feature of the American landscape. Boasting nearly two hundred striking images,
this book is the first devoted to photographs illustrating historic wind machines throughout North America.

T. Lindsay Baker, an expert historian on windmills, has written about wind-power history for twenty-five years. His album contains historic images captured by professional windmiller B. H. “Tex” Burdick and from corporate archives of windmill manufacturers. It depicts windmills in a wide range of settings and uses—not only on ranches and farms but also alongside railroads, in industry, and even in urban areas.

The photos chosen for this book illustrate windmill manufacture, distribution, and use in all regions of the United States, with an emphasis on the Great Plains.

An Album of Historic Photographs
by T. Lindsay Baker
University of Oklahoma Press, 2012
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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Farm and Garden Picks: Organic Gardener's Companion

Lifelong gardener Jane Shellenberger brings us this comprehensive, hands-on guide to growing organic produce in the Rocky Mountain and western region, including Colorado, parts of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and eastern Oregon.

The text covers soil cultivation, plant selection, water, microclimates, and other concerns specific to semiarid and high-altitude climates.

Growing Vegetables in the West
by Jane Shellenberger
Fulcrum, 2012