When Lucie Amundsen had a rare night out with her husband, she never imagined what he'd tell her over dinner - that his dream was to quit his office job (with benefits!) and start a commercial-scale pasture-raised egg farm. His entire agricultural experience consisted of raising five backyard hens, none of whom had yet laid a single egg. To create this pastured poultry ranch, the couple scrambles to acquire nearly 2,000 chickens - all named Lola.
I was hoping to pick up pointers on poultry but found bits of the answers to two of my BIG questions. The author mused on EVERYTHING.
One was that most sustainable farmers are tiny and support themselves with off-farm earnings. So, it's not just me. It's most of us. That is, maybe what I'm doing with my market garden is OK. That my hanging in there is OK. That I am not wasting my time, but instead doing the Right Thing.
Another gem. She summarized an interview with an economist/farmer/professor who said many or most economists don't believe in resource depletion. Specificially that neoliberalist economists believe that resources cannot be destroyed, only converted. This implies that the neoliberal economists don't believe in soil depletion, a big contributor to global warming. That in their Ivory Towers, they take soil for granted and thus abuse it.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
In the face of widespread fear and apathy, an international coalition of researchers, professionals, and scientists have come together to offer a set of realistic and bold solutions to climate change. One hundred techniques and practices are described here - some are well known; some you may have never heard of.
If Al Gore scared you about our common future, I'll bet this book will inspire you to help reverse global warming. They say their list of 80 practical, proven bits of the solution should do it by 2050, says Drawdown.
It's about time we started talking about solutions. We've talked about the problem long enough.
The list of solutions are on Drawdown.org I would start there. The cost, savings and climate impact of each is listed.
Yes, the book has lots of technical stuff. Yes, better to read this than listen. But I don't have time to read.
Gems among the dull details. Like the the first two pages of Pope Francis's encyclical on climate change. Or quoting McKibben saying I can't fix the climate, you can't fix it, only WE can.
Drawdown is a team project. A labor of love by its 62 research fellows. Director and editor is Paul Hawken, entrepreneur, author, and activist. Drawdown is a coalition of groups led by a Board of Directors.
Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she's studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book might have been a revelatory treatise on plant life. Lab Girl is that, but it is also so much more. Because in it, Jahren also shares with us her inspiring life story, in prose that takes your breath away.
The clearest point made is how hard it is to get money for botany research. Much of what we know is because of heroic efforts, labors of love, like those of Lab Girl. It makes me wonder if we are seriously ignorant about plants.
Theory is sprinkled through the story like nuts in a cake. Compared to the other Audible books on plants, this was my favorite. I am tempted to buy the Kindle to go back and highlight them. Lemme summarize what I remember. (My musings are in parentheses.)
Water is the big deal. It takes lots and lots of water to produce new leaves.
Roots are more important than the above ground parts. More surface area too. Tree roots are enormous water pumps. Going as deep as my water well. At night, when the pumping stops, water oozes out of tree roots into the topsoil thus watering understory plants. This plus the humidity from daytime pumping helps smaller plants. (Is that the genius of "food forest" visions?)
Sapling trees have a really hard time. They need big trees to thrive. (Is that because they need their micorrhizal fungi which can double root effectiveness?)
Baby plants remember hard times. (When I half kill a transplant by not planting it too long, am I making a big mistake?)
Vines are fast-growing opportunists.
Unlike animals, losing a part doesn't kill plants. And stems can become roots and vice versa. Plants are adapted to losing parts of themselves.
When a plant gets too big, it stagnates. Pruning can be a service.
Land has lots more life than oceans.
Soil is where life and geology meet.
If you're ready to throw out the rule book and return as much as you can to the soil, Compost Everything is the book for you. It's time to quit fighting Mother Nature and start working with her to recycle organic matter and create lush and beautiful gardens with some of the most extreme composting techniques known to man!
Will provoke thought for both newbies and old hands. And it's fun to listen to.
I have composted a truckload a week for six years to build soil for my market garden. I sell some produce to restaurants. And I have read several books about composting, learned from this book. A number of times, I had to pause the book because he got me thinking. And I love his "just do it" attitude.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
In this wholly original audiobook, biologist David Haskell uses a one-square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window into the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature's path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life. Each of this audiobook's short chapters begins with a simple observation: a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter; the first blossom of spring wildflowers.
He loves the web of life. His stories of this life made me love it too. He tells of squirrels hanging out in the sun, teasing each other and just enjoying life. Of why pecans and hickories leaf out after other trees.
He even got me to love ticks. Most of them will die of thirst before I brush the grass top on which they lie in wait for me to give them a blood meal. They die trying.
He puts me in my place in the web of life. As large land critters, we are out of it. Most life is in wet or at least moist places. In water and soil. Places we know little about. Then he tells stories of tiny soil springtails and numerous nematodes and the important micorrhizal fungi that feed and connect plants. I had heard of all of them. I loved hearing their stories.
This book brightened up two tedious days of driving and car trouble.
When the book ended I was disappointed. So I got a similar book but it was droning professor with sloppy, out of date, ideas. A mediocre man, not a delightful one like Haskell So I returned it and am now looking for another delightful nature book. About the nature you need a microscope and a big picture vision to learn about.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful