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May 2005: Publications

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Gardening Secrets That Time Forgot by John Yeoman (The Village Guild Ltd. The Old School House, Ivinghoe Aston Leighton Buzzard, Beds LU7 9DP, UK; 2004) is a delightful book. Not only will it make the reader chuckle, or guffaw but, as advertised, it shares unusual medieval garden lore still useful today. The author transports us to 15th Century England with writings from his "ancestor." He also acts as present-day editor with sidebars that comment on different elements of the "15th Century writings." Cleverly written, well researched, Yeoman's book is a yeoman production that will enliven any reader's gardening library.

The Curious Gardener by Jurgen Dahl (The Timber Press, The Haseltine Bldg., 133 SW Second Avenue, Suite 450, Portland OR 97204-3527; 2004; $24.95) is a series of essays by a gardener who honors and appreciates the complexities and richness of the natural world. The author states, "[The curious gardener] is much more concerned with trying out old and new ways of doing things, in seeking out unknown plants, with perceiving the traces of life that often go unnoticed as they wind their way through the garden." This is the theme of the book through Dahl's diverse observations and musings about his own garden in Germany. With child-like exuberance he shares his observations on subjects as seemingly diverse as puff balls (they can be sliced and pan fried) and warty cabbage. Dahl devotes a whole section to plants that smell bad, pointing out that what is acceptable as an odor varies widely among people and cultures. This book may inspire the reader to observe more closely the life of her own garden.

The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto (Beyond Words Publishing, 20827 NW Cornell Road, Suite 500, Hillsboro OR 97124-9809; 2004; $16.95) is a continuation of the author's first three volumes, Messages from Water. In this book Emoto ponders the meaning of what his research with water crystals has brought forth. He has photographed water crystals from many different sources and from water that has been exposed to music, photographs, and written words wrapped around the water container. The book includes many photos, all of which seem to indicate that water responds to these external sources. Emoto believes that since so much of the Earth is water, and since people themselves are 50 to 90 percent water, we can influence with our thoughts and actions what happens in the world. He believes that the words "love" and "gratitude" are the key to change. The color photos beautifully convey the book's message.

In Continuous Bloom: a Month-By-Month Guide to Non-Stop Color in the Perennial Garden by Pam Duthie (Ball Publishing, 335 N. River Street, Batavia IL 60510; 2000), photographs, rather than text, are used to encourage the reader to let her garden bloom throughout the year. Large color illustrations of what perennials are growing each month, from March through October, make up the heart of the book. Each flower is then briefly described, including what it best combines with. At the end of the book Duthie provides a summary of growing tips and appendices of resources.

The What Color Is Your Parachute Workbook (Ten-Speed Press; 1998; $9.95) presents an expanded version of one of the most popular exercises from the original Parachute. This exercise guides the reader step by step through a process of discovering what s/he truly wants in a job and what skills, training, values and beliefs, among other qualities, s/he possesses to manifest this job. The workbook is comprehensive, presenting factors not often found in other career guides.

Tipi Living by Patrick Whitefield (Chelsea Green, distributor; 1987; 2000) describes the author's own experience and what he has gleaned "from other tipi people." He offers it "as a door opening on the possibility of a new way of life," one directly connected with nature. Whitefield states his own reasons for living in a tipi, how to choose and put one up, and how to maintain and move it. He looks on the fire as the heart of a tipi and describes the best types of wood to use and how to build the fire. This is a very small book that contains useful information for potential tipi living.

Country Wisdom and Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land (Distributed by Workman Publishing Co., 708 Broadway, New York NY 10003; 2004; $19.95) is a compendium of Country Wisdom bulletins, first published by Storey Books in the 1970s. Included are complete directions for making cheese and yogurt, instructions for keeping chickens and rabbits, and butchering livestock. There is a section on simple home repairs and another with lots of practical information on what to do when the power fails. A large gardening section has good information on soil and many other aspects of gardening. This is a lot of information for a small price-the book's cover advertises "8,167 Useful Skills and Step-by-Step Instructions." Not all are survival skills; there are many for crafts, bird watching, etc. But with this much to choose from, the reader is likely to find a great deal that is useful for his or her situation.



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