Leaf Litter: Marking my territory

As part of a forest land tax reduction, I had to mark the property boundaries and create a 10-year plan for my land. I hired a consulting forester to help assemble the plan and learned a hell of a lot in the process. While I was out doing that, I also planted ramp bulbs and …

‘The Earth’s natural Internet’

“Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World,” Paul Stamets (2005) I ordered this book shortly after seeing “Fantastic Fungi.” I was a bit leery of the title, which seemed to drift toward hyperbole. But after reading the book, I’m wondering if the title might be understated. Paul Stamets, the author of Mycelium Running …

Leaf Litter: Turkeys on the wing

Walking with Sunny in the pre-dawn hours yesterday morning, we both stopped dead in our tracks at the sound of frantic flapping in the trees above us. Barely discernible, a blob lumbers out of the branches and glides down the hill. Then several other trees start rustling with similar results. Sunny doesn’t get excited over …

‘But when war come, Hunkie good enough to fight’

Men and Steel, Mary Heaton Vorse, (1920). This is a fascinating, in-the-trenches look at the 1919 national steel strike, with particular emphasis on Braddock and the pastor of the Slovak Catholic church there who stood by his congregation in the face of threats and intimidation from the steel bosses. Mary Heaton Vorse is a wonderful …

Jane Swisshelm was a total badass

I’ve been tinkering again with The Book, and one of the rabbit holes that research dropped me into prompted the discovery that Swissvale (where I attended high school) and nearby Swisshelm Park were named after Jane Swisshelm, journalist, abolitionist, and all-around bad-ass. The Wikipedia entry on her notes she wrote an autobiography called “Half a …