It's been a long time since I posted and my only explanation is that life got in the way. It's been very hectic the last 8 months or so and I just have lost all energy and momentum for doing things for me. I am trying to say no more to others and yes more to me.... seems like I always have to restart doing that!

I am currently reading a great book about goats. I love goats and have always wanted to raise some of my own and also have wanted to make goat cheese. When I was in high school I volunteered on a goat farm that was part of Heifer Project. It was one of the best experiences of my teenage years.

The book is Goat Song: A Seasonal Life of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese by Brad Kessler. I really enjoy reading books about people and their real life experiences.

From Publishers Weekly
Novelist (Birds in Fall; Lick Creek) Kessler's account of tending a small herd of milking goats in Vermont captures both the lush, poetic paradise of rural life and the raw, unrelenting drama of dairying. Kessler, a Saab-driving ex-Manhattanite, purchases two Nubian goats, breeds them and helps his wife, Dona, a trained doula, attend to the birth of four goat kids the following spring. The amusing zoomorphic and anthropomorphic descriptions, where goats forage as if they were at a sample sale and milk-fed kids stagger ┼ôlike street junkies, dissipate as Kessler endures a season of goat wrangling, haying and hunting coyotes. Kessler gives the legal aspects of unpasteurized cheese a cursory inspection; his devotion centers on a budding relationship with animals, the earth and goat cheese. He's a back-to-the-land naturalist, who supports his detailed personal observations with extensive research as he explores the cultural, historical and biological aspects of pastoralism. While the tome's lengthy poetic journal entries on animal husbandry and cheese making hardly qualify as a comprehensive manual, the observant, unsanctimonious read is bound to inspire hobby farmers and consummate cheese lovers.

Brad Kessler and one of his goats.
Here is a link to a nice interview with Brad Kessler in Gourmet magazine.
I was channel surfing recently and came across a show about the making of a new mini-series on Starz. It is based on a book by Ken Follett and called "The Pillars of the Earth". It takes place in 12th century England. The show made it look so interesting that I have been watching it every week on Starz. But I also wanted to read the book so I requested it from the library. When I picked it up it was HUGE. I got the paper back version and it must weigh 5 lbs. It has about 1000 pages. So I am working on reading it and expect it will take me a few weeks. It goes into more detail than the movie does so I am glad to be getting some of the background to the story as I watch it.

From Publishers Weekly
Tom Builder's dream is to build a cathedral, but in the meantime, he must scrounge about to find a lord that will hire him. His search pulls him and his family into the politics of 12th-century England, as different lords vie to gain control of the throne in the wake of the recently deceased king. Prior Phillip, a man raised in the monastery since childhood, also finds himself drafted into the brewing storm as he must protect the interests of a declining church.

From Library Journal
A radical departure from Follett's novels of international suspense and intrigue, this chronicles the vicissitudes of a prior, his master builder, and their community as they struggle to build a cathedral and protect themselves during the tumultuous 12th century, when the empress Maud and Stephen are fighting for the crown of England after the death of Henry I. The plot is less tightly controlled than those in Follett's contemporary works, and despite the wealth of historical detail, especially concerning architecture and construction, much of the language as well as the psychology of the characters and their relationships remains firmly rooted in the 20th century. This will appeal more to lovers of exciting adventure stories than true devotees of historical fiction.
It has been a hectic past few months. Mom has been sick and in and out of the hospital and rehab. Lots to do for her... not much time for art but I still find time to read.
Here is what I am currently reading.

Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
At 26, Troost followed his wife to Kiribati, a tiny island nation in the South Pacific. Virtually ignored by the rest of humanity (its erstwhile colonial owners, the Brits, left in 1979), Kiribati is the kind of place where dolphins frolic in lagoons, days end with glorious sunsets and airplanes might have to circle overhead because pigs occupy the island's sole runway. Troost's wife was working for an international nonprofit; the author himself planned to hang out and maybe write a literary masterpiece. But Kiribati wasn't quite paradise. It was polluted, overpopulated and scorchingly sunny (Troost could almost feel his freckles mutating into something "interesting and tumorous"). The villages overflowed with scavengers and recently introduced, nonbiodegradable trash. And the Kiribati people seemed excessively hedonistic. Yet after two years, Troost and his wife felt so comfortable, they were reluctant to return home. Troost is a sharp, funny writer, richly evoking the strange, day-by-day wonder that became his life in the islands. One night, he's doing his best funky chicken with dancing Kiribati; the next morning, he's on the high seas contemplating a toilet extending off the boat's stern (when the ocean was rough, he learns, it was like using a bidet). Troost's chronicle of his sojourn in a forgotten world is a comic masterwork of travel writing and a revealing look at a culture clash.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Booklist
Although accustomed to globe trotting, Troost and his wife, Sylvia, were truly innocents abroad when they moved to the island of Tarawa in the South Pacific, where Sylvia had accepted a government position. Tarawa is the capital of Kiribati--a republic of tiny atolls located just above the equator--and the place where Troost's dreams of paradise were shattered. Although Tarawa has much to offer, such as stultifying heat, dogged bureaucracy, toxic water, La Macarena, and the fantastic rituals of the I-Kiribati people, it lacks running water, television, restaurants, air-conditioning, and, the most crucial amenity, beer. Culture shock ensued for Maarten and Sylvia, and he chronicles their two years on Tarawa in a hilarious, sardonic travelogue. Among the more memorable episodes is the time a simple fishing trip turns into a hunt for a giant thresher shark and when Troost blasts a Miles Davis CD to combat the incessant repetition of La Macarena. Troost's mystified admiration for the I-Kiribati people shines through it all, and readers learn how humor itself can be a necessary tool for survival. Jerry Eberle
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
I am currently reading "On the Wing: To the Edge of the Earth with the Peregrine Falcon" by Alan Tennant.

Amazon Editorial Review
In this extraordinary naturalist adventure saga, Alan Tennant, a passionate student of wildlife and of the peregrine falcon in particular, endeavours to radio-track the birds transcontinental migration - something no one before him had ever attempted. At the time of his flight, in the mid-1980s, researchers were still unsure of the peregrines transcontinental path: chicks hatched in the Arctic have hardly been taught how to fly and kill their food when they make their first migration, alone, following some mysterious internal call to go south. On The Wing, which begins on the windswept flats of the Texas barrier islands, ferries us across multiple continents, and is loaded with historical and scientific lore and rich characters. Chief among them is George Vose, the septuagenarian Second World War vet and former stunt pilot who becomes Tennants partner in falcon-chasing when they borrow some US Army radio-tracking equipment and set off after a bird Alan has managed to trap and tag with a feather-mounted transmitter. George, who trusts his instincts more than his instruments, is as obsessed with the mystery of flight as Tennant is and the book charts the story of their friendship. As they journey to the Arctic, following their first bird, and then way down South, through Mexico and into Belize, nearly losing their lives, running foul of the law (and, at times, at each others throats) in the race to keep their birds in view and their rattletrap Cessna gassed up and running. But the falcons dominate this odyssey, these majestic birds - the icons of pharaohs, oriental emperors, and European nobility - whose fierce mien, speed at the kill and solitary habits have fired the human imagination for centuries. In this mesmerising narrative, Alan Tennant offers us an unforgettable and moving tale that speaks to all our dreams of flight.
About the Author
Alan Tennant grew up in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean. He has taught film and literary criticism at the University of Texas and lectured on ecology in more than twenty countries. He is the author of several prize-winning books on wildlife and nature. He lives in west Texas and conducts natural history seminars and trips around the world.
When life gets full of stress and chaos one of my escapes is to read. I read whenever I can. One of my favorite times to read during the week is at work during my lunch break. It is a great way to escape for a little bit during each day. Now that the warm weather is here I can sit out on the patio and enjoy to warmer, sunny weather and almost forget where I am.

I am currently reading another book for the local audubon nature book club. Meeting is on Monday nite so I hope I get to go.

The book is: "Sippewissett: or, Life on a Salt Marsh" by Tim Traver.

I have been enjoying reading about someplace local. I think we will take a ride down there to see the marsh for ourselves.

From Booklist
*Starred Review* Tim Traver has created a wonderfully unique piece of genre blending in his elegant rumination on Sippewissett, the Cape Cod salt marsh he has known since childhood. By including both a rich history of the nearby Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (along with fascinating profiles of the many scientists associated with it over the years) and stories about his family's long relationship with the marsh, he provides the reader with a work that is equal parts natural history and memoir. As he ponders the accomplishments and impact of naturalist luminaries Louis Agassiz, Spencer Baird, and Rachel Carson, he places their historic research in the context of the marsh's present condition. This transition is made easy by his family's deep connection to the region, which he shares in passages echoing George Howe Colt's National Book Award finalist, The Big House (2003). Traver has the same deep attachment to the land as Colt, but his scientific background and attention to the region's marine biology raises the book to a higher level. Sippewissett is a rare book, as it both informs and entrances. A delight from beginning to end. Colleen Mondor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Traver, a third-generation Cape Cod salt marsh inhabitant, has the distinctive and wonderful perspective that comes from loving--and sometimes leaving--a place of true natural wonder. Spending near-idyllic boyhood summers in Sippewissett, MA, Traver grew up exploring the natural world around him. Revisiting those childhood memories, now tempered by marriage and fatherhood, he looks at many vital and potentially contentious issues from both sides of the proverbial coin--that of the scientist/environmentalist and the local--and speaks with understanding and empathy for both. In this wonderful blend of natural history and memoir, Traver details both the ecology and the history of Sippewissett, describing the people and creatures that he encounters, and chronicles the daily turning of the tides. Educational, touching, and highly relevant in today's changing ecological world, this marvelous book is highly recommended for public and academic libraries."
--Susan E. Brazer, Salisbury Univ. Lib., MD, Library Journal Starred Review

Biologists (including Louis Agassiz and Rachel Carson) have long been drawn to the patch of Cape Cod marsh where Traver spent his boyhood summers and to which he still returns. His reflections on the fauna, flora, habitats, and human culture eloquently weave together ecology, history, and memory. He offers enticing discussions of tidal flows, spawning runs, eelgrass beds, clam hunts, and even the microbial communities in the muds. And his treatment of sometimes contentious conservation issues demonstrates his recognition of the challenges facing those who wish to sustain their sense of home.
Science, August 2007
This past weekend I went to my sister's and helped her do a craft project with Josh and Zach. We helped them make Mother's Day gifts for their mom and other grand mothers.

Leslie had gotten some blank oval wooden plaques that had ribbons attached to the back for hanging. We let the boys paint them how ever they wanted and then we decoupaged photos of them onto the plaques. They came out really great and I got to take some new photos of them too!!!

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love animals and that I would be a Crazy Cat Lady if I hadn't found Gene, who is the total and complete love of my life.

I soooo love kitties. I adore them. Many have touched my life and I am totally heart broken when they must cross over. I imagine them in kitty heaven where there is always a sunny spot to stretch out in and plenty of treats.

I miss these kitties so very much and am thankful for the joy and love they brought into my life.



Little Bit