Monthly Archives: July 2020

Book Review–The Overstory by Richard Powers

I was introduced to this book through the North Country Herbalists book club. I sadly did not finish it is time for the discussion, which would have been great because their is literally so much to unpack in this book. Still I am so very glad I read it.

I started out with very little information about the subject of The Overstory–though I assumed it had something to do with trees. The first section of the book is entitled “Root” and contains all sorts of vignettes of various people in different times. There did not seem to be much rhyme or reason and I had extreme difficulty connecting with some of the characters.

By the second section, “trunk” the characters were beginning to meet and the story was starting to make sense but it was starting to get more challenging in other ways. The concepts and assumptions were starting to stretch me a bit, though I had been introduced to them recently through other classes. Namely that trees connect to each other, that the forest is a living thing in and of itself, not only a collection of individuals. The roots of trees connect and share information such as what pests are present and even send out warning signals.

The backdrop of the book is the heyday of the Pacific Northwest lumber wars, an event I knew little about at the time, but pitted human interest–economic interest, against protecting the last giants of a forest. The politics and passions or the movement are brilliantly played out.

The author’s characters mention several times in the book that stories are the only true way to change a person’s mind, and Powers does a good job presenting an interesting idea (one that smacks of truth) through a story that draws you in and makes you both furious and hopeful at the same time.

It inspired me to change how I view forests and how I view my future. I now have a goal of returning more land to wild spaces. Barbara Kingsolver said of the book, “Monumental. . .A gigantic fable of genuine truths.”

Look for the amazing descriptions of the eco systems existing in the tops of some of the worlds largest trees. A great read.

Happy 4th with an explosion of wildflowers

It has been a long time since I stayed up to watch the fireworks on the 4th of July. But here on the farm we are enjoying a different kind of explosion–wild flowers. So beautiful and fun.

I am currently taking a Botany for Herbalists course through the Matthew Wood Institute of Herbalism. One of the tools they recommended was a Black Eye Lens. It is a magnifying lens that clips on to a smart phone. I also have a Nikon D3100 (this is a newer version of the camera I have). I love this camera and use it for most of the pictures I take on this blog or if I know that it is a photo I will really want to keep. But often I don’t have it with me. I might not always have the lens with me, but at least I can fit that in a pocket.

So we are celebrating this special time of the year, which also happens to be flower season with pictures using my black eye lens.

Water droplets pooling on my Lady’s Mantle
Marshmellow plant just starting to bud.
Red Clover
Milk Weed
Still Identifying–I am thinking Evening Primrose

I still need to work on lining the lens up so that you don’t see black on the edge. The last couple of flowers I have not identified yet, but I was fascinated that I was able to get pictures with insects on the flowers so I shared them anyway. It is a fun new toy to enjoy this time of year.