Outdoor Living & Gardening
Get outside! Plant a garden! Explore nature! But before you go, prepare ahead with some reading on the great outdoors.
- by Catherine Raven
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A solitary woman's inspiring, moving, surprising, and often funny memoir about the transformative power of her unusual friendship with a wild fox, a new window into the natural world, and the introduction of a remarkable literary talent.
Catherine Raven left home at fifteen, fleeing an abusive, disdainful father and an indifferent mother. More comfortable in nature than among people, she worked as a National Park ranger, eventually earning a PhD in biology. She built a house on an isolated plot of land in Montana, teaching remotely and leading field classes. One day, she realized that the mangy-looking fox who had been appearing on her property was now showing up every day at 4:15 p.m. She had never had a regular visitor before. How do you even talk to a fox? So, she brought out her camping chair, sat as close to him as she dared, and began reading to him from The Little Prince. Her scientific training had taught her not to anthropomorphize animals, but as she grew to know him, his personality revealed itself--and he became her friend.
But friends cannot always save each other from the uncontained forces of nature. Fox and I is a poignant and dramatic tale of friendship, transformation, and coping with inevitable loss--and of how that loss can become meaningful. It is also the introduction of an original, imaginative, stunning literary voice.
- by Christopher W. Leahy
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Birdpedia is an engaging illustrated compendium of bird facts and birding lore. Featuring nearly 200 entries—on topics ranging from plumage and migration to birds in art, literature, and folklore—this enticing collection is brimming with wisdom and wit about all things avian. Christopher Leahy sheds light on “hawk-watching,” “twitching,” and other rituals from the sometimes mystifying world of birding that entail a good deal more than their names imply. He explains what kind of bird’s nests you can eat, why mocking birds mock, and many other curiosities that have induced otherwise sane people to peer into treetops using outrageously expensive optical equipment. Leahy shares illuminating insights about pioneering ornithologists such as John James Audubon and Florence Bailey, and describes unique bird behaviors such as anting, caching, duetting, and mobbing. He discusses avian fossils, the colloquial naming of birds, the science and history of ornithology, and more. The book’s convenient size makes it the perfect traveling companion to take along on your own avian adventures. With charming illustrations by Abby McBride, Birdpedia is a marvelous mix of fact and fancy that is certain to delight seasoned birders and armchair naturalists alike.
- by PRAIRIE PATHFINDERS
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This may well be the definitive guide to exploring Manitoba on foot or by car.
More than 20 years in the making, authors Wendy Wilson and Leone Banks have selected the very best of their favourite places to explore in the province.
As with previous Prairie Pathfinder publications, they have helpfully divided the province into quadrants, interspersing each section with a tantalizing mix of enticing hikes and opportunities for a scenic drive. Purposely included are a myriad of options to match a wide range of interests and fitness levels. from Hunt Lake’s offering of “a real workout over some particularly rugged terrain” to the Brokenhead Interpretive Trail’s “easy, level trail (with) several rest stops for contemplation along the way”.
There are several hikes that could easily be described as hidden treasures, in part due to the authors’ focus on highlighting lesser-known spots found outside of provincial or national parks. Exhaustively researched with a keen attention to detail, each walk is described in an easy, conversational style, beautifully complemented with requisite maps and some gorgeous photographs.
What makes this book particularly noteworthy are the ‘some history’ additions paired with many of the walks. Their welcome addition provides valuable insight into the history of the hike’s setting, whether explaining how a receding glacial lake created a unique landscape or how schoolchildren used to cross an eastern Manitoba river using a cable basket pulled by hand. St Lazare - as legendary for its beauty as its fascinating history - is a description that could as easily be applied to many of the hikes in this book.
From the Rae Trail’s “secluded rolling woodland interspersed with lush wildflower meadows,” to Lester Beach’s “majestic stretch of shoreline with beautiful cliffs beckoning in the distance” there is much to offer those looking for interesting places to explore.
Our final words come from the book’s introduction: “This book has been a labour of love and we hope you enjoy these hikes and drives as much as we loved scouting and mapping them.”
Well said, now get out and take a hike!
- by Margaret Larson
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Discover Winnipeg and beyond with 30 unique routes designed for all cyclists of all skill levels. With routes ranging from 26 to 50 kilometres, with shortcuts as short as 5 kilometres, anyone can hop on their bike and explore what this city has to offer
Winnipeg Cycling includes:
- 20 routes in and around Winnipeg and 10 routes just a short drive away
- options to shorten routes, suggestions for coffee stops and points of interest, and locations of bathroom stops to make the route perfect for you
- detailed directions, maps, and fun information for each route Visit the Manitoba Legislative Building, explore the Trappist Monastery, and take a selfie with the world's largest Coca-Cola can Cycle along river beds, over bridges, through parks, and past sculptures and tourist sites. Winnipeg Cycling is a game-changer for getting more enjoyment out of cycling in this city.
- by Mike Grandmaison
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A millennia-old gathering place. A wild country freckled with lush forests and shimmering waters. A glimpse of the pristine Great White North. Located at the tripoint of Ontario, Manitoba, and Minnesota, Lake of the Woods is all of these things and much more. Here, as in the days of yore, discovery lies in wait at every turn—be it amid its centenary trees, in its secluded coves, on its golden beaches, or on the lively waterfronts of its charming communities. Now, you too can discover the spellbinding sights and scenes of Lake of the Woods, in this labour of love by photographer Mike Grandmaison and author Elizabeth Campbell. Lake of the Woods— Gem of the Canadian Shield is their ode to a place that has captured the hearts of many, as it will, through these pages, no doubt capture yours.
- by Shane O'mara
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A hymn to walking, the mechanical magic at the core of our humanity.
In this captivating book, neuroscientist Shane O'Mara invites us to marvel at the benefits walking confers on our bodies and brains, and to appreciate the advantages of this uniquely human skill. From walking's evolutionary origins, traced back millions of years to life forms on the ocean floor, to new findings from cutting-edge research, he reveals how the brain and nervous system give us the ability to balance, weave through a crowded city, and run our "inner GPS" system. Walking is good for our muscles and posture; it helps to protect and repair organs, and can slow or turn back the aging of our brains. With our minds in motion we think more creatively, our mood improves, and stress levels fall. Walking together to achieve a shared purpose is also a social glue that has contributed to our survival as a species. As our lives become increasingly sedentary, O'Mara makes the case that we must start walking again--whether it's up a mountain, down to the park, or simply to school and work. In Praise of Walking illuminates the joys, health benefits, and mechanics of walking, and reminds us to get out of our chairs and discover a happier, healthier, more creative self.
- by Tristan Gooley
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Learn to "see" the forecast in the hidden weather signs all around you--from the New York Times-bestselling author of The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs
In this eye-opening trove of outdoor clues, groundbreaking natural navigator Tristan Gooley turns his keen senses to the weather. By "reading" nature as he does, you'll not only detect what the weather is doing (and predict what's coming), you'll enter a secret wonderland of sights and sounds you've never noticed before: Listen for the way crickets chirp faster as the temperature rises.Spot how snowflakes shrink with colder air and grow just before they stop falling.Let perching birds point out the direction of the wind.Learn why pine cones close up in high humidity.Watch out for storms when clouds are more tall than wide! Most fascinating of all, you'll discover distinct microclimates with every step you take--through the woods or down a city street. There are unique weather clues to be found on opposite sides of a tree--and even beneath a blade of grass! And once you can read the forecast in every cloud, breeze, sunbeam, plant, and raindrop? You may well delete your weather app!
- by Elizabeth Ja Howard
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Acclaimed author Elizabeth Jane Howard said she would certainly have been a gardener had she not become a writer first. In Green Shades: An Anthology of Plants, Gardens and Gardeners, first published in 1991, she brings together a diverse and fascinating selection of gardening writing spanning the centuries, the seasons and the species.
Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, pocket sized classics with ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover.
The contents are eclectic and wide ranging, practical as well as lyrical - she pays homage to the great English landscape artists of the eighteenth century and to the great women gardeners such as Vita Sackville West. There's advice from Pliny on how walnuts can be used to dye hair and Joseph Addison encourages blackbirds to gorge on his cherry trees. Linking the numerous extracts is Elizabeth Jane Howard's perceptive and highly personal commentary which skilfully leads the reader from one subject to the next.
- by Marc Hamer
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For readers of Late Migrations and Vesper Flights
A stunning meditation on gardening and the wisdom of plants, "that rare book that will appeal to nonfiction readers everywhere ... Candid, tender, thoughtful and absorbing." --Shelf Awareness (STARRED Review)
With "chapters... [that] shimmer like lantern slides, lit with luminous imagery ... Seed to Dust is an invitation to read this world as Mr. Hamer does--with a close eye to what changes, and what does not."--The Wall Street Journal
Marc Hamer has nurtured the same 12-acre garden in the Welsh countryside for over two decades. The garden is vast and intricate. It's rarely visited, and only Hamer knows of its secrets. But it's not his garden. It belongs to his wealthy and elegant employer, Miss Cashmere. But the garden does not really belong to her, either. As Hamer writes, "Like a book, a garden belongs to everyone who sees it."
In Seed to Dust, Marc Hamer paints a beautiful portrait of the garden that "belongs to everyone." He describes a year in his life as a country gardener, with each chapter named for the month he's in. As he works, he muses on the unusual folklores of his beloved plants. He observes the creatures who scurry and hide from his blade or rake. And he reflects on his own life: living homeless as a young man, his loving relationship with his wife and children, and--now--feeling the effects of old age on body and mind.
As the seasons change, Hamer also reflects on the changes he has observed in Miss Cashmere's life from afar: the death of her husband and the departure of her children from the stately home where she now lives alone. At the book's end, Hamer's connection to Miss Cashmere changes shape, and new insights into relationships and the beauty and brutality of nature emerge.
Just like all good books and gardens, Seed to Dust is filled with equal parts life and death, beauty and decay, and every reader will find something different to admire.
- by Karen Caruana
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A book for philosophizing gardeners, now available in English. Kitchen gardens, moss gardens, botanical gardens, landscape gardens: there are as many varieties of gardens as there are gardeners, and the way we tend to our gardens is just as vast. Every gardener discovers a new world every year--regardless of whether they cultivate heirloom vegetables, specialize in wild herbs, create a small permaculture garden on the city balcony, or maintain a garden designed for self-sufficiency. In these informative personal essays, writers, designers and master gardeners explore the philosophical dimension of gardening and tend to the aesthetic, cultural, political and sociological implications of gardens and the people who keep them. Why garden at all? Is it better to leave nature to its own devices? Can cities reclaim nature through urban gardening? Which garden design, which plants andseeds? In addressing gardening's most deep-rooted questions, this delightful volume highlights the magic of gardens that makes us, year after year, pick up a shovel and a rake and get back to gardening.
- by Peter Wohlleben
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From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Hidden Life of Trees.
"The Inner Life of Animals will rock your world. This book shows us that animals think, feel and know in much the same way as we do."--Sy Montgomery, bestselling author of The Soul of an Octopus
Through vivid stories of devoted pigs, two-timing magpies, and scheming roosters, The Inner Life of Animals weaves the latest scientific research into how animals interact with the world with Peter Wohlleben's personal experiences in forests and fields. We learn that horses feel shame, deer grieve, and goats discipline their kids. Ravens call their friends by name, rats regret bad choices, and butterflies choose the very best places for their children to grow up.
In this captivating book, Peter Wohlleben follows the hugely successful The Hidden Life of Trees with insightful stories into the emotions, feelings, and intelligence of animals around us. Animals are different from us in ways that amaze us--and they are also much closer to us than we ever would have thought.
"Wry, avuncular, careful and kind. . . Each story adds to a widening vision of intelligence, emotion and relationship."--The Guardian
Published in Partnership with the David Suzuki Institute
- by Suzanne Simard
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A world-leading expert shares her amazing story of discovering the communication that exists between trees, and shares her own story of family and grief.
Suzanne Simard is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence; she's been compared to Rachel Carson, hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in a way that is dazzling and profound. Her work has influenced filmmakers (the Tree of Souls in James Cameron's Avatar), and her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide.
Now, in her first book, Simard brings us into her world, the intimate world of the trees, in which she brilliantly illuminates the fascinating and vital truths--that trees are not simply the source of timber or pulp but are a complicated, interdependent circle of life; that forests are social, cooperative creatures connected through underground networks by which trees communicate their vitality and vulnerabilities with communal lives not that different from our own.
Simard describes up close--in revealing and accessible ways--how trees, living side by side for hundreds of years, have evolved; how they perceive one another, learn and adapt their behaviors, recognize neighbors, and remember the past; how they have agency about their future; how they elicit warnings and mount defenses, compete and cooperate with one another with sophistication: characteristics previously ascribed to human intelligence, traits that are the essence of civil societies. And, at the center of it all, the Mother Trees: the mysterious, powerful forces that connect and sustain the others that surround them.Simard, born and raised in the rain forests of British Columbia, spent her days as a child cataloging the trees from the forest; she came to love and respect them and embarked on a journey of discovery and struggle. Her powerful story is one of love and loss, of observation and change, of risk and reward. And it is a testament to how deeply human scientific inquiry exists beyond data and technology: it's about understanding who we are and our place in the world. In her book, as in her groundbreaking research, Simard proves the true connectedness of the Mother Tree to the forest, nurturing it in the profound ways that families and humansocieties nurture one another, and how these inseparable bonds enable all our survival.
- by Jennifer Ackerman
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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Genius of Birds, a radical investigation into the bird way of being, and the recent scientific research that is dramatically shifting our understanding of birds -- how they live and how they think.
"There is the mammal way and there is the bird way." But the bird way is much more than a unique pattern of brain wiring, and lately, scientists have taken a new look at bird behaviors they have, for years, dismissed as anomalies or mysteries -- What they are finding is upending the traditional view of how birds conduct their lives, how they communicate, forage, court, breed, survive. They are also revealing the remarkable intelligence underlying these activities, abilities we once considered uniquely our own: deception, manipulation, cheating, kidnapping, infanticide, but also ingenious communication between species, cooperation, collaboration, altruism, culture, and play.
Some of these extraordinary behaviors are biological conundrums that seem to push the edges of, well, birdness: a mother bird that kills her own infant sons, and another that selflessly tends to the young of other birds as if they were her own; a bird that collaborates in an extraordinary way with one species--ours--but parasitizes another in gruesome fashion; birds that give gifts and birds that steal; birds that dance or drum, that paint their creations or paint themselves; birds that build walls of sound to keep out intruders and birds that summon playmates with a special call--and may hold the secret to our own penchant for playfulness and the evolution of laughter.
Drawing on personal observations, the latest science, and her bird-related travel around the world, from the tropical rainforests of eastern Australia and the remote woodlands of northern Japan, to the rolling hills of lower Austria and the islands of Alaska's Kachemak Bay, Jennifer Ackerman shows there is clearly no single bird way of being. In every respect, in plumage, form, song, flight, lifestyle, niche, and behavior, birds vary. It is what we love about them. As E.O Wilson once said, when you have seen one bird, you have not seen them all.
- by Andy Bezener
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Manitoba's 145 most commonly seen birds are profiled in this beautifully illustrated book. Each account includes a description of the bird's key features for quick identification in the field, as well as the bird's song, habitat, nesting and feeding habits and best locations for viewing. Ken De Smet, of the Manitoba Wildlife branch, is a biologist specializing in endangered species.
- by Sy Montgomery
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From the beloved New York Times bestselling author of the "fascinating...entertaining" (The Daily Beast) National Book Award finalist The Soul of an Octopus, a charmingly perfect gem of a book about the most exquisite and extraordinary of winged creatures--hummingbirds.
As one of the most beautiful and intriguing birds found in nature, hummingbirds fascinate people around the world. The lightest birds in the sky, hummingbirds are capable of incredible feats, such as flying backwards, diving at speeds of sixty-one MPH, and beating their wings more than sixty times a second. Miraculous creatures, they are also incredibly vulnerable when they first emerge from their eggs. That's where Brenda Sherburn comes in.
With tenderness and patience, she rescues abandoned hummingbirds and nurses them back to health until they can fly away and live in the wild. In The Hummingbird's Gift, the extraordinary care that Brenda provides her peanut-sized patients is revealed and, in the process, shows us just how truly amazing hummingbirds are. With Sy Montgomery's signature "joyful passion" (Library Journal), and including sixteen pages of gorgeous color photos, this beautifully written and inspiring little book celebrates the profound gift that hummingbirds are to our planet and is the ultimate gift for nature lovers and bird watchers everywhere.