Oh dear, I’m about to rave about a book that doesn’t come out until April (April? Why did the Advance Copy come so soon?). Scent of the Missing, by Susannah Charleson is so well written I don’t know whether to be inspired or to turn my computer off and never write again. It’s a story about her partnership with Puzzle, a Golden Retriever who she trained as an Search and Rescue dog. I’m not close to done (but came to work late ‘cuz I picked it up again this morning, couldn’t put it down…), but it’s a wonderful story (lordy I do love stories) and it’s exquisitely written. Her descriptions of her dogs are laugh out loud funny and right on, and her use of language is so rich and sensory I’m not sure if I want to read her book or eat it. I’ll write more when it is out, but I can’t wait to write the blurb for the back cover.
Ironically, I wanted to write today about how entertaining and instructive it is to watch Willie use his nose to find the toys that I am now hiding for him outside every morning. I had planned to video him searching, because I never tire of watching how he casts around searching for the scent, and then follows the trace of molecules carried by breezes or funneled by vegetation. But alas, it was raining yet again when I went outside, hard enough to discourage any video taping. I’ll try this weekend.
I’m under a time crunch now too, trying to wrap up in the office so that I can drive to campus to listen to a panel debate between Michael Pollen of In Defense of Food fame, and representatives from agricultural interests. The University of Wisconsin initiated a “Big Read” program (a pun on “Big Red,” the college color) that has my vote for one of the most progressive and impressive moves by a University in a long time. A committee picked a book, this year Pollen’s, gave it to EVERY incoming freshman for free, and encouraged all the professors to include aspects of it’s message (“eat food, not to much, mostly plants) and the controversy it has started (“modern agriculture leads to unhealthy people) in their curriculum. UW is NOT taking a stand on the book’s thesis, but using it to create a community-wide discussion about the issues involved. It’s a no-brainer for my class (The Biology and Philosophy of Human Animal Relationships) but I don’t teach it until next semester. It’s a wonderful way to engage the entire community in a discussion that involves health, business, politics, social ethics, personal behavior, etc etc etc. I’ll keep you posted on the debate, should be fascinating.
Meanwhile, back at the farm: Here’s a few fall shots I took from the car on my drive into the office.
This is what soybeans look like as they are maturing in fall:
Here’s a typical roadside this time of year. The first beginnings of color (in this case, sumac):
This weekend friends and I will be picking wild apples and lots of them! Big plans for making apple/plum butter. Yum. I’ll post some photos of the process next week (it it’s not raining too hard!)