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Water will always be a central issue reflected in the Land Library’s growing collection of books. Here’s just a few new acquisitions!

jhasustainable

Alok Jha’s The Water Book: The Extraordinary Story of Our Most Ordinary Substance — from one of Britain’s leading science journalists, this is a fascinating story of one of the world’s strangest molecules. Also pictured above, Sustainable Water: Challenges and Solutions from California, edited by Allison Lassiter, and written by leading policy makers, economists, ecologists, engineers and planners, all offering lessons on increasing resilience in a water-limited world.

 

orcafulcrum

Every Last Drop: Bringing Clean Water Home by Michelle Mulder, part of one of our favorite kid’s environmental science series, Orca Footprints. This book is packed with information and inspiration from across the globe. Nancy Bo Flood’s Water Runs Through This Book combines science and poetry in a convincing call to action, that is also high on hope!

 

stephen grace

For more on water’s central role in the unfolding history of Colorado, there’s no better book that Stephen Grace’s The Great Divide (the companion book to a wonderful film). From archaeological evidence of ancient Native American reservoirs, to current day water shortages, this book offers deep insight into the complex world of water in the West.

For more good water-related books, and to learn about the Land Library’s plans for a special riverside Watershed Library at Buffalo Peaks Ranch, you might enjoy one of our earlier posts:

Water in the West & Beyond

cover

“Palani Mohan first made contact in 2013, sending me a selection of photographs from his numerous trips to the Altai Mountains in the far western reaches of Mongolia. It is a vast and unforgiving landscape, where temperatures routinely drop to minus forty degrees celsius in winter, and where the skies are filled with forbidding lenticular cloud formations. During the long winters the burkitshi (eagle-hunters) leave their homes with horse and eagle, and head into the mountains to hunt for several days at a time. Palani’s photographs struck me as forcefully as conveying not only the hard beauty of this wild and seemingly empty terrain, but also, more significantly, the intense relationship that the hunter forges with his eagle. It is this bond of mutual respect and trust that defines the life of the burkitshi and gives it profound meaning.” — Hugh Merrell, from the foreword.

With over eighty doutone images, Hunting with Eagles: In the Realm of the Mongolian Kazakhs is one of the most visually stunning books the Land Library has seen in a very long time. As award-winning photographer Palani Mohan explains in his introduction, this is a culture under threat. There are no more than fifty hunters left, and that alone motivated Mohan to record this unique relationship between man and bird.

eagle

The golden eagle is a perfect predator, with an awe-inspiring wingspan, a beak built to rend flesh, and talons that can kill prey instantly by piercing the heart. A fox is easy prey, and when hunting in pairs, eagles are capable of bringing down a wolf — Palani Mohan

like baby

“Madina, a 63-year old Kazakh wearing a fox-skin coat, cradles his six-year old eagle in his arms. ‘They love to be carried in such a way. It makes them feel loved and relaxes them, just like a baby‘, he told me.”

hunter

“Even though the eagles are kept in the hunters’ homes, they remain wild birds with a finely honed killer instinct.”

clouds

“I sat in a rocky crevice and found myself listening to the wind roaring around the contours of the mountains and whipping the grass, ever-changing in tone and volume, and becoming deafening at times. As the hours wore on, I thought about everything but also nothing, and felt utterly at peace. With only nature’s symphony and my silent guide for company, I experienced one of the most memorable moments of my time in Mongolia.”

b&w author

Palani Mohan’s work has appeared in the pages of National Geographic, and he is also the author of Vanishing Giants: Elephants of Asia. For much more, please visit Palani Mohan’s website!

And here’s two related books from the Land Library’s collection:
eternityeagle dreams
Both by naturalist Stephen Bodio: An Eternity of Eagles, a natural and cultural history of eagles across the globe, and Bodio’s own field report from the land of the Kazakhs: Eagle Dreams: Searching for Legends in Wild Mongolia.

clouds

Many years ago, Colorado ecologist David Cooper compared the high mountain grasslands of South Park to the steppes of Mongolia. With Buffalo Peaks Ranch (the Land Library’s headwaters site) located in the middle of South Park, no wonder we keep adding Mongolian books to our collection. They are some of our favorite books!

South Park's Buffalo Peaks Ranch, future home of the Rocky Mountain Land Library's global collection of books on people and the land -- from the Arctic to the African savannas.

South Park’s Buffalo Peaks Ranch, future home of the Rocky Mountain Land Library’s global collection of books on people and the land — from the Arctic to the African savannas.

We find our place in the world through land and stories, and the Rocky Mountain Land Library unites our passion for both.” — Mark Fiege, author of The Republic of Nature: An Environmental History of the United States

Books are the tools we love best. They have a way of connecting people across the globe, and over the centuries. Books help us discover and celebrate the beauty of our improbable blue world. And books provide us with the tools we all need to live lighter on the land.

Our webpages (listed above) describes the Land Library’s books, programs, and the emerging Headwaters to Plains Network — a series of book-lined spaces, encouraging discovery, quiet thought, creative pursuits, and active community involvement.

Over the years, our website has also featured posts on some of the books that excite us to no end. You’ll also see that we report on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity we all have to restore a historic Colorado ranch. Set in the high mountain grasslands of South Park, Buffalo Peaks Ranch will soon be the headwater site of a residential library — a place where you can come and stay for as long as you like.

Read about concrete corral stalls given new life as artist studios, our plans for a Land Library for inner-city Denver, complete with its very own Seed Library.

But as you’ll see from many years of web posts, we are happiest when reporting on books inspired by a sense of wonder, and hopeful for an even brighter future ahead.

books 3

Stay tuned for much more from the Land Library in the months ahead!

The Rocky Mountain Land Library is like a gene bank for words, it’s our way of saving the past for the future. — David Mas Masumoto, farmer and author.

For more information on the Rocky Mountain Land Library, please contact jeff@landlibrary.org, 2550 W. 39th Avenue, Denver, CO 80211 (office location), 303-321-3574

smaller coverfirewood

“Here it comes at last. The cold time. The great time….Time to take a stroll out to the woodpile and get started.” — Lars Mytting, Norwegian Wood

Published in 2011, Lars Mytting’s Hel Ved (Solid Wood) spent more than a year on Norway’s bestseller list. Next week, this wonderfully written book arrives in the States, under its new and very descriptive title, Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way.

Earlier in his distinguished writing career, Lars Mytting wrote three novels, with the most recent receiving Norway’s National Bookseller Award. With Norwegian Wood (a bit of a departure), Mytting lends his poetic voice to an in-depth exploration of stacking logs, drying wood, and all the fire-burning elements that keeps us warm.

Norwegian Wood offers time-tested tools and techniques of turning wood to fire. Along the way we meet real people who, year after year, work diligently for the winter ahead:

ole haugen
Ole Haugen, Elga, Norway: “Ole is the kind of man who would rather sing the praises of others than his own. His stacks, he says, are simply practical constructions that do the job. But seventy years of experience tell their own story. The ends of his stack are so neat it looks as though the whole thing had been trimmed on both sides with a huge circular saw. Not a single log has been laid crosswise. Even twisted logs have found their places in the stack, without compromising the stability of the whole.
My method is very simple. I do the chopping, splitting, and stacking in small doses. That way I don’t get too stiff, and the wood doesn’t lie long on the ground. The secret of an even woodpile is to learn the trick of knowing what sizes you need to make a stable structure….And I also allow for the fact that the wood is going to shrink a little as it dries, so I build in a slight inward lean against a support, so the stack won’t topple forward that easily.’” — from Norwegian Wood.

round stacks

Every man looks at his wood-pile with a kind of affection. I love to have mine before my window, and the more chips around the better to remind me of my pleasing work.Henry David Thoreau

Known as the beehive or the Holzhausen, the round stack is an outstanding form of woodpile once widely used in Norway, but now almost obsolete. It is not easy to make, and if it starts to collapse the whole thing goes. But a successful round pile has much to recommend it. It makes good use of the available space and can accommodate twisted wood, and, if it’s properly constructed, rainwater will run off the outside so it does not need a top covering.” — from Norwegian Wood

fish stack

Brute survival, but an artist’s touch as well: one of the many sculpture stacks that pop up in rural Norway during the spring. This angler’s dream was stacked in Drevsjo by Bjare Granli.

lars by fire

But of course the true test of all the hard work of chopping, stacking, and drying, is how warm and content you will be throughout the long winter. Author Lars Mytting seems very comfortable in his writing den.

One last note: With logs stacked high for a warm winter at home, just make sure you have enough books to last the long nights ahead:
book stacks

Fuel for the soul: like wood piled for the winter, the Rocky Mountain Land Library’s book stacks, carefully arranged in a non-toppling, Norwegian way. We hope Ole Haugen would approve. (Land Library storage site, February 2012)

y-Sherrie teach

What a summer it has been! We wrapped up our Summer Workshop schedule this past weekend with a Nature Journaling/Field Sketching class taught by artist and naturalist Sherrie York. Here’s a few photos from an inspiring day at Buffalo Peaks Ranch!

Sherrie York leading the class in a gesture drawing exercise, with Reinecker Ridge in the distance.

Sherrie York leading the class in a gesture drawing exercise, with Reinecker Ridge in the distance.

Sherrie performs a triple salchow -- a feat seldom attempted at field-sketching classes.

Sherrie performs a triple salchow — a feat seldom seen at field-sketching classes.

Sketching under the Cottonwood, with the newly roofed Cook's House in the distance.

Sketching under the Cottonwood, with the newly roofed Cook’s House in the distance.

The artist's spread across the ranch, sketching as they go....

The artist’s spread across the ranch, sketching as they go….

With plenty to see, far and wide -- including a swirl of grass at their feet.

With plenty to see, far and wide — including a swirl of grass at their feet.

y-Kerry's field

In short, a very memorable day at Buffalo Peaks Ranch! Thanks goes to Sherrie York, a wonderful class of field-sketchers, and South Park for supplying another magnificent blue sky day!

For more on Sherrie York’s work, do yourself a huge favor and visit her gorgeous website! Sherrie also has a very fun & informative blog, Brush & Baren.

And congratulations to Sherrie for her inclusion in this year’s 40th Annual Birds in Art exhibition at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. Here’s one of Sherrie’s wonderful reduction linocuts:

birds in art

We’re already excited about next year! We hope to expand our workshop offerings, and definitely have Sherrie York back whenever she has the time!

aldo sitting

Many years ago, Aldo Leopold, one of conservation’s central figures, came up with a very simple design for a bench to be used at his family’s Sand County farm. The design is perfect for the benches Buffalo Peaks Ranch needs. With a few Leopold Benches, we’ll be able to spread them across the ranch’s landscape, giving people the opportunity to find a quiet spot to read, sketch, or simply experience the quiet of this high mountain ranch.
larger planbench sketch

Plus, we love that the benches have such a direct connection to Aldo Leopold, an author whose work is so central to the Rocky Mountain Land Library mission to help connect people to nature & the land!

So this past Saturday a hardy band of volunteers gathered in the corrals to build the Leopold Benches the ranch will need.

x-toolArray

Tools were assembled, and plans made. Team Leaders Ted Schultz and Todd Matuszewicz scoured used & recycled timber sources, and gathered as many hand tools as possible. Ted and Todd came up with an ingenious plan that not only dealt with the ranch’s current lack of electricity, but actually helped us all appreciate the old hand-tool ways of building.

Meanwhile, in another generous stroke of fortune, Kim Mailes, one of our HistoriCorps re-roofing heroes from earlier this summer, returned from his Missouri home with a wonderful one-seat version of the Leopold Bench (pictured below). He wowed us with his prototype, then volunteers assembled three more.

x-greatwork2

It didn’t take long before the corrals became a literal beehive of activity. Here’s a few more great photos of a very inspiring day at Buffalo Peaks Ranch!

Winner's on Saturday's Best Brother-Sister Team -- Ben & Meredith Sherrill getting it all figured out.

Winner of Saturday’s Best Brother-Sister Team — Ben & Meredith Sherrill getting it all figured out.

Todd Matuszewicz & Colton Mailes bearing down on another Leopold Bench

Todd Matuszewicz & Colton Mailes bearing down on another Leopold Bench

Bob Dragonfly & Charlie Lavender reshaping old timbers into something new.

Bob Dragonfly & Charlie Lavender reshaping old timbers into something new.

Teamwork -- Zia Klamm & Sam Bell getting it done!

Teamwork — Zia Klamm & Sam Bell getting it done!

With plenty of time for fun -- Team leader Todd Matuszewicz, Bob Ballard & Ben Sherrill enjoying the day!

With plenty of time for fun — Team leader Todd Matuszewicz, Bob Ballard & Ben Sherrill discussing the finer points of hand tool use.

By the end of the day, ten sturdy Leopold Benches built, with the makings for more that we'll assemble on our next workday!

By the end of the day, ten sturdy Leopold Benches built, with the makings for more that we’ll assemble on our next workday!

Back at the Main House, one of Kim Mailes' outstanding one-seat Leopold Benches, alongside a very handy Dog Bench.

Back at the Main House, one of Kim Mailes’ outstanding one-seat Leopold Benches, alongside a very handy Dog Bench.

With great thanks to our amazing team of volunteers — friends of the Rocky Mountain Land Library forever:

Ted Schultz, Todd Matuszewicz, the Mailes family (Kim, Carol, Colton & Audrey), Susie Fredericks Nulty, Diane Betts, Kim & Ken Luedke, Ben & Meredith Sherrill. Bob Ballard, Anna Kongs, Charlie Lavender, Tom Wylie, Glenda Leader & Marc Janis, Nancy Wood (& Bob!), Lynn Lafleur Dragonfly, Bob Dragonfly, Zia Klamm, Bill Threlfall, and Sam Bell.

Aldo's inspiration

Here’s a few Aldo Leopold books we set up on the Front Porch — something to inspire the day!

Stanzas & Stones

A tent full of poets, with Mount Silverheels up valley.

Our poet’s tent, with Mount Silverheels up valley.

It’s been a memorable couple of weeks, as the Land Library hosted our first two workshops at Buffalo Peaks Ranch. We led off with a day-long poetry workshop taught by Jodie Hollander (author of The Humane Society). It was such a beautiful day for an outdoor class!

A quiet moment toward the end of the day as folks spread across the ranch to write a few lines inspired by the day's workshop.

A quiet moment toward the end of the day as folks spread across the ranch to write a few lines inspired by the day’s workshop.

The ranch provides plenty of quiet places to sit, think, and imagine. The ranch, and the entire South Park region, provides everyone such a powerful learning landscape. Something that we definitely enjoyed this past weekend, as we followed Vince Matthews on an eye-opening geological field trip across South Park:

vince @ ranch

Before hitting the road, we all gathered on the front porch, as former Colorado State Geologist Vince Matthews prepared us for all that we would soon see in the field.

Man in Black: Vince Matthews describing the importance of the Pierre Shale to valley formation in South Park.

Man in Black: Vince Matthews describing the importance of the Pierre Shale to valley formation in South Park.

Little by little, the landscape of South Park became clearer, with layers of sheer wonder — like staring up at a star-filled sky.

topRedPass

Reading the Rock Record: our hardy group huddles up by the story-filled road cut atop Red Hill Pass.

Vince pointing out a truly impressive lateral moraine -- evidence of South Park's extensive glacial history.

Vince pointing out a truly impressive lateral moraine — evidence of South Park’s extensive glacial history.

Thanks to Jodie Hollander, Vince Matthews, and all attendees, the Land Library is fired up for even more classes and programs in 2016!

But for now, we have one more workshop scheduled for this season: The Illustrated Journal, taught by artist Sherrie York. Maybe we’ll see you in September?

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