Archive for the ‘Biblio+’ Category

“Keeping Bees with Ashley English” Book Review

Ashley English’s series, Homemade Living, are elegantly photographed, informative primers with a “look – you can do it!” attitude.  Having enjoyed others in the series, this was the first bee keeping book I chose to read.  True to form, the photos were lovely, stories personable and entertaining, and text informational.  I only wish there was a bit more photographic detail to enhance the text.  For example, when talking about capped cells or propolis or whatever, I really wanted to see a close up picture.  Perhaps this is because I am a true novice at this point and have not developed that trained eye to distinguish these things?  I think those details would have given me a confidence boost in the pursuit of keeping bees.


Homemade Living:  Keeping Bees with Ashley English:  All You Need to Know to Tend Hives, Harvest Honey & More
by Ashley English
Lark Crafts
2011
Cover Image from Barnes and Noble

“The Chicken Chronicles” Book Review

Alice Walker brings her gifts of language poetry and wisdom to her newest publication.  Instead of reading this particular title, I listened to an audio version narrated by the author.  I’m glad I did; it added to the rich prose and meditative quality of the work.  As she peacefully observes her backyard flock or writes letters to them from her many travels, Walker grapples with larger issues of justice, innocence, hurt, and other real and metaphorical observations in the overlapping world between humans and chickens.  I found myself inspired to pause from the hectic daily schedule and be mindful of my time spent with my flock, my mini farm, my family, and my world.  Perhaps in time I may acquire the wisdom that Walker projects.  Highly recommended!


The Chicken Chronicles: 
Sitting with the Angels Who Have Returned with My Memories: Glorious, Rufus, Gertrude Stein, Splendor, Hortensia, Agnes of God, the Gladyses, & Babe: A Memoir
by Alice Walker
The New Press
2012
Cover Image from Barnes and Noble

“Free-Range Chickens” Book Review

I picked up this book soley because of its endearing title.  While I understood it to be a collection of “humorous” stories from the synopsis, I did not anticipate the laugh out loud humor.  Seriously:  Eruptions of loud laughter that caused my curious husband to come running from the other room to investage.  While not really about backyard poultry, it is certainly well written, clever, witty, and to be enjoyed by everyone, not just us free-range fanciers.  I’m going to order Simon Rich’s other books right now!


Free-Range Chickens
by Simon Rich
Random House
2008
Cover Image from Barnes and Noble

“The Feast Nearby” Book Review

Sadness and hope in heartfelt writing pervade Robin Mather’s writing.  She hooked me with empathy within the first sentences.  What a tragedy to lose both spouse and career within a week!  The book then continues into how she spends the next year picking up the pieces.  The essays flow, the ideas about local and sustainable food are thought-provoking, and the recipes fun and usually seasonal.  I say usually because I associate recipes such as toffee bars (butter, sugar, flour, chocolate, etc.) with long-term pantry stock irrelevant of season rather than only cold weather.  I mean, isn’t chocolate always in season?!  Instead I’d rather see more options for things like the winter storage cabbage still lurking in my February larders.  However, it’s a silly minor point for an overall lovely read.

As a reader, I felt very connected to the author and was sad to see the book finish.  Hope was temporarily restored when I read I could find out more on Mather’s blog, http://thefeastnearby.com/, but then dashed again when I saw it had not been updated since July of 2011.  I do hope she takes up her blog once more as I enjoyed reading her book.


The Feast Nearby
by Robin Mather
Ten Speed Press
2011
Image from Barnes and Noble

“The Field Guide to Chickens” Book Review

Beginning with a simple introduction to chicken history, anatomy, and overall behaviors, the book then offers a Standard-based description of over 60 breeds.  The breed profiles are illustrated with historic paintings.

The Field Guide to Chickens
by Pam Percy
Voyageur Press
2006
Cover Image from Barnes and Noble

“Art of the Chicken Coop” Book Review

Whimsical and fun!  Chris Gleason offers practical advice such as detailed materials lists for each project and step by step photographs.  The photography enhances the work and makes for a visually pleasing layout.  It is a great inspiration with a lot of fun designs.

If the author did a little more research about coop design, I think it would have benefitted the overall book and designs offered. For example, all the designs were very chicken-sized, which is great for the birds, but I find difficult to thoroughly clean since it’s hard for an adult to get in there and maneuver.  I also wish it had talked more about using the deep litter method and bioactivity.  On the easy to clean side, it did offer a design using a removable tray.  However, I have this on my current coop, but I find the litter gets stuck and jams the tray, making removal quite the task.  The only tall coop design offered was a chicken condo, but the roosts were on multiple levels and my research and experience finds that they all want to get up on the highest level and they will fight to do so.

Finally, the author talked about using reclaimed materials, which is great!  I think the icing on the cake would have been to include a chicken coop design based on pallets.  This would offer a free and standardized source of recycled materials to would-be coop builders everywhere.  How great would it be to have a step-by-step guide to building a pallet coop?!

Art of the Chicken Coop
by Chris Gleason
Fox Chapel Publishing
2011
Cover Image from Barnes and Noble

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