FF: Plants and Unicorns

Mei-Ling Reads!

Being a gardener, I started by reading the portion of Wild Plants of the Pueblo Province in the section about specific types of plants.  I skipped trees.  This week, I went back and started from the beginning and finished off with the trees.  Side bonus: I learned something about the various ways hides can be tanned.

For those of you unfamiliar with this column, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.  The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

Song of the Wanderer by Bruce Coville.  Second book in the Unicorn Chronicles. Audiobook.  An actual song is key to this story and Full Cast Audio’s cast included several people who could sing, so this was an audiobook that was more than simply narrated.  If you listen to it, make sure you go to the end, because the entire song is performed there.

A Place at Mother Earth’s Table: Edible Wild Plants of the Rio Grande Region by Lisa W. Huckell. This slim book—probably technically a booklet—was so well written that I read all of it and in the process identified one of the plants in our yard as “Green Thread” aka “Indian Tea” or “Navajo Tea.”  We’d just been calling it “that pretty plant w/the yellow pom-poms.”  I now have some drying to try.  And the bibliography led me to read…

Wild Plants of the Pueblo Province: Exploring Ancient and Enduring Uses by William W. Dunmire and Gail D. Tierney.  Centered around four parks in New Mexico, this books looks at various plants and how they were used by a wide variety of indigenous peoples.  Since one of the parks—Petroglyph National Monument—is very close to my house, I also ended up identifying several more of the plants in our yard, including scorpion weed, which is a far easier name to use than “that annoying plant that, although it has pretty purple flowers in the spring, gets all prickly and, worse, sticky, so let’s pull it.”  I started with the chapter on types of plants, but found the book so well-written, I’m reading the whole thing.

In Progress:

Dark Whisper by Bruce Coville.  Third book in the Unicorn Chronicles. Audiobook.  As with any good series, solving one set of problems created new ones.

DreamForge Magazine, issue six.  My copy arrived and is part of my relaxation reading.

Also:

Jim is reading my manuscript of SK4 (fourth book in the Star Kingdom series I am collaborating on with David Weber).

15 Responses to “FF: Plants and Unicorns”

  1. Beverly Martin Says:

    Sounds like you had a good week, professionally and in your reading. Congratulations on the recognition for your book cover!

    This week I read Shakespeare for Squirrels by Christopher Moore. This is loosely based on A Midsummer NIght’s Dream, but with Moore’s twists. The first half, setting things up, was a little slow, but I was laughing heartily during the second half.

    • janelindskold Says:

      Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve really liked some of his work. Humor is hard to do, because it’s so personal and can be influenced by culture, gender, age, etc.

      I’m happy about the cover,too!

  2. King Ben's Grandma Says:

    Waiting for my DreamForge, I could read online, but holding the magazine in my hands is more fun.

    Still reading blogs and writing daily. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Especially since I’ve rediscovered my love of photography.

  3. Harried Harry Says:

    I’m very happy you “discovered” the plants growing in your yard. I’ve also identified the plants growing in my garden, these are the ones which came up without my planting the seeds. They are cantaloupe! Now I’m just waiting for them to get bigger so I can harvest them. My pears are ripening up very well, so we are starting to eat them.

    As for reading, I came across several Mercedes Lackey anthologies which are very nice to read. “Finding the Way; Tempest; and Order of the Vale & other…..” Some very entertaining short stories to read which I was not aware existed.

    Enjoy your weekend, and the photography. I may start geocaching again, as soon as I find my GPS. Staying at home all the time is causing issues since I’m running out of books to read.

  4. Louis Robinson Says:

    Not a great deal in my finished ledger other than the usual random collection of [rather old, mostly] magazines. Been a bit busy lately,

    I do have 2 rather interesting items on the go: The first, The Silk Roads, is a collection of photo-essays [by subject specialists, not NatGeo hacks] on the eponymous trade routes. I don’t think I can beat the blurb in the TPL catalogue, so I won’t try: “‘The Silk Roads’ situates the ancient routes against the landscapes that defined them, to reveal the raw materials that they produced, the means of travel that were employed to traverse them and the communities that were formed by them” So far: fun!

    The other is John Blair, Building Ango-Saxon England. Not, as one might think, a political study but a structural one – literally, what did they live and work in? And, equally important, why, in much of the area that they are known to have lived and worked in, is there no evidence for _anyone_ building anything to live or work in, much less the Anglo-Saxons? With a little side-trip into the fact that there’s a region where there’s good reason to believe that they were living – but the evidence in the ground suggests that up to as late as CE800 or so they were doing it in settlements that can’t be distinguished from British occupation of any time in the last 1000 years [the book focuses on the period 600-900]. Even more fun! I hunted this one down after reading a review in a back-issue of Current Archeology.

    Finally, if you don’t mind, a question: a couple of weeks ago you mentioned that you were pausing Age of Faith as you “needed a break from accounts of nations founded on hope and idealism that crashed after about 200 years”. Try as I might, I can’t figure out who you’re referring to. The only nations I can think of that Durant might have been looking at in that period with that short a life-span are the Latin Kingdom and its contemporaries in Tripoli and Antioch. Surely he wasn’t painting such a rosy picture of that outfit?

    • janelindskold Says:

      I can’t remember precisely, but I know some were in the Balkans region. But often the “crash” I was referring to wasn’t the end, but the decline as incompetent rulers supported by a powerful minority began to take advantage of the situations. Durant isn’t rosy. I agree.

      • Louis Robinson Says:

        Ah! Yes, the Former Yugoslav Republics, and Bulgaria, have rather deep histories that are no prettier than their last half-century was, or so I gather. That’s not really an area I have looked at much since the Thracians gave up on running the Roman Empire.

      • janelindskold Says:

        Rebecca West’s Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (I think that’s the title) provides a fascinating overview, although, of course, it doesn’t go up to the present.

  5. James Mendur Says:

    Currently reading “Low Action”, the latest Vinyl Detective novel by Andrew Cartmel. The author is starting to use shorthand for his characters, assuming everyone has read the previous novels. I *have*, so I’m okay with it, but for anyone interested in a guy who locates old recordings for a fee and stumbles into mysteries, start with the first one, “Written in Dead Wax.”

  6. anevergreen Says:

    Recently found an app that let me identify a bunch of plants in our pasture, only to discover that nearly all of them are invasive and terrible 😦

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