“To Eat: A Country Life”
By Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd c.2013, Farrar, Straus and Giroux $25.00/$29.00 Canada 194 pages
It’s ten minutes to lunchtime and your stomach is smarter than you are.
You want to finish the project in front of you, but your stomach has other ideas. It snarls and aches and reminds you that breakfast was hours ago. At that point, you know you might as well give in, no matter what kind of work is on your plate. You won’t get anything done anyhow.
But where will that next meal come from? In the new book “To Eat” by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd, you’ll read a tribute to gardening and to knowing what’s really on your plate.
In early 1970, Joe Eck and his partner, Wayne Winterrowd, moved from Boston to Pepperell , Massachusetts and into a 211-year-old farmhouse surrounded by wooded land and a vegetable garden. They’d always wanted to be country gentlemen, and they “could not have been more lucky than to start in that house.”
There, they learned and they ate. They discovered gardening tricks, and they ate. They delighted in experimenting with cropsand they ate.
“Eating,” they say, “has always been central.”
After a “glorious year” in Copenhagen (where chickens happily scrabbled on parquet floors and gardening was sorely missed), the men moved on to Boston , and a Victory Garden near the Fenway. In 1974, they moved onto twenty-eight acres of weeds and woods in South Vermont . They named their estate North Hill, and set about making gardens, arbors, and meals.
They planted four different kinds of apple trees, each “near sticks” when put in the ground. Those trees yield snacks and ultimately pies and sauce. Their spinach crop is good, but not as good as they had in Pepperell; then again, spinach is tricky. Beets were used for salads and sides; carrots were found wild and cultivated; roadside “weeds” became delicious meals; and while they once grew unusual kinds of potatoes, they gladly saw their favorites become national staples. They raised pigs (“Showering with a pig is not a common experience”), beef, and chickens; and delighted in Brussels sprouts in winter, rhubarb in spring, lettuce all summer long, and onions in the fall.
“No matter how excellentthe produce of your best local supermarket may be,” they say, “there is something deeply rewarding to growing your own food”
Partly a love letter to the earth, and partly a paean to good eating, “To Eat” is one of those delicious little books that, like a great meal, you’ll want to savor.
With the circumspection of veteran gardeners, New England authors Joe Eck and the late Wayne Winterrowd share their observations about growing plants, livestock, and together. I took great delight in their quietly humorous stories of being gentlemen farmers; if you’re a gardener, you’ll find solid tips in each quick-to-read chapter and if you’re a gourmand, you’ll drool at the recipes here, too.
At just under two hundred pages, this book will last you through two or three quick lunches or meal-preps, and it may give you some new ideas. So grab “To Eat” and take a bite.
“The Possibility Dogs”
By Susannah Charleson c.2013, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt $27.00/$33.95 Canada 260 pages
Timmy’s in the well.
And it’s a good thing your good-natured dog isn’t in charge of rescue. He doesn’t know anybody named Timmy, has no clue what a well is, and besides, he’s got his rawhide. Timmy’s in the well, he seems to say. Well, so what?
Yep, your dog has a one-track mind, one thing at a time. So wouldn’t you be surprised at what else he can do? In the new book “The Possibility Dogs” by Susannah Charleson, you’ll see his hidden potential.
As the human half of a Search-and-Rescue team, Susannah Charleson knows what it takes to teach a dog an important task. Using the innate talents and personality of her golden retriever, Puzzle, Charleson taught her girl to find lost or injured people.
So when Charleson met a man with a “psych dog” (a service dog for someone suffering psychiatric disorders), she was intrigued. Most everybody knows about guide dogs and hearing-assistance dogs, but what kind of canine Einstein would it take to help a person whose disabilities weren’t quite as visible?
With the encouragement of her extended pool of contacts, Charleson decided to find out. She already had a houseful (two cats, Puzzle, and a small herd of Pomeranians), but she began to search for the perfect-personality puppy which arrived unexpectedly when a neighbor who knew about Charleson’s love of dogs hastily dropped off an emaciated, terribly sick, half-starved puppy at her Dallas-area doorstep.
Could this little guy be like Haska, who helps her person withstand PTSD? Would he be like Merlin, who assisted both father and son to overcome disabilities? Could the puppy be like Annie, who gives a teacher control over OCD; or like Juice Box, who helped his partner deal with depression and social problems? Could the puppy she named Jake Piper someday assist with loneliness, fear, illness, or isolation?
Or would he be just a dog — cherished, pampered, and special only in the eyes of his human?
Charleson wasn’t sure if the little guy would be trainable, or even if he’d live. One thing was sure, though: she was going to give him every possible chance
Take a look at the cover of this book. Who could resist a face like that, huh? Not author Susannah Charleson, and in this wonderful book, you’ll meet that boy, and others but don’t think that the potential in “The Possibility Dogs” is only canine.
Through interviews and personal experiences, Charleson shows how these highly trained (though very intuitive) dogs can make an amazing difference in the lives of people who might have otherwise had to suffer at home, in silence. Those stories will touch your heart, and they might spur you to think about finding your own dog to raise or help. To that end, Charleson offers subtle advice with her addicting tales.
This slice-of-life is about dogs that nobody initially wanted but if you’re a pet-lover or are interested in service dogs, you’ll definitely want this book, so fetch “The Possibility Dogs.” It’s a story you’ll like very well.
The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. She has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. Terri lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.