Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Meadows and memories. . . . . . . .



I first shared the cover of this book with you last month, along with others I am reading this hot, humid and unusually wet Summer in the southeast.  Last Saturday evening, into the late night hours, we had a tremendous storm which dumped 4 inches of non-stop drenching rain on the city of Raleigh and surrounding areas. I can honestly say I don't remember getting that much rain in just a few hours ever. Fearful the cottage would float away, there was nothing we could do but watch much of the back garden relocate to the front, a moat form, and a river rush down the driveway turning the cul-de-sac into a lake. We are now way over the average rainfall for the year, with oppressive days close to 100F and extreme humidity. Where can I move to? A safe place with perfect weather doesn't appear to exist!

Anyway, back to the book which is helping to keep me sane these days. I seem to always have two or three books on the go at the same time - but this particular beauty I'm finding hard to put aside even with other exciting ones waiting in the wings. 

It's somewhat difficult for me to describe Meadowland. If you, unlike me, didn't grow up in England and spend much of your childhood playtime in the countryside, in all honesty this book may not be your cup of tea. Unless of course, you, like me, love rolling country fields, farmland, animals both domestic and wild, sweet birds and their songs, and everything growing underfoot, in hedgerows, woodlands, along river banks etc. John Lewis-Stempel's eye for detail and the poetic imagery of his sentences are brilliant as he charts a year in the life of a field on his farm located on the Herefordshire/Welsh border. Meadowland is somewhat folksy and funny at times, but books have been written about entire countries that contain less interesting facts about flora and fauna in just one English meadow. I learned so many interesting new facts about so many creatures. When it comes to grass, now knowing more about the amazing stuff going on beneath it, a whole new world, I decided perhaps we should stop mowing because, as Lewis-Stempel says, "a lawn is a meadow in captivity."

Are you enjoying a good book during these hot Summer days?  



19 comments:

  1. Now I must get this book. Sorry about the redistribution of your yard in the rain. Whew! I am constantly reading and not always worth recommending. I just finished Nora Roberts, The Obsession. If you like Nora's book this is one I enjoyed. I read another one of her books before and didn't enjoy it much. Happy Reading!!!

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    1. Never read her Marilyn - don't read romantic fiction! Not that I don't believe in romance, just like to read other things, haha!
      Mary -

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  2. It sounds like a lovely book. I can't believe you are getting so much rain! We are in a deficit here in SC...

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    1. Here we're about 9" above normal already for the year! I really dislike it.
      Mary -

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  3. Its so hot here too! We do get a nice little summer thunderstorm almost every afternoon tho. Did you finish the book? I just finished "the charm bracelet"--- it was very good

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    1. Still reading it - taking my time and also reading two other books, I like to change them up sometimes depending on my mood!
      Mary -

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  4. What a pretty photo, Mary. Presently, I am reading Snowdrops for Ada by Virginia Aitken. Just starting it although last night it was Harmony and the Missing Instruments and Belle and the Blue Ribbon to my 3 yr. old grandittle, Gwynn. ;-) I think I would find your book interesting. Deb

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    1. I believe you would Deb because you live in a similar place in the countryside. . . . .and I know how you love farmland, woods, the animals and birds etc.

      Children's books can be amazing - I've kept several of my granddaughter's from when she was with us as a child, now and then I take them out and re-read to myself, and always admire the illustrations!

      Mary -

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  5. I think I'd love Meadowland. Last November I put in a water garden in my postage stamp backyard and what fun I'm having on these hot and humid days. I have 8 fish to feed and watch. This week there were toads in the pond -- laying eggs and I'm now looking for tadpoles. Yesterday, a opossum checked in for a drink of water. All of this not counting the birds that visit. All of this in my postage stamp backyard. Nature is wonderful, calming and peaceful. Yes, I think Meadowland might be right up my alley!

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    1. Snap - I know you're in Texas, perhaps far from anything quite resembling an English meadow, but anyone loving the countryside and nature would find this book interesting I believe.
      Your backyard sounds like a miniature wildlife refuge - just so lovely I'm sure.
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Mary -

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  6. I wish I could say yes, but I think I am reading an adult fairytale ala Bros. Grimm. I haven't finished it yet so I'll have to wait and see, but THE BURIED GIANT better get better real soon. I think the next one will be about Oliver Sachs.

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    1. As mentioned above, I love children's books too, and Grimm's fairytales are always exciting.
      Mary -

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  7. Mary, I'm currently in the middle of Meadowland. I knew that I had gotten a tip on this book from a blogger, and now I know it must have been you. Lots of marvelous information in it, which I hope I will retain. I, too, highly recommend this book, particularly anyone interested in reading about the flora and fauna of the U.K. Thanks for the tip!

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    1. I'm happy to know that you, like me, enjoyed this wonderful little book! I will always keep it handy and refer to this one, especially when having one of those 'childhood memory moments' or when feeling homesick for an English meadow!
      Mary -

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  8. Regarding a nice place to move to - don't come to ND this year! It was 97 degrees yesterday and 100% humidity - at least that was the humidity in the A.M. I actually became physically ill while working in my garden last evening. I was nauseated, very shaky, and my arms felt like they were on fire. I read the description for heat stroke but it didn't quite fit. And I waited until 8 p.m. It will be "only" 93 today, with less humidity, then in the 90s on Friday and finally a little break starting Saturday. We've also had terrible hailstorms and tornadoes all across ND. Even Bismarck got some golf-ball-size hail, but only on the north side of town. My place only got pea-size hail. I, too, am waiting for a reprieve!

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    1. Hi Julie, yes I know ND has weather related issues too. This Summer just doesn't feel normal in so many ways. I gardened myself this morning - went out early but it was still already up in the 80's - now heading close to 90+ and will be around 100 over the coming weekend into early next week. Be sure to take care of yourself when outside - we sometimes overdo things without thinking of the health problems over exertion in the heat can do.

      Hugs - Mary

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  9. It is very hot and humid here in IL right now, too. Though we are so short on rain! Our grass is brown and brittle. I'm staying in as much as possible, but leaving in an hour to go to the cemetery where my dad and son are buried, then going out to dinner. And I'm visiting a friend in Chicago on Saturday, then going to a dinner event. My friend's house is not AC'd, so we're going to go sit in a coffee shop! I've been reading some magazines that have piled up, as well as the book, "Lunch with Buddha". I really enjoyed "Breakfast with Buddha" several years ago, but this follow-up isn't as good. I think I'll skip, "Dinner with Buddha". ;-) Your book looks absolutely delightful.

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    1. Melanie - I could not survive the hot days here without a/c! We're expecting higher temps. still by Sat. - and the days of dashing from the cool house, to an air conditioned car, then to the restaurant or store is the only way to handle the outside conditions. People who've never lived in hot and very humid places have no idea - all I know is it's still not as bad as Singapore - the hottest place (other than Death Valley) I've ever had to walk about.

      Stay cool and enjoy Chicago which I know from experience is also very hot in Summer - Mary

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  10. Thank you for the book recommendation - it looks like something I would greatly enjoy! When I was little, I used to spend hours observing the small world in our garden, beneath the grass, the shrubs and taller flowers by the fence. In the woods where our parents took us most weekends for hikes, we were taught to be quiet and not disturb the animals, and especially my Dad is very knowledgeable about plants and animals. I think it is important for children to learn about this as they grow up, it "grounds" them in the best way possible.

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I would enjoy reading your comment - thanks so much for stopping by.

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