Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Well, hello there! Did you notice I was gone? Did you miss me? I missed you.

Truly, I didn’t set out to take nearly a full year off from blog­ging here at Bum­ble­bee. Some­times, life just gets in the way. Some­times you have to make a choice between liv­ing life or writ­ing about it. Not that liv­ing and writ­ing are mutu­ally exclu­sive, of course. I rec­og­nize that. Heck, all those Mount Ever­est climbers, round-the-world sailors, Appalachian Trail hik­ers, North Pole explor­ers and Eng­lish Chan­nel swim­mers are cer­tainly pro­lific about crank­ing out the books. I bet some of them even blog more than once a year.

It’s just that I was writ­ing other things, par­tic­u­larly for work. But I did write also write a book. Yes, it’s finally out! Wis­dom for Home Pre­servers was released at the begin­ning of this month.

I sneaked into Barnes & Noble the other day and took a selfie with the only copy they had on their store shelf. I sup­pose they had sold the dozens of other copies they had stocked because they really did have only one copy. Just one!

wisdom in Barnes and Noble

Let that be a les­son to you. You must run right out and buy a copy before they are all gone!

The book includes 500 (500!) tips about can­ning, freez­ing, cur­ing, smok­ing, root cel­lar­ing and more. It’s an easy read and the spe­cially com­mis­sioned linocut prints by print­maker Melvyn Evans pro­vide a nice retro vibe to this tidy lit­tle hard­back book.

I’ll be back soon writ­ing about the life I’m liv­ing. It’s not Chan­nel swim­ming or polar explo­ration though. Just more coun­try life.

 

Robin

Some peo­ple are just born clever and handy.  These are the peo­ple who don’t fear the sound of power tools or those long, scary aisles of bits and pieces in the hard­ware store. They have DIY in their DNA.

Oth­ers of us need a lit­tle hand-holding, a kindly pep talk and a wee bit of a kick in the pants to con­vince us to put down the mail order cat­a­logs and light a fire to get our cre­ative juices flowing.

If you’re in the sec­ond cat­e­gory, there is no bet­ter gar­den DIY guru to get you started on a hand­made life out­doors than Lorene Edwards Forkner, author of the newly released book Hand­made Gar­den Projects.

Bold and beau­ti­ful author Lorene Edwards Forkner

Lorene is one of these peo­ple who just bub­bles with enthu­si­asm. This is a woman who doesn’t fear the color orange, who hauls an old Airstream trailer into her back yard to use as a grown-up play­house and calls it her “canned ham” and who has turned some old bed­springs into an amaz­ingly artis­tic rusted out­door statement—in the front of her home!

Sev­eral gar­den blog­gers had the chance to visit Lorene’s gar­den last sum­mer when she was putting the fin­ish­ing touches on her book. We saw first-hand the results of her crafti­ness in her own gar­den. Now the book is released and every­one can see a bit of Lorene’s garden—and some clever and easy ideas for a hand­made life outdoors.

Bam­boo Edg­ing — Photo by Allan Mandell

Hand­made Gar­den Projects is as much an inspi­ra­tion book  as a DIY recipe book. Before launch­ing into the how-to por­tion of the book, Lorene lights the cre­ative fire with a quick jaunt through three gar­dens heavy on the hand­made. My only com­plaint is that she only gives you a peek at her “canned ham.”  (Since it’s so adorable, I’ll share you a cou­ple of pho­tos I took when I vis­ited last year.)

Each project is care­fully described with a list of mate­ri­als, tools and other sup­plies needed. But the intro­duc­tions don’t read like your usual how-to manual—many of which read like they were writ­ten by engi­neers. (Sorry, not all engi­neers. You know who you are.)

Feath­er­weight Troughs — Photo by Allan Mandell

For exam­ple, when talk­ing about her mate­ri­als used to make her rugged steel trel­lis, she writes, “Incred­i­bly strong, vir­tu­ally inde­struc­tible, and beau­ti­ful besides, rock screen scrap is my favorite heavy metal.”

But she’s not just clever. She’s help­ful too. She goes on to explain what rock screen is, sizes you can expect to find, where to look and the friendly reminder that “Unless your sal­vage yard can cus­tom cut pieces to size, it’s best to keep an open mind, scout­ing for inter­est­ing pieces and suit­able weights.”

Lorene’s Airstream — Her “canned ham”

Projects in Hand­made Gar­den Projects include path­ways, step­ping stone and edg­ing ideas, trel­lises and sup­ports, dec­o­ra­tive accents, con­tain­ers and fin­ish­ing touches. None of them appear very dif­fi­cult and most can be accom­plished in an after­noon or a week­end, depend­ing on how many times you stop for beer.

Inte­rior detail of Lorene’s grown-up play­house “canned ham”

It’s a fun and use­ful book to set you on your path to a hand­made life in the great out­doors. You can thank Lorene. She’ll be the one wear­ing orange, hav­ing fun and rev­el­ing in her own clever hand­made garden.

Want to win this copy of the book? Leave me a com­ment by Wednes­day, May 23, and I’ll select a win­ner through a ran­dom drawing!

Want to see other blog posts about Lorene’s book on the vir­tual book tour? You can visit them here where there are more giveaways.

http://www.amateurbot-ann-ist.com/

http://torontogardens.blogspot.com/

http://wwwrockrose.blogspot.com/

http://heavypetal.ca/

http://www.growingagardenindavis.com/

http://bonneylassie.blogspot.com/

http://bwisegardening.blogspot.com/

http://www.houstongardengirl.com/

http://www.thebikegarden.com/

http://www.ourlittleacre.com/

http://www.commonweeder.com/

http://www.debraprinzing.com/

http://www.vintagegardengal.com/

 

Tim­ber Press, pub­lisher of Hand­made Gar­den Projects, pro­vided a free copy of this book for review.

UPDATE: The win­ner of Hand­made Gar­den Projects is Mary Davis. Mary, I’m email­ing you. Come on down! (Well, send me your mail­ing address anyway.)

 

Robin
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Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, will be released later in 2014 from Taunton Press.

Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.

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