A cold wind—and lots of people—arrived for our final weekend of regular-season activity at the Notebook. New England Wild Flower Society botanist and primitive-skills expert Arthur Haines helped a shivering group transform milkweed stalks into hand-made cordage. He then had us try to kindle fires with the friction from rapidly spun sticks, more properly called hand drills and bow drills.
Arthur has just finished writing his latest book, about the plants of New England, which goes on sale in December and will help promote the important new plant organization called Anaskimin (http://www.anaskimin.org/). He is passionate about teaching the nutritional, medical and practical value of wild plants. He believes, as we do at the Notebook, that knowledge about the natural world—and its scientific underpinnings—sparks curiosity, insight, reflection, imagination, creativity and a better understanding of ourselves and the need to protect the planet's fragile life forms. I'll take that over ignorance any day.
So what happens at The Naturalist's Notebook now that our regular season is over? A few things. We prepare to re-open for a weekend or two between Thanksgiving and Christmas for all of you who said you wanted to do holiday shopping at the cozy little Notebook (we'll announce the days and hours soon). We keep shipping out books, artwork and whatever else people order via phone (207-801-2777) or e-mail (email@example.com). We start creating the look of the 2011 Notebook, which will have many new themes and surprises. Pamelia and I head off on a three-week, six-state adventure out west that you can follow here on the blog starting in late October; we'll be doing an article on the Pacific Flyway bird migration for a travel magazine. I'll keep blogging all fall, winter and spring, giving you a view from the Maine coast even if you don't live here, and (I hope) a bit of entertainment for the occasional dreary day.
Season two of the Notebook may be (more or less) over, but if you're interested in coming along with us, the fun is just beginning.