It’s been way too long since we have run a piece by Mr. and Mrs. Dog author Donald McCaig. Many of you have read his series of posts about a little sheepdog named Fly (including this one…and this one). In this latest piece, human understanding runs up against dog understanding. Guess who’s smarter.
At the first Sturgis National Finals SDT trial hosts had decorated the field in a patriotic motif. The fetch, drive, and crossdrive panels were vivid red, white, and blue. Which created a problem for the sheep. Put yourself in their wool: here they’d been living quiet sheepy lives on some butte somewhere, been snatched up, loaded into large aluminum trailers (from which no sheep had ever returned), and plopped down in unfamiliar pens (“Where are we, Martha!!!”), until they and three others were taken by a mounted cowboy and a couple dogs and spotted for an unknown dog to suddenly appear and take AWAY!
Before you say no thanks, just know that this exotic approach to Thanksgiving is being proposed by Jeffrey Greene, who has already introduced us to the elusive pied de cheval oyster and foraging in the Carpathians. The man knows his food. Like those earlier pieces, this one grew out of research for his next book, on wild edibles.
While Henry James observed famously in a letter that “it’s a complex fate, being an American,” and James Baldwin struggled to define what being American even means, I rarely ponder quandaries of national identity, even living here in France. However, it’s a complex fate for anyone to explain the codified American phenomenon called Thanksgiving. My mother, in her eighties, assiduously observes American Thanksgiving, though she lives in a remote canal village in Burgundy and is obliged to make a special order for a whole turkey, usually available in France only at Christmas.
Attention, book lovers, bargain hunters, and history buffs! Don’t miss the great deals at the University of Virginia Press Warehouse Sale. Thousands of first-quality books in Virginiana, history, literature, African American studies, founding fathers, the Civil War, and more will be on sale. Hours are Friday, September 27, from 10 am to 6 pm, and Saturday, September 28, from 10 am to 2 pm at the Press Warehouse, 500 Edgemont Road, three blocks west of McCormick and Alderman (driveway located off McCormick Road). For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 434-924-6070.
The Most Defiant Devil, Gregory Dehler’s new biography of Bronx Zoo founder William Hornaday, is the subject of articles this week from AP and The New York Times. Hornaday seemed to embody the late nineteenth century’s best and worst impulses.
Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author of City of Trees: The Complete Field Guide to Trees of Washington, D.C., will be leading a tour of the national capital’s trees. Dubbed the Treeathlon, the tour will take place on September 22, via foot, bicycle, even canoe.
American in Paris Jeffrey Greene recently contributed a piece to our blog about his pursuit of an elusive oyster known as the pied de cheval. In this latest piece, Greene—who is currently at work on a book about wild edibles—travels to the Polish Carpathians to learn the finer points of foraging. Jeff writes, “The first time I learned of Lukasz Luczaj was in a message sent from a log cabin in the Polish Carpathians. At the time, I was writing The Golden-Bristled Boar: Last Ferocious Beast of the Forest, a book about the astonishing world of wild boars, highly intelligent and elusive animals that have played a significant role in human civilization. A friend had written, ‘I am sitting on the porch with a bunch of people drinking beer, dusk falling, and we’ve been talking about two fires on the far hill that we’ve seen burning almost every night. Lukasz just told us that one of the village drunks—a woman who meets her lovers in the woods—is burning tires because someone pays her to sleep up there and keep the wild boars out of the potato field.’”