Winter Reading: Let Nature Entertain You!
Get the most out of winter. With so many folks working from home or just staying home due to the pandemic, here are some book ideas that can enhance your “stay at home” life-style by honing in on all that nature has to offer.
Bird watching used to be for old fuddy duddies — but not anymore! Because so many folks are staying home, as opposed to being gone “all day” for work, they finally have a chance to notice the birds around them – and are finding out just what they’ve been missing!
Time to take advantage of what’s outside your window and hanging out in your trees. Here are some handy bird guides that you’ll want to keep nearby. When you see a bird that peaks your interest, you can look it up and get the details. When searching out bird books, be sure to check out the region(s) they cover. If you live out West, an Eastern guide isn’t going to cut it.
All the books below are my personal field guide picks. They are detailed, illustrated and chocked full of info on our flighty friends:
– National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America 7th Edition: One of the most up-to-date guides available.
– National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds – Eastern Region
– Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America
Bird watching outside or from your window will give you endless hours of entertainment. Help bring more birds into your yard by adding birdfeeders, birdhouses and a bird bath. Especially in winter, birds still need water to survive.
If you don’t have a traditional birdbath, fill a shallow large plastic bowl with a half inch to one inch of water (keep it shallow so birds don’t drown). Add a large rock to the center (allowing birds to see the water depth and also to keep the bowl in place). Put it in a location where you can watch the birds enjoying it. This will also provide life-giving water to other animals. If you have a lot of bird predators, elevate the birdbath off the ground.
Do you admire the beauty of butterflies? My personal “go-to” butterfly identification guide:
– Golden Guide Field Guide to Butterflies and Moths Book.
Depending on where you live, it may be too cold to grow herbs outside. But fear not, winter is the perfect time, no matter where you live, to stock up on seed packets to start your own herbs indoors. Many stores are also stocking live herb plants such as Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Parley, etc. Put them in a sunny place in your home to reap the benefits NOW. When warm weather arrives, consider planting an herb container garden and transplant them outside.
I’m growing a potted French lavender indoors right now. It’s perfect to snip off sprigs to put in bud vases in bathrooms, bedrooms, etc. Lavender is known for its “calming” effect.
If you’ve never grown herbs and want to give it a try, here are some of my favorite “go-to” books to get you started. They are older books but are still available “new,” and also “used.” Purchasing used books usually saves you some dough and also is a great way to re-cycle.
– The Herb Bible by Jennie Harding: This is a complete guide to growing and using herbs for flavoring food, teas and for good health. It even includes some terrific recipes. Beautifully photographed.
– Beautiful and Easy Herbs by Laurence Sombke: Another fine book packed with photographs and descriptions of various herbs, how to harvest them, cook with them (inc. recipes) and even herb garden designs.
– The Little Guides Herbs: This is a small compact, 300 page book with a great plant guide, 400 illustrations and photographs plus herb recipes and crafts.
And here’s the thing about growing herbs – it can get addicting! You may even find yourself a new and productive hobby!
NOW is the time to get reading and get learning! There are plenty of other terrific books you can find online and in retail stores on all of nature’s topics above. This might also be a good opportunity to find books on sale/clearance. When spring arrives, you’ll be a step ahead with a full-fledged herb garden (or herb garden plan). You’ll also be a step ahead in identifying birds that have flown south for the winter and are now back in your yard, parks or woodlands.
Watch Wonder Women Sixty for more ideas on nature, plants, gardening, etc.