Scratching the Woodchuck:
Nature on an Amish Farm
This book is
a compilation of observations by David Kline--who's Amish--about his farm
during the different seasons of the year. I really enjoyed this book
and had a hard time putting it down. I believe that I read it in two
days. This may be nothing for some folk, but on average I take a week
or two to read a book.
Kline is an acute
observer of nature, probably because he's closer to nature than most.
He uses draft horses instead of a tractor, horse manure instead of chemical
fertilizers, and he heats his house in the winter mainly by burning wood.
Kline also keeps a variety of species lists of the different flowers, animals,
and birds that he observes throughout the year.
Kline begins his
book with how his love of nature developed from his childhood to his adulthood.
Growing up on the farm he currently tends to Kline was exposed to nature
throughout his childhood. He was able to gain a good deal of knowledge
from a teacher of his during his schooling. Kline was then exposed to nature
writing during the Vietnam War. Being of age, he was drafted but being
Amish he was declared a consciencious objector and worked at a Cleveland
Hospital instead. At the Cleveland Library Kline was exposed to the
writings of Aldo Leopold and Edward Way Teale. Missing nature greatly
Kline returned to the family farm where he know resides after serving his
I definitely recommend
this book. To any type of reader I say give it a try. It is not
only about nature but it is about Kline as well and his relationship with
nature, which without he wouldn't be the man he is.