In more than two dozen works of nonfiction, horticulture expert Logsdon has doled out invaluable advice on everything from berry growing and organic orcharding to homesteading and managing manure. Now, at 79, reflecting back on a life spent in close proximity to the woodland groves of his native rural Ohio, Logsdon offers both a fond recollection of his long relationship with trees and a meditation on the remarkable versatility of harvested timber. Beginning with his boyhood days on an Ohio family farm where his love of nature first took root, Logsdon takes the reader through his adolescence at a seminary where the one bright spot was a nearby forest, to his first professional job with Farm Journal in then untamed suburban Philadelphia, and finally back to Ohio, living with his growing family in a tree shadowed country home. Yet his own reminiscences are just a staging ground for a plethora of fascinating tree facts, including a virtual manual on using wood for total energy self-sufficiency. As always, Logsdon’s superbly measured prose entertains as much as it educates.
Gene Logsdon is a man with a mission: He wants to encourage Americans to maintain small home woodlots, heat with wood, and return to what he calls a wood culture and a wood economy. A Sanctuary of Trees, Logsdon’s latest book, discusses in detail the feasibility of depending on wood for fuel, both for individual households and for our country as a whole. He makes a strong case. In A Sanctuary of Trees the reader learns about trees in American history and culture, how fast different species grow, how easily their wood splits, how hot it burns, and even which wood leaves fewest ashes. Techniques the author shares for using a chainsaw may save some fingers—certainly they should save some aggravation! The pleasures of gathering nuts and tips for cracking them come into the picture, too. Memoir, argument, lessons learned, advice offered—beyond these valuable elements, the book is simply a delight to read. Every page is rich with the happiness of a life well lived, a life the author wishes for us all. Like the woodlots he values so deeply, A Sanctuary of Trees is both resource and refuge. It is impossible to read this without feeling enlightened and grateful.
"Logsdon peels away the storied layers of our forests and beckons us to rekindle our connections with our most constant companions -- trees. This book belongs as much in the hands of educators as it does on every homesteader's handmade bookshelf. Seldom are reminiscences so forward-looking ... but that is ultimately Logsdon's hallmark as an author."--Philip Ackerman-Leist, professor, Green Mountain College, and author of Up Tunket Road
"I am more enamored with Gene Logsdon than ever after reading A Sanctuary of Trees. Without melodrama, angst, or anything resembling shock value, this lush autobiography details Mr. Logsdon's relationship with -- of all things -- trees! Trees. How sane and civilized it is. I learned so much from this grounded and completely wonderful book."--Janisse Ray, author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood and Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land
"A Sanctuary of Trees is a beguiling, companionable read, full of sharp-eyed wonder, genuine humility, and a thousand nuts of useful wisdom: when and how to build a plank road; how to not get killed felling an old tree; how to get lost, and found; and -- if you read his book as Logsdon walks his woods -- how to live a long, alert, insatiably engaged life. This one's a keeper."--David Dobbs, author, Reef Madness, and coauthor, The Northern Forest
"Back in 1929 J. Russell Smith published his classic Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture. At the time, and mostly since, hardly anyone seemed interested in reading about, let alone doing, farming that includes trees as part of an appropriate, resilient agriculture and even suggesting that such agriculture is a love of country. I didn't expect to ever see a book like Smith's again, yet now we have Gene Logsdon's A Sanctuary of Trees, a renewal of all those classic ideas cast in the context of today's, and hopefully, tomorrow's world."--Frederick Kirschenmann, author of Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer Philosopher
"Gene Logsdon does it again! This time he is out past the gardens, beyond the meadows, and deep into the groves and woodlots he has known and loved. What he brings back is a lover's report on a life-long affair of his. He is still contrary, thank goodness, more respectful of forests than of forestry; but A Sanctuary of Trees is a wonderfully woodsy book, neatly wrapped around a personal memoir. Reading it, we watch Logsdon casually learn about sassafras, chain saws, mistletoe, log houses, cordwood, birdsong, and a hundred other bits of vital forest lore. In private life he may be a tree hugger, and this narrative is seductive enough so that any thoughtful reader will probably develop similar symptoms."--Ronald Jager, author of Eighty Acres, Last House on the Road, and The Fate of Family Farming