YEARS OF THE FORESTby Helen Hoover
This is a book that takes us inside the Hoovers’ wilderness home during those sixteen Years of the Forest and lets us experience not only the joys and the techniques but also the challenges and travails of going it alone in the beautiful but not always accommodating wilderness, far from the technology and services that city people take for granted. It is a book of wilderness adventure, it is an education in the ingenuities of wilderness housekeeping, filled with practical details about making do, building and rebuilding, gardening for fun and for food, even advice about getting away from getting-away-from-it-all.
Good times and Hard times, good neighbors and bad neighbors, the strains engendered by conflicting views—and passions—about the use of the environment: Mrs. Hoover shares her experience without stint. But above all—over, under, and all around her straightforward and practical approach to life in the wilderness—there is, as always, the sensitive and moving awareness of nature (especially of the animals with whom she and her husband shared the forest, often helping them through starving winters) that is the special quality of her writing and her life.
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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- Random House
- NOOK Book
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- 4 MB
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In 1954, Helen Hoover, who was born in 1910 at Greenfield, OH, studied chemistry at Ohio University, and became a research metallurgist for the International Harvester, and her husband Adrian (Ade), a commercial artist, left their hustle-bustle life in Chicago, IL, and bought a remote cabin in the far-northern Minnesota woods. The events of their first year and a half, ending with a fire in Ade’s workshop, were chronicled in her book A Place in the Woods, and story of their relationship to the deer that came to their cabin is told in The Gift of the Deer. The Years of the Forest is a sort of summary of the sixteen years that followed, from 1956 to 1967, when the increasing encroachment of civilization led them to “take a vacation” in search of another wilderness home, with an epilogue about their return in 1971, with the outline taken from a casual, random list of “Things to Do” jotted down by Ade, including “Install wiring, Running water, Inside toilet” and “Get another car” after their old one had broken down. It has been republished as part of the Fesler-Lampert Minnesota Heritage Series. For anyone who has a secret longing to leave the problems of society and live an eremitic life a la Thoreau’s Walden, this book, subtitled “A down-to-earth (and delightful) book about wilderness living and nature adventure by the author of The Gift of the Deer and A Place in the Woods,” will be fascinating. A few references to man as more highly evolved and how the animals are related to us occur, but there are several statements about the wonders of creation and some citations of Scripture. Also, a little bit of environmentalism is found, but it is mostly the old-fashioned conservation variety rather than the modern “kill all the people to save the animals” whacko kind. Ade is said to swear on a number of occasions, but no actual swear words are used except that the exclamation “Great God” is uttered once and the “d” word twice. The period covered in this book also records the writing of another book by Helen, The Long-Shadowed Forest. In addition, she wrote some books for young readers, such as Animals at My Doorstep, Animals Near and Far, and Great Wolf and the Good Woodsman.
I read this years ago, and it made me want to move to the woods so badly. I had this book, "A Place in the Woods" and "Gift of the Deer", and read and loved them all, then lent them to someone I had a falling out with before I got them back. I've been looking for copies to replace them with ever since, and was delighted to find them here. I'm looking forward to reading the entire series again when I finish the series I'm working on now.