SNAKES - CENTRAL ALABAMA 

Forty odd species of harmless and beneficial snakes and three types of poisonous reptiles—the coral, the moccasin, and the rattler—live in Alabama.
—Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South (WPA, 1941) 

Rural Alabamians have long grappled with the presence of poisonous snakes.  With the exception of the coral snake, the majority of these deadly reptiles are pit vipers, which means that they have heat-sensitive organs (or pits) on their heads and moveable fangs—both of which enable them to target warm-blooded creatures with uncanny accuracy.  Rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths are Alabama’s pit vipers. 
In central Alabama, the most commonly encountered pit vipers are copperheads and rattlesnakes. To escape the sweltering summer heat, snakes nest in places that are cool, quiet, and dark.  The raised wooden porches typical of older Southern homes happen to meet these specifications, and as a result, facilitate unwanted interactions.  A number of families have lost pets because of poisonous snakebites.
In rural areas, fear of snake encounters influences daily life. Many carry a snake stick even when walking the roads. This stick varies in length and width, but must be quite sturdy and at least 4 feet long. Farm hands put on thick hunting boots or cowboy boots before heading out to harvest crops.
When farmers traverse the thick vines of their watermelon fields, it is with a slow, cautious gait and a watchful gaze. The stick is used to rustle the vines along the path. Summer is not only prime harvesting season, but it is also prime snake season. If residents come upon a non-poisonous snake, such as the rat snake or corn snake, they usually toss it aside with the stick. These snakes are known to eat vermin, so they often prove more useful than harmful.
Venomous snakes are subject to a very different treatment. Those who live in snake country will tell you that there is an art to killing a snake. If you are in a car, you have to brake just as you run over the snake, reverse your car, and repeat.  When using a stick, you must aim solely for head. If you are using a pistol, ensure that you are a safe distance away and that you aim at an angle that minimizes the risk of ricochet. They see the killing of poisonous snakes as a moral obligation, especially if the reptiles are near homes or communities. In doing so, they feel that they are potentially saving a life.
After killing the snake, the man or woman gathers the dead snake and takes it to show to relatives and friends. The circle of spectators will closely examine the dead snake, comment on its size, and ask where it was killed. They will discuss how the weather has affected hunting patterns and growth.  The owner of the dead snake will usually take the rattles as a keepsake. Part warning and part boast, this display reminds children and adults alike that they must be careful in their comings and goings because danger lurks all around.
Guide Notes: All photos were taken by April Dobbins in Greensboro, Alabama.
Copperhead – Killed after emerging from under a porch.
Water Moccasin above, Rattlesnake below. A man killed the water moccasin while he was fishing. He discovered the snake on the bank beside him. The snake was eating the man’s catch.
Dr. T’s Snake-A-Way – Snake repellent on a porch.
Stuffed Snake on a Bedside Table – Stuffed Rattlesnake in a Bedroom.
Rattlesnake in a Driveway – my daughter examines a dead rattlesnake in a driveway.
° ° °
April Dobbins is a Guide to Alabama and the Southeast. Born and raised in Alabama, she is a writer and photographer. Though she has lived just about everywhere, she can’t seem to shake her Southern.  She currently resides in Miami, Florida, and is at work on Alabamaland, a documentary project about African-American farm life in rural Alabama.
Find her on Tumblr at aprilartiste.tumblr.com and on her website at aprildobbins.com.
Zoom Info
SNAKES - CENTRAL ALABAMA 

Forty odd species of harmless and beneficial snakes and three types of poisonous reptiles—the coral, the moccasin, and the rattler—live in Alabama.
—Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South (WPA, 1941) 

Rural Alabamians have long grappled with the presence of poisonous snakes.  With the exception of the coral snake, the majority of these deadly reptiles are pit vipers, which means that they have heat-sensitive organs (or pits) on their heads and moveable fangs—both of which enable them to target warm-blooded creatures with uncanny accuracy.  Rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths are Alabama’s pit vipers. 
In central Alabama, the most commonly encountered pit vipers are copperheads and rattlesnakes. To escape the sweltering summer heat, snakes nest in places that are cool, quiet, and dark.  The raised wooden porches typical of older Southern homes happen to meet these specifications, and as a result, facilitate unwanted interactions.  A number of families have lost pets because of poisonous snakebites.
In rural areas, fear of snake encounters influences daily life. Many carry a snake stick even when walking the roads. This stick varies in length and width, but must be quite sturdy and at least 4 feet long. Farm hands put on thick hunting boots or cowboy boots before heading out to harvest crops.
When farmers traverse the thick vines of their watermelon fields, it is with a slow, cautious gait and a watchful gaze. The stick is used to rustle the vines along the path. Summer is not only prime harvesting season, but it is also prime snake season. If residents come upon a non-poisonous snake, such as the rat snake or corn snake, they usually toss it aside with the stick. These snakes are known to eat vermin, so they often prove more useful than harmful.
Venomous snakes are subject to a very different treatment. Those who live in snake country will tell you that there is an art to killing a snake. If you are in a car, you have to brake just as you run over the snake, reverse your car, and repeat.  When using a stick, you must aim solely for head. If you are using a pistol, ensure that you are a safe distance away and that you aim at an angle that minimizes the risk of ricochet. They see the killing of poisonous snakes as a moral obligation, especially if the reptiles are near homes or communities. In doing so, they feel that they are potentially saving a life.
After killing the snake, the man or woman gathers the dead snake and takes it to show to relatives and friends. The circle of spectators will closely examine the dead snake, comment on its size, and ask where it was killed. They will discuss how the weather has affected hunting patterns and growth.  The owner of the dead snake will usually take the rattles as a keepsake. Part warning and part boast, this display reminds children and adults alike that they must be careful in their comings and goings because danger lurks all around.
Guide Notes: All photos were taken by April Dobbins in Greensboro, Alabama.
Copperhead – Killed after emerging from under a porch.
Water Moccasin above, Rattlesnake below. A man killed the water moccasin while he was fishing. He discovered the snake on the bank beside him. The snake was eating the man’s catch.
Dr. T’s Snake-A-Way – Snake repellent on a porch.
Stuffed Snake on a Bedside Table – Stuffed Rattlesnake in a Bedroom.
Rattlesnake in a Driveway – my daughter examines a dead rattlesnake in a driveway.
° ° °
April Dobbins is a Guide to Alabama and the Southeast. Born and raised in Alabama, she is a writer and photographer. Though she has lived just about everywhere, she can’t seem to shake her Southern.  She currently resides in Miami, Florida, and is at work on Alabamaland, a documentary project about African-American farm life in rural Alabama.
Find her on Tumblr at aprilartiste.tumblr.com and on her website at aprildobbins.com.
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SNAKES - CENTRAL ALABAMA 

Forty odd species of harmless and beneficial snakes and three types of poisonous reptiles—the coral, the moccasin, and the rattler—live in Alabama.
—Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South (WPA, 1941) 

Rural Alabamians have long grappled with the presence of poisonous snakes.  With the exception of the coral snake, the majority of these deadly reptiles are pit vipers, which means that they have heat-sensitive organs (or pits) on their heads and moveable fangs—both of which enable them to target warm-blooded creatures with uncanny accuracy.  Rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths are Alabama’s pit vipers. 
In central Alabama, the most commonly encountered pit vipers are copperheads and rattlesnakes. To escape the sweltering summer heat, snakes nest in places that are cool, quiet, and dark.  The raised wooden porches typical of older Southern homes happen to meet these specifications, and as a result, facilitate unwanted interactions.  A number of families have lost pets because of poisonous snakebites.
In rural areas, fear of snake encounters influences daily life. Many carry a snake stick even when walking the roads. This stick varies in length and width, but must be quite sturdy and at least 4 feet long. Farm hands put on thick hunting boots or cowboy boots before heading out to harvest crops.
When farmers traverse the thick vines of their watermelon fields, it is with a slow, cautious gait and a watchful gaze. The stick is used to rustle the vines along the path. Summer is not only prime harvesting season, but it is also prime snake season. If residents come upon a non-poisonous snake, such as the rat snake or corn snake, they usually toss it aside with the stick. These snakes are known to eat vermin, so they often prove more useful than harmful.
Venomous snakes are subject to a very different treatment. Those who live in snake country will tell you that there is an art to killing a snake. If you are in a car, you have to brake just as you run over the snake, reverse your car, and repeat.  When using a stick, you must aim solely for head. If you are using a pistol, ensure that you are a safe distance away and that you aim at an angle that minimizes the risk of ricochet. They see the killing of poisonous snakes as a moral obligation, especially if the reptiles are near homes or communities. In doing so, they feel that they are potentially saving a life.
After killing the snake, the man or woman gathers the dead snake and takes it to show to relatives and friends. The circle of spectators will closely examine the dead snake, comment on its size, and ask where it was killed. They will discuss how the weather has affected hunting patterns and growth.  The owner of the dead snake will usually take the rattles as a keepsake. Part warning and part boast, this display reminds children and adults alike that they must be careful in their comings and goings because danger lurks all around.
Guide Notes: All photos were taken by April Dobbins in Greensboro, Alabama.
Copperhead – Killed after emerging from under a porch.
Water Moccasin above, Rattlesnake below. A man killed the water moccasin while he was fishing. He discovered the snake on the bank beside him. The snake was eating the man’s catch.
Dr. T’s Snake-A-Way – Snake repellent on a porch.
Stuffed Snake on a Bedside Table – Stuffed Rattlesnake in a Bedroom.
Rattlesnake in a Driveway – my daughter examines a dead rattlesnake in a driveway.
° ° °
April Dobbins is a Guide to Alabama and the Southeast. Born and raised in Alabama, she is a writer and photographer. Though she has lived just about everywhere, she can’t seem to shake her Southern.  She currently resides in Miami, Florida, and is at work on Alabamaland, a documentary project about African-American farm life in rural Alabama.
Find her on Tumblr at aprilartiste.tumblr.com and on her website at aprildobbins.com.
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SNAKES - CENTRAL ALABAMA 

Forty odd species of harmless and beneficial snakes and three types of poisonous reptiles—the coral, the moccasin, and the rattler—live in Alabama.
—Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South (WPA, 1941) 

Rural Alabamians have long grappled with the presence of poisonous snakes.  With the exception of the coral snake, the majority of these deadly reptiles are pit vipers, which means that they have heat-sensitive organs (or pits) on their heads and moveable fangs—both of which enable them to target warm-blooded creatures with uncanny accuracy.  Rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths are Alabama’s pit vipers. 
In central Alabama, the most commonly encountered pit vipers are copperheads and rattlesnakes. To escape the sweltering summer heat, snakes nest in places that are cool, quiet, and dark.  The raised wooden porches typical of older Southern homes happen to meet these specifications, and as a result, facilitate unwanted interactions.  A number of families have lost pets because of poisonous snakebites.
In rural areas, fear of snake encounters influences daily life. Many carry a snake stick even when walking the roads. This stick varies in length and width, but must be quite sturdy and at least 4 feet long. Farm hands put on thick hunting boots or cowboy boots before heading out to harvest crops.
When farmers traverse the thick vines of their watermelon fields, it is with a slow, cautious gait and a watchful gaze. The stick is used to rustle the vines along the path. Summer is not only prime harvesting season, but it is also prime snake season. If residents come upon a non-poisonous snake, such as the rat snake or corn snake, they usually toss it aside with the stick. These snakes are known to eat vermin, so they often prove more useful than harmful.
Venomous snakes are subject to a very different treatment. Those who live in snake country will tell you that there is an art to killing a snake. If you are in a car, you have to brake just as you run over the snake, reverse your car, and repeat.  When using a stick, you must aim solely for head. If you are using a pistol, ensure that you are a safe distance away and that you aim at an angle that minimizes the risk of ricochet. They see the killing of poisonous snakes as a moral obligation, especially if the reptiles are near homes or communities. In doing so, they feel that they are potentially saving a life.
After killing the snake, the man or woman gathers the dead snake and takes it to show to relatives and friends. The circle of spectators will closely examine the dead snake, comment on its size, and ask where it was killed. They will discuss how the weather has affected hunting patterns and growth.  The owner of the dead snake will usually take the rattles as a keepsake. Part warning and part boast, this display reminds children and adults alike that they must be careful in their comings and goings because danger lurks all around.
Guide Notes: All photos were taken by April Dobbins in Greensboro, Alabama.
Copperhead – Killed after emerging from under a porch.
Water Moccasin above, Rattlesnake below. A man killed the water moccasin while he was fishing. He discovered the snake on the bank beside him. The snake was eating the man’s catch.
Dr. T’s Snake-A-Way – Snake repellent on a porch.
Stuffed Snake on a Bedside Table – Stuffed Rattlesnake in a Bedroom.
Rattlesnake in a Driveway – my daughter examines a dead rattlesnake in a driveway.
° ° °
April Dobbins is a Guide to Alabama and the Southeast. Born and raised in Alabama, she is a writer and photographer. Though she has lived just about everywhere, she can’t seem to shake her Southern.  She currently resides in Miami, Florida, and is at work on Alabamaland, a documentary project about African-American farm life in rural Alabama.
Find her on Tumblr at aprilartiste.tumblr.com and on her website at aprildobbins.com.
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SNAKES - CENTRAL ALABAMA 

Forty odd species of harmless and beneficial snakes and three types of poisonous reptiles—the coral, the moccasin, and the rattler—live in Alabama.
—Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South (WPA, 1941) 

Rural Alabamians have long grappled with the presence of poisonous snakes.  With the exception of the coral snake, the majority of these deadly reptiles are pit vipers, which means that they have heat-sensitive organs (or pits) on their heads and moveable fangs—both of which enable them to target warm-blooded creatures with uncanny accuracy.  Rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths are Alabama’s pit vipers. 
In central Alabama, the most commonly encountered pit vipers are copperheads and rattlesnakes. To escape the sweltering summer heat, snakes nest in places that are cool, quiet, and dark.  The raised wooden porches typical of older Southern homes happen to meet these specifications, and as a result, facilitate unwanted interactions.  A number of families have lost pets because of poisonous snakebites.
In rural areas, fear of snake encounters influences daily life. Many carry a snake stick even when walking the roads. This stick varies in length and width, but must be quite sturdy and at least 4 feet long. Farm hands put on thick hunting boots or cowboy boots before heading out to harvest crops.
When farmers traverse the thick vines of their watermelon fields, it is with a slow, cautious gait and a watchful gaze. The stick is used to rustle the vines along the path. Summer is not only prime harvesting season, but it is also prime snake season. If residents come upon a non-poisonous snake, such as the rat snake or corn snake, they usually toss it aside with the stick. These snakes are known to eat vermin, so they often prove more useful than harmful.
Venomous snakes are subject to a very different treatment. Those who live in snake country will tell you that there is an art to killing a snake. If you are in a car, you have to brake just as you run over the snake, reverse your car, and repeat.  When using a stick, you must aim solely for head. If you are using a pistol, ensure that you are a safe distance away and that you aim at an angle that minimizes the risk of ricochet. They see the killing of poisonous snakes as a moral obligation, especially if the reptiles are near homes or communities. In doing so, they feel that they are potentially saving a life.
After killing the snake, the man or woman gathers the dead snake and takes it to show to relatives and friends. The circle of spectators will closely examine the dead snake, comment on its size, and ask where it was killed. They will discuss how the weather has affected hunting patterns and growth.  The owner of the dead snake will usually take the rattles as a keepsake. Part warning and part boast, this display reminds children and adults alike that they must be careful in their comings and goings because danger lurks all around.
Guide Notes: All photos were taken by April Dobbins in Greensboro, Alabama.
Copperhead – Killed after emerging from under a porch.
Water Moccasin above, Rattlesnake below. A man killed the water moccasin while he was fishing. He discovered the snake on the bank beside him. The snake was eating the man’s catch.
Dr. T’s Snake-A-Way – Snake repellent on a porch.
Stuffed Snake on a Bedside Table – Stuffed Rattlesnake in a Bedroom.
Rattlesnake in a Driveway – my daughter examines a dead rattlesnake in a driveway.
° ° °
April Dobbins is a Guide to Alabama and the Southeast. Born and raised in Alabama, she is a writer and photographer. Though she has lived just about everywhere, she can’t seem to shake her Southern.  She currently resides in Miami, Florida, and is at work on Alabamaland, a documentary project about African-American farm life in rural Alabama.
Find her on Tumblr at aprilartiste.tumblr.com and on her website at aprildobbins.com.
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SNAKES - CENTRAL ALABAMA 

Forty odd species of harmless and beneficial snakes and three types of poisonous reptiles—the coral, the moccasin, and the rattler—live in Alabama.

—Alabama: A Guide to the Deep South (WPA, 1941) 

Rural Alabamians have long grappled with the presence of poisonous snakes.  With the exception of the coral snake, the majority of these deadly reptiles are pit vipers, which means that they have heat-sensitive organs (or pits) on their heads and moveable fangs—both of which enable them to target warm-blooded creatures with uncanny accuracy.  Rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths are Alabama’s pit vipers

In central Alabama, the most commonly encountered pit vipers are copperheads and rattlesnakes. To escape the sweltering summer heat, snakes nest in places that are cool, quiet, and dark.  The raised wooden porches typical of older Southern homes happen to meet these specifications, and as a result, facilitate unwanted interactions.  A number of families have lost pets because of poisonous snakebites.

In rural areas, fear of snake encounters influences daily life. Many carry a snake stick even when walking the roads. This stick varies in length and width, but must be quite sturdy and at least 4 feet long. Farm hands put on thick hunting boots or cowboy boots before heading out to harvest crops.

When farmers traverse the thick vines of their watermelon fields, it is with a slow, cautious gait and a watchful gaze. The stick is used to rustle the vines along the path. Summer is not only prime harvesting season, but it is also prime snake season. If residents come upon a non-poisonous snake, such as the rat snake or corn snake, they usually toss it aside with the stick. These snakes are known to eat vermin, so they often prove more useful than harmful.

Venomous snakes are subject to a very different treatment. Those who live in snake country will tell you that there is an art to killing a snake. If you are in a car, you have to brake just as you run over the snake, reverse your car, and repeat.  When using a stick, you must aim solely for head. If you are using a pistol, ensure that you are a safe distance away and that you aim at an angle that minimizes the risk of ricochet. They see the killing of poisonous snakes as a moral obligation, especially if the reptiles are near homes or communities. In doing so, they feel that they are potentially saving a life.

After killing the snake, the man or woman gathers the dead snake and takes it to show to relatives and friends. The circle of spectators will closely examine the dead snake, comment on its size, and ask where it was killed. They will discuss how the weather has affected hunting patterns and growth.  The owner of the dead snake will usually take the rattles as a keepsake. Part warning and part boast, this display reminds children and adults alike that they must be careful in their comings and goings because danger lurks all around.

Guide Notes: All photos were taken by April Dobbins in Greensboro, Alabama.

  1. Copperhead – Killed after emerging from under a porch.
  2. Water Moccasin above, Rattlesnake below. A man killed the water moccasin while he was fishing. He discovered the snake on the bank beside him. The snake was eating the man’s catch.
  3. Dr. T’s Snake-A-Way – Snake repellent on a porch.
  4. Stuffed Snake on a Bedside Table – Stuffed Rattlesnake in a Bedroom.
  5. Rattlesnake in a Driveway – my daughter examines a dead rattlesnake in a driveway.

° ° °

April Dobbins is a Guide to Alabama and the Southeast. Born and raised in Alabama, she is a writer and photographer. Though she has lived just about everywhere, she can’t seem to shake her Southern.  She currently resides in Miami, Florida, and is at work on Alabamaland, a documentary project about African-American farm life in rural Alabama.

Find her on Tumblr at aprilartiste.tumblr.com and on her website at aprildobbins.com.

I WAS A PART TIME DOG WALKER - BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS 

Bearing these facts in mind, it is a mistake for the visitor to think of Boston in any single term. Boston is a composite. 

Massachusetts: A Guide to its Places and People (1937)

In 2012 I lived in Boston, working as a photographer. I also became a canine-care professional and walked dogs for just about six months.

The company that employed me was very environmentally conscious. We only used biodegradable poop bags and our client list was confined to a few neighborhoods in order to keep car emissions—from driving back and forth, to round up the dogs—at a minimum.

My usual beat was Roslindale. Wagging tails, walks atop Peters Hill (in an arboretum designed by Olmstead), and lunches at the Pleasant Cafe were regular highlights. The cafe offers free parking but they do ask that you lock your doors while parked in their lot. Also, if you want to have a beer with your pizza please note that they will only accept Massachusetts State Liquor IDs to verify your age—North Carolina Driver’s Licenses will be denied.

* * *

Guide to North Carolina and the South Chris Fowler is a North Carolinian, photographer, folklorist, and curator. In 2011 he was awarded a Lewis Hine Documentary Fellowship from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Follow his work at http://www.chrisfowlerphoto.com.

GUINEA HOGS - BLADEN COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA

“Meat” still means pork to many people in the State.—North Carolina: A Guide to the Old North State (WPA, 1939)

The Guinea Hog, sometimes called an Acorn Eater or Yard Pig, was once the predominate breed of hog in the Southeast. As industrial agriculture expanded in the 20th Century, many heritage hog breeds, including the American Guinea, dwindled. In 2011 there were less than one thousand known American Guinea Hogs in existence. 

Scott and Lydia McGhee believe that in order to save the breed, the animals have to be carefully raised for their highest and best use: to be eaten. On their farm in Bladen County, North Carolina, the McGhees are raising a modest number of pigs (among other things) on the ground amid long straw pines and acorn-producing oaks. The animals root and forage for the majority of their diet and have plenty of time and space to grow. Scott, a trained arborist and Journeyman Bladesmith, is also an accomplished chef and charcuterie maker.

“We’ll show you anything you want to see, but we’ll have to ask that you stand over by the shop when we kill the hog. That’s just out of respect for the animal. What happens over there is between me, my wife, and the pig.”

After the hog is stunned and bled, it is immersed, or scalded, in hot water so that its hair may be easily scraped off. When this is complete the carcass is hoisted by its hindquarters, butterflied, and divested of its innards. At this point it is ready to be broken down into distinct cuts: shoulders, hams, ribs, belly, fat, and so on.

Bacon, sausage seasoned with salt, red pepper, and sage, and country ham are the most typical pork products that North Carolinians have traditionally enjoyed. More elusive today are individuals making souse or pickling trotters. The hog harvested in these images went mostly into soppressata, fresh sausage, and bratwurst. Two years ago Scott also began making his own prosciutto in his bladesmithing shop.

In North Carolina, passion for pork is a birthright…Whatever happens in this humble state, as tobacco slowly becomes a memory with banking and bio-tech taking its place at the center of things, hogs will remain nearest and dearest to our hearts. For better or for worse, pigs are us. 

—Randall Kenan

Editor’s Note: This work began as a project of the North Carolina Folklife Institute. Learn more about Scott’s knives at http://www.guineahogforge.com.

* * *

Guide to North Carolina and the South Chris Fowler is a North Carolinian, photographer, folklorist, and curator. In 2011 he was awarded a Lewis Hine Documentary Fellowship from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Follow his work at http://www.chrisfowlerphoto.com.

BARNARD COW FARM - VERMONT 
Randy and Lisa Robar at Kiss the Cow Farm here in Barnard, Vermont, are a part of a growing movement of raw milk farmers in the region. Raw milk is a hot button issue in Vermont for sure, with the larger dairy industry pushing hard against the small raw milk dairies. Randy and Lisa plan on making cheese this season. They currently have 14 Jerseys as well as a couple of young bulls. They also raise chickens, turkeys and a few ducks.  

General Background: Dairy Cattle. As competition rendered sheep-raising less and less profitable, Vermont turned to the manufacture of butter and cheese, especially the former, finding a market in the rapidly increasing population of the cities lying to the south of the State. Vermont already had a considerable number of dairy cows, but the change from sheep-raising to dairying involved more than a simple increase in the number of cattle and a decrease in the number of sheep. Previous to the middle of the nineteenth century such dairy products as were made were primarily for home use, and although some were sold, their production was merely incidental to the raising of beef. The cattle were partly ‘black cattle’ descended from stock brought in by the first settlers, and partly Durhams (Shorthorns). There were also a few Devons, but the Durham was the principal breed.
Breeding stock of the dairy breeds (Ayrshire, Holstein, and Jersey) was introduced during the decade from 1860 to 1870, and from then on their development was rapid. The Jersey breed soon established itself in a position of leadership; indeed, it is hardly too much to say that the Jersey cow transformed Vermont into a dairy State.
—Vermont: A Guide to the Green Mountain State (WPA, 1937)

* * *
Tara Wray is the State Guide to Vermont. A photographer and award-winning documentary filmmaker (but mainly a mom of three-year-old identical twin sons), she is drawn to photography as a means to combat the otherwise general and fleeting nature of life. Follow her on Tumblr at Tara Wray Photography and find her portfolio site at tarawray.net.
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BARNARD COW FARM - VERMONT 
Randy and Lisa Robar at Kiss the Cow Farm here in Barnard, Vermont, are a part of a growing movement of raw milk farmers in the region. Raw milk is a hot button issue in Vermont for sure, with the larger dairy industry pushing hard against the small raw milk dairies. Randy and Lisa plan on making cheese this season. They currently have 14 Jerseys as well as a couple of young bulls. They also raise chickens, turkeys and a few ducks.  

General Background: Dairy Cattle. As competition rendered sheep-raising less and less profitable, Vermont turned to the manufacture of butter and cheese, especially the former, finding a market in the rapidly increasing population of the cities lying to the south of the State. Vermont already had a considerable number of dairy cows, but the change from sheep-raising to dairying involved more than a simple increase in the number of cattle and a decrease in the number of sheep. Previous to the middle of the nineteenth century such dairy products as were made were primarily for home use, and although some were sold, their production was merely incidental to the raising of beef. The cattle were partly ‘black cattle’ descended from stock brought in by the first settlers, and partly Durhams (Shorthorns). There were also a few Devons, but the Durham was the principal breed.
Breeding stock of the dairy breeds (Ayrshire, Holstein, and Jersey) was introduced during the decade from 1860 to 1870, and from then on their development was rapid. The Jersey breed soon established itself in a position of leadership; indeed, it is hardly too much to say that the Jersey cow transformed Vermont into a dairy State.
—Vermont: A Guide to the Green Mountain State (WPA, 1937)

* * *
Tara Wray is the State Guide to Vermont. A photographer and award-winning documentary filmmaker (but mainly a mom of three-year-old identical twin sons), she is drawn to photography as a means to combat the otherwise general and fleeting nature of life. Follow her on Tumblr at Tara Wray Photography and find her portfolio site at tarawray.net.
Zoom Info
BARNARD COW FARM - VERMONT 
Randy and Lisa Robar at Kiss the Cow Farm here in Barnard, Vermont, are a part of a growing movement of raw milk farmers in the region. Raw milk is a hot button issue in Vermont for sure, with the larger dairy industry pushing hard against the small raw milk dairies. Randy and Lisa plan on making cheese this season. They currently have 14 Jerseys as well as a couple of young bulls. They also raise chickens, turkeys and a few ducks.  

General Background: Dairy Cattle. As competition rendered sheep-raising less and less profitable, Vermont turned to the manufacture of butter and cheese, especially the former, finding a market in the rapidly increasing population of the cities lying to the south of the State. Vermont already had a considerable number of dairy cows, but the change from sheep-raising to dairying involved more than a simple increase in the number of cattle and a decrease in the number of sheep. Previous to the middle of the nineteenth century such dairy products as were made were primarily for home use, and although some were sold, their production was merely incidental to the raising of beef. The cattle were partly ‘black cattle’ descended from stock brought in by the first settlers, and partly Durhams (Shorthorns). There were also a few Devons, but the Durham was the principal breed.
Breeding stock of the dairy breeds (Ayrshire, Holstein, and Jersey) was introduced during the decade from 1860 to 1870, and from then on their development was rapid. The Jersey breed soon established itself in a position of leadership; indeed, it is hardly too much to say that the Jersey cow transformed Vermont into a dairy State.
—Vermont: A Guide to the Green Mountain State (WPA, 1937)

* * *
Tara Wray is the State Guide to Vermont. A photographer and award-winning documentary filmmaker (but mainly a mom of three-year-old identical twin sons), she is drawn to photography as a means to combat the otherwise general and fleeting nature of life. Follow her on Tumblr at Tara Wray Photography and find her portfolio site at tarawray.net.
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BARNARD COW FARM - VERMONT 
Randy and Lisa Robar at Kiss the Cow Farm here in Barnard, Vermont, are a part of a growing movement of raw milk farmers in the region. Raw milk is a hot button issue in Vermont for sure, with the larger dairy industry pushing hard against the small raw milk dairies. Randy and Lisa plan on making cheese this season. They currently have 14 Jerseys as well as a couple of young bulls. They also raise chickens, turkeys and a few ducks.  

General Background: Dairy Cattle. As competition rendered sheep-raising less and less profitable, Vermont turned to the manufacture of butter and cheese, especially the former, finding a market in the rapidly increasing population of the cities lying to the south of the State. Vermont already had a considerable number of dairy cows, but the change from sheep-raising to dairying involved more than a simple increase in the number of cattle and a decrease in the number of sheep. Previous to the middle of the nineteenth century such dairy products as were made were primarily for home use, and although some were sold, their production was merely incidental to the raising of beef. The cattle were partly ‘black cattle’ descended from stock brought in by the first settlers, and partly Durhams (Shorthorns). There were also a few Devons, but the Durham was the principal breed.
Breeding stock of the dairy breeds (Ayrshire, Holstein, and Jersey) was introduced during the decade from 1860 to 1870, and from then on their development was rapid. The Jersey breed soon established itself in a position of leadership; indeed, it is hardly too much to say that the Jersey cow transformed Vermont into a dairy State.
—Vermont: A Guide to the Green Mountain State (WPA, 1937)

* * *
Tara Wray is the State Guide to Vermont. A photographer and award-winning documentary filmmaker (but mainly a mom of three-year-old identical twin sons), she is drawn to photography as a means to combat the otherwise general and fleeting nature of life. Follow her on Tumblr at Tara Wray Photography and find her portfolio site at tarawray.net.
Zoom Info
BARNARD COW FARM - VERMONT 
Randy and Lisa Robar at Kiss the Cow Farm here in Barnard, Vermont, are a part of a growing movement of raw milk farmers in the region. Raw milk is a hot button issue in Vermont for sure, with the larger dairy industry pushing hard against the small raw milk dairies. Randy and Lisa plan on making cheese this season. They currently have 14 Jerseys as well as a couple of young bulls. They also raise chickens, turkeys and a few ducks.  

General Background: Dairy Cattle. As competition rendered sheep-raising less and less profitable, Vermont turned to the manufacture of butter and cheese, especially the former, finding a market in the rapidly increasing population of the cities lying to the south of the State. Vermont already had a considerable number of dairy cows, but the change from sheep-raising to dairying involved more than a simple increase in the number of cattle and a decrease in the number of sheep. Previous to the middle of the nineteenth century such dairy products as were made were primarily for home use, and although some were sold, their production was merely incidental to the raising of beef. The cattle were partly ‘black cattle’ descended from stock brought in by the first settlers, and partly Durhams (Shorthorns). There were also a few Devons, but the Durham was the principal breed.
Breeding stock of the dairy breeds (Ayrshire, Holstein, and Jersey) was introduced during the decade from 1860 to 1870, and from then on their development was rapid. The Jersey breed soon established itself in a position of leadership; indeed, it is hardly too much to say that the Jersey cow transformed Vermont into a dairy State.
—Vermont: A Guide to the Green Mountain State (WPA, 1937)

* * *
Tara Wray is the State Guide to Vermont. A photographer and award-winning documentary filmmaker (but mainly a mom of three-year-old identical twin sons), she is drawn to photography as a means to combat the otherwise general and fleeting nature of life. Follow her on Tumblr at Tara Wray Photography and find her portfolio site at tarawray.net.
Zoom Info
BARNARD COW FARM - VERMONT 
Randy and Lisa Robar at Kiss the Cow Farm here in Barnard, Vermont, are a part of a growing movement of raw milk farmers in the region. Raw milk is a hot button issue in Vermont for sure, with the larger dairy industry pushing hard against the small raw milk dairies. Randy and Lisa plan on making cheese this season. They currently have 14 Jerseys as well as a couple of young bulls. They also raise chickens, turkeys and a few ducks.  

General Background: Dairy Cattle. As competition rendered sheep-raising less and less profitable, Vermont turned to the manufacture of butter and cheese, especially the former, finding a market in the rapidly increasing population of the cities lying to the south of the State. Vermont already had a considerable number of dairy cows, but the change from sheep-raising to dairying involved more than a simple increase in the number of cattle and a decrease in the number of sheep. Previous to the middle of the nineteenth century such dairy products as were made were primarily for home use, and although some were sold, their production was merely incidental to the raising of beef. The cattle were partly ‘black cattle’ descended from stock brought in by the first settlers, and partly Durhams (Shorthorns). There were also a few Devons, but the Durham was the principal breed.
Breeding stock of the dairy breeds (Ayrshire, Holstein, and Jersey) was introduced during the decade from 1860 to 1870, and from then on their development was rapid. The Jersey breed soon established itself in a position of leadership; indeed, it is hardly too much to say that the Jersey cow transformed Vermont into a dairy State.
—Vermont: A Guide to the Green Mountain State (WPA, 1937)

* * *
Tara Wray is the State Guide to Vermont. A photographer and award-winning documentary filmmaker (but mainly a mom of three-year-old identical twin sons), she is drawn to photography as a means to combat the otherwise general and fleeting nature of life. Follow her on Tumblr at Tara Wray Photography and find her portfolio site at tarawray.net.
Zoom Info
BARNARD COW FARM - VERMONT 
Randy and Lisa Robar at Kiss the Cow Farm here in Barnard, Vermont, are a part of a growing movement of raw milk farmers in the region. Raw milk is a hot button issue in Vermont for sure, with the larger dairy industry pushing hard against the small raw milk dairies. Randy and Lisa plan on making cheese this season. They currently have 14 Jerseys as well as a couple of young bulls. They also raise chickens, turkeys and a few ducks.  

General Background: Dairy Cattle. As competition rendered sheep-raising less and less profitable, Vermont turned to the manufacture of butter and cheese, especially the former, finding a market in the rapidly increasing population of the cities lying to the south of the State. Vermont already had a considerable number of dairy cows, but the change from sheep-raising to dairying involved more than a simple increase in the number of cattle and a decrease in the number of sheep. Previous to the middle of the nineteenth century such dairy products as were made were primarily for home use, and although some were sold, their production was merely incidental to the raising of beef. The cattle were partly ‘black cattle’ descended from stock brought in by the first settlers, and partly Durhams (Shorthorns). There were also a few Devons, but the Durham was the principal breed.
Breeding stock of the dairy breeds (Ayrshire, Holstein, and Jersey) was introduced during the decade from 1860 to 1870, and from then on their development was rapid. The Jersey breed soon established itself in a position of leadership; indeed, it is hardly too much to say that the Jersey cow transformed Vermont into a dairy State.
—Vermont: A Guide to the Green Mountain State (WPA, 1937)

* * *
Tara Wray is the State Guide to Vermont. A photographer and award-winning documentary filmmaker (but mainly a mom of three-year-old identical twin sons), she is drawn to photography as a means to combat the otherwise general and fleeting nature of life. Follow her on Tumblr at Tara Wray Photography and find her portfolio site at tarawray.net.
Zoom Info
BARNARD COW FARM - VERMONT 
Randy and Lisa Robar at Kiss the Cow Farm here in Barnard, Vermont, are a part of a growing movement of raw milk farmers in the region. Raw milk is a hot button issue in Vermont for sure, with the larger dairy industry pushing hard against the small raw milk dairies. Randy and Lisa plan on making cheese this season. They currently have 14 Jerseys as well as a couple of young bulls. They also raise chickens, turkeys and a few ducks.  

General Background: Dairy Cattle. As competition rendered sheep-raising less and less profitable, Vermont turned to the manufacture of butter and cheese, especially the former, finding a market in the rapidly increasing population of the cities lying to the south of the State. Vermont already had a considerable number of dairy cows, but the change from sheep-raising to dairying involved more than a simple increase in the number of cattle and a decrease in the number of sheep. Previous to the middle of the nineteenth century such dairy products as were made were primarily for home use, and although some were sold, their production was merely incidental to the raising of beef. The cattle were partly ‘black cattle’ descended from stock brought in by the first settlers, and partly Durhams (Shorthorns). There were also a few Devons, but the Durham was the principal breed.
Breeding stock of the dairy breeds (Ayrshire, Holstein, and Jersey) was introduced during the decade from 1860 to 1870, and from then on their development was rapid. The Jersey breed soon established itself in a position of leadership; indeed, it is hardly too much to say that the Jersey cow transformed Vermont into a dairy State.
—Vermont: A Guide to the Green Mountain State (WPA, 1937)

* * *
Tara Wray is the State Guide to Vermont. A photographer and award-winning documentary filmmaker (but mainly a mom of three-year-old identical twin sons), she is drawn to photography as a means to combat the otherwise general and fleeting nature of life. Follow her on Tumblr at Tara Wray Photography and find her portfolio site at tarawray.net.
Zoom Info
BARNARD COW FARM - VERMONT 
Randy and Lisa Robar at Kiss the Cow Farm here in Barnard, Vermont, are a part of a growing movement of raw milk farmers in the region. Raw milk is a hot button issue in Vermont for sure, with the larger dairy industry pushing hard against the small raw milk dairies. Randy and Lisa plan on making cheese this season. They currently have 14 Jerseys as well as a couple of young bulls. They also raise chickens, turkeys and a few ducks.  

General Background: Dairy Cattle. As competition rendered sheep-raising less and less profitable, Vermont turned to the manufacture of butter and cheese, especially the former, finding a market in the rapidly increasing population of the cities lying to the south of the State. Vermont already had a considerable number of dairy cows, but the change from sheep-raising to dairying involved more than a simple increase in the number of cattle and a decrease in the number of sheep. Previous to the middle of the nineteenth century such dairy products as were made were primarily for home use, and although some were sold, their production was merely incidental to the raising of beef. The cattle were partly ‘black cattle’ descended from stock brought in by the first settlers, and partly Durhams (Shorthorns). There were also a few Devons, but the Durham was the principal breed.
Breeding stock of the dairy breeds (Ayrshire, Holstein, and Jersey) was introduced during the decade from 1860 to 1870, and from then on their development was rapid. The Jersey breed soon established itself in a position of leadership; indeed, it is hardly too much to say that the Jersey cow transformed Vermont into a dairy State.
—Vermont: A Guide to the Green Mountain State (WPA, 1937)

* * *
Tara Wray is the State Guide to Vermont. A photographer and award-winning documentary filmmaker (but mainly a mom of three-year-old identical twin sons), she is drawn to photography as a means to combat the otherwise general and fleeting nature of life. Follow her on Tumblr at Tara Wray Photography and find her portfolio site at tarawray.net.
Zoom Info

BARNARD COW FARM - VERMONT 

Randy and Lisa Robar at Kiss the Cow Farm here in Barnard, Vermont, are a part of a growing movement of raw milk farmers in the region. Raw milk is a hot button issue in Vermont for sure, with the larger dairy industry pushing hard against the small raw milk dairies. Randy and Lisa plan on making cheese this season. They currently have 14 Jerseys as well as a couple of young bulls. They also raise chickens, turkeys and a few ducks.  

General Background: Dairy Cattle. As competition rendered sheep-raising less and less profitable, Vermont turned to the manufacture of butter and cheese, especially the former, finding a market in the rapidly increasing population of the cities lying to the south of the State. Vermont already had a considerable number of dairy cows, but the change from sheep-raising to dairying involved more than a simple increase in the number of cattle and a decrease in the number of sheep. Previous to the middle of the nineteenth century such dairy products as were made were primarily for home use, and although some were sold, their production was merely incidental to the raising of beef. The cattle were partly ‘black cattle’ descended from stock brought in by the first settlers, and partly Durhams (Shorthorns). There were also a few Devons, but the Durham was the principal breed.

Breeding stock of the dairy breeds (Ayrshire, Holstein, and Jersey) was introduced during the decade from 1860 to 1870, and from then on their development was rapid. The Jersey breed soon established itself in a position of leadership; indeed, it is hardly too much to say that the Jersey cow transformed Vermont into a dairy State.

Vermont: A Guide to the Green Mountain State (WPA, 1937)

* * *

Tara Wray is the State Guide to Vermont. A photographer and award-winning documentary filmmaker (but mainly a mom of three-year-old identical twin sons), she is drawn to photography as a means to combat the otherwise general and fleeting nature of life. Follow her on Tumblr at Tara Wray Photography and find her portfolio site at tarawray.net.

SOME NATIVE ANIMALS in the OHIO HISTORICAL SOCIETY - COLUMBUS, OHIO

About 60 species of mammals inhabit Ohio. With the exception of a few deer and bear, protected by State law in reservations, only the smaller animals run wild. The opossum, squirrel, rabbit, raccoon, and red fox thrive in Ohio woods and fields.

The Ohio Guide (WPA, 1940)

American Guide Week lingers with some pre-Thanksgiving stuffing from Karen Schreiber. 

* * *

Karen Schreiber was born and raised in California and moved to Ohio several years ago. She was skeptical about moving to a state that had an actual winter but now that she’s lived here, she wouldn’t give up the four seasons for anything. Follow her on Tumblr at parttimecynic.tumblr.com.

JEAN LAFITTE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK AND PRESERVE - MARRERO, LOUISIANA
Covered in lichens, garlanded by Spanish moss comes this delta dispatch from photographer Elena Ricci:

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is located in Marrero, Louisiana, just south of New Orleans.
Sweeping landscapes of marsh reeds, palmetto thickets and soaring cypress trees make this park a prime example of the uniqueness of Louisiana’s Mississippi delta region. Hidden amongst the vegetation are critters, large and small, playing the predator and prey game on a picturesque backdrop. Great horned owls, vultures, alligators, boars, raccoons, rabbits, spiders and snakes are just a few of the animals that call this beautiful swampland home.
Visitors welcome, their door is always open.
[Some 35mm film, some 120mm film, some digital and some cell phone; All swamp.]

* * *
Elena Ricci is a photographer living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana. Most of her photography focuses on the South, but she travels far and often. As an ongoing collaborative, she makes up one fourth of the lady photo ensemble Southerly Gold. Find Elena’s website at elenaricciphotography.com and follow her on Tumblr at elenaricciphotography.tumblr.com.
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JEAN LAFITTE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK AND PRESERVE - MARRERO, LOUISIANA
Covered in lichens, garlanded by Spanish moss comes this delta dispatch from photographer Elena Ricci:

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is located in Marrero, Louisiana, just south of New Orleans.
Sweeping landscapes of marsh reeds, palmetto thickets and soaring cypress trees make this park a prime example of the uniqueness of Louisiana’s Mississippi delta region. Hidden amongst the vegetation are critters, large and small, playing the predator and prey game on a picturesque backdrop. Great horned owls, vultures, alligators, boars, raccoons, rabbits, spiders and snakes are just a few of the animals that call this beautiful swampland home.
Visitors welcome, their door is always open.
[Some 35mm film, some 120mm film, some digital and some cell phone; All swamp.]

* * *
Elena Ricci is a photographer living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana. Most of her photography focuses on the South, but she travels far and often. As an ongoing collaborative, she makes up one fourth of the lady photo ensemble Southerly Gold. Find Elena’s website at elenaricciphotography.com and follow her on Tumblr at elenaricciphotography.tumblr.com.
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JEAN LAFITTE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK AND PRESERVE - MARRERO, LOUISIANA
Covered in lichens, garlanded by Spanish moss comes this delta dispatch from photographer Elena Ricci:

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is located in Marrero, Louisiana, just south of New Orleans.
Sweeping landscapes of marsh reeds, palmetto thickets and soaring cypress trees make this park a prime example of the uniqueness of Louisiana’s Mississippi delta region. Hidden amongst the vegetation are critters, large and small, playing the predator and prey game on a picturesque backdrop. Great horned owls, vultures, alligators, boars, raccoons, rabbits, spiders and snakes are just a few of the animals that call this beautiful swampland home.
Visitors welcome, their door is always open.
[Some 35mm film, some 120mm film, some digital and some cell phone; All swamp.]

* * *
Elena Ricci is a photographer living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana. Most of her photography focuses on the South, but she travels far and often. As an ongoing collaborative, she makes up one fourth of the lady photo ensemble Southerly Gold. Find Elena’s website at elenaricciphotography.com and follow her on Tumblr at elenaricciphotography.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
JEAN LAFITTE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK AND PRESERVE - MARRERO, LOUISIANA
Covered in lichens, garlanded by Spanish moss comes this delta dispatch from photographer Elena Ricci:

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is located in Marrero, Louisiana, just south of New Orleans.
Sweeping landscapes of marsh reeds, palmetto thickets and soaring cypress trees make this park a prime example of the uniqueness of Louisiana’s Mississippi delta region. Hidden amongst the vegetation are critters, large and small, playing the predator and prey game on a picturesque backdrop. Great horned owls, vultures, alligators, boars, raccoons, rabbits, spiders and snakes are just a few of the animals that call this beautiful swampland home.
Visitors welcome, their door is always open.
[Some 35mm film, some 120mm film, some digital and some cell phone; All swamp.]

* * *
Elena Ricci is a photographer living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana. Most of her photography focuses on the South, but she travels far and often. As an ongoing collaborative, she makes up one fourth of the lady photo ensemble Southerly Gold. Find Elena’s website at elenaricciphotography.com and follow her on Tumblr at elenaricciphotography.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info

JEAN LAFITTE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK AND PRESERVE - MARRERO, LOUISIANA

Covered in lichens, garlanded by Spanish moss comes this delta dispatch from photographer Elena Ricci:

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is located in Marrero, Louisiana, just south of New Orleans.

Sweeping landscapes of marsh reeds, palmetto thickets and soaring cypress trees make this park a prime example of the uniqueness of Louisiana’s Mississippi delta region. Hidden amongst the vegetation are critters, large and small, playing the predator and prey game on a picturesque backdrop. Great horned owls, vultures, alligators, boars, raccoons, rabbits, spiders and snakes are just a few of the animals that call this beautiful swampland home.

Visitors welcome, their door is always open.

[Some 35mm film, some 120mm film, some digital and some cell phone; All swamp.]

* * *

Elena Ricci is a photographer living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana. Most of her photography focuses on the South, but she travels far and often. As an ongoing collaborative, she makes up one fourth of the lady photo ensemble Southerly Gold. Find Elena’s website at elenaricciphotography.com and follow her on Tumblr at elenaricciphotography.tumblr.com.

FLORA and FAUNA - MOJAVE DESERT, NEVADA
Still so much good stuff from American Guide Week to share. Corinne checks in from Nevada and- AHHHHHHH baby bobcats! baby rabbits! skeptical-faced desert tortoise!

Here’s just a small sampling of the diversity and beauty found in the Mojave Desert for the American Guide week assignment flora and fauna. And representing Nevada! As a wildlife biologist, I’m outside in all types of weather and terrain, and that means I’m lucky enough to observe the wildflowers in the spring, the elusive desert tortoise, and many a sunrise and sunset across the wide open desert.
People may think of the desert as a barren, boring area, but it’s anything but! This spring in Nevada, I got rained and hailed on, saw an incredible array of wildflowers, spotted a Gila monster, many tortoises, and so many tiny animals (including but not limited to the bobcats and jackrabbits pictured above).
Working outside has given me a great appreciation for the beauty and fragility of the Mojave and the rest of our open spaces; and all of the hard work that goes into making sure that these ecosystems stay healthy and can be enjoyed by future generations. Desert landscapes do have lower diversity than other types of habitat, but the plants and animals that have adapted to thrive there are incredibly unique. Don’t forget about the deserts of the American southwest when you are planning an adventure in the great outdoors!
species pictured: bobcat kittens, schinia ligeae moth on a mojave aster, juvenile black-tailed jackrabbit, western pygmy blue butterfly, and mojave desert tortoise

* * *
Corinne is from New England but has been working and adventuring around the southwest for about three years. She’s a wildlife biologist, so her work revolves around hiking, camping, and studying rare wildlife. When she’s not living and working out in the desert, she’s road tripping to visit museums, mountains, and anywhere there is Water. Follow her on Tumblr on c-quoia.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
FLORA and FAUNA - MOJAVE DESERT, NEVADA
Still so much good stuff from American Guide Week to share. Corinne checks in from Nevada and- AHHHHHHH baby bobcats! baby rabbits! skeptical-faced desert tortoise!

Here’s just a small sampling of the diversity and beauty found in the Mojave Desert for the American Guide week assignment flora and fauna. And representing Nevada! As a wildlife biologist, I’m outside in all types of weather and terrain, and that means I’m lucky enough to observe the wildflowers in the spring, the elusive desert tortoise, and many a sunrise and sunset across the wide open desert.
People may think of the desert as a barren, boring area, but it’s anything but! This spring in Nevada, I got rained and hailed on, saw an incredible array of wildflowers, spotted a Gila monster, many tortoises, and so many tiny animals (including but not limited to the bobcats and jackrabbits pictured above).
Working outside has given me a great appreciation for the beauty and fragility of the Mojave and the rest of our open spaces; and all of the hard work that goes into making sure that these ecosystems stay healthy and can be enjoyed by future generations. Desert landscapes do have lower diversity than other types of habitat, but the plants and animals that have adapted to thrive there are incredibly unique. Don’t forget about the deserts of the American southwest when you are planning an adventure in the great outdoors!
species pictured: bobcat kittens, schinia ligeae moth on a mojave aster, juvenile black-tailed jackrabbit, western pygmy blue butterfly, and mojave desert tortoise

* * *
Corinne is from New England but has been working and adventuring around the southwest for about three years. She’s a wildlife biologist, so her work revolves around hiking, camping, and studying rare wildlife. When she’s not living and working out in the desert, she’s road tripping to visit museums, mountains, and anywhere there is Water. Follow her on Tumblr on c-quoia.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
FLORA and FAUNA - MOJAVE DESERT, NEVADA
Still so much good stuff from American Guide Week to share. Corinne checks in from Nevada and- AHHHHHHH baby bobcats! baby rabbits! skeptical-faced desert tortoise!

Here’s just a small sampling of the diversity and beauty found in the Mojave Desert for the American Guide week assignment flora and fauna. And representing Nevada! As a wildlife biologist, I’m outside in all types of weather and terrain, and that means I’m lucky enough to observe the wildflowers in the spring, the elusive desert tortoise, and many a sunrise and sunset across the wide open desert.
People may think of the desert as a barren, boring area, but it’s anything but! This spring in Nevada, I got rained and hailed on, saw an incredible array of wildflowers, spotted a Gila monster, many tortoises, and so many tiny animals (including but not limited to the bobcats and jackrabbits pictured above).
Working outside has given me a great appreciation for the beauty and fragility of the Mojave and the rest of our open spaces; and all of the hard work that goes into making sure that these ecosystems stay healthy and can be enjoyed by future generations. Desert landscapes do have lower diversity than other types of habitat, but the plants and animals that have adapted to thrive there are incredibly unique. Don’t forget about the deserts of the American southwest when you are planning an adventure in the great outdoors!
species pictured: bobcat kittens, schinia ligeae moth on a mojave aster, juvenile black-tailed jackrabbit, western pygmy blue butterfly, and mojave desert tortoise

* * *
Corinne is from New England but has been working and adventuring around the southwest for about three years. She’s a wildlife biologist, so her work revolves around hiking, camping, and studying rare wildlife. When she’s not living and working out in the desert, she’s road tripping to visit museums, mountains, and anywhere there is Water. Follow her on Tumblr on c-quoia.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
FLORA and FAUNA - MOJAVE DESERT, NEVADA
Still so much good stuff from American Guide Week to share. Corinne checks in from Nevada and- AHHHHHHH baby bobcats! baby rabbits! skeptical-faced desert tortoise!

Here’s just a small sampling of the diversity and beauty found in the Mojave Desert for the American Guide week assignment flora and fauna. And representing Nevada! As a wildlife biologist, I’m outside in all types of weather and terrain, and that means I’m lucky enough to observe the wildflowers in the spring, the elusive desert tortoise, and many a sunrise and sunset across the wide open desert.
People may think of the desert as a barren, boring area, but it’s anything but! This spring in Nevada, I got rained and hailed on, saw an incredible array of wildflowers, spotted a Gila monster, many tortoises, and so many tiny animals (including but not limited to the bobcats and jackrabbits pictured above).
Working outside has given me a great appreciation for the beauty and fragility of the Mojave and the rest of our open spaces; and all of the hard work that goes into making sure that these ecosystems stay healthy and can be enjoyed by future generations. Desert landscapes do have lower diversity than other types of habitat, but the plants and animals that have adapted to thrive there are incredibly unique. Don’t forget about the deserts of the American southwest when you are planning an adventure in the great outdoors!
species pictured: bobcat kittens, schinia ligeae moth on a mojave aster, juvenile black-tailed jackrabbit, western pygmy blue butterfly, and mojave desert tortoise

* * *
Corinne is from New England but has been working and adventuring around the southwest for about three years. She’s a wildlife biologist, so her work revolves around hiking, camping, and studying rare wildlife. When she’s not living and working out in the desert, she’s road tripping to visit museums, mountains, and anywhere there is Water. Follow her on Tumblr on c-quoia.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
FLORA and FAUNA - MOJAVE DESERT, NEVADA
Still so much good stuff from American Guide Week to share. Corinne checks in from Nevada and- AHHHHHHH baby bobcats! baby rabbits! skeptical-faced desert tortoise!

Here’s just a small sampling of the diversity and beauty found in the Mojave Desert for the American Guide week assignment flora and fauna. And representing Nevada! As a wildlife biologist, I’m outside in all types of weather and terrain, and that means I’m lucky enough to observe the wildflowers in the spring, the elusive desert tortoise, and many a sunrise and sunset across the wide open desert.
People may think of the desert as a barren, boring area, but it’s anything but! This spring in Nevada, I got rained and hailed on, saw an incredible array of wildflowers, spotted a Gila monster, many tortoises, and so many tiny animals (including but not limited to the bobcats and jackrabbits pictured above).
Working outside has given me a great appreciation for the beauty and fragility of the Mojave and the rest of our open spaces; and all of the hard work that goes into making sure that these ecosystems stay healthy and can be enjoyed by future generations. Desert landscapes do have lower diversity than other types of habitat, but the plants and animals that have adapted to thrive there are incredibly unique. Don’t forget about the deserts of the American southwest when you are planning an adventure in the great outdoors!
species pictured: bobcat kittens, schinia ligeae moth on a mojave aster, juvenile black-tailed jackrabbit, western pygmy blue butterfly, and mojave desert tortoise

* * *
Corinne is from New England but has been working and adventuring around the southwest for about three years. She’s a wildlife biologist, so her work revolves around hiking, camping, and studying rare wildlife. When she’s not living and working out in the desert, she’s road tripping to visit museums, mountains, and anywhere there is Water. Follow her on Tumblr on c-quoia.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info
FLORA and FAUNA - MOJAVE DESERT, NEVADA
Still so much good stuff from American Guide Week to share. Corinne checks in from Nevada and- AHHHHHHH baby bobcats! baby rabbits! skeptical-faced desert tortoise!

Here’s just a small sampling of the diversity and beauty found in the Mojave Desert for the American Guide week assignment flora and fauna. And representing Nevada! As a wildlife biologist, I’m outside in all types of weather and terrain, and that means I’m lucky enough to observe the wildflowers in the spring, the elusive desert tortoise, and many a sunrise and sunset across the wide open desert.
People may think of the desert as a barren, boring area, but it’s anything but! This spring in Nevada, I got rained and hailed on, saw an incredible array of wildflowers, spotted a Gila monster, many tortoises, and so many tiny animals (including but not limited to the bobcats and jackrabbits pictured above).
Working outside has given me a great appreciation for the beauty and fragility of the Mojave and the rest of our open spaces; and all of the hard work that goes into making sure that these ecosystems stay healthy and can be enjoyed by future generations. Desert landscapes do have lower diversity than other types of habitat, but the plants and animals that have adapted to thrive there are incredibly unique. Don’t forget about the deserts of the American southwest when you are planning an adventure in the great outdoors!
species pictured: bobcat kittens, schinia ligeae moth on a mojave aster, juvenile black-tailed jackrabbit, western pygmy blue butterfly, and mojave desert tortoise

* * *
Corinne is from New England but has been working and adventuring around the southwest for about three years. She’s a wildlife biologist, so her work revolves around hiking, camping, and studying rare wildlife. When she’s not living and working out in the desert, she’s road tripping to visit museums, mountains, and anywhere there is Water. Follow her on Tumblr on c-quoia.tumblr.com.
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FLORA and FAUNA - MOJAVE DESERT, NEVADA
Still so much good stuff from American Guide Week to share. Corinne checks in from Nevada and- AHHHHHHH baby bobcats! baby rabbits! skeptical-faced desert tortoise!

Here’s just a small sampling of the diversity and beauty found in the Mojave Desert for the American Guide week assignment flora and fauna. And representing Nevada! As a wildlife biologist, I’m outside in all types of weather and terrain, and that means I’m lucky enough to observe the wildflowers in the spring, the elusive desert tortoise, and many a sunrise and sunset across the wide open desert.
People may think of the desert as a barren, boring area, but it’s anything but! This spring in Nevada, I got rained and hailed on, saw an incredible array of wildflowers, spotted a Gila monster, many tortoises, and so many tiny animals (including but not limited to the bobcats and jackrabbits pictured above).
Working outside has given me a great appreciation for the beauty and fragility of the Mojave and the rest of our open spaces; and all of the hard work that goes into making sure that these ecosystems stay healthy and can be enjoyed by future generations. Desert landscapes do have lower diversity than other types of habitat, but the plants and animals that have adapted to thrive there are incredibly unique. Don’t forget about the deserts of the American southwest when you are planning an adventure in the great outdoors!
species pictured: bobcat kittens, schinia ligeae moth on a mojave aster, juvenile black-tailed jackrabbit, western pygmy blue butterfly, and mojave desert tortoise

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Corinne is from New England but has been working and adventuring around the southwest for about three years. She’s a wildlife biologist, so her work revolves around hiking, camping, and studying rare wildlife. When she’s not living and working out in the desert, she’s road tripping to visit museums, mountains, and anywhere there is Water. Follow her on Tumblr on c-quoia.tumblr.com.
Zoom Info

FLORA and FAUNA - MOJAVE DESERT, NEVADA

Still so much good stuff from American Guide Week to share. Corinne checks in from Nevada and- AHHHHHHH baby bobcats! baby rabbits! skeptical-faced desert tortoise!

Here’s just a small sampling of the diversity and beauty found in the Mojave Desert for the American Guide week assignment flora and fauna. And representing Nevada! As a wildlife biologist, I’m outside in all types of weather and terrain, and that means I’m lucky enough to observe the wildflowers in the spring, the elusive desert tortoise, and many a sunrise and sunset across the wide open desert.

People may think of the desert as a barren, boring area, but it’s anything but! This spring in Nevada, I got rained and hailed on, saw an incredible array of wildflowers, spotted a Gila monster, many tortoises, and so many tiny animals (including but not limited to the bobcats and jackrabbits pictured above).

Working outside has given me a great appreciation for the beauty and fragility of the Mojave and the rest of our open spaces; and all of the hard work that goes into making sure that these ecosystems stay healthy and can be enjoyed by future generations. Desert landscapes do have lower diversity than other types of habitat, but the plants and animals that have adapted to thrive there are incredibly unique. Don’t forget about the deserts of the American southwest when you are planning an adventure in the great outdoors!

species pictured: bobcat kittens, schinia ligeae moth on a mojave aster, juvenile black-tailed jackrabbit, western pygmy blue butterfly, and mojave desert tortoise

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Corinne is from New England but has been working and adventuring around the southwest for about three years. She’s a wildlife biologist, so her work revolves around hiking, camping, and studying rare wildlife. When she’s not living and working out in the desert, she’s road tripping to visit museums, mountains, and anywhere there is Water. Follow her on Tumblr on c-quoia.tumblr.com.

THE HINDU TEMPLE SOCIETY - QUEENS, NEW YORK

Did you know that in addition to American Guide Week, it’s Animal Week over at the amazing Atlas Obscura? If you haven’t seen the incredible Lake Monsters of America map, get over there now. In order to help celebrate Animal Week, we dug up an American Guide dispatch on the day an elephant walked the streets of Queens.

Amidst the detached houses and backyard kiddie pools of Flushing, Queens, the elephant-headed Lord Ganesha receives visitors and devotees to the Hindu Temple Society of North America’s Šri Mahã Vallabha Ganapati Devasthãnam. As the presiding deity and a prominent god in the Hindu pantheon, Lord Ganesha’s shrine sits at the focal point of the sunlit temple space.  

Ganesha, the son of Shiva, is the remover of obstacles and inspires intense devotion in the worshippers who come to ask his blessings. Temple-goers bring offerings on a daily basis, but for special occasions — such as Ganesha’s birthday, Ganesh Chaturthi — elaborate gifts of food are presented. In 1995, the “milk miracle” was witnessed at the Queens temple when brass statues of Ganesha reportedly drank milk offerings held under their trunks.

For particularly auspicious ceremonies like the consecration of altars or the infusion of divine energy into temple statues, a live elephant attends the festivities. Upon the Temple’s re-consecration in 2009, Minnie the elephant graciously accepted the respectful touches and offerings of an admiring crowd. (Minnie’s trainer mentioned that she also does weddings.)

You can see more photos and details on how to visit the Temple over at Atlas Obscura.

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Atlas Obscura is the definitive guide to the world’s wondrous and curious places. If you’re searching for MINIATURE CITIESGLASS FLOWERSBOOKS BOUND IN HUMAN SKINGIGANTIC FLAMING HOLES IN THE GROUNDBONE CHURCHESBALANCING PAGODAS, or HOMES BUILT ENTIRELY OUT OF PAPER, Atlas Obscura is where you’ll find them.

Find them at AtlasObscura.com and follow them on Tumblr at atlasobscura.tumblr.com

A FOREST IN THE BRONX - NEW YORK, NEW YORK

A half-hour’s ride from Times Square ends in a rural stillness foreign to the crowded city. The quiet is heightened by the splash of waterfalls and the call of birds, while the slanting sunshine is broken into mazy patterns by hemlock, oak, and sassafras.

New York City Guide (WPA, 1939)

As we type this, we sit only that mere subway ride away from The New York Botanical Garden. After reading their gorgeous dispatch for American Guide Week, it is taking much restraint not to slip out of work and catch the last light of the afternoon filtering down on their woodland trails.  

Of the five boroughs of New York City, the Bronx is arguably the greenest, with over 7,000 acres of parkland, which means around 25% of the borough’s land is set aside for recreation and relaxation.

And what’s more, 50-acres of that—our own Thain Family Forest—is the largest remaining remnant of the primeval forests which once covered the entirety of New York City before colonization. This un-cut, old growth woodland was once home to the Lenape Indians, and today is home to an assortment of native animals and plants and the scientists who study them.

The Forest contains over a mile of hiking trails which weave along and over the Bronx River. The Bronx River is New York City’s only freshwater river (the Hudson River is a fjord and is tidal up to Troy, and the East River is a tidal straight connecting to the Long Island Sound) and is home to New York City’s only beaver population, and a returned population of alewife, as well as an assortment of waterfowl and other local fish, reptiles, and amphibians. At certain special events held at the Garden, and in conjunction with our partners at the Bronx River Alliance, it is possible to canoe on the river, though there is a portage around the waterfall and gorge.

The Forest, and the adjacent woodland of the Native Plant Garden, is home to an important collection of deciduous trees including newly reintroduced American Chestnuts, the incredibly tall London planes, many varieties of maple, birch, and oak, along with sweetgum, tulip trees, and hickory, and populations of troubled species like hemlocks, elm, and ash. The Forest also contains an important collection of conifers. In addition, the understory is populated by beautiful native shrubs and small trees including shadbush, eastern redbud, dogwood, American hazelnut, and home to a beautiful display of spring ephemeral wildflowers. See a complete listing of all the plants in the Thain Family Forest here.

The animals that call the Thain Family Forest home are every bit as diverse and interesting as the plants that serve as their homes and food. In addition to the very famous beavers, the Forest is also home to a population of great-horned owls with a penchant for nesting in trees that allow for easy observation—a rarity in any forest, let alone one situated in the middle of a city! The owls are joined by many, many other birds, including red-tailed hawks, Cooper’s hawks, saw-whet owls, barred owls, a gorgeous array of migrating warblers, cheeky chickadees, hummingbirds, turkeys, herons, ducks, and so many more! In addition, keep an eye out for muskrats, snapping turtles, black squirrels, raccoons, and even the occasional fox. Don’t bet on seeing all these animals when you visit though. Many of them are very shy and will only come out at night. But the most important thing is this: Please do not feed the animals, and please do not approach them or try to pet them. We want them to stay wild forever!

So, I do hope that our guide to the flora and fauna of the Thain Family Forest has enticed you to come visit us. The easiest way to reach the Garden is by Metro-North Rail Road on the Harlem Line from Grand Central Terminal. It is an approximately 22-minute ride that lets you off at Botanical Garden Station, directly across from our entrance. We’re always happy to answer your questions, so feel free to drop us a line. The Forest is beautiful in all seasons, yes, even in winter! So don’t let cooler temperatures dissuade you. I hope to see you on the trails soon! ~AR

Photos by NYBG photograher Ivo M. Vermeulen, and from the digital archives of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library.

COUNTY FAIR - TENNESSEE 

The county fair is best experienced at dusk with the smell of deep-fried oreos filling the air. I associate fair season with summer’s end and that last blast of oppressive heat and humidity. As wrathful as summer can be at this time, seeing the ferris wheel glow means that there will be a bit of a breeze when the sun goes down.

People from all walks of life stroll along the Midway. Young couples stray from their large group of high school friends and embrace quietly between the clanging whirring rides. A man with a straight billed cap wants to impress his wife by raising a giant mallet and sending a puck up the High Striker. Children sit at the edge of their seats straining to see the cars in the open-air arena growl and shift into gear and smash all of the other cars in its path until no one can move.

Beside the Midway is the heart of the fair — the friendly competition of neighbors showing off their art, from a smoked ham to a perfectly groomed angora rabbit. My Mom, who grew up in Iowa, has great memories of exhibiting at the fair through 4H. Growing up on a farm with a big family, you are instantly part of a well-oiled machine. Along with childhood mischief, she also had chores and important jobs. As the oldest child, she learned to drive at twelve to help caravan farm equipment from their farm to my Great-Grandpa’s farm. With her 4H cow, she was solely in charge and took great pride in raising and showing it.

I see that same pride today walking around the barns full of animals and crafts. A ten year old boy, usually unable to sit still for a moment, gently applies Purple Oil to his goat’s horns, explaining to me that it makes them shine for judging and I shouldn’t touch them. The fair requires discipline and preparation. He spent months walking the goat on a lead for exercise and sociability, grooming him often, and caring for him daily.

The fair is a magical place where young people can try on their more adult selves and grown-ups can act like children.

Editor’s note:

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Tammy Mercure is a State Guide to Tennessee. She was recently named one of the “100 under 100: The New Superstars of Southern Art” by Oxford American magazine.

Follow on Tumblr at tammymercure or on her website,TammyMercure.com. Support her work at TCB Press.