Weathering winter A gardener's daybook

Carl H. Klaus

Book - 1997

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2nd Floor 635/Klaus Due Mar 4, 2024
Iowa City, IA : University of Iowa Press 1997.
Main Author
Carl H. Klaus (-)
Physical Description
184 p.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

After the theatrical, profligate growth recorded in Klaus's lovely My Vegetable Love: A Journal of a Growing Season, it's hard to imagine what he'll do with sterile winter. But the dead of winter is a misnomer, and during the two and a half months (December 31st to March 15th) recorded here, he recounts the swings in the season and his own mood. From the first wrinkly, overpriced store-bought green pepper, he thinks of his own crops. Working with the odd spider plant, household geranium or cymbidium orchid isn't enough for Klaus. Although the garden is largely inactive, the gardener can't be, and Klaus bides his time in optimistic plantings, in fears for vegetables exposed to harsh temperatures, in defrosting the bounty of harvests past and, most of all in gardening dreams, that first of which arrives in the indescribably enticing form of a seed catalogue. He's at his best when he describes the loveliness of winter, like the red of the barberry against the snow, or a day "so cold and dry that flakes glisten in the air and glitter on the snow." But winter is clearly not Klaus's favorite season, and too much of his daybook is thinking about the weather, checking the pulse of the season, looking for signs that it is on its way out. In this way, in particular, this seems like a prelude to My Vegetable Love, in which Klaus reveals his true passions. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

What does a thoughtful and serious gardener do instead of gardening in the wintertime in Iowa City? Lesser individuals might have flown off to the Caribbean to survive a Midwest freeze; Klaus (My Vegetable Love: A Journal of a Growing Season, LJ 8/96) instead contemplates the effects of wintertime on plants, animals, and people. Most Midwesterners garden only in their houses or minds during the early months of the year, but Klaus constantly plans for the coming growing months. Writing of an Iowa winter from December 31, 1994, to March 15, 1995, he reflects on the rhythms of life, showing how routines and work help one get through the bleak days. This individual perspective on winter is both a diary and insight into human existence. Readers in public libraries will find life here that will keep them looking forward to another spring and gardening season.‘Dale Frederick Luchsinger, Milwaukee Area Technical Coll. Lib, Wis. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

The journal of one winter by Klaus, a gardener, writer, and semi-retired teacher stranded happily in Iowa City. Meant as a companion volume to Klaus's previous daybook, My Vegetable Love (1996), this diary sequel was kept during the winter of 1996 from New Year's Eve to March 15th. It is smaller and less vital than the book before. Perhaps the season itself imposed a constraint on Klaus--gardeners like to have growth to write about. For lack of that in his snow-filled ``three-quarter-acre lot,'' the wind-chilled author becomes monotonously obsessed with his midwestern ``warlike weatherscape.'' He combs the Internet, the Weather Channel, and the almanacs for long-range forecasts, fussing over the season's shifting moods and temperatures. To soothe mild woes, he downs countless bowls of soup. He ritually walks his dog, doctors his cat, considers seeds, and feeds the birds. Klaus's inevitable cabin fever, though, fails to lead him toward introspection or insight. He doesn't have the stamina, the imagination, or the bent to think about winter or observe it in depth. Even his verbal snapshots of wintry scenes seem willfully trite. His avuncular charm may need a fuller page, a tree with fruit to describe--not the grip of ice. The fact that the season brings him no real hardship, only a predictable frustration and inconvenience, also keeps the drama out of this tale of supposed stoicism and rumored wherewithal. When Klaus worries that his written ``winter watch'' may seem ``trivial'' to others, he is right. Dull heartland postcards about the fallow months.

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