Francie Von Mertens

Contributor, Something Wild

Have you heard about coffee that's for the birds? There definitely is such a thing: shade-grown coffee. Until recently that's how all coffee grew: in the shade on small family farms. Canopy trees above provided shade along with a natural leaf mulch that kept soil moist, prevented soil erosion, and decomposed to provide nutrients. The canopy typically included fruit and nut trees that provided food for the farm family.

I admit to being a distracted driver at times, but it's not for the usual reasons. I'm looking for moose, but not the kind wildlife biologists usually look for. I'm looking for a small moose on car license plates.

For ten years now New Hampshire's moose license plates have raised significant funds for conservation of both historic and natural resources. Land has been conserved; loons and other endangered species protected; nature education brought into classrooms; historic buildings and covered bridges fixed up along with buildings in our state parks.

<a href="http://naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com/category/december/">Mary Holland</a>

The natural world quiets down in December, both visually and audibly. Fall's riot of colors is long gone, and the bird song chorus is a distant memory. Not everyone embraces winter, but there is a positive way to view the impending season of cold, ice and snow. Without the overload of spring, summer and fall distractions, we're freed up to notice and appreciate the subtle winter world.

ipmckenna / Flickr/Creative Commons

Here's a bird song we all recognize, the familiar crowing of, yes, crows, a species with many vocalizations. Crows are one of the most intelligent animals in the wild, and a lot of intelligent people have come up with theories to explain why.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/zaniac/">ZaNiaC</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons.

Like other species in North America, the beaver suffered when the Europeans arrived, but they've staged an impressive comeback.

Lorianne DiSabato via Flickr/Creative Commons

  New England's distinctive stone walls are estimated to stretch 240,000 miles, the distance from Earth to the Moon. Though the layout seems maze-like, there was a method behind the construction. And with winter's reduced foliage, now is an especially good time to take a closer look. 

 

A homesteading family worked the land in four ways, each requiring different precision of sifting of the land.

Pages