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A Naturalist Buys an Old Farm Paperback – October 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Bibliopola (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0939883023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0939883028
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #957,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

6 x 9 trim. LC 98-73453

About the Author

EDWIN WAY TEALE won both the Pulitzer prize and the John Burroughs Medal for distinguished nature writing. His work ranks with the best, that of Thoreau, Muir, Burroughs and Olson.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on September 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
Edwin Way Teale won both the Pulitzer Prize and the John Burroughs Medal for distinguished nature writing. If you are interested in the natural history of our land, his 'American Seasons' series is the perfect place to start reading. All of his books, including "A Naturalist Buys an Old Farm" reflect the philosophy of Thoreau and Muir and the value they placed on the meaning and beauty of the natural world.
This author belongs to the same generation of nature writers as Rachel Carson, Loren Eiseley, Sigurd Olson, and Lewis Thomas, but his writing style is less didactic, gentler, more wondering. He shares his life on an old Connecticut farm now reverting to its original wildness, with keen observation and unabashed wonder. Edwin Way Teale was the opposite of cynical. He was a man who loved to wake up in the morning, whether it was to freshly fallen snow, the "trip-hammer tattoo" of a flicker "in the full flush of his springtime exuberance," or even the fiery blisters from a run-in with poison sumac. As to the latter experience, he writes that it was shared with John Burroughs who, sixty-eight years before on the banks of the Hudson, "had viewed the world through one eye...while the other was swelled shut as a result of encountering poison sumac."
In chapter one, "Three Circles on a Map," Edwin and his wife Nellie spend three years searching for the perfect home, surrounded by various aspects of American wilderness, e.g. woods, a stream, a swamp, open meadows (not your usual home-buyer's requirements). After so many years of crisscrossing the United States and recording their travels in the four 'American Seasons' books, they were ready to sink roots and find contentment in their immediate surroundings.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
From his beginning book, A Book About Gliders, to his Pulitzer Prize Winning American seasons series, Edwin Way Teale takes his readers on another trip, this time through his own backyard. Teale first recounts his desire to leave his suburban home on Long Island in quest of the perfect naturalist's home. After a balloon ride over a picture perfect farm-house and 130 acres in Hampton, Connecticut, Mr. Teale finally discovers what he has been looking for: "Trail Wood". Relax and enjoy the incredible descriptive writing style of Edwin Way Teale through the woods and wildlife of his home in Connecticut. Now an Audubon Society Sanctuary open to the public, you'll be amazed your not already there.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By S. Carbone on July 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
The book itself is accurate only because it is printed word for word from Mr. Teale's original published work in 1974. However, the foreword was an extreme disappointment by stating that Nellie Teale "chose to die on the anniversary of Edwin's death." I have been a devoted fan of the Teales' and have visited their beloved Trail Wood. Mrs. Teale died in August of 1993 whereby Mr. Teale passed away in October 1980. It was nearly 13 years but not on the same day or month as we are told in the foreword. The misrepresented foreword would lead a reader to believe that Nellie's death was perhaps suicide when in fact she quite possibly died of cancer sinse all donations were asked to be contributed to the Cancer Society. This book along with all of Edwin Way Teale's books is well worth reading. The publisher would be better off leaving out a foreword and adding back into the paperback version, all the wonderful black and white photographs that can be viewed in the original hardcover copies.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By William A. Sowka Jr. on October 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is a treasure to anyone who loves nature and the simple life (and sometimes not so simple) of living in the country. Written by the Pulitzer Prize winning naturalist-writer, Edwin Way Teale, it is a short story of his discoveries at Trailwood. Trailwood is the former home of Edwin and his wife Nellie. It is nestled in the heart of rural northeast Connecticut on about 156 acres. In 1959 the Teales left the hustle and bustle of Long Island, N.Y. to spend the rest of their days discovering the natural wonders of this property. The book is well written and easy to read. It is a peaceful account of the land, the people, the wildlife, and the flora of Trailwood. It is quite detailed, yet never boring or difficult to follow. It gives the reader a strong appreciation for the life all around us that usually goes unnoticed. For me, it was quite nostalgic of a time when life seemed simpler, and the little everyday miracles of life were not forgotten. The Trailwood home and property were deeded to the Connecticut Audubon Society in 1981. The property, the trails, the home are well cared for and preserved for those who value the Teale's way of life and their love affair with the Earth. Truly a beautiful book and a beautiful place to visit.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Trull on January 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
For an inkling of the Mind of God, read "A Naturalist Buys An Old Farm" by Edwin Way Teale. The sheer variety of flora and fauna in Teale's head is amazing. Where I need to scurry to a guide book after spotting a bird, he rattles off sightings and behaviors of countless species seen from his hammock with the ease of one comfortably aware of the breadth of creation.

Beginning in the late 1950's with the long and methodical search for an ideal home not impossibly distant from Teale's publishers in New York City, the book soon becomes what is basically a tour with lists of observations over the years, mostly the 1960's. If that sounds tedious, do not be deceived.

The sheer variety of the natural world is engrossing. Teale and his wife found 26 species of fern on their farm. This was only about half the species in Connecticut. That's just one small observation.

The most amazing effect of the book is the gradual realization of how much Teale saw as observation and anecdote follow one after another. The tales of incessant observation pile up like autumn leaves: of birds and animals and weather (varieties of snowfall) and the fireplace quality of various woods. All of this, piece-by-piece, one recognizes as "well I noticed - or almost noticed - that...once," but Teale has noticed it all. In this he is an inspiration to more vigilant awareness of our world. We may never see as much as Teale did, but we could see more than we do - even if we never buy an old farm.
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