Journal of a Prairie Year PDF/EPUB è of a Prairie

A lifelong resident of southwestern Minnesota and northwestern Iowa Paul Gruchow celebrated the few scattered patches of prairie land that remain in a region once dominated by grasslands Gruchow recorded his thoughts observations and experiences in each season on the prairie eventually compiling them into this moving chronicle of a sometimes harsh but always stunning landscape Be it the bitter winds of winter the return of the geese in spring or the first pasque flower the cycles of growth on the prairie have the power to move and inspire lovers of nature


10 thoughts on “Journal of a Prairie Year

  1. says:

    14th book for 2019A really wonderful meditation on life on the high grass prairie Gruchow's writing is superb He deftly balances minute observations of nature while never forgetting the place for better or worse of people within the landscape An excellent successor to Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There5 stars


  2. says:

    Among the long list of American nature writers Paul Gruchow’s Journal of Prairie Year stands out as one of the most celebrated books on the midlatitude grasslands of the Midwest In his forward Scott Russel Sanders rightly compares Gruchow to Thoreau and Leopold two of the most renowned nature writers of the 19th and 20th century Gruchow’s writing style and depiction of the tall grass prairie is just as elaborate as that of Thoreau and Leopold raising questions about of the prairie starting with what the magnifying glass reveals before backing up and considering this all but non existence ecosystem as a whole As a scientist and writer Gruchow offers a look into the mystifying beauty of the prairie and all the aesthetic value present while illuminating the ecosystem services and importance of this complex biome Gruchow begins by describing the tall grass prairie during winter in southern Minnesota a time when all but the wind and snow are moving on the prairie exactly the belief Gruchow contradicts in his opening pages The attention of the reader is immediately captured by the depiction and life that flourishes in the prairie above and below the ground While the plants all wither away and the snow begins to accumulate Gruchow observes the foxes and deer the rabbits and coyotes reminiscing on the bison that would have roughed the winter’s here The prairie is full of life if those who are near enough take the time to observe But Gruchow does than simply reveal the details and depict the beauty in the tall grass prairie he describes a troubled childhood filled with the loneliness and the curiosity of farm life The life of Gruchow is a fascinating roller coaster that adds to the challenges and misunderstandings of a huge part of his soul the prairie The Journal of a Prairie Year illuminates not only the beauty and magnificence of the tall grass prairie but also the struggles and tragedies of the prairie Gruchow’s ability to personify the prairie with such emotion is a craft that few have been able to achieve All of sudden Gruchow has captured than a moment on a prairie but a scene with much personality as if someone had stumbled upon Thoreau’s cabin in the woods a century earlier to share a quiet and enjoyable moment with nature The Journal of a Prairie turns if only for a couple of pages to portray a sense of togetherness with nature that his journey in the prairie over his lifetime is than a solitary one Gruchow’s prose and scientific work with the prairie don’t end with the awe inspiring beauty of the pasqueflower or the badger or his examination of the breeding of garter snakes Gruchow excellently ties the rest of his novel together by combining all the parts and looking at the prairie as a whole He still continues to underline different species individually but he shifts into talking about the ecosystem services that the prairie can offer humans since Gruchow knows that not everybody loves the prairie like he does Gruchow ropes in his practical and scientific readers by pointing out how the prairie functions as a whole During the summer months of Prairie Year there is a 37 day drought Gruchow attributes this drought to the fact that most of the wetlands and rivers and streams that have once played a role in the prairie have been drained or diverted and now the land doesn’t hold the water as it has in the past He attributes most of this destruction to drainage tiles and drainage ditches for farming This brilliant analysis of the prairie ecosystem surely gives Gruchow the approval of his scientific community The elaborate and poetic prose in which Gruchow uses in depicting the diversity and richness of the prairie in the Journal of a Prairie Year are the main reasons why the book is so well received and impossible to put down for those already in love with the prairie and those interesting learning about the prairie Its versatility and broad range of readers gives this book a rating of 455


  3. says:

    Oh wow It’s poetry To be savored With awe A piece of holiness reflected


  4. says:

    While I think this book might only be fully effective for people who have experienced at least some prairieplains landscape it captures the environment quite handily


  5. says:

    This book falls into my mental bookshelf for naturalist writers like Annie Dillard Wallace Stevens Aldo Leopold and others of that type I was excited to read it ever since I moved away from the Midwest I've been craving seasons and reading about themThe writing in this book is lovely and recalls Dillard's attention to small details and Leopold's passion for the Midwestern prairies though without Dillard's luminous prose or Leopold's occasional preachy nessThere's a lovely essay on a prairie thunderstorm a great summary of the paleo history of the Great Plains and numerous bits here and there that make me miss the prairies For some reason the essay on the role of the bison in plains Native American life rubbed me the wrong way with its tendency to romanticize Native American life on the prairies But the essay on the phenomenon of prairie fires redeemed itThe book is divided into four sections one for each season In each season Gruchow includes several short essays on seasonal phenomena insects the wind grasses animals He also weaves in childhood memories of growing up in the upper MidwestI can't tell if I like this book because I miss living in the Midwest or whether I like it for its own merits I suspect it's a combination and it makes a nice addition to my naturalist writers collectionRecommended if you like the Midwest or naturalist writing in general


  6. says:

    One of the richest landscapes in the world the tallgrass prairie had filled 240 million acres in the heart of America From the 1830’s to 1900 ninety nine percent of the once dominant landscape was transformed into farmland and pavement The country hardly noticed Few books celebrate this missing landscape Perhaps celebration is impossible as the prairies most conspicuous feature is its absence Less than one percent of the original prairie survivesIn the 2009 re release of Paul Gruchow’s 1985 book Journal of a Prairie Year Read full review at


  7. says:

    Beautiful meditations here on observations in the tall grass prairie Paul Gruchow has an ear for lyricism in his prose as well as a devotion to educating his readers on features of the prairie such as the American bison prairie grass and the circular motions of nature He also provides a grounding in personal narrative drawn from his own experiences with the prairie Truly moving essays


  8. says:

    Was too dark and I needed something lighter I think he used to work at Concordia College and I have his reflections on the Boundary Waters in a box somewhere


  9. says:

    Such beautiful language that captures things that people so often overlook