Tuesday, March 03, 2009

quote from Valdene

"I have settled on the land and lived through a progression of seasons, I better understand the pace and guidelines nature has set for herself on this particular piece of dirt, guidelines that encourage certain endeavors and discourage others. I can improve the habitat by removing or adding to what is already here, but there is nothing that I, or for that matter any man, can do, to impress nature."

Guy de la Valdene, "For a Handful of Feathers".


Trout Caviar said...

Great quotation. "Making Game," by the same author, is one of my favorite books. It is an ode to the American woodcock, and I reread it every year as the season approaches. I'm going to order "A Handful of Feathers" right away. Thanks for the tip~ Brett

Matt Mullenix said...

Too funny: my daughter B pulled that one off the shelf last night and asked me to read it to her. She said she liked the guy's French name.

(She got bored pretty quick with my delivery, but the book is one of my favorites.)

Also: I lived several years in Tallahassee, have worked on the old tobbacco farms (now quail plantations) he writes about, and like that neck of the woods a lot.

mdmnm said...

I like "Making Game" a lot, too. "A Handful of Feathers" is a not only a nice explanation of the intricacies of managing for quail, but also a good illustration of what all is involved with getting to know a piece of land.


That's pretty funny. I can see how B might not consider it riveting. In your time in Tallahassee did you come across the blond brothers that trained bird dogs, shot one-handed off horseback and never missed?

Matt Mullenix said...

I don't believe I ever met those guys---I think they would be memorable!

However I can attest there are some other colorful characters in the piney woods there.

Heather Houlahan said...

I have only one chapter of this book, in an anthology, and pulled it down to read a few days ago.

A farmer friend who visited last week remarked on the good fortune of our poverty. Because we did not have the money to start changing things quickly on our farm, we've been forced to live through different seasons and learn the place before committing any mistakes, fighting the nature of the land, water, light and wind.

Must buy book!

mdmnm said...


I think you'd really enjoy it and probably identify with a lot of the travails of managing a place, since you're doing that very thing. Leaving things alone long enough to figure out some of the quirks of a piece of land seems to me as though it would be very hard. I'd want to be planting, trimming, fertilizing or something right away!

Steve Bodio said...

I love both those books

Coincidentally, Guy just emailed yesterday that he is at work on a book on gray ("Hungarian") partridges-- don't know if he has a publisher or not.

There also anew DVD with him, Tom McGuane, Harrison etc fishing for tarpon in the 70's, all looking like young hippies.

mdmnm said...


I hope he finds a publisher. I have his novel "Red Stag" in hand but not opened and my father ordered the tarpon video right after you blogged it. He also ordered and went through all of Brautigan's books, sending them to me with the note "This guy makes Hunter Thompson read like a writer for the Washington Post!"

Jerry said...

In Heart Mountain, Gretel Erlich wrote of participating in the cycle of ranch life (calving/haying/shipping)over and over until one becomes braided into that environment.

Valdene's book, like O'Brien's Buffalo for the Broken Heart or even Steve's Querencia, conveys that same or similar way of life.

Maybe hunting and a garden can take us part way there.