Outrider Reading Group
A  collective of readers, writers and reviewers scouting the frontiers of written communication.

Voda or Wodka? Does the word "vodka" derive from the Russian "voda," meaning water, or the Polish "wodka," derived from "woda," or water? Historians from the two countries argue incessantly on origins of the world's favorite liquor, which almost certainly originated somewhere in Eastern Europe during the 14th or 15th century. Vodka: A Global History by Patricia Herlihy in The Edible Series of Reaktion Books explores how a rather unremarkable liquid -- pure alcohol distilled from grain -- became such a potent spirit, both culturally and economically.
Vodka definition poster

The Sacred Combe Simon Barnes writes about his special place, a "sacred combe," where  he connects with nature in a primal, if not spiritual, sense. "It is something deep in all of us," he writes. "It is as old as humanity: this place set apart from the common run, this place where humans are at peace with the rest of creation... The place exists in our imagainations, in our species-memories; it exists in a long-long golden day of childhood, in the memory of an idyllic doomed love affair; it exists sometimes in an actual place." For Barnes, that place is the Luangwa Valley in Zambia, an extension of the Great East African Rift Valley and one of Africa's prime wildlife sanctuaries.
Large Elephant Herd Crossing Luangwa River in Zambia

The Right Place for Your Apiary Take care in selecting the location for your apiary. Relocating hives is difficult, if not impossible for your bee colony. Choose a site near to food sources for the bees, protected from cold winter winds and preferably with shade. The apiary needs to be accesible to you, the beekeeper, but not too close to non-beekeeping neighbors with children or pets. "A commonly overlooked factor is the scenic setting," notes The Beekeeper's Problem Solver. "Most modern beekeepers keep bees for enjoyment and fulfillment rather than monetary gain. A scenic, placid apiary with gentle, natural sounds offers a quiet break..."
Honey Beehives

Taking the Crown How did the Kansas City Royals, in 2015, achieve the title of World Series champions that had eluded them for 30 years? This commemorative publication recounts the team's 2015 season beginning with offseason player trades and acquisitions that helped a team that came up just short of the title in 2014 win it decisively a year later. Each game of the playoffs and the World Series are replayed in text and photos.
Mike Moustakas autographed photo of 2015 World Series

Optimize Your Winter Energy "The winter cycle is transcendental. Its cool, waning energy nourishes your own tendency toward rest and reflection and deeper moments... Within this cycle, you can restore yourself and renew your life endlessly. Slow down; take your time to find, assemble, and package your deeper dreams. Store them. Let them soak in potential and re-imagination until the cycles begin again." ~ Joseph Cardillo. The Five Seasons: Tap Into Nature's Secrets for Health, Happiness, and Harmony

Living a Land Ethic Aldo Leopold developed the concept of a land ethic, expanding the boundaries of ethical behavior to include human interactions with 'soils, waters, plants, and animals, orcollectively: the land.' He called for a change in our attitude, from viewing land as a commodity to seeing it as something to be respected and cherished. "Leopold's contribution to what is now called environmental ethics lay in his ability to put his ideas on a scientific footing - in this case, on the emerging science of ecology," Stephen Laubach explains in Living a Land Ethic: A History of Cooperative Conservation on the Leopold Memorial Reserve.
Aldo Leopold: Environmentalist Heroes Poster

Zika VirusFirst discovered in a Rhesus monkey in the Zika forest of Uganda in the late 1940s, the Zika Virus infected its first recorded human in 1952 and gradually spread via mosquitoes across central Africa and Asia and into Micronesia, causing mild or neglible symptoms in those infected. It attracted media attention, however, when it showed up in Brazil in 2015, causing a dramatic increase in cases of infant microcephaly. "Like other related viruses, the membrane proteins form a geometric structure," notes Mariyln Roosnick in Virus: An Illustrated Guide to 101 Incredible Microbes.
Conceptual image of the Zika virus

Eureka! "I found it!" yelled Archimedes of Syracuse, ancient Greek mathematician and engineer, when he jumped up from his bath with the solution to a perplexing physics problem. Such moments are not uncommon or reserved to professional scientists, according to physics professor Chad Orzel. They occur when anyone solves an enigma or comes up with a new idea. Science is just a process for figuring out how things work, a way of thinking that is "fundamentally optimistic and empowering," he says. "You never need to stop doing something because you don't know some fact or don't know how something works. You can figure out whatever you need to know."
Archimedes of Syracuse, 287-212 B.C.

Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia. This is not an amateur's field guide. A thick, dense and thoroughly edited 4-pound reference, it includes 500 color photographs along with species accounts written by regional experts. There are county dot range maps for each of the 170 species of frogs, salamanders, crocodilians, lizards, snakes, and turtles found in the state of Georgia.
Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia

A Place Can Remember.
He felt the people look at him then with faces like the one he imagined he wore at that moment. Like they were aware he was about to be flattened by some terrible great thing.
"...his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.."
He hears again the parson speak, words that chiselled into his brain like into the gravestone slate about him. He refused that. I don't think it is true. He looked down at her and spoke as if to her. I don't think it's true. I think a place can remember. The Dig.
Ernest Hemingway. People at funeral ceremony.
Maple Bacon Old Fashioned. Bourbons Bistro is Louisville, Kentuchy carries a selection of more than 130 American whiskies. This cocktail, which they shared with More Kentucky Bourbon Cocktails, is made from 2-3 ounces of Knob Creek Maple bourbon, a slice of orange, 1 cherry, a dash of maple bitters and a ½ ounce bacon simple syrup. In the bottom of the glass, muddle the orange a cherry with the bacon simple syrup. Fill the glass with ice and top with the whiskey. To make the bacon simple syrup, add 1 teaspoon of bacon fat and 1 ounce of sugar to 1 ounce of warm water. Allow to steep for several minutes. Then strain through a coffee filter and use.
Maple Bacon Old Fashioned
Defining Duals. "Big Red (CASE IH Magnum tractor) has two wheels on each back axle. They are called duals. Duals help Big Red float over soft soil. That's because the extra tire spreads his weight over a larger area." The size of the duals spreads the tractor's weight evenly over the soil and keep it from sinking into soft soils. Big Tractors.
Big Tractors
Yankee Stadium Baseball Field, 1922. As documented in the history Ruthless Baseball, a subcontractor working on the new Yankee Stadium on the day after Christmas in 1922 says he threw a good luck totem into a pit leading to the water main before it was approved by the city inspector and covered over.  "He didn't elucidate on what it was. A horseshoe? A religious amulet? A Baby Ruth candy bar? Whatever it was, it worked," notes Robert Weintraub in The House That Ruth Built.
Yankee Stadium Baseball Field
Baker Massacre.

While there are hundreds of documented massacres during America's Indian Wars, it is still suprising to discover a major event that scholars haven't fully studied or given its own historical treatment. The Baker Massacre, also known as the Marias Massacre, is a heinous 1870 tragedy that Blood on the Marias describes in bitter detail.
Blood on the Marias

Evolving Insight.
This book proposes that the understanding of causality and intentionality evolved twice in human ancestry: first, the understanding given by behaviour parsing that is shared with other apes and related to cerebellar expansion; and the deeper understanding which requires language to model. Ape-type insight may underlie much of everyday human action.
Evolving Insight


Reading List
Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia
Big Tractors
Blood on the Marias
The Dig
Evolving Insight
The House That Ruth Built
Living a Land Ethic
More Kentucky Bourbon Cocktails
Taking the Crown
The Beekeeper's Problem Solver
The Five Seasons
The Sacred Combe
Vodka: A Global History

Book Notes Wild
The Book Stall
Good Spirits
The Nature Pages
Out of the Past
Out There
The Roster
Rural Delivery

Roy Takeno (Editor) and Group Reading Manzanar Paper
Roy Takeno (Editor) and Group Reading Manzanar Paper
by Ansel Adams

Farmer's Market Online
Farmer's Market Online