My husband and I encountered this “hair ice” the other morning. He insisted it was ice and I insisted it was some kind of fungus. Turns out, it’s a bit of both! It is ice, but the ice is caused by a fungus in dead wood!

This note is slightly late because last week I moved house, so I’ve been buried under piles of boxes and possessions (more on that in this week’s blog post). Somehow between the boxes, my baby, and freelance work, I have found a few quiet moments to read.

This month I’m reading…

Watership Down by Richard Adams – I picked this up back at the beginning of December but took a break to read Toronto the Wild and then dipped back into it this week. I’ve had my copy of Watership Down in my book collection for the last eight years now. Every time I move (four times in those eight years), I evaluate my books and usually get rid of a few. This last move was no exception. But I decided to finally read Watership Down instead of chucking it or packing it up to live on my shelves until the next move. It’s a classic and I think I’ve felt like it’s one I should read. I didn’t expect to like it. I mean, talking rabbits? Doesn’t really call out to me. But I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been a slow read and I’m still working on it (as you’ll see below, I’ve taken another wee break from it). But I love the way the story slowly unfolds. I also appreciate the way in which Adams tried to get inside the mind of a rabbit and even invented a rabbit language, rabbit religion and rabbit culture.

Turning by Jessica J. Lee – Next week I’ll be starting an eight week Orion Magazine Environmental Writers Workshop with Jessica J. Lee, and although I should be doing the course reading, I’ve started reading Lee’s first book instead. The book is about Lee’s experiences swimming fifty-two lakes in and around Berlin. There have been quite a few swimming memoirs published in the last few years and I have entirely avoided the genre (even Roger Deakin’s classic Waterlog). The thing is, I don’t like swimming. Despite my primary school reacher taking my class to the local swimming baths once a week for a year to do swimming lessons, I am about as strong a swimmer as my husband, who has never had any lessons. I have a clear memory of doing my length certificate—I was the last one in my class to complete it and all my classmates stood at the side of the pool, cheering me on as I kicked my legs and tried not to swallow too much pool water. Not only am I not a strong swimmer, I also don’t like getting wet. I’m sometimes reluctant to shower for this reason. When I see people swimming in the sea in winter, I can’t help but think there’s something wrong with them. Give me a warm, dry chair by a fireside any day! Well, despite my dislike of swimming, I’ve found myself drawn in to Lee’s book by the beauty of her writing. She almost makes swimming sound appealing, almost

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