Swoope Almanac, the Book
This is the place . . . Swoope. I wrote a book about it . . . Swoope Almanac, Stories of love, land, and water in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.
Two years in the making, Swoope Almanac, Stories of love, land, and water, in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley is now available for pre-sale at SwoopeAlmanac.org. The limited, numbered, signed, hardback-edition can be ordered now. Buy a book, Conservation Services, Inc. will plant a tree in your honor, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation will give you a free membership. Copies will be mailed starting on Earth Day 2019 (April 22). Here’s the press release from The Downstream Project.
This non-fiction almanac is about a ninth-generation cattle farmer (Jeanne) who marries a soil and water conservation geek (me). She wants more grass, I want more buffers. Turn the pages of this fun read to find out how that worked out.
The almanac takes the reader through the seasons on a working farm. There’s a whole chapter on my favorite subject—riparian buffers! And there are calls to action—such as carbon farming and un-needed, un-wanted fracked-gas pipelines. Other subjects include cats, fescue, swallows, and shrikes.
I had a lot of help with the book. Betty Gatewood, Roni Freeman, and my son, Neal, illustrated the book with great line drawings. Here’s one that Roni drew of a Catalpa bloom guiding a bee into the sweet spot.
“Bobby calls Jeanne ‘the Princess of Swoope’ with good reason. Her life as a pearl-earring-wearing, calf-roping cattle farmer unfolds in these hilarious, tragic, and beautiful stories in this uniquely written book.
This is a fun read that will make you laugh and cry. It will compel you to be more observant of nature and to be a better steward of land, soil, water, and animals.”
“Bobby is a force of nature! And with this compilation of his blog posts, musings, and articles, we gain insight into farming, family, and the forces that shape the Shenandoah Valley he calls home. I enjoyed his humorous yet direct writing style as he shared personal and professional observations on conserving the natural landscapes that, quite literally, feed and nourish us.”
“Bobby and Jeanne show us how agriculture and conservation can work together, just as the couple’s remarkable marriage does. This book is about their journey together on the farm to produce healthy livestock and clean water.
This book gives us a blueprint not only for the restoration of the Bay and the waters of the United States but also for the family farm.”
“If you want to understand the perspective of a dedicated cattle farmer, educated ecologist, and water-quality specialist, this is the book for you!
Turn these pages and feel the frost on your nose in winter, hear quail calling in the spring, taste a homegrown tomato in the summer, and watch Monarch butterflies fuel up on nectar in the fall. . . . truly spectacular stuff!”
“There’s often a story about cattle, a little talk of environmental concerns, and a mention of his “Princess” and her collaborative work with him. That’s how conversations go when I get a chance to visit with Bobby. He’s easygoing and always has a great story, but there’s a wealth of shared experience, knowledge, and love of farming and our environment in everything Bobby does. This latest book is just like sitting down and visiting with Bobby. You’ll enjoy every bit of it.”
“I have not met a more capable person than Bobby to explain, in understandable terms, the challenges we face in agriculture today and the opportunities before us to rise above them.
This book is a must-read for anyone concerned about the Chesapeake Bay and how best to work constructively with farmers to chart a sustainable path forward.”
This book was made possible by a generous grant from the Campbell Foundation for the Environment and George Ohrstrom II. Many others helped including Nancy Sorrells, publisher; Jennifer Wood, layout; Libby Howard, copy editor; Bill Howard, mentor and website development; Bern Sweeney, Stroud Water Research Center; Keith Campbell, mentor; and Bob Schreiber at Mid Valley Press. And so many more, thank you.
“Want to do something for the environment on Earth Day? Buy my book, we’ll plant a tree for you.”