A Sand County Almanac
A Book Investigation
Section I: The Almanac
1) Which is the birth year of mercy for all things natural, wild, and free? Why does Leopold give it that name? * The year 1865 is the birth year of all things natural, wild, and free. Leopold gives it this name because in that year, John Muir offered to buy from his brother, who then owned a farm 30 miles East of Leopold’s oak, a sanctuary for wildflowers that had gladdened his youth. His brother declined but could not suppress the idea. (February, pg. 17) 2) According to Leopold, which has greater value – things hoped for… or things assured? * The disappointment that Leopold feels on the autumn mornings the covey-chorus are silent shows that things hoped for have a higher value than things assured. (September, pg. 57) 3) When and under what conditions does Leopold feel that to him boundaries disappear? How far does solitude extend? * At daybreak when Aldo Leopold is the sole owner of all that acres he can walk over and the expanses are unknown to deed or map but known to dawn, he feels boundaries, as well as the thought of being bounded, disappear. Solitude extends on every hand as far as the dew can reach. (July, pg. 44) 4) Who are the “Old soldiers of the prairie war”?
* Bur oaks are the “Old soldiers of the prairie war”. (April, pg. 29) 5) Where were the missing grouse hiding during the snowstorm? Where had they been before arriving there? How could Leopold tell? * During the snowstorm, the missing grouse had hidden in a leafy top of an oak blown down last summer. Before arriving there, they had been on a growth of nightshade. Aldo Leopold could tell bu examining their drippings and also some tracks they had left. (December, pg. 85) 6) According to Leopold, what are the reasons for the decline in wild plant species? Where can remnants of the prairie plants still be found? * The shrinking/decline in the wild plant species (flora) is due to a combo of clean-farming, woodlot grazing, and good roads. Remnants of the prairie plants can still be found along the fenced areas of railroads. (July, pg. 51) 7) In what year did the last Passenger Pigeon meet a charge of buckshot? * The last Passenger Pigeon met a charge of buckshot in 1899. (February, pg. 13) 8) What are the spiritual dangers of not owning a farm?
* There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery and the other that heat comes from the furnace. (February, pg. 6) 9) On a June morning, what triggers the robin to begin singing? * The robin is triggered to sing on a June morning when the light intensity reaches 0.1 candle power. 10) Who was the fugitive Black Hawk? This question will require some extra research. Answer the question and identify its origin in “San County” * The fugitive Black Hawk was a Sauk American Indian leader who led war parties of Sauk, Meskwakis (Fox) and Kickapoo’s to fight American forts and settlements in 1832 in present day Illinois and Wisconsin during the “Black Hawk War”. (July, pg. 53) 11) Who performs the “Sky Dance”? At what time?
* The male woodcock performs the “Sky Dance” at exactly 6:50 p.m. on the first warm evening in April and one minute later each day until June 1st at the time of 7:50 p.m. At daybreak the whole show is repeated ending at 5:15 a.m. in early April and that ending time advances two minutes every day until June when it closes at 3:15 a.m. (April, pgs. 32-35) 12) What bird sings the Ave Maria in the hush of dawn?
* The quail sings the Ave Maria in the hush of dawn. (September, pg. 57) 13) To Leopold, what ancient tree is the greatest of all trees? Why? * According to Leopold, the ancient cottonwood is the greatest of all trees because in the tree’s youth, ‘he’ shaded the buffalo and wore a halo of pigeons. Also, someday the young cottonwood may become ancient. (November, pg. 76) 14)...
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