Brad Pitt can have his Oscar – I’ll take The Versatile Blogger Award

Hello, dear readers! I took a little bit of a break from the blog – and the internet at large – last week. It was a much-needed reprieve, and opened up plenty of time to see Rachel Ries and Anaïs Mitchell at Club Passim (Amazing, Amazing, Amazing – I’m completely in love with them both). I also read a book (a whole book!), knit up a few afghan squares, and enjoyed some delightful walks in the woods.

During my internet fast I was delighted and honored to receive a nomination for “The Versatile Blogger Award” from Kevin, the Nitty Gritty Dirty Man of the garden blog realm. Hoorah! Kevin’s blog is wonderful – anyone with a penchant for plants, alliteration, fantastic photographs and soil-smudged story-telling should take his blog for a spin. I’m flattered that he chose to single my blog out.

I shall pay it forward by hollering at a few of my own favorite reads. But first, I offer some secrets, as I’m bound to do by the rules.

I cannot sleep without socks on. (Maybe once a year in the hottest heat of July, but then and only then). Once Dale Earnhardt Jr. touched my shoulder. The afghan that I’m knitting is for my Grandma, who turns a very venerable and impressive age on March 1st. I think about writing correspondences more often than I actually write them. I tend to wear the same pair of stockings almost exclusively until they wear thin. In fifth grade I broke my ring finger while attempting to catch a football described by my Packers-loving mom as a “bullet.”

My nominees are as follows. I’ve given my first seven to writers that focus on many of the same themes that I write about in my own blog. The last eight are a bit more of a motley crew, featuring artists and other folks that I truly love and admire.

Out Walking the Dog is one of the most thought-provoking and enticing blogs that I’ve come across in the last few months. Melissa writes wonderfully about the urban ecology of New York City and her relationship with the space and its species, and every time I read I learn something new.

Flora Fauna Fungi is written by my dear friend Kira Taylor. An ecology student in Bellingham, Washington, she is deeply enamored of mushrooms but writes about other marvels, too. Her post on skunk cabbages deserves a read after any woodland romp this time of year.

Get Your Botany On! never ceases to get me excited about plant adventuring. The recent post about Harbinger of Spring got my heart all aflutter. There’s some skunk cabbage going on over there, too.

Nature in the Burbs is filled with tales of backyard birding and general appreciation of the natural curiosities of New Jersey. The reader is made to consider how much life exists all around us – even if we don’t necessarily live in a place that is explicitly “wild.”

Using Georgia Native Plants, the Georgia Native Plant Society’s blog, is full of wonderful photographs and information about the important place that natives hold in our habitats. It’s fascinating to see what’s native in a place like Georgia, part of which is in zone 8b! Much different from my New England hinterland.

Experiments with Plants is written by my “sponsor” from Blotanical, an engineer who gardens in the London area. He grows saffron, broccoli, hollyhocks and a host of other plants. There is a much appreciated honesty in the writing – some projects go absolutely brilliantly, others…not so much. So are the vagaries of gardening.

The LeFort Urban Homestead is all about the word Possible. From preserving lemons to making sausages and rendering lard, these folks do it all (and in just one post, too!).

Good Golly Miss Mali is written by my beautiful friend, Chelsea. She is currently living in Mali, where she’s volunteering for the Peace Corps and living with an extremely charming dog named Scout. She is a great writer and was pretty much made to create entertaining blogs that make you think.

We Like Vegetables! is the blog kept by Cayla and Sam, young farmers who are starting up a CSA in Vermont this year. They are currently biking through the south after a stint in New Orleans, sharing everything in amusing detail.

The Smallest Forest is a craft blog out of Australia. Whenever inspiration is needed a jaunt through this blog will grant it. This girl embroiders sushi – who could ask for more?

Cats and Machines tells the ridiculous tales of the former with the latter. Written by Chris Sloan, grad student extraordinaire, and drawn by illustrator Laura Grover, it is quirky and perfect.

I AM NOT AFRAID OF WINTER is the blog of writer Carrot Quinn. These are stories of train-hopping, dogs, transience and wind. Some are fiction, others aren’t, but all are honest and written with a loving hand.

In A Mind Like Compost, Bix shares his travels through a variety of places, from Michigan’s Isle Royale to the roads of Romania. He will tell you how he learned to live like a porcupine, and you might realize that you should learn how, too.

Brain. Guts. Hands. is the blog of Kelli Korducki, a journalist and choir girl from Toronto. She writes about race sometimes, reviews hot dogs other times, and does it all with a polished, droll wit. She’s a pro.

Patterns of Nature is another blog out of Australia. It’s filled with fantastic photographs of, well, what the title would suggest. There are tree trunks, flamingos, close-ups of elephant skin and mushrooms. Very beautiful.

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