Tag Archives: Virginia Eifert

One of Virginia’s Best is Now on Kindle

This week I hit the publish button on Kindle and Virginia Eifert now has six of her books on Amazon’s Kindle. Land of the Snowshoe Hare is 326 pages and was first published in 1960. It’s a collection of stories about a single bit of forest and water in northern Wisconsin. The book watches a year pass as she discovers and follows the critters and plants that live there – a delightful read, I think, but then she’s mom.

As with all these Kindle reprints, I’ve added support material. I found  and added a research notebook she put together in 1950 when she first began her study of this beautiful place, and there are photos, a journal about what she saw and where she went. Yes, I’m in the journal, too, seeing my first rainbow at age three over a swampy marsh with loons and overhanging pines.

Who’s Virginia? She published 20 books for Dodd Mead in New York as well as hundreds of essays and smaller publications for the Illinois State Museum, Audubon, Nature magazine and others.

Next up? I’m thinking about her ‘Essays on Nature’ that was first published by the museum after her death in 1966. Stay tuned, it’s a great read as all of them are. She was an early environmental force and friends with the likes of Rachael Carson. It’s no surprise how I turned out!

If you’d like a free sample to read, click here for Land of the Snowshoe Hare.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

A Completely Different Look and Update for Virginia’s Website

Riverton-Camp-1929-cropped
Riverton-Camp-1929 at age 18 teaching at summer nature camp. She never finished high school, but went on to win national book awards.
Virginia Eifert’s new website is up now.

Many of you know that I was led into my life of nature and art by my parents, but especially my mom, Illinois author of 20 books and editor of a magazine that’s still going after more than 75 years.

VSE-knelling
Collecting mushrooms for dinner. While she wrote a book on mushrooms, she almost poisoned the entire family with a wrong identification.

I still get fan mail for her, one just a few weeks ago, but I never seem to have enough time to add more of her massive collection of work on her website. Recently however, I toggled my painting of that big mural with updating her web ‘look’ and added some new albums- and it just went live at Virginia Eifert.com

I  hope the look and feel of it is now better suited for use as a reference site, showing her life in some of the thousands of photos I still  have here. Much of her work, is, as it should be, stored at Western Illinois University and the Illinois State Museum, but I have lots of it to share, more personal exploits of her adventures instead of the professional stuff.

Viriginia’s books are also being recreated for Kindle and Nook, and the next should be ready for her 105th birthday this coming January, “Land of the Snowshoe Hare” which is one of her best.  I am also a product of Virginia in mind, body and soul. If I’ve been an artist for over 40  years, it’s because of Virginia, who fed me a complete diet of nature, art and science for the brief time she was here.

VSE_Museum-photo
Publicity shot for the Illinois State Museum, who hired her at age 28 to create the museum magazine and series of books still in print today. She wrote 326 issues of the Living Museum until her death.

This from the website front page:

VIRGINIA EIFERT

AMERICAN AUTHOR AND ARTIST, PHOTOGRAPHER AND NATURALIST
1911 – 1966

A GIFTED NATURALIST WHO LEFT BEHIND A GREAT LEGACY OF WORK – VIRGINIA TOUCHED MANY LIVES IN MANY WAYS. 

MEMORIAL COLLECTIONS OF HER WORK ARE IN WESTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY AND THE ILLINOIS STATE MUSEUM.

THE PURPOSE OF THIS WEBSITE IS NOT TO SHOWCASE VIRGINIA’S KNOWN WORKS, HER MANY BOOKS AND THE FAME THAT STILL GARNERS FAN MAIL 50 YEARS AFTER HER DEATH, BUT TO SHOW HER PERSONAL LIFE, HER ROOTS OF HOW SHE ACHIEVED WHAT SHE DID.

VSE_Rockies_bigrock photo
Front Ridge of the Rockies, early 1960’s.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of beautiful photographs

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Mississippi Calling – A New Ebook by Larry Eifert’s Mom


 This is the fifth of twenty I’ve now made available for Kindle and Nook, and your phone, tablet or computer – published this week. Made a new cover, added photos – and I discovered it’s still a very good read. In 1957 I was 11 when this was first published – now after all these years I just have to wonder what my mom would think at all of today’s digital stuff. She traveled over 6,500 miles on Mississippi towboats, hand-writing field notes in journals and taking amazing photos with her little film Roliflex camera. The original manuscript plus rewrites were on her MANUAL Underwood, written mostly at night when I was asleep (and quiet). Today, I’m republishing her book on a 3.4 GHz pc, Photoshoping a new cover by taking her original photo and scanning a watercolor beneath it on layer 4, just beneath the titles. What I could have done for her!

 

For the added photos, I dug out a huge box of her old custom 8 x 10 enlargements. Here’s one from the 50’s, an amazing steam-powered towboat still burning coal. There are also some interesting images of New Orleans from that period, plus some other period river and towboat shots.

While ‘River World” (republished a couple of months ago) was about the Mississippi’s nature, this book is about the people who discovered it, changed it, fought over it or lived beside it. Several stories are about finding the river’s source, or not! One chapter is about the woman that ran one of the largest river canals in America – 150 years ago. Another is about Nauvoo, Illinois and the story of the failed Mormon colony, then failed French Icarian (socialist) community. My family came from that Icarian group.

If you’d like to see this book on Amazon.com, click here for Kindle. Barnes and Noble’s Nook is coming soon. And thanks, everyone, for supporting this project.

For more information about Virginia, check her web site at http://virginia.larryeifert.com.

Thanks for reading this week.

Larry Eifert

Click here to go to the online blog this was published to.

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Click here to check out what Nancy’s currently working on with her photography.

Click here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

River World – a new book by Virginia Eifert

“River World” was first published in 1959, and was called “an ambitious book – and – a thrilling kaleidoscope of nature.” I agree! This is the fourth of my mom’s 20+ books that I’ve scanned and is now available on Amazon Kindle (and soon to be on Barnes and Noble and Itunes as well). It took me awhile for this one, simply because I had so much fun reading it. I think Nancy got a bit tired of me saying things like “wow, listen to this! A possum sky!” It’s a book about the Mississippi River, written as if there were no people living along it – a pure nature book, and I could easily see she really relished writing this one. There’s a joy there that’s infectious. All chapter headings are Virginia’s ink drawings, too, and there’s a freshness in them that I think is very nice.

 

Here’s a sample I especially liked:  “I stand on the river shore with white cliffs behind me—the haze bridging the far distances across the Dardennes marshes of Missouri and up and down the river for endless miles—and I try to discover what creates this mystic, hushed atmosphere of the willow-goldened river. But the spell of autumn makes even such slight mental effort quite unnecessary. It is enough to live and feel the magic of the river.”

 

“For now the river world knows a breathless, timeless moment, a windless waiting for winter, until the violent breath of a north wind finally sweeps away these last remnants of Indian summer, sending willow leaves sailing away on the surging brown water. But today even the river seems slow, a smooth and shining lake with no visible current; the willows are very still, each leaf poised in a transient permanence against the sky.”

 


AND: SOUTH TO THE SEA

Most of Virginia’s personal notebooks and manuscripts are now in Western Illinois University or the Illinois State Museum, but in my own collection I found a binder that I had never read. It’s the basis for “River World”, I think, and so I scanned the pages and photos, and added this as a 56-page bonus. It’s quite amazing to read. In April of 1956, Virginia somehow talked her way aboard a towboat transporting over 2,000,000 gallons of gasoline (see photo below) and traveled 2100 miles down and back on the Mississippi. 17 days of living on a 1000-foot-long gas-bomb – and they allowed her to do it! The binder is filled with the nature she saw, food she ate,  people she met, life aboard this boat with engines the size of buses. There’s a tour of a giant oil refinery down in the Gulf, and at one point the tow looses steerage and plows into a willow bank, dropping tons of dirt and plants on the deck (a sample of which was still taped in the binder). It’s quite some story in its self, and I’m thinking of published just this part as a separate book.

 

The Cape Zephyr – a real Mississippi working boat that women just didn’t travel on.

 

And so many thanks to all of you who have already bought some of Virginia’s other books. River World is now available at Amazon.com here. Or just search for book # ASIN: B00CBM5TQA

Email us if you want to know more. The is my legacy, and I see more and more of my own journey through these books. They’re like mirrors – she did the Mississippi, I did Alaska and Mexico.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Click here to go to the online blog this was to.

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Click here to check out what Nancy’s currently working on with her photography.

Click here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Another book from Larry Eifert’s Mom – “Journeys in Green Places”

I have two more of Virginia Eifert’s books available on Amazon.com now, plus the author page at Amazon and on her own website. Sure takes some time to proof these books carefully – I’m hoping that I hear from you if there are any errors.

Journeys In Green Places was first published in 1963 and is illustrated with 40 photographs and 78 drawings and maps by Virginia. It’s nature writing at its best by one of the Midwest’s finest! Set in the Door Peninsula of Wisconsin—that narrow, tapering, ninety miles long finger of rock, sand and forest thrusting northward between Lake Michigan and Green Bay. Here are rugged bluffs, dunes, ridges, beaches, woods, and cherry orchards. It is a magical area for the naturalist, then and now, varied and unique, particularly in the Ridges sanctuary where the splendid wildflowers have drawn botanists from many parts of the world. The book is a vivid and passionate exploration of a beautiful landscape that was still entrusted to some of the original homesteaders and fishermen in the 60’s – and before tourists found this singular place.

I’ve added a lot of other stuff to the book, including some photos; above at the Clearing in the late 1950’s, and below she’s lecturing to a packed class (as usual). There’s a large section with a published diary of her first Clearing week (it’s an adult school in the woods on the peninsula) that shows a direct spark of creativity that finished a few years later in the Journeys book itself.

Yes, that’s me with the deer!

And on page 112 in the photo section of the original book, there’s a photo of me and a yearling white-tail. The caption reads: “Larry and the fawn, like the natural world around them, are prepared for winter and its challenges”. And here I am exactly 50 years later doing the same darned things – including pitching her books.

When I was a little older than the photo with the deer, I began to go with her when she gave Audubon programs, lectures or book signings. She’s sign – I’d handle the cash box. Checks and cash was all I did back then, but I’m sure it sunk in that this was a pretty fun way to make a living. She eventually traveled 6000 miles on river boats – mostly working tows and barges, poked around in muskeg bogs, hired guys to take her to Canadian bird rookeries and taught me to do the same.

You can see more – or buy Journeys in Green Places at Amazon by clicking here. And see her new author page  here. And see her website (not completely finished but it’s getting close) here at virginia.larryeifert.com. (There are currently almost 100 copies of Virginia’s books for sale on Amazon – 50 years after they’re out of print. Not a bad legacy for someone who has been gone since 1966.)

[AND, no, you don’t have to have a Kindle to read these, just an Amazon account to get it on your PC or Smartphone. Reading on your phone is pretty nice since you always have it.]

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Click here to go to the online blog this was to.

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Click here to check out what Nancy’s currently working on with her photography.

The Porpoises vs The Dolphins

Football! So, that said, this has NOTHING TO DO WITH FOOTBALL. Just a short weekly post about nature.

 

Here’s my page for October’s edition of 48 North magazine. Sailing off Port Townsend, I often see fins darting about. Not shark fins but more dolphin fins. I know they’re porpoises, but almost everyone else thinks they’re dolphins – so, here’s my bit of interpretive education using art. Nancy says I just can’t let a single person go by me without going into a full-blown classroom session. I admit it, I’m a hand-fed product of Virginia and Herman after-all; she: nature writer, lecturer and he: museum education cureator. The other day at 6,000 feet on top of Hurricane Hill, a couple of hikers were watching a hawk. “Don’t know what it is, maybe a falcon or something” the guy said to his wife. “Northern Harrier, female. Used to be called Marsh Hawk, but they renamed it” I said as I passed them by. He didn’t hear me, so I said it two more times before they both got it. “You just CAN’T let it go, can you?” whispered Nancy. Probably not!

 

So, click on the porpoises and you can more easily read the text. My parents would have approved! Sure as pigs have wings, it’s not likely you’ll see a dolphin in the Salish Sea.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Click here to go to the online blog this was to.

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Click here to check out what Nancy’s currently working on with her photography.

One Tree Moment for Ballard Nature Center

I still have the color to add on the five little insets, but I think this project of interpretive art is looking so good right now I wanted to share it.

It’s a very small world! I was asked by Genesis Graphics in Escanaba, Michigan if I’d be interested in doing some watercolor and ink paintings for the Ballard Nature Center in Effingham, Illinois. (So, if we did a conference call, that would be a 4000-mile round trip triangle for the words to be heard by everyone involved.) I’ve had a long and fine relationship with the folks at Genesis, and they always let me just do my thing without a bunch of hoops to jump through. My reply on this idea was, “Oh, I know where Effingham, Illinois is. My formative years were spent  just a few miles to the west in Springfield. I learned my stuff in the Illinois State Museum where I was spoon-fed nature and art by the staff and my parents.” This was relayed to the Ballard folks and it turns out two of my mom’s books are in their visitor center library. What a small world, and very soon they’ll have two generations of Eifert work there.

 

I know everyone likes to see the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff, so to show you how far this design was refined, here’s the concept sketch.

 Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Click here to go to the online blog this was to.

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Click here to check out what Nancy’s currently working on with her photography.

Happy Solstice from Larry, Nancy – and Virginia

Here’s a little solstice story to read while you’re awaiting the big eclipse tonight. If you miss it or it’s cloudy, there’s another one in 2094.

Each Christmas between about 1940 until her death in 1966, my mom, Virginia, would hand-paint Christmas cards. A lucky hundred people would received these little watercolor and ink gems with her poetry inside. Each was slightly different, each a gift from someone who really couldn’t spare a moment of her short life. Books and articles waited, speaking engagements waited, her family waited – buying MY Christmas goodies waited – while she lined the cards up in rows on her painting table. I did the same thing too, until a few decades ago I realized I just couldn’t paint 100 of the same anything.

I occasionally hear from someone who still has a few of these – the most ancient would now be 70 years old. Sometimes they’re framed and hanging like a real painting – which, of course, they are. I think she would be amazed at that, because, for Virginia, they were just little Christmas expressions of her love for nature and her friends. For me, they’ve always been an example of how to be an artist. Here’s a link to a few more of her cards.

And here’s one of the verses, our Winter Solstice message for you.

How shall I wish you strength?
A trees says “strength” so silently.
How shall I wish you joy?
A bird sings joy and needs no words.
How shall I wish you peace,
When snow breathes peace so perfectly?
Yet these are the gifts I wish to you
At Christmas time.
And in the year to come.

Thanks for reading this week.

Larry and Nancy Cherry Eifert

Click here to go to the online blog this was to.

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Click here to check out what Nancy’s currently working on with her photography.

Merry Christmas and Thanks

Green_Chickadee

This is one of Virginia Eifert’s ‘famous’ hand-painted Christmas cards. Inside is hand-written calligraphy:
Now let the echoes
of the songs of May
Refresh and warm your hearts
on Christmas Day – 1963

I was 17 then and just beginning to sell my stuff at art fairs and local shows. Not very well, I’ll admit, but it was a passionate start.

She sent these cards each year for decades, ending with her death in 1966. I’ve heard from people who still have many of them, some even framed, for she painted hundreds. I did too, until my real work simply swallowed this up. Unlike me, Virginia was legendary for being able to do it all (except maybe clean the house or teach her son to do the same), which brings me around to what I really want to say here.

Merry Christmas and loving thanks to everyone reading this. We’re sending a genuine thank-you to the fantastic group of friends, clients and buyers who have supported Nancy and me as artists all these years. It’s now been over four decades of making a living as a working artist, beginning way back in the 1960’s with a gentle but firm push from Virginia.

Thanks to all of you who have faithfully bought my work, but also thanks to all the people who sell our stuff in park stores coast to coast, in galleries and countless other places. It’s a very wide web these days, and unfortunately I’ll never personally meet many of you.

And thanks, also, to someone I DO know, thanks to my very most important and special person, Nancy Cherry Eifert, who not only has a photo career of her own, but also handles the licencing, royalties, commissions and shipping, including orders from that pesky website that never seems to work properly. She’s an amazing partner that can multi-task with the best of them. They say that, these days especially, it takes at least two people working more than full-time to be one professional artist. We’ll both tell you that’s certainly true.

I know this won’t last forever -I wish it would, but I won’t stop or even slow down exploring nature through my art and words. Like Carl Rungius, the Canadian painter of wildlife I admire greatly, I want to drop dead at my easel a few long decades from now – and we hope you’ll continue to come along for the ride until then.

Thanks again for reading this week, and have a Happy Christmas.
Larry Eifert

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints and other stuff.

Click here to check out what Nancy’s currently doing. Her new website is almost ready, but not quite yet.

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