Tag Archives: Virginia Eifert

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.