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Fun stuff

Jan 30, 2013


In May 2010 I was lucky enough to spend five days on the Mississippi River with the folks from the Quapaw Canoe Company out of the small town of Helena in Arkansas and over the river at the Home of the Blues – Clarksdale Mississippi.

You can read my account of that trip – brief and incomplete as it is – in my Mud and Blood in the Mississippi in Flood post.

I’ve kept in touch with Captain John Ruskey and the Mighty Quapaw crew and in 2011 managed to get back on the river during another flood for a few brief hours at a very soggy Helena. If I’m lucky I may be able to get back there again when I’m next in the States for the Society of Ethnobiology meeting at Denton, Texas in May this year.

Continue reading “Leave no child ashore – a school trip into the “dark heart of the deepest woods” of Mississippi”

Fun stuff

Jan 7, 2013


‘The Big Muddy: An Environmental History of the Mississippi’ … a review

"The Big Muddy" follows centuries of human efforts to conceptualize this landscape of mud as a place with firm barriers between water and land, and then make these conceptions reality. A few examples: early French explorers repeatedly failed to locate the mouth of the Mississippi out of an inability to imagine a vast, multi-channeled delta. Rice, and then indigo, tobacco, and sugar encouraged settlers to drain, divide, and levee the landscape.

Regular readers here will know of my (somewhat distant) love affair with the Mississippi River and the cultures that live in, on and around it.

I’ve written about it here, here and here and have learnt much about the river from my colleagues Mark Bonta, who lives and works at the small town of Cleveland in the Delta and ‘Captain’ John Ruskey of the Quapaw Canoe Company out of Clarksdale Mississippi and across the river at Helena, Arkansas.

Books like the McDowell’s “Mississippi Secrets“, John M. Barry’s magisterial “Rising Tide“, James C. Cobb’s “The Most Southern Place on Earth” and Mikko Saikku’s environmental history of the Yazoo-Mississippi floodplain “This Delta, This Land” have all piqued my interest and ensured that I’ll return to spend more time with this most magnificent creature that is the river and all around it. 

Continue reading “‘The Big Muddy: An Environmental History of the Mississippi’ … a review”


Dec 20, 2012


This is a guest post by “Wolfie” Chris Staudinger, who is “learning and living on the Mississippi River with the Quapaw Canoe Company in Clarksdale, MS. One day, he will move back to his homeplace of Lower Louisiana and establish a community of houseboats and container homes on stilts.”

There are certain moments on the River that shine more brightly than others. When they happen, they’re sharp like dreams. It’s like the energy of the earth surges, rises from its core, and lights up something very small. Ditches, low fogs, rocks, and other unremarkable things become geysers of this glow.

Continue reading “Little Geysers – musings on Willow Island, Mississippi River”


May 25, 2010


Mud & Blood on the Mississippi in flood* – in pictures

The river was up 40 feet at the Greenville Bridge by the time we got there - swelled by the normal snowmelt in many of the 37 States and 2 Canadian provinces that drain into it and also from the floodwaters that flowed down from the Cumberland River that had trashed Nashville, Tennessee a couple of weeks ago - all of this made for some exciting canoeing - with many of the sandbars and islands under water.

Well there wasn’t all that much blood but the mightly Mississippi was well flooded…

As I’ve previously indicated I spent the best part of last week floating down the Mississippi River from where we put the mighty Kingfisher canoe into the River at Quapaw Landing just outside of Clarksdale, Mississippi.

About 110 miles and four days later we pulled her out of the river at just under the Greenville Bridge.

turtle tracks, Choctaw Island
Turtle tracks, Choctaw Island

Continue reading “Mud & Blood on the Mississippi in flood* – in pictures”


May 24, 2010


Here are just a few pix from the northern part of my trip though the USA and Canada over the past few weeks.

I’m in Mississippi right now and will post some more pix from my trip down the Mississippi River over the next few days.

The ferry from Vancouver to Victoria
The ferry from Vancouver to Victoria

Continue reading “Views from Vancouver, Tofino and Victoria, British Columbia”


May 18, 2010


Conferenceville in British Columbia

In recent years Ethnoornithology has emerged as a valuable sub-discipline of ethnobiological research, partly for its potential to be able to make a valuable contribution to bird conservation and also as a means of empowering people of all cultures preserve, re-examine and discover the connections between individuals, groups and cultures and the birds that people hunt, venerate and cherish.


Oct 22, 2009


My friend Roger Stolle from the wonderful Cathead Music store in downtown Clarksdale, Mississippi – the heart of the Mississippi Delta – is selling his house for the re-priced bargain-basement price of $79,000.

111 Catalpa St, Clarksdale, Mississippi
111 Catalpa St, Clarksdale, Mississippi

Continue reading “House of the week – 111 Catalpa Street Clarksdale, Mississippi – $79K!!”