The Adventure Continues...
After hearing tales of adventure at the Great Tree in Shanleya's Quest, Adelia, Katyln, and Peter now embark on a magical journey back in time to meet the legendary botanist. Together they explore the world that bloomed after the fall of the Great Tree. They examine old flower fossils, discover new plant families and their guardians, and experience the wonderful world of plants.
Readers learn the essential patterns for identifying 30,000 plants to the correct families, plus the story includes an overview of the edible and medicinal properties of those plant families.
Shanleya's Quest 2 teaches readers to recognize ancestral flower traits and witness evolution in action as flower parts merge together in increasingly specialized flower forms. The book introduces college-level content in a tale of botanical adventure suitable for kids ages 9 to 99. Read More...
Five Months on the Missouri River Paddling a Dugout Canoe Three Forks, Montana to St. Louis, Missouri by Thomas J. Elpel, Illustrated by Joanna Walitalo
Have you ever dreamed of adventure?
Thomas J. Elpel had the rare opportunity to carve a dugout canoe with Churchill Clark, the great-great-great-great grandson of Captain Clark. Together they whittled a 10,000 lb. Douglas fir log down to a 500+ lb. canoe.
Enlisting friends with additional canoes to join the adventure, Tom led a five-month "Missouri River Corps of Rediscovery" expedition, paddling the 2,341-mile Missouri River segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail fromMontana to St. Louis. It was an archetypical story of adventure -- to carve and paddle a dugout canoe like the famed explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.
Instead of merely racing to the finish line, Tom and friends paddled the Missouri River as a conduit for exploring the land and meeting its inhabitants. Every campsite offered a new opportunity to hike and explore the geographical landscape and geology, identify plants, and forage for wild foods. They enjoyed a leisurely pace paddling through the heart of America while diving into Lewis and Clark history and the history of Native American tribes along the route. They were assisted by many River Angels along the way, meeting some of the nicest people on the planet. Read More...
"While enjoying Pokémon card games with my son, I discovered that he knew the names and life histories of countless imaginary animals. That was the inspiration for Wildlife Web. I thought, "Wouldn't it be great if kids could get this excited about real wildlife?" The final product is vastly different from Pokémon... and a lot more fun!"
--Thomas J. Elpel, Creator of Wildlife Web
Wildlife Web A dynamic ecology strategy game Eat, mate, reproduce. Avoid being eaten Created by Thomas J. Elpel - Artwork by Megan Levacy
Can you forage or hunt for food, find a mate, and raise your young... without becoming someone else's lunch?
Welcome to Wildlife Web, a game where you participate in the web of life.
Wildlife Web is an exciting, dynamic game of strategy where adventure, luck, and cunning provide hours of fun for family and friends, recommended for ages 9 to 99.
Do you want to be a mountain lion, deer, or elk? This surprisingly realistic game enables players to experience life as any of 50 different animals, and each animal has a mate. Read More...
Green Prosperity Quit Your Job, Live Your Dreams A Manual for Changing the World By Thomas J. Elpel
Little actual work is required to provide for most human needs such as shelter, clothing, warmth, food, and water, and even new necessities, such as mobile phones and transportation.
Technological advances allow progressively fewer workers to produce essential goods and services necessary for society to function. To distribute goods and services and maintain social cohesion, all other people must be employed in increasingly superfluous work to consume surplus abundance.
Surplus time and idle hands represent a fundamental threat to society. The mechanism of control, subconsciously implemented throughout history, is to occupy people with meaningless work.
As the total workforce required to sustain society approaches zero, progressively more people are employed to consume and dispose of wealth rather than produce it. Resource scarcity, environmental degradation, and poverty are artificially created as side effects of the effort to keep people busy pretending to work.
Due to population growth and technological development, unnecessary work now consumes our resource base at an unsustainable rate and threatens all life on earth. Read More...
Videos about our dugout canoe, Belladonna Beaver
Healers of Big Butte A novel by Jan Elpel
Healers of Big Butte is a light-hearted story of relationships and inner struggles during a little-known period of silver mining in Big Butte, Montana Territory, 1875-1877. But historic events intrude on the once pristine mile-high bowl on the Continental Divide, where miners and cattlemen come into conflict, and tensions lead up to the Nez Perce War. Paperback. 284 pages. July 2017. ISBN: 978-1-892784-39-1. $16.00
From the back cover:
Carrie Tarynton is both loved and feared in Big Butte, Montana Territory, 1875. She saves the life of a prized horse and confronts age-old superstitions and practices, as well as two "modern" physicians from the East. She enlists her intuitive women friends and a Shoshoni Medicine Woman to help heal her husband, Mac Tarynton, and her marriage. Mac seeks Kent Berrigan to help defend his ranch against mining companies that spoil pristine streams, while rising conflicts lead up to the Nez Perce War. Read More...
Berrigan's Ride is a novel of love, abandonment and acceptance set primarily in Hot Spring District, Madison County, in southwestern Montana (Norris), 1866 - 1868, and a drama of symbolic healing between North and South after the Civil War. Paperback. 284 pages. September 2016. ISBN: 978-1-892784-37-7. $16.00
From the back cover:
Kent Berrigan never expected to fall in love with raw, remote Montana Territory. He recognizes himself in the night flight of wild horses running past his shack in the gold fields of Madison County, 1866. "His pulse stimulated to breaking in this land of intemperance, temper, and indifference with an edge on its own terms. He yearned to run with the herd-as with the horses, another life formed a past he ran from, or a future he was running toward..."
Kent settles on Norwegian Creek with other Rebels, a dog and a captured wild horse. After a friend was murdered, he follows his heart to California gold camps in pursuit of Marion Patton, an independent woman with a vision for the country, if not of her own destiny. Eventually, an Alder Gulch mine tragedy near Virginia City forces Kent to confront his unresolved relationship with the North. Read More...
La Búsqueda de Shanleya Una aventura botánica para niños de 9 a 99 años
Escrito por Thomas J. Elpel, autor de Botany in a Day Ilustrado por Gloria Brown. Edición Española 2016, traducido por Janeth Warg
En un mundo mítico donde el Tiempo es un líquido que cae en forma de lluvia, Shanleya remó su canoa hacia "Las Islas del Árbol" para aprender las tradiciones de las plantas de su pueblo. Cada isla es el hogar de una familia diferente de plantas y de un Guardián inolvidable, con lecciones para aprender acerca de la identificación y uso de esas plantas.
La Búsqueda de Shanleya es un libro único verdaderamente educativo, que presenta conceptos botánicos y habilidades de identificación de plantas en un formato metafórico fácil y divertido para los niños y adultos. Read More...
Stone House A Guide to Self-Building with Slipforms By Tomm Stanley (Now distributed by HOPS Press, LLC)
Born and raised in the USA, author Tomm Stanley hopped around the world working in Antarctica, Australia, southeast Asia and New Zealand, where he found a partner and settled down. Tomm and Sabrina had lots of rocks available on their land, and so slipforming was the obvious choice for building their dream home. Thomas J. Elpel had the good fortune to meet Tomm Stanley while vacationing in New Zealand and was privileged to receive a personal tour of the house.
The slipforming method they used is similar to early slipforming methods used in North America, with one significant improvement: Instead of wire ties to hold the forms together, Stanley ran threaded rod through plastic sleeves, and used wingnuts on the outside of the forms to tighten the forms. The plastic sleeves stayed in the wall, but the threaded rod could be used again and again. Read More...
Foraging the Mountain West Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat By Thomas J. Elpel and Kris Reed
There's food in them thar hills! There is also food in the valleys, meadows, swamps, and all around town, too... maybe even in your own backyard. Foraging the Mountain West is a guide to harvesting and celebrating nature's abundance. Reach out and explore the world with your taste buds. Discover new delights you will never find at the store. Connect with nature on a deeper level by meeting, greeting, and eating the plants, fungi, and creatures that share the neighborhood. Become a little more self-sufficient, and a lot more aware.
Foraging the Mountain West is a hands-on manual for identifying, harvesting, and preparing real food. It is written for the backpacker who would rather bring more knowledge and fewer provisions into the wilderness. It is intended for the happy homemaker who wants to eat well and spend less. It is ideal for the creative chef who wants to explore new ingredients and impress diners with novel dishes. Read More...
Too Many Jobs?What if the path to prosperity called for less work and fewer jobs? Article by Thomas J. Elpel
What's New on the Wildflowers and Weeds Site?
50 New Wildflower Photos! Plant Families Wildflower Gallery
Are you still thumbing through hundreds of pictures to identify wild flowers? That's the way I started learning plants, but now there is a much easier way! Plants that are related to each other have similar characteristics for identification. Botanists have simply looked for patterns in plants and created groups called "families" according to those patterns. In the northern latitudes where there are hard freezes during winter, there are only about 100 broad patterns representing tens of thousands of plant species. Once you identify the family your wild flower belongs to then you can still use your color picture book to identify the species, but now you only have to look through a few pictures to find a match, not hundreds. Read More...
Castle Construction Building our Little Castle / Guest House by Thomas J. Elpel, Author of Living Homes
It all started with the satellite dish. It was one of those big, old-style, clunky dishes from the early hey-day of satellite television. It was handed off to me when its owners upgraded to a new dish. They somehow imagined they were doing me a favor, that my life would be better if I installed the ugly thing in the yard and had access to five hundred channels of nothing. But we have three channels via the antenna, and that is more than enough of nothing already. On the other hand, I didn't want to just throw the satellite dish away. I don't like throwing anything away. And I thought maybe I could make something interesting out of it someday, such as a solar cooker or maybe even the roof of a playhouse or something. So the satellite dish just sat behind the house for fifteen to twenty years. Then we had this idea to turn it into a castle. Read More...
Build an authentic masonry fireplace with the efficiency of a masonry
stove! The baffle system in this fireplace extracts heat from the
exhaust, warming up the thermal mass of brick and rock. The masonry
fireplace can radiate heat for three days after the fire is out!
In this instructional video, Thomas J. Elpel demonstrates the step-by-step process of building a masonry fireplace, starting from the foundation and ending with the chimney. Elpel shows how to lay up the brickwork for the core of the fireplace, how to build the arch, and how to build the baffle system. With the brickwork complete, Elpel demonstrates freehand stone masonry, using natural rock to lay up the stonework around the brick core. DVD. 2012. Read More...
"This is the story of our house and farm. Jordan and I designed the house, and Jordan (with the help of family and friends) built it from the ground up. It is a "green" house, which means that, wherever possible, the materials we used were natural, local and safe for the environment. [Read More...]
What's New on all our Websites?
What's New on Wildflowers-and-Weeds.com?
Updated and Expanded! Plant Families Gallery Now with 750 wildflower photos! Resources to help identify your wildflowers.