In 22 engaging essays, Summerland writer Don Gayton fuses the personal with the ecological to portray the geography and the natural and human history of his adopted Okanagan Valley homeland.
Draft resister and professional ecologist by training, Don Gayton registers the complexity and interconnectedness of every living thing in his environment, from the rivers and lakes, to the plants and animals, and the human settlements along the Okanagan, Similkameen, and Columbia watercourses shaping his backyard.
THE SKY AND THE PATIO describes the patterns made by iconic native species such as ponderosa pine, sagebruch and bunchgrass, the sockeye salmon and turtles, and the non–natives reshaping their world: the toadflax and knapweed, antelopebrush, horses and cattle – and the grapevines, tomatoes and cannabis looking for a foothold today.
Gayton tells us what we can learn from tree rings besides the tree's age; some fine points about firewood; and a little bit about Chinook wawa, and his own library of nature writing.
Literary Nonfiction. Environmental Studies.
The author of four previous books - The Wheatgrass Mechanism (1990), Landscapes of the Interior (1996), Kokanee: The Redfish and the Kootenay Bioregion (2002) and Interwoven Wild: An Ecologist Loose in the Garden (2007) - Gayton's career, spanning five decades, includes working for the BC Ministry of Forests and Range, the Saskatchewan Department of Agriculture, the BC Ministry of Environment, the Lower Similkameen Indian Band, as well as numerous local governments and community organizations. He lives in Summerland, BC.