Archive for February, 2013

Cast Your Vote – The Best of Dallas 2013

D Magazine in Dallas just announced their 2013 Best of D Readers’ Choice Poll for shopping. Whole Earth Provision Co. is proud to have once again been nominated in the Best Toy Store category.

Best Toy Store Nomination, Best Of D Magazine

Toys have had a special place in Whole Earth stores from the beginning. Based on the principles of the Whole Earth Catalog, we stock items that are useful, relevant and of high quality. But we added one more item to the list – fun. We’re a playful bunch and always on the lookout for great new toys to add to our collection of time-tested classics and new favorites. We’ve got toys for rambunctious outdoor fun, games and puzzles for children of all ages, toys for building, pretending and quiet indoor play, toys for exploring, and stuffed animal companions large and small.

If you love our toys, please vote for us in the Best of D Reader’ Choice Poll.

What We’re Reading February 22, 2013

You may not know this but Whole Earth Provision Co. was originally a bookstore. We still have lots of books and lots of readers on our staff. We share interesting articles and photographs amongst ourselves every day, so we thought we would share them with you too.

Portrait of Snowflakes, Alexey Kljatov

Walter sent us this link to an article on Russian photographer Alexey Kljatov’s amazing portraits of snowflakes. Here’s how he does it.

Our new favorite travel tool is Flightaware. We love the interactive maps, weather radar and tiny planes that tell us where our loved ones are on their journey.

Cat Paw Print, Emir O. Filipovic

This was a favorite for those of us who share our homes with a cat or two or three. Apparently, some things never change.

Learning how to learn is probably the biggest gap in your education. Need to learn something new or want to see how the different methods stack up? Read on.

Opte Project - links between the world wide web

Here’s another map we found this week. (We really do love them!) This one shows the links between web pages on the world wide web. Did you know that any two web pages on the web are connected by 19 clicks or less? Here’s why.


This is yet another in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen. Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list.

Tony Pierson on the 50 Mile Walk

Tony Pierson wears a Whole Earth t-shirt on the 50 Mile Walk. 

On Friday February 8th, NPR’s Morning Edition broadcast a story on Robert F. Kennedy’s 50 mile walk. The gist of the story was Robert F. Kennedy taking on a challenge issued to the Marines by his brother President John F. Kennedy to walk 50 miles in one day. The President jokingly suggested that his staff take on the challenge as well. So the next day, in the snow, slush and freezing temperatures, Robert F. Kennedy, the U.S. Attorney General, walked 50 miles in one day from Great Falls, Maryland, just outside of Washington D.C., to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. And he did it with no training and in business shoes.

50 Mile Walk 2012 route

At the Whole Earth offices we wondered how Kennedy had done it. We decided that, in a famously competitive family, a challenge by an older brother, who also happened to be President, would offer sufficient motivation for even the craziest feat. The fact that the Press Corps was on the scene by mile 25 may have been an added encouragement. Little did we know that back East, Earthling Sarah Pierson had also heard the NPR story and that there would be a 50th anniversary walk the next day. She mentioned it to her husband, Tony Pierson. By 7 p.m. Friday evening, Tony had decided to participate in the Walk and at 4 a.m. was at the starting line with about 30 other walkers.

50 Mile Walkers at the starting line.

Walkers at the starting line

 

As Tony tells it, “A 50 mile hike… how hard could it be? We have been training for 26 miles in full uniform, carrying a 35 pound ruck [for the Bataan Memorial Death March]. But 50 miles was a real challenge while carrying about 15 pounds of supplies and wearing cold weather gear. Next year I will try to prepare. We averaged not quite 4 mph, but did stop a few times to take in calories. Overall it was a lot of fun.” Tony was also thankful that Sarah not only humored him but brought him Gatorade, protein bars and a Pepsi at mile 33.

So a big Whole Earth congratulations to Tony Pierson for completing the Robert F. Kennedy 50 Mile Walk!

TNF Speaker Series 2012 Beneficiary Update

TNF Speaker Series Update

 

During 2012 The North Face brought not one, but two of their very special athletes to Texas to do presentations regarding climbing exploits in the far flung mountainous places of our planet. This series of presentations is called the North Face Speaker Series and Whole Earth Provision Co. was proud to play host on both these occasions – to the financial benefit of two of our favorite organizations: The Woods Project in Houston and Westcave Preserve in Austin.

TNF Speaker Series beneficiary The Woods Project, 2012Pictured above: Post Oak Whole Earth manager, Ray Loyal, (left) presenting a check to Steve Rosencranz, founder and director of the Woods Project.

In May of ’12 alpinist Mark Synnott appeared at the Houston Museum of Natural Science to thrill the audience via photos and words concerning his many high altitude/ high angle climbs in remote locales around the globe. The Speaker Series are free events, but for a donation of $20, many attendees had a glass of wine with Mark and talked to him first hand about his experiences. Benefiting from these funds was The Woods Project, a Houston-based non-profit that works with low-income high schoolers by preparing them for and then taking them into wilderness settings in Texas and the Rockies.

TNF Speaker Series benefitting Westcave Preserve, 2012Pictured above: Whole Earth co-owner Walter Wakefield (right) presenting a check to Molly Stevens, executive director of Westcave Preserve.

In September of 2012 the Austin audience was treated to another Speaker Series event at Zach Scott Theater in Austin. Hilaree O’Neill did a wonderful multi-media presentation about her spectacular climb in 24 hours of both Mount Everest and neighboring Lhotse – the first woman to have done so. Hilaree’s reception benefited Westcave Preserve, a most wonderful piece of earth just west of Austin.

Thank you to all who attended the two events, to The North Face for making it possible for world-class athletes to do incredible feats then come tell the rest of us how it went, and to our very worthy beneficiaries of The Speaker Series: The Woods Project and Westcave Preserve.

Check the Whole Earth website later this year for news about the 2013 Texas visits by the Speaker Series from The North Face. Interested in learning more? Read about past visits by the Speaker Series.

Zilker Kite Festival 2013

Zilker Kite Festival Raffle benefitting Communities in Schools
Zilker Kite Festival - Day in the Park Package Raffle
Ready, set, go! Austin’s festival season is about to take off. First up: the Zilker Kite Festival. This year’s gathering of kites and fliers takes place on March 3rd with a rain date set for March 10th. Festival activities include a kite making workshop, kite flying demonstrations and contests for the most unusual, the steadiest, the highest angle, the strongest pulling and the largest and smallest kites, a kids’ 50 yard dash with a flying kite, and a prize for the oldest and youngest contestants. The Festival ends with a spectacular mass ascent of kites filling the sky above the Great Lawn.

Whole Earth Provision Co. is joining in the fun with a Day in the Park raffle. The package, valued at over $400, includes a Yucatan hammock and hammock stand, a Sport Brella, and a Recon Kite. Tickets can be purchased before March 2nd at the three Austin Whole Earth stores and at the Kite Festival on March 3rd. You do not have to be present to win. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20. Proceeds from the raffle will benefit The Pebble Project.


The Pebble Project is sponsored by Communities in Schools, a Central Texas non-profit that offers help to children facing crises and significant barriers to education such as hunger, poverty, unattended health needs and domestic violence. The Pebble Project works to prevent child abuse and neglect by empowering children to contribute to their own safety by recognizing potentially dangerous situations, offering strategies for responding assertively to potential threats and encouraging children to seek help from adults they trust. The Pebble Project also has workshops for adults on the prevention of child abuse, neglect and assault.

The Zilker Kite Festival was launched by the Exchange Club of Austin back in 1929 as an opportunity for children and the community to come together for some shared fun and creativity. Now in its 85th year, the Festival is the oldest continuously run kite festival in the country.

If you’re in need of a kite for the event, stop by your favorite Whole Earth store. We have kites for beginners as well as sport and stunt kites. And don’t forget to download a copy of our Kite Flyer’s Field Guide for Judging Wind Speed. We’ll see you at Zilker!

What We’re Reading February 15, 2013

You may not know this but Whole Earth Provision Co. was originally a bookstore. We still have lots of books and lots of readers on our staff. We share interesting articles and photographs amongst ourselves every day, so we thought we would share them with you too.

Earth From Space PBS

Did you see Earth from Space, this week’s special episode of Nova on PBS? Get ready to be amazed at the secrets that have been unlocked by Earth observing satellites. Donna gives it five stars!

Sun photos from the backyard

Miles points out that you can take spectacular photos without using a satellite. Look what a backyard astronomer accomplished using special solar filters (Do NOT try this without using the proper gear!)

Ideas: old versus new

“A curse of the 21st century is the belief that the new prevails over the old and that the new is superior to the old. I’ve realized the opposite is true with respect to ideas.”

Audubon's Top 100 images

Here’s a treat! Audubon Magazine has posted the top 100 images from their fourth annual photography contest.


This is yet another in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen. Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list.

What We’re Reading – February 8, 2013

You may not know this but Whole Earth Provision Co. was originally a bookstore. We still have lots of books and lots of readers on our staff. We share interesting articles and photographs amongst ourselves every day, so we thought we would share them with you too.

Chicken and Egg Illustration

Dad1_ / Flickr

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Now we know.

Czech-American pastry counter

Jewell Williett / Flickr

America’s Test Kitchen plumbs the cultural significance of this beloved Czech-American pastry in The Great Texas Kolache Crawl.

Tree as a Headtomb

Vince Alongl / Flickr

How about a tree instead of a tombstone?


This is yet another in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen. Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list.

The Horse Boy Story: a Mongolian Journey of Healing

Horse Boy Presentation at Whole Earth North Lamar

Rowan Isaacson, also known as the Horse Boy, has traveled to places that most of us will never see. Diagnosed with autism in 2004, his family discovered that animals, especially horses, helped him to reach out to the world. With the help of a neighbor’s quarter horse named Betsy, Rowan began to speak. Soon after, Rowan met a group of traditional healers and shamans with whom he also forged a connection. His father, Rupert Isaacson, an ex-horse trainer and human rights advocate for displaced indigenous tribes, then decided to take the family on a trip to a place where the world of horses and the world of shamanic healing met: Mongolia. The Horse Boy, a book and a documentary, tells the story of the family’s journey.

In Mongolia, the family rode for days over the grassy steppes and visited with shamans whose ceremonies helped ease Rowan’s tantrums and incontinence. For some, shamanic healing seems too close to New Age beliefs to be credible. But as Isaacson points out,

“The good thing about having the film crew there was that we actually show people that we didn’t just make this stuff up. Anyway, I’m less interested in how it works. Rowan came home cured of these dysfunctions, not cured of his autism. He is still autistic and always will be. There’s a difference, I think, between ‘heal’ and ‘cure.’ Rowan is just so functional now that his autism comes across as more of a quirk than a ‘condition.’” (John Mitchinson, The Telegraph)

Inspired by Rowan’s progress, his parents have created the Horse Boy Foundation and Method for working with autistic children. The Method involves a six stage process: creating a receptive environment, sensory work, back-riding, perspective taking, academics on horseback and self-advocacy. The Foundation sponsors play dates, camps and training sessions.

Whole Earth Provision Co. proudly welcomes Rupert Isaacson to our North Lamar store in Austin on Thursday February 21st at 7 pm. He will speak on the family’s journey to Mongolia and the Foundation’s work with autistic children. You can say howdy to a pair of Horse Boy horses as well. Hope you’ll join us!

What We’re Reading February 1, 2013

What a great week this has been at the office – we’ve found some surprising and thought provoking articles, images and even a documentary to share with you. Enjoy!

Nimbus D’Aspremont © Berndnaut Smilde

Nimbus D’Aspremont © Berndnaut Smilde

Berndnaut Smilde has collapsed the barrier between indoors and the natural world with his Nimbus art. His creations are so ephemeral that they exist for us only in photographs.

maja*majika / flickr

maja*majika / flickr

The U.S. Forest Service has found a curious connection between the loss of 100 million trees and the health of the humans living nearby.

triggerhapi / flickr

triggerhapi / flickr

There’s no universal definition of comfort, especially when it comes to temperature. Look what happened in Mexico when globalization trumped the traditional siesta.

Siberian taiga / wikicommons

Siberian taiga / wikicommons

What would it be like to spend over 40 years in the Siberian taiga, the world’s largest remaining wilderness, cut off from the rest of humanity? Would you have the skills to survive? The Lykov family did, but ….

Minette Layne / Flickr

Minette Layne / Flickr

Why do birds sing? To attract mates, to repel rivals, or do they sing for the sheer joy of it? Brainpickings posted a link to a BBC documentary that pits two evolutionary biologists against a philosopher in an attempt to answer the question – are birds musicians?

Saudi Arabia / Google Earth

Saudi Arabia / Google Earth

Paul Bourke has been traveling the globe via Google Earth collecting images showing fractal geometry at work on Earth’s landscapes.


This is yet another in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen. Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list.