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Animal Stories for the New Year

Friday, January 1, 2021

 I'm actually trembling, I'm so excited to share this with you. 

Last June, the nationally syndicated radio program Living on Earth held a live interview with me, via Zoom, on my newest book, Saving Jemima: Life and Love with a Hard-luck Jay. If you missed it, it's at this link:

I guess host Bobby Bascomb and the staff liked what happened last spring, because they've asked me back to tell some animal stories for their New Year's Day show, which will air all across the country on NPR affiliate stations, starting today, January 1, 2021, and continuing through the weekend.  You can listen here:

a cottontail in my driveway in the morning, light coming through its ears (ever my favorite scenario)

Thinking about it a bit, though I have lots of good bird stories, for this special show I wanted to tell stories about the underdogs: animals most people consider varmints-- namely woodchucks and cottontail rabbits. As you know, I'm an avid gardener, and I've had more than my share of run-ins and losses to these mammals. But I still love them, and I work around them, because they were here before we were, and I believe that having a taste for my vegetables and flowers should not be a capital crime. 

In this podcast, I'll tell a couple stories about heroic mother rabbits, doing what they must to feed and protect their nests. And what it feels like to reach down through straw and fur and hit a nest of slick baby rabbits. 

There is also a woodchuck story. I love woodchucks as much as most people hate them. 

This is a magical woodchuck story. 

Obviously, my ulterior motive in telling these stories over National Public Radio is maybe to sway a few gentleman farmers and gardeners who might otherwise shoot rabbits and woodchucks, to pause and consider what is going on between those sweet ears, behind those dark eyes. 

Listening to the podcast, you'll hear some bewitching guitar music.

They are composed and performed by Josh Kimbrough, who happens to be my niece Katie Zickefoose's husband. I think they're the perfect pairing, don't you?

For more of Josh Kimbrough's music, and to buy his excellent new album, Slither, Soar and Disappear,

This, rather than calling it up on a streaming service, is how to support an independent artist. We get nothing when you listen on Spotify or Pandora. With song titles like "Sunbathing Water Snake" and "Backyard Hawk," Josh's beautiful finger-picking style is a perfect fit for this podcast, and your taste!

Go here to listen to my part of the Living on Earth podcast:

And for the entire show, go here: 

If you're an habitual podcast listener, just look for the Living on Earth podcast on your favorite app.

My deepest thanks to Bobby Bascomb, Jenni Doering and the fabulous staff at Living on Earth for featuring these tales of the underdogs and Josh's beautiful music for a brand new year. 


It will be great to have you back on the air. I will listen and hope it gets to be a regular thing.

I just listened to your stories; what a beautiful way to end the day!

Listening to the woodchuck story I suddenly found tears streaming down my face? What a fabulous story!

Shared your blog with many. Thank you -- you are an antidote to all the stress we experience nowadays.

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