Scratching the Woodchuck

Nature on an Amish Farm

Title Details

Pages: 232

Illustrations: 5 illus.

Trim size: 5.500in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 09/02/1999

ISBN: 9-780-8203-2154-7

List Price: $24.95

Related Subjects

NATURE / Essays

Scratching the Woodchuck

Nature on an Amish Farm

Skip to

  • Description
  • Reviews

David Kline came upon a sleeping woodchuck one summer day as he walked the land near his farm. In a gesture that speaks eloquently of Kline's relationship with the natural world, he scratched the animal gently with his walking stick, and the sleeping creature arched its back with pleasure at the attention.

Like its title, this collection of essays on nature, farming, animals, insects, and other topics bespeaks the gentle demeanor and appreciation for nature that shape the author's descriptions of the world around him. Whether sharing his fondness for watching clouds while he rests his horses or for planting flowers in his favorite spot in the woods, David Kline offers a view of life that few of us take time to experience. Scratching the Woodchuck resounds with knowledge, reverence, and a joyful spirit, and to follow Kline's explorations of the landscape and animals around his farm is to sense and come to share his respect for and unity with the earth.

If you want to know what the real world looks like, you had best read Scratching the Woodchuck. David Kline writes with joy, good humor, and style-I can't think of a book that's given me more pleasure in years.

—Bill McKibben

Scratching the Woodchuck is a wonderful book about the pleasures derived from a well loved and competently used place. David Kline and the Amish are national treasures.

—David Orr

A calm and peaceful book . . . David Kline is a wonderful voice for all of these observations.


Kline's thoroughly charming survey of the natural world . . . has much to teach us about appreciating wild things wherever we happen to be.

Kirkus Reviews

Unlike the plethora of books intended to help renew and reassemble our disjointed, modern lives, Scratching the Woodchuck provides no instructions for being mindful, strengthening community, cherishing the natural world, deepening spirituality, or doing meaningful work. Instead, Amish farmer David Kline shares with readers a life wholly made of these fundamental things.

San Francisco Chronicle

David Kline's vision goes beyond 20/20 into the realm of A/Z, where he eloquently uses all of the letters in between to delight us with his insights from his wide travels at home. He's an Amish Thoreau, except he scratches the woodchuck that Thoreau ate.

—Wes Jackson

In this delightful book Kline instructs the reader about the nature and wildlife that he observes on his Ohio farm. But his underlying message is, not surprisingly, to take the time to appreciate the joys of life: the birds, trees, hayfields, streams, clouds, spring peepers-all of nature, including our fellow human beings . . . As a pleasant, instructive visit with an appreciative witness to nature, this book is recommended for all libraries.

Library Journal

David Kline is an alert observer of the natural world and its creatures, and an utterly pleasant and interesting companion.

—Wendell Berry

About the Author/Editor

DAVID KLINE is the author of Great Possessions: An Amish Farmer's Journal. A member of an Amish community, he lives on a farm near Fredericksburg, Ohio.