I came across this book series, and besides being intrigued (I haven't read any of them), I thought the set of four would make a perfect gift for the avid gardener, urban homesteader, or contemplative colleague in your life. Two of the titles you see above—Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens and Meditation and the Art of Beekeeping— are published, while the other two are slated for publication at the end of May.
The books are written by different authors, experts in their respective field.
• Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens, by Clea Danaan: "Explores the entertaining, rewarding, and—yes‐ enlightening art of keeping chickens in an urban or suburban garden. Chickens slow us down and ground us. This book demonstrates how raising chickens can easily fit into a busy lifestyle, and why doing so helps keep us sane and focused on the simpler joys of life."
• Meditation and the Art of Beekeeping, by Mark Magill: "Explores the remarkable role bees play in keeping wildlife thriving and cultivated crops blooming. It combines practical beekeeping information with the environmental and spiritual lessons we can learn from the bees. Meditations based on Buddhist practice help you experience the simple pleasure of the natural world."
• The Art of Mindful Gardening, by Ark Redwood (to be released 5/30/11): "Explores the activity of gardening as an exercise for both body and mind. Ark Redwood, head gardener at one of Britain's most sacred gardens, guides the reader through the changing seasons. Drawing on years of gardening experience and Zen Buddhist practice, he acts as an expert to the secret places of the garden that can be discovered through mindful practice and spiritual contemplation. He demonstrates that mindfulness can bring an extra layer of consciousness to happenings we already consider magical: from the blossoming of a new flower to the flitting of a butterfly. This is the perfect gardener's gift and an essential for the potting shed library."
• The Art of Mindful Walking, by Adam Ford (to be released 5/30/11): "Uses the concepts of mindfulness to explore the activity of walking as an exercise for both body and mind. As an Anglican priest and fromer Priest-in-Ordinary to the Queen, a lecturer in Buddhism, and a devoted walker, Adam Ford is an inspiring guide with a refreshingly eclectic viewpoint. Contemplating the concept of purposeful walking, he applies the notion of mindfulness to walks ranging from a simple journey to work to a personal odyssey in the Australian outback. This book celebrates and enhances those moments: both for the hardened hiker and those who like to contemplate past walks from the comfort of their armchair."
(Images and book descriptions: Allen & Unwin)