Fireweed, by Nellie Buxton Picken
Ed McLauren has fought his whole life: to build the Lazy Ear ranch, to pass responsible range management legislation, and to expose the unscrupulous and greedy developers who seek to rob the N’Chi-lix-czin of their birthright. In Fireweed (286 pages), Ed perseveres to speaks out in favor of controlled brush-burning to unwilling ears, while discomfited by the appearance of Delbert Gaston, a candidate for Congress, who opens up wounds he has avoided for thirty-five years.
Advised by his doctor to write a will and organize his estate, Ed finds himself travelling homeward for the first time since coming to the west in 1857 as a rebellious teenager drawn by the lure of the gold fields. In an American saga, spanning a generation, embroiled over settlement and control of public land between white and native men and the government, Ed reminisces to his youth and the people who shaped his life as a rancher in the Okanogan Valley of north central Washington, interweaved with the contemporary frustrations of the second generation ranchers. Like the brilliant spires of fireweed that spring up to cover burned-over slopes, nature’s cycle of renewal governs Ed’s life.
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