Firstly, at 5½ x 3½ inches (139 x 89mm, Note 1) Field Notes is little bigger than my ideal pocket notebook. It does actually fit in all my pockets, but often only just, and I like to feel that the notebook is right the way down and secure inside my pocket. I’ve got a 4 ½ x 3 notebook which is the ideal dimension in that respect. The 48 pages in Field Notes are graph lined on a reasonable weight paper, with a heavier weight cover. Three staples hold the pages and cover together. I was interested to see how this notebook would hold together over an extended period of time, as I suspected the cover and stapling not might stand up so well in the long term.
The inside front cover has spaces for your name, dates, etc and tick-boxes to indicate a ‘handsome reward’ (or not) for returning a lost notebook.
Field Notes first got shoved into my pocket on 18 July, and I decided to always take it with me when I left the house. Monday to Friday it generally lived in the front pocket of my (office) trousers, whilst on the weekend it was often in the back pocket of my jeans. I also always carried a pencil with which to write in the notebook - a small stubby remnant of a Staedtler Mars Stenofix 101, protected by a Faber-Castell Grip eraser tip. I quickly learned that sharpening a short point rather than a long point was necessary to stop the pencil lead being broken by repeated sittings-upon, despite the protection of the eraser tip.It soon became clear that a whole week of office wear and tear on the notebook was only equal to couple of hours of weekend wear and tear. Being in the back pocket of my jeans and getting sat on and scrunched around was a lot harder than life in a cushy office environment. After spending time in a rear pocket, Field Notes does become, ahhh…anatomically contoured? About 6 weeks later at the end of August my Field Notes was about half full. All sorts of genuine field notes from my part-time employment as a birdlife field observer, random rubbish and notes, plus some good stuff too. For example towards the start of the trial period our monthly household electricity bill arrived and I had a conniption over the 250% increase, so I started recording our meter reading everyday and making notes about consumption. The lady of the house was not generally pleased with this campaign of electricity consumption analysis.
Seeing I live in a country where agriculture is still the backbone of the economy, and Field Notes claims to be inspired by “agricultural memo books”, I thought I should put in a few notes about farming down this way.
The national farm animal populations, compared to humans.Sheep ratio for the biggest sheep farmers. Hmmm, mighty dodgy claim, but as you can see with a ratio at about 10 to 1, we can claim to lead the world sheep statistics.
Over the 6 weeks of use, Field Notes stood up pretty well. A bit battered and bent, but nothing major. My worries about the strength of the cover and the staples appear basically unfounded. After about 4 weeks a small split appeared in the cover above the centre staple, but it didn’t get too much worse. I didn’t start to worry about the cover detaching from the pages. So, overall I’m pleased with my little trial at carrying a notebook, maybe I’ll even continue to do so.
Of all the things I wrote in Field Notes, the most satisfying, were two little numbers. 39 and 10, in the correct order. Note: Long time readers of this blog may have noted that I have used US customary units (i.e. inches) as the primary measurements in this posting. Since Field Notes is proudly ‘Made In The USA’ it seemed appropriate.