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Category Archives: Sustainable living

An international recipe for progress

Scotland 2070: Healthy, Wealthy, Wise. Ian Godden, Hillary Sillitto, Dorothy Godden. College Publications (London), 2020. 218 pages. What would it take for Scotland to attain the same level of wealth and wellbeing as the Nordic countries? This book lays out a fifty-year plan for accomplishing that. What’s remarkable about this book, though, is that its […]

Blackberry winter

⬆︎ A cold spell in May is nothing new in this area. Older generations, more engaged with the weather than most of us are these days, called it “blackberry winter” — a cold snap while the blackberries are blooming. This blackberry has invaded my abelia bush, but I’ll leave it for now. Spring this year […]

Frost, on Earth Day

Wild persimmon Most of the country had unusually cold weather on April 21 and 22. Ironically, April 22 was Earth Day. Here in the South, spring was far enough along that there was considerable damage. Native species are hardy and came through pretty well, with the odd exception of wild persimmon. Most of my persimmon […]

Leaves for Lily and me

This is Lily’s first catnip bouquet of the 2021 season. I already have huge quantities of catnip. I also have quite a lot of mint coming along. I’ve mentioned that one of my resolutions for this year is to eat more leaves, including, and especially, raw leaves as pesto. Apparently mint pesto is a thing, […]

An early start on the 2021 garden

Amazon calls this a “mini greenhouse.” I’d call it a cold frame. It will be my first experiment in extending the growing season. It’s 95″ x 32″ x 32″ and cost $46. Some people plant by the stars. I plant with the weather. The 10-day forecast for my location shows highs through March 20 of […]

Rethinking the growing season

Volunteer cabbage I should have noticed the possibilities for winter gardening long ago. I suppose it was that I was conditioned to think that gardening season ends with the frost or with the first hard freeze. But that’s not true. There are many vegetables that will keep growing, though slowly. Certainly some winters are milder […]

Let’s hear it for the wobble

Illustration from An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics Surely one of the coolest things about this planet is that it wobbles on an annual cycle. That causes the intensity of the sun to be about half as great in midwinter as it is in midsummer. The result is that life at most latitudes had to evolve […]

And I thought it was spring fever

Pale greenhouse basil bought from Trader Joe’s gets a boost from some rays before it goes into pesto. Where did all this energy come from? Why am I spending more time outdoors instead of in front of the computer doom-scrolling? At first I thought it was an ordinary case of spring fever, because January has […]


Whether we approve or not, Amazon is now important for rural people, just as the Sears catalog was many years ago. We recently put up new signs to help keep the Amazon trucks from getting lost. I usually think of myself as a hermit, hiding down in the forest, ruled by a bossy, devoted, and […]

Wild persimmons — and persimmon pudding

Persimmon pudding and cognac. Click here for high-resolution version. I had persimmon pudding today for the first time in at least 50 years. If you’ve ever once had persimmon pudding, you’ll never forget it, because there’s nothing else like it. I have my own persimmon trees now at last, so I have done my best […]