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Category Archives: Sustainable living

At last, lilacs

Click here for high-resolution version. I have been waiting for years for the lilac bush to bloom for the first time. This year it finally did, though only in a small way. The apple trees are looking great. There was a chance of frost on April 16, which I was afraid would ruin the apple […]

Old Salem farmer’s market

I don’t get out much. But spring weather and the prospect of food are pretty good motivators. One of the best farmer’s markets in this area is the Cobblestone market at Old Salem. Old Salem is the Salem half of Winston-Salem, a place with colonial roots going back to the Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania […]

Guilt tripping at 41 mpg (or less)

My 2017 Fiat 500 Pop I am a tree hugger, and I confess a terrible moral failing. I love cars. It was back in the 1960s, as a teenager, when I developed a Jaguar fetish. Having one as the family car would have been as impossible as having the moon. But even in the American […]

Tilling time

Nothing excites chickens like a freshly tilled garden. They’d better enjoy it now, because after it’s planted they’ll be banned for the season.

More about barley

Click here for high-resolution version Back in January, when I wrote a post about fried barley polenta, I was using organic pearled barley, because that’s what I had at the time. However, pearled barley (though it’s very good) is not really a whole-grain product. Hulled barley is. Today, while it was snowing outside, I did […]

Where have all the fairies gone?

The Enchanted Forest, John Anster Christian Fitzgerald, 1819-1906 Where have all the fairies gone? We could ask this question two different ways, depending on how you see the world. If you believe that fairies exist (or used to exist), then the question is literal. If you don’t believe in fairies, then there is still a […]

On par with driving a Tesla??

The Washington Post has a funny story this morning about how keeping chickens is now a status symbol in Silicon Valley. The status of having well-kept chickens, the story says, is “on par with driving a Tesla.” The story is “The Silicon Valley elite‚Äôs latest status symbol: Chickens.” Spending $20,000 on a chicken coop is […]

What the hens eat

There are many people who believe, ostensibly as a matter of science, that there is no nutritional or health advantage in organic foods. I beg to differ. For years, I searched for organic chicken feed and couldn’t locate any. A horticulturist friend who helped with the search reported that a feed maker in Virginia said, […]

What can we learn from railway maps?

A coal train near Cotton Hill, West Virginia. Source: Jason Bostic, Flickr As I mentioned recently, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to go on more hiking and picture-taking expeditions. When I made the resolution, I was vaguely aware that I wanted to focus on the Appalachian highlands. But I also wanted to get […]

Architectural history: Some biodegradable, some not

Click here for high-res version My county, Stokes County (North Carolina), is a county of rolling hills and forest, with a few small and picturesque mountains, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which of course are a part of the Appalachian chain. Stokes was never a prosperous county. There were a couple of […]