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Category Archives: Sustainable living

Good timing, Burger King

About a month ago, when the Green New Deal was at the top of everyone’s news feeds, right-wingers market-tested a new 2020 theme for scaring the deplorables: Liberals are coming to take away your hamburgers! As reported by the Washington Post: “They want to take your pickup truck. They want to rebuild your home. They […]

2019 Garden: Here we go

The first garden chore of the year is to clear, and then to burn, last year’s dead weeds. That got done today. The next garden chore of the year is the first tilling. That will get done tomorrow, ahead of a light rain that is due to start about 5 p.m. After that, the next […]

Buckwheat

Buckwheat hotcakes with blueberries (from frozen) and maple syrup The blackness of buckwheat hotcakes is so shocking that you’d think they couldn’t possibly be good. Yet the flavor is mild — almost delicate — and nutty. Buckwheat is not a relative of wheat. In fact, according to the Wikipedia article, it’s not even a grain, […]

A chicken story with a happy ending

One of many feathers found at the scene I was sitting at the computer upstairs when I heard the chickens screaming. I dashed to the side porch, slipped on my shoes without tying them, grabbed a broom, and ran toward the orchard yelling. The battle was happening on the far upper end of the orchard, […]

Weather emergencies

Ice storm on the ridge During the weekend, an ice storm turned out to be considerably worse than was forecast. Around sunrise on Sunday morning, the lights starting dimming, then flickered, then went out. Power failures are common here, but somehow I knew that this one would last longer than usual. In bucking myself up […]

Environmental justice: The people fight back

Al Gore This is a rather long photo essay. I hope you’ll bear with me. People sometimes ask me why I choose to live in a rural and seemingly backward place like Stokes County, North Carolina, after 18 years in an urbane place like San Francisco. Stokes is a poor county in the foothills of […]

You can’t have too much abelia

The bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies would agree: You can’t have too much abelia. Abelia shrubs bloom almost all summer long. There are thousands of little dime-size blooms. Abelia is an old-fashioned and out-of-style relative of honeysuckle, though it’s not as fragrant, and (thank goodness) it doesn’t climb. This abelia bush, now nine years old, stands […]

If only we had more of these

My guess would be that there are very few stiles remaining in America, though I also would guess that there were never that many in the first place, except possibly in New England. Most Americans probably don’t even know the word. Even I, born and raised a country person with roots in the Appalachian Highlands, […]

A portrait of the deceased

Not infrequently, living things from the garden are almost too beautiful to slice and eat. And yet, that’s why we grow them. Their existence is ephemeral. They’ll soon be lost and return to dust whether we eat them or not. The existential implications of that are horrifying. We share about 20 percent of our DNA […]

Setting hens

It doesn’t happen all that often, but every now and then a hen takes a notion to set. This young lady is a year and a half old. There are a number of remedies for “breaking” hens of setting. Having tried it, I would testify that it’s not worth the fight. Broody hens are remarkably […]