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Category Archives: Sustainable living

A baby rabbit, and baby figs

I see the baby rabbit every day. It likes to hang out near the front steps and eat clover. Each year the fig crop gets better and better. I have to fight the squirrels for the apples, but it’s the birds that I have to fight for the figs. I have three Rose of Sharon […]

A lightning bug

A firely on a basil leaf It has taken more than ten years for the abbey’s one-acre clearing in the woods to become a suitable habitat for lightning bugs. There are far fewer fireflies than there used to be because of pesticides and loss of habitat. When I was a child, there were fireflies virtually […]

The critter birth rate is high this spring

Click here for larger version. Mama Deer was having lunch on my day lilies while Baby Deer was having lunch on Mama. The baby’s walk was very wobbly. I’d guess that the baby is not many days old. I’m seeing lots of wildlife babies this year. There are a great many baby rabbits, baby birds, […]

Cabbage rolls

Some of the most beautiful leaves in the garden are the outer leaves of cabbage. They’re usually wasted, though. Some are removed at the farm, some at the grocery store, and some at home. But if you can get them fresh enough, there are things you can do with them. Last week when I picked […]

The first box of 2024 produce

Bok choi, snap peas, green onions, cone cabbage, lettuce, and broccolini It’s only the 3rd of May, and I just picked up my first box of 2024 vegetables. Again this year, I’m outsourcing the gardening. A young couple who live about two miles away, who moved here from Chicago, are making a living from their […]

Trains: Social glue we Americans will never have

When people ask me why I love Scotland, I have lots of answers. Most of them are nice, because there are so many nice things about Scotland. But I also have a snarky answer: “Scotland,” I say, “is what white people are like when they aren’t Americans.” We Americans are overexposed to wedge-issue social toxins […]

Outsourcing is now an option

I grew the tomatoes on the upper shelf. The tomatoes on the lower shelf were part of my weekly vegetable pickup. Technically, where I live is a food desert. The nearest grocery stores are about twelve miles away. A shocking number of rural people get most of their food these days from dollar stores such […]

Into the woods, and more each year

Click here for high resolution version Fifteen years ago, after I cleared an acre of elderly pine trees for the house, the landscape looked like a huge red gash in the earth. I moved as fast as I could to restore ground cover and to start planting. Growth takes time, but nature moves fast. Though […]

Are you ready for power failure?

⬆︎ My solar panels can produce, at most, a modest 150 watts of power. That’s enough to keep some deep-discharge batteries charged at all times. The solar power also is a supplement to my small generator. Clearly the risks to the power grid are growing. This is true not just in the United States. Just […]

New trains!

The Washington Post has a story about yesterday’s announcement by Amtrak describing the $5 billion worth of new trains that Amtrak is buying. The trains will be named Amtrak Airo, and they’re beautiful. Yes, the trains will be made in America — Sacramento — though the company is German. Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg is not […]