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Category Archives: Sustainable living

Cooler summer cooking, outside

Even if cooking on the deck didn’t keep the heat out of the kitchen, cooking on the deck would still be worth doing. Cooking outdoors is as much fun as eating outdoors. I have long used my gas grill for cooking on the deck. But not everything wants to be cooked on a grill. Today […]

Strawberry preserves

… Or maybe it’s more like strawberry syrup. Though I reduced the sugar a bit, which is probably what made the preserves too thin, I did cook the preserves until they reached 220 degrees. I greatly prefer preserves that are slightly runny, even if this batch is a bit too runny. To my taste, it’s […]

Not a seascape

The morning after the storm. Click here for high-resolution version. If I were a poet, I’d try to write a poem that captures how forests and the sea are so much alike. Both are dark and deep and full of creatures. Both can be quiet and peaceful, but both are violent and dangerous in a […]

Agricultural entrepreneurs: Yes!

Here at my latitude, strawberry season has started. As of last year, acquiring strawberries got a lot easier for me. A new strawberry farm started up last year only a 10-minute drive from here. They pick the berries in the morning, then sell them for $10 a gallon under the porch of an old barn […]

Everything is turning green

The lettuce actually was planted by Ken last fall. It wintered over in a cold frame. Yesterday, during a cold rain, I picked it while it was at the peak of perfection. I washed it, chilled it, and ate it 40 minutes after it came in out of the rain. Who knew that lettuce could […]

If you were a deer, would you be scared?

It irks me that I have to uglify my day lily bank to try to keep the deer from eating the day lilies. This year, they started eating them very early, without waiting for the flower stalks and blooms. With luck and good rain, this bank will be a green jungle of day lilies by […]

Ken’s new web site

Ken on the Isle of Mull during our hike there in 2018 Readers of this blog over the years will be familiar with Ken Ilgunas, who lived here at the abbey on and off starting back in 2010. Most of his writing on his books was done here. Ken’s blog, which he started in 2009, […]

The Sierra Club

I felt a little irritated when I found in my mailbox a thick envelope from the Sierra Club. I had not renewed my membership, so of course it was a solicitation. The thickness of the envelope was clearly meant to give the impression of something valuable inside, as encouragement to open the envelope rather than […]

Oil: Why can’t we ever learn?

The 1935 Mercedes-Benz 770 that belonged to Emperor Hirohito. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Here we are once again in that most familiar of geopolitical pickles. The advocates of progress and democracy still have the oil leash tight around their necks, jerking them around and holding them back. The other end of the leash is held by […]

Don’t forget to feed the birds

Cat prints and dove prints on my porch It’s alarming how hard the snow is on the creatures who live outside. While the snow was falling hard yesterday and the temperature was 20F, some doves were sheltering on my porch. Unfortunately they saw me and flew away. After dark, I heard Lily downstairs meowing in […]