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Monthly Archives: May 2016

Spider 1, stink bug 0

The spider in my window was having a stink bug for lunch. Way to go, spider.

“Where to Invade Next”

It’s easy to dislike Michael Moore. He’s rude, and he looks like a slob. But his documentaries fill an important need, because he tells us what we otherwise wouldn’t hear. In this blog, I’ve often mentioned the Overton window. That’s the window of allowable discourse, the range of ideas that the mainstream media will talk […]


When I was a young’un in the rural South, we called these doodlebug holes. There is much folklore about doodlebug holes. The version I learned as a child was, “Doodlebug, doodlebug, come out, your house is on fire.” A little Googling reveals doodlebug holes to be the sand pit traps of antlion larvae. As for […]

Bush cherries

I believe it was four years ago that a gardener friend urged me to go to Tractor Supply and get some of the cherry bushes they were selling. The potted bushes were very small — not more than two quarts, as I recall. I have never known a bush that is so hardy and grows […]

Taboos, truth-telling, and an F-word

For as long as I have been politically conscious, there has been a strong taboo against using certain words in public discourse. One of those words is the H-word — Hitler. (Nice people lower their voices when they say the name.) That taboo led to what we call Godwin’s law, which posits that if any […]


Until today I had never been inside a Publix store. A new store opened last week in Winston-Salem, across the street from Whole Foods. I decided to check it out. It’s a nice new store and all that. It reminded me of Safeway stores in San Francisco. But it seems to sell pretty much the […]

In search of environmental justice

Since 1974, the people of the Walnut Tree community have lived in the shadow of Duke Energy’s Belews Creek Steam Station, Duke’s largest coal-burning power plant in the Carolinas. Not until 2008 were scrubbers installed on the plant’s stacks. For all those years, people in Walnut Tree were at Ground Zero for the plant’s emissions […]

Stokes County terrain at its best

Click on image for high-resolution version Given enough time, Americans can ruin just about any landscape. Suburbanization is one of the most popular methods. Suburbanization requires major expenditures on roads. We don’t have those roads here in Stokes County. Our roads are narrow and crooked. Suburbanization also requires population growth and money. We don’t have […]

On letting grass go to seed (follow-up)

When I check the logs of this blog, one post that I find is frequently read (by people searching Google) is “On letting grass go to seed” from May 2009. I owe my readers a follow-up on that post. In May 2009, I was so busy finishing the building of the abbey that I didn’t […]

A visit to Rag Apple Lassie vineyards

One of my favorite wineries in the Yadkin Valley is Rag Apple Lassie. It’s near Boonville in Yadkin County. Many of the Yadkin Valley wineries are hobby operations, typically started by rich CEO’s intrigued with the idea of making wine. Rag Apple Lassie, on the other hand, started as a true agricultural enterprise by former […]