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Monthly Archives: March 2017

An abbey literary update

Ken’s third book, This Land Is Our Land, has been in the final editing stages here at the abbey and is due at the publisher, Penguin Random House, next week. The book is scheduled for release in March 2018. When the idea for this book was hatched last April, Ken was here at the abbey, […]

On slamming doors

There are two things in the world that are guaranteed to make my blood pressure go from normal to nuclear in a fraction of a second. The first thing is a crude right-winger throwing a talking point at me that he learned from Rush Limbaugh. We liberals are supposed to go down mewling and begging […]


A statue in Germany In political conversations with friends during the weekend, I was reminded yet again of what a perplexing political situation we progressives are in — particularly if we are Democrats. Kinder souls than I (or maybe they’re just more naive than I am) insist that we must “reach out” to Trump voters, […]

Carolina burger

I had lunch today with my brother at Jim’s Grill in Boonville, North Carolina. He ordered a Carolina Burger. The waitress didn’t know what that is, so he defined it for her. A Carolina Burger is a hamburger dressed like a hot dog — slaw, onions, hot dog chili, and mustard. The more usual hamburger […]

Low-privacy bathrooms: Let’s get rid of them

Here in North Carolina, home of the infamous “bathroom law,” civilized people are fighting back against the medieval minds of the Republican Party. Many businesses — especially those that cater to liberals — are rethinking and changing how they manage and label their public restrooms so that no one is conflicted about which restroom to […]

Grinding your own flour

As I have gotten more and more experienced with sourdough bread, two factors have converged to pull me into breadmaking even deeper. Watch out. It could happen to you, too. For one, the sourdough baker becomes so obsessed with the quality of the bread and takes such pride in each loaf that the amount of […]

2017 spring chickens

It has been three years since the abbey bought new chickens. The loss rate for our chickens is pretty good, but everybody loses chickens. For the past two or three years, hawks have been the biggest problem. The new spring chickens bring the abbey’s chicken population back up to eight.

Spring so far

Lettuce, started from a plant bought at the local mill Though the early spring is exciting, there is a big risk that a cold snap will cause a lot of damage. The apple trees have held back, almost as though there is something wise about them. The peach trees, on the other hand, as well […]

Princess Sophia

At the abbey, the cat and the chickens are royalty, and we are their servants. We had some worries about the elegant new chicken ladder in the new chicken house, because it’s a new object in the environment that none of our chickens had ever encountered before. They’ve always jumped or flown when changes of […]