Category Archives: Environmental

My Goals for the End of April, in Preparation for May

GOALS:

On Saturday, today, attend the People’s Climate Mobilization March in Keene, thereby combining relative Climate Action with errands, thereby lowering carbon footprint by not driving to Concord or Boston, thereby alleviating sense of “Is this enough?” with reality of daily life.

Print out “No Ban. No Walls. No Raid.” signs to be put up at our house in Providence.

Spread POV (peas, oats, vetch) seed.

Stir and spread BD preps.

Host Apple tree grafting party with Ben Watson at Darwin’s View.

Jump start blog.

And clean up basement in anticipation of the extreme organizing because here is my May goal: Sell our house in Providence.

Yes, we are putting our Providence house on the market, hopefully by May 12th.

OMG. However do that?

Breathe.

Go step by step.

Rememember this: loss happens. Letting go. Change. Every minute of the day, there is change. Today. Now. It is a beautiful day here at Darwin’s View. The clouds this morning looked like glowing, puffy gray pillows. Mist on the hills. Tom Turkeys gobbling. Barn swallows swooping. Chickens cackling. The trees are as amazing in spring as in the fall with their variety of greens. Carl’s peach trees are covered with buds. (Not bugs!) The clouds are now a haze that allows the sun to warm the backs of the browsing turkeys.

May 1: Drive to Providence to put up “No Ban. No Walls. No Raid.” signs. Meet with real estate agents and staging consultant. Greet the 15 yard dumpster. Remind Carl to go to his 2PM dentist appointment. Prepare to pack.

May 1-4: Rip out our raised beds. Pluck the iris out of the ground. Roll sod. Mulch.

Pack. Preferably not everything. There is no room for everything at Darwin’s View.

Contemplate the consequences of my choices. Badabing! Done.

But first a march and rally to keep the bigger picture in mind: that we must each, individually, act now, in however big or small a way, to change our habits for the good of the environment. Each and every one of our choices matter. How we get from point A to B. What we eat. How we relate to one another: with compassion or hate.

The words “trump” and “nasty” have been forever ruined for me.

By May 12: Assist Carl in building Chicken Coop 10 for the chicks that are supposed to be pullets but one of the buff polish chicks has a head top that looks remarkably like a mohawk, not a muffin top. His sister (I hope) has more of a muffin top than a mohawk. Thus their names, tentatively, Muff and Moe. And all of these chicks, frankly, have “stand up and look at me” attitudes a la cockerels.

That would just be bad luck to pick six sexed chicks and have them all be boys.

Two trips to NYC.

. . . and move out of Providence.

Even if I move, it exists in my heart. And I imagine what it must be like for refugees. How awful to be forced to leave home, lives in danger. Hunger, thirst, fear. Great fear opposing their longing for home. The unfamiliarity of here. The necessity of enduring, living, loving.

Loving is so much better than hating, giving so much more fulfilling than clinging.

But this is just a rough list. No times to deepen or truly think. It’s time to rally, to march.

There is a Storm Coming. No. It’s Here.

Ever since moving up here to Darwin’s View four years ago, I have been in a holding pattern.

. . . Holding pattern might not be the right term. Holding pattern implies stillness, a lack a change, not the hyper-activity, both outside and in, that has occurred. The pattern I speak of could be considered, dare I say it? an evolution. Writing a book in which I am the main character, riding a familial roller coaster that takes me away, even as I seek to root. ADD and OCD. Hot sweats and cold sweats. WtF moments. From Bernie to HRC to Orange Julius in the White House, this day is as pivotal for me as that, five years ago, when I stood in a grocery store debating, for a crazy length of time, which might be the happiest eggs to buy. That interior dialogue determined me to buy six chicks because I would have the happiest of eggs. Thus, here I am at Darwin’s View.

Life is not so simple. That rendition of reality ignores a number of other factors but it gets me here, living off-grid, dipping into permaculture, and distracted by the activity of building an addition to our perfectly-sized house.

Carl commented yesterday that our house is like U.S. politics, in renovation mode. I pointed out, grumpily, that that is what I have been attempting to write for the last four years: how our lives here are a microcosm of our nation. And that, at this rate, the world will end before my book does because on top of everything else, now we must work to save our democracy.

Must. As Paul Gilding wrote in his book The Great Disruption, this in no longer a case of what you want to do, but of what you have to do. 

Through my evolutionary process I have learned not to get overwhelmed by doing this: Go step by step. Don’t look too far ahead. Hydrate. Especially when sprouting seedlings.

And so, what am I doing in these interesting times? All the things that everyone says to do. In cyclical moods, I think these things only to keep us busy. The petitions. The donations. The phone calls. Do they really make a difference? At least I will have tried.

To repeat, in part what I said in my last post: I am calling my senators and representatives, at the state and national level, a minimum of once a week, preferably every day. Each day, a new concern and new outrage. When it gets too overwhelming and there are too many outrages? I focus on environmental issues because I still, in the background, have my war against climate change to fight and win.

I have printed out my Indivisible Guide and read . . . most of it.

I am going to go to my town hall and learn more about how local politics work by finding out how to submit a petition to support our first amendment rights. And will get that petition signed.

I have not yet but intend to read conservative, preferably sane and civilized, articles on the environment and/or daily events so as to attempt to understand the “other” side. Because we have to find common cause. It’s there. When I went door to door for Bernie, I met a lot of people who were waffling between Bernie and the too soon to be Orange Julius. We Americans are far more alike than we are different.

I am participating in marches. They might be feel good events but the numbers that are turning out is heartening. We are doing what “they” fear: We are sitting up and paying attention.

In response? They ignore us. They ignore We, the People.

Hm. That brings to mind the William Congreve quote, Hell Hath no Fury like that of a woman scorned.

Imagine the fury of three million and counting. And their spouses. And their children.

This week, the wall between the old house and the addition will come down. Isn’t that fitting? Tearing down a wall between the past and future is symbolic of this time. We plan to serve tequila and avocados because if Orange Julius builds his wall, those won’t be available to us anymore.

I would prefer to sit in my office and tap at my keyboard, read, pet the cats, hang out with the chickens. But if I am complacent, who can I blame if Orange Julius wins?

Silver-Lining Anyone?


Every day, the world breaks my heart. The destruction of the environment. The horrors of factory farms. The rending of our social fabric by alienation, disrespect and deceit. Every day, I fail to live up to my hopes. My war against climate change, declared so quixotically back in March of 2013, has come to naught. Ditto my quest to save democracy. If anything, both are worse off than when I began.

Maybe I aimed too high. As more than one person has told me, one person can’t change the world.

. . . An arguable point. Think Hitler. Think Mahatma Gandhi. Going forward, think Vandana Shiva and Bill Mollison. Going backwards, think Orange Julius.

Orange Juliu is assaulting our rights, insulting our citizens, spewing hate and greed, casting aspersions on truth and holding the flag of deception high and proud, all the while ignoring the no longer hypothetical warming of the planet.  Orange Julius and his diabolic appointees exude that gross ethos that has evolved in certain strata of America. Not that around Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness but around money. Moneymoneymoneymoneymoney gives meaning and purpose to life. And if you don’t have enough of it—and there is never enough—you will be crushed. Thus, those with it grasp, in terror, for more, and We, The People are in a “crossfire chicken wing”—one of the top ten best wrestling holds used to bring the enemy to its knees.

The enemy, apparently, is us.

The good news? Our infantilization is over.  Orange Julius has wiped the vernix from our eyes. It is now perfectly clear what We, The People are up against: Demo-n-Capitalism. Like  Orange Julius, it doesn’t care about right or wrong. It has the power and will do anything, anything at all, to keep it.

More good news: Had HRC won—which she did but who’s counting? And had she been the one inaugurated today, We, The People would have continued as we were. We would have popped some GMO’ed popcorn and settled in for another four years of Republican rabidity, searching for something, anything, that would stick against the Clintons that the Republicans were not, themselves, guilty of. We would have continued to watch the lowering baseline of our environment, our economy, our politics and our humanity. In short, we would have maintained the entirely unsustainable status quo.

Instead? We have a choice: Door number one, change and sacrifice in the name of a greater good, or door number two, wait for someone to save us, with that someone not being anywhere in sight.

Four years ago, in a baby step way and not really aware of the extent of the consequences, I chose a prototype to door number one. I moved to Darwin’s View. Here, I am looking deep, trying to find my heart’s purpose and how I might fulfill what potential is me.

Each of us has that: potential, a heart’s purpose.

This Tory is a liberal, and proud to be. And I have never had my life, liberty and happiness threatened as deeply as it is today. I am not black nor brown. I am not poor. I speak English with an occasion dip into a rebel Rhode Island twang or a New Hampshire drawl. But, as are so many black, brown, poor, non-native speaking people living in this country, I am an American. I might not be proud of what my country has done in the name of progress and oil and money but I am proud of what this country might become—will become if We, The People look deep and find how we each might act out our life’s purpose, and help others to do the same.

The best news of all: Today, the inauguration of  Orange Julius, is a 9/11 moment. People all around the world are marching with us against misogyny, sexism, racism, zealotry, ignorance, and for the planet. We are not alone if we choose not to be. We are not alienated unless we opt not to see how connected we are to each other and to this beautiful planet. It has taken decades for us to get to this point of change. It’s a personal choice how we each will act. To march or not. To fight—literally or figuratively—or not. But this need not be a lonely work.

To save the world and its soils and water and sentient creatures, to save our democracy and the freedoms we hold dear, is actually very simple, if a challenge to implement. We have the tools to heal and the power to shift from greed, domination and consumerism to compassion, equality and sustainability. Think local. Think community. Think solar eclipse. The moon, feminine, covering, calming, nurturing the sun, masculine in the midst of a two year olds tantrum of mememememoney. The mother asking us to listen, not the father requiring us to submit.


My baby steps.

For the past week, I have been calling my senators and representatives, speaking of my outrage at  Orange Julius’s nominees. If nothing else, I now have a rapport with the folks who answer the phones. This will become a dialogue. I will learn from it.

This morning, I was disappointed in myself. I didn’t have the courage to go by myself to march anywhere. And then I spoke with a friend and tomorrow, she and her husband and Carl and I are going to Concord to march. And we will meet up with this friend’s friends and now, instead of judging my limitations, I am excited to be with people, meet people, maybe even volunteer to help.

And soon, I will plant seeds in soil, and Carl and I will begin to implement what we have been  preparing, in our ad hoc way, for four years. The way forward. I come back to Vandana Shiva and seeds, and to Bill Mollison and permaculture.

Is that my path?

I don’t know. But I do know this: Our democracy, our planet and we are in grave danger. Our government doesn’t care. Each day we each must choose and every one of those choices matter.

Pasty Butts, the Stone Age Redux Blog & Feng Shui

I have decided to take it personally. Wouldn’t you? I very specifically said PULLETS ONLY. FEMALES. Right? AUTO SEXED FEMALES. Not a complicated request. To the question, what if not enough AUTO SEXED FEMALES are hatched? I said, I would take SEX-LINKED FEMALES.

IMG_2956
Lower left chick is the definitive boy.

The chicks arrived. I opened the box, and gently removed them into the temporary brooder. I noted to Carl that three of the chicks looked alike, and one not. In fact, that one looked remarkably like Cordelia did two years ago when s/he hatched, whom later we dubbed Cornelius. . ..

Continue reading Pasty Butts, the Stone Age Redux Blog & Feng Shui

Biodynamics: My Introduction

Ping!
Ping! With a Redhead in the background

It’s humbling. I am at the bottom of yet another steep learning curve . . . not (as suggested in my last post) of Ayn Rand’s philosophy—I haven’t had time to stop by a book store to check out her works—but that of Biodynamic planting. BD.
IMG_2612This is the time of year I attempt to join that illustrious community called “real gardeners”. I have pulled out my seeding paraphernalia and contemplated my what-some-day-might-pass-as-a-garden with a tickle in the belly. A hope for warmth to follow winter’s cold. Anticipation of that peaceful and amazing process called growing one’s own seedlings: placing a seed into soil and having it grow big and strong, not straggly, eventually to produce a vegetable, fruit, leaf or root. Typically, on an arbitrarily chosen day and time, I don my gardening gloves and proceed to stick seeds into the soil. I begin calmly and in organized fashion. Time passes. I don’t have enough wood sticks to mark what has gone where. Confusion sets in. The gloves come off. I am only half way through the seed packets and Continue reading Biodynamics: My Introduction

Mud Season 101

MUD SEASON 101

IMG_2633_2Saturday was a spectacular day. It was spring like they write about.

Our rosemary plants and Figgy out sunning themselves.
Our rosemary plants and Figgy out sunning themselves.

I had planned to go to the Monadnock Writers Meeting to hear the New Hampshire Poet Laureate but at home, I dawdled. By the time I left, I had missed the meet and greet part of the meeting but was determined to follow through with my plan-for-the-day: Attend the talk and discussion, then go off to buy organic shrubberies, wherever I might find them. A happy balance of intellectual stimulation and interaction with people, and gardening prep.

IMG_2610_2. . . Determined might be too strong a word. Ambivalent. Continue reading Mud Season 101

NH Rebellion

IMG_2049No excuses. I haven’t posted in far too long. But today is a good day to begin. A week plus into the new year, I am in a place that I can settle (Providence) and have the time to focus (a la Felix) on an issue that is my new life’s mission and the subject of my next book, Darwin’s View One Breath After Midnight. As anyone who read my 2013 blog knows, that mission is to save the world. And to do that, democracy must be saved from what I have dubbed Demo-n-capitalism. Thus, Carl and I have joined the NH Rebellion.

Have you heard of it? Continue reading NH Rebellion

Pipelines, Book Tour and Twits. I mean Tweets.

IMG_0828
View of Darwin’s View from the top of Mt. Monadnock. Can you see us?

You will be happy to know that I deleted a two page rant on Spectra Energy. If you want to know what set me off, go to EcoRI.org and read “Little Notice and Low Turnout at Pipeline Meeting” by Tim Faulkner/ecoRI News staff.

The low down? If we don’t get more informed and outraged, in about two years, Spectra Energy will most likely get the okay to put a gas pipeline from Weymouth, MA., through Burrillville, RI all the way to New Jersey.  It will run through Tiverton and Little Compton. And under the Sakonnet River to Middletown. . ..

But don’t get me started. EcoRI.org. Excellent website. “Little Notice and Low Turnout at Pipeline Meeting” by Tim Faulkner/ecoRI News staff.

imagesSpeaking of trains–which I wasn’t but let’s go with trains of thought and then real trains, which have replaced my chicken obsession–my Cross-Country Whistle Stop Book Tour with Flash Readings is planned! And I finished the first (aka sh**ty) rough draft of my next book–Darwin’s View One Breath After Midnight. TOOT! TOOT!

Do you see how they tie together?

Continue reading Pipelines, Book Tour and Twits. I mean Tweets.

Cheeks, NH Rebels, and Writing

Image 5
NOTE: I will be reading at Bank Square Books in Mystic, CT a week from today: Wednesday, July 23. It’s a luncheon. 12-1:30. If you want lunch, you can call the bookstore to make reservations. Later that day, at 5PM, Carl and I will be at the Westerly Beach where Carl will be playing with NRBQ. If you can’t make it to the bookstore, I’ll be happy to sign books on the beach!

 

And then we climbed Mount Monadnock!

Happy sigh.

Until I remember that I have missed two postings.

How dare I be so neglectful of my reading public? Clearly, the goals and intentions that I wrote about in my last post have fallen by the wayside before they had become a habit, which takes anywhere from 66 days to 500 plus days to develop.

I have been writing for
over thirty years. That is habit.

But it is only this year that I can finally call myself an author a.k.a. published. Thus, I don’t think I can be accused of writing for fame or fortune. That’s not my goal. But I have to admit, two months into the process of having a book out, I’m needing to think through why I published because I’m feeling kind of sad. I wasn’t expecting thousands of my books to be sold. But I had hoped for more readings and interaction. Connections not via the web.

P1040526
There really is a raft/wood pallet in those weeds. . .

Apparently, that’s where people go now. Continue reading Cheeks, NH Rebels, and Writing

Breadloaf Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference!

IMG_0657
Nick

 

 

Nick & Nora?

Nora
Nora

 

 

 

They can hardly contain themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0666
Home at Darwin’s View

I am back!

 

Robert Frost's Cabin
Robert Frost’s Cabin

From a soul wrenching, I-will-never-be-the-same experience in Ripton, VT. I attended the Breadloaf Orion Environmental Writers’ conference. Thirty-six hours after my return to Darwin’s View, I am still processing all I learned. It’s one of those experiences that, Continue reading Breadloaf Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference!