Tough Puffs

Dandelions are one of those plants that people love to hate. They’re tenacious, perennial, copious; their tap roots run deep and even cut blossoms will still turn to seed heads if they aren’t culled early enough. Their leaves spread flat and wide, smothering anything beneath. If we didn’t hate them, we’d love them for their…

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Varietals of Choice

Over the past couple of years I’ve noticed a lot of articles and blog posts questioning whether organic food is really worth the generally higher cost of the products to the consumer, i.e. whether organic food offers significant health benefits for the person eating it that justify spending more. The question itself represents part of…

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Tapping Out

The town of Porterville, California has been in the news over the past couple of months because it is one of the places where taps are running dry as the state’s drought grinds on into its fourth winter. Several municipal wells have run dry, some residents are coming to rely on charitable deliveries of bottled…

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Ovine Appreciation

Sheep have been domesticated and a part of human life and agriculture for something around 10,000 years. The annual sheep herd that grazes in the meadow next door to our place arrived over the weekend. They’ll forage here until December, when they get carted off again by a sheep farmer who places sheep in meadows…

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The Proverbial Drop

The recent Warsaw Climate Change Conference ended with a couple of modest successes, the main one being that the conversation will continue between nations as to what to do about man-made impact on the climate. An initiative to support efforts at slowing deforestation received funding to the tune of $280 million from three countries. Developed…

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Input and Loss

At the UNFCCC COP19 in Warsaw this week, a new programme was launched under the auspices of the World Bank: The BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (ISFL). The initial funding amount is set at $280 million USD. Norway has pledged up to $135 million to the initiative, Britain $120 million and the United…

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Freshwater Wave

Growing up in California, which has always been a place of regular droughts, one of the first things you learn is that water can be a precious commodity. One of the things you don’t always learn is how to use it wisely. There always seems to be either too much, too little, it’s just not…

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Walked Upon

When summer comes to my neck of the woods (which this year is looking less and less likely with every passing week of rain, but that’s another issue), the kiln of July and August bake the heavy clay soil of my garden to a hard surface that rivals a brick for impenetrability. Woe is me…

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Ancient Laboratory

I’m adding this destination to the places I’d like to visit around the world: The Incan ruins of what are considered to be an experimental laboratory for agriculture at the Moray site in the Cusco region of Peru. The terraced depressions and complex irrigation systems are thought to have been used to simulate different environmental…

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