A Few Beginnings and a Couple of Ends

The weather turned cold this week, grey skies and a chill wind after two weeks of balmy temperatures. Two steps forward, one step back. No excuse not to get some garden work done, though. Last week was all bumblebees and sunshine, this week I found this fellow, a little black cricket, taking shelter from the…

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Of a Circular Nature

A flood control project in the Pikine suburb of Dakar, Senegal, has changed a community by redirecting flood waters into basins and creating urban gardens from the water. Previously, the flood waters that inundated the area were left to either recede on their own – during which time all stores remained flooded and the streets…

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Flavor Assumptions

I walked out of the house this bright morning and found a small blossom on the rosemary bush near our entrance, the first one of spring. We moved in almost twenty years ago, and the plant was massive and gnarled, even back then. According to the neighbors at the farm next door, the rosemary bush…

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The Urge to Affiliate

I was out on a run yesterday, my usual loop, when I found this piece of tree bark lying across the path. Here along the border between France and Switzerland, we’re in the midst of a bise blanche, a fierce wind that blows down through the Geneva basin from the north. A bise blanche weather…

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Road Works

We’re back from our trip to Vietnam, and I’ll be posting a few pieces from that visit. For starters, I thought I’d put up this photo of the largest, cleanest, newest road I encountered in Vietnam (or almost anywhere else, for that matter). Three lanes in each direction, lined with broad sidewalks and trees, with…

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Horses, Railroads, Seeds and War

I learned a few new words today while on a trip down a research rabbit hole. And as is so often the case, I can’t remember how I first got to the interesting blog, Cryptoforestry. But get there I did, and that’s when I fell down the hole. The first word I learned is polemobotany,…

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The Green Walls of Home

Whenever I go to look at comments as to why humans feel less stress when they have access to green areas – parks, forests, gardens – I come across a multiplicity of suggestions. We like the color green because it represents harmony and trust to us; green spaces encourage social contact and thus a healthier…

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Arboreal Lemonade

One of the cornerstones of creating smart, sustainable cities and human landscapes is good tree management. Trees provide structure, color, movement and life to streets and parks – and they provide heat-reducing shade, absorb pollutants, and offer a haven for animals. The severe storms of the past winter were devastating to trees in parts of…

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Roundabout Flowers

It’s been a trend in recent years to replace the mown grass of urban traffic verges and roundabouts with wild flowers. The flowers require less maintenance, they’re easy on the eyes, and they are thought to provide habitat support for pollinators such as bees, bumblebees, butterflies and hover flies, all of which are under pressure…

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Butterfly House

There’s a new building going up in San Francisco, just a block or so from where I used to live when I was right out of college. It’s got all the bells and whistles of the kind of green, sustainable, fashionable and expensive development one might expect from that city, up to and including the…

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