environment

Marching on Washington

Posted by on Feb 8, 2017 in environment, Unmowed Blog | 0 comments

Marching on Washington

So I’m getting ready to travel down to Washington, DC for the Women’s March, and my mother is shaking her head. “Why are you going to all this trouble?” she inquired. “What good will it do? Trump’s not going to run in terror when he sees you girls coming, you know.” I rolled my eyes, but you know, she kind of had a point. “Why am I doing this?” I asked myself frequently during the seven-hour drive on crowded highways. “What’s the point?” I sighed as I checked into the overpriced motel. “Is it worth it?” I asked as I jammed myself onto a subway car packed like a sardine tin, the...

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Solstice: Tracking the Sun

Posted by on Jan 3, 2017 in environment, Unmowed Blog, winter | 0 comments

Solstice: Tracking the Sun

Photographer Bill Bailey explains: “It is a pinhole photo I made by putting a piece of photographic enlarging paper in a soft drink can with a pinhole.”

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Yellowstone Hot Springs: Extremophiles

Posted by on Oct 1, 2016 in environment, nature centers, summer, Unmowed Blog | 0 comments

Yellowstone Hot Springs: Extremophiles

It’s the weirdest thing I ever saw. A hole in the ground, filled with water. The most beautiful crystal clear water, turquoise and lovely as a swimming pool. It looks cool and inviting—but it’s hot. Incredibly, insanely hot. This clear water is steaming and bubbling with the heat from molten rock surging up from the earth’s core. Yellowstone National Park is dotted with these bizarre holes in the ground. Geysers and hot springs and pools. Old Faithful, of course, the reliably spectacular geyser, but also a host of pools and puddles, some no bigger than a good-sized kitchen sink. And they...

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Birch Forest: The Lungs of the Earth

Posted by on Feb 26, 2016 in environment, leaves, Sweden, Unmowed Blog | 0 comments

Birch Forest: The Lungs of the Earth

The sub-alpine birch forest, in Abisko National Park in the northernmost part of Sweden, above the Arctic Circle. Last fall, I happened to visit at a rare time of sunshine, and in the low rays of the autumn light the leaves were pure gold.

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Prickly Pear: Handle With Care

Posted by on Oct 27, 2015 in edible, environment, fall, plant parts, Unmowed Blog | 2 comments

Prickly Pear: Handle With Care

Prickly pear cactus. A quiet, well-behaved plant, as house-plants go. These guys have been living meekly in their pots for more than twenty years—just getting taller and taller. They’re in an upstairs room, and I keep forgetting to water them, and every six months or so I go upstairs with a watering pot, fully expecting to find shriveled corpses. But prickly pear is a plant that’s hard to kill. This spring, I decided to take pity on the poor things and let them enjoy a pleasant summer soaking up the sun on the front porch. As I maneuvered one of the lanky plants down the stairs and out...

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On the Banks of Plum Creek

Posted by on Sep 3, 2015 in environment, summer, Unmowed Blog | 3 comments

On the Banks of Plum Creek

I almost didn’t go to Plum Creek. I knew it was gone. I knew the creek as described in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic book must have been swamped by the tide of progress. There’d be a trickle of polluted water, a Wal-mart on one side, a used car dealership on the other, and a small rusty historical marker saying Laura Ingalls Wilder once lived near here. But we drove through the rain-drenched Minnesota farmland for miles, immense green fields and lonely farms. Then turned down a dirt track by a tidy, white-porched, deserted house. Put $5 in a small metal box on a post...

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