Three weeks ago, a man drove into my neighborhood, stormed into a synagogue, murdered eleven people, and shot and wounded several others. Well, that's old news. Why I am I still talking about it now, after there's already been a mass shooting of twelve people elsewhere in America? Because NONE OF THIS IS NORMAL, none … Continue reading The Tree of Life in the City of Steel
"Wildlife" sounds like something that lives out in the wild, right? We picture wildlife in the jungle, in the desert, or at least deep enough into the forest that it can't hear motors. But wild animals live in almost every acre of Earth's surface. Squirrels are wildlife. Ladybugs, ants, and even pigeons are wildlife. Leopards … Continue reading A Certified Wildlife Habitat in an Urban Churchyard
Next week, I'll be starting a new job! That's great news in general, but it means I only have two days left to savor my daily bus ride with my four-year-old Lydia, bringing her home from preschool. My new job's location makes it too difficult and time-consuming for me to get to Lydia's school by … Continue reading Two Books for Me, Two for My Four-Year-Old
Purple morning glories are growing in the treetop!Last fall, when I pulled down dead vines from my front yard, I tossed them onto the hillside in the back to help control erosion. Some of the seeds fell into the soil and grew into vines that have climbed over everything that helps them reach the light. … Continue reading A Morning Glory Moment on Earth
It's great to hear from readers who say that The Earthling's Handbook taught them some incredibly helpful idea that they use all the time now. That's what I want to do! I want to make the world a better place by sharing things that work for me, especially things that help people conserve resources, eat … Continue reading Am I your role model?
It's been a great summer for tomatoes here in western Pennsylvania! Our CSA farm share brought us 27 tomatoes and 18 tomatillos last week, and 38 tomatoes two weeks ago. We expect to get more tomatoes today! We learned several years ago that roasting in seasoned oil makes tomatoes taste great, take up less space, … Continue reading Tomatillo Salsa and 3 Flavors of Roasted Tomatoes
After I wrote about a stranger's astonishment that my four-year-old daughter understands what I read to her, and the book involved happened to be On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder, my mom sent me a link to an article about the recent controversy over whether Wilder's books are appropriate for today's … Continue reading Cultural Sensitivity and Laura Ingalls Wilder
Most of my life, I've enjoyed reading the same books over and over--not too often, but returning to old favorites every few years. I noticed that what felt like "a few years" increased as I got older, but then when I was pregnant with my daughter I suddenly wanted to read only books that were … Continue reading Two Books to Read Once
Well, it's happened with the second child: That moment when a total stranger interrupts my reading aloud to voice the opinion that the child is too young to understand what I'm reading. Here's how I described this phenomenon when my first child was 4 years old: I must say, I got far less flak from … Continue reading Our kids understand books because we read them books!
I've explained how to use a box full of seasonal produce in a week when you're cooking at home. But what if you've received your CSA farm share, or a bountiful harvest from your garden, the night before you're going to leave on a week's vacation? What can you do with all those fresh vegetables?! … Continue reading Veggie Inundation Just Before Vacation? How to Cope.
I wrote a short review of The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, but I have more to say about this book. The author is a marriage counselor whose experience with clients led him to identify 5 distinct ways of expressing love and to recognize that the acts that convey to you that someone really … Continue reading more about The 5 Love Languages
Here's a sprightly introduction to my reviews of the books I read in the past month. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty There are multiple husbands with multiple secrets in this twisty story, which is sort of a mystery but also an excellent "modern realistic fiction" novel with lots of complex characters. Cecilia finds a … Continue reading Princess X and The Husband’s Secret Love Languages [book reviews]
Twenty years ago, I saw a catalog filled with practical household products that were better for the environment than the stuff we'd been using: laundry and dish and cleaning products made from plants and natural minerals, paper products made from recycled paper, tampons and cloth towels made from organic cotton. I was excited! But I'd … Continue reading Go Green in 2018: Can You Afford to Buy Greener Products?
Sometimes it takes me a while to get through a book, even if I'm interested in it, because other things are easier to read or more compelling. I had just started Awakening to the Great Sleep War when it started to seem very confusing, and then I realized that I was coming down with a … Continue reading Awakening to The Lake House or Drop City [book reviews]
Old televisions and old computer monitors are things we've all had to deal with recently, as we Earthlings make the transition from cathode-ray tube (CRT) displays to high-tech flat screens. By local standards, my family was very late to replace our television, but I bet that some parts of the world still have a lot … Continue reading Things Not To Do: Television Recycling Edition
I was recently given a gift, not because I need the tools enclosed but just so that I could admire the packaging. This is truly a startling example of the kind of thing you sometimes find on Earth that seems to be written in English but . . . isn't . . . quite. The … Continue reading Joyous to the “Eyebrow”
This article by Daniel gives more detail about one of the space-saving ideas listed in Becca's article at Kitchen Stewardship: I’ve enjoyed rock climbing since I was pretty young, but these days I don’t actually get out to climb on rocks very often. I do tend to climb on stuff at the playground when I take … Continue reading How to Build a Gym in Your Hallway
The books I've read in the past month were set in a variety of locales. News of the World by Paulette Jiles Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels around Texas in the 1870s, buying newspapers when he can and stopping in small towns to invite people to pay a dime each to hear him reading aloud … Continue reading The World, the Woods, the Moor, Cranbury, and Florin [book reviews]
Whoever you are, reading this, you deserve a tasty, healthy, homemade lunch! This one is easy, inexpensive, and low in environmental impact, so there's no need to feel guilty about it. Perhaps you're not struggling with that and would like me to get on with telling you the recipe. Well, first I'm going to show … Continue reading Hummus and Vegetable Flatbread Sandwich: You deserve this lunch!
Lydia and I were riding in the back seat of our car, along the highway at the beginning of our family's Memorial Day vacation. Lydia was looking out the window at the passing cars and suddenly turned to me. LYDIA: Mama, do you know about a tater-totter? That's a car but with two wheels in … Continue reading Tater-Totter: A 4-year-old’s Traffic Safety Invention