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Hops from the compost heap [updated]

October 2015: Here's a photo of the first year's growth. Unfortunately I was at the Frankfurt Book Fair when an unusually hard frost (a sudden  drop to 18 degrees F) came, and I hadn't yet cut the garlands of blossom. They'll climb again next year, with an earlier start and stronger roots, so my kitchen

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Knowledge for our common future

Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability: Knowledge to Transform Our Common FutureBerkshire Publishing Group; Berkshire Publishing Group 2012WorldCat•LibraryThing•Google Books•BookFinder I am proud of this huge set, this treasure library of knowledge, but awed, too, by just how much more there is to know, and how much work there is for all of us who are working to

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  • forsythia

Flowers in the Depths of Winter

Orchids are tougher than I am! The snow is still deep and it is bitterly cold outside. It is cold in the house, too, dropping to 55 Fahrenheit at night, and perhaps even lower near the windows. But two of the orchid plants have new shoots with flower buds. Incredible!!! What are they thinking? This

How to Live in a Cold House, or Love in a Cold Climate

I live in a very cold house. Our base temperature is 58 F (14.5C) and we rarely raise the temperature over 60 F. At night, much of the house drops to 55 F. And it’s an old house, which means there are some drafts, in spite of all our efforts over the years, and uneven temperatures. It’s a

Train visions

I was 19 years old the first time I rode a train, and in a foreign country. England doesn’t seem very foreign to me now, but I was young and there were so many little things to negotiate, from knowing to ask for a “return” ticket to the “lean out the window and turn the

Save the Planet? Who, Me?

What can I do to make a difference? You’d be surprised at how much professional environmentalists hate this question. They wish they could answer it, but they really don’t know. Instead, they talk about policy changes and government initiatives, tax incentives and corporate governance. (Note: The text in this post comes from the Armchair Environmentalist,