Living wisely in the modern world

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Hurricane Sandy: Solar Plan-Ahead

We all watched in dread fascination as Superstorm Sandy hooked a hard left right where predicted off the coast of northern Virginia to slame full-force into northern New Jersey and New York City just days before Election Day. Its storm surge was every bit as devastating as predicted, and its 1,000-mile-plus wind field wreaked havoc …

Bayer & Monsanto Killing Bees

The numbers are in, and they add up to devastating. Bee Informed Partnership this month released its preliminary report on honey bee colony losses in the US for 2013-2014. The partnership, along with the Apiary Inspectors of America [AIA] and the USDA have been surveying beekeepers for 8 years in an attempt to get a …

smoky haze

Fire on the Mountain …Again

I kind of knew that three whole springs without a forest fire along the Norfolk-Southern’s grade over the continental divide was pushing things. Hoped maybe their relatively new-found practice of carefully checking their brake connections BEFORE heading uphill into the ‘loops’ might become a habit. It’s been raining pretty steady, and yesterday it snowed. Not …

Natural Car Cleaners

Cars are constantly in need of a good cleaning, even if you are meticulous about keeping it spotless. With more environmental awareness being spread throughout the world, from things like paperless insurance statements to reusable air filters, it’s no wonder that there has been a higher demand for natural cleaners for cars. Whether it’s the …

spoild ducks

Those Spoiled Ducks: The Pond

Gladys and Amelia are indeed as pampered and spoiled as any fat Pekins can be. Which was of course entirely predictable due to my husband’s tendency to spoil his pets unmercifully. Gladys, in fact, still insists on being tucked in to the coop every night, and she’s pushing 15 pounds of what one of the …

Cold_Duck

Cold Duck(s) …and other critters

More below freezing days and absolutely frigid nights on my homestead this week. I keep reminding myself that despite the title of “North” in my chosen home of North Carolina, we’re still ‘officially’ considered the south. But if February turns out to be colder than Alaska (which January has been this year), I’m going to …

Lemon_Balm!

Antioxidants vs Radiation: Lemon Balm!

Most of us who are committed to the homesteading lifestyle are committed because we perceive the value of living closer to the earth, taking responsibility for ourselves per the ‘conveniences’ of life, and care a great deal about the general health and well-being of ouselves, our families and our communities. A lot of us grow …

Land Mines in the 2013 Farm Bill

Every five to seven years a re-vamped farm bill makes its way slowly through the U.S. House and Senate in slightly different versions, to be later reconciled and presented to the full Congress for vote. As usual, there are provisions, proposed new rules, and industry-sponsored riders slipped into the bills on both congressional levels that …

Wild Herbs Endangered By Poaching

[Slide show of poachers from Mountain Express] My southern Appalachian homestead was originally purchased more than twenty years ago as the high country standard of “13 acres more or less, graded.” That means they took an overhead map (probably one from the USGS with elevation lines), put a 1-acre grid over the top of it, …

“Protect America’s Pollinators Act”

H.R. 2692; 2013 The extermination of our priceless honeybees is proceeding apace, with devastating ramifications. Back when CCD – [Colony Collapse Disorder] first hit the news in 2006/7, it was reported that we were losing a third of our honey bee colonies every year [33%]. Today that figure it up to 45.1%, nearly half. Many …