William Cobbett Believed in Unschooling

William Cobbett Believed in Unschooling

Near the end of the delightful collection “Cobbett’s Country Book” there is a section about the importance of rural sports. By this he mostly means hunting, especially with dogs. (Though he goes into detail about a game called “Singlestick” where two men beat each other with sticks until one draws blood on the head that runs down an inch.) Cobbett describes his reason for unschooling his kids, having determined they could and would learn on their own sheerly out of…

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Musings on a Short Winter

Musings on a Short Winter

I know, I know, it’s too early to call it. There will certainly be much more bad weather. But it seems to me that the chances for a severe Winter are past. We had our cold snap in December and since then this is the first day with real snow on the ground in 10 or so days, and it’s getting rained off right away. As the days get longer, the chances for consistent cold weather go down, and I…

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The Reforestation of the West

The Reforestation of the West

We rarely hear positive stories about the environment, despite the fact that there have been promising improvements in some areas. One of these areas is in the forestation of the wealthy Western nations. Forests are actually increasing across the West! The story of mankind since the neolithic revolution has been one of deforestation. Throughout history people have practiced “slash-and-burn” agriculture, clearing forests and plowing the organic matter into the soil. As humanity has expanded the forests have continued to retract,…

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The Evils of Foreign Food “Aid”

The Evils of Foreign Food “Aid”

Various types of foreign “aid” have become a major part of the United States government foreign policy. It is seen as a way to project “soft power” and show global “leadership.” While relief in the immediate aftermath of a disaster is a somewhat different matter, the principle of persistent foreign “aid” is a tool of neo-imperialism which keeps countries perpetually weak, unstable, and dependent on Western powers. Foreign aid may be unpopular among the right wing, but it maintains broad…

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William Cobbett Needs Farm Help

William Cobbett Needs Farm Help

  They say good help is hard to find these days, and for a man of discriminating requirements it was also hard in the early 19th century. I became aware of the great 19th century journalist, politician, and agrarian William Cobbett last year while reading Farming for Self-Sufficiency, which used his amusing quotes as the epitaph for almost every chapter. Cobbett was an early advocate of going back to the land, and even at the beginning of the 19th century…

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“Soil Power!” in the New York Times

“Soil Power!” in the New York Times

I was delighted to see that the New York Times published an op-ed about the importance of regenerative agriculture, titled “Soil Power: The Dirty Way to a Green Planet” by Jacques Leslie. Overall, it provides a well reasoned, informative, and accessible piece directed at the general public. There has been a substantial amount of concern about man-made climate change for some time. As an everything skeptic, I have always thought parts of the story did not make sense and it seemed…

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Books: “The Tulip” By Anna Pavord

Books: “The Tulip” By Anna Pavord

“I suppose there must be one or two people in the world who choose to not like tulips, but such an aberration is scarcely credible.” – Anna Pavord The Tulip: The Story of a Flower that has Made Men Mad – By Anna Pavord, 1999. The allure of the tulip is well known. One of the earliest and the most impressive of the Spring bulbs, tulips have been planted the world over in home gardens, palaces, and magnificent public parks. Tulips are beloved…

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Some Recent Before and After Pics

Some Recent Before and After Pics

I have actually remembered to take some pictures of work that I have done. I think what appeals to me so much about decorative gardens as work is the feeling of creating order out of chaos. Which is why my favorite place to work is in well designed, but majorly overgrown gardens. Unfortunately I am not the best photographer, and am bad at remembering to stand in the exact same place. It’s not entirely my fault, the sun makes it…

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The End of Fall Work and Into the Winter

The End of Fall Work and Into the Winter

I have been remiss in making blog posts as I try to finish Fall work and prepare for Winter. The Palouse region has four-season weather, but as anyone who has lived here knows, those season lengths are not consistent. Around a month after it really came into being Fall, the weather is wintery already. We’ve already had a morning snow storm, and a few days of snow sticking around. There was a period of consistently freezing nights, though we’ve in…

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Compost Pile: Awakening the Behemoth

Compost Pile: Awakening the Behemoth

As I’ve said before, it has been quite the wait for finished compost, especially in the quantities I desire. My gardens have been compost deprived for some time. This has been especially difficult as I’ve needed organic matter for my hugelkultur beds before it could break down. But I am determined to finally solve this problem- with an even more enormous compost pile. Since I work as a gardener I collect a high volume of organic matter over the course of…

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