Category: nature

Smokey the Bear

Tuesday 01.15.13

Along with Muhammad Ali (“Don’t Do Drugs!”), the Keep America Beautiful campaign to stop littering (“Don’t be a litterbug!”) and President Jimmy Carter urging us to turn down the heat and put on a sweater, Smokey the Bear factored in quite prominently to my formative years. Thanks to him, to this day still I have an outsized paranoia of unwittingly setting the forest on fire. This sign is posted on the side of the firehouse in Jeffersonville, NY. The last I knew it had been removed to make way for a more contemporary mural. I was so happy to see that he’s back in place. And don’t you just totally dig his pants!

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Finite Resources

Tuesday 11.13.12

So, we are now more than two weeks out since Sandy hit. Among the many haunting and devastating images – and there are many far worse than this – I can’t seem to get out of my mind the plain sight of hundreds of people lined up at gas stations with some variation of the red gas can in hand. Many post-storm conversations, with people who lost power and heat and water for over a week (or more), have been centered on the idea of finally purchasing a generator. While I fully understand this impulse to have a back up plan, it ultimately doesn’t offer up a lot of solace. In the short term, perhaps, but in the long term, all it does is create another outlet for our use and reliance on dwindling resources. I increasingly think about what it would take to get off the grid. This may be a fantasy, and in some ways a luxury, but it’s a good time to think about it. I have to admit, I’ve been doing my own form of research regarding generators. Solar and/or wind powered generators. I’ll let you know what I find out. All gas can images from Amazon.

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Got Water?

Sunday 10.28.12

Only time will tell how much we get clobbered by Sandy and her nameless friends arriving from points west. In the meantime, the politicians and the scientists and the media are all urging us to stock up. You feel like an ass if you do, and an ass if you don’t. So, maybe this time around, err on the side of caution. Just a little. These cans of water are easily found on ebay. Although perhaps a little late to be of any use this time around. Produced for the US Government during WWII, and maybe even all the way up through the Cold War. Stay dry. Stay safe.

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Webs

Friday 10.05.12

I am not proud of this, but I am scared of spiders. Not terrified, just scared. I don’t like that they can run like hell and then squeeze into the smallest space imaginable. It troubles me that they play dead. Seems to be an unfair advantage. But, I try to avoid killing them (even though my first impulse is to do so) because I know they are forces of good and are part of the increasingly delicate balance out there. But, give me a spider web and I am instantly their biggest fan. I keep meaning to photograph the webs that appear daily in between the rungs on our deck, but never quite get around to it. It was very foggy last night and Chris starting taking pictures of them with his iPhone. He showed me the absolutely stunning results and I immediately asked him if I could post them. He suggested I take some of my own. Anyway, these are my photos, but his lovely idea.

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Really Really Dry.

Thursday 07.26.12

This animated graphic is an amalgam of information created with the consensus of both federal and academic scientists. For more information about the partnership go here. This is one of those instances where an information graphic tells a dramatic story in a very short glance. And it is a frightening tale indeed. And it isn’t just about food and water. For a story about infrastructure go to this piece in today’s NYT.

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Night Sky

Thursday 07.19.12

The other day I caught my husband looking through the photos on his phone. Peering over his shoulder, I saw these two. They were taken upstate a couple of weekends ago. It was very very hot that Saturday, but then the clouds and storms rolled in to cool things off.

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Camp

Tuesday 05.22.12

I’m not sure whose idea it was to send us to hiking camp in the mountainous Haute Savoie region of France, but one August, there we were. Two little American kids among forty or so French-speaking 8 to 12 year olds. For an entire month. The camp was sponsored by SNCF, the French National Railway. We went two years in a row. The first summer was fantastic: Hiking in the high peaks, eating amazing cheese and foraging for hazelnuts and wild blueberries on our endless treks. It was there that I discovered the joys of eating a baguette stuffed with giant hunks of Swiss chocolate. On our longer hikes, and at higher altitudes, we would sometimes stay overnight at a farm. We would all pile into the stalls in the sheep or the goat barn. With the animals. Yep. The second year was decidedly less fun. I had sprained my ankle quite badly right before camp was to start. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out how that played out in a place where one was expected to be ambulatory and more. I mostly sat around reading, drawing and — inexplicably — making yarn pom poms that the bratty French girls then promptly pulled apart. The other day I found this picture of my brother (kneeling with his arms around the goat) with some of the other campers and it all came back to me in a rush.

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