I took last week off from putting out our newsletter to give us all a break. No last-minute appeals to the spirit of holiday generosity. No sentimental journeys. Not even my esoteric stream-of-consciousness prose that seems to be pretty popular with y’all. Keep Reading
If you buy your holiday tree at a cut-your-own place, what tool do you bring or do they supply you with? Likely it’s a bow saw–a lightweight, efficient tool that nearly anyone, even me, can handle. It’s the tool that the workers at the lot use to even the cut of a precut tree so that it will stand nicely in your container and drink enough water to keep it green through the week or two it will gasp in an overheated room.
At a time when students face terrifyingly high rates of sexual assault on college campus (23% of female, 5% of male, and 24% of trans and gender non-conforming students), the federal government is cutting back protections in Title IX.
I don’t know if I’m a cat person or a dog person. Love them both. I’m also a chicken, cow, goat, rabbit, and children person. Just know that I am not, with few exceptions, an adult people person. My adult friends tend to include struggling farmers, struggling artists and writers, and others struggling to make it at something they love while maintaining their dignity. To nearly everyone else, I am friendly, but there is a difference.Keep Reading
Editors Note: “The Brewsicologist,” a new feature, tours the landscape of craft beers of Greylock Nation. Although the Brewsicologist’s identity is a closely guarded secret, the resulting bubbly or stale opinions will be known to all.
It turned out to be the perfect night to set out to discover great winter brews. Whiteout conditions hit as I was barely out of my driveway, and yet the trip out to Chatham Brewing was surprisingly fast and uneventful. Once I’d settled in at the bar, I ordered a flight of four beers.
by Jason Velázquez
A few years ago, when I told my buddy Mike that my eight-year-old daughter and six-year-old son would be taking skiing lessons through their school next week, he reminded me that his own daughter had been skiing since she was three.
When Mike and I were talking about skiing —before my kids had shown any real interest in the sport — he had encouraged me to take them to the slopes, assuring me that the younger kids learn, the safer they are, and the more naturally they adapt to the sport. Due to shortages of money, time, and trust that my babies would survive the bunny slope, however, somehow the winter slipped by with no skiing for my darling little daredevils.
It’s time to get up on the stool and pull the cookie press and other seasonal baking gadgets from the top shelf. I normally don’t eat a lot of sweets, but there’s something about this time of year that calls me to gain a few extra pounds, on top of the other extra pounds.Keep Reading
You may have missed the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (IDEVAW) this year. It passed by without much fanfare in the U.S. If you happen to be a subscriber to the Trinidad Express or the Bendigo Advertiser (serving the towns of Bendigo, Jackass Flat, and others in Victoria, Australia) you’d have known that this day, designated by the United Nations in 1999 to encourage action defending women’s human right to be free from violence and abuse, was observed on November 25.
NOTE: Greylock Nation Members at the “Zinger” level and up can enjoy the full-length audio and transcript of our interview with Bella Vendetta HERE. A VERY enjoyable 30 mins. Be sure to log in for access!
Not simply a solitary date shoehorned in at the bottom of the calendar, IDEVAW kicks off “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.” Human Rights Day, December 10, caps off the run. As with IDEVAW, however, the two weeks–plus of activism has gone largely unremarked on in the Western press.Keep Reading
Goldman Sachs has upgraded Waste Management stock from a sell to a buy as a safe place to invest in a downsizing economy. At first read, this made little sense to me, as I think of a recession as a time when you hunker down and buy less, thereby creating less garbage. But maybe it’s a well-run company in an era of companies that produce goods and services that we can actually do without, making it at least a necessity of sorts.
In this episode of Growl, we speak with Cole Harrison, Executive Director of Massachusetts Peace Action, based in Cambridge, Mass. At issue is last week’s Senate vote in favor of allowing floor debate on Senate Joint Resolution 54 to proceed, which would pave the way for ending U.S. support for the Saudi-led campaign against Yemen.
Harrison says that Mass Peace Action is encouraged by this legislation, introduced by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) but notes that this is just a first step towards shutting down a conflict that has ballooned into the planet’s worst humanitarian crisis in the last four years.
The short-term interests of the financial elite override the long-term interests of society as a whole (the rest of us). Their goal is to keep stock prices and profits soaring by whatever means possible. Currently they are shaking in their boots because they can hear the bear growling off in the woods
It doesn’t take a lot of land to grow enough vegetables for one family and maybe even fit in a chicken coop. Many towns have farm-friendly policies that allow a small number of hens only (for the uninformed, you don’t need a rooster unless you want the eggs to be fertile). There is no piece of ground so small that it can’t be brought into production.
Beautiful soil is the result of composting, which also reduces our waste. Keep that bucket on the sink and throw in your peelings, coffee grounds, apple cores, etc. until it smells enough that you must toss it in the pile. We could also use more community gardens where experienced growers could guide others wanting to learn through the seasons. Because I’ve done the farming thing, I often forget how few people still know how to grow food. Scary.
There are many websites that offer help and guidance when it comes to learning the homely arts. For someone like me, who poured (and still does) over hard copies of magazines like Countryside & Small Stock Journal, Grit, and Backwoods Home Magazine, there are articles that instruct on every phase of homesteading. The mother of them all, Mother Earth News, keeps an extensive archive on its website, free to browse and use.
The Foxfire website describes the series that originated in 1972 with the original “The Foxfire Book,” a collection of articles from the magazine that was begun in 1966 by children of the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in Georgia. The name chosen for the title is a reference to the glow emitted by bioluminescent lichen that grows on decaying logs in the Southern woods, noticeable on dark nights. Since that time the magazine has been published uninterrupted, a museum has been established, and the core principles, based on self-centered learning and community-based education, have been adopted by families and educators who favor the Foxfire Approach to Teaching and Learning that “promotes a sense of place and appreciation of local people, community and culture as essential educational tools.”
Beginning more than four decades ago, the students interviewed the elders of their area, documenting their lives and skills, and in doing so they became aware of the close relationships and sharing that were an integral part of creating a strong community. We need more of that–relationships with neighbors and an appreciation of lost culture, not only in Appalachia, but in the urban, exurban, and suburban communities where most of us live.
There are now twelve books in the series that began as a sociological work, and millions of copies of individual volumes have been sold. I bought the first six books in the 1970s. I was a city girl learning how to establish a homestead. I had no experience with farming but was a believer, part of the back-to-the-land movement.
It is in these first collections that most of the practical information can be found. You may not plan on butchering a hog anytime soon, but you will certainly want to plan a garden. The original book has sections on planting by signs, building a log cabin, basket weaving and preserving food, as well as making butter, soap and moonshine. For the religious, there’s information on faith healing and snake handling. The next five volumes offer instructions on spinning and weaving, animal care, tanning hides and logging, as well as making cheese, apple butter, wagons, kilns, tools and shoes. And for “when the work’s all done and the sun’s gettin low” (thanks John Denver), you can also learn how to make old-fashioned toys, corn husk dolls and primitive dulcimers, banjos and fiddles–just in case you can’t power up the tv.
The books are available through the Foxfire website, which is a great place to begin if you’d like to secure your future in small ways, and possibly in bigger ones. And remember the Boy Scout motto.
Interested in the prepper movement? Check out this video by the New Yorker shared on Facebook a few days ago!