I finally got around to reading John McPhee’s Encounters with the Archdruid. If you have not read it yet, proceed without delay. McPhee is a favorite, from way back when I first read his geology-centered books, such as Assembling California. I like his style. He’s one of those guys who can reveal complexity and power […]Read more "The Archdruid"
After a bit of a hiatus on Mellowcatin’, I’d rather not start right off with one of my rants, but it cannot be helped. Now that we’re heading into another election cycle a peculiar negative energy has been unleashed. I will be on the lookout for any messages, in clear text or coded, that speak […]Read more "The Invasive Species"
I’ll get around to explaining in just a minute what this picture has to do with birds. This is a slightly fuzzy photo of a bentwood Singer Sewing Machine case, probably from the 1930’s or ’40’s. The Resident Expert gave me a copy of The Grail Bird for a winter solstice gift. The book describes […]Read more "Unintended consequences"
An anxious California awaits the start of the rainy season, still months away. There’s been quite a bit of reporting on how water use patterns have changed, or not changed. Unlike energy use, it’s pretty easy to tell if your neighbor has not cut back on water use. If he has a front lawn, and […]Read more "Follow the Water"
We’ve been around the block a few times, but still there’s much that’s new to our experience. That’s great, unless the new thing is alarming to us due to its uncertainty. If only we had the imperturbable demeanor of the Giant Sequoia. There’s not too much that these old trees haven’t encountered in their long days. […]Read more "Think Like a Sequoia"
It’s a good thing that they’re taking forever to decide what to do with the local Cargill salt ponds, because it’s given me time to come up with an opinion. Let’s cut to the chase: I’m for full wetlands restoration. The people up in the north bay are leading the way on this. Take a […]Read more "Saving the bay"
The huge Rim Fire is 75% contained as of this morning, and has stopped short of White Wolf and Yosemite Creek. They’re fighting fire with fire now, burning out some fuel before the wildfire can get it. Photo credit: Mike McMillan – USFS There are almost 5,000 firefighters up there now. By their efforts, our lands […]Read more "Wildfire"
On our way out for a hike we drove by a small grass fire on 280, maybe a harbinger of the season ahead. I had just read Bill Tweed’s article about the potential for a particularly bad fire year and just like that we see something burning. CalFire was on top of things, as expected, […]Read more "Red Flag"
I have some information for you. You know how people talk about “the environment” as if it’s an abstraction, like maybe some place that has a lot of trees? It turns out that we’re kind of in “the environment” all the time. And this past week I ran across a few news items that I […]Read more "Equinox"
I read the other day that some US urban areas will hit solar grid parity in the next couple of years, with NYC getting there in 2015. And now I find out that global oil production and reserves will begin their decline starting in 2015. Cut that one a bit close, I’d say.Read more "good timing"