The heart of my home


The kitchen is the heart of my home. It’s the hub of the domestic wheel. Since it’s where the woodstove is, this time of year, it’s where everyone gathers. And, everything of any importance takes place there: meals get prepared, recipes shared, bills paid, horse grains mixed, tinctures made, messages exchanged; kombucha brewed, coffee sipped and books read. Sometimes I take for granted that the … [Read more...]

Homemade Halloween


We're running this piece from 2010 again in celebration of the upcoming Halloween. One of my worst parenting memories happened when I took my daughters trick-or-treating on the vaunted Lawn of the University of Virginia campus one year. The girls were about six and four at the time, and the picturesque associations of the annual UVa. Halloween tradition conjured up by friends made it … [Read more...]

Yes, you can brew kombucha

Kombucha brewing

I live a pretty spartan existence. Our family doesn't live high on the hog, always out shopping or dining at the most expensive places. We don't vacation much, and when we do, it's all about going local — Virginia inns, wineries, and natural and historic sites. Basically, I'm pretty frugal, do many things DIY style, and otherwise am so into conservation that I don't want to buy much … [Read more...]

A GMO is a GMO is a GMO

Image: David Dees Illustration.

Quick: name the one issue about which Democrats, Republicans and even Independents all agree.  No, not alpaca farms. Yes, I know everyone would like to have one, and yes, baby alpacas are cuter than the dickens.  Try again. What’s that? Everybody agrees  genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that food processing companies put on our kitchen tables should be labeled? Is that your answer? Well, … [Read more...]

Fruit pickin’


The idea of eating locally and in-season just makes sense. Foods that grow locally are produced in the very same environment in which we're nested. Thus it’s quite likely that they contain the essential micro-nutrients which, quite naturally, work well for us. The “in-season” concept, in fact, makes more and more sense when we start to really study nature. Think about it: in the spring, … [Read more...]

Junk food for Jesus

Jesus at Chick-fil-A

I'm a Christian. But I wouldn't eat at Chick-fil-A even if the company's CEO were St. Francis of Assisi, Mother Theresa or Dietrich Bonhoeffer. And it's not really because I disagree with the views of the company's actual CEO about gay marriage. It's because I think that Chick-fil-A's whole business model is itself basically un-Christian, despoiling God's creation in all too many ways. All that … [Read more...]

Beef 101: A guide to what 25% of Americans eat every day

Cuts of Beef

I wrote a post at the end of March about how you can lower meat costs by purchasing sides of beef. The infographic below is along the same lines, but contains more information about the health benefits of beef, and offers a simple breakdown of the different types of cuts you can buy at the grocery store, and some easy guides to shopping for beef. I find that guides like these can be really … [Read more...]

Ackerman and McPherson dialog: Practical paths to a post-carbon lifestyle


The following dialog is a continuation of one started by Drs. Sherry Ackerman and Guy McPherson a few weeks ago on Transition Voice. In that discussion, Ackerman and McPherson laid out some philosophical considerations about the need for a transition to more locally-based economies of human scale along with a deeper reverence for and consideration of the natural world that we share with … [Read more...]

Yes, you can ferment your food: Review of “Wild Fermentation”

A Reuben

If you're an old hand at all things DIY, congratulations. The following review may or may not be for you. But if you're like me, and devoted to a low-impact lifestyle but a newbie when it comes to all the skills to get you there, read on. Like bread making, about which I wrote a few weeks ago in the beginning of my Yes, You Can...series, fermentation can easily scare the living daylights out … [Read more...]

The Happy Hoarder: Feed bag edition

Canning Book Picture

Of all the things the Happy Hoarder fixes his sights on to prepare for the coming supply shocks, none is as important as his grub. Dinner. His vittles, victuals and chow. His slop, his refreshment, his provisions. His gustables, if you please. Frankly, the Happy Hoarder could think about just how he's going to get his foodstock in the aye-pock-oh-lypse all day long because he likes to do his … [Read more...]