Butterfly Garden - 6/27/2015 1:00 PM

Butterfly Garden/Free Library – 6/27/2015 1:00 PM

Playing catch up with photos. I’ve decided I’m going to change up how I approach these blog posts so I don’t feel so pressured to think of anything interesting to say. I feel like I sound like a broken record. Chickens. Dog. Chickens. Road Trip. Chickens. Garden. Chickens. Chickens. Chickens…

The Big Oak - 7/3/2015 (wide shot post-trimming)

The Big Oak – 7/3/2015 (wide shot post-trimming)

But we all need some diversion. And this is mine. And I am quite…diverted.

Toilet Garden - 6/27/2015

Butterfly Garden/Free Library- 6/27/2015 1:19 PM

Speaking of road trip – I’m planning one. Soon. Dragging Buddha the Grouch and Lulu the Dane up to Vermont to drop the grouch off for his college thing & then proceed on to whatever epic adventure awaits while I meander my way back down in a vaguely random-ish manner. It is my graduation present to myself, and I’m looking forward to all of it. In both directions. I keep telling Buddha the Grouch we need to do a podcast of life on the road with us, but he’s not into it. So I might just do a podcast with Lulu. hahaha. Shit I say to my dog while traveling.


Toilet garden with start of bottle border – 6/28/2015

There’s not much more to say about life lately. It’s full of slack and activity and beauty and minor amounts of frustration on occasion. I miss the Tao of Bird now that he’s at his dad’s, but it’s nice to be alone in the house for a bit with Buddha the Grouch. The work is unending and unendingly enjoyable.

Sunflowers through screen

Sunflowers through screen

Some ideas for spots to visit on my road trip include:

White Mountain National Forest

Stoney Pond State Forest

Amicalola Falls State Park

Blue Ridge Mountains/Smoky Mountains/Asheville, NC

The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests

Mark Twain National Forest

Ouachita National Forest

Pisgah National Forest

Monongahela National Forest

Baxter State Park

Acadia National Park

Deering Oaks Park (Just because I want to go to Portland, ME)

Green Mountain National Forest

Susquehannock State Forest

Allegheny National Forest

Shenandoah National Park

Cherokee National Forest

Daniel Boone National Forest

Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area

Shawnee National Forest

Chattahoochee National Forest

I’m all over the place. I’ll figure it out when I get there. I might randomly pick from a deck, or throw a die…roadtrip roulette.

Moon Garden - 6/28/2015

Moon Garden – 6/28/2015

Books on Nature I’d like to read/listen to on the road:

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Hardcover)
by Cheryl Strayed

Walden & Civil Disobedience (Paperback)
by Henry David Thoreau

The End of Nature (Paperback)
by Bill McKibben

The Sense of Wonder (Hardcover)
by Rachel Carson

Walking (Paperback)
by Henry David Thoreau

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region (Paperback)
by Elbert L. Little

Nature Writings: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth / My First Summer in the Sierra / The Mountains of California / Stickeen / Essays (Hardcover)
by John Muir

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
by Bill Bryson

The Control of Nature
by John McPhee

Crossing Open Ground
by Barry López

Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
by Candace Savage

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Leaves of Grass
by Walt Whitman

Wandering Home: A Long Walk Across America’s Most Hopeful Landscape: Vermont’s Champlain Valley and New York’s Adirondacks
by Bill McKibben

Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
by Bill McKibben

My First Summer in the Sierra
by John Muir

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
by Naomi Klein

by Edward O. Wilson

Self-Reliance and Other Essays
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady
by Edith Holden

The Bedside Book of Birds: An Avian Miscellany
by Graeme Gibson

Being Caribou: Five Months on Foot with an Arctic Herd
by Karsten Heuer

Beyond the Wall: Essays from the Outside
by Edward Abbey

Edward Wilson’s Nature Notebooks
by David M. Wilson

In the Temple of Wolves: A Winter’s Immersion in Wild Yellowstone
by Rick Lamplugh

Reclaiming the Wild Soul: How Earth’s Landscapes Restore Us to Wholeness
by Mary Reynolds Thompson

How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art
by Kathleen Meyer

A Natural History of North American Trees
by Donald Culross Peattie

Wild Fruits: Thoreau’s Rediscovered Last Manuscript
by Henry David Thoreau

Adirondacks: Views of An American Wilderness
by Carl E. Heilman II

Where The Sky Began: Land of the Tallgrass Prairie
by John Madson

The Big Oak - 6/28/2015 (Pre-trimming)

The Big Oak – 6/28/2015 (Pre-trimming)

One of my goals for the road trip is to focus on drawing and art. I’m getting a good set of sketch and watercolor pencils and some fine line black pens. I’d like to bring along some good books about art and nature, such as:

The Big Oak - 6/28/2015 (pre-trimming) wide shot

The Big Oak – 6/28/2015 (pre-trimming) wide shot

And also, some books on Environmental Justice:

Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply (Paperback)
by Vandana Shiva

Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality (Paperback)
by Robert D. Bullard

Garbage Wars: The Struggle for Environmental Justice in Chicago (Paperback)
by David Naguib Pellow

Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors (Paperback)
by Carolyn Finney

Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States (Paperback)
by Seth Holmes

Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class, and Sustainability (Paperback)
by Alison Hope Alkon

All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life (Paperback)
by Winona LaDuke

The Quest for Environmental Justice: Human Rights and the Politics of Pollution (Paperback)
by Robert D. Bullard

Stuffed And Starved: Markets, Power And The Hidden Battle For The World Food System (Hardcover)
by Raj Patel

Confronting Environmental Racism: Voices From the Grassroots (Paperback)
by Robert D. Bullard

Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island (Hardcover)
by Will Harlan

Crimes Against Nature: Squatters, Poachers, Thieves, and the Hidden History of American Conservation (Paperback)
by Karl Jacoby

Chicks under big oak and brush pile.

Chicks under big oak and brush pile.

Books about the Commons:

Frischmann, Brett M., Infrastructure: The Social Value of Shared Resources

Hartzok, Alanna – The Earth Belongs to Everyone

Barnes, Peter, Capitalism 3.0: A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons

Burns, Weston and Bollier, David. Green Governance: Ecological Survival, Human Rights, and the Law of the Commons

Freyfogle, Eric T., The Land We Share: Private Property and the Common Good

Heller, Michael,The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation and Costs Lives

Barlow, Maude, Blue Gold: The Global Water Crisis and the Commodification of the World’s Water [report], (San Francisco, Calif.: International Forum on Globalization, 1999)

Barnes, Peter, Who Owns the Sky? Our Common Assets and the Future of Capitalism

Alperovitz, Gar and Lew Daly, Unjust Deserts: How the Rich Are Taking Our Common Inheritance

Nature for sale. Commons versus Commodities. by giovanna ricoveri

Reid, Herbert and Betsy Taylor, Recovering the Commons: Democracy, Place and Global Justice

Hardin, Garrett, The Tragedy of the Commons

Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature
by William Cronon

The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture
by Wendell Berry

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism
by Jeremy Rifkin

The Drama of the Commons
by Elinor Ostrom

Stop, Thief!: The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance
by Peter Linebaugh

Think Like a Commoner: A Short Introduction to the Life of the Commons
by David Bollier

Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good
by Heather Menzies

The Wealth Of The Commons: A World Beyond Market & State
by David Bollier

The Future of the Commons: Beyond Market Failure and Government Regulations
by Elinor Ostrom

Subverting the Present, Imagining the Future: Class, Struggle, Commons
by Werner Bonefeld (Editor), Stevphen Shukaitis

Butterfly Garden/Free Library 6/29/2015

Butterfly Garden/Free Library 6/29/2015

Books about National/State/Public Parks and forests:

National Geographic Guide to State Parks of the United States

National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of the United States, 6th Edition (National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States) Paperback – March 17, 2009

Lion The Chicken

Lion The Chicken

Resources for traveling with pets:




Big Oak - 6/29/2015 (post-trimming

Big Oak – 6/29/2015 (post-trimming)

Another one of my objectives of this trip is to “do nothing” most of the time. Which is not to say I will put myself in suspended animation, but I will take lots of time to sit, read, draw, and do what pleases me without rushing to do the next thing or trying to keep up. I will remind myself of the “go slow go slow” mantra, and stay in each place for as long (or as short) as I feel is necessary to really experience that place.



I’d also like to avoid eating at chain restaurants. I’m bringing two coolers that I will keep stocked with fresh fruit, veggies, and drinks. Of course, I will want to sample local restaurants (as much as I can with a large dog in tow) – but I really don’t want to get in a rut where I’m seeking drive throughs because I’m ill prepared when hunger strikes.

Some resources for road food and restaurant guides

Roadfood: The Coast-to-Coast Guide to 800 of the Best Barbecue Joints, Lobster Shacks, Ice Cream Parlors, Highway Diners, and Much, Much More Paperback – May 10, 2011




General road trip books and resources (non-fiction):









So – about the present…the garden is hanging on. I’ve decided I dislike tomatoes. Not eating them…just growing them. Freaking prima donna mother fuckers. However, my cucumbers are still producing, and I’ve got sweet potatoes growing, and I think there are some squash coming in. The flowers are AMAZING and wild. The moon garden looks ok, but I worry about the grass. I feel like I want to seed again when summer is over, but I might have to wait until spring. No peppers as yet – just the one chocolate pepper that was on the plant when I bought it…and a lone jalapeno. The melon/pumpkin patch looks pretty bleak…the weeds are doing AWESOME though. hahaha.



I keep saying “this is an experimental year – but I’m hearing from gardener friends that they are ALL experimental years.

Integration Day - 7/1/2015

Integration Day – 7/1/2015

The chicks integrated with the hens super well. I was paranoid to let them intermingle, so I was only letting them all out when I was able to supervise. One day, I accidentally left the coop open a tiny crack, and when I came outside later they were all in the pen scratching around together like no big whoop. Without any incident, they have become a flock. The older ladies still kind of hang out in their own little self-contained unit, and they still sleep in the doghouse coop for now, but even they have started exploring more. They are more approachable, not as fearful of me. They seem more relaxed now that there’s a bigger flock for them. At the end of the day when I open the chicken pen, the big girls flop in the mulch and dustbathe while the littles flit around the yard in search of new and exciting delights.

(Future) Chicken Garden - 7/1/2015 8:31 AM

(Future) Chicken Garden – 7/1/2015 8:31 AM

I’ve been looking at pictures of the yard from this time period last year. I had some friend who were staying with me who did a bunch of really awesome work back there. Most of it has come undone. There’s some wildness in its place, but also a whole lot of beauty. It doesn’t look as clean, but it looks alive. I’m not entirely sure that I’m interested in my yard being “clean” anyway. But the foundation they laid has really helped me to get it where I want it.

(Future) Chicken Garden - 7/2/2015 8:34 AM

(Future) Chicken Garden – 7/2/2015 8:34 AM

I’m waiting for one more bid on the fencing. And I’m torn. Part of me really just wants the professional fence builders to build the chicken fence, but the cost of that one fence and gate is substantial. I’m not sure I want to pay that much for a chicken yard, BUT – in terms of resale value, that particular area of the yard – fenced off – would make a great dog run. So perhaps it is the best choice. I know I would enjoy having a nice sturdy fence to contain the chickens so I’m sure the dog won’t chase them…and if my plans to foster and/or adopt a parrot come fruition, having a secure fence out there to enclose a parrot would be helpful for outside days.

I’ve been non-planning my route. Gathering random information…flipping through destinations like the used LP bin & today I was talking to someone randomly and they were from Maine & the words “cabin on a beach” were uttered, and I was…smitten, just so smitten, with the idea of that.



So, I think  I’ve found at least one destination to plan for. It pleases Buddha The Grouch that I’ve decided not to hang out in his new town for a few days as I had originally planned. Though I did tell him I might drop back into town on my way back down.

The Big Oak - 7/3/2015 (wide shot post-trimming)

The Big Oak – 7/3/2015 (wide shot post-trimming)

I’m very very slowly and gradually repurposing the mulch from the tree trimming into pathways – in hopes of making rainy days a slightly less disastrously muddy proposition. I have tons of the mulch – probably also enough to surround the beds with. The grass/weed combination that I call my lawn is slowly growing back, and I’d like to at least attempt to somewhat rein in the wildness. This time of year most summers, all the grass is dead and gone and not an issue. My yard is lush with the stuff. I hate that it’s so prevalent without my approval, but I gotta admire its hardiness, while those fucking prima donna tomatoes WHITHER at the first overheating and sputter and die with a HINT of frost.

Morning Glories

Morning Glories

Seriously. I really really hate growing tomatoes! Or trying and failing to grow them. I’m far too lazy to baby those fuckers. Or I have far too much else to do.

(I say the above knowing full well I am equipped with an arsenal of tomato seeds to sow for fall tomoatoes.)



So, while I’m repurposing the mulch, I’m also burning some of the twigs and branches from the pruning I’m doing. Today, I googled “What can I use wood ash for” and, lo and behold, the wood ash can be put in the chicken pen and mixed in with the rest of the poop/food scraps/hay/pine shavings so the hens can scratch and move it around and aerate it and turn it into black gold.

First Moonflower

First Moonflower

DUH! Hahaha. I probably should have already known that. I mean, of course it all works together. I am an ecosystem.



This little kitty – almost a full year after deciding she does not ever want to be in the house again with THAT DOG; mostly because she weighs all of 6 pounds (pretty much exactly 6 pounds – no lie) and THAT DOG is a big, sloppy, dorky 100 – has decided she is going to try to be more brave and has on multiple occasions actually lay still and allowed the big, sloppy dorky dog to sniff her all over. She’s been coming into the yard when the chickens are out and the dog is in – because I can’t trust the dog around the damn chickens, either. We have a deal that she won’t go all bloodthirsty murderer of things (like we all know she can be) on the birds if I will pet her belly. I think we are both satisfied with the deal. Well, all of us – if you count the chickens.

Morning Glories

Morning Glories

I’ve been trying not to say this, because I hate being a commercial for a product that…well, ANY product, really. But I am kind of crushing on the new “For You” playlists in iTunes. At least one and usually two and sometimes even all three of the suggested playlists are consistently awesome. And I am a picky-ass motherfucker who never lets ANYONE play music for me (just ask my children, who have NEVER been able to play their own music in my car.) It’s getting to the point where I can’t wait until the end of my day so I can play a playlist while cooking or cleaning or…writing a blog post. It’s some pretty amazing shit.



I texted:

OMG! I’m going to camp on the beach in Maine in September!!!!!

With my dog!

She said:

That is going to be so dreamy!

I replied:

I know!

Pets welcome!

She concluded:

Kick ass!

Moon Garden - 7/11/2015

Moon Garden – 7/11/2015

Kick. Ass.