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June 24, 2011
Crashing an author's dinner - scaled.DSCF4326

I went down to Prairie Lights Bookstore tonight to hear local-food chef and restaurant owner Kurt Michael Friese read from his book about chile peppers and climate change. For a year Friese and co-authors Kraig Kraft and Gary Paul Nabhan visited chile pepper farmers from Sonora to Connecticut....

June 21, 2011
Big skies of Iowa - scaled.Iowa Prairie 3

I am back in Iowa this week, researching once again the papers of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane. A travel grant from the Herbert Hoover Presidential Association made this possible. Laura and Rose together worked on the famous "Little House" books during the Great Depression...

June 14, 2011
Appalachian Trail reunions - CayPhilNatChris2

This year marks 24 years since the summer we—Cay, Phil, Nat, and I—hiked the Appalachian Trail.

Over the weekend (June 10-12, 2011), my husband Nat and I crashed a 30-year reunion of A.T. hikers on Squam Lake, New Hampshire. Actually, they invited us, and it turned out we'...

May 28, 2011
Where that balloon ends up - scaled.DSCF4178

Slight fog at the mouth of the Connecticut River. The first kayak adventure of the season with my environment reporter friend Judy Benson. After the parties end and the mylar balloons lose their air and float down gently to Earth, they tend to end up in the waterways. Here, where hundreds of...

May 24, 2011

Here is a good article by Adam Voiland for the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. It explains why it's irresponsible to get lazy when talking at parties about climate change, whether you are disputing climate...

May 3, 2011
Our neighborhood inspiration, Joan Brainard - DR Town Hall

Around the corner from my house live the Brainards. Joan Brainard hung her laundry on two long clotheslines every Monday and Thursday for almost 47 years. In 2007 I went to visit her and her husband, David, in their kitchen for an article I was writing for The New York Times about restrictions...

April 29, 2011
Dropping everything to visit your daughter - image_8573

Yesterday I cancelled everything and drove up to Williamstown, Massachusetts, to see my 20-year-old daughter, Annie, who has been weathering a very busy semester at Williams College. We both felt the need to just breathe the same air for a day. Her grandmother, my mother-in-law, died just before...

Connecticut gobbling power at home - EfficiencyHome

My home state's Council on Environmental Quality's annual report tracked a discouraging trend in power use, per capita, on the homefront -- it's going up.

Here's a quotation from the report:

"Residents reversed course in 2010 and used more electricity at home...

April 4, 2011
She browsed the newsstand and found... - Owl's Head fire pre-Weeks Act

Shambling around the web, I stumbled upon a blog by a Colorado woman who on a trip east found Appalachia journal, which I edit, on the newsstand at a Barnes & Noble in Bethesda, Maryland.

"I skimmed a few pages and kept seeing "White Mountains" and photos of mountain...

March 23, 2011

Some of the weather reported on March 23:


1765: 2-plus feet of snow hits Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania.

1912: 37 inches of snow in Olathe, Kansas.

1913: Tornado destroys a five-mile-long swath in Omaha, killing 94.


March 8, 2011

Last Friday, March 4, I stopped in at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York for the last day of a conference for social scientists who study how people are dealing with climate change—their understanding or lack of it, their willingness to discuss the future or lack of it, and how...

February 5, 2011
Think Norwegian - Laundry rack Boston 1905

Even in the winter, Norwegians don't whine for electric dryers to finish their laundry.

Norwegians think Americans are foolish because we think we have to use clothes dryers especially in the winter. Norwegians, whose climate is colder than most parts of the world, dry their laundry...

January 25, 2011

From Obama's State of the Union address:

"With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

"We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay...

January 17, 2011

A few weeks ago I took a look at a Wikipedia entry on some hiking trails I know well. Tonight I read Wikipedia's article on Laura Ingalls Wilder, about whom I know much more than the average fan, having researched her papers for many years. Wow, I'm appalled. Wikipedia is publishing'...

January 5, 2011
NYC's underground, as inspiring as Everest - nyc-map-center

Erling Kagge, a Norwegian climber, has started exploring the sewers and subway tunnels of New York City.

"The opportunity to see New York in a way  no one else has, from the inside out, is, for me, as inspiring as walking to the poles and climbing Everest," he told Alan...

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