12 Years Left

So they finally put a number of years out there.  The Washington Post did an article on October 7, 2018, “The world has just over a decade to get climate change under control, UN Scientists say” by Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis.

It’s a scary number but I am happy it is out there so we know what we are dealing with.  And, as the article states, we will have to take drastic measures to get climate change turned around.  No just recycling here.  Civilization as we know it will be turned on its head to get this accomplished.

I thought . . . this should get the conversation going.  Rattle people up . . . so we actually do something.

I don’t know if that happened but I think enough people heard that we have 12 years left.  We need some rattling up . . . because nothing is happening.  The global meetings on climate change, which happen every other or every four years, started in 1992.  That’s a long time to be discussing climate change with no binding agreement.

Well, our whole economy is based on consumerism.  I mean . . . how do you change that?  And, that is where all the CO2 is coming from . . . and, then . . .  there is the overpopulation issue.  Lots to talk about.

There were several articles after that big news bombshell.  The first article on October 18, 2018, by Jake Johnson writer for Common Dreams said the Democrats aren’t going to do anything drastic to deal with climate change.  Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised about that.

The second article by Christopher D. Cook of Common Dreams on October 17, 2018, “To Address the Climate Crisis, We Must Completely Rethink How We Produce and Consume Food,” brings our agriculture, food processing, and beef production systems to the forefront.  You really don’t hear much about those systems needing to be overhauled to arrest climate change, now do you?  Get rid of monoculture crops, processed food, and limit beef and dairy production?  How radical?  No, it is reality.  We are trying to save our behinds right now.

What solutions do we hear about anyway?  They say we need to lower CO2 to keep the planet from warming but not how we are going to do it.

The third article, “Eco Crises:  Doom & Gloom, Truth & Consequences,” on October 26, 2018, by Kristine Mattis in Common Dreams asks the question, “What are we going to do about climate change,” at least that’s what I walked away hearing.  I am just a little person with one major environmental class and countless documentaries on the planet.  Kristine holds a Ph.D. in Environment and Resources.  You may not believe what I say but listen to Kristine.  If you don’t make it through the whole article, I highly suggest reading the list of things we need to change at the end.  Yes, now we are talking about some real changes!

Here are the links to those articles:





A Little Climate Change Across My Street

Flooding across from my place

As long as one has food, water, and is safe and dry, being stranded from everyday comings and goings is not a bad thing.  I said that from the comfort of my little cabin and know many people were not so fortunate.

Flooding . . . it happened so fast.  My friend texted me at 7:15 a.m. to tell me there were flood warnings in my area.    She is in IL where I used to live.  I peered out my window and looked over at the river across the pasture and could barely see it.  Not 45 minutes later, my neighbor stopped by about 8:00 a.m. and warned me of flooding . . . the type you take seriously.  He is also the head of the emergency medical team for our town.  Two dams had breached, and the towns north of us were already experiencing flooding.  We had three days of heavy rains, and this pushed us over the edge to flood stage.

While my cabin is perched a fair elevation from the pasture below, I am still in the valley.  I was well aware that our road flooded enough to keep us from going anywhere for several days.  All of a sudden, I went into survival mode.  I needed propane to cook with, as it just ran out, and ice if I was going to be stranded.

How much time did I have?

The water started encroaching on the pasture in front of me rather rapidly.  By the time it took to go into town, 15 minutes away, for propane and ice, the river went up 6-8 inches by the bridge about a mile away.  I needed to do a little laundry, as well.  Laundry?  Really?  Oh, well . . .

How did I need everything on the day it flooded?  At least I had food.

Our police chief was at the bridge measuring the river.  The barrel with “road closed” was already on the side of the road ready to be placed.  This was all happening fast.  At 7:00 a.m. I couldn’t see any water.  By 11:00, it reached the bales of hay in the field.  I didn’t want to be stuck on the outside of my little cabin.  I wanted to weather this out where I had food and shelter, and, yes . . . my cat.

So I experienced what is was like to be stranded.  We made it to Day 3 with the road closed on both ends before we were free to come and go.  There were four households in my area, all safe, monitoring how fast the water came in and watching it closely as it receded.  We did have access to the outside if we needed supplies.  The owner of the grass fed beef across from me had an ATV that he used through a homeowner’s property to the ridge in back of us to make sure the cattle were fed.  There was no traffic on my little road or the highway across the valley from me.  It was quieter, and, I was meeting my neighbors.  Things like this bring people together.

I wondered how long I could have lasted if it ended up being more than 3 days.

As far as getting stuff done . . . well . . .  that didn’t happen.  A friend hoped I had a good book.  Most of my time was spent on my phone chatting and texting with my friends from back home letting them know how I was doing.   I’ll take that over getting stuff done any day.

Nature dished this out . . . climate change.  This is becoming an annual occurrence.  The first really bad floods came in 2007 and 2008.  Then there was flooding in 2016, and now 2018.  Although it happened about a month ago, it needed to be documented.  The pasture above never has all that water in it.  All the towns north and south of me were flooded.  Several friends lost their homes.  Before I moved here, I lived in IL and experienced some fluctuations in weather . . . some rather notable . . . but not flooding . . . not being stranded.

When do we take climate change seriously enough to do something about it?

Food Security


Vegetable gardens . . . fruit trees . . .  raspberry bushes . . . nut trees . . . etc.  If we are growing any of these, it means one thing – food security.  Add canning to that list, and we get more food security.

I am not, by any means, off of the grocery store yet but that is my goal.  It should be everyone’s goal.  And, if you aren’t into counting CO2 emissions for everything you do and purchase, you may wonder why grocery stores are something we need to eliminate.  Well, our food system creates something like 30% of the CO2 in the atmosphere, and it also contributes to soil depletion, and, you may as well add water depletion to that, too.

From the machinery plowing the fields run by diesel, to the factories manufacturing processed food, along with the necessary transportation of all the food from around the globe, and finally, the coal and natural gas to keep the a/c, heat, and electricity going in those grocery stores 24/7, that is a lot of CO2 being spewed into the atmosphere.  I am sure there is some CO2 I forgot to count.

We take it all for granted.  It is all we know.  Any time of year, we can buy anything we want no matter where it comes from.  But, we have to start changing.  Although I could not feed myself for the whole year on what I grew this summer from my garden, it is a start.  I am not an expert at this and have a lot to learn.  Fortunately, I had a decent crop of tomatoes for the first time, enough that I canned 14 pint jars.  I am hoping I get another 7 pint jars before the end of the tomatoes.

There are many things we can do to get away from using grocery stores.  We can join a CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture), go to the farmers’ market, buy some vegetables or fruit in bulk to can, grow a garden, or rent a garden plot in the city where we live if we don’t have the space or live in an apartment.  These are all ways to contribute to and ensure we have food security.

How Disconnected Are We From Nature?

Paw print

A paw print.  Who would notice?  Why bother?  We are stuck to our cellphones and computers.  But, indigenous tribes and First Nations’ people were very attuned to paw prints, sounds, edible plants, plants for medicinal uses, the times of the day, the moon, etc.  It meant survival, food, being one with Nature.  Something we have lost to our detriment.  Without our man-made system, we would not survive.

New to living closer to Nature, I now notice the paw prints.  From what I can tell, it is probably from a coyote.  It is at the end of the driveway where a little water collects after it rains.  There are always deer prints, and, like this, a coyote print.  It draws me closer to Nature and the myriad of animals, birds, frogs, and insects I live with.

A fox sprinted one morning between the cabin and the woods, only about 20 feet away.  It took my breath away.  A young buck was standing at the edge of the woods about the same distance one morning . . . looking very quizzically at me . . . and then bounded off with another one close at his heels.  More than occasionally, I notice animals scurry from one place to the next, and I wonder what kind of animal they are.  I have no idea.  A woodchuck, badger, muskrat, mink . . . perhaps I should get a book.

Nature feeds my soul.

Garden Progress

I have a lot to learn about growing food.

A friend at the Village told me about indeterminate and determinate tomato plants.  Who knew?  Certainly not me.  Now, there is a person that knows so much about growing food.  Determinate tomato plants will only have so many tomatoes, where indeterminate plants will continue growing into the fall, producing more and more tomatoes.  I like that!  So, I looked at the types I purchased, and, of the five different types of tomatoes, only one was determinate.  There should be mandatory classes in elementary, middle, and high school that teach this stuff.  It is critical for food security in the future.

The garden is in, and that took time.  The ground needed to be plowed and fences had to be put up to keep deer from trampling it and rabbits from nibbling or gorging themselves on lettuce and strawberry leaves.  Strawberry leaves?  Believe it or not, my strawberry plants had all their leaves eaten, as they sat ready to be planted.

But, I have time . . . although I want to know it all now.  Some of the gardens are thriving and others not so much.  Is it the soil?  And, how do I test it before I plant?  Do I just amend it by adding compost and peat?  Grow a cover crop this fall for winter?  I envy all the fantastic gardens I see in my area.

My tomatoes are doing well, along with my cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, garlic, onions, kohlrabi, peas, and Swiss chard.  Celery?  Can someone tell me how to grow this vegetable successfully?  My pole beans and bush beans did not come in very well.  Some critter ate all of my sunflower plants minutes after they sprouted.

Cucumber, Delicata squash, zucchini, and cantaloupe are doing okay.  Some are taking off better than others.  The watermelon?  It didn’t show up.  My friend at the Village said it is because the ground needs to be warm for it to sprout.  The pepper plants are doing better in one garden and not so good in another.  Oh, well.

My potatoes are coming up.  Although, my cat is using the area as his personal litter box.  I hope that fertilizer won’t hurt the potatoes.  The asparagus is in, and I will know in a couple of years how it is going to do in the area I planted it in.

Will I be able to feed myself with all the vegetables I have planted?  As this whole planting vegetables thing is new to me . .  . I have found . . . that while I have many plants in the ground . . . my yield has not been so good in the past.  I do have control over my soil now, which will help.  Let’s see how it plays out.  I will keep you updated, and let you know whether you should stop over and take some of the veggies off my hands!



Grass? No way.

Whether I would have grass or not was a no-brainer.  I let Nature do that.  And, with each passing flower, I am amazed with what Nature comes up with.  I didn’t want a lawnmower, and I didn’t want to be concerned whether my grass was inundated with Creeping Charlie or dandelions.  I am sure there will be some invasive specie in my prairie landscape but I won’t know it.  Well, I take that back.  There are black walnut trees at the road and in the woods.  Their seedlings are sprouting up all through the prairie, and I am not happy about that.  I want to keep it free of trees.  So, I guess I will be trying to get rid of dandelions again, only this time it will be black walnut sproutings.  Here is a sample of flowers that have showed up so far this spring and summer.