Sunday, March 29, 2015

Eggs-cellent idea!!

Tammy Pedersen at Polyface Farms has a simple recipe for Homemade Mayonnaise.  Her secret?  An immersion blender.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

People of the North: The Long Night

The Long Night was cold.  Of course, when the sun barely peeks over the horizon, it never gets warm, but this year, it was particularly cold.  The elders always talked about how the long nights were getting colder, as their elders had when they were young, probably going back generations.  But now, even the young people were starting to take notice.

At first they just slept closer together.  Then they started sleeping closer to the cooking fire.  When people started keeping the fire going even after the cooking was done, the elders became concerned.  They held a meeting of the tribe.  "We must remember that wood is a gift from our Earth Mother", exhorted Nald, one of the oldest members of the tribe.  "We do not want to foolishly use up more than She gives, like our distant ancestors did.  We have been using the same amount for cooking for generations without diminishing our supply, but if we start using it to keep warm, we may run out."

"Does anyone have any other ideas for keeping warm?" asked Nythia, a woman just a few years younger than Nald.

"We could make blankets out of rabbit skins," chimed in Lek, a young man who had just completed the rite of passage last year.

"Definitely a better idea than burning extra wood, but we still have to be careful about not taking too many rabbits," replied Nald.

They tried hard to come up with better ideas, but decided they were getting nowhere, and agreed to think about it for the night.

Rol roused everyone the next morning.  It was a special day, the halfway point between the Shortest Day and the Day of Equals.  This was the coldest morning anyone could remember.  It was Rol's turn to fetch water from the river, but he came running back, empty-handed.

"Come quick!  You need to see this!," Rol screamed. "I don't know what to do.  The river is solid!"

Friday, March 20, 2015

Cool! (on the outside) DIY roll-up insulating curtains

A group in Chile has come up with the Kume curtain, a multi-layer curtain you make yourself that keeps moisture and warm air from reaching cold windows.  You can roll them up during the daytime to let light in, or leave them in place the entire winter if daylight is not needed.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Cure: Morning Coffee

A suburb in the Eastern United States
Several months before the Announcement


Jane walked to her big oak dining table, coffee with cream and two sugars in her right hand, the rolled-up newspaper from her front doorstep under her left arm.  She sat down and laid the paper on the table, grateful that her local newspaper was still in business and delivering papers to her doorstep.  Like most everyone, Jane had a tablet and a smartphone, but she spent enough of her day staring at screens.  When she sat down for her morning coffee, she enjoyed having the whole paper spread in front of her, turning it page by page.

In between, as she sipped her coffee, she liked to look out her big french doors just past the end of the table.  It had been a hard winter.  Even though the average temperature was a bit higher than normal, that just meant they had had more ice storms and less snow.  She couldn't ever remember the power going out as many times as it had that winter.  Now finally Spring was returning; the snow had melted, the animals were out and about, and the birds had returned.

She had an excellent view of her bird feeder, which she had just refilled the day before.  She was looking forward to watching their antics while she sipped her coffee and browsed the headlines.  Much to her chagrin, a squirrel was sitting on the bird feeder.  Just sitting there.  She would have to check the metal guard and figure out how it got past that.  Still, it was odd that it was just sitting there, quite still.  She expected it would have been trying to get at the bird food.  She wondered for a second if maybe someone was playing a practical joke and put a squirrel statue on her bird feeder.


Apparently that's what several starlings thought -- or maybe they just didn't see the squirrel. Two landed on the same side as the squirrel, three on the opposite side.  That appeared to break the squirrel out of its trance.  It lunged for the nearest starling, who didn't have a chance to react, and sunk its teeth into the hapless bird's neck.  The others started to fly off, but the squirrel leapt onto the other bird on the same side of the feeder and bit its wing.

With a mad fluttering of wings, starling and squirrel spiraled to the ground until the squirrel finally hit the ground.  The jolt was just enough for the starling to break free and spiral away, obviously having trouble with its damaged wing.

Jane rushed out the french doors as she saw this happening, and the squirrel ran off when it saw her coming.  The other starling had plummeted to the ground from the bird feeder.  It had twitched a few times, but by the time Jane picked it up, it was motionless.

Jane was livid.  She had never been so mad at another living creature before.  She resolved to go buy a BB gun after work and make sure if that squirrel ever came around again, it would never hurt another bird.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Getting Real

Lots of people talk about sustainability, but few are really doing much to accomplish it.  One group that does seem to be making progress is EcoReality. an ecovillage located on 43 acres in the South Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Prototype for The City

It turns out my idea for a Domed City in Tales of an Exiled Citizen is not so fanciful after all; one town in northern Vermont seriously tried to get it built.  You can read more about it in Doomed Dome: The Future That Never Was.