The good news


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I’m not sure whether it’s even safe to post something like this, as it might bring down the wrath of the gods. But…

well head

This is our well. The one that works. The one that feeds the house stopped working seven years ago; this one feeds the garden standpipes. It’s the only thing standing between us and everything-in-the-yard-and-garden-will-die.

On Thursday when I came back from The City and went out to water the garden, it wasn’t working. This was… depressing. Everyone’s wells are going dry here, so we figured that was true of ours too—and that would be the end of the garden. We can manually collect grey water when we have a shower, but there’s only so far that can go.

But luckily the weather changed over the weekend and there was enough rain to keep things going. And today the guys came to take the cap off and dig up the outlet and see what was up. And lo and behold, it was just that a hose had come unattached (red arrow) at the well head.

So it’s a relatively easy and cheap fix.

And what’s even better? When we looked into the pipe, there was water in it. Up to about a foot below ground level. As the well is supposed to be 400 feet deep, that’s actually a lot of water, and a very good sign as to the health of that well. Phew. *wipes brow*

Oh look, turkeys!


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dog staring at turkeys in the yard

So the other morning I pushed back the office door curtain and… the feral turkeys. Seven of them, two adults and five poults. Our Dog was already out, and eventually responded to all the warning clucking that ensued when I opened the curtain and they noticed me.

He’s a good dog. He didn’t show the slightest interest in chasing them, though he did eventually trot over to investigate more closely, but what he really wanted to do was just sniff the ground where they’d been, while they all went “Cluck!” and ran off toward the bushes. And then they decided discretion was the better part of valour and flew over the fence; I’m not sure he even noticed that they were gone. Nice to know they were never in danger from him.

This is what a drought looks like in our yard.



It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’m going to try to get back into it. As a starter, a rather depressing post…

Our yard is not a happy place.

dying cedar

I think we’ll lose at least 3 cedars this year; we’re talking trees about 50 to 60 feet tall.


The fir trees are doing a bit better but are starting to look pretty stressed. The little sequoia (only about 20 feet tall) isn’t happy at all.


The sword ferns, which normally stand at least 5 feet tall, have all gone flat. (This makes walking in the forest… strange.)


I can’t get terribly exercised about the periwinkle wilting, given how aggressively it spreads and persists, but the salmonberries sure aren’t happy.


And I’ve never seen the catalpa stressed before.


Sigh. I wonder how much will still be alive when the rain finally does come again?

Hazards of the trail


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garter snake on trail

I’ve been taking Our Dog out for early runs with my bike because he’s ten now and doesn’t do so well in the heat. But this is one of the hazards of doing so: garter snakes that have stretched themselves out across the trail and just lie there, still sluggish with cold. I do NOT want to ride over a snake and kill it, so I’ve come to screeching stops for them several times this year. I generally encourage them to vacate the space (I don’t pick them up to move them as often as I used to because they always seem to pee on me if I do.)

close up of garter snake

This one was particularly sluggish; Our Dog trotted right across it and it didn’t so much as twitch. (Luckily no big golden retriever feet came down on it.) So I was able to stop and take some pictures.

garter snake leaving

Though it did eventually decide that discretion was the better part of valour and do the “I’m outta here” thing.

golden retriever snoozing with daisies

Oh, and bonus golden retriever pic.

From the world pool: June 19, 2015




Sharonda Coleman-Singleton. DePayne Middleton Doctor. Cynthia Hurd. Susie Jackson. Ethel Lance. Clementa C. Pinckney. Tywanza Sanders. Daniel Simmons. Myra Thompson. 

Natalie Luhrs has a comprehensive set of links up, but I want to add a few more. First of all, this Foz Meadows post from Tumblr. I am white and I identify as a feminist, and I agree with everything said by feministbatwoman and Foz: not in my name. The whole idea of justifying the murder of black people by saying it is to protect white female purity is abhorrent bullshit. White women do not need to be protected from black men. Every white feminist, every white woman, should reinforce this message.

Also: mental health issues may cause someone to be violent, but it is the existence of systemic, institutionalized oppressions such as racism that tell them where to point the gun. The Charleston shootings were clearly racist, and it appals me that they might be considered anything else.

Empathy does not preclude accountability”: Jay Smooth on Rachel Dolezal.

Chris Bourg: “seems like a good week to recommend y’all add Racism Review to your blog feed.” Not a bad idea.

John Ross Bowie: “a gentle reminder: The confederate flag is about ‘states rights’ the way the swastika is about ‘fixing the German economy.'”  (via @eilatan)

From the world pool: June 12, 2015


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Socio-political commentary

Henry A. Giroux | Flipping the Script: Rethinking Working-Class Resistance (via @ChrisBoese)

A grandmother’s 36-year hunt for the child stolen by the Argentinian junta (via @ChrisBoese)

Which brings me to this recording by Holly Near and Ronnie Gilbert.

(And let’s not forget… women are missing in Canada.)

And of course I was reminded of this because Ronnie Gilbert died this week.

Bonus tracks: Joe Hill and Solidarity Forever.

The ACLU unveiled a new mobile app designed to help you record and report abusive cops.

I somehow stumbled onto this music video this week. It’s… so true. Ladytron: Seventeen. (Interesting to pair it with Janis Ian’s At Seventeen.)

How a No-Tipping Policy Helped This Restaurant Triple Profits in 2 Months (via @KameronHurley)

SMDH moment: famous scientist demonstrates not just sexism but general idiocy.  But never fear, women scientists have responded.

In the news

Good news for once. Conservation groups welcome protection for Strait of Georgia’s unique glass sponge reefs.  (via Sheila Malcolmson)

Creative activism: People in Portland are protesting potholes by planting flowers in them. (via @brainpicker)

Art + Design

Errol Morris: How Typography Shapes Our Perception Of Truth (via @eilatan)

Hermann Zapf dies at 96

Medieval bookbinding PDF (via @evilrooster)

Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home just won 5 Tony awards, including Best Musical. Also: FUN HOME’s Journey to Broadway

Marko Korosec’s weather photos are amazing, especially some from this set: “I love extreme weather and seen a lot, but this was just above my imagination what I experienced earlier this week. A crazy amount of hard rime after more than a week of strong Bora winds and freezing fog atop of mt. Javornik, Slovenia. It was 100-150cm deep at some most exposed placed.”


Cornell’s website can ID bird species through photos (via @curiousoctopus)

On Writing

Maggie Stiefvater: A novel is a lovely but forbidding natural monument, like an iceberg

Quote of the week

By the way, “full-diaper-angry” is Open For Business as slang for young men who are full of shit and mad at women for not being their mom

Drew (via @KameronHurley)

Just cool

13th copy of 4th/5thC copy of 1st AD Roman world map now explorable online, with layers  (via @mchris4duke)

Just for fun

Here’s how women find time to look appealing to men during the apocalypse

So I pretended to throw a ball and caught the exact moment my dog realised I had betrayed him

If I ever get stuck in an airport for six hours I would really like it to be one with the casts of two Broadway musicals.  (via @mcahogarth)

You’ll only relate if you have cats

Golden retrievers. What can I say?

From the world pool: June 5, 2015


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Socio-political commentary

Janet Mock: Revealing Caitlyn Jenner: My Thoughts on Media, Privilege, Healthcare Access & Glamour. “To make any trans person a symbol for an entire community is an unfair task. No one can speak about the varying, intersecting and layered ways in which trans people experience the world. That is why it’s necessary to create a space for nuance and to amplify the voices of those who often are not heard. What excites me about Jenner’s story as a trans woman who revealed myself as a teenager is my own opportunity to learn about her experience. I find it fascinating, even as a trans woman, to learn about the journey of another trans woman who had taken steps to be her true self only to be pressured back into “the closet” and to step out more famous than ever in her mid-60s — at a time in most women’s lives when they’re deemed invisible.” (via @iSmashFizzle)

What Search Engines Say About Women (pdf)

Why America Demonizes Its Teachers (via @ChrisBoese)

The Theology of Consensus”  A look at some of the inherent issues with consensus-based decision making that ties them to its history. As someone who worked for two and a half years in a co-op studio committed to consensus decision making, I found this fascinating. (via @al3x)

Art + Design

Marian Bantjes: Barbed Wire! (via @TiroTypeworks)


Seven Scribes: Letters from the Underground. WE ARE PLEASED to announce the launch of SEVEN SCRIBES, a brand new online publication. We are committed to creating a space where young Black writers and artists can offer commentary and analysis on politics, pop culture, literature, and art. This is a space where writers and artists can experiment with content and be intentional about consumption.


700 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices.

Quote of the week

20 Things That Women Should Stop Wearing After The Age of 30

1-20: The weight of other people’s expectations & judgments

—(maura) @behindyourback (via @pericat)

I have learned not to be seduced by the notion of inevitability — whether it’s progress, hope, love, or friendship. It all requires work.

—deray mckesson @deray

Just cool

“Blanket octopuses literally rip the tentacles right off portuguese men-o-war and use them like little nunchuks.” Six reasons the blanket octopus is my new favorite cephalopod.  (I think this was via @UrsulaV)


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