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Showing posts from August, 2013

Walk Your Dog in Natural Surroundings!

I elected to start taking my golden retriever mix on walks along the Gitchi Gami bike trail, which runs along the highway beside my grandmother's house.  He's awfully cramped up inside the room that we stay in, which is horribly unfair to him, and as you can imagine, the living situation has caused him to try to relieve his anxiety by chewing on... Well, pretty much everything. He's stressed, and that needs to stop.  So I started taking him for walks.  This, after all, is much more environmentally friendly than, say, collars that smell like lavender or coats that hug a dog's body in an attempt to calm them. Yep, those things really do exist. Walking on the bike trail, surrounded by nature, is much preferable.  Aside from being more environmentally friendly, it's also healthier for both you and your pet.  I mean, obviously, it's good exercise, but the benefits go beyond that: Emotional Health - Spending time outside in a natural environment relieves st

Blueberry Picking Madness!

Thursday I had a choice: A) I could stay home and write my blog post, or B) I could head off on a berry picking adventure. As you can see, I chose B.   See, first thing in the morning, as I was just finishing up my breakfast cereal, my cousin walked into the house and invited me off to go picking blueberries in some prime blueberry territory.  Naturally, I raced off to grab my daughter so that we could go! It was a very long drive.   We headed even farther up North, up to the Tofte area, which is where Superior National Forest is located.  The soil is particularly acidic, so blueberry plants grow in abundance. Evidently, the best indicator of proper acidity levels is pine tree growth, which means that we had to go off to an area loaded with pines... but not too loaded with them.  Blueberry plants also have a preference for full sun.  We therefore needed fields surrounded by pines. So we drove for miles upon miles on the highway, until we went off the paved road a

Blueberry Picking Joy!

Sorry about the lack of a post yesterday... I got the chance to head off to pick blueberries at a prime location and didn't want to miss my chance!!! Unfortunately, the post I sent to let everybody know about this didn't get posted... I'll tell you all about the experience tomorrow, though. (Don't worry. I was not the one driving. This photo was taken in safety from the passenger seat!)

Raspberry Delight!!!

It has been about a week since I last saw a wild strawberry. ::insert sympathetic noises here:: There's a bit of good news, however.  It turns out that strawberries aren't the only edible fruits that grow wild around here.  At some point in the past, raspberries elected to start taking root in wild areas, and they can now be found in abundance.  I found plenty just beginning to ripen along the Gitchi-Gami bike trail. Some, like the one above, were perfect specimens of what a raspberry should look like.  Others, however, had as little as three or four perfectly ripened red seeds (seed pods?  I have no idea what those little juice bubbles that surround each seed are called.), with immature bits alongside them. The one above, for example, only has two seed pods that have ripened on the entire berry. The initial response, of course, is sadness.  You think it's terrible that the berry will never reach its full yumminess potential, right? Well, interest

Addicted to Junk, Rehabilitated By Water

Having just read an article entitled, Food Is the New Tobacco in E Magazine, I figure that now is probably a really good time to talk about junk food. I know, I know... this is an environmental blog, not a food blog. I get it.  But the two can sometimes be merged, and now is one of those times.  You see, Jeffrey Hollender wrote about the New York Times article that appeared back in February, entitled The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food .  This article focused on the science behind the food industry's success.  It mentioned bliss thresholds that needed to be met, and it focused on the three pillars of the food industry: Salt, Sugar, and Fat. So, how exactly does this fit into the environment? Well, we, as a nation, are addicted to processed foods.  We've gotten away from local foods, from fresh foods in general, in an effort to eat things that hit our bliss threshold.  We're doing exactly what those food companies want us to, and we're doing it wi

Homemade Mosquito Bite Relief Methods

Which method actually works??? That's the question I wanted answered.  There are several different mosquito bite relief methods, but I knew very well that not all of them worked.  In all reality, I'd be happy to find just one that would stop me from tearing apart my skin in a futile attempt to stop that itching. "Scratching Doesn't work.  Don't ever scratch." We've all heard that, but let's be serious... who actually listens?  Not me, that's for sure, and I'm betting you don't, either.  I mean, I'm sure you try to listen to what is so obviously good sense, but eventually... you give up.  In a great burst of adrenaline, you scratch that #%$$@@ mosquito bite with every last bit of strength you have.  You get into a sort of scratching rhythm that may even closely resemble the beat of your favorite song.  The more you scratch, the more scratching you're compelled to accomplish.  You decide that you'd rather grind the entire

The Perfect Agate: A Life Lesson

Sometimes, life sees fit to throw uncertainties your way.   These uncertainties can cause you to be unable to follow through with something at a set time. In my case, that uncertainty was weather that caused the satellite here to lose signal, thereby causing a lack of internet at the house.  This caused a very interesting cascade of events ranging from lost post writings to wolf poop on the bottom of my favorite pair of Teva sandals. Don't ask. There are some things that don't need explaining. The point is that eventually I gave up, grabbed my daughter, and headed off to the beach.  While there, I laid myself down on my stomach and stared at the rocks that rolled in with each wave. And I found agates.  Some nice, some not so much so. For those of you that don't know what they are, agates are brightly colored pieces of chalcedony that are known for their beautiful and complex banding. Translation:  Pretty rocks with lines I know that doesn't seem too e

Moral Uncertainties and Synthetic Beef

Every now and then you come across something that you find yourself incapable of forming a solid response to.  You both love and hate it.  Maybe you want whatever it is, while at the same time fearing what would happen if you actually got it.  Emotional responses can be pretty complex.  But then, synthetic beef is pretty complex, as well. Yep.  That's what has placed my emotional responses on overload.  See, a friend alerted me to an article about synthetic beef, and as is expected, I read the whole thing, completely transfixed.  I then put it aside, because I couldn't seem to form a coherent response it it.  I had a positive/negative reaction: I loved the idea from the standpoint of a person that knows full well that if I could only eat what I collected with my own two hands, I'd be a vegetarian... or perhaps an occasional pescatarian.  Basically, the very idea of killing something (except, of course, mosquitoes) is hard for me to deal with.  The knowledge of meat

The Latest From the House "Science" Committee

Politicians have found another way to strip our privacy from us. This time the House Science Committee is the group at the forefront of this.  It appears that republicans on the committee feel that they need to go through the private medical information of thousands upon thousands of Americans... ...just so that they can attempt to refute data that says that pollution is bad for you . Seriously.  That's no joke.  I can honestly come up with no other reason for their actions. So, what are the actions, you ask?  Well, republicans within the committee drafted a subpoena demanding that the EPA turn over  "...the research data that supports the health benefit claims that justify virtually every Clean Air Act regulation proposed and finalized by the Obama Administration."  That quote came from the very first sentence of the subpoena, and is quite civil compared to other portions of the document, which is overtly hostile in its totality.  Indeed, on the surface that

Writer's block? Or Necessary Break Time?

I had a bad case of writer's block.   It was one of those days in which ideas just wouldn't surface.  I read several different articles, and thoroughly enjoyed them, yet couldn't come up with a plan to bring them to others via this blog.  I was stuck. Ugh. Then it hit me:  I was trying too hard. The problem, I discovered, was that I was trying to do everything within a very short period.  I woke up and began to skim environmental articles.  I got up to make breakfast and continued to skim while walking from spot to spot with my netbook in hand.  I ate, and, you guessed it - I read some more.  I was determined to continue.   I'd find something.  I'd write something!  I'd just post later than usual.  That's just the way it is sometimes, right?  I continued this obsessive train of thought until I finally became so stressed out that I took a gigantic gulp of way too hot coffee, and nearly propelled a spray of the steaming liquid onto my netbook.