welcome to DEEP GREEN blog!

Greetings! As I mention on the Home page, this site is dedicated to low-footprint living. I’m out to promote what I call a “Grassroots Green Mobilization.”

Although a low-footprint lifestyle is fun and rewarding, it is not always easy, even if you are doing it for your own benefit (for example, to radically simplify your life in order to free up your money, time, and energy for things that really matter to you.) The dominant mainstream culture has waste and hyper-consumerism baked into every layer of life, and a person setting out to live light on the earth encounters many obstacles both physical and cultural. (Car-dependent housing developments; unavoidable single-use plastics; buildings designed to require climate control 24-7 … to name just a few examples.)

That’s where this blog comes in. I am here 100% to offer you tips, resources, and moral support. The posts aren’t in any particular order; I write about things as they come up in the news, or as I see them out in the world, or as they pop into my mind. If you’re new here, you might find it helpful to orient yourself by reading the following posts:

Cultural Roots of the Eco Crisis

Footprint Isn’t Everything

Halloween, Safe At Home and Eco-Friendly

Erika Hardison of Reviewed.com offers “10 ways to make it fun for kids at home” on Halloween. (The tips are good for adults too, if you’re like me and enjoy Halloween.)

I like the idea of making homemade treats to eat at home. (In fact, in past years I’ve thought of reducing single-use plastic trash by giving out homemade candy. But I’ve never ended up doing that, and I’m not sure how it’d go over in a pandemic world.)

I particularly like this tip about kids’ costumes: “No need to spend a lot of money on costumes for your growing kids when you can just make a fun outfit that can double as their everyday clothes. Primary is the source for all trendy, genderneutral clothes for infants, toddlers, big kids and adults. You can turn regular clothes into funny pop culture references. The best part is that these Halloween outfits can also be part of your kid’s wardrobe after Halloween which means you will save money.”

The tip about an indoor scavenger hunt for candy is another fun one, if you’ve got family or housemates living with you.

My Halloween plans this year will probably involve a large bowl of wrapped candy (though I don’t like the plastic trash) which I will put out on a table at the bottom of the driveway for people to help themselves. I’ve thought of scooping loose unwrapped candy into little paper bags; that might be a greener choice than the plastic-wrapped stuff.

I may also invite neighbors to stop by for social-distance cocktails, but probably not. For sure, a friend and I are going to sit in the “outdoor living room” (my driveway, which is furnished with outdoor furniture and potted plants — benefit of car-free life!) and watch the Madea Halloween movie on a portable DVD player.

Do you celebrate Halloween? What are some of your favorite tips for having fun while saving money, minimizing environmental impacts, and safeguarding public health?

Finally, I want to express my appreciation to my local paper, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, for running the article mentioned above. As well as many other articles I’ve referenced on this blog. I consider the News-Journal pretty darn good as local papers go. I particularly appreciate their climate-related coverage.

(Another article in today’s News-Journal talks about an alternative approach to “school picture day.” Some schools are doing it the old way but with hand sanitizer and all that. But some schools offering online learning are now letting kids take their own selfies at home and upload them to the photo company. Sounds kinda cool! I tended to dread picture day as a kid, but if home selfies had existed, I might have enjoyed it more. As well as being potentially more fun and convenient, and eliminating the public-health risk, it could be more eco-friendly since presumably you cut out the need for a bunch of hand-sanitizer and other stuff.)

More praise for plants that “take over”

I’m pretty sure I’ve covered this topic here before, but it bears repeating. People (especially here in Florida) seem to be excessively fearful of plants “taking over” their yards. Even gardeners express this fear. Even permaculture gardeners express this fear. It strikes me almost like a feeling of revulsion for the success of a life form other than humans.

In response to yet another “that plant will TAKE OVER” thread on one of the many gardening-related forums I belong to, I posted the following comment. And was happy to see it get over 30 “Likes” so far. Glad it has struck a chord!

“I am grateful for plants that are super robust. One day we may be thankful for them. They may become the only thing holding the soil down; the only thing keeping us from turning into full-on desert as drought-flood extremes continue to accelerate.

“Super vigorous plants are my best buddies. Mineral-harvesters. Chop & drop material for biomass. Flood mitigation; stormwater runoff prevention. Allow us to make our soil a sponge for anti-desertification and firebreak.

“I wonder how many plants, animals, and other creatures, if they could speak, would be saying about us humans, ‘Get rid of them all now! They take over! They’ll overrun you!'”

Making Your Plans for Climate Change (Part 3 of 3)

In Part 1, I linked an article that lets you find out where your county ranks in terms of climate-related threat. (USA only; my apologies to readers elsewhere but maybe something similar has been done for other parts of the world.)

In Part 2, I offered some pointers to guide you in your planning.

In this post, I’ll wrap it up with some more bullet points, and a link to another helpful article for you to read.

• Really, this whole blog is about making your plans for climate change. A low-footprint lifestyle doubles as climate-change adaptation training and household/community preparedness all in one.

• Some bullet points may overlap; this is a big subject to wrap our brains around, and I’m trying to make it digestible and actionable by presenting it from different angles and different magnitudes of viewing.

• The article that inspired this post seems to be looking at a time horizon of 20 to 40 years. But I sense these kinds of changes in a more immediate future; I’m looking at more like 5 to 10 years. Residents of California, Colorado, and other western states; or coastal Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states that are already seeing significant changes, might want to really consider either moving to another part of the country, or staying and taking more of a leadership role: boosting your land-based skills such as gardening, ecosystem restoration, fire-mitigating landscaping. If you can’t breathe the air where you live, it’s time to take a serious look at making some shifts.

• I see personal planning for climate change as falling into two broad categories. One category is steps you take to make yourself, your household, your community more flexible, adaptable, resilient, anti-fragile in the face of whatever the future brings. The other category is steps you take to change your lifestyle in such a manner as to help shift society in a direction that will (possibly) avert some of the most severe consequences of climate change, increasing the likelihood that you, your children, grandchildren and future generations will continue to be able to live life on this planet. Not only survive, but live a life worth living.

• There are no guarantees anything we do will work. We’ve painted ourselves into quite a corner. But we have to try.

• Pick an old-school skill you’ve been interested in, and get good at it, if you don’t have one already. Gardening, carpentry with hand tools, sewing, mending, small-engine repair, knife-sharpening, bicycle repair, animal husbandry, hunting, fishing, cooking, canning, herbal medicine, field medicine, and so on.

• When doing your planning, try to override the very strong primal instinct to focus on just your, or your immediate family’s, own safety and wellbeing. Too much self-focus feeds fear and selfishness, and leads to reactivity and mistakes, which end up hurting you as well as others. If you can focus on the wider good, concern for your community, your region, the wellbeing of many others — you’ll be able to stay calmer and will make sounder choices; you’ll be much better off. And not coincidentally, if you focus beyond just yourself and your immediate family you’ll be happier.

• If you live in one of the top threat areas like the Gulf Coast, parts of the Atlantic coast, and so on, you might well be experiencing cognitive dissonance, as so much “business as usual” keeps moving forward in the face of obvious changes in weather patterns and such. Hotels keep getting built on the coast; billion-dollar superhighways keep getting planned as if nothing is amiss. Recognize that large companies and governments are living in a different frame of reality, different timelines, different incentives. Use your own common sense; read and listen to information sources you trust; keep your own senses tuned to your environment. Just because yet another fancy new housing development is getting built in your county, and just because your state highway department is talking about 40-year transportation plans still, doesn’t mean you can assume everything’s hunky-dory and you don’t need to look at making any changes.

• Good news! Everything you do in the way of climate-change planning can also help you right here, right now with all of the following: Dealing with Covid and other pandemics. Weathering economic crashes (personal and global). Getting more freedom to pursue your right livelihood, the junction where your skills and passions intersect with the needs of your community and the world. Freeing up your attention and creativity. Reducing loneliness and isolation; building community. Curing boredom and a sense of purposelessness. Improving your relationships with loved ones. Freeing up your time and energy. Improving your physical and mental health. Contributing to your spiritual growth. Facilitating the evolution of consciousness. Wow! What a list!

• I am here for you! I am now offering climate-change planning as a service, free to anyone who wants it. (I will strive to avoid living up to the cliché of “free advice is worth what you pay for it.”) And I will add more bullet points to this post as they come to me.

In closing, here is a great article for you to read. Ancient agricultural systems (some still in use today) embody the kind of mind-set we would do well to embrace, not just in our food-growing but in all of our landscaping, land stewardship. Ancient Gardens of North America (by Jonathon Engels at permaculturenews.org ). I can help you translate the concepts herein to your own geographic region. And can help you apply them to your yard, balcony, or common area.

Making Your Plans for Climate Change (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this post (see link in next paragraph), I brought up a study that predicts the level of climate-related threat faced by each county in the United States (over 3,100 counties in all) over the next couple of decades. (To readers in other countries, I apologize that this article only covers the USA. Some of the suggestions in here may still be useful to you; I hope so.)

*Let’s try link again. Part 1 of this post is here. Cool, the WordPress link feature worked this time! It doesn’t always lately.

In addition to ranking each county in terms of overall climate risk, the study also assesses each county’s risks in six categories: 1) heat; 2) wet-bulb temperature (where the combination of heat and humidity is such that the human body can no longer cool itself by perspiration); 3) crop yield reductions; 4) sea-level rise; 5) very large wildfires; 6) economic damage.

If you have not yet done so, I encourage you to visit the link, type in your county name, and find out how your place stacks up.

If your place is ranked high, you probably already know it. It wasn’t news to me to learn that my county (Volusia County, Florida) is considered to be at risk for more heat, more wet-bulb days, higher crop yield losses, and economic damage. 

All of these changes will determine which places will remain viable for human beings to live and to grow food. 

If your place is deemed to be significantly at risk, you might well be asking yourself, “Should I move? And if so, where?” You’ve probably asked yourself those questions before already, if you’ve ever been concerned about climate change and how your place might be affected.

I don’t have and cut-and-dried answers for you, but I do have what I hope will be practical and reassuring advice. I’m starting a bullet-point list here; will add to it as things occur to me.

• The document is of course only a forecast. It can be wrong, in either direction. Rather than focus on trying to figure out how accurate it might be (an impossible task), I recommend planning for the “severe” scenario outlined in the forecast. You could end up under-planning, but I think it’s far more likely you’ll end up planning appropriately, or at least increasing your preparedness to within reasonable distance so that you’ll be able to respond and adapt as well as can be expected.

• I suggest you go through the categories of threats one by one, and note which threats you are least comfortable with. For example, I would probably never choose to live in a place that’s affected by huge wildfires. I don’t relish the thought of intensified flooding and stronger storms, but I’m more comfortable with those than with wildfires. (By the way, storms and flooding aren’t mentioned as a threat category. But I see them as being roughly correlated with the regions threatened by sea-level rise. And with places located along the large rivers such as the Mississippi and Missouri.)

• Personally, I am more worried about drought and desertification than anything else. It’s a concern even here in water-rich Florida. Water availability is pretty much a deal-breaker for living in a place. (That said, Brad Lancaster (Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands) informs us that if all the rain falling on ultra-dry Tucson were collected and used wisely, it would be enough to meet all residential and municipal needs. So a place with scanty rainfall may still be livable if other factors don’t prohibit.)

• While it’s important to be aware of the physical threat, your best asset is community. Where do your family or close friends live? Think about moving there if you’re not there already. Or (and) step up your efforts to build community with your current neighbors if you haven’t already.

• Look up the following in your area: permaculture guilds; bioregional organizations; native-plant societies; agricultural extension offices. Join their Facebook groups, webinars, Zoom calls. All of these entities will help you connect with people who are concerned and knowledgeable about soil health, watershed health, food-growing, rainwater collection, and land management (including stormwater mitigation, anti-drought measures, wildfire prevention and mitigation). (Note: The permaculture design movement has attracted a fringe element of people who are mainly focused on securing their own households, and don’t care about the community/social element that is the biggest part of permaculture. Steer clear of those folks and look for the community-minded people in the movement.)

• Don’t stay in a place you don’t feel a connection with just because you have a job there. We’ve all learned that even the steadiest jobs can be gone in an instant. Cultivate financial resilience by lowering your overhead and creating micro-businesses. I offer advice on these topics in my book and elsewhere on this blog. And move where your heart is. Usually that’s some combination of geographic features and social/family factors. 

• But really, above all else, cultivate portable resilience. Emotional fortitude; spiritual grounding; occupational and practical skills that’ll serve you and your community wherever you land.

• Humans are adaptable. If the waters rise, we can count on some people to stay put and build a village of floating islands out of reeds or something. It’s been done. Become anti-fragile; become the kind of person who gets stronger with adversity.

• Physical health & fitness: This is a cetegory of portable resilience but I’m giving it its own bullet point. The most basic ways I know to boost your physical resilience are (to the best of your ability) 1) spend a lot of time walking; 2) get used to doing outdoor labor in all seasons; 3) learn to tolerate the prevailing outdoor temperature of your place (in other words, expand your ability to tolerate your place’s weather without heat or A/C). Even if you can’t walk, you can boost your physical fitness and climate-tolerance by getting out and about in a wheelchair. 

• Become socially resourceful. Talk with the people around you. Offer your help and surplus goods. I’m amazed at the number of people who live in a place for 30 years and don’t know any of their neighbors or local resources.

• If I had to choose between the perfect threat-free physical environment and a community with a strong social fabric, I would choose the latter. No contest. Ideally you won’t have to pick. But my point is, prioritize the “people” factors. I don’t mean seek out soulmates or best buddies. Those are great if you find them. But I’m talking about the simple local community connections that can make the difference between surviving or perishing. Know your neighbors; build nuts-and-bolts day-to-day practical connections that transcend political divides and other differences. Swap seeds and plants; share tools; keep an eye out for each other’s kids and pets. Then it won’t matter so much who has what sign in their yard. You’ll have a stronger thread connecting you. 

• Climate change won’t only affect where we are able to live and grow crops. It’ll also determine where and how we should invest our money. I’ve written about financial resilience elsewhere on this blog and have posted some outstanding resources such as Laura Oldanie’s blog.

• Related to the subject of investment: Resist the temptation to hedge your geographic bets by having empty houses in multiple places. Live in your main house, and if you have houses in other places, don’t leave them empty. Let family members, friends, or tenants occupy them. It’s the decent thing to do, and the good you give to a distant community by providing housing will come back on you one way or another. Don’t let your fear lead you to make choices that create scarcity for other people.

• Wherever you live, set about increasing your knowledge of your bioregion. Now. And if you are even thinking of moving to a different geographic area, begin in advance to cultivate knowledge of that bioregion.

• Before you decide to move, remember no place is free of risk or threat. A big part of how we industrialized consumer nations have gotten the planet into this horrific situation we’re in is by trying to insulate and insure ourselves against any possible risk. It’s not possible to have this risk-free state while in a body on planet Earth. You can have that after death; it’s available to us all.

• Here in the wealthy industrialized nations, we are at once too risk-averse and too risk-tolerant. We won’t quit the job we hate, because we’re not willing to risk losing health insurance. We won’t go for our dream of starting a business, because we’re not willing to risk losing a steady paycheck. And yet, daily, we take the terrible risk that we’ll drop dead on our job before reaching the nirvana of retirement, and we take the terrible risk of living far away from our dearest loved ones so we can pursue a “career”; we’re willing to take the risk that we will never see our loved ones again. We won’t risk standing up to our HOA to win the right to grow food in our yards, but we’re willing to risk exposing our kids and pets to pesticides and herbicides just to avoid a bit of social disapproval. 

• The bottom line is, no place is free of risk.

• Every place has a historic storehouse of bioregional knowledge about watersheds, weather patterns, traditional agriculture. Also in many places (such as here in Florida), grassroots people and organizations are engaged in the essential work of experimenting with non-supermarket food crops. Many people here are growing tubers from Africa and the Caribbean. This will stand us in good stead, should white potatoes and other mainstream crops stop growing well here. Also keep in mind that your homescale gardens can be more resilient than large farms.

This is a big topic and I know I’ll have more to say. Will add bullet points as they occur to me.

A final point for now: Talk about this topic with your family, friends, city leaders, neighbors, congregation members, local Chamber of Commerce — anyone who’s willing to seriously engage. Share fears and concerns out in the open. Take stock of your community’s knowledge and skill base. Make your plans individually but also in community.

By the way, governments and big corporations recognize the threats of climate change and are making plans accordingly. Inevitably, government and corporate planning will tend to revolve around safeguarding property values and other economic interests. (You can see a bit of this official mentality reported in this article in my local paper. By the way, I want to thank Abigail Mercer and the Daytona Beach News-Journal for this article, titled “Data: Climate change to heavily affect Volusia-Flagler-St. Johns.” It’s how I found out about the study that prompted this blog post.) We, on a grassroots level, can be much more nimble and creative than government or corporate interests can afford to be. We, everyday people, are the ones in the best position to build true resilience at the household and community level. Government is doing what it can, but don’t let yourself be a sitting duck waiting for government to protect you or offer you the best direction for your own circumstances. 

Please drop me a line if there’s anything else you’d like to see me address in this post. I’m here for you! In fact, I’ve decided I’m offering climate-change planning consultation free to any person or group who needs it. (I will do my best to ensure that this service defies the conventional wisdom on what “free advice” is worth.) Drop me a line or give me a call.  

Making Your Plans for Climate Change

New Climate Maps Show a Transformed United States, reads the headline of a recent story from the nonprofit newsroom ProPublica.

The article summarizes climate-related threats for every county in the United States. Out of over 3,100 counties, mine ranks 42nd overall in terms of being expected to be heavily affected by climate change. (I live in Volusia County, Florida).

(To readers in other countries, I apologize that this article only covers the USA. Some of the suggestions in here may still be useful to you; I hope so.)

The article lets you view the whole list of counties, in order of overall threat ranking. It also lets you input your county name and just look at the assessment for your own county.

It’s useful to see the breakdown of how strongly your place is expected to be affected by various categories of climate threat, and also get its overall ranking.

The categories include sea-level rise, reduced crop yields, large wildfires, wet-bulb temperatures (where the combination of temperature and humidity is so high that the body can no longer cool itself off by perspiring), and economic damage.

I’m saving this post right now but will be back later to write more. (The old “Save as Draft” option seems to have disappeared awhile back.) For now, I invite you to visit the article and check out where your county stands.

In the “extreme warming” forecast scenario, some places, especially in the southern part of the country, have the potential in the next 20 years to become too hot and/or dry for humans to live and to grow food.

The very real climate-related threats notwithstanding, I feel confident in offering you some reassurance. Humans are a highly resilient and adaptive species (sometimes too much for our own good, it turns out). You probably won’t need to move unless you choose to. And even if you are in one of the most highly affected counties, you are not helpless and you have options.

As I mention above, my county is ranked pretty high in terms of climate-related threat. But I am not feeling scared or worried. Just prudently making plans. And I can help you make your plans if you would like help.

There is A LOT we can do, as individuals, households, and communities — not only in terms of adapting to what may come, but even possibly being able to avert some of the worst impacts. We have more power than we think.

More thoughts coming soon! Either in this same post, or as a Part 2 of this post. Update: I have now posted “Making Your Plans for Climate Change (Part 2)” (just search for the post; it’s the post after this one — sorry, I can’t get WordPress link feature to work right now).

Also: I’ve decided to offer climate-change planning/adaptation advice free to any person or group who wants it. (I will endeavor to override the conventional wisdom on what “free advice” is worth.) Drop me a line or give me a call.  

Work and Pollution

“Where there’s hard work, there’s pollution.” This quote, which I heard from my permaculture design teachers, is one of my favorites from Bill Mollison.

Someone on the Permaculture Facebook group (a worldwide and very productively lively group) just started a post by asking, “Is work a Type 1 error?”

A Type 1 error, in permaculture technology, is a fatal design error. A Type 1 error can bring about the demise of your organization, or flat-out kill you. One simple example of a Type 1 error is planting a row of pine trees along each side of a path that leads gently uphill to your front door. You’ve basically created a giant box of matches leading to your house. Another Type 1 error is if we manage to kill off all the bees and other insects. Humans will go bye-bye if we do!

But what is meant by hard work being a sign of pollution?

I divide work, in the human sense, into two categories: work-for-money, and home chores. And I find that “work pollution” can arise in both categories.

For example, doing my laundry by hand in a tub, the very few clothes I own, and just using water and a bit of mild soap to get them clean enough, feels like a pleasant outdoor interlude. Yes there is exertion and effort, but it feels wholesome, not burdensome. And the pollution is minimal; there is relatively little disruption to ecosystems. The mild soapwater is fine for trees, shrubs, and even some of the cultivated veggies.

On the other hand, owning far more clothes than I need, doing mountains of laundry by machine with aggressively scented detergents, to some advertiser-defined standard of “clean”; and then drying it in a dryer with aggressively scented dryer sheets, would feel like WORK to me, in the sense of drudgery. And not incidentally, the pollution factor would be greater. Damage to ecosystems would be far in excess of what’s needed to get my clothes clean enough.

I have had housecleaning clients who were constantly having to do laundry because they had too many clothes! (The endless piles of clothes would sit around and get musty and need to be washed even though no one had worn them since the last washing.)

I notice a similar contrast between landscaping work to regenerate the soil, meet my food needs, etc.; and obsessive “vanity landscaping” where every weed is pulled or poisoned, and the grass is required to look as pristine as a livingroom carpet. The latter type of work may command a lot more money in the mainstream economy, but it causes great pollution!

Another thing that makes work feel vibrantly pleasurable rather than drudgey, is when it’s done in community rather than as solitary toil. Washing a bunch of laundry, or doing a huge task like building a house or bringing in a harvest, for instance. “Many hands make light work” not only in the sense of reducing the amount of work per person, but increasing the joy. And, if people are getting joy from productive work, they’re less likely to need to seek pleasure from “escape” vacations or harmful drugs (which would increase pollution and other burdens on ecosystems).

Although needlessly hard work is a form of pollution and a symptom of bad design, work to meet our basic needs is necessary. And if a person is not able to join in that work, the consequences to physical and mental health can be devastating. Look at how our modern industrialized society sidelines kids and elders.

I have seen an old man chase the same leaf around the driveway with a leafblower for an hour. I wondered why he didn’t go fishing instead. Don’t many men work hard all their lives just to be able to someday relax and go fishing? But it just now occurred to me that maybe when a person gets to be that age, there’s no joy in just fishing. You want to have someone to teach it to! And if there are no grandkids or they live far away … there you go. Robbed of your natural, mutually joyful work. (Just one of my thought-tangents on this topic.)

Another thing that I see happening is unnecessary work robbing resources from work that really needs to be done. Oftentimes the unnecessary work is out-and-out harmful. For example, a church congregation has “no money” to pay for recycling, but plenty of money to pay for the unnecessary and damaging operation of pruning sabal palm trees (the state tree of Florida is self-pruning and its crown has a graceful spherical shape, but the persistent landscaping vogue is to scalp it til there are so few fronds left that it looks like what I call a “sick rooster”).

Another example (as it happens, this one is at a church also). The church has all the money and humanpower in the world for mowing and edging its grounds, and pressure-washing its walkways, but “no resources” for fruit trees or a vegetable garden.

If you can bear yet another landscaping example: An empty lot owned by the city is excessively mowed, to the point of creating large areas of bare ground. Then, fertilizer is applied to it. How much more effective, and how much less work, would it be to allow the lot to revert to meadow (it could be a “managed meadow,” with a swath mowed around the perimeter to indicate that it is being cared for, not abandoned). At the very least, they could reduce mowing frequency to once a month. They’d save gasoline, and could stop applying the fertilizer that isn’t doing any good anyway. But the madness persists, and meanwhile there is “not enough money” for the city to (for example) refurbish an old community center, which will instead probably be torn down. Or to operate its environmental education center, so the center has to limp along depending on outside grants (with the various strings that tend to be attached to grants, imposing inflexible rules and limiting creative leeway).

If you want to check out the discussion thread on work and pollution that I mentioned at the beginning of this post, and maybe chime in, I encourage you to join the Permaculture Facebook group and do a search for the thread. Hope to see you there!

Pandemic-Friendly Gatherings

Copied from my Facebook feed:

“Copying this great idea from a friend’s status: After this corona period is over (one day … say in about four years), I would like to have a drink on my patio with the first twelve people who like this status. A glass of rosé, vodka. Jd. gin, rum, whiskey, wine, beer, bubbles, coffee, soda-pop or whatever. All you have to do is like this status and put the same text on your profile page. Curious who my first twelve campfire mates may be present! (Those who do not paste it themselves will not be counted in the 12.) I will count and keep a list. It will be an amazing gathering.”

And, my addition to that post:

***P.S. Really everyone – My personal feeling is that it’d be OK to do this now or anytime. Outdoors in a park or the beach; or if you have a patio or yard. Adjust number of people appropriately. Stay outdoors. Use common sense; even a small outdoor gathering is best avoided at times when there are crowds of visitors in town for special events etc. If you are among those who Liked this post, stay tuned – I will be inviting you to a mini gathering of 2 to 7 people sooner rather than later!

And for you, readers of this blog, a “Post Post Script”:

Personally I don’t believe in the mentality that prompts phrases like “when this Covid period is over.” Rather, I’m a strong believer in adapting in a healthy way to circumstances in the here and now. Assuming that there’s going to be a “back to normal” is never a good idea. If something is worth doing, find a way to do it now!

On that note, I want to put in a special plug for a band I love. Their name is Railroad Earth. I would categorize their genre as “bluegrass jam” (which is one of my perennial favorite genres).

I first became acquainted with the music of Railroad Earth sometime back around 2004, when I attended an intimate (maybe 300 people?) campout-style music festival at Jacobs Well. Jacob’s Well is a super deep clear spring in central Texas, not far from Austin (where I was living at the time), that is well-like in shape.

The weather was downpours most of the weekend, but as far as I can recall, the band never let it get in the way, nor did we audience members! I remember dancing for hours to epic longplaying jams. Muddy feet, warm heart!

With none of my friends able to join me that weekend, I technically attended the festival by myself but I totally forgot that I wasn’t with anyone, as I felt totally merged with the crowd, music, earth and sky. And all of our tents made for a cute little ad hoc nylon/canvas bubble city.

Thank you for that beautiful weekend, Railroad Earth! And thank you so much for offering this pandemic-friendly, eco-friendly edition of a festival! Cannot wait. (If you are unable to view the poster I screen-shot, you can get info & register by visiting the “Hangtown at Home” festival website ; or on Facebook, type “Hangtown at Home.”)

And be sure to visit Railroad Earth! Website and Facebook

(Note, there is an in-person festival too. While I wish Railroad Earth and other bands success and prosperity, I am not promoting in-person festivals at this time, nor supporting long-distance travel to festivals. That said, do your own research. If it’s outdoors and you feel the number of people is safe, and if you don’t have to drive more than a couple hours, I would not fault you for attending. In those circumstances, I might also! (For reasons of public health and ecosystem health, I am no longer advocating air travel under any circumstances, except in cases of extreme family emergency, and possibly not even then unless there’s an ocean separating you from your family so overland transportation isn’t an option.)

P.S. Post-pandemic gathering tips: Covid caution has generated a lot of single-use plastic, disposable packaging etc. If hosting a gathering, you could ask everyone to bring their own cup, spoon, cloth napkin etc. Or if you want to be the hostess with the mostest, you could give each guest a reusable cup, cloth napkin etc to take away as souvenirs. Or just go old-school: Have your guests use your dishes and cloth napkins, and then you wash them.