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“On Jan 24th, Congress will vote to pass internet censorship in the Senate, even though the vast majority of Americans are opposed. We need to kill the bill – PIPA in the Senate and SOPA in the House – to protect our rights to free speech, privacy, and prosperity. We need internet companies to follow Reddit’s lead and stand up for the web, as we internet users are doing every day.”

I know this isn’t a proper reentrance to the blogosphere but this is something that needs to be crushed now unless we want to be the generation that signed away our rights.

John Hurlburt

The Sustainable Student


A handful of Green Gardening Sites.

The early bloomers are starting to explode with color and a few strawberries have even started to grow back.


Going through the course of a term, us horticulture students are terrorized by a vast amount of information getting stuffed into us. Everyone has to find a way to cope. Some people drop out, others choose what to read, a few fully dedicate themselves to school and lose all their friends and once in a while someone will just exploded.

Here is a small sampling of the resources that are required readings for the CCC horticulture students. Better yet most of the are basic guides to sustainable topics.

Pesticide Alternatives-Pests are getting stronger and more resistant to pesticides which is forcing sustainable alternatives back into the limelight!

How to Reduce Pesticide Use– This is a huge part of the greenhouse and landscaping industry right now. Not only is popular pressure pushing pesticide use into the past(Viva la revolution), but when  using fewer chemicals generally expenses drop as well.

Vinegar as an Herbicide?– here’s the big giveaway your household vinegar isn’t. This article gives a good breakdown about how a product can be organic and still dangerous.

Plants to Attract Beneficial Insects-Not the most in depth video but it does start to touch on the topic of insectary plants.

How to Prune a treeI am amazed that this is a free resource out online.  This fairly simple guide to pruning breaks down the confusing task into a common sense approach.

Sustainable Urban Landscape Design– Landscape design has never been my favorite part of plant science but a good looking garden does have it’s place.  Sustainable.

Slowly eaking my way back

I’m still not back to posting regularly or posting anything of substance really but I feel an obligation to keep writing and logging the journey for reasons that I don’t really understand. I think it’s true that at some point every writer hates to practice their craft. I’m not going to try and be creative at the moment it would be too forced.

Whoever invented some of the pesticides I’m studying, however, seemed to be a very witty person.
A sampling of their writings:

paraquat and diquat:
Acute systemic effects and other effects: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, giddiness, fever, burning pain in mouth, throat, stomach and intestine.

Somebody in the test group obviously had a good outlook on things.

On the Road: Arrival.

It was a long and wicked journey, awesome and anxiety ridden but for now it's back to the simple life. Exhale. Relax.

It has been over a week since my last post about the journey across country and I was hoping to be able to update a lot more often then I have.  However, a minor altercation with authorities in Sioux Falls, South Dakota put me behind schedule on getting to the farm and taking pictures and sight seeing took a back seat to 14 hour drives and too little time spent with too many relatives.  At long last I have step foot on Tennessee soil.  It’s not anything near being the first man to touch the north pole, or even equal with climbing Everest but right now I kind of feel like I have.

Farming is not easy work.  Today was my first day out in the fields and it was a brutal start.  93 degrees with scattered thunderstorms made for a sweat drenched workday.  My legs are sore.  My head is telling me to just give up on consciousness. My second set of clothes are sticky with sweat and humidity.  I couldn’t feel any better.

Just a bit of background on the farm.

My uncle Bill purchased 55 acres and named it Purring Dog Farm after his dog Lucky who has a strange affinity for purring when you scratch his back.  His philosophy for agriculture is that the less crap you add the better.  As a result we don’t use pesticides or chemical fertilizers.  The chickens we have are free-range. The animals on the farm are all harmone free.  It’d be nice to say that the farm was organic but that would be a lie.   Becoming “certified organic” would actually cost more than what the farm makes in profit, in a year, so instead the produce is marketed as “farmed with sustainable practices.

Harmone free, steroid free and soon to be delicious

For right now this is the post, I’m exhausted and want some free-time today so I’m cutting this short.

Pics from the farm

On the Road: Grazing Glacier.

Sadie and me headed out today to glacier for a second attempt at getting in to Glacier National Park free today. We had an expired pass and high hopes but yet again we were foiled by careful inspectors. The $24 entrance fee was worth being engulfed in valley’s surrounded by towering, cavernous mountains. We drove on roads running along valley’s that had been carved by glacial melt millions of years ago. No words can really describe what it’s like. Anything short of a walk through the Montana sky will fail to explain the amazing feeling of being tiny and insignificant in this vast pocket of the Rockies.

Thanks to some late snows and a recent avalanche much of the park was closed off.  What we did encounter was just a teaser. A one day trip like we had planned wouldn’t begin to do this park justice and cars at Glacier are almost worthless, driving through the park will only scratch the surface of what truly lies within the over 100 million acre park. 

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I’m tired and need to crash but it’s been a good day.  Next year I have pledged to come back here in hopes for the full experience.  I want to see mountain goats!

On the Road: Experiencing the death and resurection of Americana.

It’s been a long time since my last post.  Sick, exhausted, lazy and stressed describe the last few weeks, but now I’m back and running.  Actually, since I still haven’t quit smoking running isn’t in my immediate future, but I’m back and driving.  Currently I’m burning a path out to Tennessee for a  summer on the family’s organic vegetable farm in Sweetwater.  Right now I’m based in small-town Montana, a place called Kalispell living the rural mountain life for a few days and exploring the skullcap of our nation.

Calypso Coffee in Coeur d'alene

This place was an Idaho panhandle surprise with plenty of local art and in-house roasted coffee

I’ve started to learn after a few cross-country pulls that making any assumptions about a town that you haven’t visited is probably a bad idea.  In small-town, Tennessee we encountered gangster rap and got made fun of for wearing straw hats.  In Coeur d’Alene, hidden on one of the many modern looking side streets, I encountered an independent coffee roasting company named “Calypso.” The shop had surprised me.  The walls were covered with abstract paintings and the dimmed lights hanging from the  gutted out warehouse style ceiling illuminated a room riddled with influence from the more western coffee mecca’s of Portland and Seattle.

I remember on a trip out to Tennessee last year as a couple of friends and me drove on Interstate 40, after crossing the Sierra Nevada’s, we couldn’t find anything without a Starbucks stamp on the side until the Smokies.  America is changing.  Where coffee used to be a bitter grog brewed out of a Folgers can and drunk for effect not flavor, small town coffee shops and roasters are popping up all over the nation.  The morning blend is now a staple everywhere but the vacuum can’s are showing their age and with some luck these behemoths will rust away with their creators, the coffee conglomerate.

After stocking up on freshly roasted coffee in Coeur d’Alene, I blitzed through the rest of Idaho before grabbing lunch in the back of my Impreza alongside one of Montana’s many swollen rivers.  A few hours later I was in Kalispell. This morning the exploring started again.  My Kalispell guide, Sadie, is a friend that moved out to this area a few months ago from Portland and had discovered a good coffee shop within walking distance.

Colter Coffee Roasters

Sadie and Colter Coffee are definitely the better parts of this fair city.

Two local owned coffee shops in two towns I expected to be podunk have forced a lesson upon me, America can’t be described by old-time folklore or decaying stereotypes.  This country is dynamic and trends are constantly effecting the way our communities evolve or fall apart.

Locally owned shops are important to both me and to the overall concept of sustainability.  Shopping local isn’t just about supporting the face you see, it also has greater implications.  The revenue gained by taxing business’ based in your community goes back into your community, instead of supporting the suffering businessmen of the Channel Islands. Plus having a human employers that doesn’t base their hiree’s future’s on an immovable points system, or impractical decisions made by “corporate” is a nice benefit.

This week’s step will be to eliminate drinking coffee from large chain stores( Starbucks, Tully’s, Seattle’s Best, Dutch Bro’s).This seems like a weak step from the viewpoint of someone who’s never left the Northwest, but out east the game does change.