An intriguing piece from a few weeks back by Nicole LaPorte on Kenneth Lander’s THRIVE Farmers Coffee. THRIVE seeks to move beyond the fair trade co-op model, to capture more of the value added by the coffee supply chain (roasters, distributors) for the farmer who got the beans out of the ground in the first place. THRIVE farmers follow organic methods, although not all go through the process of USDA certification.
It’s a small operation now; it will be interesting to see whether it can scale up from its current annual volume, somewhat more than 300,000 pounds of coffee.
Five words from Robbe-Grillet’s La Jalousie that I had to look up and probably have unlearned since high school:
- en revanche
- on the other hand
- to remain
- any, with connotations of ordinary, banality; n’importe lequel
- to spread open
- la paroi
- interior partition, wall
I’m back with NPR for a short gig, working on- and off-site. As Scott Simon reported this morning, NPR is relocating from its Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. building (really two buildings stitched together: on the 5th floor, there’s a two-stair difference between the blunt end of the building and the Tiny Desk Concerts venue at the “skinny end” where Bob Boilen sits) to new digs on North Capitol Street.
The move is happening in phases; this posting in the elevator keeps everyone informed of the GO dates.
Posted in Like Life
I was driving back from my dentist’s office and I found one of the old wayfinding signs directing drivers to what it now called Washington Dulles International Airport. I don’t know how old these signs are—perhaps they are of the same vintage as the original access road that was built to the airport, but probably not. I remember seeing one or two to the west of the airport, out U.S. Route 50, but I think that they are gone now. This one, on a relatively sleepy stretch of Little River Turnpike, perhaps has survived because it’s been a while since the road required widening.
So it took me two tries to get a serviceable image of the sign. And on my way home, I continued farther west, not following my usual path, and I found another one! Less sun-faded, but a little more scuffed up.
Carole Bergmann led a walk across Hoyles Mill Conservation Park, home to one of the largest tracts of contiguous forest in Montgomery County. The park’s selling point is its geology, an underlying sill of diabase bedrock that isn’t that far below the surface, as the image on the right demonstrates.
Diabase is prized as a construction material. Its mafic chemistry and the thin soils translate into a forest community of mixed oaks with a fair amount of Virginia Pine and Eastern Red-cedar, but not much in the way of our usual hickories, maples, and Tuliptree. Uncommon oaks to be found here include Shingle Oak, Swamp White Oak, and Post Oak.
We found American Hazelnut (Corylus americana) in bloom on the far side of Little Seneca Creek, and the state rare Pricklyash (Zanthoxylum americanum) right at the entrance gate.
The special bird sighting for the day was a Downy Woodpecker working the upper branches of a Virginia Pine, hanging upside down. This is not the first time that I’ve seen a Downy acting like a songbird. Maybe I should start calling them Downy Chickadees.
Posted in In the Field
Wednesday’s poem at Poetry Daily is a killer, “Things That Have Changed Since You Died:”, by Laura Kasischke.
send each other mail without stamps.
Snips from my report on nest box activity for the past two weeks:
Lots of activity! And as usual, not always the boxes one would expect. As of last Sunday, we have at least one egg in eleven of the boxes, although the single egg in #62 looks like it may be a dud.
Target species observed: Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal (30), Gadwall (8)
Water gauge: 0.28
Target species observed: Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall
Water gauge: 0.35
Eastern Phoebes were heard throughout the wetland. I heard Brown-headed Cowbird tinkling in the parking lot. Tiny, tight buds of Spring Beauty could be found.
Here’s the status of each of the boxes:
- #2: –
- #4: 3 WD eggs
- #10: at least 4 HM eggs; hen flushed 3/17
- #77: –
- #7: –
- #6: 1 WD egg
- #84: 3 HM egs
- #1: 17 HM eggs: incubating
- #3: –
- #13: 6 HM eggs
- #67: 7 HM eggs
- #60: 4 WD eggs
- #62: 1 WD eggs
- #5: –
- #61: 1 HM egg
- #68: 9 WD eggs, 1 HM egg; incubating
I think we should skip checking #1 and #68; it would be good to get a count for box #10, but the hen in there may sit tight.
The supply of recycled CRTs and televisions, laden with hazardous lead, is booming. Unfortunately, the demand for this e-waste has crashed. As a result, recycling firms are going out of business and abandoning the waste, leaving toxic dumps for the states and federal government to clean up. The market is upside down.
In 2004, recyclers were paid more than $200 a ton to provide glass from these monitors for use in new cathode ray tubes. The same companies now have to pay more than $200 a ton to get anyone to take the glass off their hands.
Even worse, there seems to be no recycling market at all for LCD screens.
Ian Urbina does the grim reporting.
Something that you don’t hear top-drawer religious leaders say:
Given that many of you do not belong to the [faith], and others are not believers, I give this blessing from my heart, in silence, to each one of you, respecting the conscience of each one of you, but knowing that each one of you is a child of God…. May God bless you.
Well, hardly ever.
And also with you, Holy Father.
Brood II of the 17-year cicada is expected to emerge in Virginia this spring.
From last summer, Joe Palca’s two-parter (one, two) about Scott O’Neill’s 20-year efforts to find a biological means to control and eventually eliminate dengue fever. I like the focus of Palca’s series: it’s not just about the newest published scientific results, it’s about the process of doing science.
“You know, I was incredibly persistent in not wanting to give this idea up,” O’Neill said. “I thought the idea was a good idea, and I don’t think you get too many ideas in your life, actually. At least I don’t. I’m not smart enough. So I thought this idea was a really good idea.”