This year’s new chicks

Later this month, I’m getting a new batch of chicks to begin a new sustainable flock of layers. We have a batch of four-year old layers now. We’ll keep many of them, but weed out a few. I’m adding New Hampshire Reds, Buff Orpingtons, Araucanas (Chilean Easter Eggers), and some Old English Game Birds. I’m […]

December 03

Bam! American Environmental History Part One is Done!

So I’ve gone ahead and pulled the trigger. Part One of my American Environmental History is now available on Amazon as a print book and a Kindle Ebook. I self-published this, which I think I ought to explain, since although plenty of novelists (myself included) have had success self-publishing, it isn’t something that has really […]

October 25

Before Origin of Species there was Vestiges

Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation appeared anonymously in 1844.  Its author was Robert Chambers, a publisher and philanthropist of Edinburgh.  Vestiges, “alarmingly popular despite a merciless critical pounding, was regarded by the orthodox as pernicious in the very highest degree.” This quote comes from the Introduction of Milton Millhauser’s Just Before Darwin (Middletown: […]

September 11

Anthropogenic Forest vs. Environmentalism? Not really.

The obvious first thing to say about Charles C. Mann’s 2005 bestseller, 1491, is just that. It was a New York Times bestseller. LOTS of people read it. It probably reached a larger audience than any of the classics of Environmental History it cites (among them, The Columbian Exchange and Changes in the Land). And […]

June 24

Bemidji in 1947

Bemidji’s 1947 Planning Board document, prepared by Evert, Kincaid, and Dean of Chicago, introduces the city as a “prospering community built along the shores of beautiful Lake Bemidji and Lake Irving.” After briefly mentioning its pioneer history and the timber boom, the introduction says that by 1947, “the community is largely dependent upon agricultural activities […]

May 31

Boosting the Cutover District, 1915

On December 9, 1915, the Bemidji Pioneer printed a 44-page “Booster Edition” of the paper while the Northern Minnesota Development Association was holding its annual meeting in the city. Below is the front page of the edition. The Northern Minnesota lumber boom peaked in 1905, and by 1915 annual lumber production had fallen to half […]

My utility coop and solar power

There’s a crucial difference between an energy utility company being concerned about the costs associated with moving toward new technology like net metering, and the company pretending concern as a tactic to avoid changing the status quo. According to a Deutsche Bank study, related in a great article by Lucas Mearian for Computerworld, ten US […]