Month: March 2014

There’s no cheaper lodging than a National Park campsite, and you won’t find better…

There’s no cheaper lodging than a National Park campsite, and you won’t find better views from any hotel window, at any price. So instead of spending $200 a night for a basic room, reserve your spring or summer campground for just $20 a night.

(And don’t forget the 50%-off tents and gear from REI! Greenfriar gets a cut if you click here.)

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Walking around.

Tiny Cottages, Meaningful Labor, and a Daily Walk


Photo by Katherine Johnson.

Quaking and Stormy, California Reminds Us That It’s Alive

The southern part of the state is quaking and shaking, heavy rain lashes the northern coast, and snow piles up in the Sierra. Every now and then California reminds you that it’s alive, not just the plants and creatures but the rock itself, even that dry old sky that goes whole seasons without much change.

I woke at a reasonable hour, heard the rain through the open window, and it sounded so pretty that I decided to go back to sleep for a while. By the crack of noon, I was covered by a hat and my rarely used “rain shell,” headed for the beach. Great sheets of water and temporary rivers along the sidewalks made for a beautiful vision after another too-dry winter. The neighborhood ducks were out, a mating pair of mallards, delighted by all the worms and whatever else had been awoken by the rainfall.

The beach, my fine little beach of dredged sand, was perfectly empty of people, the tide at its high point and whitecaps on the bay, thanks to the storm, which had also delivered a supply of logs, boards and other driftwood. There was a dead duck, too, still feathered, its beak pointing up.  (more…)

It’s Not “Green Energy” If It Destroys Wilderness

It seems impossible that anything could be marketed as “green” when it involves the destruction of 4,000 acres of endangered-species habitat and desert wilderness alongside a national park, but that’s how these sketchy solar companies play their game. These solar people have gotten a free pass for way too long. And the truth is that most of them don’t care about the environment—they care about selling the energy from solar projects that they place on public lands. So they squawk like a panelist on Fox News when actual environmentalists call them on their easy-money solar-bubble tactics.

Mark Butler, who just retired as superintendent of Joshua Tree National Park after a long career spent in the care of federal parklands, wrote one of the clearest denunciations of nature-wrecking solar factories we’ve seen in a big newspaper. He joined with another four retired superintendents of national parks in California to publicly oppose a massive energy factory planned for 4,000 acres surrounded by iconic western views and a five-minute walk from the Mojave National Preserve’s boundary. (more…)

Berkeley Farmers Market

Farmers Markets: The New Grocery Industry Trade Show

What’s the new trade show for new grocery food? Try your local farmers market. That’s where Neal Gottleib’s ice cream took off, and that’s where Whole Foods found his organic ice cream, at the Berkeley Farmers Market.

Most people think of farmers’ markets as a place to pick up healthy food from mom-and-pop-operations, but it can also be a breeding ground for entrepreneurship. In fact, grocery stores often visit them looking for new ideas, said Harv Singh, a “forager” for Whole Foods’ Northern California region. “A farmers’ market is like an incubator for food companies,” he said.

In 1980, there were about 1,800 farmers markets across the country. Now there are nearly 6,000 and they’re the agora in the full sense of the word: community meeting places, usually outdoors, a Saturday or Sunday morning ritual that fills the need once served by churches. (more…)