A Retreat In the Forest



What Makes People Want To Clean Up Their Beaches?

Don't feed me garbage.For reasons both biological and aesthetic, garbage on the beach should be removed. And the easiest way to encourage people to pick up some trash on their walk is to install Beach Cleanup Stations. I’ve seen these in the parking lots of some of Point Reyes National Seashore’s popular beaches and now I’ve heard from a group that makes them: All One Ocean, based in Marin County. And they’re having a benefit on Sunday afternoon in the town of Point Reyes Station.  (more…)

Walking around.

Tiny Cottages, Meaningful Labor, and a Daily Walk


Photo by Katherine Johnson.

Three Good Reads For a Sleepy Monday Afternoon

Lunch hour is over, if you even got an hour. That walk wasn’t nearly enough. And now … well now it’s either “open-eyed nap time” or “find something good to read on the Internet while you drink another coffee.” We’ll help with the latter choice. And you can always add these things to your Reader thing on your phone, for the bus or BART or subway or Metro or light rail or rowboat home!  (more…)

It's spring, babies.

Five Real Vernal Equinox Celebrations

When is the Spring Equinox? For the northern hemisphere, it’s today! The North American East Coast is already in springtime, and the West Coast will be there by before the lunch hour ends. It’s also the start of the year for many cultures, what with the whole rebirth and flowering and bunnies and eggs business.

  • Holi, the Hindu Festival of Colors, is one good way to start your spring. If you’re in Portland, Oregon, there’s a big Holi celebration called Rang Barse starting Saturday at the Washington County fairgrounds.
  • Gandalf and the rest of the druids have already done their thing at Stonehenge this morning, but it will still be rocking tonight! Maybe. Beware of Dementors.
  • It’s New Year’s Day in Iran! The festival of Nowruz (or Norooz) has begun. And in Los Angeles, with the second-largest Persian population outside of Iran, there are events all week long and into the weekend. These events are based on eating Persian food.
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The scarecrow is a lemur stuffed toy.

Can You Get a Spring Garden Going This Weekend? (Yes)

With spring equinox two days away and Daylight Savings Time providing plenty of light after work, serious gardeners are already doing god knows what in preparation for a summer of fresh food from their yard. Less serious gardeners may be wondering if chance will somehow arrange everything this year, unlike all those other years.

Maybe you just need a little encouragement to get out the door and come back with $40 worth of supplies and seeds—six hours later, you will have a small garden started. Use these Words of Wisdom from people who know about such things and you’ve got some insurance against disappointment.  (more…)


The Best Magazine In Many Years: Boom, A Journal of California

BoomA Journal of California is the best new magazine I’ve seen in decades. I am bioregionally biased, of course, but even a New Yorker or a Canadian could recognize the craft and care that goes into Boom. It’s published by the University of California Press, which explains why it’s not filled with garbage and perfume ads, and each themed issue of the quarterly is full of book-quality writing, photography and research. And appropriately for California, there is nothing stuffy or academic about it.

Film and science fiction are prevailing themes in the two issues I’ve read so far: Chinatown is repeatedly used as a device to tell the story of the Owens Valley and the terrific graft involved in piping that water down to Los Angeles, while everything from Star Wars stills to the work of cult sci-fi authors like Philip K. Dick illustrate California’s endless future imaginings of itself.  (more…)

Wildflowers at Big Bend.

The Very Best … of the First Week of Greenfriar

And so we end our first week of Greenfriar. What happened? It’s hard to remember, because your editor hasn’t slept much since … when was I still working for my friends at Gawker? That could not possibly have been just a week ago today. But, it was, and here we are with a quick list of highlights from The Greenfriar Week That Was.  (more…)

Jumping off the Kelso Dunes.

Five West Coast Hikes You Can Do This Weekend

It’s still cold along the Eastern Seaboard and up by the Canadian border, but springtime weather is already arriving in the rest of the continental United States, and it’s perfect on the West Coast. And that means it is time to get outside and stretch your legs and relieve your eyes and ears from the dull “content” of phones and teevees and tax forms and traffic.

Here are five guaranteed hikes perfect for these last official days of winter before the Spring Equinox, which arrives on March 20 for North America this year.  (more…)

Sea otters!

Five Zoos That Should Stay Open

Close down the zoos! Costa Rica is doing it, and Denmark probably wishes the zoos were gone, after the Giraffe Horror. Sea World is on the way out because its customer base—upper-middle class moms who saw Blackfish on Netflix—suddenly stopped going to Sea World.

Are any zoo-type institutions worth keeping? Yes. Based on extremely biased personal experience, you can patronize the following places because their missions and actions are all about conservation, bio-regionalism, science and protection of endangered species. This doesn’t mean they are perfect, but as a member you can help push them down the right path. Join the board! Demand all ecoregional plants and animals!  (more…)