Happy New Year

Here we are in 2019.

Anthropogenic Climate/Biospheric/Ecological Disruption is occurring all around us, faster than ever and at an accelerating pace.

I have so many books on my shelves, waiting to be read or in partial stages of being read. Charles Massy, Nate Chisholm, Eric Toensmeier, Steve Gliessman, Naomi Klein. So many names. But we have a baby now: this all got way more important than ever, at the same time that my capacity to do anything about it nose-dived. With a major pelvic injury, not much active grazing work is possible; nor digging, planting, riding, herding, pruning, picking, harvesting — I’m left pretty much confined to deskwork, which is what I was working my way towards avoiding.

Setbacks are interesting in magnifying the things we want at the same time that they take them further out of reach. Crises are interesting in magnifying the things we most should have done years ago that we wanted to do, and didn’t, for fear of [kind of just about anything]. I could have start writing, farming, riding, herding, training, planting and all the rest of the things years ago, and didn’t, because I didn’t think I’d measure up: turns out I was probably wrong, and even if I wasn’t, it still would have been worth trying. The effort’s always worth it.

I will keep these mercifully short because obviously my writing has gone way downhill and there’s nothing worse than a rambling blog post. Ah well, too late. I needed to start somewhere. I like Nate Chisholm’s idea of doing an almanac piece to each post he writes; today, the sun was shining because it is Southern California and for all but a handful of days each year, that is a given; but the wind was cold – like, really cold, for Southern California – and the Santa Anas blew down icy air off the desert. It’s amazing how cold I get here in a way I didn’t often feel in Canada. There’s no cozy wood fire to curl up to. Maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s just me. Anyway, even being cold the winds desiccated everything, stripped all the water that L. just laid down exactly knowing this would happen. It’s one month of winter, and then warm again: we’ll start sleeping outside, on the patio, I hope; and that one surviving mosquito will come and bother us, and I’ll feel just a little bit like back home in Canada.

There were some interesting papers that came across my path today; mostly just go and check out Jason Rowntree’s work because his name was on both of them. One, quantifying a Life Cycle Analysis of Adaptively Managed Paddocks (that’s not the right name, but the point is the same – AMPs) and feedlot systems. Lo and behold, the AMP systems actively sequestered carbon, hooray. Another is a review of grazing strategies in rangelands, and carbon, nitrogen and water infiltration data. I’m presuming it’s much less likely to show a clear signature given all the variables of soil sampling methods, ecologies, grazing systems, timing, and all the rest. But I’ll look it up and read, because seriously if I’m doing this whole PhD thing I’ve got a damn lot of catch-up work to do.


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