Walking by Faith

“So we are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-7)

Walking by faith isn’t easy for someone with my background. It means trusting someone other than yourself…in this case, Someone. In the past several years I’ve been robbing Peter to pay Paul; oftentimes, finding Peter’s pockets empty, too. This is true financially and equally true where time is concerned.

Maybe more so.

It’s not easy being a homesteader, working towards that day when that homestead might also be a source of income; a full-time college student; a writer; blogger; minister–while also working a full-time job with a 2 hour round-trip commute. I’m not complaining, mind you. I love what I do. And I won’t always be a college student. But there are plenty of days where I wearily look at that alarm clock, that commute, the mountain of homework due by week’s end and think, “I can’t do this anymore!” Burn out happens more often than not.

The week before Christmas I caved in to that burn out. I had a two-part final paper due on plastic pollution. It was due Sunday evening by midnight (online degree program). I started working on it a couple of weeks’ in advance, researching, gathering data, pictures for the PowerPoint presentation that was due with the paper…and found myself on Sunday night thinking, “Damn! This is another all-nighter.” Exhausted, I looked at the work again, the time; my body was trembling, my head swimming with fatigue. And I made a rare decision for myself: I went to bed early, got up in the morning and handed in the assignment a day late, knowing it would mean a 10% loss of grade.

But I didn’t care. I was that tired.

Some part of my weary mind gave it over to God. He knew I’d been working on this steadily. He knew this wasn’t a case of my usual tendency to procrastinate. And, suddenly, though the lower grade didn’t sit well (I tend to be the Hermoine Granger type…), I found something in me that was willing to accept it.

Because a good night’s rest was more important.

I got a perfect score anyway. The professor’s comment started off with a “Wow!” and a “this deserves full marks”. (Okay, so I’m bragging again but, truly, it is only by His grace that I managed to get such a high mark when class policy is set for a 10% loss of final score…unless previously arranged otherwise with your instructor; this wasn’t pre-arranged.)

Anyway, I am sharing the PowerPoint presentation here. (I hope it plays okay…I’ve never tried attaching a presentation to my blog before) Though Environmental Science is my minor, each class has inspired me more in reducing my carbon footprint…and is giving me yet another direction to take this blog. Concern for the environment, for all the many species of life that are becoming extinct–or at least are classed “endangered”–due to global warming, is one of the main reasons why I homestead. I want to be part of the solution, not the problem. And, if I can raise greater awareness of the problems Mother Earth is facing today, maybe more people will take a stand and start lowering their carbon footprint, too. Enjoy!

And may God bless you & keep you!

SNHU Eliminating Plastics Presentation

PS If it cannot be opened/run via this blog, please someone leave a comment below; I will try to remedy. Thank you!

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It Comes in Threes

“Three times a year you shall celebrate a pilgrim feast to me” (Exodus 23:14)
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20)
“Jesus said to him, ‘Amen, I say to you, this very night before the cock crows, you will deny me three times” (Matthew 26:34)

Threes pop up quite a bit in the Bible so I’m running with this old superstition that “things happen” in threes. I blogged about having a cold earlier this week; yesterday, Sargent Feathers’ wattles got hit with frostbite (he’s on the mend but I’m still praying, and crossing fingers and toes that he doesn’t lose them). This morning? The furnace went out. On one of the coldest nights in New England history.

I slept in the easy chair in the living room last night. As the congestion that has plagued me since Saturday eases up, the post-nasal drip triggers both a dry, hacking sort of cough and, oftentimes, an asthma attack or two. Lying flat makes it 10 times worse. So I leaned my head back and went out like a light…

…Until Mom came in, seeing the wood stove burning bright and came to check on me. Her voice startled me awake again. For the rest of the night I simply dozed, woke, checked the fire, replenished when needed and dozed again, never really registering why I felt cold sitting right next to a wood stove with fleece pajamas, a heavy robe, a woolen blanket and two cats piled on me. It wasn’t until morning that I thought to take a look at the thermostat. Though it was set for 68 degrees, the needle on the bottom of the dial was all the way over to the left (i.e. so cold it no longer registered on the thermostat).

Things got a little scary after that as the woodpile dwindled and the temperature outside stayed in the single digits.

I think I’m adding doomsday prepping to my litany of reasons why to homestead. I have not been up to this point (though the present job is certainly preparing me for it in learning how to survive without electricity, refrigeration or central heating). Though I’ve admired the movement, seen the logic of it all–especially as my college minor is environmental science–current circumstances…oh, hell, let’s be brutally, painfully honest here. Most of the time I’m broke; financially-challenged; severely under-employed, etc. “A rose by any other name would still smell so sweet.” (And I’ve probably butchered some Shakespeare now, too, but, c’est la vie!) Doomsday prepping takes time, money and more than a little of this Yankee ingenuity when you’re challenged by the first two. The larder is not well-stocked; ditto for the non-existent wood shed and I’m buying heating oil, wood for the stove and hay for the animals in small quantities (in short, whatever funds allow at the moment).

We’re not out of the woods yet as “they” say (Who are “they”??? They’re worse than that guy, Murphy…) This morning was a painful reminder of how everything has been breaking down, falling behind, constantly struggling to stay afloat. And it’s not my money management skills that are lacking; I’ve had more than one financial expert tell me I’ve taught them a few things about frugality and money management! It’s simply that, despite how much I have whittled everything down to the bare bones, my most basic living expenses still exceed my present income. Though I am striving towards self-sufficiency here at The Herbal Hare Homestead, it may be years before it comes to fruition. For every step I take forward, I take at least three backwards due to time and/or money constraints.

And, of course, this is where I have to remind myself to *thank* God. Because, as the oil company replaced the motor on the furnace tonight, and got us up and running again, that little red guy with the pitchfork is raising my anxiety levels, telling me I can’t afford this; I’ll miss this payment or that trying to pay for this repair; I don’t deserve to earn my keep…or even be warm in the midst of a deep frost; maybe I’m not “meant” to do any of this homesteading thing, etc., tearing away at the self-confidence and filling me with more overwhelm–if I let him.

I don’t.

I will weather this storm, as all the others, by the grace of God. Yes, it may have been a close call but we got through it. He brought us through it. Blessed be the name of the Lord! He also opened my eyes to an area of homesteading that I’ve long been neglecting: emergency preparedness. That’s something else to be thankful for.

And it’s coming. Despite this cold snap, Gaia is telling us as plainly as she can that she’s tired. We’re taxing her too much with our over-consumption of petrol and plastics. All these extreme temperatures, and violent storms, are Mother Earth’s way of righting herself, healing herself. The more violent, more frequent the storms and natural disasters, the harder she’s struggling to heal.

(And I seriously did NOT intend that this post should turn into a rant, or campaign, for climate change awareness but it somehow managed to grow out of it anyway…)

So I will trust in that grace. And I will follow His voice inside my heart, like Joseph–coat of many colors’ Joseph–who helped Pharoah prepare for seven years of famine (Genesis 41:17-36).

Do I believe we are headed for seven years of famine again?

Possibly.

Food scarcity and water shortages are already felt in many parts of the world. As we turn our Midwest into an even bigger desert by mono-cropping, it does seem important to me that, so minute a detail as a failed motor on a furnace, should be a warning to ramp up my efforts to be more self-sufficient…and to urge everyone else to prepare, too.

I’m also praying, as the beloved sound of my ancient furnace kicking on interrupts the silence of a chilly, January night, that this “coming in threes” thing is accurate: a cold, some frostbitten wattles and a broken furnace; it could have been much, much worse. And, if there is anything to this rule of three, then I should be done now…crossing fingers!

May God bless you & keep you!

My Apologies for the Delay…

Good morning (or whatever time of day it is in your part of the world…)

In the middle of some major “renovations” here on this blog. As soon as they are completed, I will certainly include more information about them. For the time being, I thank everyone for their patience. New content will be added soon.

In the meantime, keep working towards that faith-filled, sustainable and compassionate future. We CAN be the change we wish to see in the world.

May God bless you & keep you!

When I Am Weak

“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see you good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:13-16)

I snagged the dream job three weeks’ ago. And, yes, it has been that long already. It’s also been that long, I think, since my last blog post. I went into retreat mode once the new job started. For just a moment, that little voice inside that I’d sometimes like to take a machete to, told me I was in over my head. I wasn’t qualified enough. I didn’t know enough. I can’t do this!

Sounds a little like the adversary with his tricks again.

Why do I listen to this voice? God dropped every minor detail into perfect place with this position. He must certainly have a plan. And, surely, the owner of my heart knows much better than that ol’ adversary. He says I can handle it. He says I’m qualified enough. He says I know enough.

I CAN DO THIS!

But, for a few moments this morning, as I realized yet again the size of the carbon footprint I’m wearing on the earth with this commute; as I realized that I sort of had to give up my parish community to accept this job; as I realized I have less time to work on my homestead; as I realized I have much less time to write my blog, the two books I have on the fire, and complete my homework assignments, I felt a little bit of the bottom drop out from under me. These are my core values. These are the things I live for.

I suddenly longed for something familiar, that seemingly “safe” little world where I hid myself for 7 years. A “safe” little world where dinner often came from the local food pantry and robbing Peter to pay Paul became a bigger juggling act when Peter’s pockets turned up empty, too.

And I realized, that some parts of this new routine are familiar…an echo from days gone by.

Back in 2009, before I lost the corporate position, my mornings were always rushed. I kept trying to cram a 28 hour day into a 24 hour one. Of course, it never worked. And, of course, I was trying to do everything at once…perfection being my worst enemy. There’s a lesson there somewhere. It’s called time management. I may not be able to spend 2-4 hours a day writing now; working part-time at the dealership I didn’t always do so even with the time available. I discovered during 2 years of unemployment and 5 more of severe under-employment, that I am not the self-starter. I need structure. If I have too much time on my hands, if I’m only having to fulfill part-time obligations, I slack off…so much so that nothing gets done.

The female dog side of my nature told the whiny ass to shut up and keep driving.

I ran a little behind this morning rushing out the door. About halfway to work, I came up behind a school bus. Back in 2009, I always came up behind the school bus traveling down Harkney Hill Rd. and the demon called Road Rage dogged my every a.m. commute.

I can do better this time.

The early bird catches the worm…I may be back to 3:30 a.m. risings again. Or at least 4:30; that would give me a solid 6 hours’ of sleep. Then I could write a couple of hours before work.

Old habits, die hard…I’m still trying to cram 28 hours into 24. It can’t be done. I believe that’s the definition of insanity.

Eventually, reason crept back in. This is necessary. I have bills to pay off. And, though I love my little fixer-upper, I confess, I’d like to eventually purchase a bigger piece of land. If I’m ever to increase my herd of goats, and add some sheep to the mix, I need pasture. This is my chance to get back on my feet again. If for no other reason, that is the reason to keep going.

The bus stopped again.

I waited.

The bus started moving again. We rode a little further. The bus stopped again.

It may have been a slower pace than I would like to go and yet, we were still moving, still getting where we wanted to go…”we” being the line of cars stopping and traveling, traveling and stopping along with me. There’s a lesson in there, too. Baby steps…

How many times have I had to remind myself of that? One foot in front of the other. I can do this. I even started reviewing in my head the lessons learned from friend, Farnoosh, last winter in the Smart Exit Blueprint Plan. I remembered my blueprint. I mentally adjusted it to include the new, ideal position. Actually, the new, ideal position is part of the SEB plan–I needed work to financially sustain me while I work to develop my homestead (or a future one) into a working herb and fiber farm, and goat dairy. I need full-time work like this to get out of debt so the bigger homestead might become a reality. I need full-time work like this so that my stress levels over bills piling up don’t paralyze me so I can’t write at all. This is necessary!

It’s also fun. And I’ve been doing this as a volunteer since 2012!

Some part of sanity returned as I turned onto the last leg of my commute…if I wasn’t 2 and 1/2 years’ into menopause, I’d swear I had PMS with the crazy squirrel leaps my mind was doing. How did I suddenly turn into this cry baby…well, not actually crying but this feeling of overwhelm and doubt?

In myself.

In God.

The blah kind of mood followed me into the morning check-in point and then back to the herb garden. I really needed a tea. Tuesdays the museum is closed…as are all the cafes. Why didn’t I pack a few tea bags? I’m exhausted. Of course, the caffeine’s not the best thing for me…

Meetings all morning. Meetings with the teachers from the new charter school going up in the main parking lot. Suddenly, as we went around the table introducing ourselves and telling what we do at the museum, and where we’d like to go with the new charter school, I felt a nudge to share some of the ideas I’ve had for the herb garden–an addition of a vernal pool and native plant garden bed. The children from the school could help plan and plant it. They could watch to see what sort of creatures show up. We could study the frogs and salamanders and dragonflies that might move in. In sharing this project, I could teach them the importance of biodiversity and the dangers of introducing foreign species of plants. The master gardener came out to play…maybe I’m not such a lost cause after all. Everyone loved the idea.

It was then that I realized that maybe I am staying true to those core values after all. Won’t that vernal pool and native plant garden benefit the local environment? And won’t working with 5 – 9 year old children, teaching them about the environment, plant a seed (every pun intended) for future generations of environmentalists? If that’s not staying true to my core values, what is? It’s a golden opportunity.

When I am weak, He shows me His Way. He shows me the real hope for the future. Suddenly, I’m not hiding anymore.

I can do this…and, more importantly, I want to.

May God bless you & keep you!

Things Learned When Walking is your Sole Transportation

It has been almost three months since Mom’s car had to be taken off the road. And while I still yearn for an adult-sized tricycle to get me around more efficiently and safely than my feet, I’ve also learned a great deal from this experience:

1. People look at walking, and sometimes even bicycling, everywhere as hardship!!??! In some ways, that’s true. When you’re forced to “grocery shop” for only what you can easily carry two miles from the local grocery store, it does get “old” and it makes for having to seriously manage your time and resources better. Those little hand shopping carts they sell in department stores everywhere help but…

2. Little hand shopping carts filled to the brim with cases of cat food and cat litter do NOT make it up steep hills without making one feel a deeper empathy for beasts of burden.

3. Friends come from unexpected places.

4. Walking in extreme cold is much easier than walking in 90+ degree temperatures; an extra layer or two, a good pair of gloves and socks to cover the extremities, and a hat make all the difference when it’s cold…and a brisk pace will set the blood moving that much faster. One can only remove so many layers of clothing before Connecticut’s finest gets involved…

5. Those kitchy, supposedly eco-friendly reusable grocery bags, when full, are much more capable of cutting off circulation in your fingertips than are the equally-full, bad-for-the-environment plastic numbers.

6. You meet people when you walk…neighbors…people you would never meet when behind the wheel; find a sense of community you never knew existed.

7. Despite traversing concrete walkways and macadam road shoulders, walking puts you deeper in touch with nature. Damage done by this year’s gypsy moth invasion; small wetland areas on the other side of guard rails…and the diversity of life that lives in them; longer days/shorter nights; shortening days and lengthening nights; sadly, a greater awareness of how many creatures really lose their lives on a major interstate all become more apparent when walking.

8. My piggy bank has grown due to all of the loose change found in parking lots, breakdown lanes and along the sidewalks near local gas stations.

9. Bursitis flare-ups, sore knees, hips, calves all help to remind me that I’m not 25 anymore.

10. Despite the 6 lbs. lost when I first started, walking alone will not readily shed pounds if a proper diet is not incorporated with it.

11. My status as a single woman seems to have reached the attention of far too many local gentlemen…

12. Wearing a bright, fluorescent vest (so that you become more visible to local traffic while traveling on the shoulder of the road) when visiting the local Walmart will get you mistaken for an employee…and prompt you to memorize where everything is located in the store so you can answer all those “Can you tell me where (fill in the blank) is, please?” sort of questions.

13. Wearing a bright, fluorescent vest often gets you mistaken for a crossing guard.

14. Trying to traverse 2 miles of extremely hilly territory without arch supports in your shoes is a good way to flare bursitis up…especially if you’re over 50.

15. Horror stories of missing women flash through your head when you walk home at dusk.

16. Strange men will offer you a ride.

17. Strange men who are also attractive will also offer you a ride…tempting good reason but provide relief that such good reason still exists as you pick up your pace towards home.

18. I don’t tan; I freckle.

19. Even if it is only 2 miles, travel light.

20. We need a better infrastructure in our cities and towns…one that includes sidewalks that connect everything so that people can walk safely; bicycle lanes so that cyclists can also travel safely, and good public transportation lines that don’t require walking several miles to a small handful of bus stops.

21. While there are buses in northeastern Connecticut that will come directly to your doorstep–elderly and disabled only–it took over 3 weeks for Mom to get her bus pass…I wonder how many other seniors and disabled persons are left isolated due to their lack of transportation…

22. Even with a bright, fluorescent vest on, motorists do not stop for pedestrians in the crosswalks…especially if that crosswalk crosses the entrance to Walmart’s parking lot.

23. Walking in the rain, as long as there isn’t any lightning to go with it, is actually kind of fun…sort of like being a kid again and splashing in the puddles.

24. The creative genius engages while walking…I “write” my best chapters, work out my best plots when I walk.

25. Walking provides the perfect medium for finding that quiet stillness where we meet God.

May God bless you & keep you!

Naming Trees and a Quest for Cardboard

And so the gypsy moths have completely denuded one of the big Norway maples in my front yard. Not Helen, mind you. Helen is the grandmother of all the Norway maples here. And, yes, the Master Gardener here knows Norway maples are invasive and not native to Connecticut. I didn’t plant them; they were here when I purchased said property back in 2001. Invasive or not, they provide much-appreciated shade in the summertime, and a nice bit of windbreak in the winter. So nobody touches Helen & Co.

Except the gypsy moths.

And there’s not much I can do about that. They’ve completely denuded Ollie already. Ollie is a slightly younger Norway maple, if one judges by the size of circumference (don’t trees grow a new ring every year??). And quite lovely…despite his invasive nature. The Japanese dogwood…or maybe it’s a flowering cherry tree…is also completely denuded. I’m not sure of the species because it is one of about a dozen saplings I received as a “Thanks!” for donating several years’ ago to the Arbor Day Foundation. Only three of them survived. They’re all part of the under story near Ollie. I’m almost positive the one closest to the house is a Japanese dogwood…and, so far, the gypsy moths have left it alone. It’s the other two–one denuded, the other on its way to becoming–that worry me. And Ollie. Can they all recover from this? Or will I have a rotting Norway maple stump next spring? Horrified at this finding this morning, I tried hand-picking some of them off of the smaller trees. But it was a futile endeavor; just too many of them. I may have to invest in some bird netting and then try to pluck em all off before I cover them. It’s heart-breaking as they are all part of the latest landscaping endeavor, an effort to beautify the area closest to the interstate with ornamental trees, shrubs and flowers. Eh, if it’s visible from the road, it has to be pretty…not that the current state of Tobacco Road could be called attractive, but I digress yet again…

And, yes, I’ve named some of the trees in my yard. Here’s how it started.

I won’t get into all of the spiritual changes within that brought this about–that could take a whole week’s worth of posts–but, several years’ ago I studied Wicca. For those of you who only know Wicca through TV and other pop culture mediums, Wicca is NOT any sort of devil worshipping. I am, and always have been, a Christian, accepting Christ as my Savior back in 1995, shortly after my first divorce. But, for some reason, the tree-hugging nature lover in me has always been drawn to Wicca. And I can only conclude because Wicca is a nature-based religion.

Anyway, to keep a long story short, I took a course at the local community college entitled, “Introduction to Wicca” after a long theological discussion with the then-deacon of my church, Brother Bob. I was expecting sermons as regarding fire and brimstone raining down upon my head for even considering such a course but Brother Bob encouraged me to take it instead. The reason? Because it is the fear of what we don’t know, or understand, that breeds distrust, hatred and violence. It is fear that the enemy of my soul uses to bring chaos into my life…and into the world. So, for four weeks, I drove to Mansfield, CT and attended class. And I loved it! I learned so much, so much that I can accept and appreciate…even to how the good Lord used this experience to help me re-connect with members of my own family (I have an aunt and a couple of cousins who are practicing Wiccans). I’m not afraid anymore; there’s no reason to be.

“His disciple John came to Him and said, ‘Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons. And we told him not to. After all, he isn’t in our group.’ But Jesus said, ‘You should not have done that! For anyone who is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9:49-50)

Getting back to the naming of trees, this class sparked an interest so deep that I started reading every book that I could find on the subject. Some, I will admit, were a bit “darker” than others. Not necessarily sinister, or diabolical, but more like a sort of prejudiced attitude towards any religion other than Wicca (and haven’t we all experienced a similar attitude in other religions–including Christianity!). There was one though, written by a fellow Master Gardener, that talked about naming trees and how trees actually have spirits. Most Native American tribes believe trees, rocks, etc. have spirits and, as I’m part-Mohawk, part-Narragansett, it resonated within. More, I had been finding myself drawn to “Helen” and this book made me stop and think. Maybe Helen was giving me little mental nudges. Anyway, she was christened “Helen” shortly thereafter.

Now, before anyone thinks I’ve completely gone off the deep-end, and maybe I have, if you head over to http://www.treehugger.com and type in “trees” + “Melissa”, you’ll find a host of articles featuring the research of various scientists about trees. And how they share resources, protect one another, and even communicate with each other. There’s quite a number of them; they’re interesting reads…whether you believe in such or not.

So, now that Ollie is suffering from an attack of gypsy moths, and I prepare to possibly mourn the loss of him in the not-so-distant future, I can’t help worrying if Helen will eventually fall prey, too. She’s the grandmother here because she’s so enormous. I would be willing to bet she’s stood in this yard over 100 years or more, such is the size of her trunk. To lose either shade tree is a heart-wrenching thought. Invasive or not, trees don’t grow overnight. It’s one of the reasons we treehuggers object to things like over-harvesting from forests and the current annihilation of the rain forests in South America due to our hunger and greed for more wood; such important eco-systems can never hope to recover at the rate of said destruction.

But before this becomes one of my environmental rants (I’ll save that for another post…chuckle), I’m switching a few gears here. Helen, Ollie & Friends are a part of this very local landscape. As I’ve moved rock walls and started building raised beds, I’ve designed everything here to work with the current landscape, rather than any clear-cutting. I’ve been using something called the the No-Dig Gardening method, developed and promoted by Mr. Charles Dowding of England. Mr. Dowding is not the originator of this method but he has developed it to a level that has proven effective and efficient for any home gardener. Another name for it is lasagna gardening. Mr. Dowding has a wonderful You Tube channel that takes you from soup to nuts on how to landscape and grow fruits, vegetables and herbs without digging…or rototilling, which is very bad for the soil and will encourage the growth of weeds and invasive species.

Like Helen.

No-Dig, or lasagna, gardening requires the laying down of flattened cardboard boxes, which slowly decompose but act as a weed barrier while in that decomposition, directly atop the compacted soil, or grass, or weeds–wherever you decide to create this raised bed. Like any good lasagna, the next step is to layer everything: leaves, kitchen scraps, compost, etc. If you wish to go the more traditional route of bags of peat moss, potting soil, etc, that’s okay, too…even if it isn’t quite as sustainable. Once you’ve created a good six inches of layers, you simply plant your seeds directly into this mix or, if you’ve started seeds indoors, or purchased plants from the local nursery, you may simply part some of the layers and set the plugs into them. They will grow.

This initial landscaping project encompasses about 1/4 acre of my property; I have another 1/2 acre planned but in much smaller stages. This 1/4 acre is probably a bigger undertaking than Mr. Dowding would have recommended in the beginning but I’m committed to it. I spent most of last winter squirreling away every empty box that walked through the dealership where I work afternoons and early-evenings. I would pack the trunk of the car, the backseat, and throw them into what was once a garage, now storage room. One would think, with so much pack-ratting activity, that I would have more than enough to finish said project but, alas, I am on a perpetual quest to find more. Though empty boxes still travel through the dealership, walking everywhere now, I’ve been searching a little closer to home; flat-packed boxes are a prime example of dead weight. So, every now and then, I’m petitioning nearer neighbors and, hopefully, saving them a bit of the expense to have their cardboard waste hauled away…and keeping much of it out of the local landfills. It’s a design I can be proud of.

Even Helen agrees…

May God bless you & keep you!

Enjoying the Snow

It is a bit of an abrupt change as temperatures yesterday reached the 60’s here in Connecticut; tonight the overnight lows are expected to be in the single digits. Global warming at its finest.

Yup. Mom’s not the only one who will experience the incessant commentary on our planet’s health and well-being. Sorry…

NOT!

Okay. So I’m going to try to explain this rationale between the snow falling outside my window and this concept of global warming. As I am still a student of environmental science, this may be more of that murky water stuff but I’m going to give it a go.

Yes, these late-season snowfalls are a direct result of global warming. As our polar icecaps heat up from an over-abundance of carbon in our oceans, the result is more precipitation in the atmosphere. For those of us living in more northern climes, we have all seen the fog that results when snow starts to melt as the earth heats up in spring. The same thing is happening at the poles but trade winds and ocean currents move that fog, that precipitation and push it south (or north if you’re closer to Antartica), where it dumps on us as snow. The air is still relatively cool but the oceans are too warm. Mother Earth can no longer handle the amount of excess carbon we are dumping in her oceans. And the result is this melting of the polar icecaps.

Do I think we will see a major catastrophe like so many depicted in apocalyptical movies?

I sincerely hope not. I am a minister. There is a very large part of me that relies heavily on the biblical promise from God to Noah that He will never again destroy the world:

And Jehovah was pleased with the sacrifice and said to himself, “I will never do it again–I will never again curse the Earth, destroying all living things, even though man’s bent is always toward evil from his earliest youth, and even though he does wicked things.” (Genesis 8:21)

However, and this is not a doubt of God’s promise but an acknowledgement of the signs I see in His natural world that things are out of whack. Maybe not a total destruction of Mother Earth but certainly more of the catastrophic storms that have been plaguing our great planet for the last couple of decades as Mother Earth continues to warn us of overload. And we have been heating up over the last few decades…and not through any natural cycling of the earth, though that is also a factor…a very small factor.

I have attached a link to Michael Mann’s often controversial “hockey stick graph” that showcases the extreme warming trend that has been occurring over the last 30 years or so. This is a Wikipedia listing and Wikipedia is not necessarily a reliable source of information. However, they are often a good starting point for learning more. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy

According to what I have been learning in class, the real warming trend has been occurring since 1975. I’m thinking back to my childhood, growing up in the late-60’s, early-70’s. Things were a lot different than they are now. My family was not unique in that we only owned one car. Mom drove it to work in Conimicut (Rhode Island); my step-father walked to his job a few blocks’ away. There was still a lingering respect for the antiquated adage of “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.” In other words, we weren’t quite the disposable society we are today. Technology has grown tremendously since 1975. Families now own at least two vehicles. Many live in McMansions that require an enormous output of carbon energy to heat/cool depending on climate or season. And, as our beloved laptops, Kindles, cellphones and various other electronic gadgets slow down due to faster technologies–and we all want the fastest model so we can sit before the boob-tube eating our packaged, processed diet–we dispose of them in the nearest landfill. Where they off-gas into the atmosphere, contaminating the air we breathe, the water we drink and even the soil from which we grow our food.

Our McMansions also come with large expanses of lawn–useless and vain, an attempt to emulate the English monarchs from a few centuries ago where a large lawn was a mark of esteem–that must be mowed and maintained to stay useless and vain. In England, where the lawn fetish seems to have started, upkeep is less expensive and harmful as the English climate is more conducive to lush, green grass. Here in the US, we use chemicals and further contaminate the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil that feeds us. We also use machinery that further pollutes our air…even more than the automobiles we take two blocks’ down to the local convenience store.

Better choices might change that hockey stick to something that more closely resemble a rainbow…if only we care enough about the other species that share this great planet, and future generations, to make those choices.

May God bless you & keep you!

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/green-guide/buying-guides/lawnmower/environmental-impact/