2014-05-17 15.01.14

Do we need the rain? This year we happen to be in a drought with below
average precipitation since last July. We need the rain, though it may
spoil your plans for a bike ride, beach visit, or dirty the car you
just washed. It will rain or not, whether or not you want it to. If
there is a rain let it be long and gentle, let it soak in. I would
just advise that you don’t go to the beach after tomorrow’s rain. (more…)

In Search of the Inconspicuous

I was walking through a floodplain woods with a friend recently when we happened on a typical resident of that habitat’s ground layer. I joked that we were seeing one of the showiest members of the floodplain flora, than pointed out the humble Honewort. We wondered a bit about the curious common name, and I said this was one species where the Latin name was actually more attractive: Cryptotaenia canadensis. (more…)

20 or 30 Things “2030” Could Mean

2014-06-08 11.00.30
  • The year we will take over the world.
  • The year we will be unnecessary because every citizen is a steward of nature.
  • The year we will finally get hoverboards.
  • Habitat restoration as a field is only 20 to 30 years old.
  • It can take 20 to 30 years for a habitat to begin to be restored.
  • 20 and 30-somethings are old enough to lead.
  • 20 and 30-somethings are not apathetic to the future.
  • 20 and 30-somethings are not 20 and 30-something forever and must always make new leaders.
  • 20 and 30-somethings of today are at the beginning of a new era of human participation in nature.


From the Suburban Farm: 5/24


I’m about a month and a half into my first season working on an organic farm in one of Chicago’s well-heeled western suburbs.

For a while, it seemed as if the sky was falling. For a week it seemed like it rained straight through, keeping us out of the fields. The tomatoes and leeks both needed to get out. We’d dismissed a crew member a couple weeks prior, for lack of a work ethic. We were a man down, a week behind, and (more…)

From the Suburban Farm: 6/20


My boss has frequently cited an inch of rain a week as a rough ideal for a vegetable farm. This past Thursday, we’d gotten six inches in the previous six days.

The small prairie stream half a mile from our farm had flooded, hard, bright orange caution tape fencing off all paddling put-ins. Riding my bike home one afternoon over an alternate route, I found a river merged with retention ponds, a veritable garden of eden for the heron flying overhead. (more…)

From the Suburban Farm: 7/1 & 7/4


Thank God, it’s July now.

The month of June brought us blessings; it brought us two new employees that have been wonderful matches with the crew.

Mostly, though, the month of July brought rain. At one point we got 5 inches in 5 days. We learned, though, that it could always be worse, when our boss talked to a friend who’d just begun a very small CSA farm; in the same five days, he’d gotten hit by 9 inches, putting his carrots underwater for a few days and destroying many of his crops. (more…)


Damn, I love a bog!
Not quite a lake
Not quite a swamp
It’s just right in between
And dangerous as all get out!
I’ve heard tale they’ve dragged entire horse skeletons out of bogs.
Entire Quaker families out of bogs.
Once they discovered an entire museum devoted to bogs inside a bog!