Book Reflection: American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree by Susan Freinkel

The American chestnut tree, Castanea dentata, was one of the first biological icons to be virtually vacated from an integral position in both the environment and American society. We knew little about accidental imports of exotic species, and the introduction of the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica spurred the discussion and action. I was fascinated with the topic when … Continue reading Book Reflection: American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree by Susan Freinkel

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Soil Food Web

Introduction to Soil Science: The Best Way to Put It

Sometimes I read articles and books or watch documentaries and I always wonder what is the best way to translate what I'm learning. I find most of anything in nature and natural sciences (if you care to split those--I don't, but I understand that they sometimes elicit two different concepts) fascinating beyond measure, like concurrent … Continue reading Introduction to Soil Science: The Best Way to Put It

Beauty of Composting and the Soil Nutrient Cycle

You watch your favorite TV show. The characters discuss a conflict over the dinner table and by the time the argument resolves or exasperates the characters retire to the kitchen. They shovel the left overs of the meal into the trash bin. Perfectly good food. It had the potential to be tomorrow's lunch. Even the … Continue reading Beauty of Composting and the Soil Nutrient Cycle

book cover

Book Reflection: Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin (Part II)

From Part I: Growing, processing, and marketing the food items all in a single region mitigate many of those secondary issues, organic or not. It’s also worth mentioning that labels require hefty fees for each individual product to the government for licensing—fees that your small-scale organic farmer cannot pay for. Part II Do you want to … Continue reading Book Reflection: Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin (Part II)

book cover

Book Reflection: Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin (Part I)

Part I Caution: "Folks, This Ain't Normal" is a thought-provoker. If you are not intellectually qualified to discern fact from ideology and integrate that information into your brain without barfing it out because it challenges conceptions made from incomplete knowledge or pre-existing ideological leanings, you will likely flounder in this book. This is a playful … Continue reading Book Reflection: Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin (Part I)

Free Cornell Lectures at a Computer Near You

I'm not sure what possesses me to search some of the things that I search for on the internet, but one is an exciting discovery and applicable to a studious effort toward the United Nation's International Year of Soils. Cornell Transnational Learning: a YouTube channel offering full lectures of semester courses, symposiums, and forums from Cornell … Continue reading Free Cornell Lectures at a Computer Near You

Soil texture

Soil Science in the Education System

Caution: this considers the North American education systems as I am yet to have enough perspective to write on behalf of another part of the world on this topic. Often I have asked myself why formal education requires the classes that they do from first grade to twelfth grade. Why the precise combination of English, … Continue reading Soil Science in the Education System

bacteria and sweet potatoes

Agrobacterium and Sweet Potato Ecological Relationship

A friend of mine came across a fun article on a National Public Radio blog on transgenic organisms (genetic combination of two or more organisms that don't naturally breed) cultivated for thousands of years. Scientists have found that many variations of sweet potato, now grown all over the world, have an relationship with a class of … Continue reading Agrobacterium and Sweet Potato Ecological Relationship

Black River of the Appalachians

A Mention of Arbor Day

So often at this time of the year I hear about Earth Day. Hippie holiday or educational outreach opportunity, Earth Day is a product of the 1970s and a challenge against poor modern environmental husbandry. Shortly following Earth Day many countries also observe Arbor Day.  It is less popular, celebrated by fewer nations and is … Continue reading A Mention of Arbor Day

No till

Book Reflection: Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations by David Montgomery (Part II)

Book Review Part I here. Conveniently for me, I had finished Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations by David Montgomery, a professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington, shortly before The New York Times published a relevant article, "Farmers Put Down the Plow for More Productive Soil". This article on modern no-till farming … Continue reading Book Reflection: Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations by David Montgomery (Part II)