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European lawns

Gardening, Random Fun Stuff, Travel By June 21, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

On our trip I quickly realized something amazing. The thing that I have been referring to as a polyculture lawn exists in Europe. They just call it a lawn there.

Okay, okay, I didn’t see all of Europe. I just saw Paris and a good chunk of Southern Ireland, but everywhere we went I saw lawns thriving that looked exactly like what I’m shooting for with our own lawn, blends of grass and clover and flowering ground covers (mostly English Daisy, a ground cover I became so enchanted with I ordered seeds for it it include in our own lawn, hopefully it will grow here). And it wasn’t just in casual locations, even the lawns in the gardens of Versailles were polycultures! In a place where they meticulously trim hundreds of boxwoods into intricate patterns and stately mazes, they are not compelled to make sure nothing but grass grows in their lawns.

It was so prevalent, I wondered if it was intentional. Do all European grass blends come pre mixed with clover and English Daisy? From Blarney Castle to the Jardin des Plantes, polyculture lawns were everywhere we went on our trip. Do Europeans think our monocropped lawns are ridiculous when they come here? Do they notice them at all? I don’t know, but I took a ton of photos to show just how lovely it can be, and to give anyone who doesn’t totally get it an idea of what I’m going for. Enjoy!

Polyculture lawns in Europe

A lawn at a playground near the science museum in Paris.

Here's another lawn from around Paris.

Here’s another lawn from around Paris.

Here's another from around Paris

Here’s another from around Paris

Another Paris lawn in a public garden.

Another Paris lawn in a public garden.

From a distance, the species variety is hardly noticeable.

From a distance, the species variety is hardly noticeable.

This lawn was at a park near Baby Kennan's home in Paris.

This lawn was at a park near Baby Kennan’s home in Paris.

Here's a lawn near some castle ruins in Ireland. Freja loved picking the flowers out of the lawns.

Here’s a lawn near some castle ruins in Ireland. Freja loved picking the flowers out of the lawns.

In this charming photo of my kids, Freja is showing off a bouquet of English Daisy she picked out of the lawns at Blarney Castle. Don't ask me what Elijah is doing. He's weird.

In this charming photo of my kids, Freja is showing off a bouquet of English Daisy she picked out of the lawns at Blarney Castle. Don’t ask me what Elijah is doing. He’s weird.

At Blarney Castle (which was surrounded by beautiful, impressive gardens you could spend all day in), many of the lawns were full of what I think were ramps! There was an intoxicating floral garlic smell everywhere that wasn't so much Italian restaurant as much as maybe allium garden? I don't know, it's hard to explain but it was nice.

At Blarney Castle (which was surrounded by beautiful, impressive gardens you could spend all day in), many of the lawns were full of what I think were ramps! There was an intoxicating floral garlic smell everywhere that wasn’t so much Italian restaurant as much as maybe allium garden? I don’t know, it’s hard to explain but it was nice.

Here's a closeup of that same lawn.

Here’s a closeup of that same lawn.

Back in France, here is a lovely lawn on a hillside at the Jardin des Plantes, which was the site of Louis the XIV's green houses.

Back in France, here is a lovely lawn on a hillside at the Jardin des Plantes, which was the site of Louis the XIV’s green houses.

The closest thing to an American monoculture lawn we saw in the entire trip was this hunk of astroturf on the first level of the Eiffel tower. Probably the football fields they were readying for the European cup too, but we didn't get a close look at those.

The closest thing to an American monoculture lawn we saw in the entire trip was this hunk of astroturf on the first level of the Eiffel tower. Probably the football fields they were readying for the European cup too, but we didn’t get a close look at those.

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Back from Europe!

Gardening, Random Fun Stuff By June 19, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Note: I wrote this post a week ago, but failed to post it. I think I’m getting the hang of a schedule here and will be back to posting regularly soon!

Hello everyone! First off, I want to apologize for not having any posts while we were gone. I had every intention of scheduling a series of posts to go up while we were gone, but I just never got around to it. Can you all forgive me? I hope so, because I have a ton of awesome homesteading and environmental stuff to talk about having to do with this trip!

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Cradle to Cradle: RTH April bookclub selection

Book Club, Climate Justice and Environmentalism, Random Fun Stuff By April 28, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

cradle to cradle

Do you guys ever read a book with ideas in it and think, “Why the hell aren’t we already doing this if it’s so simple?”

That was my over all impression of Cradle to Cradle. And The Upcycle, which is the sequel that I went ahead and read as well because Cradle to Cradle was short. You didn’t have to read the sequel if you didn’t want, but if you liked Cradle to Cradle you would probably like The Upcycle so check it out.

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The Soil Will Save Us: RTH March bookclub selection

Book Club, Climate Justice and Environmentalism, Gardening, Random Fun Stuff, Sustainable/Resilient Living By April 4, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

The-Soil-Will-Save-Us-400

This post is late because it’s spring and this is a homestead. I’m pretty busy.

So, what did you guys think of The Soil Will Save Us? I was interested in this book because I am interested in both using tools to combat climate change, and sustainable meat production. This book had a lot of information in it, and it made me want to look into the scientists interviewed in it, and their work in general. There were quite a few scientists and prominent environmentalists interviewed, as well as a bunch of farmers. I wish there had been more practical information about soil carbon sequestration and how to do it yourself in your own environment, but over all I felt like I learned a lot and that is awesome.

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Edible Landscaping: The RTH February Bookclub Selection

Book Club, Gardening, Home cooking By February 29, 2016 Tags: , , , , No Comments
The February selection for our Rocking the Homestead bookclub!

The February selection for our Rocking the Homestead bookclub!

What did you all think about Edible Landscapes? Personally, I think this book is going to be an invaluable addition to my collection. The index of plants was spectacular, didn’t you think? And the accompanying photos were breathtaking. I got a ton of ideas about stuff to plant after reading this!

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How To Be Alive: RTH Book Club Selection January 2016

Activism, Book Club, Climate Justice and Environmentalism, Community, Parenting, Social Justice By January 30, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

A quote from How To Be Alive, by Colin Beavan.

A quote from How To Be Alive, by Colin Beavan.

Our first ever book club! Woo! How did we do? The selection for this month was Colin Beavan’s latest book, How to Be Alive: A Guide to the Kind of Happiness that Helps the World. I chose this book for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that I was a huge fan of Beavan’s last project and book, No Impact Man. I discovered his No Impact Man blog when I was pregnant with Elijah, and it launched me down a new road in environmentalism. I was especially drawn to his ideas about what really brings happiness in life, so when I heard he was writing an entire book devoted to that subject, I was pretty stoked.

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Lets talk about David Bowie

Current Events, Feminism, Pop Culture By January 18, 2016 Tags: , , , No Comments
David Bowie was a great artist, but also a complex and imperfect human.

David Bowie was a great artist, but also a complex and imperfect human.

I, like so many others, was shocked and saddened to hear about David Bowie’s death last week. I have been a big David Bowie fan since high school, maybe earlier, and Star Man was one of Elijah’s favorite songs as a toddler, so I had a lot of feelings from a life of memories that came up when he died. Like so many others, I shared my sadness over his passing and gratitude for having had his music as a part of my life on social media. It was nice to see how many other people were as moved by his art as I was.

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Homestead Fashion – Rocking Galoshes

Homestead Fashion By January 7, 2016 No Comments

I think people have a certain image in their heads when they think of an urban homesteader or gardener.  Plaid, button down shirts, wide brimmed hats, aprons, and maybe even overalls tend to be the image that first comes to mind when most people picture homestead fashion, and don’t get me wrong, these wardrobe staples can be pretty awesome.  Still, it’s a limited representation of what’s out there as far as homestead fashion goes.

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Hosting a Rocking Thanksgiving – Part Two

Family Life, Holidays, Home cooking, Music, Recipes By November 25, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

It’s Wednesday, and I feel like I’ve wasted all of my break.  I know I still have several days in which to accomplish more of my non food related goals, but it doesn’t seem like enough time.  Maybe once the semester is over …

In any case, I’m at least being productive about getting our Thanksgiving meal in order before the big day.  Here’s what I accomplished today.

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Get used to it: Terrorism and conflict in the age of climate change

Climate Justice and Environmentalism, Current Events, Social Justice By November 17, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

jean-julliens-peace-for-paris-symbol-goes-viral

While I wrote this post the day after it happened, I decided to wait a while before publishing it, because I believe strongly that everyone, no matter what their privilege, deserves to have some time to just mourn a horrific event like this without it being picked apart to figure out the political implications, or used to make a point. It’s important to evaluate this stuff, but not more important than compassion in the face of the tragic loss of human life.

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