January blossoms

Evergreen Pear flowersEvery day for the last year I’ve walked the same path, about a mile each way, to drop off and pick up my daughter. I’ve adopted this swath as my personal transect: I’m learning the names of all the trees and make a point of trying to spot the birds that I hear (often it’s Josephine that hears them first and says, “bioyd!”). This also given me the chance to watch how the seasonal change moves over my little San Franciscan hill. Continue reading

The universe in a sidewalk crack

Emma Marris (who, full disclosure, blurbed my book), has begun working on something quietly profound here. It has to do with kids, and the way they see the world. As Emma puts it,

This blog is inspired by my daughter’s ever expanding collection of natural specimens, a part of which you see here. She relates to nature by picking it up and asking me to carry it. As a result, I have begun really looking at and thinking about everyday nature in our backyard, on the street, and on our travels. This is exactly what I prescribed in my 2011 book, Rambunctious Garden. Nature isn’t the epic stuff you see on Planet Earth documentaries, I said. Nature is all around us, in the city, on the highway median. And now, all over my house.

My daughter is a lot younger than Emma’s – just barely walking. And when she does walk it’s frustrating: She’s forever veering off course, or bending down to pick at something in the crack in the sidewalk. But when I allow her to draw my attention to those sidewalk cracks, I’m often surprised at what I find there: Tiny flowers, even tinier snails, dead leaves (but then, where do those leaves come from? What do they signify?) Continue reading

The Organic Food Study: Why so angry?

Beautiful produce shops like this one (at the base of the building we lived in) are scattered every few blocks throughout Buenos Aires. It’s probably not organic produce, but it’s delicious and cheap.

A couple people have asked for my opinion about this study that came out a couple days ago on the nutritional value of organic food. To summarize: The findings made for great internet – you could get the gist by reading just the headline (which made for easy tweeting and facebooking), and it was counter intuitive (which made it worth tweeting and facebooking): Organic no more nutritious! Continue reading

Good Reads

A couple people have asked me for a list of recommendations from the stacks of books that I’ve read in writing my own (now to be titled All Natural). The list below is not complete (my full source list is over 9000 words) and are in no particular order. These are just the books (and other forms of media) I found particularly entertaining and interesting. Nothing here that you *should* read if you can get around to it in here, and (with great difficulty) I’ve restrained myself from listing all the books that would make me look smart and might impress you. No, this is just the stuff that was a pure joy for me to consume. Continue reading

The US is weird about breastfeeding

There’s been so much buzz over Time’s breastmilk-sploitation cover photo (milxploitation? boob-sploitation?) that I’ve decided the cover of my book should be an image of yours truly breastfeeding Jamie Lynne Grumet or some other suitably hot young mom.
Out of all of that though I found one particularly arresting graph that shows just how strange breastfeeding practices are in this country. As you can see, we are distinctly abnormal.

A comparison of age at weaning in the United States and in 64 traditional societies,
reproduced from Stuart-Macadam & Dettwyler (1995)

Continue reading