Sunday, December 30, 2012

Only one day left

What do you think?  How will we remember 2012, this year of extremes...?

Will we remember hurricane Sandy? (Answer: yes, definitely.)
leaning pole, after hurricane Sandy
After hurricane Sandy, New Jersey

Will we remember the nor'easter named Athena, that arrived a few days after Sandy? (Answer: probably not, we have a lot of early snowstorms these days...)
nor'easther Athena

Will we remember the crazy election with Romney vs. Obama, and all the money that was wasted on political ads instead of putting to good use for a better world?
peaceful White House
collage about world history

Will I remember the year I started growing weeds on purpose? (Maybe not, but others might.)
growing weeds in my raised beds - so green!

My Agent Orange Hot Sauce with habaneros and carrots?  Yes, that is among the best ever made in this house.  A memory that has to be repeated next year, and this is probably the spiciest hot sauce I have made.
habanero carrot hot sauce - amazing!

I do know what I will remember:

The robin chicks in our garden:
robin chicks in nest

The poison hemlock that decided to grow in my raised bed (which is pretty funny since I just decided to learn more about weeds):
Poison hemlock, Conium maculatum (Apiaceae)

Seeing the original fossil of Tiktaalik, the missing link between lake-living amphibians and terrestrial tetrapods:
Tiktaalik - a missing link between fishes and tetrapods on land

Feeling strangely 'at home' in a tiny town in Vermont, a place that reminded me so much of the good parts of rural Sweden.
houses in Strafford, Vermont

I also think this was the year when the climate change opinion changed; I can feel it in the air, in the media, among my neighbors.  Nobody is arguing about the weather becoming wetter, windier, drier, stranger anymore.  Not here. Not after blooming flowers in January, snowstorms in April, drought and 'the-sky-just-opened'-rain showers in August, the superstorm/hurricane Sandy and then the snowstorms after that.  The weather just is crazy, and you can see it with your own eyes.

Time to face the facts and do something about it, people. And don't rebuild where it will flood again...  Do you think the stone age people rebuilt when the land rise changed the coastlines?  No, they were smart, they moved. It doesn't work to be stubborn when nature's forces are against you. How will we adapt?  (And for the record, all but 0.17% of scientific reports agree, the current climate change is caused by the human species. That debate is over.  Now it is time to decide what do to.)
Summer rain in sunshine

So, taking a census of the year, what were the highlights?  

Well, I saw a lot of things that was interesting: Ground Zero, the abandoned railroad terminal at Liberty State Park, Washington Monument, Edison Labs, the green mountains of Vermont (injured after hurricane Irene), shapes at Grounds of Sculpture, a rare pink gentian, Ken Hamilton's models, crocodiles and leafcutter ants in Costa Rica, the rescued SAAB museum, and Ai Wei Wei's exhibit in Stockholm. I also made some things I am proud of, like this scarf and about 70 jars of canned food.

But the highlights must have been all the good food we made from mostly locally grown meat and vegetables, eating fresh tomatoes from the reinvigorated and redesigned kitchen garden with blue highlights, teaching fun classes with great students and co-teachers on really interesting subjects (evolution can never be a boring subject), seeing my relatives in Sweden, learning about weeds that are beautiful and neglected, getting an art quilt by Erin Wilson, that the cats survived another year outside (even during Sandy), and getting AREA off to art college.

2012 was also the year where I gave in and got an iPhone, despite my severe reservations and horror at other people's addiction to this piece of technology. Honestly, I think it can be a good thing, but you have to learn to turn it off, and set all signals and notifications but the phone calls to silent. There is nothing more annoying than someone that has a phone on vibrate or buzz while doing other things so they and you (and the people around you) get interrupted all the time.  And don't take it to bed (as if I ever would do that... my phone lives in another room.) I wanted the GPS and a way to get news during the next storm that hits us, since all power and internet will be out again then for days, I am sure. Another day I will rant about Facebook etc., don't you worry.  As my brother says about me, 'you are certainly not an early adopter'. :)

And the people, art, and books this year that have had the most influence on how I think and what I do, are probably the author Cheryl Strayed (book reviews will come!), Anu Tuominen's art (the blogpost about her is here), and the book The War of Art (half of which is good about procrastination and getting things done, while the rest is mumbo-jumbo about spiritual inspiration). 

And with that - Happy New Year, Happy 2013!, with a photo taken exactly a year ago in the forests around here.  This is the fruit of a tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera.
remnants of tulip tree fruits (Liriodendron, Magnoliaceae)


Katie H said...

Lovely photos! Happy 2013 to you, too.

I found some permaculture podcasts for free on iTunes, you might like that outlook on gardening if you're getting into weeds!

LS said...

Oh yes, send me the links about permaculture :), Thanks Katie!

AnS said...

Lovely to hear about your year in USA. Here in Sweden we have had rain record this year. It has only in two years rained so much since 1850. It has been flowering in my garden and i get a lot of vegetables and tomatoes. I have painting pastel and watercolor and have two art exhibition this year.

Katie H said...

Okay, here are five of my favorite sites, the first has the podcasts. I'm designing and building a food forest garden an hour north of Gothenburg, using many of the permaculture principals.

Also, there's an Austrian guy named Sepp Holzer who does incredible work, lots of films about him on YouTube. Some have subtitles.

I highly recommend Horizon Herbs and Botanical Interests for heirloom seeds. I even grew some Anazazi corn by Skagerack! Enjoy!