Links & Updates 3-18-14

I’ve been emerging from my hermit world a bit more lately. I blame it on birdsong, extra sunlight, and roads that are no longer chronically icy. Already, the first crocus!

Lately I’ve been giving a series of author talks through the Cleveland-area Cuyahoga County library system. Everyone who has attended so far has been full of questions, ideas, and anecdotes about their own family’s learning journey. I say “everyone” as if crowds have shown up. That’s not the case. Just a few people, six in the last session. That may be due to library systems’ cut-backs, leaving no money for fliers and publicity for such programs. Or it may be that this particular metropolitan area does not want to talk about learning of the free ranging sort. That’s fine too.

I was honored to discover that one woman, a fellow writer and a homeschooling parent, wrote a post about what she took away from my talk on her site Raising Lifelong Learners. Colleen, you made my day. No, my week!

There are three more talks scheduled. I’d love it if you’d spread the news.

Brecksville, Tuesday March 25th at 7 pm

Parma Snow, Wednesday April 23rd at 7 pm

North Royalton, Wednesday May 21st at 7 pm

Poetry-wise, a few extra joys. One of my poems appeared as the mindfulness poem of the day on A Year of Being Here.

I also wrote a guest post for BoneSpark about a writing prompt I recently learned (with the poem that prompt prompted).


100% Renewable Energy Is Feasible and Affordable, According to Stanford Proposal. Researchers have developed detailed plans for each state in the union to move to 100 percent wind, water, and solar power by 2050 using only technology that’s already available. The plan doesn’t rely, like many others, on dramatic energy efficiency regimes. Nor does it include biofuels or nuclear power, whose green credentials are the source of much debate.

I got to interview Andrea Crosta, the founder of WildLeaks. This non-profit organization provides a secure, anonymous platform so whistleblowers can report wildlife and forest crimes happening anywhere in the world. They’re already at work facilitating investigations and prosecutions made possible by tipsters. Bookmark the link to WildLeaks, because you never know when you’ll have the chance to make a difference.


Here’s a peek inside the intelligently witty site The Man Who Is Not My Mother. It’s basically observations from a baby’s point of view, if that baby spoke in the droll manner of a seething aristocrat.

A perfect depiction of complex carbs, by artist Gemma Correll.

Okay, I may be teetering over the rudeness cliff, but I find delightful inspiration in the obituary Walter George Bruhl Jr. wrote for himself. Maybe we should jot down a few lines for our own obituaries? Here’s a sample of his:

Walt was preceded in death by his tonsils and adenoids in 1935; a spinal disc in 1974; a large piece of his thyroid gland in 1988; and his prostate on March 27, 2000.


Ever since I read The Secret Life of Plants I’ve been fascinated with plant intelligence. Some of that book’s assertions have been denounced, but evidence keeps showing up that provide a glimpse into a world far more complex than we might imagine. Like this study. published in The American Naturalist, which found evidence of decision-making by European Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) plants.  The authors write, “Ecological evidence for complex decision making in plants thus includes a structural memory (the second seed), simple reasoning (integration of inner and outer conditions), conditional behavior (abortion), and anticipation of future risks (seed predation).”

If you want to delve deeper into this obsession there are some great books available, from the science-y to the mystical.

Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

The Secret Garden: Dawn to Dusk in the Astonishing Hidden World of the Garden

The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature

Oh, and we’re all cousins. Check out the charts on Wait But Why. I think we should plan a planetary-wide reunion weekend….

Links & Updates 2-17-14

I love winter. I know this isn’t a widely shared sentiment, especially after the winter we’ve had (in my view, a beautiful one thanks to bountiful snow).  In fact, I’m not at all eager for spring yet. I’m still busy enjoying what winter looks like on our little farm. Only a few more weeks to adore it, then it’ll be mud season.

Here’s one gift of this winter. We got to see an unusual weather phenomenon called snow rollers right in our backyard.


And hieroglyphics in melted windowsill frost.

One more snow-related update. The tombstone up against the front porch foundation is now partially unburied (pun!) thanks to wind erasing the snow cover. Yes, a tombstone. (One of the many reasons even the mailman wonders about us.) Let me explain. One of my delightful offspring got interested in all things Norse about two years ago. He researched ancient mythology and runes, started learning to speak Swedish, and worked hard to teach himself stone carving using hand tools. It’s not easy to find exactly the right rock for such endeavors. His older brother, always considerate, bought a headstone that was deeply discounted thanks to a typo and presented it as a birthday gift. My Norse-a-phile ground the name and dates off the stone. Then using a rough runic alphabet, he carved a message in the stone. Want to guess what it says? I found it amusing so it’s a good bet it’s a little rude.

Okay, on to some links.


My daughter suggests Barbie jeep racing as our new family sport. We’re looking for the right hill…

For far deeper merriment, I heartily recommend a book written by my friend and fun expert, Bernie DeKoven. Here’s a review of A Playful Path. And here’s where you can get an e-book version FOR FREE! (I bought several print versions as well for gifts because I consider this book essential.)


Activism and, more importantly, an increase on society’s ethical maturity is helping to advance the rights of tribal people. Check out good news at Survival International here and here.

Members of the Dongria Kondh tribe. (Image by Jason Taylor)

Members of the Dongria Kondh tribe. (Image by Jason Taylor)

Here’s nonviolence in action.



 Orthodox priests stood between the demonstrators and the Ukrainian special police force. Holding icons and crosses, they successfully stopped the conflict.


Powerful spoken word poetry by Guante.

An extraordinary poem I’ve used when teaching nonviolence classes, “Invisible Work” by Alison Luterman.

I stopped and let myself lean
a moment, against the blue
shoulder of the air. The work
of my heart
is the work of the world’s heart.
There is no other art.

Read the full piece here.

And what feels like a gift, a very nice review of my book by We Drink Because We’re Poets.



25 STEM Leaders Who Were Homeschooled.

School Ditches Rules, Looses Bullies.

And what I’m learning—Imaginary Motherhood.

Okay, Bringing Winter Up Again

To drag some learning experiences out of the last snowfall, try making snow ice cream or conducting the clean snow experiment. It’s all here in 15 Smarty Pants Ways to Enjoy Snow.

If you’re stuck indoors, try yarnbombing furniture or communicating via banana. Check out more ideas in 40 Cabin Fever Cures for Kids.

Auditory Yes!