August 18th, 2009


City Chickens

Garden Gnome Wanderings has a lovely little post about raising chickens in suburban or urban areas. Chickens provide eggs and garden fertilizer; if you wish, they can also provide meat and craft feathers. They require minimal space and are easy to care for. Extra eggs can be shared, bartered, or sold.

I'm excited because a friend of ours says that her mother's chickens are starting to lay eggs now. I am going to save my empty egg cartons so that we can get some of the eggs. I made a point of saying that I'll happily barter sewing, homemade ice cream, or other stuff for eggs ... because I figure, even if they start out free, people will soon be clamoring after them. I buy cage-free/organic eggs in stores when I can afford to, but they are about three times as expensive as crummy commercial eggs. Sharing and bartering for eggs is much more affordable.

Oh, but real eggs are soooo much better than commercial eggs! They have dark orange yolks that stand up above a puddle of thick albumen. When cooked, they have a rich, complex flavor that varies depending on what the hens have been eating.

Being the Other

Having recently discovered that karen_wehrstein is revising and posting Chevenga's story online, I've started rereading what is now The Philosopher in Arms from the beginning. It is very dark and very powerful. The story starts with the assassination of Chevenga's father, "The Leaf Fallen from the Tree." But the second post, "On the Stream-Test," reminded me of something that always intrigued me about Yeoli culture.

The custom of chiravesa is described as "being the other." Each person in a debate or argument must try to switch roles and see from the other person's perspective. It is a valuable life-skill, although very challenging to acquire and practice. There are multiple examples throughout Chevenga's story, starting with this second post.

Fans of sociological fiction will appreciate this. For those of you who like to visit other worlds in search of useful, portable insights ... definitely take a long walk through Yeola-e. The path starts here.

Traveling Tips

Go Backpacking had two recent posts that are particularly notable:

"How to Survive Reverse Culture Shock" offers tips on how to settle yourself back at home after an extended journey. This is an important process, especially for people who are very new to the experience. Remember, when you stretch yourself, you aren't always going to fit back into your previous space the same way.

"Lightload Towels" is a review of a travel product. In addition to describing this particular brand of travel towel, however, the author also explains what the desirable qualities of a travel towel are for people who may not be familiar with those criteria.

Ask Your Members of Congress to Support the Consumer Financial Protection Agency

Here is something you can do to make America's economy a little saner; sign this petition in favor of consumer advocacy.

Ask Your Members of Congress to Support the Consumer Financial Protection Agency
Congress is considering legislation to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency to guard us against misleading and unfair credit cards, loans and mortgages. But the Big Banks are spending hundreds of millions of dollars—from the billions they got in taxpayer-funded bailouts—on lobbyists and PR to oppose real consumer protections.

Also, remember that it is your responsibility as a citizen to spend or invest your money wisely. Educate yourself about budgeting skills, savings, and other financial matters. But the simplest rule is: if something looks too good to be true, it usually is.