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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
Good news includes all the things which make us happy or otherwise feel good. It can be personal or public. We never know when something wonderful will happen, and when it does, most people want to share it with someone. It's disappointing when nobody is there to appreciate it. Happily, blogging allows us to share our joys and pat each other on the back.

What good news have you had recently? Are you anticipating any more? Have you found a cute picture or a video that makes you smile? Is there anything your online friends could do to make your life a little happier?

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ysabetwordsmith
Here are instructions for making a coat out of many old sweaters.

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ysabetwordsmith
Today is cloudy, cool, and breezy.

Round One, I fed the birds.  Then I planted the last 6 narcissus along with 12 tulips under bushes in the yard. 

EDIT 10/16/19 -- Round Two, I planted the last 8 tulips near the barrel garden.

EDIT 10/16/19 -- Round Three, I broke smaller twigs from a big branch in the savanna, filling the garden trolley with sticks twice, which I hauled to the firepit.  I figure this will make it more efficient when two of us are working on the bigger parts of the branches.  As it is now dark, I am done for the night. 

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ysabetwordsmith
This article talks about the need to let scientists cry when they witness horrible things. It also calls for providing psychological support.

That's a nice thought, but I don't think it's going to solve the problem. No amount of counseling can make a sensitive, intelligent person okay about the destruction of the biosphere, any more than it can make someone okay about being punched by an abusive spouse every day. You might manage to buffer the damage a bit, but nothing will stop it while the abuse continues. And right now, environmental science is a field that beats your soul with a baseball bat.

Obviously, the best solution would be to stop destroying the biosphere. People in charge don't want to do that, so it's not going to happen.

The next-best solution, I borrow from police work. Rotate people out of the most traumatic departments periodically, so nobody gets stuck in the worst situations without relief. If someone's studying coral bleaching, switch them to studying coral gardens or a sea sanctuary that is still in somewhat decent shape. Let them take a turn doing public outreach to raise funds or teach people about the biosphere. Doing something constructive can relieve the sense of helplessness that is a major cause of traumatic stress.

On a more personal level, the same problem happens to activists. So if you get frantic or depressed about how fucked up the world is, take a break. Go look at pictures of kittens or whatever makes you smile. Post links to recipes or songs. Make silly memes. I put leavening in my feed precisely because I often post things that are appalling, and I don't want my blog to be a wall of doom.

When you feel better, try to include lists of concrete things people can do about a problem when you are posting how fucked up things are. Even if individuals cannot solve big problems created by governments and megacorps, it is still possible to take action that disavows the misbehavior and sets one's moral stance against it.


EDIT 10/16/19: [personal profile] ioplokon  highly recommends the book Trauma Stewardship, and reading news in a different language than the one you use every day (because shifting languages tends to reduce emotional impact).

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ysabetwordsmith
Thistles and goldenrods sustain birds and butterflies on migration.  Other fall-blooming flowers are important too, like asters.  Around here frost asters are common.  Whacking down some of the goldenrod in the prairie garden allowed thistles and frost asters to grow more.

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This article explains how to render fat, aiming toward neutral flavor.  This is important if you want to use it for baking.

However, that's not always what you want.  Bacon grease is meant to be browned until flavorful, although it can come out anywhere from creamy almost-white to a rich reddish-brown.  If you like bacon flavor, you can then spread it on cornbread.  You can use it to coat venison, fish, or anything else that doesn't have much of its own fat.  You can cook with it, adding a spoonful to things like ham-and-beans.  I like to fry eggs in it.  Also, if you're feeding it to cats so they don't get hairballs, the more bacony it is, the more eager the cats will be to eat it.  I have yet to see a cat who doesn't make a beeline for bacon grease, whereas some of them dislike commercial hairball goo.

Oh, and don't throw out the browned bits when you render fat.  Cracklin's good.  Use them on a casserole or salad for a rich, crunchy, carb-free topping.  \o/

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