Thursday, December 15, 2011

Can it really be done?

Can Vermont - can Vermonters - get 90 percent of its - of their - energy from the wind, the sun, the rain (and maybe some wood chips) by 2050?

That's only 38 years away, meaning Vermont would have relatively little time to figure out how to replace a lot of oil, natural gas, and uranium and even some coal as the source of its lights, its warm houses, and its getting from here to there.

But that's what the state's ambitious "Comprehensive Energy Plan" calls for.

"We intend to set Vermont on a path to attain 90% of its energy from renewable sources by mid-century," says the plan, officially a draft but slated to be put into final form within days.

In its own words, the Plan is "comprehensive…requiring action in all sectors regarding all energy sources." [Download the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan]

A big job, but, according to the plan, not really optional.

"It is imperative," says the plan, "that we take more control over our energy future."

"Imperative," to be sure, does not necessarily mean "feasible," and the state could "take control" and still fail to meet that 90 percent by mid-century goal. Already, there are critics who argue that the goal is not only unattainable, but not even desirable. They also ask just how much it will cost.

They have a point. The Plan doesn't say how much it will cost. But then, the critics don't say how much it will cost not to move toward less reliance on coal, oil, and gas. Over the next 38 years, burning all that stuff is likely to get a lot more expensive, not to mention dirty. The "challenge of climate change" and the obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions lie behind the Plan's call for switching to non-polluting renewable sources.

A price tag is not the only thing the Plan lacks. Anyone looking for a specific, mathematically precise outline explaining just how the state can reach its 90 percent goal will be disappointed. This is a plan as strategy not as detailed diagram, a general roadmap rather than a precise blueprint.

"The point of a plan is to move in the right direction, to set a goal that appears to be both ambitious and achievable, and to make sure you continue to move in that direction" said Elizabeth Miller, the Commissioner of the Public Service Department, the Plan's creator.

Not that the Plan is nothing more than a warm and fuzzy wish list. Its pages - 19 in the Volume I summary, 368 in the more detailed Volume II - are chock full of graphs, tables, and statistical analysis. The authors used models to try to calculate likely energy use, living patterns, and costs over the next few decades.

But models are created by using assumptions about the future, all plausible but none certain, and many beyond Vermont's control. The section about using less energy for transportation, for instance makes clear that success would depend on federal policy and on how much progress the auto industry makes on developing electric (or part-electric) autos. "We must make significant changes in the types of fuels our vehicles use and in the infrastructure that we rely upon to move around," the Plan says.

On its own, Vermont can't do that.

"That's why we model," Miller said.  "All models are wrong, but some are useful. The point of modeling is to set policy. A model is not a crystal ball."

It can't be, she said, because there will be so many changes in technology, the economy, and human behavior over the next few decades that any effort at precise prediction would be foolish. That, she said, is why the Plan's authors rejected suggestions to set interim "sub-goals," for instance, "to say by 2023 we have to be producing 17 percent of our electricity with biomass, three percent and with wood chips." Conditions will change over time. Does that mean there shouldn't be a goal? No. We need to move in the right direction."

Furthermore, even when the Plan is declared final, it won't really be…final. It's a work in progress. As new technologies are developed, as national policy changes, as new economic models are accepted, the Plan will continue to be re-adjusted.

Some of the criticism is very specific. Fuel oil dealers, who obviously want more homeowners to heat their homes with the product they sell rather than being served by a natural gas pipelines, are unhappy that the Plan suggests expanding a natural gas pipeline. Some business groups fear that the focus on renewables and climate change will mean less emphasis on controlling costs, leading to higher utility bills. They are especially unhappy that the Plan assumes the impending closing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, which now produces about a third of Vermont's electricity for a low price and without polluting the air.

"Rate-payers would be forced to buy an expensive source of power…(based on) an artificial construct," said Guy Page, the communications director of the Vermont Energy Partnership. Referring to the state's insistence that electric utilities buy a certain amount of power from wind projects, even though that electricity is more expensive, Page said, "That's an un-level playing field. Wouldn't it be better to build in renewables on a level playing field?"

In energy, though, there has never been a level playing field. All fuels and systems have been subsidized for more than a century. Nuclear power, which Page and his allies support, is perhaps the most government-subsidized industry in the history of the world. Its original research and development was the Manhattan Project; it still relies on government loan guarantees and a legal cap on its liabilities.

Another specific complaint against the Plan comes from some environmentalists unhappy that the draft version would have ended an eight-year ban on large-scale wind energy projects on state-owned land.

"This land was protected for a reason," said Will Wiquist, the executive director of the Green Mountain Club.  Much of it, he said, is among the state's "most fragile high-elevation lands," and should not be developed.

After Agency of Natural Resources Deb Markowitz said she thought the current policy "works and is consistent with the goals of the energy policy," the plan was "modified," Miller said (by email), to provide that," all renewables continue to be allowed consideration on state land where appropriate."

That would seem to tolerate smaller wind installations, such as the single tower that just went up on state-owned land at Burke Mountain, but not "industrial" wind projects such as the controversial development being built on Lowell Mountain.

The broader criticism of the plan was articulated by University of Vermont economist Art Woolf, who said, "There is no estimate out there of what this thing's going to cost." The Plan, Woolf said, is "looking at the positives and totally ignoring anything that might cause a problem. It only looks at the benefits, not the costs."

For instance, Woolf said, meeting the Plan's goals for using less gasoline would require many more Vermonters to drive cars powered by electricity. Right now, at least, those cars are far more expensive than gasoline-powered autos.

"If I bought $40,000 Chevy Volt (I'd have) $20,000 less to spend than if I bought a standard Chevy," Woolf said. Thousands of Vermonters reducing their disposable income by $20,000 each, he noted, would be a substantial drag on the state's economy.

The Plan hardly avoids the matter of cost, which is mentioned hundreds of times, almost always with the goal of holding it down. But as Miller acknowledged, there is no total net cost estimate of how much money - or whose - it would take to get from here to there.

But it would be close to impossible to provide a detailed cost estimate for the same reason that the Plan does not provide that specific, precise blueprint for achieving its goal: too many variables. For instance, Miller said, "there are…unknown…market forces that will allow vehicle penetration and pricing to change…Those are acknowledged in the plan and rough estimates are provided to allow Vermonters to understand the challenges and benefits."

It may be significant that both Woolf and Miller used automobile transportation examples. Thanks to controversies over Vermont Yankee and the Lowell Mountain wind project, electricity has dominated Vermont's energy debates. But Vermonters us far more energy driving their cars than lighting their homes or running their clothes dryers.

"Transportation accounts for the highest share of overall energy use," reports the Plan, and adds more to greenhouse gas totals than anything else Vermonters do. In Vermont, transportation essentially means individuals driving their cares, usually all alone, and the Plan suggests that the state consider not only cleaner-burning, more fuel-efficient cars, but some more profound (if gradual and cost-effective) alterations in how Vermonters live: more public transportation, more carpooling, walking or biking to work or shop where practical, and - perhaps to make it practical - more people living in "compact centers."

As the Plan says, "the simplest way to reduce emissions from motor vehicles is to use them less."

To some extent, the difference of opinion here is one of attitude as much as analysis. The writers of the Plan appear optimistic that energy technologies will improve fast enough to help them meet their goal. Others are less certain.

"I'm skeptical that anybody knows what energy technologies will be available," Woolf said.

Or course, nobody knows. Up in Canada, Joshua Pearce, adjunct professor of York University's Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, said  solar photovoltaic systems are near the "tipping point" where they can produce energy for about the same price other traditional sources of energy.

But professors have made such projections before, and solar energy remains more expensive than power produced from coal or gas.

Considering Vermont's demographics, at least half the people of the state probably won't be around in 2050 to find out whether Vermont can really succeed in reaching that 90 percent goal.

But there's also the matter of how to define success. If by then Vermont gets 85, or even 75 percent of its energy needs from renewables, will the Plan have been a failure?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It is 2025, and somewhere in rural Vermont a child gets hurt.

Big deal. Kids get hurt every day. This kid's mother drives him to the hospital emergency room or perhaps to the office of the family's own health care providers.

Either way, they walk in and are…given a number and told to sit down. It will take awhile. There aren't enough doctors.

Good thing this kid isn't so badly hurt that he needs emergency surgery. In that case, they'd have to rush him to Fletcher-Allen in Burlington or Dartmouth Hitchcock over in New Hampshire. The nearby hospital hasn't had an emergency surgeon on the staff for decades. To put it bluntly, by 2025, Vermont will not have enough doctors.

Actually, according to most experts, Vermont already doesn't have enough doctors. Or at least it doesn't have enough primary care physicians in most of the state.

"We're probably short 25 FTEs (full-time-equivalent) when it comes to family practitioners," said Dr. Charles MacLean, a primary care physician who is also Associate Dean for Primary Care at the University of Vermont's College of Medicine, where he heads Vermont's AHEC (Area Health Education Centers). AHEC was created by Congress 40 years ago to try to increase health services in poor and rural areas.

Twenty-five is not a big number, but according to the State Health Department there are only 492 primary care physicians to begin with, so Vermont is already about five percent short of the family practitioners it needs.

"The number of primary care physicians falls short of the number needed to care for all Vermont residents," said a report released in August by the Association of American Medical Colleges. The report found shortages "in all counties," but Dr. Harry Chen, Vermont's Health Commissioner, said, "there is a maldistribution of physicians," with doctors "more available" in Chittenden County and a few other pockets of the state.

Elsewhere, then, the shortage would be greater than 5 percent.

That shortage is likely to grow, and not only for primary care physicians. The doctors said they also expected shortages in general surgery and mental health care, where the state needs more doctors but also more physicians assistants, nurses, and other therapists.

Vermonters are getting older, and older people need more medical services. Furthermore, Vermont doctors are getting older, meaning many of them will be retiring. Furthermore, if the new national health care law is not repealed, more Vermonters will be able to afford health care. And if the projected state health care plans take effect, even more people - especially lower-income Vermonters who tend to have more health problems - will have access to the system.

If the system can accommodate them.

"If we cover everybody," said Dr. MacLean, "the shortfall would probably double." The potential shortage of primary care physicians, he said, could be "severe."

In Vermont, at least, the medical establishment does not disagree.

"We have a shortage of physicians especially in primary care, and also general surgeons and orthopedic surgeons and it's only going to get worse," said Paul Harrington,  the Executive Vice President of the Vermont Medical Society. Harrington listed the same three reasons - older doctors, older patients, more patients with health insurance - to explain why the doctor shortage would get worse.

So what, exactly, is Vermont doing wrong?

Probably nothing. The doctor shortage is a nationwide problem, worse in many other states than in Vermont. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States has 243 physicians per 100,000 people, substantially lower than the 298 average for all OECD countries. One of the few countries with fewer doctors per person is neighboring Canada, which has only 218 physicians per 100,000 people. France, whose health care system is considered the world's best by many international health care experts, has 337 doctors for every 100,000 people.

States in the U.S. don't compile statistics allowing a precise comparison with the OECD's. For Vermont's 630,000 or so people, Harrington said, about 1,880 physicians practice in the state.

Both Dr. MacLean and Dr. Chen said that the physician shortage was less severe in the New England and Northeastern states than in most of the rest of the country, especially the Southeast.

That would seem consistent with the answer given by the two doctors to the question of why the doctor shortage is worse in rural areas than in and around cities. To some extent, they acknowledged, money might be a factor; perhaps doctors earn more in metropolitan areas. But mostly, Dr. MacLean said, in and near cities is simply "where people want to live."

Or at least where doctors want to live. Being educated, physicians tend to have high- (or at least middle-) brow taste. They want to live and raise their families where there are good schools, gourmet restaurants, theaters (and not just for movies), concerts, and like-minded neighbors, all more common in larger cities or university towns. In Vermont, Burlington is both. Many out-of-staters come to Vermont to attend UVM's highly-rated College of Medicine, fall in love with the state and the city, and never leave. Enticing a young doctor to open a practice in Burlington is easy; convincing one to move to the Northeast Kingdom or the White River Valley is not.

So the state and the doctors are trying harder. Dr. Chen described a process a bit like a college coach who is tipped off about a hot basketball prospect in eighth grade and keeps tabs on him through high school.

"We take a multi-faceted approach," Dr. Chen said. "For instance, if someone who's interested in being a doctor grows up in the Northeast Kingdom, we'll follow them (through college and medical school) and focus incentives" designed to make it more appealing for the young doctor to open a practice or join a hospital near his or her home town.

Those incentives include partial loan repayments, which the state has been making for some young doctors with the help of money from both the federal government and private foundations.

Student debt is no small consideration for young doctors, many of whom emerge from their 10 or more years of training (college, medical school, residency) owing $150,000 or more, and almost 30 years old before starting their careers. It's one reason many young physicians choose a specialty such as cardiology or ophthalmology, where they can earn twice what a family practice primary care doctor earns.

There is some dispute about the root cause of the nationwide doctor shortage. Some critics argue that over the years the American Medical Association has deliberately held down the number of medical school openings to control the supply - and therefore prop up the price - of providing health care.

The AMA was formed in 1847, partly because some of the then 400 medical schools were diploma mills churning out unqualified graduates. Today's 133 medical schools graduated 16,838 students in 2010, a small increase over the 15,676 who graduated in 2002. Thousands of applicants, many of them presumably capable, are turned away every year for lack of space.

Whatever the reason, US doctors do earn substantially more than their counterparts elsewhere. According to a chart posted by economist Greg Mankiw, physicians in the U.S. earned an average of just under $200,000 in 1996, roughly twice the average income of a Canadian doctor and almost four times the average in France.

Another reason for the doctor shortage is that even if there were more medical school graduates, there aren't enough intern slots to handle them. One reason for this is federal budget cuts. Most of those intern positions are funded through Medicare, and in the 1990s Congress started cutting back on those expenses.

One way or another, Vermont's ability to attract new doctors will depend on how the new Green Mountain Care Board chooses to revamp the state's health care system under the sweeping law the Legislature passed earlier this year. At the Medical Society, Paul Harrington worries that if the Board does not heed the recommendations of "the physicians actually providing care, it will create a system with too much uncertainty to attract new doctors."

Dr. Chen, though, thinks that "medical students overwhelmingly support" Vermont's effort to change a "clearly dysfunctional" health care system, and that the kind of system envisioned by the new law can attract young physicians from around the country.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Have you ever heard of a xylothek? A few days ago someone had posted an image on Pinterest that piqued my curiosity ~ as the link didn't work, I did some more research myself. The word xylothek is Greek and breaks down to the following: xylon = tree and theke = storing place. So, a xylothek is a collection of wood specimens placed together in some kind of cupboard.

{images from here}

The first three images shown are from the wooden library at Alnarp, Sweden ~ there are 217 volumes in the set. This specific xylothek was made in Nurmburg, Germany from 1805-1810. Each book is made from the wood of a specific tree or shrub and contains specimens pertaining to that variety as well as a written description, biology, and practical use. What an amazing way to catalog ones research! Read more and see a few more images of the wooden library at Alnarp here.

I wasn't able to find very much information or images ~ just bits and pieces here and there, but I'll share what I found. Below is a similar xylothek to the one above ~ apparently the makers of the wooden library at Alnarp made multiple sets to sell, so this could have been one of the other sets.

(image from here}

{Image from here}

Below is another xylothek of a different style ~ this one seems a bit rougher, but still beautiful in its own unique way. Many of the sites where I found images were in German and didn't seem to contain much additional information. The two images below are from two different sources, but look as if they are from the same library.

{image from here}

{the rose bush ~ image from here}

{From a 200 year old collection of 130 volumes ~ image from here}

Last, a Japanese xylothek housed in a wooden cabinet. From what I could glean from the translated German, the cabinet was European built, but the individual "pages" were created in Japan. This version is unique in the fact that the images were painted rather than collected specimens. You may be able to get more from the translation if you read it yourself here. I would love to see any of these collections in person ~ they all look so interesting!

{images from here}

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Those of you who have been following along for awhile know about my fondness for anything with multiple drawers, nooks & crannies ~ here and here. When a woodworker friend of mine posted a photo of the Wooton Patent Desk on his FB page, I was totally smitten ~ I have never seen anything like this anywhere! I wonder if you came upon a piece of furniture like that shown below if you would even think to open it up?

Imagine finding this inside ~ I think I just might have a heart attack ~ especially if it was at a price I could afford! Guess I will keep an eye open from now on!

{images from here}

I did a bit of searching and located a few other examples that are shown below. I also found out a bit of history about the Wooton Patent Desk. This sort of desk was produced by William Wooton from 1870 through 1884 ~ it was called a "secretary desk" and its function was to organize any sort of office paperwork. These desks were expensive at the time (and now!) and only the wealthy could afford such a piece of furniture. The craftsmanship and details on these pieces is just amazing ~ I especially love the different ways the little drawers were designed ~ ie. the addition of numbers or the drawer pulls.

{images above from here}

{images above from here}

I love that this piece of furniture was advertised as "The King of Desks" ~ I can't imagine that there was much competition! Another of the advertising slogans used for the Wooton's Patent Desk was that it was "A place for everything & everything in its place" ~ nice to know where that saying originated!

{image & more info here}

{image from here}

Great vintage photo above that shows a Wooton desk being used in an office ~ must have been a successful business to be able to afford such nice office furniture. Below is a book on the desks ~ might be fun to take a look at to learn more and see other examples.

{buy book here}

So, how do we go from the Wooton's Patent Desk to that shown below? Granted, the cabinet below would fit most budgets, but after seeing a Wooton, this just doesn't cut it ~ plastic or vinyl drawers ~ UGH! Paperboard boxes with metal pulls would improve this considerably ~ even if it increased the price. What do you think?!

{image from here}

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Vermont, as almost everyone knows, is a nature lover's delight. Green both in its politics and on the ground, the state is chock full of farm land, forest land, wild land, lakefront land, riverside.

WHOOPS! Let's back that one up a little.

Farms, forests, lakes, all true enough. And lots of green space.

But wild land? Not so much.

Less, as a percentage of its total area, than many other states. Not only the Western states with their thousands of square miles of wilderness, but also less than neighbors New York and New Hampshire.
Or even – would you believe? – New Jersey.

"It's an illuminating statistic," said Emily Boedecker, the Deputy State Director for Nature Conservancy Vermont, pointing to a map on the wall of her Montpelier office which notes how much land each Eastern state has categorized as wild. New Jersey, thanks largely to its preserved coastal wetlands, has set aside more such land than Vermont.

According to the estimation of Sweet Water Trust, a foundation that supports wild land conservation in the Northeast, only 2.83 percent of Vermont's 9,249.56 square miles have been preserved in their wildest state, with another 1.54 percent given protection as "primarily natural." Altogether, 16.74 percent of the state is "conserved land" in one form or another.

What Is Wilderness?

As originally defined in the 1964 Wilderness Act, wilderness is an area "where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man," effectively limiting it to remote public lands in the West. Nine years later, President Gerald Ford signed the Eastern Wilderness Act adding parcels that had been trammeled in the past, but were to remain wild from then on.

Anyone can go into any wilderness area, but only on foot or horseback, and only "non-invasive activities" are permitted. This includes fishing, hunting, backpacking and some scientific research, but not logging, mining, roads, mechanized vehicles (No, not even bicycles), or other development.
In New Hampshire, those figures are 4.28 percent, 5.68 percent and 29.51 percent. In New York, they are 4.10 percent, 5.83 percent. and 17.85 percent. Vermont's share of protected land is smaller than the combined average of all the "Northern Appalachian states" (New England plus New York).

Those are the statistics. As to why Vermont keeps less of its land wild, there are diverse explanations – natural, historical, political, cultural. To begin with, almost all land protected in its wild state was public land to begin with, and Vermont just has less public land than many of its neighbors. The Green Mountain National Forest – the only large, contiguous tract of public land in the state – is smaller than its White Mountain counterpart in New Hampshire or the "forever wild" expanses of the Catskill and Adirondack Parks in New York.

The natural causes are simple and obvious. Vermont has better farmland –"the soil is sweeter," said Boedecker – leading to more agricultural development. The Green Mountains are gentler than the Whites or the Adirondacks, so "New York and New Hampshire just have better wild land than Vermont," said Jim Northrup of Northeast Wilderness Trust in Bristol. "They have more rugged, remote, wild land which gives people a sense of solitude, and made it easier to set aside those areas as wilderness."

And at least in the past, Vermont also never had the same kind of powerful (and well-heeled) conservationist lobby that helped preserve the wild land in the Adirondack and Catskill regions of New York.

In the view of some wilderness advocates, Vermonters may be more hostile to preserving land in its wild state than are many of their neighbors. George Wuerthner, a photographer and ecologist who lives in both Richmond and out west, decried (via email) what he called "the uncritical adoration of the ‘working landscape,' (which) "by extension implies that what one may call ‘non-working landscapes' are somehow less desirable…just lazy, shiftless and obviously not holding their own."

From an ecological perspective, Wuerthner said, these wild lands "are working very hard producing clean water, wildlife habitat, clean air, flood control, functioning ecosystems and so forth."

There does seem to be some antipathy in Vermont to ‘non-working landscapes,' as though some Vermonters think that leaving land in its natural state is somehow…unnatural. The "current use" law gives landowners a lower tax rate on forest land, but only if they have an active plan for logging it. If they just leave it alone, they pay the higher rate.

In 1998, when Gov. Howard Dean and the Conservation Fund arranged to buy and protect 133,000 acres of Northeast Kingdom forests from the Champion International paper company, opposition centered around the fear that some of the land would not be logged. As a result, the Legislature insisted that most of the land be retained as "working forest" and only a 12,000-acre "core area," part of the West Mountain Wildlife Management Area, was set aside as wild land.

Ben Rose, the Northeast Regional Director of the Wilderness Society, doubts that there is more anti-wilderness feeling in Vermont than elsewhere. The Champion Land debate, is said, is by now "ancient history" which occurred "in the political context of the aftermath of the Civil Unions" controversy, when the Republican House of Representatives "was very sympathetic to folks in the Northeast Kingdom who were upset that things were changing. They tried to lock in the status quo, which was the working forest. I wouldn't extrapolate too much from that one case."

But as recently as 2006, anti-wilderness sentiment persuaded Gov. Jim Douglas to block passage of a Vermont wilderness bill until some land had been stripped from the proposal. And even now, Rose and other wilderness advocates seem reluctant to call for any additions to the Federal Wilderness Protection System in Vermont. There are now eight areas of the state protected under that system, totaling about 101,074 acres. Rose said there would probably be no effort to add more land to the system at least until work begins on the Green Mountain National Forest's new Forest Plan.

Work on that plan will not begin until at least 2018, said Melissa Reichert of the National Forest.

The old wilderness fights may be over, though, at least in Vermont, where wild land advocates are focusing less on adding to the Federal system than on what Emily Boedecker called "the character of wilderness," with or without official designation. In cooperation with other public and private agencies, including Vermont's Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Nature Conservancy is coordinating an initiative called "staying connected," to provide "linkage areas" so that wildlife as small as salamanders and as big as bears can move from one large protected area to another.

It's a town-by-town local-option proposal, Boedecker said. No town has to participate, and some, she acknowledged, have said "they are not ready for a conversation."

But in Salisbury, for instance, she said, the local conservation commission has inspired people to "start walking the roads in the winter," and has created a map showing two primary routes where wildlife crosses from a swampy area to the Green Mountains. It will be up to residents of the town, she said, "to decide what they want to do about it."

Local control would not necessarily avoid controversy. Among the options would be zoning or regulation, in either case limits on the use of private land, always a dicey proposition in Vermont.

But another potential wild land initiative seeks not only to engage private landowners, but possibly to enable them earn a profit by keeping their land wild. Jim Northrup said Northern Wilderness Trust has a plan under which landowners can sell carbon credits "by placing forests under a Forever Wild easement, thereby ensuring the avoidance of conversion to non- forested conditions or the removal of carbon by logging."

The buyers would be universities, foundations or individuals seeking to offset their own carbon imprint. The transaction would be handled by the California Climate Action Reserve (CAR), through which carbon offset credits will be bought and sold starting in next year. The Trust is already "setting up a system to qualify those credits so they will be available for sale," Northrup said.

Northrup said the Trust "hasn't listed a carbon project in Vermont yet," but is "talking with some landowners" about the plan.

To some extent, the attraction of wilderness is aesthetic and abstract. People like the idea of wild land as much as they like visiting it. Even wilderness advocates acknowledge that land which is less wild often has more striking vistas and other scenic beauty. It's also easier to walk through for both people and large animals. That explains why there are fewer deer on wild land, which in turn explains why hunters often oppose creating more wilderness.

But as there is also a scientific argument for wild land, which, as Wuerthner noted helps keep air and water clean and protects biodiversity. In Northrup's view, global warming creates another imperative for protecting wilderness. Keeping parcels of the northern forests wild, he said, could preserve some cold-weather stretches of land and retard – or at least mitigate –the impact of a hotter world.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Congratulations to Dru ~ the winner of Issue #10 of Uppercase Magazine! Dru, please send me your mailing address so I can get your package shipped! Thanks to everyone who entered the contest!

ADDENDUM: Dru, please send your mailing address by 8.22.2011 ~ if I don't hear from you by then I am going to draw another name. Thanks!

ADDENDUM #2: Since I have heard nothing from Dru, I have drawn a second winner. Congratulations Tammie ~ please email me with your mailing address!

ADDENDUM #3: As I have no confirmed address for either Dru or Tammie at the moment, the first of you who sends me their mailing address will be the lucky recipient of the magazine. Please email me (see link on right side of blog) with your mailing address as soon as possible. Thanks!

ADDENDUM #4: It has been a week and never got confirmed addresses from either winner, so I have opted to draw another ~ Joy Light is the winner! Sorry for the confusion ~ this was my first giveaway ~ next time I will make some changes to avoid this sort of situation. Who knew it would be so difficult to give something away?!

Monday, August 15, 2011

While browsing Pinterest the other day, I came upon this delicate crochet work created by Japanese artist, Jung-jung. Jung-jung's work is just beautiful ~ intricately crafted in gorgeous subtle hues. I wonder if she hand dyes her threads as the colors are so unusual and muted? Gives one a new appreciation of the root and cruciferous vegetable!

I'm not sure if the graphic above is a pattern, but whether or not it is, it is a beautiful graphic anyway. All images shown are from here.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Love this video of Monkey, the rescue dog! It certainly captures the joy a dog can bring to your life! Enjoy the rest of the weekend! Spotted this over at something.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

On Fridays in the summer my day job has summer hours ~ we get to leave at 1:00 if we have put in 3 additional hours earlier in the week. So, thanks to the summer hours, I am able to get a start on my antiquing for the weekend. I try to convince myself that a Friday afternoon antiquing will provide the fix for the weekend, but it usually just gets me in the mood for more!

Well, this Friday was a good one ~ I scored a great vintage Star Sewing Thread Display ~ just like this one! Mine is still in the car, but I found these photos online (at twentytimesi ~ already sold!) of an identical display ~ love the internet! This will come in handy for some storage in the studio as well as a nice way to display small handmade items at a craft show. All the drawers slide back and forth and are even removable. My display still has some paper labels attached ~ I will have to post a photo later when I get mine cleaned up and in working order!

{all photos from here}

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happened upon some lovely pieces of tramp art over at Candler Arts. Every now and then I see tramp art at various antique shows or stores, but it isn't something I run into very often ~ and it is usually on the expensive side.

Long ago I bought a made in Thailand large wood cabinet for my dining room with the thought of making it unique by adding my own version of tramp art decoration ~ needless to say, the project is not complete ~ or even started! I did finish a practice piece ~ a small tramp art star shaped ornament. No picture to share, but I did gain even greater respect and admiration for the folk artists that created this type of work. I wish I could hire a tramp to come and finish off my cabinet!

{beautifully decorated sewing box ~ love this!}

I don't know if this last piece would actually be considered tramp art, although it does look like some of the details are similar to some tramp art techniques I have seen. The description states that it is a handmade squirrel coffin from Shamokin, PA ~ wondering if the man that made it had a pet squirrel?

All images from Candler Arts

Candler Arts blog here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'm sure many of you are familiar with Uppercase Magazine, but if you aren't make sure to take a look and think about getting a subscription for yourself ~ you won't be disappointed! From the moment your issue arrives and you open the envelope and smell the freshly printed pages, it is an experience you shouldn't deprive yourself of! Uppercase Magazine ~ a magazine for the creative and curious ~ is quite the showstopper. Every issue is filled with beautiful images, interesting articles and a fabulous variety of all sorts of inspiration. Below are a few covers and spreads to give you an idea of what the magazine is like.

Uppercase Magazine is inquisitive, inspired, adventurous, eclectic & playful ~ literally, there is something (probably more than one something!) of interest for everyone. Read more about the magazine or subscribe here.

Uppercase's blog is also fun & inspiring ~ sometimes there is information about upcoming issues or a behind the scenes look at creating the magazine. There are also posts on ways for readers/subscribers to contribute to the magazine. In addition to the gorgeous magazine and blog, Uppercase also publishes amazing books. There is a great book bundle available now ~ check it out here.

As I made a mistake with my renewal and ended up with a double copy of Issue #10, Janine (from Uppercase) has generously donated the copy for a giveaway. So, leave a comment with your contact information and you will be entered in a drawing for Issue #10 of Uppercase Magazine. I will draw a winner next Wednesday ~ drawing ends at midnight on Tuesday, August 16. Good luck!

(all images from Uppercase}