What I’m Reading, Watching, or Listening To . . .

I’ll be using this blog to share links to some of the stories I’m reading, listening to, or watching. I’ll be doing so, in part, because I can’t share links to news stories via FB anymore. As most of you probably know by now, Canadians are being blocked from sharing stories from both Canadian and international news services because Facebook is angry at new Canadian legislation. Anyhow, it’s easier and maybe even better to be sharing links to news stories via my blog.

So, here are a few stories that I found very interesting or particularly relevant to nature, ecology and the environment::

Basket makers brace for emerald ash borer impact
Good story on the CBC from August 16/2023, concerning the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer to the Black Ash used for traditional basketmaking. There are quotes from several Indigenous basketmakers, and also a land manager from the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory (which straddles Quebec, Ontario and New York state), saying “”We’ve seen the spread of the emerald ash borer from one corner of the reservation … throughout the entire territory.” To learn more, please read the article. Good photos.

What Wildfire Smoke Means for Birds.
Article from the New York Times – “Bird Project” newsletter on August 18, 2023. This seems to NOT be behind a paywall but you will probably have to sign in using your Google or Facebook account. A summary of some of the ways in which smoke from wild fires impacts birds, especially during migration – causing them to either stop in an unfamiliar place to wait out the smoke, try to fly far far above, or around the smoke, or fly through the smoke and likely suffer respiratory and other damage.

If you found the above article about the effects of wild fire smoke on birds of interest, this is a more in depth paper which is referred to in the NYT’s article. It was published in Ecology (journal of the Ecological Society of America), October 8, 2021. Well worth a read:
Megafires and thick smoke portend big problems for migratory birds

N.S. farmers grapple with stress after string of extreme weather events – Article from the CBC from August 21 — on what Nova Scotia farmers are facing as far as repeated extreme weather events as well as rising production costs — and how this impacts farmers (many are deeply discouraged) — but also what it means for food security here in Nova Scotia. There is a link to a good audio recording from Information Morning as well. Worth a listen.

A similar article from August 25, 2023 in Rabble.ca concerning the situation in B.C.. A lot of this is very applicable to Nova Scotia and Ontario this year. I read a couple of Maritime farming FB groups and the price of hay and grain has been rising (as it is everywhere due to weather extremes). Earlier this summer, there were problems related to drought and wells going dry, heat and humidity bothering animals, rain when trying to harvest crops, and so on. Farmers are having to deal with a lot. That should concern all of us as anything that impacts the farming community is going to inevitably work its way up to the consumer to result in food insecurity.
BC farmers are at the mercy of climate change, and things look grim.

Lastly, a link to a review of a documentary that I have just heard about in a post on a fibre arts group to which I belong. The film has just been released for viewing in the U.K., but hopefully will be available to a wider audience before long. “The Nettle Dress” is just that — a dress that was made from nettles that were harvested and spun by fibre artist, Allan Brown. There’s a lot of backstory – the spinning and weaving of the cloth became part of his way of carrying on after the death of his father and then his wife. He makes the dress for his daughter. I watched the trailer last night. I’d like to see the film when it becomes available. Here’s a link to a review and a director’s Q&A, and to the trailer. I’ll embed the trailer here in this post as well.
The Nettle Dress – a review and director’s Q&A

2 thoughts on “What I’m Reading, Watching, or Listening To . . .”

  1. The Nettle Dress… Wonderful description…”It’s an extended reminder of that feeling so many of us experienced during lockdown, that our immediate surroundings may well be enough. It’s a hymn to the power of family, community, storytelling, patience, learning and self-discovery. Without wanting to over-egg the pudding too heavily, I was left feeling like I’d been offered a rare glimpse into what it is to be human.” I was beginning to wonder whether my lack of appetite for travelling more that 50 km (or even that) reflected some kind of age-related narrow-mindedness, when in fact it feels to me just like as he describes. I have a clump of nettle contained within an open-bottomed barrel I’ve had since circa 2003 when I got some from Jen G., def a person who thrives local life and people. Occasionally we (Nina) use it to make a dark green paste; occasionally some tea. Otherwise, I just like it being there. I saw a clump of it on a verge a few days back, by a house where a Polish woman lives; I wondered about her connections to it.

    1. David – You are not alone with your lack of appetite for traveling 50 km (or less). I am feeling much the same. Although I have done a lot of travelling back and forth across the continent, and much as it might be nice to revisit certain places that mean a great deal to me, I don’t actually feel like leaving my place anymore. You could draw a 20km wide radius with my house in the center, and I probably haven’t wandered outside of that circle in many months except to pick up my new puppy near Truro last Thanksgiving weekend. It seems I barely need leave except to pick up my mail and a few groceries once a week. I don’t think this has to do with aging so much as just feeling that there is enough here for me — in fact, plenty more than I need.

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