Cottage industries support community

This is a wonderful article written by Dohn Chapman on his blog “earthstonestation”, on cottage industry history and importance to our culture and economy.

There is a huge trends right now towards living simply, consuming less and buying locally. All of these things help enrich our lives, our communities and our environment. Enjoy.


How can rural communities  advance the common goal of economic stability, healthy living and environmental stewardship?

Food, clothing and shelter are the necessities of human survival. These industries and the transportation of these goods also have the largest impact on the environment. These same industries also drive a good portion of the local economy as well as corporate economic growth.

Most countries use capitalism as a way of organizing the economy. The things that are used to grow, make and transport products are owned by individual people or a company rather than the government. The mid-18th century gave rise to industrial capitalism, made possible by the accumulation of vast amounts of capital under the mercantile phase of capitalism and its investment in machinery. Over the past two decades, Wall Street investors, boards of directors, financial analysts, even auditors and career politicians have all  collaborated in creating a new type of…

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Dogwood Sawfly Larvae

The wife came into the house and informed me that some sort of white caterpillar was eating our red twig dogwoods by the driveway. What is with all these insects and caterpillars out here? I’m turning into an entomologist against my will.

So I went outside and this is what I saw:

It looked like only one branch of one red twig dogwood was affected so I snipped off the branch and dropped it in a pile of old dead leaves on the other side of the driveway. I went back inside and researched “white caterpillars of Ohio” and came up with ‘Dogwood Sawfly Larvae’ which makes sense since they are on my dogwood bushes. I’ll spare you all the details but they’re essentially harmless – the plant won’t die from them. They do damage but not enough to kill the plant, especially our large bushes. If I wanted to I could spray them with insecticidal soap or pick them off.

As I said, I chose just to cut off the offending branch they were living on.

One interesting note, their mid-life larval phase is when they are white – the whiteness makes them look like bird dropping, which camouflages them from predators.

Nature is cool.

P.S. Congrats to me, this is my 400th post! Somewhat befitting it’s a post talking about mother nature hating me.


So we sent our oldest off to all day school for the first time. I wish I had something more monumental or earth shattering to say about it but it simply was a happy sad moment. I cried a little yesterday. The wife cried a little more. It’s really sad stuff being a parent. And sometimes you just gotta cry.

Out went our special little boy into a world that is often less than a good place. We went from being a happy little family, spending each day entirely together, to a reality where one of the brightest parts is missing for the better part of the day.

Fortunately we sent him to a place where he’ll be able to flourish and be himself. School will help him socialize and learn new things. It’s a safe, loving environment; like home but with better tools for learning, and a fish tank. The place is so awesome I want to go there. Seriously, it’d be fun. So why so sad?

Obviously because he’s getting older. He looked older after school yesterday. I think he grew up a little. No amount of crying will stop that – despite the fact we all cry about age throughout our lives. Being his age is like the “golden” age for being a kid. I worry as a parent: did I give him all the experiences he needs to have fond memories? But growing older also means he’ll experience new adventures, get smarter in so many ways and it’s fun to be a part of that.

Part of the sadness might be the unknown of a world that isn’t always safe. All over the world people don’t come home daily for various, more often than not senseless or inexplicable, reasons. We can’t worry too much about that. What will happen will happen. We’ve hopefully given him the tools to kind, gentle and loving – to survive and be smart. And hopefully we’ve entrusted him to the hands of other people who will keep him safe and nurture him. That mixed with a prayer or two, and crossed fingers is all we can do.

I think the primary reason I’m sad is we’re giving him over to a world that will change him. He won’t be our little guy anymore, at least not the way he was. Yes most will be for better. But the part that would break my heart would be the world that intimidates him or makes him sad. A world that makes him change who he is inside in an effort to better fit in. It’s an awful thing to say, but I see it, even in other little kids – they start to work things out socially and in an effort to fit in they pick on other kids. And a natural reaction is to shun anything that others would pick on. We face these same problems as adults really. Except as an adult I can punch you in the face if I deem it an appropriate response. My kid can’t do that or doesn’t even know that it’s an option (it’s not really).

My point is: there is so much potential in a young child, I hate to see any of it eroded away needlessly by a world that can be very judgmental and difficult much of the time.

We travel the path of life through these years, school-age to adulthood, as best we can. The hope is with hard work and a little luck we emerge on the back side as confident, humorous, self-aware, loving, compassionate adults who are able to stand up for themselves and others. Stand up for what they believe in.

Our saving grace is that if we teach our children to love themselves then they will be best prepared to face a world that wants them to hide from who they really are. We may be giving our son to the world, one school day at a time, but I never, ever, ever want to lose that smile of his. Nor his laughter, inquisitiveness, shyness and any number of other quirky traits that make him who he is to us.

So there you go world, her’s our son. Encourage him. Teach him. Love him. And don’t  break him. You are going to need him to help you along in the coming years.

In The Woods





In The Woods


I am born into darkness

Surrounded by solitude

The unknown seeps in

Like the cold of thin air

Shapes form before my eyes

Autumn leaves come alive

Restless hands to the sky


Patiently I wait listening

Woodland companions stir

Another dawn awakens

The quarry of my soul is at hand

Born not by the labor of men

Crafted from something more

I am baptized in a cathedral of trees


Came not looking for answers

Nor bringing the world with

For only in the woods

Do I find myself alive

Whole again without haste

Beauty beyond all imagine

Comfort beyond all need











©2014 chris weigand • do not copy or distribute without written permission •





Fireflies & My First Garage Sale Find

For the first time ever with the boys we went hunting for fireflies last night. I think prime firefly season may have passed but there were enough of them dancing along the driveway to chase after on a warm summer evening as the sun set. We caught two fireflies, one for each. It was too dark to take any photos but a good time was had by all.


royalty free photo from

royalty free photo from

Today we went to an art show as patrons. Between the show and where we parked there was a garage sale. Actually earlier this morning we were going to a flea market but it was inexplicably not happening today because of another event at the fair grounds, where the flea market is usually held. Since I was gipped out of my flea market indulgence, I decided to stop at the garage sale.

Did I need anything?

Absolutely not.

Can I afford anything?


Did I come home with something?

You betcha!


I don’t know where I’ll hang these two “antique” rusted old-looking stars, but I thought they were a steal at $5 apiece (it was in a ritzy suburb). The wife was going to buy be a similar sized star made of license plates for $50 at the art show for my birthday. For whatever reason I’ve always wanted a metal star for our home decor. Whatever you say, I like ’em. And I like the fact that I finally bought something at a garage sale. I’m happy and the lady who sold them is hopefully happy. Buying something at a garage sale is the “living” part of life. I highly recommend you do the same to raise your spirit a notch.

Incidentally, we were going to the flea market because I wanted to scope it out. It’s a local market that happens every weekend through October I think. I’m going to load up the trailer and attend in the next month or two as a seller. My hope is to unload a lot of  the stuff we have in the basement (and garage) to help de-clutter the place. Also in anticipation of taking on a basement project before the kids move out (in a few years) and / or I die (any day now at the rate I’m going).

Here’s a photo of Daisy watching a baby bunny intently. Oh how she wants to catch a bunny.

Daisy watched this baby bunny for 20 mins.

Daisy watched this baby bunny for 20 mins.

I’m sadden by the fact that the “spooky” cherry tree in the front yard has degraded even further. It was the perfect Halloween tree but now one of its scary limbs had fallen down. I’m keeping a super close eye it, because eventually the whole tree will have to come down. It died as a result of the cistern installation two years ago.

It makes me sad anytime we lose a tree, even the cool looking dead trees. And we’ve lost or are losing several since we moved in.

The "spooky" cherry tree was going to be perfect for the Halloween party we never got to throw. I want to hang a skeleton from it.

The “spooky” cherry tree was going to be perfect for the Halloween party we never got to throw. I want to hang a skeleton from it.


Here’s photo of the front yard. It looks great and I’ve only every fertilized it one time, and I used organic fertilizer. It’s filling in nicely and looks great when it’s cut. No it’s not the “Stepford Wives” perfect suburban grass but the upkeep is virtually $0 and is green throughout the summer.


Here’s a butterfly photo, ’cause who doesn’t like a butterfly photo.


It’s a beautiful summer weekend. Hoping yours is filled with love, happiness, and better than average food and drink. Stay safe people.


Not much is going on around the ranch. Just the day to day grind. Picked some herbs, but for the most part the garden is done for the year. I don’t have the mental energy to tend to the garden. Maybe next year.

If you’re bored and want to see some fun photographs, check out another blog we maintain. Though we don’t maintain it regularly, it’s worth a look.

I may not always be able to create very good art, but I certainly can recognize art in the most mundane things. I love looking at these interesting photos taken by someone other than me.

Click here

Also here are pics I took of a buck in our yard today. The boys spotted him during dinner so I raced to get some pics.

Schizura Concinna

Came home to find one of our three witch hazel plants was decimated by caterpillars. So went out and sprayed them heavily with Captain Jacks and some insect soap, both of which claim to be okay for organic growing. I then flicked all of the gross meaty caterpillars off of the two plants that had them on there. I didn’t get a good pic, my new phone let me down, but as best I can tell they were Redhumped Caterpillars (Schizura concinna).  

I just went outside and they’re all gone so hopefully a bird came and ate them all.


I’m done with the house and the whole nature thing. Ready to buy an RV and just travel the continent.

Schizura concinna

Schizura concinna

Image from

More info here: UC