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




I saw this article, and while it’s just another in a long list of articles, it sort of set me off. Actually the “dead zone” they speak of is fairly routine, so I’m not sure why it’s newsworthy in a world that only looks up from its phone when someone gets murdered in a heinous way or a celebrity gets married.

But it led to this rant of mine today. Had to get it off my chest before I could do anything else. Enjoy.

“NOAA estimates the annual cost of algae blooms to U.S. seafood and tourism industries at $82 million or more.”

This is the hidden cost for cheap corn, livestock and other agricultural products. Industrial farmers don’t have to pay this cost; big corporate farmers and wall street essentially get silent “welfare” from the American people to keep their costs low. Consumers and retailers enable this with a blind eye and deaf ear.

We sit at cocktail parties bemoaning government welfare for drugged-out-crack-whores, whilst corporate drug lords string us out on the heroin of cheap food that is killing us and our environment. We say “yes, please” and “thank you” and take it like good little sheep, hoping to make it home in time to cut the grass.

Wall street beautifies these organizations while their special interest groups line the pockets of our politicians. Meanwhile they vilify the very government regulations they’ve encouraged, empowered, through their actions. Politicians buy votes, encouraging these private sector enterprises to slowly kill the sheep that have put them into office.

Never underestimate the power of greed to supersede fundamental human need and decency, always under the banner of economic free markets (and oft under the very banner of god himself).

I have no interest in big government and even less appetite for big businesses that have rigged the system. Don’t piss on me and tell me it’s raining. The easiest way to make government intrusion nonexistent, creating a government that borders on irrelevant beyond keeping order, is to start treating humanity with compassion and respect.

It is bigger than any one political “leader” or organization. And each of us bears responsibly as well. No one is without sin. It is the fault of how we’ve designed the system. Or rather the system needs to evolve, just as it did 200 years ago.

As citizens and consumers we need to wise up and start asking questions. There is a fundamental need to make those who tote the status quo to answer for their actions. We need to act. Everyone of us. Start thinking as a human being. Every person who goes without fresh water, or suffers social injustice, or is crushed under economic slavery should be marching and demanding answers and making changes to redirect our social, economic, and environmental course.

Our complacency is borne by the shoulders our children.

Parting thought: The hypocrisy of the “system” is what irks me. These corporations bemoan government handouts and intrusion, but they welcome the handouts in the form of political favors and hidden costs they don’t have to pay. They bring the intrusion down upon themselves (in the form of taxes, regulations and oversight). The people who run many of these corporations must be some of the stupidest people in the history of the world.


Saturday morning I was reading on the screen porch while we waited for a friend to call; we were going blueberry picking later. It was nice to be just sitting on the porch doing nothing for once. Life gets so busy and daunting we forget to just say “forget it” sometimes.

At some point though I looked up because there was a great commotion in the yard, over by the old dead cherry tree. Beneath the tree is a tuft of wild bushes, an island in the sea of our freshly mown yard. I heard a rabbit bleat out then saw one or two rabbits sprinting along the boxwoods. A baby rabbit circled all the way around and sprinted under the screen porch where I stood.

I looked out at the boxwoods and saw a weasel!

I didn’t even know we had weasels in Ohio. At first I thought is was a squirrel. But it was too low to the ground, and tail was too small, to be a squirrel. Plus it was super aggressive. I suppose it could have been someone’s escaped ferret. But I looked it up and there are a few species of weasels that are native to Ohio.

As the weasel retreated back to its island in the grass, all hell broke loose. At least six blue jays and even a cardinal all flocked to the dead cherry and started screaming out, letting everyone know a predator was afoot in the area. I don’t know if the weasel did get a rabbit or not but the birds worked hard to chase him off into the south meadow.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to snap a photo but here’s some Ohio weasel information from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources. I would guess it was a short-tailed weasel, but I really don’t know. I’m going to sit down and make a list of all the animals we’ve seen on the land here. It’s really cool and unlike anything else.

All this information is from the Ohio DNR website:

Long Tailed Weasel

Long-tailed weasels may be small, but they are very aggressive. They will even threaten animals much larger than themselves.

This weasel is very adaptable and can be found in all land habitats near water. Like most weasels, it is chiefly nocturnal, but can also be active by day. They can climb trees and swim, but most of their time is spent on the ground. They typically eat rodents, rabbits and birds, but in the summer they may also eat fruits and berries.

The long-tailed weasel is distinguished by its yellowish-white underparts and the black tip on the end of its long, bushy tail. The tail is about 50 percent of its total body length.

Long-tailed weasels exhibit delayed implantation. Copulation occurs in the summer, but the egg does not begin to develop until March, making the gestation period between 205 and 337 days. Litters of four to eight are born in April or early May.

photo from Ohio DNR website

photo from Ohio DNR website – keith and kasia moore

Short Tailed Weasel

This small furbearer is known as the short-tailed weasel, the ermine, or the stoat. It lives in open woodlands, brushy areas, grasslands, wetlands, and farmlands.

Ohio Status: Species of Concern

Like other weasels, the short-tailed weasel has a brown coat in the summer and white coat in the winter. They are small, measuring 7-13 inches in length.

This small furbearer inhabits open woodlands, brushy areas, grasslands, wetlands, and farmlands. They typically eat small mammals, including rabbits, chipmunks, voles, shrews, and mice.

Short-tailed weasels mate in the spring and early summer. A litter of four to eight young are born between April and May after a gestation period of about 280 days due to delayed implantation.

Short tailed weasel - photo from ohio DNR website

Short tailed weasel – photo from ohio DNR website – USFWS

Least Weasel

The least weasel is the smallest member of the weasel family and the smallest living carnivore.

Like other weasels, the least weasel has a brown coat in the summer and white coat in the winter. A distinguishing characteristic is that it does not have a black tip on the end of its short tail.

This weasel inhabits open areas such as meadows, marshes, brushy areas and agricultural fields. They typically eat mice and other rodents.

Most breeding occurs in the spring and late summer, although they may reproduce any month of the year, with more than one litter per year. Litters usually have four to five young.

photo from Ohio DNR website - Kevin Law

photo from Ohio DNR website – Kevin Law