Hopeful signs

1. About twice a year, I break my boycott and spend a few dollars at Wal-Mart. The main reason for doing this is so I can take the pulse of middle America and see how much counterculture has found its way into the mainstream. As the world’s biggest retailer or whatever, Wal-Mart is driven by consumer demand — so if you want to know what the average American is thinking, you go to Wal-Mart. I saw hopeful signs this evening: a dramatic increase in the amount of organic food on the shelves in the supermarket part of the store, and a big selection of name-brand CFLs in packages of three for less than $8. There were also some CFLs in specialty shapes and types, including outdoor bug lights and round bulbs designed for use in vanities. They also had some nice LED nightlights, a couple of zero-emission chainsaws, and a few boxes of organic plant fertilizer. As we approach the 37th anniversary of the first Earth Day teach-in, it’s good to see organic fertilizer and energy-efficient lighting on the shelves of the most ubiquitous store on the planet.

2. Meanwhile, alt-power technology continues to evolve. As Ron and I eagerly await the arrival of Suncubes in the United States, he sends me this link about a promising new wind turbine system for urban dwellers who don’t have the luxury of installing a big ol’ Whisper in the backyard.

I still haven’t Photoshopped those road trip photos I promised … but I wanted to share these hopeful tidbits while I was thinking about them.


Quick updates


I found this character in the flowerbed in the front yard while I was photographing a hyacinth yesterday evening. Isn’t he cute?

No time to post the details of my trip yet (I have 183 images to sort and edit before I can post pictures, and I’m headed out to dinner in about five minutes) … but here’s a quick update on spring in Red Fork:


The Lorax flower bed is basically done. I’ve got a few things coming up; when I get the mulch in and something blooming, I’ll post another photo, but this is where we’re at right now.


Native violets are blooming around the pond.


The aforementioned hyacinths are blooming in the front.

Red buds, Bradford pears, and flowering almond are blooming all over the neighborhood, too, and I’m still seeing daffodils. Tulips are starting to come on in a few yards, and the pansies in the flowerbeds at my office are just stunning. I’ll try to get shots of some of the plants in the neighborhood this week if I have time. There’s some kind of tree that’s starting to leaf out right now, and the little baby leaves are this beautiful pale green that contrasts with the red buds. I keep hoping I’ll make it down to the river trail soon to get pictures of the arbor garden, because I’m sure it’s beautiful right now. Maybe I’ll be able to shake free this weekend.

Stay tuned. On my trip home, I shot some gorgeous daffodils, interesting sculptures, the ruins of my favorite abandoned motel on Route 66, a clever bunny, some historic sites along Route 66, a bit of church neon, and one of the more dazzling sunsets I’ve witnessed in my travels. I’ll try to get those Photoshopped and online ASAP.

Gotta run … dinner and a friend are waiting for me in Stroud.