Camp Food, Laos

Earlier this spring, we followed a bomb clearance team working high in the mountains near the Lao/Vietnam border. We all camped in tents pitched inside a village schoolhouse that offered shelter from the wind, rain, cold, and critters outside. One rudimentary room with a stellar view served as the camp kitchen. Cooking took place over […]

Farming with Trees in Belize

This is Eladio Pop, shielding his head from the rain on his farm in southern Belize. His farm? This looks more like a forest, right? It is. It is both. It’s a few dozen acres of dense and diverse tropical growth in the hills along the San Pedro Columbia River, where the early Maya made […]

Hard Truths about Farming & Gardening

A few weeks ago we attended a screening of a documentary, “Growing Cities,” about the rise in urban farming across America. From rooftops to empty lots, from New York to Oregon, people are growing their own food (as humanity did for millennia until relatively recently on the evolutionary scale). The evening, hosted by Slow Food […]

A Borneo Food Diary

Lunch, Day 10 I should never write a blog post while hungry! If you’ve been coming ’round here for a while, you might recall a post I did several years ago, A Rural Lao Food Diary. We’d just come off a nine-day trip to the hinterlands in Phongsali, way up near the Lao/China border, where […]

What is Rain?

A woman gazes through a window at the Bario Asal Longhouse as rain pummels the area. I started this post a few days ago, before this and this and this. Before nature smacked Colorado with a torrent of “biblical” proportions, a storm of the century, possibly the millennium. Here in New Mexico, too, we are […]

The Edible Jungle

There is a place in the hills where domestic meets wild, where humans meet jungle. Where the fertile valleys between forested mountains shelter villagers who plant fruit trees and rice and kitchen gardens across the acres they tame. But the wild – the jungle – also harbors a biodiversity that has long supplied the people’s […]

Rhubarb & Rain

A summertime strawberry double whammy: berries topped with yogurt, mint and rhubarb-strawberry sauce. Here in New Mexico, we are living in exceptional times – “exceptional” being the word weather monitors use to describe some of the nation’s worst drought conditions: rivers gone dry, ditches of dust. We’ve seen some relief this past week with afternoon […]

Darkness, Light

It seemed the right thing to do—to climb a mountain today. Alone. I find my grounding in nature. When I want to make sense of the world, when I want to catch my breath, I head outside. I don’t necessarily find answers, but I find everything. I find a world of extremes—beauty and disaster, darkness […]

When the River Runs Dry

Last month our local NPR affiliate, KUNM, aired a story about the Rio Grande and its potential future as a ‘ghost river’ of the American Southwest. Jerry and I know this story. We live less than a mile from its ups and downs. This river is the reason we have sandhill cranes and snow geese […]

Food Day Tunas

When we bought our house five summers ago, we planted a cactus garden in a hard patch of caliche beneath our westward facing office windows. It seemed the only thing to do. That little plot of land catches harsh afternoon sun all through the year, and that New Mexican soil won’t give an inch to […]