Local Solstice

I have a thing about light. Then again, I’m married to a photographer, so that makes sense. In this house, we pay dear and particular attention to light in all its forms—sun, moon, star, candle, incandescent and fluorescent. I’m easily awe-struck by the day’s last rays as they hit the eastern trees across the field…Continue readingLocal Solstice

Farming with Cluster Bombs

A young boy named Poey clasps his ears as a clearance team detonates a bombie in his family’s farm field. Poey’s father had risked considerable danger by moving the bomb to a tree so Poey and other children would not find the bomb. On May 30, 111 countries adopted a treaty to ban cluster bombs.…Continue readingFarming with Cluster Bombs

Burma’s Hunger Pangs

Farming in the Shan State I’m slicing potatoes and plucking rosemary and thinking about a death toll of possibly 100,000 in Burma’s cyclone. I’m 8,500 miles away in New Mexico, and I don’t know what to say—except to say what I feel, from the gut. That’s where these things hit hardest; these storms, be they…Continue readingBurma’s Hunger Pangs

Village Life

Here I sit on the back patio, spring sun riding the air. An annoying ATV buzzes around the block — I hope that doesn’t last. May the child grow bored. Quickly. I am thinking about what it means to live in a village. I hear our next-door neighbor hollering at her animals. She keeps dogs,…Continue readingVillage Life

Surviving Cambodia

Cambodian sunset, Tmatboey, Preah Vihear It was a dry December day a couple of years ago when our friend, Rith, took us to his fish pond. He was eager to show us the progress in his schoolyard, a project he had built from scratch in his homeland just outside of Phnom Penh. What had started…Continue readingSurviving Cambodia

Up in Smoke

White phosphorous canisters, dropped by American forces on Laos 30 or more years ago, detonated this month by a clearance team in Nakai Tai village, Khammouane province It’s a thrill to blow up bombs – old bombs, evil bombs, from a war that ended decades ago but continues to kill today. This is what a…Continue readingUp in Smoke

Cambodia’s Culture of Child Labor (an ongoing story)

Nuon, 10, collects corn to sell at her family’s roadside stand near Kampot You might recall our project on Cambodian child labor and the photo exhibit it inspired last year. You also might recall that this project has much to do with food: many Cambodian kids work for dinner. Our aim was not to expose…Continue readingCambodia’s Culture of Child Labor (an ongoing story)

Tomatoes on Trees

Who knew? I have long known tomatoes and eggplants come from the same Solanaceae family (which also includes potatoes and numerous poisonous plants, such as the little purple flowers that grow in our New Mexico yard). But it wasn’t until I saw the Naga tree tomato (a.k.a. tamarillo) that I saw the connection. These hard,…Continue readingTomatoes on Trees

Westward

By the time you read this, we should be far west of these views, of the evening sun as it lights the Jemez afire. We should be on a plane, heading west (or east, depending on your perspective; everything is a matter of perspective) across the Pacific to the muggy tropics. It will be a…Continue readingWestward

Love the Worm

Everybody wants the best: The best carrot, the sweetest apple, the juiciest tomato, the biggest yam. But pretty isn’t everything. We all know that looks deceive. Last week, I met a young Thai woman who had grown up on a farm in Chiang Rai. She cautioned me about the cabbages and leafy vegetables sold in…Continue readingLove the Worm