Wood for the Winter

I spent most of Sunday morning splitting up a white oak for winter firewood. White oaks are native to our bioregion and they can grow huge and old. The primeval piedmont forests were full of them, and even though the old forests are now gone we still see big ones at the edges of old fields or in small out-of-the-way stands on somebody’s protected property. A white oak in the piedmont could...

What Happens When 700 Million Chinese Want their Equivalent of Santa Shoppe?

Last week Wofford College hosted the second Santee-Cooper Lecturer in Sustainability and Energy. Our speaker was John Doggett, senior lecturer at the McCombs Business School at the University of Texas-Austin. The Santee-Cooper Series is meant to introduce our college community to the practical and intellectual challenges of sustainability in the 21st century. We began the year in September with...

Lists

Last week the JOURNAL did what good journalism should do. It got me thinking about who the real leaders of Spartanburg might be. The newspaper’s cover story highlighted a list of young–mostly business–people with deep Spartanburg roots poised to move into important roles of community leadership. Lists by their nature are selective. It’s hard to go deep with a list and...

Death and Wilderness

Last week Jack Temple Kirby died suddenly at 70 years old. Jack’s death didn’t make the local papers. Chances are you’ve never heard his name, but with his passing one of the great Southern environmental historians was silenced. I met Jack when he delivered a keynote address at a conference I co-organized called “The Chattooga River: Wild River Real and Imagined” at...

Music on the Mountain

Last weekend we drove four hours to Floyd, Virginia, for the 8th annual Floydfest Music and Arts Festival, a high altitutude (at least for the east) cultural festival just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Floydfest draws together about 15,000 spirits on a high windy ridge. If you are a music lover like we are and need a July escape from Spartanburg, it’s a good option. It’s a cross...

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