Thinking Locally

Every morning at 8 a.m. I circle our house with our dog Toby, and then we circle through the floodplain along Lawson’s Fork Creek. In 15 minutes we’ve made about a quarter-mile figure eight that doubles back on itself a time or two. I use it as a opportunity to note weather, water levels, tracks of wildlife from the night before, bird movements. It’s my daily communion with...

Last Harvest

I’ve been reading a book called THE LAST HARVEST by Witold Rybcznski. It’s the story of the building of a new subdivision in rural Pennsylvania. Simply stated, Rybcznski follows the development of 90 acres of cornfield from idea to completion, but it’s more. In 200 pages THE LAST HARVEST tells the story of real estate development in America. What could be more relevant for our...

Into the Weeds

Winter for us means launching a new campaign in the kudzu wars. Two or three warm Saturdays in January or February Betsy and I always grab our heavy-duty loppers, our gloves, our water bottles, and wade into the kudzu bramble on the western end of our property. The vines there hang from the trees. They are so thick Tarzan would feel right at home. Don’t confuse what we are doing with all...

Two Years of Kudzu

Summer will soon be here. The first tropical storm of the season just crawled through the upcountry over the weekend.  That first day in the high 90s is right around the corner. Local strawberries are ripe, and soon the watermelons at the Publix will not cost nine dollars. The Hub City Farmer’s Market opens next Saturday, and so we’ll see whether our late freeze this year has...

Future Shock

The thought of what Spartanburg County will look like decades in the future disturbs my sleep. On my worst nights I see a vision of unregulated surreal sprawl as we cling to outmoded ideas of prosperity and growth. In my vision massive cinder block distribution plants for America’s out-of-control consumption are laid out helter-skelter along the I-85 corridor because no company with higher...

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