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Finding A Way In The World: The Dark Light of Seal Fat

I don’t have any tattoos. Maybe you do. I have known friends be delighted with them and have them have deep meaning for them. Others have spen good money getting them slowly lasered away. Others just sort of forget that they are there but can recount to you the story of when and where it…

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The Terrorizing Beauty of Shetland Lace Shawls

While sheep have been in Scotland for about 4500 years there isn’t evidence of short tail sheep being there until about 1200AD…and Shetland sheep are short tailed. The oldest Shetland lace we have is about 150 years old and it is incredibly intricate. We can surmise that this is a skill that has been around for…

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The Salmon Wisdom of the Ainu

Nowadays you might walk over to Whole Foods or get filets delivered to your door. But there was a time where every running body of water in the northern Pacific Rim that admitted to tides and mingled fresh and salt water had a salmon run in the Spring. And if these rivers, with their kin…

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Zapotec Warp and Weft: The Web That Has a Weaver

I have never spent much time in front of a peddle loom or sliding a shuttle through the arms to weave much of anything. But there are people and peoples in the world who know that beauty making sets them deeply in their places and connects them entirely to their ancestry and history – making it…

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Hórreos: In the Presence of the Fruit of the Land

According to an online ancestry site that took a tube of my saliva and sent me back my results of my blood origins I came back 96% Ashkenazi Jew (not a surprise) and 4% Neanderthal (a surprise and near the very highest concentration humans have at all.) So it didn’t make a lot of sense that…

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Eaten: A Food History

When a culture has really made its bones and can call itself a culture there is something deeply life affirming about it. Not that new things don’t or can’t arise – of course they do. But a real culture has something proud and leaning back in her chair looking out at the world and saying…

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In Apulia, There Is No Remedy More Effective and Immediate Than Music

In 1728, in Campo Salentino, Anna Palazzo was bit by a spider while working in the vineyards and  promptly collapsed. She was hauled into her bed and the doctor Nicola Caputo wrote that he called the only people who could still save her: the musicians. The famed dance ‘the Tarantella’ is derived from what is about to play…

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The Song of Life among the Montana Blackfoot

Constitutions are a kind of creation story. These political documents try to say ‘this is who we are, where we are from, and what we value.’ The United States constitution starts with ‘we the people’ and so does the Montana constitution written in 1889. But while the United States constitution veers into the purpose of…

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Follow Your Blisters: weaving the stone wall

Here in the west we largely consider history to be ‘the facts.’ Sure there are the more liberally minded that concede that history is written by the victors and that voices like Howard Zinn (and others) capture more nuanced truths about history. Believe me, we need Howard Zinn’s in this world and his academic ancestors…

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Maremma, Italy to Upstate New York to You

Luisa Sciavolo and Jody Somers have their own love story to be sure but I learned to love them at the Northwest corner of Union Square at the farmers market there years ago. Eating their Tuscan style sausage and cheese for more lunches than I would care to count was an old kind of nourishment.…

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