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Good News! Europe is Taking Down Its Biggest Dam

  For nearly 100 years the Sélune River in Normandy has had two dams installed on it – the Vezins and the La Roche Qui Boit. And just a few weeks ago the first irreperable breach was made in the the Vezins dam kicking off the largest individual dam removal project in Europe ever. The…

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The 8.5 Million Pound Boulder and What It Might Ask of You

  A few months ago near Telluride, Colorado there was a giant landslide and two very large boulders  ended up blocking Highway 154. Nobody got hurt but plenty of inconvenience for many days as workarounds got devised. The smaller of the two boulders weighed about two million pounds and was blown up and carted off…

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A Bridge Made of Grass

The patron saint of bridges is St. Bénézet. Bénézet had a dream that an angel commanded him to build a bridge across the Rhone river in his town of Avignon. Nobody believed it was possible but he allegedly lifted a stone that thirty men could not lift and dropped it in the river as the…

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The Old Occitan Tongue

Unless your ancestors are from the the south of France you might not have even known that Occitan was a language at all. But for a long time this language was a common tongue across a decent swath of Europe. How have you never heard of it? Maybe you have heard of the The Troubadors,…

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Diaspora Co Spices – incredible story!

There are a lot of you out there reading this and I don’t know much about most of you but I know you and I share some values about where things come from and honoring and supporting those people and traditions. I am lucky in this regard to be connected to you in this way.…

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The Burden of a Last Name

Amna Eliot Abdelmahmoud. That is the name of a little girl born in Canada just a little more than a year ago. Her father Elamin Abdelmahmoud is from Sudan and he and his wife named her together. He wrote to her of their shared last name in a glorious piece: It’s long, and it’s bulky,…

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The Clog Makers Apprentice

I love shoes. There was a time in my life where I worked for many major sneaker companies to teach people about all the technology in shoes. The makeup of the cushioning. The nature of the lateral support straps or the anti-pronation devices embedded in the midsole. I could tell you about shoe lasts, vamps,…

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Mammoth Bone Hut

The winters about 44,000 years ago in the Eastern Ukraine near the Dneiper River  would have been about just as inhospitable as they are now. Cold. Windy. Not an easy place to live and fill your days certainly at that time of the year. Though the rest of the year certainly would be a more…

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The Ecology of Cattle and Soil Relationships

What do you always find on grasslands? Many things, but large, hoofed animals grazing on the grass will be one of them in any truly alive place — buffalo, zebra, gazelles, wildebeest, etc. The grass and the animals evolved together, much like bees and flowering plants. They evolved to rely on each other. They developed…

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Porcupine Quills and the maintenance of the world

Before settlers and colonizers brought glass beads from Czechoslovakia and Italy to North America and added to the seeds that Native Americans beaded with, those indigenous people cultivated a remarkable beauty making skill with  braiding, stitching, plaiting, and folding porcupine quills as not only adornment but also as a sign of their bindedness to their land. Quilling…

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