We can save the world. We have only to go back far enough, remember and care enough. Permaculture and Agroforestry. Alternative energies. Water cultivation and carbon sequestration. And don’t forget the chickens.
Carl—a born and raised New Hampshire boy, and professional trombonist—and I—a homebody and writer—both have a degree of grit, also known as Yankee stubborn resolve. Five years in, we are still figuring out what we are trying to resolve, and learning about solar power and wind; gardening, biodynamic farming, permaculture and agroforestry; not recycling but repurposing; compost and, um, humanure. And just how much of one’s mortal time modern day dinosaurs, more commonly known as chickens, can take up. We are using old technologies made new to heal the soil. In our ad hoc, seat-of-our-pants way, we create our own version of chaos, joining the vortex of energies around us, because if we cannot save the whole world, maybe we can save a small part of her. Here. Now. At Darwin’s View. Please join us.
Is Gates doing good, or merely continuing the legacy of white domination and knowing best? https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/apr/05/bill-gates-climate-crisis-farmland?utm_term=4b09a95d693105de8f2c021208592970&utm_campaign=GreenLight&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&CMP=greenlight_email
Here is the link to the Monadnock Conservancy event that I participated in. My piece starts around 48 minutes 30 seconds. It starts out a black screen but eventually gets that good old pixilated Zoom picture.
I’m working on what I’m going to say next Friday at 6PM for the Monadnock Conservancy’s Zoom event “Stories About This Place.” Perhaps I’ll “see” you there. You can sign up to attend at this link. https://www.monadnockconservancy.org/news/event/stories-about-this-place-2021 I just hope we have a consistent connection!
Sun. Wind. Water. It’s all so old-fashioned and natural. But, as ever, in our 21st century, Anthropocene age, things don’t happen unless they are economic and convenient. The good news is that renewables are now entirely economic. In fact, this past April, renewables surpassed coal in supplying America’s electricity. How so? First, more wind and […]
I have been reading Heather Cox Richardson these past months. As a historian, she has a great perspective on what goes on in the world these days. Check this one out. https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/march-15-2021
Let’s say those people who believe we have a climate crisis on our hands agree to disagree with those who don’t. And that those who don’t agree—or don’t care—agree to look at the true cost-benefit analysis of energy in the U.S. Of A.. If such were the case, there would likely be agreement that it […]
Ever hear of Liberty Utilities’ Granite Bridge pipeline project? It’s remarkably similar to all the other pipelines that have been proposed that web across the United States. It is promoted as a job creating, economic investment that will save money in the long run, and create a secure and dependable supply of fuel. The project […]
Fossil fuels helped to create this country.1 Coal, gas and oil enabled mind-boggling growth and progress, and improved the quality of life, (if not always the health), of humans, (if not nature). America, in a heyday of change and development, built up a culture, an infrastructure, a world that promised milk and honey, and required […]
Fossil fuels or renewables? Is energy access a right or a privilege? Is it a service or a commodity? Is the sourcing, development and distribution of energy a social justice issue? Do we celebrate if we’re old, and apologize to youth because we’ve screwed them? Who really is in charge and who’s paying attention? Who […]
If you are at a loss as to what to do today, reconnect with nature. Or find a cow to hug. Why better than tipping them over. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2021/03/08/cow-cuddle-sanctuary-covid/?utm_campaign=wp_the_optimist&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_optimist
The grid is an edgy basket to put all your eggs into, though we do, thanks to our ever burgeoning, bigger-is-better attitude and economy. We, Americans, need our power when we want it. Not only is that expensive, but it’s risky because the grid isn’t as elastic as it needs to be, given its uneconomic, […]
Do you know how energy works in the U.S. of A.? A lot of people at all levels of society don’t. That is a problem. How can we deal with the energy side of climate change if we don’t understand the problem, or even the right terms to use? We need facts, not opinions. Facts […]
Apparently, we are in trouble: Icebergs melting. Waters rising. Species dying. The last five years, the hottest ever recorded.1 These are facts, not conspiracies, and I see the hand-wringing of people—myself included—who want to do something to stop our sprint to extinction. We know that this environmental devastation is due, at least in part, to […]
I thought I’d republish some posts from two years ago. They were and are my attempt at a 101 primer on things energy. The power outages in Texas in February that are, for too many, ongoing brought these articles to mind. What has happened in Texas is, after all, what’s in store for our society […]
For years, Carl and I have attempted to create as little trash as possible. Zero waste? Really? We have found that composting waste, and recycling only go so far. There is all that packaging. Especially in these COVID times. Carl has always commented that it is the companies who should be responsible for the waste. […]
KITTEN ADOPTION You will be relieved, or dismayed, to know that my photos and all things web are in the midst of a tussle, the consequence being I cannot upload really adorable photos, showcasing the below. If ever I figure out why and how of this situation, there will be photos to come. Meantime, read […]
Here is a link to my reading at the La Grua Center. If you missed it, here’s your opportunity!
Here’s my interview with my publisher. I hope you’ll check it out! https://bauhanpublishing.com/meet-tory-mccagg/ Meet Tory McCagg
My mother. She came up to Darwin’s View on March 11. My sister and I figured it would be safer to bring her here for a short visit until things-coronavirus cleared up. Over the weeks and months, that didn’t happen. Carl’s and my bubble included four 24-hour care aides. Three quarantines/long term by my sister. […]
The All Cooped Up Book Tour is coming to an end this weekend! On Saturday at 5PM EST/4PMCST I will be “at” Chicago’s The Book Cellar. The event is free, but registration is required. Please e-mail the bookstore at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Tory McCagg RSVP” to reserve your spot. Event access information will […]
Check out this review from Picture This Post. It ran on all of their sites in the following cities: Atlanta-Boston-Chicago- Dallas-Denver-Houston-Inland Empire-Las Vegas-Los Angeles Miami/S FL -Nashville-NYC-Oakland -Orange Co.-Philadelphia-Phoenix-Portland-SacramentoSan Diego-San Francisco-San Jose-Seattle-Twin Cities-Washington D.C. At Crossroads with Chickens: A “What if it Works?” Adventure in Off-Grid Living and Quest for Home Book Review — An […]
I’ll be zooming from the coop to Capital Books in Sacramento. Here’s the link if you want to register and join! 2PM California time. 5PM East coast time! https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0qc-qtqTgvGdIoGDISBDytHB3sTgJQlMbm
Here’s the link. https://www.taosnews.com/tempo/when-the-mountain-calls-a-lesson-in-land-stewardship/article_c122903e-9bfb-5d7a-93dd-6f55051c3ac2.html
In my book, I didn’t write much about Nick & Nora. Maybe because I can share chickens but the cats? Too close to home. We adopted Nick and Nora 17 years ago. 2003. Best cats ever. Nora. Her fluffy-tailed presence, perky and bright-eyed, was a simple, happy one. Her purr resounded as she approached, fair warning […]
Here’s the link to another article I wrote. https://buneke.org/extra-blog/f/we-can-steward-nature-not-control-it
If you couldn’t be there live, here it is recorded. A bit blurry but bear in mind I am streaming from the chicken coop! https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=3713600348667315&extid=GhrCfhWQmYCV7gn9
Here’s the most recent article that I’ve had published! Lessons Learned from Raising Chickens and Growing Organic
I’m excited to announce that I have a virtual reading at Bank Square Books this Thursday (tonight!!) at 6:30PM. As part of the All Cooped Up Book Tour, I will be in the coop with the hens, reading from my memoir At Crossroads with Chickens: A “What If It Works Adventure In Off-Grid Living and Quest for Home. Please join us! And […]
The article is apt, and the song “Drums” . . . Please read and listen. https://folklife.si.edu/magazine/this-land-is-whose-land-indian-country-settler-protest
The chicks are really cute but are they the cause of the eye infection that Toey has developed? And maybe Susie B., too?
Here’s another interview! Did I post this already . . .? https://www.providencejournal.com/entertainment/20200618/hatching-better-life-how-ex-rhode-islander-embraced-off-grid-life-as-chicken-farmer
Here’s a link to an article about me at the Keene Sentinel site. Thanks to Meghan Foley! https://www.sentinelsource.com/news/local/why-did-the-writer-cross-the-road-to-live-off-the-grid/article_39c2c242-2085-582a-8b04-ccbad385e170.html
Susie B went broody a couple of weeks ago. She’s the beautiful, fluffy, slightly-irritable Golden-laced Cochin that we adopted two years ago, along with her sister Cady, who was killed by a weasel last year. We initially dubbed them The Suffragettes because of their culotte-feathered legs. Arguably, Susie B the Suffragette is living up to […]
Here’s an article I wrote that was published on the Earth 911 website! Essay: Letting Go of Complicity, Complacency, and Convenience
I had hoped this link would take you to my first attempt at a Live Video from the coop! This is not that. I can’t find the first attempt. But here are the girls to say hello. Cheers!
Okay, clearly I haven’t gotten the Live Stream thing down. For now, here are two links to a couple of interviews. The Providence Journal ran Hatching a Better Life: How an ex-Rhode Islander Embraced off-grid life as a chicken farmer. Monadnock Ledger Transcript ran Finding Your Home in The World- WIth The Help of Chickens.
Check it out! https://randyschickenblog.squarespace.com/home/2020/6/17/at-crossroads-with-chickens-a-book-by-tory-mccagg?fbclid=IwAR2vRbZ4ClsePZKgy6Q74hsiHDAHECRwcJBeZEWoVt95Gfni7ws0GDdi6xk
I’ll be celebrating the publication of my book At Crossroads with Chickens this afternoon (Saturday, June 20th) at 2PM. If you go to this link, it should take you to the event. The question being, will I be able to figure out how to get my iPhone to video it . . .. Hope to see you there! […]
In recognition of Juneteenth, I am moving my book launch from tomorrow, June 19, to the summer solstice, June 20th, at 2PM. Juneteenth, or “Black Independence Day” is the annual holiday to celebrate the abolition of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth is not the recognition of the Emancipation Proclamation. That went into effect on […]
It’s awkward. This Friday my book At Crossroads with Chickens will be published and available to buy (as opposed to pre-ordering, both of which are best direct done through http://www.bauhanpublishing.com/crossroads-with-chickens/ or at your local bookstore because Amazon is backed up big time due to the Coronavirus, and way too big for its britches. Just sayin’). And […]
Whew! It’s June and I have no clue what happened to May. Or April for that matter. I was so proud of myself. In late February and March, I actually planted seeds in starter soil and the seeds sprouted and grew into seedlings. My luffa were stupendous, beginning their green creep up a trellis that […]
We have Killdeer here. They remind me of the ocean with their calls, and of my childhood home in Michigan as I have an ever-so-vague memory of Dad telling me, “That’s a Killdeer.” And now we have Killdeer here at Darwin’s View, and their call and stick leg run endears them to me. We are […]
I’m busy trying to figure out the (dare I say?) logic of injecting disinfectant into our mortal bodies. Meantime, our hens have been busy producing perfect eggs. Can you guess what came out of the big egg? Are you glad you didn’t lay that egg? Carl and I have been gearing up for the All […]
For the record, writing a play is different from writing a book–fiction or non-fiction. And writing a script for a video is even more different. And then making the video, well, it escalates. Social media is not my friend. I am in the weeds of this All Cooped Up Book Tour video brain trust idea, […]
Standing O: Out of bed and breathing. I dropped the ball yesterday. I’m in the process of trying to figure out this Cooped Up Book Tour and it took up the time. And then there’s the garden planning. Here is a picture of the area that I want to make into a meditation […]
Might I note that these times are remarkably in parallel to climate disruption? Dramatic change, and we’re all connected. That good, old web of nature. Did anyone read the article that I posted this past Tuesday? Did it help you to feel better? I feel immensely better because it recognizes that, in times like these, […]
Well! The girls are outside clucking and cackling to announce the laying of their eggs. When not laying, they scratch and dig about, entirely oblivious to the nightmare haunting us humans but not of the ray of sun breaking through the clouds. By day’s end, they resemble five year old kids playing in the dirt, […]
I just watched this video. One can find gratitude in the most contradictory places but this rings entirely true. I hope you’ll take the time to watch it. I hope you are safe and home. Reach out to others if you can. None of us are truly alone. Though it might feel that way. AND […]
Yes, it’s time to practice making sweet out of sour and finding positive in the negative. My mother is visiting us at Darwin’s View. We brought her up about two weeks ago and our usual routine is as chaotic as ever. And I give her a kiss on the cheek every time I walk by. […]
This from my cousin. PLEASE stay home and safe. This tired midwife just coming off night call in the hospital. Online meeting this morning w stressed coworkers, trying to figure out how to attend to patients w drastically reduced face to face visits. Here’s what you can do to protect your friends in healthcare: STAY […]
How are people who work “the Gig” economy going to survive this situation? And then the people who work for businesses who don’t fall under the government bill being worked on, that may or may not pass through the Senate. No money coming in means they can’t buy groceries or cleaning products. What’s to be done to […]
Rain, rain, Coronavirus. Cancelations. Likely pushing back date of my book. And: Nicky has a new bedroom. Here’s my play! On the floor. Pages of notes in order of story–past and present–and character. Now Ijust have to write it!
I am really behind on publicity homework. I have to get my social media up and running for my book that is lined up to be published May 8. And then there’s my mail chimp which left me in the dust when it refused to mail my fall and winter newsletters and here we are […]
I learned a hard lesson last week. The cockerels are silent. Gone. I will be one of the story tellers at a Monadnock Conservancy event in Keene, NH March 26th. “Stories About This Place”. It could be very fun, or one of those horrifyingly mortifying experiences that one cringes to look back upon. I’m hoping […]
Once again, I thought I had my act together and boom! Feathers fly. I found a happy home for the three boys. Here they are just before I began to round them up for the trip to their new home: ELF: COCKLES: SANTA Texts sent to the new Rooster steward, Alyson, during my solo capturing […]
I was traveling last Friday and entirely forgot to post. And then, reentry mode. So I’ll post today three days late and a day early. Carl and I have begun planning our cross-country road trip. It’s been delayed for myriad reasons to June 21, at which point we will tally-ho! Three and a half weeks […]
Yup, s/he’s hungry. . .. Beautiful cat.
Well! If his/her visits keep up, I’m going to have to name that bobcat and adopt him/her our own. S/he’s probably really hungry and cold and dreams of a nice chewy chicken . . . In the meantime, we still have three cockerels and they are getting be handsome fellows. Santa and Elf and, the cockiest […]
Bobcat tracks on the driveway, circling the chicken area. Bracing, having lost four chickens to said bobcat. And without our clumsy, yet charming rooster Schtude as muse, how am I to write my children’s book? “Uncle Schtude” was to represent hope in change. Must I now write a pretend story, a story told to children […]
Yup, the bobcat came for a walkabout yesterday–tracks go aaaaaalll around the fenced in garden area. Bracing. Fortunately, the remaining 16 chickens were in their coop/run and are present and accounted for. I am focussing on my play and so will leave words for next Tuesday. Cheers!
This past Saturday, that followed a dark day on Friday: Guests from out of town and the stars and sun were aligned for a walk. Yahoo! But first, we had to explain to three of our chickens, who usually don’t take walk-abouts but do not ask questions. They are chickens—Wilma, Pearl, and one of Pearl’s […]
I just got a poll asking if I think Hillary Clinton should run for president. I knew it was coming. I knew that the powers that be still think they are smarter than the rest of us and that’s why I was all in with Marianne Williamson. She said it: the powers that be like […]
Below is the link to a New York Times article that I found interesting by Ezra Klein. “Why the Democrats Still have to Appeal to the Center, But Republicans Don’t.” I think it clarifies the challenges our Republic is up against. Meantime, my brain thirsts for more than the stress and disbelief of daily politics. […]
Another case of a picture is worth a thousand words. Photo by Carl
For those who are as obsessed as I currently am by the politics of the day, it’s a bracing time, isn’t it? Choices, choices and the system is based on money, not We the People. What are we to do? Whom do we trust? Sometimes, it feels as if the only positive news is that […]
I think it might be time to hit a reset with these blog posts (again). On one hand, the twice weekly posts are a good habit to maintain. On the other, I have noticed that I’ve been on the edge of delinquent lately, allowing pictures to replace words. I need to focus, not just on […]
Ooooooh, they are getting so old. And cocky. And aggressive. But they are beautiful. Might have found a home for them. Time will tell.
Along with the mystery of life, and on the tail end of the question about chickens and road crossing I must ask what happened to this week? I only just realized that it is 4:55 on a Friday afternoon and if it’s Friday, that means it is Friday. How did that happen? Hacking and coughing […]
I’m fighting off a cold. And have five roosters to rehome because Elmer and Diablo (renamed from Fonz) are fighting and, though I see no blood on any of the chickens, yet the blood on the roost is unmistakable. It’s time. I have one home for one of the five. Any takers? I would draw […]
I’m trying to process it. And note how parallel my own blithe actions and their consequences are to human actions in this world. It burns and our governments do little to change. Our conveniences and wars and profits dominate the conversations. As do six cock-a-doodle-dos. Once again, I managed, with a broody hen’s help, to […]
Okay. Here’s a question: How long will it be before for the nightmare in the White House takes Mr. Ghosn under his wing? That was my first thought when I read that the former Nissan boss fled Japan for Lebanon claiming he was escaping “injustice and political persecution”.1 It sounded so much like Orange Julius […]
Don’t get me started on the absurdity and warp-ed-ness of the holidays. . .. I woke up the day after Christmas and nudged Carl. “Guess what!?” He grunted. “It’s blow out sale day!” Yes! Black Friday and Cyber Monday are gone. The Christmas shopping hell is over and now we get the blow out, end […]
Politics and handwringing! The holidays and travel! Writing a play! Publishing to dos! Worrying about the chickens and Nick! As ever, distraction rules. I practice meditation. It is a rare moment that my mind is calm but, during the time I sit, I give my self space to let the ideas fall in a pile. […]
Well! Have you noticed the sun factor these days? Rain, rain and now snow. I have a rough draft of a post but no time to write it. How can that be? I’ve been prepping for a certain event . . . but can’t give details or it will ruin what little surprise there will […]
Speaking of grief, here’s one by Michelle Goldberg. About fits my mood, thus, again, none of my own words: From The New York Times: Democracy Grief Is Real Seeing what Trump is doing to America, many find it hard to fight off despair. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/13/opinion/sunday/trump-democracy.html?te=1&nl=david-leonhardt&emc=edit_ty_20191213?campaign_id=39&instance_id=14511&segment_id=19577&user_id=e88ac58ff94900e67942e43bc78d736c®i_id=7892923920191213 And then this from Paul Gilding. The Cockatoo […]
All the snow is gone, replaced by torrents of rain and slush. I spent the morning working on my play. Most satisfactory but now it’s noon and the rest of life calls. Not least, Splotches and her four adolescents. They keep shoving under the fence, freeing themselves to walk about where any bobcat or hawk […]
A pescavore from age 16, I gave up fish in 20131 and have since been an octo-lacto vegetarian. . . . Not really. I eat oysters on occasion. Ironic as I rarely, if ever, ate oysters before I gave up fish. But since giving up tuna, swordfish, and salmon? Oysters have become a compromise option […]
You guessed it: a day for pictures. Do you see the problem with this picture? Carl saw it right away: the bubbler, meant to keep the water circulating and the frogs alive, is entirely buried…. Chicken Condo Complex: Just picts of the as yet sex undetermined chicks. The solar panels are clear […]
As my body and soul adjust to the day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday, also known as the assault of Hyper Commercialization on One’s Sense and Sensibility, a.k.a. Capitalism on Steroids, Buy Now or You Aren’t a Patriot, a.k.a. Support Christmas or Be Damned—which some might consider irrelevant to the here and now […]
We head out today for Friendsgiving in Providence, and Thanksgiving in New York City, leaving house sitters to tend to the chickens, cat and house. We just got a call our dentist saying they can fit us in today at 12, thereby moving our departure time up from 11 to 10. No, to 9:30 because […]
A few weeks ago I wrote a ditty on electric vehicles. Given our circumstances today—some of us, perhaps, waiting with baited breath for the next installment of Democracy at the Guillotine—I thought now would be a good time for an update. Background: on November 1, we disconnected our lead acid batteries that have served us […]
I had a vague idea for a post but then, in my distraction to avoid actually writing it, read this article. It strikes at one of my daily heartaches. To know something is happening and yet doing nothing tangible is one of the conveniences of our society and culture. Rather like Germany in the 1930s. […]
Is this just another crazy idea for a road trip? It uses the same logic (sic) that Carl and I used for our last cross-country trip: a book and a mission. For Bittersweet Manor, the idea was that we would support local bookstores and public transportation while in the process of selling lots of books. […]
We are back home at Darwin’s View, and I am looking out at a fog bank. The weather outside is frightful and it’s raining, not snowing. An excellent excuse to curl up and nap, read, be cozy. Or to ask oneself this question . . . but first some background: Toward the end of The […]
As feared, the book titled The End of Animal Farming by Jacy Reese has me teetering toward veganism. Even as I settled into the train yesterday, and began to peruse its pages with presumptuous self-satisfaction—after all, most of the cheese and milk that I consume is “happy” Reese managed to burst that bubble in his […]
Remember this past (already!?) summer and our broody hens’ defiance of my law and determination not to have chicks? Toey’s two that we got from a friend of ours are now young adults and one is a confirmed cockerel, every morning tuning up to Schtude’s crow with what sounds like an old car horn dying. […]
November? How did that happen? Time ticks. Life. Carl and I watched this the other day: Zach Bush’s Keynote speech at the Rodale Organic Pioneer Awards. If you want to skip his bio and just hear him, he starts at 4 minutes 5 seconds. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXIketg-NHk If you want to listen to shorter clip of […]
Carl swears he heard an adolescent rooster attempting to crow yesterday morning. We’ve heard it before. A ca-ca-doodle-cough-cough. Typically, it’s a rather shy and retiring attempt that’s cut off, perhaps, by one of the hens pecking the head of said cockerel because it is way too early in the morning for two roosters to be […]
As to the Friday energy articles, clearly they are off the rails and down the tubes. Rather like our government. Regarding all things energy, I’m at a loss for words on what to write about because I’m so far behind the learning curve and no time to read up on it due to influx of […]
Isn’t it interesting how a book falls into your lap at just the right time? I bought Howard Mansfield’s book The Habit of Turning the World Upside Down over a year ago but only sat down to read it this past weekend. The book addresses, in part, the American attitude toward land: how to grab it, own it, […]
I started a post but it was bleak. Instead of working that out, I am off to pack for NYC. But this picture describes what I was attempting to say in words: that darkness. It takes up so much space. And yet then the diverse grays and pinks and whites and blues of the dawning. […]
The link below is to the flyer for the NHSaves event this Thursday in Jaffrey. I’m going to post more of them around today. And am left with that uncomfortable feeling that no one will show up. JafferyBU-2019-proof2 It’s interesting, trying to write a play as opposed to a book of fiction or non-fiction. A […]
Have you heard about what’s going on in California? Pacific Gas & Electric, in their infinite wisdom–or greed, depending on one’s perspective–deemed it important to cut off millions of people from electricity. The company noted that it was held liable for the fires last year, sparked by high winds knocking down poles that sparked wildfires. […]
Working on a deadline and so just pictures today! This morning at Darwin’s View: The Generations yesterday: Collette & the others at their toilette: The Adolescents. And the 7th generation at Darwin’s View with their mother Splotches. And, because I miss her, a picture to explain why we called her our marmalade Buddha, […]
Birth, then death, then rebirth. Is that how it goes? I find the dying process is a step-by-step spiral. We, sometimes, don’t take note of it until in retrospect and then Eureka! Badabing! Oh, shit! We see the process clearly. Our sweet, fluffy-tailed marmalade buddha cat died yesterday. Nora. For months, in retrospect, she has […]
Paws. Our marmalade Buddha. Nora. And the chicks become adolescents with hairdos.
No, I’m not talking about impeachment, though that’s in the works. I’m thinking about the demise of the earth. It’s a depressing question, is it inevitable? but one worth asking since it’s within our power to do something about it. Sort of. Though changing lightbulbs is not, apparently, enough. We had a long drive home […]