Reporting locally, thinking globally

I love it when my local reporting for The Observer here in Jefferson County, West Virginia links to larger national (or international) issues. That’s what happened when I dug deeply into animal cruelty charges against a local farmer last year. Danny Rohrer had been a cornerstone of our weekly farmers’ market for more than a decade, and our community was stunned when sensational headlines about … Continue reading Reporting locally, thinking globally

It’s not about you. But…

A nonfiction writer always faces a fundamental question when beginning a piece of work, namely: Do I insert myself in the narrative? If the piece is about oneself, then the answer is obvious. But most of us are writing about other topics, and inserting oneself often simply gets in the way. Still, there are times when a writer’s role in the story is impossible to … Continue reading It’s not about you. But…

Am I a bad person if I don’t always buy organic?

  Yesterday, I didn’t order my Thanksgiving turkey.  The yellow sticky note had been sitting on the kitchen counter — and then hidden on my desk when I didn’t want to hear my husband ask again “have you called this guy back yet?”— for several weeks before I finally summoned the courage to call the friendly farmer in the ramshackle house surrounded by happily grazing … Continue reading Am I a bad person if I don’t always buy organic?

Digging deep

With the early arrival of spring this year I’m reprising my seasonal post from last year’s blog a bit early as well.   The timing has changed, as plants are sprouting sooner than they usually do, but the rest remains the same, at least for now.  Time will tell if our increasingly early springs bring new problems to West Virginia’s forests, or to other eastern wildlands.  … Continue reading Digging deep

Vegetarian cat food and other abnormalities

In a piece reposted recently on E Magazine’s online version, blogger Ethan Goffman wrote that his two cats have turned him into a vegetarian – or at least a non-mammal eating vegetarian.   After living with cats for the past few years he’s come to appreciate their affectionate purrs and impressive leaps, among other endearing qualities.   As warm-blooded mammals they resemble us in many ways and … Continue reading Vegetarian cat food and other abnormalities

Relative response

At a family gathering this weekend a relative asked me what areas of environmental action are ripe for progress.  He wanted to know where he should direct his retirement energies.  In other words, how could he actually do some good?  He and his wife live in New Hampshire, and as the opportunity presents itself there every four years, they become engaged in presidential politics.  But … Continue reading Relative response