Friday, December 15, 2017

Report: Week 41 of Retirement (or Don't Forget To:)

On the day I retired, my team surprised me with a luncheon.  Retirement decorations festooned the conference room, and some people had written out cards that began with "Don't Forget To".  Week 41 of retirement - time to verify if I'm following a few of their directives.

ONE: Start a new hobby.  Well, I am in partial compliance - I took one of my favorite hobbies - cross-stitch - and jumped into a new top secret project with a firm deadline - the birth of a grand nephew in early October!
Progress in early July
End of July
The secret nature of the piece meant I couldn't post pictures, until now!

End of August
Of course, with a birth announcement cross-stitch, there is the inevitable conundrum that you want to bestow the gift as soon as the baby arrives, but you can't thread the last needle until you have the date and the weight!

October 11 - finished and framed

Note from my niece: "It is SOOO beautiful, and it matches his nursery motif perfectly!  You are incredibly thoughtful (and sneaky)!"

TWO: Stay active.  This one has not been an issue.  I love walking into town to run errands, which inevitably translates into a coffee and pastry somewhere.  One must support the local businesses, right?

Sights along Whitefish River

THREE: Eat, drink and be merry.  Check this one off!  Spousal Unit is indeed a blessing with his tasty concoctions.

Yummy breakfast!

FOUR: Enjoy reading a book.  Browsing the stacks at the library, I spotted a "New Arrival" that automatically caught my attention.  Conservation.  Heroes.  Heartland.  Long ago, I caught the gardening bug from my Dad.  Mix in my love affair with the outdoors and nature.  Add a generous measure of time that I now have available for conservation matters.  What do you have?  A book that was meant for me.

From the internet

This book tells the stories of Montana cattle rancher Dusty Crary and Kansas farmer Justin Knopf, as well as Merritt Lane, Sandy Nguyen and Wayne Werner (water-related professionals in Louisiana), each working conservation in their part of the American heartland.
I learned that farmers and ranchers make up 1% of the US population but manage 2/3 of the nation's land.  Agriculture has a greater impact on water, land and terrestrial biodiversity than any other human activity.  Fisherman have a similar impact on the oceans - they draw the equivalent of the human weight of China out the sea every year.  So, the land and the ocean as productive resources are critical, but they are shaky - overgrazed, overtilled, overfished and threatened by development and invasive species.

The author, Miriam Horn, also makes the point that diversity is paramount for survival, not only in the sense of ecosystems but also in the people who must engage in conservation.  She shows, through her "heroes", that meeting human needs does not always equate to sacrificing nature, and vice versa.  No solution will be perfect; people can and should weigh each choice for its broad impact.

This book has reinforced my desire to engage in conservation efforts.  If you're wondering how you can help, consider the following:

1. Get involved in land development in your area.  Can we adapt existing buildings rather than construct new housing and commercial spaces?  If building new, ensure that at least an equal amount of green space is planned near the development.  Can we limit new roads, which tend to interrupt animal travel patterns?  If you own large tracts of land, consider conservation easements, the sale of development rights to a land trust that holds the land in perpetuity.  Protecting large swaths of private lands is as crucial, if not more so, to the entire ecosystem than even designated wilderness. 

2. Listen to diverse points of view and seek win-win solutions.  Start small with people still willing to give talking and listening a try.  Focus on the 80% that unites rather than the 20% that divides.  Respect the contribution that each partner brings (ranchers and environmentalists CAN work together).  Consider that any path forward has to support local human culture and economy, which ensures that private lands provide enormous public value.
From the internet
From the internet
3. Promote soil conservation.  Keep something growing on as much soil as possible.  I was shocked to learn that it takes 500 years to build up a single inch of soil.  Annual erosion of agricultural soil now exceeds the rate of soil production to the point that, unchecked, all agricultural soil will be gone in 100 years.  Plants have the additional benefit of reducing carbon in the atmosphere; if applied globally, restorative agriculture on cropland and pasture soils could achieve up to 15% of the total carbon reduction need to stabilize the climate. 

From the internet
4. Utilize "land food" wisely to avoid artificially increasing production demand.  By most estimates, farmers will have to double production by 2050.  This will likely mean the clearing of even more land, which is counterproductive from a climate change perspective.

5. Eat fish and shellfish.  Doing so could satisfy a much larger portion of human protein needs with a fraction of the impacts that "land food" create for greenhouse emissions, water use and displaced ecosystems.

From the internet
6. Support the restoration of the Mississippi Delta.  Dams, levees and canals have resulted in 2,000 square miles of land lost in Louisiana.  Unless the Mississippi can be freed to resume its natural function building the Delta, Louisiana will lose another 1,750 square miles by 2099.  At risk are fossil fuel resources, food production, shipping channels, pipelines and a commercial fishery that provides nearly a third of all US seafood.

Now back to my Don't Forget To list ...

FIVE: Laugh every day (especially if you found reading the section above a bit heavy)!  With two cats in the house, this is an easy one.  If you have cats, you will be familiar with the occasional feline surprise.  Such as the day I went into the half bathroom to find this:
Miss Josie

Linking to:
Mosaic Monday

Nature Notes

Outdoor Wednesday
Outdoor Wednesday: Click on the picture below to learn more...

Willy Nilly Friday


  1. Some really great advice and some lovely photos. Love your cross-stitch!

  2. ...I'm not retired yet, but should be in a couple of months. No plans for me, I just plan on having a good time!

  3. Great advice, especially about laughing and finding something new! The cross stitch is beautiful!

  4. Sounds like your retirement is going fantastic! I love your cross stitch. That was a craft I did for many years. Enjoy the season. :) Kit

  5. Hi Miss Josie! Glad to see you're "fitting in" nicely. :D

  6. You certainly know how to enjoy retirement and so does miss Josie. Wish you had followers... so I could follow you.

  7. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my winter garden post. These are some good things to remember. I got a clock, a shared retirement dinner with other retirees and that's about it. All kidding aside, we both chose to retire early so we could enjoy the float cabin home we discovered in Coastal BC. - Margy

  8. What a great craftwork! And yes: we need the nature and I'm connected with these issues since childhood: my parents were actice "Helpers to save nature" here in Germany (an organization, what we had in former GDR) and we always do, what we can. But it is so lilltle, that makes me sad, often...
    I'm living with a cat to, by the way.
    Enjoy Christmas time, thanks for stopping by.

  9. Your cross-stitch is super and will be cherished forever, I'm sure, although that breakfast with the eggs and potatoes has now got me craving that! Retirement is such an opportunity for people like ourselves. I enjoy it thoroughly...:)JP

  10. Hi! Your cross-stitch is very cool and beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Lovely post. Congratulations on your retirement and working on hobbies and walking. I love cross stitch but have never tried it myself. Something on my 'to do' list. Merry Christmas to you.

  12. The cross-stitch is wonderful - congratuatlions on a new baby in the family. Children really make everything better.

  13. You certainly seem to being keeping up with their advice, I imagine you're busier now that you're retired than you were whilst perusing your career!
    Thank you for joining me for Mosaic Monday this year, chatting with the MM crowd is the highlight of my blogging week.
    Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, see you in 2018.

  14. Beautiful cross-stitch and great advice for "us" retirees and for everyone! Happy Monday!

  15. Lovely cross stitch. We travel lots more in retirement and I spend more time gardening and have really got into researching our family trees.

  16. Love your cross stitch project! Wonderful to see everyone keeping busy during retirement including Miss Josie! Hope you have a very Merry Christmas, hugs to all!

  17. That cross stitch is such a treasure. Lots of good inspiration in this post. Your laugh every day is fun!

  18. Lovely cross stitch and a very sweet shot of the cat in the basin!

  19. Haha it is good your eyes are still good for cross-stitching. I have my share of that craze long ago, and i don't want to do something without much thread cuts! I stopped when i went back to school for PhD in 1997, and realized i need a lot of walls just to display all of them. I didn't read all the things you posted here, but i guess you have enough time now to blog. hahaha. I will be there too in a couple of years.

  20. Hello, being retired is wonderful. Your cross stitch is lovely, what a beautiful gift. Staying and and reading are two things on my list, smiling and having fun is important too. Thanks always for your visits and comments. Have a happy day and week ahead. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  21. Being retired is a great time to explore and it seems that you are enjoying your retirement very much...Happy Holidays..Michelle

  22. how did I miss this? Caption for final shot, "what time do they turn on the hot tub?"


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