April comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Spring,” a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sorry about my over-long absence – it’s been so long that the interface WordPress shows me is unfamiliar, and I’m distracted by its novelty and the maintenance backlog —and more ideas of things to do on this blog.

Last year and the year before, I had the intention to write much more, but I couldn’t bring myself to. I’d log in, do the routine maintenance, and then a strong bout of snooziness would overtake me. And the longer I failed to post something new and different here, the more guilty I felt. Not posting when-I-could-have is a lost opportunity to show at least several hundred people the fun/beneficial things I’d done that they could try, too.

Like what? Well, in this time – started even earlier — I set up my home with bird strike-proofing. And I continued to garden flowers and native plants, though last summer I got a grand total of 6 apple-sized tomatoes and maybe a pint basket of autumn-green, kitchen-ripened cherry tomatoes.

These activities are as quotidian to me as the motions of private daily life. So writing about them isn’t a constant source of inspiration like they were when I was first adopting new, green practices. They feel more like empty bragging: look what I have; hope you can do the same! and I’m the kind of person that would rather just do than be seen doing.

In 2020, everyone had to shut down activities in the face of uncertainty about human interaction. Now, it’s true: blogs are kinda passive; they don’t require much human interaction. But even with the niggling intention to do something for the blog, I just needed, wanted, couldn’t help but redirect my attention to things where, having put them away while pursuing other work, I was finally allowed to catch up.

And thank God we all were forced to stop busy-work, stop socializing, and stop “networking” last year. It finally enabled our latent and long-desired-but-not-permitted ability to Work From Home and travel less (and therefore reduce congestion, pollution, and unnecessary energy use). It made me realize how much our every day sociability and FOMO was literally killing time, preventing reflection, and obscuring focus. Turning my back on public and equivalent digital life did me a world of good.

Services still available…

Since 2018 on this blog (since earlier, but…), I’ve been offering to help people on a part-time basis, to convert their yards and driveways or apply window treatments to stop killing birds. The only inquiries I’ve received haven’t been relevant. The blog hasn’t created any employment or form of income. This isn’t to say that blogging’s been a waste of time; my original reason for blogging still stood: posting what I found interesting, testifying in support of the pro-bird, pro-environment research. But a sales vehicle, it is not.

DIYs abound on the things I do, notably from mature organizations. The National Wildlife Federation, Canadian Wildlife Federation, American Bird Conservancy, the Xerces Society for insects and invertebrates, Flap Canada (Fatal Light Awareness Program), the National Audubon Society, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology all promote native plant gardening or bird strike prevention or both. Awareness has been raised! I’m offering only what influence and social proof I can offer as to the benefits of what it’s like to adopt the outlook and practices of biophilic cities and home ownership.

A lot of good work is done for free or on a goodwill basis, and yet still gets indirectly recorded in figures that add up to a social benefit and positive impact in the national GDP. One example I’ve seen from 80,000 Hours is that a charitable/non-profit/voluntary spend of $2 can end up having $50 of social benefit. So even if I haven’t received a monetary benefit here, and no one has engaged me to help them convert over to these green practices, I can reasonably hope I’ve contributed to an overall cultural change, and a mitigating, or positive, effect in the areas I’ve focused on.

If someone were to ask “Hey, I want to do this, can you help me?” then I would. Most of the efforts and adaptations here you can do by yourself, but de-paving a driveway and putting in its replacement still requires planning, labour, and tools. And then we plant it, and you take it from there.

You can also do a lot of good by resisting the status-quo “expertise” pressure when the service people you hire for your landscaping try to keep doing what they’ve always done. (I used to occasionally find a business card in my mailbox from some contractor who thinks my driveway would suit him best if it were paved.) Conventional landscaping is too often terrible; as I’ve read over and over again in gardening groups on Facebook, trying to imitate it without the know-how causes people to overdo it and mow every growing thing in sight. They’d rather go without than tend to it.

And yet, since I made my driveway green in 2015, it’s been easy to look after. I mow it a couple of times in the growing season. I enjoy admiring it, letting the neighbourhood meet and greet my rabbits when they come out and browse, and sometimes my guests use it as a parking space. Come winter, I use less than 2 cups of salt and about 4 cups of sand over the entire winter to keep my front walk from being icey. A container of road salt lasts me for many years. This saves the yard and the street and our waterways from salinity pollution; mostly, it saves me trouble, at little cost.

You have ready access to all the knowledge you need to make your world verdant. You are the protector of your property and all the things that can live on it and make it enjoyable. You’re the instigator of positive change in your neighbourhood.

So for now, I can only promise to continue keeping the blog up for your perusal and research, and if I find something new or interesting to show, I’ll post it here or on share it on my social media channels.

Now that I’ve shared all this, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And job done, maybe now I’ll take a short snoozy nap.

Just one more little hobby horse thing before I go:

All inquiries I’ve gotten on the blog have been from other content producers and associated business services.

Bloggers and businesses that create or aggregate home-based blog content often message others seeking a content boost, where they ask me to link to their content that would boost their page authority in the SEO rankings. You can’t blame them for reaching out – helping other bloggers succeed is part of the game of building an online platform! However, participating in an unequal exchange such as this (offering a social media post on my behalf — haha, no, if you want authority, offer me authority thanks — or at best to give me an article to post on my blog) is kinda like my paying advertisement fees for someone else’s business. In fact, I did pay $12 a month for a Yellow Pages subscription in 2016, in hope of having customers find my services, only to get phone calls from web development businesses who wanted to build me a website – which I already had. And these people building page authority are looking to sell their content, their audience list, have real estate for advertising, or else sell the URL at a high price at the end.

The moral of the story: The money to be made in the online content industry is the same as in the old-time gold rush: selling tools to prospectors. So blog if you love it. Invest some money in it, in order to save yourself time and expand the possibility of a bigger audience. Blog for a business if you have a strong content plan and you like telling people about the nuts and bolts (and have a team to help you). But if you have a business: focus on the business, and let the blog come after.