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13 March 2012

Tales from a bag lady.

Plastic shopping bags concern people like me who care about how our environment looks, and how it might function in the future. Besides filling our landfills with unnecessary plastic, these bags escape our hands and end up blowing around the streets and stuck in trees and fences. This one was found near my home:
plastic bag
And on the streets of Africa last fall, the sights were abysmal.
plastic bags in Africa
plastic bags in Africa
I remember when the big supermarket chains first began offering reusable cloth bags to their customers. I thought: What a great idea! Inspired, soon after an Earth Day somewhere in the 1990s I started purchasing store-brand shopping bags as I could afford them.

As time went on, the design and colors of reusable store-bags changed, but I continued to buy bags from different stores as the whim befell me. Eventually I ended up with a hodge-podge of variously-logoed cloth bags. I was a walking advertisement for many establishments as I handed them to the bagger at the check-out stand.

The bags were stronger than plastic, but the handles tore if you filled them with too many groceries. Eventually the bags became so dirty that I had to wash them. But they shrank! After washing, barely any groceries would fit into a bag. And the printed logos started to fade and crack.

Click on "read more" for more of this blog entry. Click here for how to make the bags: Bag-Lady Bags

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11 March 2012

Eurasian Collared Doves

Last fall we first noticed a pair of a different species of bird around our house. The pair left for the winter, then a couple days ago we again saw a pair in our trees and on the shed. These birds have a distinct "coo COO coo" sound and are larger than robins and meadowlarks.

After a bit of web searching and some photo-taking, I identified the birds as "Eurasian Collared Doves". They are an invasive species that was first introduced into the Bahamas in the 1970s. By 1982, they had spread to Florida, and by 1996, 7 nesting Eurasian Collared Doves were found near Denver.

I'm not an ornithologist by any stretch, but I do find this interesting. The websites that I accessed today (links below) don't think that the invasion is necessarily a call for alarm. Time will tell. For now, I'll enjoy watching and listening to them.


The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Eurasian Collared-Doves in Colorado, Yahoo Groups
Bird Source