Category Archives: Environment


The other day, after reaching Thoreau’s closing image in Walden – “The sun is but a morning star.” – we went to the pond. We left early, driving the two miles over quiet roads and arriving (with permission) at the closed park. One lone angler was on the east shore; we headed for the house site. Outside the book after six weeks in its room, we were headed back to where it began.

At the house site, we crowded into the little post-and-chain rectangle and read a few passages about the March morning in 1845 when Henry Thoreau began building his house. We looked up at the “tall arrowy pines” and in imagination felled a few; we “left the bark on.” Then, we admired the sprawling cairn nearby. Now, it was time for the water and the sun, and each of us went to a sitting place along the banks of the northwest shore. Everything was afire with sunlight, even the undersides of branches had caught the light of the “second sun,” the one that flashes up off the pond. Already the night cold was gone; the new day was afoot. The sun had brought it.

Morning at the pond

Morning at the pond

While my students entered their various solar reveries, I watched them from across Thoreau’s cove, and it wasn’t long before I entered a reverie of my own, this one about the power possible from the same sun that lights Walden. Are we not, clever species that we are, able enough to use that power directly instead of continuing with our habit of unearthing its stored remnants and burning them, thereby setting off a cascade of unnecessary change in our atmosphere?

That, in turn, made me think of Thoreau Farm’s solar challenge – to which we have given happily. The challenge seems especially apt, as I emerge from another reading of Walden, where it has been a gift to be brought over time again to this morning star, and then left there on the shores of a new day to choose my direction.

And, now that we have “fallen back” into Standard Time, it is a gift to awaken each morning to the low-angled, November sun as it streams through the leafless trees. Even at this northern latitude and in our shortened days, the sun has power.

That morning, we left the pond warmed; perhaps some of us were newly awake. The sun had worked its daily magic.

I hope you’ll consider helping us bring some of this magic to Thoreau Farm.

Comments Off

Filed under Environment, General, Henry David Thoreau, News and Events, The Roost, Thoreau Quote, Walden

Henry Goes Solar!

“No light illuminates me.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Update on our solar campaign - We have raised $8,600 toward the $12,000 match and our total goal of $25,000. We also received an equipment donation which will defray the project cost by nearly $2,000. We continue raise funds for the balance – you can make a gift through our PayPal account (“Donate” button to the left).

Bottom line – we are moving forward with the installation! Take a look at the info below for more details on the project. And please help us raise the remaining $3,500 by making a gift today!!

Henry David Thoreau is going off the grid once again, 168 years after his famous experiment in living deliberately in a simple cabin at Walden Pond!

In keeping with Henry David Thoreau’s environmental values and in the spirit of living deliberately, Thoreau Farm has launched a fundraising campaign to install a solar photovoltaic system at his birthplace. We need to raise $25,000 by the end of November to get the system installed before the ground freezes.

This is a very important project to us and will have the following impact on our organization:

  • Environmental - we will no longer have to use electricity generated from non-renewable sources (we use a low temp heat pump for climate control, which needs electricity to operate so a solar pv system will enable us to be completely non-dependent on any fossil fuels, even for our heating and cooling needs).
  • Education - we use all the green features at Thoreau’s birthplace to educate visitors on how we can all be more environmentally conscious.
  • Economic - by being able to generate our electricity we will save $2,000-$3,000 in operating costs per year.

Take a look at this video to see just how important solar energy is to Henry himself -

A donation of any amount is welcome, and all donations make a difference. A generous donor will match your gift – this means your gift has TWICE the value and will get us to our goal TWICE as fast. You can make a tax-deductible gift using our PayPal account (“Donate” button to the left).

And please help us spread the word by sharing this campaign with your friends!


Comments Off

Filed under Environment, General

In the Garden

posted by Patricia Hohl

There’s a lot happening in gardens this winter and in thinking about gardens.

Such as #OccupyGardens, a Twitter movement based on our basic need for food and the power of being able to feed ourselves.

And as food activists head into a fierce battle over the Farm Bill early next year, some small farmers are finding an ally in the Occupy Wall Street movements. Continue reading

Need a reason to start a kitchen garden? Go to our Video Page and watch Roger Doiron, Founding Director of Kitchen Gardeners, in his TED talk,  A Subversive Plot: How to Grow a Revolution in Your Own Backyard. Doiron talks about the need to redefine what “good” food is and redefine our living spaces. Why? Because gardens grow GOOD food, gardens grow healthy kids and families, and gardens grow important economic savings for families.

Doiron’s takeaway:  Increasing access to food that are healthy for us and the planet is the biggest challenge we face. Kitchen gardens will be a big part of the solution and represent a cost-effective investment. Everyone has a role to play in planting and promoting them.

Nothing dormant in these gardens!

Comments Off

Filed under Environment, News and Events