Today I’m turning away from book writing to blogging. It’s a nice change! Here are some important #goodreads (and looks) on a range of topics: drought, climate change, pastoral writing and food/agriculture. Special thanks to UC ANR’s Dan Macon for all the photos!


The NeverEnding (#drought) Story: A Blog to Follow and a New Video Series

I’m a big fan of Daniel Swain (@Weather_West), although he seldom gives me good news. Dr. Swain is a climate scientist at UCLA and pens Weather West – The California Weather Blog. Be sure to follow him on Twitter and subscribe to his blog. His recent take? “Severe drought” has returned to parts of Southern California. Like Swain, I live in So Cal and it feels like summer.

In his most recent post, he included the following information (which he also Tweeted):


UC ANR’s California Institute for Water (CIWR) has produced some terrific drought resources; they are available here. I love the smart blog produced by the unit’s Faith Kearns – The Confluence. She recently wrote about how California’s idea of “natural” beauty may have shifted during the drought. Worth a read.

Here’s something worth a look: the first of three videos about drought and water management produced by CIWR. The videos are inspired by a collection of 19 drought tips developed in collaboration with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources researchers during the drought of 2010-16. Learn more here.



Check out the “United States of Climate Change” series on the Weather Channel.

Seriously, check it out. (And be ready to be blown away). In this dispatch from Montana, Ari Levaux shares the story about how our warmer and more unpredictable weather is impacting the production of malt barley, which is essential to brewing beer. The series appears on the Weather Channel site and is produced by the Food and Environment Reporting Network, one of the best investigative reporting organizations out there. This particular piece features extraordinary photography by Tony Bynum and Louise Johns. One of the best thematic presentations of climate change impacts I’ve ever seen and absolutely stellar reporting and photography. A+++.

And while we’re talking about climate change, dive into this article about the opportunities for Extension folks to incorporate education/research about climate change across the organization’s work. It appears in California Agriculture, an open-access peer-reviewed research journal published by UC’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. (Cal Ag has been around since 1946 and it’s worth a dive into its digitized archives to learn more about the history of agriculture in the Golden State)

Editor’s Note: This week, UC ANR is hosting a sold-out workshop on the topic of integrating climate change education across Extension programs. Look for a blog post about the workshop in the next two weeks. Here’s one fun Tweet about the event.


The Foothill Agrarian: A Blog About All Things Pastoral (including farm dogs!)

It’s no mean feat to write about agricultural life in a way that is both informative and evocative. One of my new favorite pastoral writers is Dan Macon, who writes as “Foothill Agrarian.” Full disclosure: Dan and I are colleagues at UC ANR, where Dan uses his considerable knowledge base in a role as livestock and natural resources advisor for Placer, Nevada, Sutter and Yuba Counties.

Dan Macon.

Before coming to ANR, Dan was an associate specialist in rangeland science and management at UC Davis, where his research and extension activities focused on drought management, predator-livestock coexistence and water quality. Dan is also partner in Flying Mule Farm, a small-scale commercial sheep operation in Auburn, California. To boot, he’s the vice president of the California Wool Growers Association. Summary: he knows his subject and he writes well about it. I read every post, but his most recent piece about Old Man Reno, one of his farm dogs, really resonated with me. Read his blog every chance you get: it will make you feel better about life. P.S. Dan provided all the photos featured in today’s post.

Farm dog. Credit: Dan Macon.

Related Reading: If Farm Dogs Ran the World and The Shepherd’s Life.


Thinly Sliced: Lady Doritos, Turmeric Myths, Cultured Meat (And More!)

I’ve become a dedicated follower of The New Food Economya non-profit newsroom producing high-quality, timely and incredibly relevant pieces on food issues (food in the broadest sense). Smart and engaging reporting. I’ve really come to enjoy the twice-weekly feature, Thinly Sliced. Like a listicle, but WAY better. Sample this one. If you like it, do what I do…sign up to receive a digest directly in your email box.

Wishing you a great week and a view like this.

Credit: Dan Macon.