Katherine Pioli fights fires in the summer, and travels the world and writes for CATALYST the rest of the year.
Every summer, Uncle Sam calls me into the West’s forests to fight wildfires for a six months. This year, my job takes me away from my family of fowl during the weekdays. But every Friday, when I roll back into the SLC and pull up to our urban homestead, I start squawking and peeping to try and raise the birds.
Utah’s Bortle-rated sky map shows some of the darkest night skies in the entire nation. Salt Lake City, on the other hand ranked on a par with Los Angeles and New York City.
Kate Wheadon's love affair with flea markets began with a pair of old leather English riding boots from a market where she lived in southern California.
Two weeks is a long time in the life of a young duck or goose—and a long time for new young duck/goose owners. Watching them over the course of these weeks reminds me of what Midwesterners say about corn growing during the hot, wet months of summer: If you watch and listen closely you can see and hear them grow.
Early Wednesday morning, the post office calls to tell me that our box of goslings and ducklings chicks has arrived, but I don't know this at the time because that information is contained in a voicemail because I didn't answer my phone while I was out walking Ben to work.
In the first week of March, after months of deliberation, my boyfriend Ben and I sat down, got online and ordered two breeding pairs of Cayuga ducks and two pairs of American Buff geese. Picking our breeds was more difficult that choosing between gelato flavors at an Italian ice cream parlor: Nothing looked half bad.
Tear A Part Auto Recycling leads the way locally in exploring the use of mushroom mycelium to reclaim heavy metals from polluted soil. We speak with their environmental specialist, Kirsten Brinkerhoff.
The Red Butte oil spill of 2010 dumped 30,000 gallons of crude oil down one of Salt Lake’s main waterways, contaminating not only water but also the soils it came into contact with. Cleanup likely added even more chemicals into the mix. It was a progression from clean water to chemical cocktail. But what if there were an alternative, a way to clean up spilled hydrocarbons that was less harmful than the problem? Some scientists and industry specialists believe that there is, and that solution begins with mushrooms.
At Tear-A-Part, an auto recycling business along Redwood Road on Salt Lake’s west side, petroleum, mercury, lead and other substances leak from the wrecked vehicles on the lot every day. But here, these chemicals aren’t just going down the drain and into the soil. Instead, they are getting gobbled up by oyster mushrooms.
Beehive state native Anthony Baron Kirk has become chief honey-bearer for Ghana's wild bees.
Anthony Baron Kirk paused to look up at the full harvest moon. Dressed from mesh-covered head to booted toe in a beekeeper’s suit, he wondered if this was a good night to approach the hives. The darkness wasn’t as deep as he had hoped. The bees would still be active, kept awake by the glow of the false nocturnal sunlight.
But Kirk took a breath and stepped forward through the Ghanaian forest towards the rectangular white boxes. Around him, the villagers watched. Opening the first hive, Kirk heard a hum that quickly surrounded him. His white suit turned black. Kirk lifted an arm laden with yellow speckled insects, the indigenous Ghanaian honeybee. Overcoming a wave of fear as the hive surrounded him, Kirk stood still and greeted his new business partners, the worker bees behind his raw honey company, Aseda.
by Katherine Pioli
University of Utah architecture students share stories of success and setback as designers/builders with DesignBuildBluff.
It’s midwinter in Bluff, Utah, and a blizzard has just blown in. In one of the town’s many old Mormon pioneer houses, 20 graduate students from the University of Utah architecture program are starting their morning, piling dishes into the sink and grabbing coats as they head for the door. These are student workers from DesignBuildBLUFF (DBB), a volunteer component of the University’s graduate architecture program. This white January morning is their first day of work, not as architects, but as builders.
Gathering for a group meeting in an open-air shop on the property, they vie for the only warm space next to the stove. Before the morning is over, these students, more accustomed to working with models in a design studio, will receive an introduction to the working world of Skil saws and pneumatic nailers. Standing in the cold, listening to a lecture about power tool safety, it starts to really sink in: This is not your average school semester.
by Katherine Pioli
A new kind of community gardening is taking root in Salt Lake City—an online match-making service for would-be gardeners.
In the last two years, the Internet-supported grassroots gardening network called Sharing Backyards (www.sharingbackyards.com), a food-growing project already found in towns across North America, has begun to flourish along the Wasatch Front, thanks to citizen activists and the nonprofit organization Wasatch Community Gardens (WCG).
The idea for a local Sharing Backyards occurred simultaneously in the minds of WCG executive director Claire Uno and citizen activist Jim French.