Veggie Voyagers

Couple travelled 30 states and 3 Canadian provinces between 7/07 and 5/08 running their 1987 Ford truck on straight veggie oil. The blog continues with a focus on the natural world and energy politics from a personal perspective

Friday, October 31, 2008


I’ve just never seen a year when so many people were into Halloween! At work the counselors dressed up then there was a great 50th Birthday party for Sharon North with a huge outpouring of witch sisters. I loved the night, coming home to the moist kiss of the wet storm that is coming, my spouting seeds inside my pumpkin (which I can see from here, still candle lit despite the rain,) and the locational calls of the geese, finding their way in the storm.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Last of summer

Here's a last shot of a dry garden here at Riparia.
It’s finally raining and it’s supposed to keep raining throughout the next three days. Michael and I ran around in the dusk trying to tarp and bring in the last things we want to protect. The pumpkins will go under my dull knife tonight for their simple toothy face lifts.
Small wood is cut. My neighbor turned me on to her pecan tree that graces the alley. (My eyes are so attuned to walnuts the pecans were almost invisible to me at first but I’m happy to have them on my gleaned foods list now.) I sold 103 pounds of English walnuts yesterday. They really lose value after they are wet and there is no way I could crack out that many. There will still be plenty for all our walnutty desires here on the land. My next task will be to pick up and try to sell black walnuts that are better tasting but harder to process and not much in demand anymore.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Signs of the times

Not much to say. Michael is doing his yard sign extravaganza. The incumbents get a hose off and are hung out to dry.
We voted today.
I’m giving this punk-kin a few more days to soak up it’s relationship to the earth by its umbilical cord.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday balance

The new thing is that the photos come out backwards so that works for me. Before dusk I went out and walked the land. The fields are a mix of old summer and almost ready winter. My love for the land embraces me as the light sweeps lower and shorter.

There was a good rally for NO on 8 today.

The most intense part of the day was the baby shower for Deepika whose husband was killed by a drunk driver a few days after they found out about her pregnancy with their first child. Here's a bit about that:
"Drunk Driver Kills husband and father-to-be, gets probation"
"On August 6th, 2008, Troy Hovey, a 36 year old from Chico, California, drank to excess, resulting in a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit. Mr. Hovey got behind the wheel of his vehicle and drove at speeds in excess of almost twice the legal speed limit, crashing through a sign and continuing to drive north in the south bound lane of highway 99 at the north end of Chico. Amit Tandon was returning home after a day of work, selling his delicious Indian food to hungry patrons in the north state. Troy Hovey hit Amit Tandon head-on, Mr. Tandon was pronounced dead at the scene, Mr. Hovey walked away with minor injuries. On October 15, Troy Hovey was scheduled for sentencing after first pleading not guilty, then changing his plea to no contest. Troy Hovey, for his crimes, in what is being seen by many as a travesty of justice, was sentenced to three years probation and 180 days in jail (of which approximately 60 days have been served) with an opportunity for early release into an alcohol treatment program."
Lastly, I spent a few hours gathering signatures to save our farm, home of the produce on this table, from urban reserve designation and high density residential zoning. When I do something I don't feel so desperate and helpless.

And everything she touches changes

It was this little rose garden in this time of year that enticed me to Chico back 30 years ago when I commuted to Chico for a Physical Assessment class. A lot has happened in that time.
Today is also my dear brother Warren’s Birthday. I pick a rose for him and wish him joy.

This afternoon I went to the dedication of a bench. The bench was placed by Marcia Briggs for her husband, Paul Persons, who died suddenly last year. He was one of those people who worked very hard, played hard, and was loved by everyone. He was larger than life and now is part of that growing litany of what we miss.

We’ve started a petition campaign to stop the urban reserve proposal. I’ve also worked with my friend Anna to find out what we can and move accordingly on the toxics on a piece of land that was donated to the City (pictured here.)

Starhawk was here for the Chico Peace and Justice Center Annual dinner. Prior to the dinner she led a Permaculture workshop. Permaculture is a form of sustainable agriculture that depends on regenerative designs of stacking relationships where fertility, diversity and cooperation are all appreciated with the idea of “Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share.” If you go to her website there is much to learn: as well as with checking out Transition Towns and Earth Activist Training.
I guess the most memorable thing for me was what she said at the dinner. “You don’t gain power by giving away the power you have.” In other words if you are discouraged and don’t vote or just feel disparaging about what is going on you don’t get to do the little you could do that builds power toward saving the earth.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dragons for Farmland

This morning started with a lovely walk to meet Weezie half way between our homes. The photos are of chard in the front yard of my next door neighbors Wendy and Hjalmar, the Diamond Match property kitty korner to us, our neighbor Duke’s hummingbird totem, Weezie’s palace and a Dragon that guards her porch.
You know I LOVE the land where we live don’t you? Tonight I heard that our city Planning Commission had recommended to our City Council that our land and the surrounding orchards be rezoned as an urban reserve with High Density Residential zoning!!! What’s more, it was too late to comment on it.
I feel like I’ve failed my best friend. I am angry and sad and fed up with our liberal representatives who make compromises at every bend to appease the conservatives. I will be like Weezie’s Dragon and Defend this Farm! I’ve already written letters so I don’t know what to do next except raise a Huge Stink about it. How can you consider taking some of the richest farm land in the world out of food production so people can have apartments on it!!! It’s insane!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Obama Nation

This day is well gone despite being perfect in temperament. All day there were things that challenged and alarmed. Starting with this Obamanation guy…
Then while at Farmer’s Market hundreds of Obama supporters swept down the street. I’ve never seen any person inspire such enthusiasm and this, in itself, carries a little anxiety.
Soon after that, at the Peace Vigil, I heard from Rev. Moss that he might be fired as a Methodist pastor for performing gay marriages. If this happened he would lose his health insurance but would still get his pension. The other pastor, from a more Evangelical church, had stayed in a traditional heterosexual marriage and ruined the emotional health of his children because at the time, in Virginia, if he had divorced he would have lost his post also. In California, the constitutional right to marry who you love is under attack (Proposition 8) as is equality and justice but it is also an issue that will bring Republicans and homophobes out in great numbers as will the percolating racism.
Along with this, a young Hmong man was killed in a drive by shooting not far from where we live. The challenges of immigrant families and the specific pressures on the young have been overshadowed by a lot of other things lately. I don’t even know his story even though the flame of his life disappeared so close to me. I was glad to see the remnants of the little memorial to Shoua Her from the people who loved him.
I also spent a couple of hours in front of the Safeway registering voters, a job I thought was important. It was amazing how many people volunteered to tell me with determination that they were registered. Now if only they will vote and all their votes will be counted.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hunters' Moon

Michael ended up collecting 65 gallons of used veggie oil in South Lake Tahoe. We camped in the Horizon Casino lot for the night and had a splendid $1.50 taco dinner and a senior rate movie. The gaming area was almost deserted.
We decided to get along home this morning, circling the lake to the west and passing Emerald Bay.
We only stopped at Peaceful Valley Farm Supply in Grass Valley to pick up cover crop seed.
We got home to the ripe odor of a dead rat under the kitchen sink and a rich array of walnuts on the paths outside. The Hunter’s Full Moon was up by the time laundry was hung and the VV unpacked and the most immediate home rehabilitation tasks completed.
It’s a nice void right now (except for the smelly kitchen) with tomorrow to catch up in the garden and get rehooked up with our non rolling life.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Left Minden

We put in two more days of subdivision walking in Minden until I fell on some black ice and we could use the excuse of my tweaked back to stop racking up “Not Homes” and “You people have already been here and I’m getting really tired of it” houses.
I said good bye, for now, to Barack, then we picked up some Bio-diesel, then we said goodbye to wonderful Cathy (and her Australia terriers,) half of the dynamic Cathy and Joe duo who hosted us, and by late afternoon we were in the Grover Hot Springs up in Markleyville.
Michael is recharging our stash of veggie oil here in South Tahoe, using the scoop method when the pump was frozen. We looped about 500 miles on this Veggie Voyage for Obama trip and have picked up more than 45 gallons here to bring us back to balance.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Minden more

We woke to snow this morning! It snowed on and off all day and the clouds shifted constantly. We lucked out to borrow a handy Lexus in the afternoon so we could zip into long driveways at prestigious addresses without our usual concern about the VV being able to turn around or getting ourselves identified as undesirables. Up against the mountains these impressive homes nest with great pluck and authority but was the cloud dampened mountains that impressed us…what a great day to be wandering around!
What a bad week for those who borrow. It is good we have never had credit cards and owe nothing. (But we will have trouble picking up veggie oil if it stays this cold since it will be too congealed to pump.) Just like everyone else I wonder how all this financial mess will play out and not for those people who managed to get themselves perched up there above the Carson Valley. This whole experience of canvassing the wealthy has been rather unexpected…


We left our haven by the Carson River this morning to head south to Minden. The Obama headquarters shares its office with the Democrats there and they are a fiery, determined bunch. We like the more rural countryside around Minden but it is unfortunately more homogeneous and more republican.
Minden/Gardnerville has irrigated valleys and the sheer east side of the Sierra looms close above it. Canvassing this afternoon was a mix of steep driveways, golf course gated communities, and cute little old, odd places. Tame deer graze all over the place.
We had some time to settle in before going out, and got to meet Cathy and Joe, who let us use their wonderful home for catching up on the blog and laundry. (Hopefully I’ll have some pictures of them to follow.) We are now contentedly parked in their yard at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac where hungry bears sometimes visit at this time of year.