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

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Butte Meadows

This was a big work day but the garden looks good now and asparagus and more broccoli is in. Spring blooms on the almond and fruit trees are a little alarming though because we are supposed to have rain all week. (If the blossoms get knocked out and the pollinators aren’t out there will be no fruit this year.) I want to get out in the valley to take pictures but didn’t make time today.
Yesterday we went up to Butte Meadows and skied along the creek. Spring is showing up there too in the form of rivulets that become gullies for the fanning water tributaries. We ran into Jim Dwyer, poet librarian, who snow shoed into the meadows.
In a week I’ll be off to Guatemala. I want to write some about that next time.
Last year, in Colorado, March really came in like a lion… I think tomorrow it’s due in as a drizzle.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


The photos guide what I write as much as anything.
Yesterday I went to visit friends Ann and Rita. Rita is 93 and in hospice care at home while her beloved sister Ann is there for her twenty five hours a day. This brilliant woman is losing it all. This is who she was.

Emily, Karen and I went out to my old haunt at Pine Creek this afternoon. We visited with Howard and then hiked across the Serengeti to Zimmershed Creek. The shooting stars were out and it was a lovely day among the blue oaks under a late winter sky. A great time to have a birthday. Tomorrow is Amani’s 13th Bday and we celebrate Peter’s 60th on Monday, Theresa’s 46th on Wednesday. Not bad, to go from celebration to celebration, like a shooting star.

Evanne is a high caliber attorney who looked like a lovely easter egg today. I find she is a watercolorist too and paints in easter colors.

Today we started off with breakfast for dear friend Karen, she who defends the trees, the creeks, the right of people not to be sprayed with pesticides. That Karen. This Karen.

Monday, February 16, 2009

President's Snowstorn

The late afternoon is closing with light and cloud in layers of yellow, gray and blue against the spring lush grasses. We’ve come down from the snow, which started at about Forest Ranch, or 1500 feet.

The vehicle here is gas powered and gets about 20-22mpg- our old Izuzu Trooper that Michael has kept running despite some pretty complex problems. It’s been our mountain vehicle from before the VV and we can sleep in it and go most anywhere in it. He was going to sell it but couldn’t quite let go.

The Humboldt Road into Butte Meadows was closed so we kept going up Hwy 32 to a snowplow pullout for the “B Line” which is a logging road cut through to Butte Meadows that we’ve skied before. We were able to follow a track in from yesterday which was good because the snow was mid-thigh. It led to a snow child who greeted us with chip eyes and branch arms. The snow child is where the people of the track turned around leaving their image and likeness to enjoy greeting any other possible wanderers.
We went on up through the woods. As usual, our way petered out but we got to a clear cut with a view to its margins as the quiet storm created a natural meadow for the silent ring of pine and fir.

For much of the way I was thinking about my friend Theresa. Last night we saw the local production of Tommy, the rock opera by the Who. It was worth the hearing loss as it was an exuberant expression of love for Greg Tropea, another person who is living with cancer. His legacy of support for theater was much better served by that energy than by sorrow. I just want to bring Theresa with me and show her everything- how the snow coats and piles up on things so prettily and then how it falls off with a whoosh or a plop. It’s just such a simple joy to ski in a snow storm.

“See me, feel me, touch me. Heal me.”

Saturday, February 14, 2009


It was cloudy but didn't rain in the valley so the Fair Trade Town Celebration and ribbon cutting by Mayor Ann Schwab was a big success.

Last year my Valentine and I were in Silverton, Colorado. Michael is as wonderful this year as last year even though the snow is a bit uphill of us.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Heart of my heart

It’s Valentine’s.
It’s a relief to have a four day weekend and plenty of rain on the way. I took a few Valentine’s Day pictures. It’s a holiday I like but remember the loneliness of it in days gone by. For me now though it’s about buying chocolate for my sweeties and saluting the Chico Peace and Justice Center (and specifically, our coordinator Sue Hildebrand,) for all the hard work that has gone into Chico becoming a Fair Trade Town. I should have a picture or two on that tomorrow.
Today I got to fill in on the Peace and Justice Program on KZFR. Besides wonderful Jim Hensen from the Peace Center ( , talking about Fair Trade, I also interviewed Bryan Early from Californians against Waste ( and Jaya Mae Gregory ( talking about the Vagina Monologues ( All of them reminded me how important it is for us to protect the future generations as well as those with us now. Let’s believe in the Power of our own Love and use it to work for what is sustainable.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

pushing through

Ooh, I’m restless. I’ve been in cleaning house all day and now am going to pay some bills. Every thing I do I’m having trouble being present with. I’m wanting to be outside and it is such a jumpy feeling. Every thing I look at needs attention and I feel good when I do have a cleaner, more organized home but the house is never really clean and I don’t like the repetition of its demands.
Yesterday we went up to ski after the snow fall the day before but when we got up there it was really windy, the kind that cuts cold right through you. We decided to go lower, even though there was almost no new snow. We went up the Wilson Lake Rd. three miles in to the lake, which is like a big meadow. I like my home dried apricot ring frames.
We got home early to the full moon and spring explosion… from crocus to bottle brush.. Everything is green and pushing forth. I guess I need to get out to it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Mt. Shasta

Michael is pumping veggie oil at a restaurant in Mt. Shasta. We came up Friday and got our first ski in as the sun was setting and the snow was turning to ice at Bunny Flats. Without new snow there is a constant cycle of freeze and soften with every night and sun, so just a half an hour after losing the direct warmth of the sun the snow can have the icy slick sheen you see in this photo. (Looks like I downloaded the photos opposite of the time line....typical..)
A good thing about that night was that we could give a ride to Francisco, who had stayed too long to capture the pink last light on the mountain and then had no way down.
The mountain really does hold you in its orbit, I definitely feel that and our weekend was an example of it.
The second day we went across the valley to the west, up to Castle Lake, where devils throw moaning sounds up through the ice. We walked out on the lake where ice fishermen and people yakking along on snow shoes seemed at ease and I heard more stories of Michael’s youth. Between his adventurous youth and time in the Vietnam War, I don’t know how he made it this far but I’m savoring every day we have.
I thought about the people who have lost their lives on Mt. Shasta and I was glad we were ski slogging through manzanita later on Saturday after our logging road turned into a deer trail. We were way out on the fringed wooded collar of the great mountain and spent the night where we could appreciate the last and first light on its great northern face.
This morning we just did some crunchy snow walking without bothering with the skiis. We also made a loop through the Veterans Memorial off the highway. The last time we visited these powerful ant-like sculptures they haunted my dreams. I know we can never totally leave behind the things we fear: old age, death by accident, death by war, death by illness… I just appreciate being here in the voyager with the warm sun lighting the mountain, even if the snow pack is crumby and Global Warming is clearing the way for more things to worry about.
Now we head home for the stupor bowl.