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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanks time

I just got back from another loop of bookstores... one day in SF and today in the East Bay. The high points were meeting Craig Reece of Plant Drive in Berkeley and going to the big mama of Independent Bookstores yesterday -- City Lights in S.F. The low point was having my car lock me out at the bio-diesel pump at Bio-diesel Oasis. There were also lots of mini highs and lows in my push to get the (Veggie Voyagers) book to potential readers. Even the Ecology Center in Berkeley was a bit disappointing. They said people are getting their books from Amazon and reading books on Kindle so they are phasing out books. Phasing out books?
Thanks Giving was wonderful with Orien home and a big gathering on Saturday night. Unfortunately I didn't get any human photos but we did have a lovely hard freeze just before we left for the city so I ran around and got photos- a few are here below.
As I write this Michael is listening to the news about the cut backs and closures of state parks. There is a lot of bad news out there. I don't think driving around even with good mileage and bio-diesel is such a great thing. I am committed to a few more attempts to sell the books. If I don't sell them all in a year I'm sending them to libraries.
It was an epic Veggie Voyage (see 2007 through 5/2008 here in the archives.) I (modestly) think its a good book but I don't think I have the sales magic and it's using up precious life and energy.
I'm just grateful to NOT live in a city although I know they can be efficient and energizing places to was good to see more and more folks commuting on bikes and more lip service to sustainability.
I just can't get enough of how incredible nature is... these are the same crabapples that made such great jelly a few months ago and these were the brilliant golden flowers of a few weeks ago.
Hope those without homes will stay warm enough. It's beautiful but cruel, these cycles. Easy to appreciate the photos though. I'm so grateful for my home and community and dear daughter in her amazing city on the bay.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Frosty Thanksgiving

Two nights ago the frost swept away the color and lives of my summer garden. I don't know if everyone talks to their plants but I do. I wished them good bye and Thanked them for their beauty and productiveness. I harvested the last of everything and gave away some. Now, once this Dia de Gracias is complete I'll pull up the drip tubing and start cleaning up so the garden space can rest.
The winter plantings and the volunteers of last year's winter plantings are offering food and the need for weeding as green shoots of diverse cold tolerant weeds start to sprout. Some years the frost is before Thanksgiving and some years it is after but despite our fears of destructive changes on a changing planet my garden satisfies a basic comfort need I have for predictability. As long as there is summer water we will be ok here in the valley with our lovely soil and dogged sun. I give Thanks.

I pulled random photos from 2009 and 2008 as well as 2007. While I'm sad to be away from my brother's family by three years I'm grateful Orien will be home today and we can spend our non traditional meal of harvested odds and ends from the garden together. I think it will be broccoli and chard and squash for sure... sounds exciting don't you think? To me what is important is to give Thanks for what we have... certainly adding what we bought is ok but it's the food we have grown and related with which nourishes our spirits and bodies best. Having Orien, her dad, Michael and I together is enough and warmly satisfying. Our big extended Riparia land gathering will be Saturday and that's when the dead turkey will probably turn up on some platter. Thank goodness that is not our lot tonight.

Despite any differences we may have about food or politics or how to live life I wish you Health and Well Being. Wherever you are, whatever you believe I honor our connection and your efforts to live the best life you can. To our dear planet I recommit my life in gratitude and service. Peace to all and may you have enough of whatever you need on this day and every day.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Book Loop

We enthusiastically thought that Northern California Independent Bookstores would wildly welcome our book on veggie voyaging but now that idealistic notion is tempered by an acute awareness that one doesn't need to smoke crack to be delusional. We sold 6 books and consigned 23 in our 10 city loop of many of America's "grooviest" towns.
All wasn't bad at all though since a reality check is just that... reality. We got to see friends and camp on the Eel River and enjoy four wonderful days veggie voyaging.
There was some gorgeous fall color in the grape vines and golden trees among the great redwoods of the north country. This photo was from Real Goods in Hopland where we had a warm reception for which I was very grateful.

This shot down to the coast captures fronds of the ever spreading silvery pampus grass invaision against the brilliant reflection of the sea below. We spent last night in Ft. Bragg in public parking when the alternator went out and noted that this plant is really taking over the coast in that region. It was fun getting to know the town better though and luckily, as usual, Michael could trouble shoot and fix what was wrong but it did include a new alternator.

We also spent time in Richardson Grove checking on the great redwood trees that line the two-lane Hwy 101 and also down here at the Eel, visiting the ducks sprung contrasty and bright in their mystery poses just a hundred feet or so down from the forest. The issue of the trees is an important one. 80 trees are proposed to be cut so oversized trucks can more safely speed through this curvy section of highway. (Doesn't stop the logging trucks, that's for sure.) This is a beautiful and ancient grove of elder and ancient redwoods and there is a lawsuit to stop Cal Trans. Anything you can do??? I don't know but you/we can be ready to raise a ruckus and can check out the Center for Biological Diversity and the Environmental Protection Information Center (which I will do once I get caught up... we just got home, tired.)

Monday, November 8, 2010


We participated in the Sustainability Conference and then came home to see what was left to do on the Riparia work day... finding out that a huge long petroleum based swath of shadeclothe is being used to keep down weeds in the new hedgerow. I was discouraged but realize how insidious our dependence is on drip tubing, PVC water pipes, plastic buckets, plastic planting containers, plastic twist ties... On the front end it all seems fine but on the back end I wonder what will become of it and us.
We went over for a potluck with the GRUB collective and were treated to a wonderful sunset with the light streaming horizontally under gray skies creating a lovely delighted Francine and Orrin looking out over their land.

They keep sheep to chew down weeds and this gal reminded me of how the chickens used to sit on my goats once upon a time when I kept goats and chickens. Sweet!

Our next door neighbor Hjalmar arrived bearing a delicious and decadent Swedish cake striding across the muddy fields with ease. So good to see a human walking through fields on a dynamic day. So much of our lives-- all of us, are spent on pavement.

The GRUB folks built a Cobb oven and decorated it finely. We didn't want to uncover it (from its, dare I say, plastic tarp?) because of the rain that kept squeezing out drops on us. We had a wonderful meal with our neighbors and admire their hard work, creativity and energy very much. It will be people like them who provide the groundwork for a sustainable civilization if there will be one and I am filled with hope.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Veggie Voyagers Book!

So we have laid to rest the elections. In California our most important post, that of the governor, was won and we can go forward with our clean energy goals. Our state must lead the gridlocked nation and that is the source of my slim hope. Within 12 hours of the close of the polls our book arrived from the printer's. I am grateful to have it done.
It is written on recycled paper with vegetable based inks and will now put us into a new cycle of trying to sell books, that or insulate the house with them.
We present at the CSUC Sustainability Conference at 11am this Saturday in BMU 303. Mathilde Rand's DVD of Michael explaining veggie processing will be shown and I'll show my photo thing with commentary on garbage and the topics you expect from me. (The sky is falling, etc.)
I'm so relieved and so tired... Did I ever say Yeah Giants or Happy Halloween? I took the time to carve zucchini for the night on which the veil between worlds is so thin and our dear former people were near, by legend or truth.. the flames danced in the darkness and it was as it should be for that short respite in the craziness.