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

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Passing thru Christmas

Lovely confused narcissus in winter bloom. It was good to get out to pick up garbage by the road today in the dynamic cold wind, chilling my fingers with the slippery grip of clutching slimy plastic... so good to bend down and excrete another calorie or two during the effort.
Yesterday was a lovely Christmas and quite out of sequence in the photos.
This Santa is Gregory and he's sort of a conspiracy theorist guy and not nearly so jolly as he looks BUT yesterday at the Christmas vigil he gave me a pair of socks and two jingle bells. Even though he is on a low and fixed income he walks around with a big jar of jingle bells and gives them out to anyone who smiles at him in his unique Christmas hat.
Some of the people at the vigil come every week but we were joyed to have a family group join us and swell our ranks and make light out of the rain that soaked us for the last ten minutes of our peace observance. Princes and Princesses of Peace it was lovely to meet them.
In the morning we had a big no waffles barred breakfast and the neighbors and ex-neighbors came and their families and partners, like how it is here at Riparia. None of my photos came out well but I thought this one was sweetish. Master gardener Bruce who you might know from Farmer's Market came with Lucinda, his ex, and their kids all in their pajamas. I loved the morning for food, company, carols and Apples to Apples.
Meanwhile the parallel lives of others emerge through the winter bare branches. These are unknown neighbors tenting across the creek from us.. in the cold, in the rain. Yesterday at the vigil a homeless couple passed by on foot with their small baby in a carrier-- where were they when the rain started? I'm just being with it and giving here and there but this is a community issue. No matter what the behavior, people are still people of intrinsic worth and need shelter and food at the very least.
Hey, really. What would Jesus say? Who else is being born homeless in a drafty barn somewhere? All are our relations.

Friday, December 24, 2010

My dear Orien

It's hard to believe Orien is 30 years old. She's been independent and living in San Francisco for years and in college in Santa Cruz before that but still it seems amazing to test the reality that we are our respective ages. We had a wonderful gift exchange tonight with our Riparia family and then had deserts... too rich even in small quantities but an old tradition to have an ice cream cake.
Earlier Olivia came over and gave Orien these bling supreme earrings. Gorgeous young women! Olivia is now a practitioner of acupuncture arts and a real healer. Orien has just a semester of law school left-- a doctor of jurisprudence emerging.

Following our old Riparian ways we did the "bird tree" with our "old" kids including Noah and Kira, home for the holidays, and Addie (16) and Jerry and Kim and their little ones. The "really old kids" in the shot are Leslie, Michael, Sheldon, Emily and Bruce.
It's fun to place seeds inside oranges and place them in the tree but best is just letting lose with handfuls of popcorn.

Before we left Tahoe Orien's friends presented her with a large canvas "card" and we had a moment to pose with Mary Carmen, Ema, Megan, Suman, Isla, Camillo, Sheldon, Cedar and Fiona. Another generation emerges and it is wonderful to see Orien's friends pregnant and with their young families.

I'm very proud of my dear girl. I love her sooooo much!
I wish you well this Christmas. Listening to Christmas music, thinking of my mom who died 5 years ago today...(She died with Joy to the World playing.) Such fullness. Partly too much food but a lot of it just the fullness of feeling such Big Love. Enough for all the world... I wish.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

This is less than a quarter mile from where we are staying. The house was barely missed (by about 200 ft,) by the fire three years ago. This view is out toward Fallen Leaf Lake and Desolation Wilderness behind it. It was quite an undertaking to get here from the valley. Michael had to process veggie oil in the rain and then had truck work until 2am the morning before we left. It was a lovely storm for the solstice yesterday though, parting at about midnight to show the sultry red shadow of the total eclipse of the full moon.
We skiied to Fallen Leaf Lake today, Sheldon in snow shoes over the icy roads and through the deep snows. It's great to be at a house on the edge of the forest but there is an undercoat of ice on the local roads that was pretty challenging.

Renting the house was Orien's idea and she did it for her friends and because she doesn't get to see them enough. During the week of having the place she will have had 30 people (at different times) and their kids staying in this gorgeous four bedroom house. She is a very generous and hard working gal and am I glad she was able to do this. It has beenvery fun seeing how everbody pulls together for meals and clean up and how sweet they are with one another.

When we got in we couldn't get up the driveway and a hearty crew came out to clear the ice so we could pull the VV in. I'm very proud of my dear Orien and feel really lucky to be comfortably with her friends AND to have good snow right out the door.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Vets Solidarity Vigil

I guess you can't read these "tree rings" (a bench in Chico with dates of John Muir's life.) I was waiting here for sandbags to hold the Peace Panel Project signs from blowing over and was struck by the ginko leaf wandered down to make itself part of the impressiveness.
All our love and all our work! Charles is a third generation sign and graphic design maker and I'm so glad he has independently started to roll out these signs to educate the public.

Today at least 70 people (all four corners) participated in the Peace Vigil in support of the +131 Vets and others arrested in Washington, New York and San Francisco on Thursday with a strong call for mobilization against the wars. Their national coverage was just about non-existent but check out the first footage at for a clear idea of the issues.
I love the Chico peace activists and all the folks that came out today. I don't know how it works that action creates energy and momentum but it does. I feel very touch and moved by the community who gathered to stand together today against the drones, the terrible waste of life and squandering of wealth for these horrible wars.. there is no way to balance it but in our small act of resistance we create a force for change that is somehow able to temporarily block the discouragement and emotional pain of the reality of war.

Here's Michael being interviewed by Tom Gascoyne, KCHO. I hope there will be outgoing ripples that spread and touch others to do more. We are all we have now-- no representational government whatsoever in Washington. (The repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is good for justice and equality as far as that goes but it doesn't help one less youth decide not to enlist.)
I sure appreciated all the Vets out on the corners today especially. They know the folly first hand and their Truth to Power is the perfect anecdote to all the lies.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

fog, snow, work

This is Comanche Creek, AKA Edgar Slough. The City of Chico is still quite confused about their plan for the area but the neighbors are going forward with clearing out invaisive plants and had a gusto of a blackberry (fore ground) root removal party yesterday. In this peaceful shot down into the creek you can also barely see escaped iris in the creek and scragly ailanthus against the sky and scads more blackberry. The city neglected the creek for a long time...I think they assumed that getting a passive park here wouldn't happen and that the road and bridge would eventually prevail (even though the voters said NO in 2001.) The persistence of the good neighbors is where I'd put my faith. Next work day is Jan. 22nd 11-1pm so grab your gloves and get your back ready...
We finally got up to the snow and were able to collect at least 60 gallons of veggie oil from the restaurants up by Lassen. It was very pleasing to give each a copy of the Veggie Voyagers book. Even though I bet we don't share the same politics I think they are happy to feel part of this sustainability effort.

The snow quality was terrible but being in the woods, in the deep hollow silence that opens your awareness to the slightest sound is something I compare with the twitch of Sasha's moist black nose sensing a much richer world. The afternoon sun and shadow across the crystalline surface of the icy snow also amplifies the richness. Those diamonds become the dancing water down Deer Creek as it melts into the flow--really too bad the snow pack doesn't hold better as we head into deepening global warming.

It's foggy when it is supposed to be sunny but that's December in the valley for you. I'd planned to be in the garden today. It's been a rough couple of weeks for politics but quite sustaining in terms of calories... Our placid neighbors decided to light up the night in a big way and that is a feast for the eyes. Their front yard redwood tree is lit as a Christmas tree (here fancifully out of focus,) and is visible all the way down the road in the still darkness. Despite the unnecessary electrical usage I can't bring myself to dislike light displays- the fact the lights come from China, yes.
(Nobody's perfect.)
There is much left unsaid in this post. I sure hope you are engaged and enraged but also in the balance you need and ready for the long haul... If you are in Chico PLEASE join us at the Peace Vigil next Saturday, Dec. 18th (3rd and Main Sts. 12:30-1:30 as for the last 50 years) to STAND in solidarity with Vets for Peace and others doing Civil Disobedience against the war in Afghanistan in Washington, D.C. on the 16th. Let's demand redirection of military spending for earthcare and civilian needs. Obama 202-456-1111/ Congressional Switchboard 202-224-3121.
"It's crucial to understand that as a society, we can reorganize. We can reorganize socially, politically and economically, and can reorganize according to our values." Rebecca Adamson

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Plastic with winter

The big picture is pretty overwhelming these days with the Repugs in control and the Demos spineless and almost as bad on any given day. I came home from some sobering radio interviews to the Riparia land work day. As previously complained about I don't like the plastic shade clothe that is going around the base of all the sweet little native seedlings that are going in on the border and indeed I completely balked at helping... planted two the way I like with cardboard and heavy chip mulch but that was definitely more labor intensive.
That's the problem. The stuff is so darn helpful and convenient. I definitely can not think of a better affordable alternative for my lemon tree when there are frosts. I just hate the stuff though and it's hard to walk around the land now with the winter exposure showing plastic everywhere. In the case below it's keeping down wild grape and poke which are endlessly difficult to take out by digging.

I take my gripes to the Gods of beauty and light and the Glory of Dog. With all the things to worry about in this world what happens here at home binds up more emotional energy than anything else.

This is Pula Praiser. He's my advisor on how to handle life and so far his advice is working.... I'm enjoying a rainy day and feeling pretty ok despite all the suffering and wrongness in the world.