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

Monday, January 30, 2012

 Well, amazingly enough, since we were these few days away the Pentagon has decided to cut the Global Hawk drone flown from Beale! The cost is too high in these constrained days.. unfortunately it will not effect the rest of the government's expanded drone program whether it be for spy drones or hunter killer drones. There were lots of circling manned spy planes circling today at the North Gate and the protest was also visited by persistent M.P. and sheriffs on the topic of our First Amendment Rights to be out there leafleting the drivers from the traffic island between ingoing and outgoing base traffic. Toby just missed being arrested for her persistent stand for those rights.
 More pleasant and picturesque was this band of about 50 horses who passed by adding glamor and grace to our message of One People One Earth.
 Cathy and Ann came down from Chico. Cathy is a stalwart in the peace movement and Grandmothers for Peace. We know that Northrup-Grumman will be lobbying hard to keep the Global Hawks flying so political push back from peace activists will be important in the coming days.
 Never doubt that these small groups of determined individuals can make a difference. It seemed like today there was a definite shift in attitude to a friendlier and more positive response to us. It is possible the air force personnel didn't want to phase out the U-2 and it's piloted operations in favor of robotics either... It is possible many of them agree with our messages and are just stuck.

 Traveling on bio-diesel can be difficult. We called around to see where we could get it and ended up going to the mountains via Roseville for B-20 at a Propel 76 station... which is about the right blend for freezing mountain nights. We stayed at the sno-park on Donner Summit and skied up the Pacific Crest Trail with every vintage and description of human and dog... even kayakers.
 I decided if I ever write another book it will be all about everything that hurts on my body since on these ever repeated Day 1 outings getting up these mountains is such an achy and book length affair filled with a litany of complaints that only I am interested in. But then I was at the summit of Castle Ridge and all was right with the world again until the inevitable aches and pains of going down again. Three times I fell flat on my face in the snow this day--that's all I'm saying.
 So that's why Michael is skiing down with my skis on his pack.
 Today, coming out of the mountains, we picked up 51 gallons of B-99 Simple Fuels bio-diesel from these wonderful folks, doing a great business of green home interiors in Grass Valley. This was a good day for Peaceful Valley Farm Supply spring seeds, potato starts and rasberry canes too before going on to protest drones at Beale AFB.

Monday, January 23, 2012

 It definitely wasn't right for a gal who worries her head most of the time about the destruction of the environment to drive to the mountains after the snow storm via gasoline powered car but that's what happened. I fretted at how fast it was melting below 5000 feet... it was like moving through a foot of setting-up concrete by Panther Meadows. Then we thought we'd let the snow mobiles break trail and go to Morgan Summit but miraculously there was no sign that the behemoth crowd had been there so next we went to McGowan Lake trail and Michael broke trail for about a city block before the urge for lunch took over at which point a couple pushed past..
 And next I called it for Lassen Park which turned out to be wreathed in wonderful late afternoon light. What you can't see in this photo is two ravens at the top of the pine sitting right next to each other making that rolling chortle sound they have and kissing at each other with their preening.
 We had a track up to the Sulphur Works and by then the shade was deepening and it was time to turn around and ski back, although Michael was all for going on. Hard core skiers earlier in the day had created ribbons of sensuous tracks down off the old ski area - it was good to know that others felt the pull of the mountains.
 If you click on the photos you can sense the beauty of the day up there. I'm so grateful I was able to go and be out in it. Sorry planet, I couldn't resist you.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The cusp of Aquarius

 So great that it is raining again. I give Thanks to the natural state of winter for precipitating on us in our houses or out tree sitting or in a soggy tent. This is how it should be. Yesterday Michael and I walked up Comanche Creek from Riparia. The water level was low and the sun bright on all the gray tangles of roots and branches. The sun through these blackberry leaves caught my eye.
 The Barber Neighborhood folks, with the Conservation Corps, hacked a path through the blackberries at Wrex Court along top of bank to the open area adjacent to Park Ave. on the north side. I didn't want to walk the other side... was a bit dispirited by all the garbage from campers, blown by wind and in the creek itself.
 These urban issues don't get a lot of air time...people are used to how it is and it really is quite over-whelming how the garbage manifests no matter how much you personally pick up. I think I mentioned my cigarette butt picking up day last week on the National Day of Service? I was going to take my little collection to City Council but instead have sent the story to the News and Review. Such a small, mundane issue. Will they cover it? How can our creeks and rivers and creatures survive these constant assaults of toxins. How much longer can they?
 Meanwhile the green and growing and glowing world of possibility is always there to nurture our bodies and nourish our hopes.. Enjoy the rain, wash us clean, clear our minds and spirits.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy 83rd Birthday Dr. King!

 Today I was able to participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service with many others of Love Chapmantown. First, picking up roadside garbage, then visiting and photographing folks working on the compost bin at the Chapmantown Community Garden.
 Next, pedaling past Chapman Primary School I could get a view of the junkyard that is almost adjacent, (that the city gave an extension to for their clean-up.) You can see the big Sierra Nevada beer storage tanks to the left.
 Over at the Dorothy Johnson Community Center I found Rev. Vince Haynie and others shoveling wood chips for the landscaping. Rev. Haynie has galvanized the community into a caring, connected body. This isn't a great picture of him--he's in the purple shirt. He walks in the shoes of Dr. King everyday.
 Then there was some time digging along the garden fence, trying to get out bermuda grass from the strawberry bed at the Dorothy Johnson Educational Garden for the after-school program that continues for over 40 years. The woman at the gate was cared for there after school. Orien was cared for there when I was working when she was a kid... by Mrs. Johnson herself who is retired now but still in good health.
After that I did about 15 minutes with the Occupy presence and then jammed with the Chico Peace and Justice Center to help clean up their garden area behind the center.
My last act of the National Service Day was to pick up 141 cigarette butts in front of the 33 Steaks, Booze and Jazz Bar and Restaurant at 305 Main-pushed into the city gutter by their maintenance man to wash into Big Chico Creek in the coming rains. I want to stick them under the noses of our City Council tomorrow night if I can make it there. (I've already tried a citizens arrest, council member, code enforcement..)
Dr. King, I Love Your Memory. I Loved starting my day with Democracy Now today and hearing your speech at the Riverside Church the year before you were assassinated. I feel renewed by all those who love your memory also.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

 We are just back from the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City. We camped in the V.V. and watched a steady stream of films from Friday night through Sunday eve. My favorite thing was the puppet play inspired by the Tim DeChristopher trial. If I can get the script I want to put that on in Chico. It was really a powerful piece presented by Peaceful Uprising. Meanwhile Tim, AKA Bidder 70, sits in Federal Prison in Herlong for saving one of the most pristine areas on earth from oil/gas leases. The above puppets are "our children", Tim, Hansen (the climate change scientist,) The U.S. government... missing are corporations and us, the jury.
 There was also a lot of activist workshops in the old City Hall. This was so special-- people picketing the activists going into the activist center regarding the needs of the homeless.
 I present these street activities because they are more photo-interesting then our own activities of watching the films themselves... but my head is filled with those wonderful films.
 Lastly, Friday before we left I went out to Pine Creek and my old friend Howard presented me with copies of a book of poetry I'd given him some years ago. He'd had his friend Dorothy print out the Pine Creek Poems and had the books bound. I read the poems on the way up to the festival and hardly recognized that part of me that had lived in that cabin on Pine Creek from 1978-1980 but was glad to re-meet her. I really appreciate Dorothy Davis for helping Howard with this labor of Love and Howard, of course, for letting me live on his beautiful land.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

 This project never would have happened without Emily's persistence. She applied for this 3 year National Resources Conservation Service grant and purchased the plants, planned  the project areas, organized the planting of the hedgerows and this natural forest buffer along the creek. This is her with some manzanitas for along the border. Below are some of her friends and volunteers-- Sandra and Liz in the foreground on this shot.
 And this is another of Addie's friends from school, Emma.
 And Collin's mom from GRUB collective, Stephanie.
 And finally, the ever graying Riparia partners. I can't help but be grateful for being pulled into this project. It will be wonderful to watch everything grow, especially out in the back where the fire destroyed the grove of old trees. Thanks to all the good people who gave of themselves to restore this land.

 Members of Addie's Chico High School Environment Club planted native trees and shrubs with a group of about 20 this afternoon. Below is our next-door neighbor Wendy planting. 
 Elliot and Hannah were a brother and sister planting team.
 Our neighbor Dash is seen here with a critical element in our weed control strategy.
 And Collin, our youngest helper, completes the process... watering the wood-chip mulch and newly planted tree.
It was sure a nice few hours together in the winter sun. Hope all our little trees (and young people) will grow strong.

Friday, January 6, 2012

 This disturbing lack of rain is balanced by beautiful mild days and chilly nights. I caught these chard on their way to Farmer's Market, gem-like and pre-delicious.
Occupy Chico continues with the help of some lovely elders-- Diana Fogel's mom and aunt. With budget cuts to IHSS coming from the state of California I can only appeal for people to refuse to let the most vulnerable and post-delicious suffer.  There is enough money.  Our children and elders are our first priority.
 And on that note, Sisko and the Frontal Lobe Society posted a new ironic cap-off to all such seriousness... best not be late for the mayfly convention, y'all.
 Meanwhile, back at Riparia, Guthrie, Kyle, Alek and Belen joined us for potluck and gift exchange last night (from Vermont and Ecuador.)
 It was wonderful to meet Belen and see how happy she and Alek are. I praise the cycles of life and look forward to partnership meeting and land work day this weekend.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Transition to 2012

 We walked out to the bluff above the Iron Canyon section of the Sacramento River to start the new year. Michael has Shasta perched at his shoulder in this first photo and in the lower, kind of harsh lit one, the view is out to Red Bluff and the haze of many small fires as people seemed to be burning piles of leaves for the new year... Turkey Vultures were lazily riding the thermals out around us hoping we'd fall from our aerie so they'd get a decent meal. The river level was low and there wasn't much activity to be seen..just an osprey, bluebirds, juncos, Lewis woodpecker, ruby crowned kinglet, nuthatch... a few others.
 The day was bright and warm and the walk was rocky over the Tuscan mudflow of the eastern foothills. My legs were stiff and argumentative. I realized my weight and age and did some of the same resolving I did last year at this time.
 We stayed the eve and night a little further up, on the same BLM land, at the next pull-out called Hog Lake Flat and walked 2011 off with winking sun to the west
 And glowing Mt. Lassen and Broke-off to the East.
Other people can say the inspired things. I'm just grateful I had this time in the simple beauty of nature with two beings I love for the New Year.