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, February 27, 2012

Stop the Drones- Beale Protest

 Great to see new folks at the Beale North Gate today and we had some new banners and signs too. Meanwhile the FAA has authorized the use of domestic drones so there was new bad news on the drone front this week.
 Carol Eberling and I came down from Chico and there were six folks from Nevada City and a wonderful new woman from Marysville. Jeff from Nevada City led us in wonderful peace and justice movement songs and the time just flew by.
 Toby had a good day because the base MP didn't call the sheriff, or the sheriff didn't come, so she was able to leaflet a lot of the service personnel leaving the base. We always hope if they can read our words of common sense and peace they will start to rethink their involvement in the drone warfare program.
 Here's our whole little contingent this lively and somewhat blustery spring day.
Another thing that was different was that the SR-71 spy planes made low circles right over our heads and there were many fighter jets out blasting around. I hope the increased activity has nothing to do with Iran.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

 GRUB had there annual seed exchange today just in time for Occupy our Food Supply Day-- seed exchanges happening even on Wall St. NYC! I got some ok pictures of the goings on but somehow was just drawn to post from their wonderful little honor store then back to Riparia.

 These early spring days are very tender with the most attractive displays of the most simple but pleasing awakenings.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

 This is a bushtit nest. Bushtits are tiny birds who fly in feeding flocks and create a happy, active sound as they go..they aren't so afraid of people and often fly quite near. I went online to find out what kind of nest this was and a wonderful birder told me they usually have two broods a year. This old nest I discovered on my afternoon wander yesterday here on Riparia out by the creek.
 The big story has got to be the fruit trees..this is plum, I think. Everything is peaking now but today is windy so I hope that won't mess up the bees. The bee below will make broccoli honey? All kinds of unexpected flowers make the bees happy. There were more on the broccoli plants than on the fruit trees.
 Another time honored sight is Bruce down on his knees paying homage to the ancient art of planting out the transplants. It is so warm and dry for Feb...I hope his cruciforms (I'm not sure if this is broccoli but think it may be..) don't just bolt straight away.
 And I'll just end this installment with more flowering. If the world wouldn't intrude so much, if we could hold the joys of the seasons, if more people could have what they need... There's so much on my mind that doesn't match the glory of the days but walking around the land, noticing what might be fun to share, framing shots... it gives me calm. Calm I need as the bee needs and the flower needs our seasons.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gold Lakes Basin and Eureka Peak

 With the snow level at about 6,000 ft. there are limited places you can go without a snowmobile. We skied up behind the Gray Eagle Lodge, past this small waterfall and the old water wheel, climbing steadily up into the Gold Lakes Basin, having to depend first on snowshoe tracks but later just many year old blaze scars on scattered trees as all the trails disappear under the snow. Once we finally got up there the sun was low and we had to head back. The way back on the actual road was so churned up with snowmobile tracks I just walked down 3.5 miles rather than take on a bad fall arriving at the VV after sunset. Despite the complaints of my toes inside my ski boots it had been a beautiful day.
 The second ski/snow shoe day out we went up behind the old ski area (clear cut now filled in with manzanitas) and climbed the old Eureka Lake road. My mind was filled with thoughts of the old growth forests. Here you can see the critter tracks. They always go from tree to tree because there is space in the roots or in the clumps for denning and protection and food. In the clear cuts the snow is soft, the food is limited, the cover almost non existent. My mind was reeling with the implications of clear cut logging, seeing all the dead trees at the edge of clear cuts we passed and seeing the lack of snags for nest holes and insects; the lack of seed baring trees for any of the creatures, plus the sheer steepness of some of the clear cut slopes over tiny feeder streams.
 Sasha, at 13, still keeps a lively snow loving presence on these outings although she prefers these hard packed snows at her age to the powder or mushy snow she falls through.
Our picnic destination was Eureka Lake with Eureka Peak standing craggy above it. It was a good start to my second retirement. We camped our last night on Spanish Creek in an area messed up by gold mining. We returned to a balmy valley day with the chance to disk for the spring garden but for me the importance of coming back was to sub on the Ecotopia show on KZFR on the subject of clear cutting. Mission accomplished--- see for more.

Friday, February 17, 2012

 A lot has gone on in our lives this week so it is a little sneaky to have lesser goldfinch and white crown sparrow hold the space but as I sit here at my sunswept kitchen table they are who I idly enjoy.
 Before I begin about the changes I want to say Thank You to my Valentine Michael.
 OK. I was let go for not seeing the numbers of women my employer wanted me to see each day... I was threatened with this three months ago and the staff at both clinics worked to try to increase the numbers and we had pretty much achieved the increase when the position was eliminated. They are in bad financial shape but it seemed maddening to me to see women's health take the hit. I also loved the little clinic in Hamilton City-- we were in a modular and looked out to the neighbor's kitties and the staff were muy kind of causes me an ache to see their pictures... but...
Today we went and signed up for social security and medi-care. The weekend won't end and I'll be able to stay on task with my own activism and projects better now, including my own health...driving less, more yoga, meditation and home cooked meals. There's a nervous, excited edge in writing this to just be present to patiently. It is spring and the upwelling is in me and in all the earth.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Some things are just perfect as they are and if you look at things as though they were supposed to be that way then they are easier. Like, I just got laid off. I have one more day at the clinic in Hamilton City that I really enjoy. Tomorrow stands alone in a sad, sweet frame. Looking out on the neighbor's cats from the window in our modular clinic, speaking Spanish all day with patients, enjoying the staff... one day of sad and then a sort of freedom from that responsibility and then on to Oroville for more framed goodbyes then by Friday we'll take off in the Voyager and find the back country snow.
Tomorrow is Valentines Day therefore a perfect cabbage to balance out all that chocolate. Enjoy. I've planted potato, bare-root raspberry, cilantro and peas in the last few days and in my heart of hearts I am grateful, in love and very satisfied with life. Life is bursting in the valley and it will be great to have more time to be out enjoying it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


 Meagan Malachite and I drove up to Anderson to demonstrate with Occupy Redding at the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference. I've captured some of the signs but the dynamic was distressing in a number of ways.
 As expected, folks were polarized and there were many more of the people who seemed to be in support of clear cutting than those who did not support it... even though, even if you subtracted all the environmental effects, it isn't in the best interests of loggers because of the mechanization where these monster machines only really need one man to pop a 100 year old tree out of the ground in two minutes. You can't do thinning with these big machines so more workers are needed for thinning.
 At the Forum for the Forests after the demonstration we really got into the ill effects of clear cutting in depth through expert panels. We learned about the threat to our clean air and water--about carbon sequestration, about plantation farming and fire risk, about polluted streams due to herbicides and rodent-cides and sedimentation, about the loss of diversity, about the costs to taxpayers.. a lot of bad stuff. Clearcutting destroys air quality, water quality, depletes the soil, contributes to climate change and destroys biodiversity.
 There were also some lovely fierce defenders of the earth, like this family from Montgomery Creek. People from the headwaters communities live with the destruction and you can see the intensity in these kids who have had to live through what the loss of the forests mean. Check out the website they keep-- and get involved.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Welcome spring peach blossom special!
I've decided to post a photo a day (when I want to, not as some project or self assignment,) since the way this blog posts now I imagine many people only read the first flash of a page anyway. So today we went walking and some goats had gotten away from the neighbor and were in the back of the property being goatly (i.e. eating.)
So much work has gone into all that planting there was a definite alarm bell sounded and fence building was begun within an hour. 
At any rate, on the way back we met up with this sweet little tree which has nothing really to do with what I wanted to write about either and so far has not met the hungry goats and is totally enraptured in its own perfection and fertility seeking.
Here's what I wanted to say--I want to free up that part of me that holds back from saying/ let myself feel into the current of aliveness and make whatever note of what is sensed in my awareness without self censor. Maybe it will only be about the need to rebuild on old truisms about "strong fences make good neighbors" or about the ethereal frailty and exuberance of spring bloom. Even though there is nothing new in either of those ideas I have faith in the openness and goodness of this whole expansive availability so have spoken of it the best I can at this time.

Monday, February 6, 2012

 In these days every dinner meal is some combination of broccoli, kale, lettuce and onions since that is what is profuse in the garden. I wanted to post with photos from our CSA (Complete Self Attunement winter deepening) but not a single photo seemed to come out but when I got home and appealed to my usual subjects they just did their beauty school best to shine for the camera.
 The ones that have been the most difficult are the pussy willows. The camera has its own mind about the focus on these shots and we go round and round me trying to trial and error it without ever reading about the camera.. Amazing to see the detail on these willow flowers though.. the earth and her spectacular variety and expression. In the meditation I happened on the word "clean." How we humans don't really (seem to) care so much about our recycling or our water or our air... we've accepted a level of dis-ease. In plants, who have short lives, you can see what happens when things are out of whack. In the spring though everything is new and beautiful-- no aphids yet, no drying petals to set seed, no plain old willow leaves after the soft and surprising pussies.
 What was most surprising is that I was out of touch with the moon cycles... I rode home on my bike along Big Chico Creek last night and was totally gaga on the sycamores and the sense of the cold and my own progress (met two raccoon on 7th St.) but somehow didn't know this would be the full moon tonight. So strange.
 Our retreat was at a wonderful house that backs up to the creek. Four days of expanded awareness and a new commitment to staying in openness. Here where words, photos and the unknown space of possible relationship are held but more importantly in my everyday life.