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, April 28, 2012

 Lovely Chico Spring! Things are bolting and going to seed and needing to be pulled out already. I had to take out all my kale but I've got in my trusty zucchini and some peppers and have replanted the spring things I can't give up on like lettuce, spinach, cilantro and etc.
 I knocked over some of the onions but couldn't stand to take away their lovely little stand even though they won't make nice round onions with all the growth going up into the seed heads. I'm a bad's hard for me to take out things like volunteer sun-flowers. I've learned to be very harsh with the volunteers in the compost but ordinarily if it wants to be somewhere I let it...
 Our asparagus stash used to be from some long rows that a former farmer had planted out back but it was always a big struggle to keep weeded. In the interest of perma-culture we've planted some right near us so we could stay on top of them -- since they can be up and ready to harvest in 1-2 days... Anyway, I bought some today at Farmer's Market since I want MORE than what we have been eating... I want a big serving! Our plants are better than last year but still not near enough.
 I just want to give appreciation to the farmers this almost Workers of the World Day. I love the beauty and fecundity of the produce and riotous flowers. Gratitude for their labors and for this earth that keeps feeding us despite our mixed behavior toward her.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Occupy Beale Day 2

 We huddled in a circle singing and talking until a few raindrops found our heads then we nestled in for our rest in the encampment the best we could. (For Michael and I that was within the comfort of the VV and Cathy Webster joined us, sleeping in our converted sitting area.) The new work day comes very early for the first shift at Beale and they were starting to arrive by 5:30 A.M. so we were out there to greet them, bundled up and with our signs and banners and peace signs and smiles.
 These women, Beth and Julie, are gorgeous but naturally I was swooning on the dramatic clouds behind them, a beautiful spring backdrop for the loving convictions they share here. One of the wonderful things I want to share about this backdrop of our action was the quality of nature that accompanied us-- coyotes cried as the 6:30am Revelry recording swept out beyond the Main Gate. Meadowlarks serenaded us both days and geese passed over with almost, but not quite, as much frequency as U-2 spy planes.
 The day finally popped open when the sun broke through and a Sacramento Vet for Peace joined us and I was glad he and Michael were able to talk about the importance of the War Veterans' role in outreaching to people in active duty.
 The line of cars was over by 8:30am and we gathered for one of our lovely photos. What a beautiful and spirited group of peace warriors!
I want to leave you with just a few more questions from the series:
 How much of the military spending is unnecessary? How much of the so-called 'war on terror' is really about rationalizing defense industry profits and securing Middle East oil for Western corporations?                                                    Occupy Beale with us next month! May 29th-30th.

Occupy Beale Day 1

 Good Chico-Red Bluff-Bangor folk met back at the Doolittle Gate at Beale Air Force Base yesterday while mostly Nevada City folk held down the Main Gate and mostly Bay Area Code Pink occupied the south gate for the afternoon shift change.
 Then about 20 of us met for dinner and a Teach-In on Jeju Island ( and were joined by three of the young military police, which we relished. Jeju Island, a world heritage site at the southern tip of South Korea is part of the expansion of U.S. militarism even though the island is an environmental gem. We were all strongly encouraged to join the Korean people and to get involved in protecting this priceless wonder of the natural world.

As most people know who have been reading the Veggie Voyagers blog-- we've been going to Beale monthly to protest the Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Surveillance Drone which identifies and targets for the Killer and Reaper Drones like the one animated above by Nevada City artists-- those that terrify and kill innocent civilians in Pakistan, Yemen and soon to be other countries.
 The sunset was brilliant over the Sutter Buttes as we waved goodbye to some of our Occupy Beale family as we hunkered down for the night in wait of the morning shift change at the Main Gate. With our songs and in our thoughts we leave you with this question from one of the new Do the Pentagon and private defense corporations serve the American people or do they serve one another at our expense? Certainly most of the people coming in and out of Beale are workers, trapped in jobs by multiple factors. They do not totally represent the evil of the military industrial system, in this case the collusion between Northrup Grumman and the Air Force. They are our fellows and the Best we can do is to use whatever means we can to communicate with them --which is what we try to do with gusto, compassion and creativity.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day Reflection.

 It seems being out there is the best way to take in the scope of human interaction with the environment. The rights of the earth are not being respected. There are the huge gouged out clear cuts on steep slopes in drainages that carry water to the thirsty cities below. And hydro-electric dams and roadways along all the major rivers, even the relatively forgotten ones like the Pit River.
 Part of it is simple faith. Faith in the power of regeneration and the unfolding principles of life constantly renewing itself. It's not even conscious.. we just expect things to keep rebirthing themselves.
 Being near Mt. Shasta is a constant reminder of the power of the elemental forces of sun and snow to bring waters into the dependent water courses below. We went into a gallery in the town of Mt. Shasta and saw photos of the lenticular clouds that form above the high reaches of the mountain. For the first days of our visit the mountain was clouded and invisible and then it appeared with complete solid boldness only to melt away into orange, pink, purple then gray each evening.
 Another wonder was to see what some humans are up to or down under. These young folks from a dive shop culture in Medford were exploring under the thick ice of Castle Lake despite the dark and cold... That is one think I love about humans...even when it doesn't seem to make much sense someone is almost always ready to do something unique.
And once down out of the mountains it was 91 degrees. We stopped at Woodson Bridge as poorly acclimatized as the divers to the icy waters. I stalked pipe vine butterflies enjoying the vetch and reflected on the kids wading in the Sacramento after we'd watched the rivulets, waterfalls and dancing roaring creeks coming out of the snow laden mountains for the last week. All of us creatures opportunistic and hungry for pleasure, comfort and survival....each in our way. each on this incredible earth.

Michael's Birthday Voyage

 We brought the Veggie Voyagers book with us to do a book signing at the new location of All About Books in Redding. So, we sold three books, gave away three, spilled coffee on five... but the main thing is that we are still Voyaging on straight veggie oil and we spent this last week Celebrating Michael's 65th Birthday on the road.
 After leaving Redding we made it over to Big Bend and the hotsprings along the Pit River. Next we tried to make it through to McCloud but there was too much snow so we stayed by this Iron Canyon reservoir one overnight then followed the Pit the long way around to Shasta.
 We skied first up above the closed Nordic Track between McCloud and the next day on Mt. Shasta and up to the Sierra Club Hut at Horse Camp but I had a rough time skiing down so that discouraged us both.
 We had one more day of transitional weather and went to Stewart Hot Springs before camping up on the mountain road that connects the Sacramento watershed to the Trinity when there is no snow closure. We did a very long ski... Michael summitted the pass and I waited about two miles below for him.
 And yesterday we skied around and on Castle Lake and camped up there before coming home into the heat today-- to kids swimming in the Sacramento River and our home being inundated with weedy growth. It was a Good Birthday for a Good Man and also a Good Earth Day. Being in the mountains, in the clear air, with the extreme clarity of light and the physicality of moving along on skis... it's just been a lovely Birthday for us both.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


 We make it to Redding! Sometimes claws of inertia and chaos want to prevent will from prevailing but we made it to join Occupy Redding and Shasta Co. Free Thought Central for the Verizon tax protest.
 I was so glad to find so many activists out there...even dog activists attended! The Redding Occupy looks a bit like the Chico Occupy in that we are mostly "matured" folks...however, the spirit is great and it was fun to be out there with these like-minded folks.
 If upper income people and corporation (AKA upper income people) paid their fair share of taxes then we could turn this country around quickly.
 Michael would have chosen to ski today but we both enjoyed the picket as well as a Single Payer Health program at a Fish and Chips Restaurant afterwards. It was just a thoroughly satisfying experience and gave me a sense of hope and solidarity which is very nurturing... speaking of which...
I just wanted to add... since we see that readers find us from all over the globe... I am a 40 year ovo-lacto vegetarian but the blog is about running our vehicle on straight vegetable oil...not about food, although we obtain our waste oil from restaurants. . Disclaimer... I had deep fried zucchini at that Fish and Chips place--more oil than I have consumed for many years so I feel like I'm running on SVO myself right now. We are on our way to a book signing for the Veggie Voyagers book this evening so hopefully we will find some interest there in what we are doing with alternative fuels.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Belated Easter Greetings!

 Onion Honey!
I didn't have a memory card with me at Pancakes for Peace and was very disappointed to miss photographing our premier Easter event but I was so sticky from busing tables (maple syrup) it probably was for the best.
 Orien was home and Michael took these pictures of us out by the creek and with Sheldon and Pula. Her work on the TRUST Act has brought her home a few times this spring and that has been wonderful for us.
 Meanwhile the spring slowly rolls out --- these fiddle necks are in last year's garden space in great numbers and bachelor buttons reseeded too. The new garden space is ready but it keeps raining... I'll wait til after the new moon and then plant right into the soil. Eventually it will warm up.
 It's not that things aren't lush.
Michael and I are off to celebrate his 65th Birthday with hot springs and skiing so the valley will have to continue it's primavera without us. He's processed over 30 gallons of veggie oil so we are ready!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pine Creek Good Friday

 On the day we used to call Good Friday I went with Phil and Susan out to Pine Creek. While they went for a long hike up the canyon I just wandered around in a few acre loop and visited my friend Howard and also went down to Meridian Rd and visited Dorothy who takes an active interest in Howard as he grows a little more fragile.
 One of the things about a wild place is the unexpected.. like this skull. While I walked two vultures kept circling me, reminding me that it wouldn't take long to look that this.
 The flowers were really decreased compared to most springtimes. There were a lot of popcorn flowers but not the usual variety and numbers of flowers. I found this single plant by Pine Creek but am unsure what it is... Dogwood was blooming everywhere giving off its lovely contrast to the dark trunks and shadowed places and deep greens.
 Another surprise by the creek was this raccoon tail...the only uneaten part of the creature. Pine Creek has changed a lot since I lived there--30 years ago. No one is killing the predators now so there are coyote, bear, mountain lions as well as large numbers of deer. As unpleasant as death is it is part of the balance of things-- spring that will slide to summer, old age that will yield to death, the change of hands, the unknown... May the wild things who have claimed Pine Creek live on and even if Howard, Dorothy, our friends and I lose our access to this land may it remain fixed in some way-- a safe legacy of how things realistically are along this watercourse,vast open spaces and foothills.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Eco-Occupy the Earth

We went to the Eco-Occupy march in Sacramento today to the Board of Forestry... There were about 40 of us including quite a few kids. Dan, a new Oroville resident, drove down to the action with me. Here he is as Red Emmons's right hand man-- which he's not. Red owns Sierra Pacific Industries which is decimating California forests and the biodiversity and water storage of our high country of the Cascades and Sierra.
 People came from the embattled Battle Creek watershed west of Lassen. They speak their truth of the effects of clear cutting from personal experience--the stripping of the land, the dumping of herbicides by Mexican people without protective clothing, the losses to the local sense of place void of seed bearing oak that nurture the forest creatures....
 I was going to include a very eccentric shot of myself in my Lorax yellow mustache but am almost glad the camera disappeared it. That was merciful. (I can't believe I testified before the Board of Forestry with it on!)
 Whether or not they are marionettes is anybody's guess. (Three are on the revolving door of corporate to government--two are former S.P.I.) My take is that they can't (choose not to) see the forest for the trees. They are making judgements based on technical data that has nothing to do with the fundamental questions of over-all habitat loss, head-waters destruction-- the big picture concerns that indicator species like the spotted owl are just symbols of. How much more can we afford to lose? Will we take it past the brink? We need an immediate moratorium on clear cutting, that is absolutely for sure. Go to for county by county images of the pox of clearcutting on the contiguous forests of this great northern California region-- the lungs of the earth are being hacked out for profit.....that's all too clear.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Mountain time

 We left the valley through the rich orchard lands along Hwy 70 then went up Hwy 20. As is our way we had truck things to sort out so I walked around the rocky wide river course way of the Yuba, enjoying poppy and lupin. We got up to Grass Valley to pick up bio-diesel but the folks had gone home early so we snuggled up next to their business in a cozy but sudden rain for the night.
 Our first day in the mountains Michael went to Sugar Bowl for some downhill and then we three headed from Sugar Bowl down to Royal George cross country as snow began. We met one of the old timers while Michael was preparing to hitch back up to Sugar Bowl and visited with him long into the afternoon, in the little ski museum of that area he keeps.
That night was bitterly cold at 8,900 feet at Mt. Rose summit and the next day the mountain was too socked in and windy for skiing so we went down to this relatively balmy large meadow on our way to Grover Hot Springs for a great wide loop. (This is just below Carson Pass.)
The next day the storm started in earnest when we were skiing up above Hope Valley on some of the back roads. The bare patches quickly covered and even though it was the last day of March, at least up there, the lion did not go out like a lamb.
Before that though, while we were taking off to ski kids were finishing up this saucy snow person but when we returned she was taking on layers onto her grass skirt and the humans had quite evaporated in the near-blizzard.
 We didn't know what conditions would be in the morning so we drove around to the north side of Lake Tahoe and spent the night in a casino parking lot and in the morning had the sight of straggler cells of storm still showering snow over various parts of the lake. By the time we were past Truckee it was a brilliant blue day and we got in some more skiing off Hwy 89 before the long roll home to our beautiful pregnant valley at dusk.