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

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Beale

 Beale AFB May 29 and 30... Carol and Jean above asking something the Peace Movement has asked since at least the 60s. Despite the heat we made it through the afternoon shift change and then hunkered in the shade of the Veggie Voyager for sisterhood/fellowship.
Since it was the day after Memorial Day we read from the statements of military folks who had given back their metals at the NATO protest last week-- We each read one-- as we went around the circle.

 We also had a Teach In with Peter Lumsdaine from Alliance to Resist Robotic Warfare & Society and had a candlelight commemoration for what would have been the 33rd Birthday of Casey Sheehan, had he not been killed in Iraq, led by his mom, Cindy.
 After a short and rather noisy night there by the base Main Gate we were back out there vigiling before dawn for the incoming shift.
 But unlike other Beale monthly protests this morning ended badly. One of the activists said offhandedly we should give the flowers (from Casey's commemoration,) to the guards, a few steps away at the gate so another activist just went ahead and started to walk forward to do that with a camera-woman filming her...neither meant at all to risk arrest... but long story short they were immediately cuffed and before long charged with federal trespass, which can be a serious charge.
We shot our last shot defiantly but were actually pretty shaken. The militarization of our earth extends to kind gestures by good people... However, we were able to give out the flyer (excerpted above) to over 90 people and many people were very positive to our messages-- What we are doing is important and we need to press forward, even into the heat of the summer and against difficult odds.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Nate and Addie

 It's Memorial Day. If I allow myself I can dunk under deep, dense waves of sadness. Instead I've been pulling chervil burrs all morning then doing inside things while listening to KZFR from Democracy Now (vets tossing their metals back at the White House,) Woody and Friends (roots music of the people's struggle for bread and roses,) now, Time of Useful Consciousness (about John Goffman, an honest scientist who went all the way back to the beginnings of nuclear power and opposed it.)
Saturday was hard. A young man dead way too young and some of those who loved him-above. His brother, below, wrote a song to him. Drugs. Mental Illness. Head injury. Who knows what distorts the mind and steals the spirit from hope? It is Memorial Day--the community's friend Ed McLaughlin died this week too. There's plenty a sweet soul to hold dear and memorialize but one thing we know....never glorify war, never.

 Then there's the other side of the emotional landscape, filled with joy and hope. Our land partner's daughter graduated from High School. She came to Riparia as a wee beautiful baby, with striking huge eyes. Her mom had gone to an orphanage in Ethiopia to bring her home. A brilliant young woman now heads off to college. For us it was time to enjoy community, feast and be grateful.
 Here- Ali, Emily, Paul, Addie and Leslie. Seize the joy. Love and Live Life.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

 This photo provides a total escape of the mind from what I've been focusing on this afternoon but I didn't want to exclude it from the blog all together. Michael provided a welding hood and the neighbors and I took turns looking at the solar eclipse but all my photos turned out like this... with a bright sunny glow and a reflected eclipsed like orb above it. I was disappointed, don't understand the optics of it and would like to know how I could have shot it right... it's interesting though....
 Yesterday I got to water my friend's big greenhouse and meet up with dozens of new flowers. These shots were my favorites. It's pure delight to experience these lovelies.
 And speaking of lovelies, here are Linda and Chuck getting some name recognition for our Democratic candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, Jim Reed this morning. We are all very concerned that we will default right into another few dozen years of not being represented by another Republican, especially with the new Open Primary system. Vote Jim Reed on June 5th!!!
Hanging out with Michael made the time pass quickly-- I was writing a Letter to the Editor in my head... now that I am getting Social Security and start Medi-care next month I realize what a complete Blessing it is to not have to worry just really be able to have some TIME without needing to work for health benefits. The people going by don't think they will ever have that but it can be guaranteed for all working people if we renew our commitment to these programs and why exactly wouldn't we do that???

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Immigrant Day 2012

 We attended Immigrant Day 2012 at the California State Capitol. This is part of the Policy Platform: "Today we celebrate the work of immigrants and their advocates to bring about needed social service and health care supports, civil rights protections, relief from discriminatory treatment, and workers' rights to the millions of immigrants and their families who live in our state."
Above is Assemblyman Ammiano who sponsored the AB 1081 TRUST Act, which is the legislation that brought us to the lobbying event and AB 889 The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which brought a representative from Chico Women's Health Specialists. We also had senate/assembly visits with those who supported SB 1064 the Reuniting Immigrant Families Act (which would eliminate family reunification barriers for immigrant families in the child welfare system by creating uniformity across state and county policies,) as well as those rejecting the Governor's proposed cuts to CalWORKs. I also ran into Al Rojas, a contemporary of Cesar Chavez and union organizer, who was there opposing the "Bracero" Guest Worker Bill AB 1544. The picture doesn't do it justice-- there were hundreds more, from many nationalities and cultures.
 Orien was a Team Leader with Michelle Ho, also from the Asian Law Caucus. These bright young women led our little Chico team to meetings with Senator LaMalfa, Rep. Logue, Sen Hanford, and Harman. We weren't able to meet with anyone in Nielsen's office. We met with Aides, as the officials were in session. Everyone was cordial and we got complemented on how together the presentation on the TRUST Act was...
 And that's because Eliza, Pete, Andrea, Carolyn and Sheldon were there to help spread the responsibility for addressing different elements of the bill. What was most exciting though is that the halls were full of groups from a few people to many dozens, some non-English-speaking, there to stand up for what they believe to be critical for the law makers... 15 priority issues.
 It was Democracy in Action. Quite an odd contrast to this photo in the lobby of a 14 year old strawberry if he should be in the fields. Child agricultural labor wasn't one of the bills...  However, many people standing up, will eventually get these kids into schools and those schools will eventually have affordable tuition and be open to all... We have a dream. And here's info on the TRUST Act--      Please send letters of support.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bloody Island and Oya

LAKE COUNTY "At 6 years old, she weighed not much more than one of the cannon balls that tore through the people like a boulder though willows. Crouching beneath the water beside the bank she sipped air through a reed to maintain her life. Above her, an old world was ending, washed in blood.”

Those are the words Clayton Duncan uses to tell the story of his grand-grandmother, Lucy Moore, and her survival of the events of Bloody Island.

The year was 1850. Lucy hid in the bloodied water behind the tules with her mother at Badonnapati, Old Island – called Bloody Island after dragoons and a militia under the command of Captain Nathaniel Lyon massacred between 150 and 200 Pomo men, women, elders and children, bayoneting women and babies, stepping on and crushing infants, "braining" (a 19th century term) children by smashing their heads against tree trunks.

Given some limited public outcry, they were charged for these crimes but not convicted, and Lyon later was promoted.

The members of the militia, some of them prominent members of society, subsequently took ownership of the best Pomo lands around the lake and all over Lake County, said Duncan, for the unofficial design of this particular expedition was to "clear" the land of its indigenous inhabitants, as the official policy of California, supported by the federal government, was to exterminate all of the Indian population.

A few Pomo people survived Bloody Island. It took five days to gather the bodies for cremation, Duncan said. Orphaned children had to be hidden from settlers gathering slaves for the market in central California.

Despite this and many more hardships unleashed on native people by the US, Duncan said Lucy Moore became a mother, a grandmother and great-grandmother, lived to be 110 years old, and in her old age prayed every day to forgive America.

It is in her memory and to honor her, her prayer and all who died at Bloody Island that Duncan created the Lucy Moore Foundation in 2000, having for many years approached the tribal leadership to address some of the following issues, without success.

The foundation organizes the yearly May 15 Sunrise Ceremony at Bloody Island, to honor and remember the people who died there during the massacre.

The Lucy Moore Foundation's vision is to educate the public about the massacre, one of many in California, according to Duncan. The group also is working to locate, preserve and memorialize the site of the mass grave – where the victims of the massacre, whose only fault was to live on their own land and stand in the way of America's expansion – were thrown into a hole and cremated.

The foundation's mission is to pronounce Bloody Island and the surrounding 500 acre of marshlands an area of archaeological sensitivity, as a variety of significant prehistoric and historic periods archaeological sites exist within the borders of the 500 acres Bloody Island project boundaries.

As part of that mission, the foundation wants to buy Bloody Island and preserve the rich archaeological and anthropological resources known to exist in great abundance on and around the Island, its wetlands and its bay."
 This long quote above is a far distant thing from the quote on this plaque, plus the dates are different. At any rate, the Bloody Island plaque out on Hwy 20 tells the story as it most certainly was. The tip of the rock it is embedded in points to where we were for the sunrise ceremony this morning commemorating the massacre, exactly on the rock where this paint reddened plaque is. It was deeply moving-- the spirits of the ancestors were there to meet the cries of the people who remembered them as the day began. Strong and eloquent survivors ringed by supporters.

When I got home it was graduation madness in Chico, farmers market, the Peace Vigil, Food Not Bombs and Oya Ross-Walcott's graduation party--she now has a degree in engineering. This is her family-- Baba, Oya, Nicola, Ikiti, and Mharia.        All One Family.          All My Relations.

Friday, May 18, 2012


 We had an appointment in Redding so we finally visited the 700 foot suspension bridge over the Sacramento called the Sundial Bridge, created by Spanish artist Calatrava. It was worth seeing. Lovely sweeping angles and simple grandeur.
 Last night we went out to Ann's strawbale home on the Vina Plains--where the brodeia are blooming in the dry vernal pools. Jose and Mira were selling paintings and Guatemalan "tipica" which may be a derogatory term but what it was called in Guatemala... wonderful beading, ikat and other lovely clothing and fabrics.
 Their project, Help me Paint my Future (Ayudame a Pintar mi Futuro) has grown on Chico over time through Mira's persistence, community building and just plain goodness. They carry all this stuff up and we dutifully buy it out of appreciation.
Our friend Mely is from Guatemala too- a different region and different path from Jose. We are all richer for knowing her. I look forward to being part of a delegation to lobby for Immigrant Rights on Monday. Meanwhile, the sun went down on that day as it surely will soon on this one. Tomorrow starts early.

More Blooms

 Trying to feel better.. why when the world is so beautiful? Words. I think the slump started with the Chico News and Review. People attacking one another, big problems and long articles...the last from Anthony Peyton Porter, titled "Reality." His wife has metastatic cancer. She is a wonderful person and he realizes that her care and being with her is all that matters.
 The only reason I have gotten up close and personal with these flowers is because my friend had cancer and so did her husband. Michael and I went to her place... I watered and he fixed water and cooling systems.
 I am slowed down today from wacking too many weeds too inefficiently yesterday, when it was lovely and cool but the ground was hard. Today all I got done was a little transplanting and mostly took in the intensity of the world through the computer and radio...
 But, tomorrow, I'll hopefully plant my Epiphyllum cuttings and someday maybe have blooms like this elegant, short lived beauty gracing my home. Health and Peace surround us for the blooming of our lives. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Generative Powers!

 I just want to recognize a few moms in the community. Last night Ann (below) and I went out to celebrate her 65th Birthday. After a wonderful dinner and serenade of Bob Marley's "By the Rivers of Babylon" from Sipho and his friend we went to see Susan's art opening at Upper Crust. Susan generates mother love ( and has two grown kids.
 and then to the Matador Motel, transformed for an art fiesta by the talented, creative, hard-working arts community here in Chico. There we saw Mira and Jose. Mira has lived for about six years now in Jose's community of San Pedro on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. They are here on behalf of their project Ayudame a pintar mi futuro... help me paint my future where kids learn art, people get help (food, school supplies, etc.) Mira was sharing her booth with her daughter. Ann will spend tomorrow with her two.
 I had to do my political thing-- for the vigil today, but also took myself to the World Fair Trade Day wine and chocolate tasting event at the Chico Peace and Justice Center. This is a photo of my beloved pax, Caroline and her son Justin. Caroline has known the pain of losing a child and is an advocate of peace in everything she does. Justin, like Orien, is an attorney, doing good work in the world.
 Lastly, in a snapshot of Mother's Day dear ones-- Carmel and daughter Ali have been doing Food Not Bombs together for months. Today the menu was dominated by home grown salad which blessed my palate before the Peace Vigil and the chocolate extravaganza. Thanks to them and to all the mothers and children of mothers throughout this busily spinning globe.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Early Mother's Day

 After the Endangered Species Fair I scooted down to San Francisco to have my week early Mother's Day with Orien. It was a lovely couple of days-- yoga, manicure/pedicure, fine food, the DeYoung Museum...
 And the Beach with my dear girl! Now I'm home, regrouping. Time rushes away under my wings so quickly!!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Endangered Species Fair

 I rushed (hauling my bike cart covered in Occupy messages) from the Pioneer Day Parade to the Endangered Species Fair at Cedar Grove in order to see the Procession of the Species. The Tchudis have been working for months with teachers and kids to create these small creatures-- insects, sea creatures, reptiles, birds and mammals.
 You can bet that each child now has a personal investment in the creature he or she carried.
 And the great puppets and the web of life. All I can do is appreciate the creativity and commitment of those who created these wonderful creatures. My friend Kathy Faith brought the kids and creatures together for this great last shot from the stage. Another version of "connecting the dots."
 And I just wanted to tag on the Lorax I met earlier. Today I spent a good bit of time getting signatures on the Stop Clear Cutting petition (of the Sierra Club.) Some people still argue for the practice despite all the common sense evidence of its destructiveness. I don't understand being at an endangered species fair with all the emphasis on habitat and not being able to grasp the connection...some people have a hole in their neural web where connections should be made. Poor planet, losing so many elegant and unique species to ignorance and greed and hubris.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Occupy the Pioneer Day Parade!

 Well, we Occupied the Pioneer Day Parade and had an interesting time of it... complete with being sprayed with a hose by an irate college student who somehow equated us with the problems he faces in his future... the kill the messenger syndrome?
 We went last behind all sorts of folks. I was glad to talk to a fraternity with a Lorax float. Generally it was a long wait and then a fast walk through inscrutable and supportive watchers.
 There were about 30 of us. I loved the energy, the flowers, the fun...
 Strange and wonderful as we move through a world of difference and sameness. All together.
 Meanwhile, Michael and Bob brought up the rear behind us as a mini-contingent of Vets for Peace. I was glad Michael decided to finally join Veterans for Peace after all these years. Vets have so much moral authority to talk about why we need to stop squandering our resources on war.