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, November 25, 2012

"Emily's Tree"

 I am tempted every time the sun shines these days to walk down and experience the glory of Emily's flaming tree so today I circled it and am reporting back via camera.

 It's been a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend. This shot looks up toward our house.
 This shot looks out to Emily's garden. I snooped around in there too and she's still even got tomatoes and zucchini.  It's beautiful but unnatural to still have leaves hanging on and no frost although this tree has become a standard of beauty for the fall season around Riparia. Glorious despite obvious Global Warming.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Morn

 Happy Thanksgiving! This morning we walked around Riparia and I took some photos and fell down in some bell peppers and generally immersed myself into a short ramble. It felt much different without Sasha but the day was bright and there is still color to contrast with the sweet green of new grasses and died-back plants. I didn't like any of the shots better than the ones I got the last few days when the clouds and rain were on us though and so the one above is from Big Chico Creek and the one below is at One Mile. The leaning attitude of the real and reflective tree mirror one another.
 The vortexes of the shells I picked up along the Outer Banks and Gulf of Mexico still attract my eye. Five years ago we were with my brother's family in Georgia and now they are in New York celebrating the birth of their first grand-daughter, born on Halloween at the sweeping end of the great hurricane. How life circles expand and tighten. We are very small here this Thanksgiving-- just the four/five of us. 
 We frequently have something left to harvest from the garden at Thanksgiving-- to be grateful for and amazed by and to take to table in appreciation. This year though is strange.. portending the coming crisis, no doubt. Poppies greet us out by the abandoned railroad tracks by the Diamond Match land where we walk when we want to keep our feet dry.
 In the puddles we read the tea leaves. Not really, there is time left. It's definitely late for leaf fall but it's beautiful and the air embraces us in this valley. Now's not the time to question the future. It's time to prep the food and bake the pies. Michael is already hard at his football game. Rejoice. Embrace. Sense deep. Listen. Absorb. Then Laugh.

Monday, November 12, 2012

How we get on...

 We planted a plum tree over Sasha. It took an entire morning then we were just in limbo for the rest of Saturday and through Sunday. Today I was determined to get us exercising so we went for a bike ride... from now on it won't be two beings ahead of me... but just one dear one.
 We were happy to find our way to the new Butte Environmental Council's Community Gardens on Humboldt Rd. We'd heard all their plots are signed up for and this just goes to show how much interest in gardening has increased in the last years. A group of us in Streaminders, years ago, tried to offer community garden space and got no response.
 Most things were nipped with frost recently but I got this--- um, okra?
 We followed Little Chico Creek to the end of the bike path at Bruce Rd. then came back via the new Hwy 99 corridor that goes along Teichert Pond. Delighted to see some Canadians enjoying the balmy weather.
We'll be ok-- it will just take some time.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sasha Pike

 Who was Sasha Pike? She was adopted from the Butte Co. Shelter when she was a few months old 14 years ago. Michael said she was the cutest dog there and was amazed she wasn't claimed. She was half Airedale and half terrier. Each summer, due to the extreme heat in our valley, she got a racy stripped down look and the rest of the year she was a wirey haired girl with soft ears, luminous eyes and an unfailing faithful attachment to Michael.
 As you may know we just returned from an almost four month adventure. We've been home just over a week. Sasha seemed to decline the last few days, showing little interest in being loved on but still eating... somewhat confused perhaps with deafness that had been getting worse. She had her tail down alot which was always her way of expressing fear, unhappiness or pain but she had some good moments when she was her usual self.
 Michael and Sasha have had years of adventures with and without me. I only have the last year and three quarters of photos on this computer but Sasha has been central in our lives since we've been married, these 10 years. We have always accommodated and enjoyed our little threesome, although sometimes I'd be the odd one out. Both our lives have been enriched by her presence in subtle and concrete ways.
 And now she's gone. She somehow managed to break her femur at some point today. She came to Michael with a flaccid leg after hours of not being able to find her. The vet said the expensive surgery and long recovery was not guaranteed to give her any good time in the future. Michael knew she would not like to live as an invalid so in a tearful and gentle environment we parted, our human hearts wrenched by the anticipation of the loneliness without her.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post Election tension release

 Michael got all the signs he put up for the elections down today. There were no big surprises and some disappointments. It feels almost soothing to have it over, even though the work doesn't really change. I didn't get any good photos of human activity but did walk "out to the back" with Michael and Sasha this morning, enjoying the lack of tension.
 It's been unnaturally hot so we have had this first week of being home to enjoy summery weather. Tomorrow it is supposed to change with rain and cool temperatures. I picked walnuts with a young couple helping me, got the garden a little figured out and the front yard somewhat ready for winter... Have got caught up with the land news, friends, changes in town, too.
 The city of Chico passed its Climate Action Plan last night and I'm feeling out what my role may be in community. This feels like another big settling for both of us.
 Last year at this time we were charged up by Occupy. This year it's hard to find where one should put energy but the reality of the challenges has not lessened one bit.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Home 48 hours

 It is incredible to be back. I did radio ( with Laurel Avalon on the Peace and Justice Show, volunteered over four hours for the KZFR Pledge Drive. I've reconnected with the Chico Peace and Justice Center, the Chico Peace Endeavor, Butte Environmental Council, AquAlliance, Sacramento River Preservation Trust, Butte Creek Watershed Alliance, the Farmers Market, Food Not Bombs, Occupy Foreclosure Task Force, Chico Democratic Party and the Yes on Prop 37 (Label GMO) Campaign and many friends and acquaintances. I feel swirled and full of things I need to do to follow up on those issues we discussed or I said I'd do.....Already!
 The first morning I walked around Riparia in awe and took these shots. The seeds for this plant above I got from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply... the leaves were supposed to taste like spinach. It's such an odd but interesting plant and I have yet to eat any of it.
 This is Bruce's field. It's so amazing to be back here where the seasons are cusping over each other... we have winter vegies like broccoli and summer vegies like corn and tomato and zillions of peppers. It knocks you out to see all this after being north of here where winter has closed in. Our valley, despite notably bad air quality, is spectacular for growing food. Not one more home should be built on our valley soils. This is the heartland and home grown local foods could make us self sufficient if we need/choose/have to be. As long as we control our water.
 Besides all the human network re-connecting we have done in the last two days there is the reality of the land. When you travel around you just accept the plants that grow in a place and don't much notice what is out of place but on a farm there is a constant pull to do things-- the land was demanding that I pick up walnuts. Numero uno! Then the call to get the (lovely deep rich purple) polk seeds out of the fields (as they reseed everywhere and are invasive.) To cut back grape ivy that is out to strangle its way to supremacy. To dig out scattered clumps of Johnson grass after the rains.... I am owned already by the land and by my community almost before we get moved back into the house. No regrets though. None at all.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Last stops- After Bay and Pine Creek

 After the Beale Drone Protests (last posting) we started toward home because it seemed the clutch was slipping more. We stayed at the Oroville "After Bay" and fell asleep to snapping dry cottonwood leaves and woke to the popping of duck hunters' guns. After it seemed safe to walk around I got these two shots. It's a wild place sandwiched between human highways... like most places you can't really tune out our species.
 Last night we went out to visit our friend Howard at Pine Creek and the shots below are from his beautiful land. He is fragile and his protected kingdom may not be secure when he passes but it was my first home in Butte County and I love it's dogwoods, sycamores and buckeyes as well as all the critters who make their homes here as well as our dear old friend.

 We are waiting to move back into our house this afternoon. I tallied up the places we've "camped" and lakes and river-sides win out but there's also been casinos, clear-cuts, trail-heads, pipelines, residential streets, gas stations and grocery lots.... 114 days on the road, 8000 miles driven (which doesn't count our ferry ride up the Inside Passage from Port Hardy, Vancouver Island to Prince Rupert.) We ran the truck on straight restaurant waste vegetable oil all but a stint on Vancouver Island. Michael processed veggie oil 16 times... working out to about every seven days. He's had his share of truck trouble-shooting and repairs and we've had three potentially serious truck "mishaps" which he handled with persevering competence.
The planet remains incredibly beautiful, complex and accessible. We are grateful we have been able to reach out and into it without adding much to its burden of polluting human activity. We picked up less garbage this trip but had some of the same disappointments about the lack of adequate recycling and care of our dear punished Madre Tierra.
Those of you who traveled with us- I'm grateful. I need to have a voice and to share what we have seen. Thank you for accompanying us.