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, December 25, 2013

A lovely little Christmas Day

 Orien's birthday is on Christmas eve so we've had a much more extended time together than we normally get and for that we have been really grateful. I'm just going to tell about today since it was so recent and so lovely. Michael and I were initially going for a small quiet day but it turned out to be really fun. We had waffles with lovely summer fruit-- strawberries, peaches and winter kiwi with Orien, Penni and Sheldon then Zenon came by. He and Orien have been friends their entire lives and it was wonderful to see him and meet his new puppies.
 Then Ajani and her family, Greg and Chase, came over to do the "Bird Tree" we do every year. (We hoped for more kids but you never know what folks are up to on the holiday so Chase was our honorary child.) I love our funny popcorn toss photos..
 The photos are always completely goofy... if you go back to December 25th through the years I've kept the blog you'll see this completely darling exhalation of joy repeated over and over.
 The idea is to feed the birds in mid-winter but this year it was so balmy, so dry, it was hard to think of it as winter. Still, this is our version of snow. Thank goodness for children, popcorn, friends and family. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Solstice sun rise

 I woke up much earlier than the sun because the "experts" said the sun rise was in the six o'clock hour but in reality, at least in our world, the sun rose closer to 7:30. This tangle of grape vine creates an image of strength and will. When you cut these huge old vines they drip large amounts of clear sap and it's easy to feel bad for them. Their aggressive climbing skill makes them bad for the trees but they also create huge runner roots and a cut here or there barely slows them down. Dormancy makes them seem more inert, easier to get along with. Perhaps a place to return to with a big clipper before spring.
 The first sunlight was enjoyed by the birds in the canopy. (You can see them if you click on the photo.) While I was still stumbling around in the oak woodland the glory of the day was well under-way.
 It may be tangled but there is glory in the sunrise even through a pinhole. The light of the shortest day finds the retina and lights the joy and transformative energy that is always available to us, even in darkness.
 And so the earth has turned. My sadness and fear swept before the beauty of the light reflected through me like a prism. Joy filled Solstice to you, wherever you are, whatever lies along your path.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Long Night Moon

 Caroline and Joni and I made our way to Beale AFB yesterday afternoon. (There are photos of them below... looking beatific.) In the late afternoon the sun was warm and I met this young man for the first time. His signage about the vastly under-reported murder of a wedding party in Yemen by drone strike this week carries the weight of our most recent anger and grief about these weapons systems.
 Basically, human needs continue to go unmet and the service people streaming out of the base at the end of their work days have dour faces because the military industrial complex is such a Lose-Lose for our country at every level. When the Beale folks leave work you can see the flatness of their days in their faces. I wish them their lives back and good civilian jobs. We outlined a huge sign with Christmas tree lights that says May All Your Missions Be Humanitarian.
 As the afternoon wore on the sunset gloriously distracted us from the full moon rise. Watching the face of the "Cold Moon" I was filled with wonder and absolute joy... I am grateful for that happiness. To be with people I admire, to be in nature, standing up for those who haven't discovered their voices, to be in my body wrapped in the warmth of my warm coat.... it was Good.
 We stayed into the night having a candle lit potluck of delicious unseen food in a sharing circle by the side of the road. Some pitched their tents in the stubble there between the road and the ditch but our little contingent, shivering and happy, turned for home. In my case, back to my dear Michael.
 I'm appreciative for the work of Occupy Beale. Each beating heart and willful mile and sun, wind, rain swept attendance at the attention of the military passerby. There is nothing else we can do so we do it with devotion and the dearness of the human spirit longing for peace.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Friends of Comanche Creek Greenway

 This is the Goddess of the Chico Parks, Susan Mason. Her volunteer group is Friends of Bidwell Park and she has worked for years to remove invasive plants and coordinate with the city of Chico, which is badly underfunded. The City of Chico bought the Comanche Creek Greenway, surrounded on either side by industrial businesses in 2006 and then proceeded to neglect the land, letting ailanthus, blackberry, thistle, johnson grass and iris intertwine with the equally neglected homeless population. The little group of Barber Neighborhood volunteers led on by Susan's expertise and connections has written grants, done work days and stayed on task for a passive park and bike way which will come to fruition soon.
 I got spun out of the Barber Neighborhood organizing years ago but my love for Comanche Creek has lived through more than 30 years and despite recent surgery I was happy to pick up a light but bulging bag of plastic and styrofoam this morning. My dear Michael dug out Johnson grass roots, like fat white jointed fingers reaching far into the earth.
 Chico State students Tina and Kelsi shoveled and hauled and smiled for the camera. Lovely to have the enthusiasm of youth join with the doggedness of older ages.
 One of our neighbors, Liz Stewart, has been doing this work for years. She is credited with clearing the blackberries from around the base of this ancient cottonwood. Today she and a small team spent the morning cutting back and then digging roots of about a quarter acre of blackberries... quite a task!
Comanche Creek is worth the effort. There are beautiful mature oaks and sycamores along the water-course and in such a dry climate the riparian corridor supports and provides safe passage to all the other species of the valley. A great blue heron soared over this morning while I was wandering around appreciating everyone. Despite everything, the garbage that floats down the creek, the homeless who don't maintain their camps, the city which has no budget or political will to protect the is the local people themselves who are slowly transforming neglect out of the natural beauty of a major ecological corridor.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

My sedentary Life

 Who is that masked woman? The famous Weezie! Humanitarian and Lover of Good Friends, Good Food, Good Music, Massage therapist and initiator for me during my time post-operative. I tell has been (almost) worth the surgery to get these GREAT meals my friends have brought by. This little paper plate held the most delicious quiche... I can still taste it on my tongue's memory.
 We splurged and bought a new recliner for me and this is my view out the window. It has been an amazing few days since I came home from the hospital... all the walnut leaves let go in about two days... huge flocks of them sailing down as I sat here watching the shifting sun on the Japanese maple which tends to hoard its leaves til later. Birds and squirrels have entertained me as I weaned off pain meds and tried to find my balance between restlessness and rest.
 Along with that came deep frost. Our neighbor Bob got a tarp back up on the lemon tree while we were at the hospital. I liked this photo which takes advantage of the spider webs on the outside of the window to good effect.
 It's been more than a little difficult lately as Michael's tumor marker test has continued to climb. We don't really know what is going on but we want to get an "early" start on figuring this out and getting chemo started again and the ordinary delays of scheduling and appointments and waits for results do cause us some pressure. Still the deepening of winter and finally some rain and all the Love we have received from family and friends has kept us insulated and comfortable in the midst of discomforting uncertainty.