Showing posts from August, 2005

Walnut Woes

I finally got myself up into an airplane this week and am flying again. Lake County is stunning from the air, though I can see problems from a very different vantage point. For example, the algae is blooming in the Lake and from the air, the green streaks are sobering. Likely, the algae will do this until the lake water cools. I also flew over Dancing TreePeople orchard where I got a good look at "The Big Picture". In a word: it is DRY. The TreePeople are NOT dancing--they are trying to survive the heat and last year's pruning. From the air, I can see that these trees are clearly stressed. The former owner told me that they hadn't been watered for the past few years because it is not "cost effective." They seem to really need it and I feel bad that I didn't catch on sooner. In any case, I couldn't water if I wanted to--the irrigation system isn't fuctioning and needs replacement. When I returned to the orchard after my flight, I took a l


I mentioned awhile back that I was going to take a bit of a rest from writing or thinking about politics. I tried to (really!) Regardless of what I said , I am now involved in a couple of local issues that matter to me. To be honest, some days I would rather be feeding the livestock and spreading straw, but these issues are too important to ignore. The issues are: (1) Local Sustainability and (2) Genetically-modified Organisms (GMOs) On sustainability, I am helping the Sierra Club organize a local forum. A panel of folks will discuss community sustainability. More on that in the future. On GMOs, the issue was in front of the Board of Supervisors today. I spoke in favor of a moratorium on planting and cultivating Genertically-modified organisms in Lake County. There wasn't much time and I didn't get to say my full piece... the next meeting is on 9/27 in the afternoon. For more informatoin visit

Cultivating the Real Gifts

When I embarked on this journey toward self-reliance, I fully engaged the most scientific and rational part of myself. Slap a few solar panels on the roof, recycle waste, use a solar oven and grow a few organic crops and I would be well on the path, right? What I have learned is much deeper. It is difficult to put into words, but I will attempt to do so. It is this: If one wants to live in harmony with the planet, to accept ones position as a part of the natural system rather than a consumer (taker) of Earth's gifts, then an internal shift is required. This is a change in a way of BEING. Much of what we have been taught about ourselves--how to be happy, how to survive, how to relate--must change. Despite what we have been taught by popular culture since infancy, we do not need more things to make us happy (in fact paradoxically, the more we have, the more elusive happiness becomes). And despite the fact that heros are rewarded and individualism is worshiped in our culture, th

Meet Sugar, Clara and Daisy

Did you know that Pygmy Goats eat star thistle and bind weed? Woohoo. So we adopted three pygmy goats: Sugar, Clara and Daisy. We discovered that these goats are clever about opening gates that aren't fully latched and they will also eat the leaves off of young fruit trees if you aren't careful.. Meet Sugar. She is the "mom" protecting her daughters and talking with them. She gets first dibs on any good food. She likes rolled oats. Meet Clara, Sugar's eldest daughter. She is one year old (more like ten years old in goat years) and is learning that butting her younger sister with her head is fun. I remember feeling the same way when I was ten. And this is Daisy, Sugar's youngest daughter. She is four months old and still nurses from time to time, ungracefully shoving her mother's udder to release the milk. She also climbs and perches on the "igloo" dog (now small goat) house. She takes naps inside it too. These livestock are a new