Showing posts from 2006


What makes this Thanksgiving special? At the end of a long and difficult campaign, some might think that it would be my winning the race for local political office. And while I am thankful for this win, gratitude takes a different form today. First, I am mindful that many good people worked so hard to make it happen and that other good people who worked hard for the other side have been disappointed. My gratitude is for all the hope and effort and energy that went into this race... from both sides. For my part, I ran to serve my community, so I am thankful that the majority of my fellow citizens have seen fit to grant me that opportunity. No doubt I will need to work hard to earn it. For whatever reason, I feel called to do this right now, and to know that I am working on something noble, and much bigger than myself, and to be engaged in a process of transformation and courage and humility... well, that is something, isn't it? Humbing and hopeful. Victory in this race w

Natural Building Workshop

Our Dancing TreePeople Orchard and Garden hosted its first workshop this past week: Natural Building. Massey Burke was the instructor and did a terrific job teaching as well as keeping the group on task. I was pleased that most of those taking the course were from Lake County. Within the first day, we were working well together and formed a cohesive group for the duration of the class. The materials are all from Lake County or nearby (we decided to get the rice straw from the central valley). With the exception of the roof and a few supports--we are avoiding the use of wood in the structure. The walls are either strawbale or cob. NO not CORN cob--but rather clay adobe build in place. Cob is from an old english word meaning loaf or lump. It is a mixture of clay, sand and straw--and is suprisingly strong, resiliant and maleable. In England, the cob homes exposed to the weather lose one inch a century. This small structure will have the added benefit of a natural plaster protect

Baby chicks

One of our Silkie hens has been brooding for the past few weeks. A couple of days ago, the chicks started to hatch. Here are a couple of videos: First watch: This morning (3.5 MB) Then: This afternoon (7+ MB) Enjoy!!

Untended, Unintended

Untended. The walnut orchard is overgrown as we cultivate other actions this spring. My campaign for supervisor takes precedence this season, and many neighbors and friends are wholeheartedly working to make it happen. Still, it is difficult to see the oat cover crop go to seed on unplanted beds. (My no-till grain planting experiment WORKED!) Unintended. I moved some hay bales away from the chicken coops today. When I lifted one of the bales, out scurried a half-dozen baby mice. Next to the nest of mice was another nest... I expected mice in the hay. What I did not expect was a baby rattlesnake. There it was--were there others?. Before i could get a tool to poke around and see, it was gone. Where's mama? I concentrate on caring for the animals as a first priority, and after that, we will have to wait until after the election for the next innovation at Dancing TreePeople orchard. Brian is here for a week or two to help with the garden. we may or may not get the orchard


The events of this past day have been too horrible to contemplate. Two nights ago, we lost ALL of our sheep to a pack of wild dogs or coyotes (we think) based upon the nature of the wounds. Animal control told us they thought it might have been a mountain lion--but at 6:30 am we found a pack of wild dogs still in the sheep yard, so we think the dogs did it. The carnage was horrible. The thing is, the pen is right next to our house and we heard NOTHING. In the early morning we found two dead (Twinkle and Buttercup) and Dancer is nowhere to be found. The sheep had broken open the fence gate trying to escape--so Dancer probably ran away--but she has not returned and we have searched and searched for her. I do not have much hope that we will find her alive. I do not know how the predators got into the sheep area but they did. I think they knocked down a segment of fencing (there was evidence of a struggle) or leaped the fence. The sheep would never let us close them in the barn at n

Natural Building Class

I am still planning a natural building class here at Dancing Treepeople. It will be in mid-july. I will post the exact dates once I have them. We will be implementing a combination of natural methods, strawbale, cob and others. If you, or anyone you know, is interested in learning these techniques and would like to join us, let me know. Plus, I was excited to discover that Michael Pena from the Robinson Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians is interested in natural building classes too! We may join forces and get something going here together. The tribe is planning a number of structures and they may even go into the business of producing local adobe bricks!

Hat hovering over the ring....

I can't help but feel that we are on the threshold here in Lake County. A precipice, really. We face huge forces that will change the place forever if not carefully managed by people of integrity who are paying attention and understand what is at stake. Most people I know feel that the beauty and way of life here will be overrun by outside economic interests. (we do not even have sufficient developer fees in this county) A number of folks believe that we need a change of county supervisors in a couple of districts, including mine. Many agree that the fate of the county hangs in the balance. So, here is what happened: I kept waiting for someone to emerge that I could support. I was ready to launch their campaign even. I waited.... and waited... and waited. I faced a cold realization: no one else is running for whom I would want to vote, let alone campaign. What is that old saying? You are the leader you have been waiting for. Some people were asking me to conside