Monday, October 17, 2011


Jim says I don’t rant as much when I’m on the road as I do when I get home.  Of course, he is right. I’m quite shielded from all of the muck going on in the world while we travel. It feels good. But, I return and quite happily get back in the fray. On the streets of Sonora Saturday, a woman told me her daughter was afraid to come to the protest for fear of someone seeing her,  reporting back to her boss,  and costing  her her  job.   I don’t have a job to lose, thus it is even more important that people like myself get out and make sure we don’t give our freedoms away and that we stand up for what we believe in.
My first real job, after high school, was at the Alameda County Jail.  My first day of work,  I was told I would have to remove the bumper sticker on my car. (It was my father’s car.)   The bumper sticker in support of Don Dillon running for mayor of Fremont had nothing to do with any County election. I was indignant at age 17 and full of  idealism. At home, Dad said, remove the bumper sticker, you need the job.  For this woman to fear for her job made me realize  we are not as free as we think we are and our freedom and rights have to be continually protected.
This is a long away around to get to, an organization that allows you to set up a petition about something you believe should be changed.  They will help you give your idea legs as you spread the word to your friends and they spread it to their friends, if anyone out there  thinks your idea has merit.
I’ve had this thought at the back of my mind for years. Why do we allow California Nurseries to sell non-native invasive species? I had a horrible experience with an Australian  pampas grass plant when I planted the Calaveras Community Studio Garden. It’s fronds are sharp like tiny razors and the pampas I planted began to spread into the nearest parking spot. Finally, no one could exit their car door without getting scratched. It even made tiny scratches on car paint. Our studio manager tried cutting it with a chain saw. It bucked the saw back at him and snarled the chain. We cut the fronds individually, a nasty job,  and poisoned it over a period of weeks. It couldn’t be dug up with shovels,  the root ball was so deep and fibrous. What a mess. And, worse, it seeded to a neighbor’s property.

When Jim and I drove the coastal route from Washington to California, I saw plantations of pampas grass, and parking lots and roadside banks where people have tried to mow them down with little success. Yet, we allow these monsters, beautiful though they are, to be sold by nurseries all over our state.

Another invader that has proliferated is Scotch Broom, again, beautiful, but invasive. They grow incredibly well without any native enemies to keep them in check, much like star thistle. Star thistle in its native Scotland has  a parasitic enemy that keeps it in check. It has cost Calaveras  County over a million dollars to control star thistle and it is still growing and needing constant treatment. Expensive.
Now that I’m done ranting, I’ve developed a petition through to gather signatures for a petition that seeks to  make it against the law to sell non-native species in our nurseries.  Realize that it will cost us huge amounts of money to eradicate them when they get out of hand.  If you are like minded, please sign my petition.

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