Monday, October 31, 2011


I’d forgotten about Halloween until I saw the date on my computer. On our rural road, a trick-or-treater is a rarity. In 33 years, I’ve had six kids, three one year, and three another year, begging for treats. School parties are popular and safer anyway. But, those people living in a house-to-house neighborhood enjoy the fun. This weight guessing contest was set up at our local grocery store. I noticed yesterday it had been moved. I’ll have to go into town and see if I won the guess.
Happy Halloween to you and yours.  In its celebrated form in the USA, it has transformed to a  purely North American fun night without it’s original pagan dark side. My youngest daughter was an exchange student to France during her high school years and enjoyed teaching her French family how to carve a  jack-o-lantern.  With youngsters still at home, the carving, decorating, costuming and begging treats has become, for all of my grand kids, their second favorite holiday.
Yesterday, I spent time in the yard, enjoying the soon to be gone sunny days.

My fuji was past prime  by the time I got off the road. Some cling, looking soft and rotten.

This heritage  Northern Spy, is crisp and good. Keeping in tune with the autumn days, sunny and warm with cold nights.

Foraging in my neighbors garden, some fresh basil, tomatoes, one zucchini, and an eggplant. Enjoying what we can as long as it lasts.

I harvested my walnuts for the first time in seven years. A balance of nature took all the squirrels away. I expect red tail hawks got everyone. In the past, a woman asked me what was growing on my trees. She had never seen walnuts grow. They have a husk, which dries out and the nuts free fall to the ground.

Some primal feeling of comfort envelopes me when I harvest these portions of my own food.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Excerpts from Bill Dryson's Walk In The Woods as he prepares for walking the Appalachian Trail after he discovers a good back pack costs $250, it isn't water proof, sleeping bags require a stuff sack, straps to strap things to the back pack are extra, plus he needs a ground cloth and a raincover.

"I ended up with enough equipment to bring full employment to a vale of sherpas-a three seasons tent, self-inflating sleeping pad, nested pots and pans, collapsible eating utensils, plastic dish, cup and complicated pump-action water purifier, seam sealer, stuff sacks, patching kit, bungee cords, water bottles poncho, waterproof matches, compass/thermometer key ring, a little collapsible stove, gas bottle, hands free flashlight, long johns, undershirts, bandannas, snake bite kit, sewing kit, a small orange shovel for burying your poop, and a big knife for killing bears and hillbillies. The orange plastic spade seemed to shout:  "Greenhorn! Sissy! Make way for Mr. Buttercup!"

Thus committed, he repaired to a book store and bought hikers handbooks, books on wildlife and natural history, and a series of 11 paperbacks with fifty-nine maps covering the trail, for $233.45 for the set. Then, he spotted a book called Bear Attacks: Their causes and Avoidance. 

After he got home with his booty, he began to tremble and told himself this wouldn't be so bad, but secretly, he thought otherwise.

Hmmm! Expensive, yes. But, carrying all that stuff while walking? Well, certainly I would have to have my new hip, and get myself into shape again, and do some practicing with a heavy pack. Hey, if Hilda can do it, and others like her, surely this isn't an impossible goal  for me. Let's see what happens as Dryson hits the trail. And, I have to contact Hilda. I know her email address is on my other machine. Gotta find Hilda.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Whoever thought up the consignment store, was a genius. Bringing your still worthy clothing to a consignment store makes it easier to part with favored pieces  rarely worn. My off the road tasks get easier and easier as I part with accumulated "stuff".

I can only wear one jacket at a time. So, how many do I need?

I have stacks of clothing all over the house. I can't  remember the last time I wore some of these clothes.

A dress was hard to part with, but a more casual lifestyle  doesn't include dressy clothing. It boggles my brain that some people do this regularly and it doesn't bother them at all. Now that I'm digging, I'm going to add to the pile today. And, the pile going to the thrift store is growing as well.

I also managed to get 48 cups of pie apples into the freezer. Two trees are still heavy with fruit.  The weatherman claims we have at least  three  sunny days ahead.  I expect to get them  picked. Normally, the squirrels eat my walnuts.  The red tail hawks have eliminated every squirrel in my yard which gives me  a crop of  walnuts for the first time in seven years. Nature asserts itself. Autumn in Murphys gave us more sunny days then two summer months in Washington. I'm enjoying the tasks of home. It's a good balance for me to have home time and road time.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Goals come and go or  they change with the passing years. When I was a kid, I wanted hair as long as this woman.  Now I’m quite happy with short hair. At one time it was my goal to parachute from an airplane and try hang gliding. My husband convinced me it was unfair to risk leaving my children without a mother if something went wrong. I never regretted rearranging my goals over the years because life was so full of wondrous things.

I first considered walking  the Appalachian Trail about  25 years ago, but it wasn’t a fire-breathing dragon goal, just a simmer at the back of the brain.  The length of the trail, which stretches from Maine to Georgia, is about 2,150 miles. Pretty daunting when you realize you have to carry everything with you, cooking utensils, tent, emergency medical kit, food, water. Adventurists who have done it term it a  life changing experience.
That goal re-emerged when I met a friend of Jim’s who is walking the Appalachian Trail in pieces.  Hilda is in her late 70′s, a former marine and in good health. She walks with two other women bit, by bit, mile by mile, each year. There are others who tackle the entire length, which takes around 5 months.  Jim and I have entered small areas of the trail while traveling the East Coast. Once in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, and again at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and several places on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The urge began to stir anew. Good health is key to a 2,000 mile hike no matter how you do it.
Last night, we went to a seminar on hip, knee and shoulder replacements. I’m a candidate for hip replacement. I know I can’t walk the trail without doing something about an arthritic hip. I was amazed at what I learned about hip replacement, including an opinion from one participating surgeon that surgically replacing hips will be a thing of the past in possibly 20 years. I can’t wait that long for new technology. Now, is the time.
Pain is a motivator. For me, a greater motivator to consider hip replacement  surgery, is the current book I’m reading, Bill Bryson’s, A Walk In The Woods. Bryson walked the  Appalachian Trail in a five month stretch. I’m hoping that someone out there has walked the trail and will message me about their experience.  And, I will post some of Bryson’s  observations as I read. I’m also looking for a walking companion because this is not on Jim’s agenda.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


By all accounts the Occupy Wall Street protests have been quiet, and orderly. Messy and annoying for city officials? Yes. Have both parties been in communication?  Yes. Do people have a right to peaceful assembly? Yes.  Do people occupying a park eventually get tired and go home? Yes. Was it necessary to  shoot beanbag guns and rubber bullets? No.  Is it correct use of tear gas canisters and flash grenades to deliberately make contact with a person?  No.
This morning, after seeing the video of the Oakland Police throwing a flash bang grenade into a group of Occupy Wall Street protesters who gathered around an injured vet, struck by a Police non-lethal weapon, and were themselves than struck, at close range, from the police ranks, while trying to give aid and assistance, angers me. There are ways to break up a crowd, with a simple wedge and batons. The police form a solid wedge, and move forward with batons in action. If a protester doesn't want to get hit by a moving baton,  he moves away from the wedge. His choice. There is no reason for a  law enforcement individual to jump out of the wedge and shoot into the ranks of protestors unless protestors attack them.  Tear gas is acceptable but not when aimed at a person. Flash grenades as well, if not aimed at a person. There is much experience in Alameda County to fall back on from the 1960's and 70's riot control.  These are citizens on the street, not criminals. Have we learned nothing from the protests of the 1960's and 1970's?  Getting  people angrier than they already are at the injustices done to them, is not going to help.
Check out the video below.
By all accounts the Occupy Wall Street protests have been quiet, and orderly. Messy and annoying for city officials? Yes. Have both parties been in communication?  Yes. Do people have a right to peaceful assembly? Yes.  Do people occupying a park eventually get tired and go home? Yes. Was it necessary to  shoot beanbag guns and rubber bullets? No.  Is it correct use of tear gas canisters and flash grenades to deliberately make contact with a person?  No.
This morning, after seeing the video of the Oakland Police throwing a flash bang grenade into a group of Occupy Wall Street protesters who gathered around an injured vet, struck by a Police non-lethal weapon, and were themselves than struck, at close range, from the police ranks, while trying to give aid and assistance, angers me. There are ways to break up a crowd, with a simple wedge and batons. The police form a solid wedge, and move forward with batons in action. If a protester doesn't want to get hit by a moving baton,  he moves away from the wedge. His choice. There is no reason for a  law enforcement individual to jump out of the wedge and shoot into the ranks of protestors unless protestors attack them.  Tear gas is acceptable but not when aimed at a person. Flash grenades as well, if not aimed at a person. There is much experience in Alameda County to fall back on from the 1960's and 70's riot control.  These are citizens on the street, not criminals. Have we learned nothing from the protests of the 1960's and 1970's?  Getting  people angrier than they already are at the injustices done to them, is not going to help.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


—By Stephanie Mencimer
| Tue Oct. 25, 2011 9:24 AM PDT
Biking capitol building Bill McNeil/Flickr photo
Over the past few months, as Republicans have focused their attention on cutting what they see as wasteful government spending, they’ve zeroed in on a surprising new target: bicyclists, and the programs that serve them.
The federal government spends about $40 billion a year on transportation projects. Of that, about $928 million has been devoted to what’s known as a “transportation enhancement” program, which provides funding for projects—including rails-to-trails conversions, bike lanes, and bridges—that make cycling safer, and thus more viable as a commuting option. But as Congress gears up to reauthorize the massive transportation funding bill this year, Republicans are arguing that states shouldn’t be forced to use scarce transportation funds to encourage bike commuting when bridges for cars are falling down.
“We’re doing all these things that, if we had extra money, if we were running a surplus, sure, nobody would really be complaining about it,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) told the Washington Post. But, Coburn added, “We can no longer have silly priorities get in the way of real needs.”
States spend only about 1 percent of all transportation funds on projects devoted to cycling or pedestrian improvements. Yet Republicans see this as an area ripe for cutting. Over the summer, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) targeted DC’s nascent Capitol Bikeshare program, which provides cheap rental bikes at subway stations and other strategic locations in the Washington Metro area (including northern Virginia) to encourage bike commuting.
The program has been wildly successful and has inspired other cities to replicate it as a good way of reducing traffic congestion and air pollution (not to mention obesity). But Cantor sees only waste. As TBD reported in August, Cantor used the GOP’s “YouCut” website to highlight Capitol Bikeshare as a foolish venture ripe for elimination. Cantor also complained that bike-sharing programs were one reason that federal transportation spending was vastly exceeding the revenues brought in by the gas tax.
The actual reason that gas tax revenues aren’t meeting demand for infrastructure improvements is that Congress hasn’t raised the tax since 1993, so its value has been eaten up by inflation. But no matter. Targeting bike programs to try to tame the federal budget seems to fall in line with the GOP’s belief that the whole deficit problem could be solved if we just got rid of NPR and Planned Parenthood. It’s an ideological battle rather than a viable budget solution. Bike programs are associated with liberal Democrats who believe in climate change and care about the environment, so Republicans like Cantor would like to get rid of them, even if those programs make it much easier for some of his constituents to get to work every day.

Thank you Stephanie Mencimer for writing my blog today.

What a bunch of horseshit.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I’m still in the aftermath of my yard sale, but life is always full of interesting side trails, doncha know. My brother Will Moore is running for Congress in the newly drawn Sierra Foothills (CD-4) Congressional District. I frankly think he is crazy. You have to be crazy to run for any torture chamber, oops, I mean public office, especially in this devisive, vicious climate. Oh, well. He is 73 years old, not married, his kids are all grown and his Grandchildren, too. He has the time and the fortitude. Not that he hasn’t filled his retired life with work. He has. All volunteer. He has never held a public office, but he has been  politically involved all of his adult life. And like so many of us, disgusted with the way our Congress is going.
He is a member of the World Affairs Council, a think group that gathers people from all walks of life, from every ethnic derivation, to discuss and propose solutions to global problems. He has worked construction most of his life from the State of California, and his platform is about jobs in this country. He worked the politically controversial Alaskan Pipeline and he can tell you some hair-raising  stories about “cost overruns” or skimming, as he prefers to call it. He wants to stop that type of thing and get real people, not corporate executives, back to real work. He did a stint as a Fisherman in Alaska, one of the most dangerous professions on the planet. He lives on a pension, and his T-Party Opponent, McClintock, has never held a real job other than hopping from one legislative position to another, and McClintock doesn’t live in the district. Politics is such a crazy institution. Sometimes being mad as hell works. But, it is a tough run without big money.  Will  doesn’t intend to beholden himself to donations from Halliburton and the like as McClintock does.  No PACs. Well, I spent my morning working on his brochure so I’m all fired up. I’m biased, I love him, he is and always has been a hard-working individual. I still think he is crazy.

I’ll have to clean up the residue of my yard sale today, since I didn’t do anything productive yesterday. Just rested.

Monday, October 24, 2011


No one ever had a  yard sale where everything sold.  And, when you retire, there is no such thing as a day off. We fill up every day like there is no tomorrow, considering ourselves lucky that we can.  I figured it out, a garage sale sounds profitable, but in terms of preparation, moving every thing at once, then dealing with the aftermath, it was not worth the work.  At least not for me,  living out on a rural road without the benefit of “walk in” traffic.

But the people who came were infinitely interesting. This customer had an unusual frog purse and I photographed her. She told me everyone makes a fuss over that purse and wants one, but she can’t remember the catalog  she ordered it from, and it isn’t stamped with a company name.
I had one customer who insisted I should sell him my truck. He kept offering me a hundred dollars and the keys to his van. Then he’d up the amount of money. So, I tried to sell him an exercise machine for $2.  (He looked like he needed one.)  He claimed he was bored. He goes to garage and yard sales for something to do. I told him, throw out your television set and you won’t be bored.

The last  I looked my truck was still there. It served as my desk, lunch table, and gathering spot for the neighbors who pulled up the lawn chairs and chatted. Late in the day, we broke out the chips and wine. Jim brought out his portable fire pit that kept us warm during the morning chill.
My daughter claims, you offer everything you didn’t sell  free. We did that and got rid of a few  items. One man gave me a donation for some free stuff. The donation came to more than I was originally charging for some old spice cans. Go figure?
Others sat and chatted with us, enjoying the yard regaled us with tales of their own yard sales. One woman drove away and said yes I want that file cabinet (it was a freebie) but not today. Will she come back?  Was she serious? Only time will tell.

By the end of the day, Karen, Jan, Jim and I felt just like this-deserving a rest. The clean-up is still ahead of us.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Yard sales are a regular business for some folks. They gather  stuff  DELIBERATELY and do this!!  It takes fortitude. One nice thing, I met neighbors I haven’t visited  in a long time. Several stopped in for a bit of chit-chat.
The other bright spot is watching my partner, Jimmy the Huckster. If it wasn’t for his salesmanship, half of what we did sell would still be  in the yard.  He has a great philosophy,” If you put it in the sale, you want it gone, unless you like hauling all this stuff back where you got it from.”  Kind of puts a thing in perspective. I’ve had an old rear truck bumper someone left at my house in the garden like an ornament around the plants. Jim hauled that out, we cleaned it off, and several people were interested. It will sell today, I’m sure. If someone even looked interested, he would give a spiel and knock the price down. Help them load it and send them on their way.

Jimmy the parking lot attendant ran out and showed people venturing up my long driveway  where and how to park so no one got jammed up in the yard.

Then, Jimmy the good Samaritan,  helped one woman test her power steering fluid, and helped another with her gas additive. He looked up items on the internet previous to the sale for an idea of what various items were worth.

We had  a steady stream of customers all day. Even so,  people are not parting with their dollars easily. One guy let his dog run around for a while. He said, “Don’t worry, he won’t get lost. We feed him. I call him glue.  Here, Glue! Here, Glue!”
We started this sale with Neighbor Jan across the road and one customer said to me:  “You have one hour to bring that lady across the road a cocktail!”  When I had a break I managed to bounce over with a bloody Mary, and a stick of celery in exchange for a hug and some laughter. One of her customers asked:  “Where’s the  bar!”
Today, it will end. Hospice will pick up what we didn’t sell. The wallet a bit fatter and the good feeling of ridding myself of un-needed items someone else can use. Ahh!   All in a day’s yard sale!   (But, never again!)

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I’m off track this morning since I have a yard sale at 9:00 a.m. Having had one other yard sale in my life, I had conveniently forgotten how much work they are. The problem is, if I have two of something, it becomes a collection. And then the insanity begins.  To rid myself of my junk is now a ponderous undertaking.  It reminds me not to collect anymore “stuff” in the future, except…
Would you like to see my collection of  bench pictures?

–Mt. Vernon, Thousand Trails, WA.

–Noyo Harbor, Ft. Bragg, CA.

–Ashville, N.C.
–State of Louisiana Capitol Building.

-Ashville, North Carolina



-Mystic Seaport Harbor Museum.

Visitors Center Ashville, North Carolina

The Mormon Fort and Museum at Las Vegas, NV

From PAWS sanctuary, San Andreas.
Pictures,  an indelible marker of the fun I had, precious only to me, maybe interesting to others.

Friday, October 21, 2011


By all accounts, Warren Buffet is one of the 1% elite of this country, huge wealth, far removed from the 99% working classes that are the backbone of our economy. I read in our local paper ‘s letters to the editor:  “Corporations aren’t bad, they are the only ones who hire people. Without them we wouldn’t have any jobs.”
Had that writer ever figured out why corporations fear unions and strikes?  Without workers they can’t stay in business.  And he is wrong about corporations anyway. Small Business America hires more people than corporations. They don’t pay as well, but they are truly the backbone of the American economy.
Yet, Warren Buffet went on record as a one-percenter who claims the wealthy, like himself, should pay their fair share of taxes. Imagine that!  His latest shocking statement on CNBC?  “I could end the deficit in five minutes. You just pass a  law
that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of  GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.”   Don’t you just love it?  Yup!  Warren Buffet is one of us.
This Congressional Reform Act is continually passed to millions of we 99% ers,  (not official unfortunately.)
*Congressional Reform Act of 2011*
1. No Tenure / No Pension.  A Congressman collects a salary while in office
and receives no pay when they are out of office.
2.  Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.  All
funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security
system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system,
and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for
any other purpose.
3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans
4. Congress will no longer vote  themselves a pay raise.  Congressional pay
will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the
same health care system as the American people.
6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American
7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective
The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen
made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor,
not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours
should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
Amen, I say.  But, yesterday, I got a new one that kind of reflects the way many of us regard congress. My friend Guerry Bowen sent it to me and he may or may not be the author:
Oh please…  Let me make my comment regarding congress.  Where do I start?
 1.  The Capital building is now a museum in honor of past statesmen. 
 2.  Congress assembles in a giant Fest-Tent, the kind they use at Oktoberfest (with only 1 potbelly stove in the center).
 3.  Each congressman receives a folding table and 2 folding chairs (one chair for his use; one chair for an assistant).
 4.  Each has a rotary telephone. 
 5.  Each pays $50K his first term and an additional $20K for each successive term.
 6.  Each pays $50K for every contact with a lobbyist. 
 7.  Every bill explicitly is named for that which it pays.  I.E., a “Fix the Interstate” bill has funds only allocated to fix the Interstates with no pork added. 
To end this diatribe, we all know there are decent, hard-working people in congress, and they suffer along with the money eating slugs who have forgotten the words in the Preamble to the Constitution that state part of the duty of government is to:  PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE .  Let us not forget that this government is supposed to be for us.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I have friends who walked across the United States at 61 and 63.  They came up against the brick-bats of a world made for cars 28 years ago.  Their journey revealed the total disregard for humans over the automobile.  It was evidenced in driveways, street crossings, short cuts, freeway overpasses without pedestrian or bike lanes,  attempting to cross bridges with signs  that warned NO PEDESTRIANS ON BRIDGE. Especially dangerous were freeways, four or five lane highways with no place for a walker or bicycle to cross without walking miles out of their way, and often no meridian center to stand on to make the second half of a crossing.   The highway engineers were basically saying, you cannot cross this river or this highway, or this freeway if you are on foot. And, now, they wall freeways in with huge costly edifices to protect  residents from noise.
This week I learned about the guy who got a $42 fine after killing a bicycler. Then another about a driver (who refused toxicology and breathalyzer tests) who plowed into five bicyclers. Five!  Outrageous. The number of bicycle deaths is unacceptable.  I got a message from Pot Calling the Kettle Black from Delaware who has a blog about bicycling in his state. It seems to me its time to go National with this problem. There must be a bike organization in every state.  In any case, check out his blog at:
And as well. If you are unfamiliar, as I was with the bicycling community, you will learn a lot. My whole perception of bicyclers has been quickened by this accident and has changed me forever. It shouldn’t take an accident.  Previously, I thought of bicyclers as hobbyists, racers, trekkers, exercisers, but not as pursuing an alternative method of everyday transportation and long distance vacation travel, even though my youngest daughter is a bicycle commuter.  It could be your son, daughter, parent or grand child who meets an offending vehicle on a bike.   PLEASE DRIVE SAFELY AND MAKE IT A POINT TO SEE BICYCLES AND PEDESTRIANS.
As I said once before, the words are inadequate.
Maybe we should tax vehicles by the mile and more people would  stay off the road or use alternative methods of travel  for short distances, and promote public transportation.
Geez!  All I do is rant anymore. Must be time for me to get back on the road.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Through the magic of the internet we can change the world we live in with people power. I just put out a petition about invasive plants with  that may or may not change anything, but read one started September 30th by Molly Katchpole that has had an impact:
Dear Mary ,
When Molly Katchpole found out that Bank of America would charge $5 a month to use a debit card, she was upset — so she started a petition on
Since then, 225,000 members have signed her petition. And now Bank of America is under enormous pressure to cancel its new debit card fee. A Bank of America executive even called Molly and told her that while cancelling the fee would be “premature,” the bank was “closely monitoring customer feedback.”
More public pressure could be enough to push the bank to cancel its new $5 debit card fee. Can you sign Molly’s petition asking Bank of America to cancel its new debit card fee? Bank of America is listening to you — and other banks are, too.
In less than three weeks, Bank of America went from announcing a new $5 monthly debit card fee, to reeling under huge pressure from the media, Congress, and members. Here’s a quick review of what happened:
  • September 29: Bank of America announces a new $5 monthly debit card fee.
  • September 30: Molly creates her petition on; more than 150,000 people sign in the next 5 days.
  • October 5: The petition becomes a major national story. ABC News interviews Molly, then tracks down Bank of America’s CEO Brian Moynihan and forces him to respond to it.
  • October 6: Molly delivers 153,000 petitions to Bank of America and closes her account. She appears on ABC World News again to discuss the petition. Local media in Charlotte (where Bank of America is based) openly speculate that the growing controversy could lead to the firing of Moynihan.
  • October 9: Molly is featured in a major article in the New York Times as an example of the public’s frustration with big banks.
  • October 10: Bank of America executive Andrew Pepler calls Molly Katchpole to discuss her petition.
  • October 13: Molly meets with Congressman Brad Miller to discuss a bill in Congress to make it easier to switch banks. The two later appear on CNN together.
  • October 18: Molly’s petition reaches 225,000, as Bank of America reports a $6 billion profit. The outrage continues to grow.
Other banks are paying attention to the public reaction to Bank of America’s new debit card fee. Citibank even said its “customers made it abundantly clear” that they wouldn’t like a debit card fee. 
What’s next in this campaign to cancel Bank of America’s $5 debit card fees? It’s up to you.
Please sign the petition demanding Bank of America cancel its new $5 monthly debit card fee. Click here to add your name:
Thanks for being a change-maker,
- Jess and the team
People power, by the numbers, works. In fact, people were so outraged by Netflix separating their streaming service with their subscription service, but maintaining the same charge, their customers quit them in huge numbers. Their stock  lost 50% of its value.  Netflix apologized and put in a fix. (I’m not a subscriber and I’ve forgotten what the fix is.)
Never underestimate the power of a  people {woman} scorned.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


When my grand kids were little and a trail of ants appeared on the counter top, I’d take swipe at them and eat them, just to watch their wide-eyed  horror.  Those were the days when American ants were still arriving unwanted in my house.  Now I wish I could find an American ant. Those that occasionally rummage through crumbs on my counter  taste putrid;  they are South American invaders. Even touching them, or  squishing them with a paper towel, or rag, sends up an offensive odor.  American ants taste like pepper.  The first  ants I tried came chocolate covered in a jar, thus my foray into ant eating.  And, today, after launching my petition with, I thought about something I used to  tell my grand kids:  If you want to get rid of something, like these ants, just make them a food source and they’ll disappear.
During the hippy 60′s I tried dandelion weeds, chamomile, purslane, and other kinds of non-essential wild plants using as my guide Euell Gibbons book, Stalking The Wild Asparagus. It was fun and not a permanent part of my cooking. But, like solar cooking, maybe it should be, methinks.
 I used the internet to search for recipes for invasive plants.  Only one website actually provided a number of decent appetizing recipes.
This  recipe for  stuffed Garlic Mustard Leaves came from the website above.
Stuffed Garlic Mustard Leaves
Submitted by Alex Streat, The Garlic Mustard Cook’s Challenge 2001
20 medium garlic mustard leaves, washed and dried on paper towels
5 wooden spoonfuls of cooked sausage
4 wooden spoonfuls of cooked rice
2 Tbsp chopped garlic mustard leaves
1 Tbsp lemon juice
I had no clue what garlic mustard looked like until I saw this picture. It grows all over Washington State and Oregon. It adapted well  to the lush tall tree understory in the Thousand Trails parks where we stayed. Now that I know what it is, I’ll try recipes using garlic mustard leaves when we return to Washington State.  Japanese knotweed and other invaders, that mostly populate the East and South., sounded pretty tasty.
Most of  the recipes I found  were for  invasivores, a new word to me, which means invasive tilapia, carp, rusty crayfish, tiger snails, feral pigs, rabbits and so on.  Fish and meat.
The rest of what I learned on my forage was mind-boggling.
Invasive species have contributed directly to the decline of 42 percent of the threatened and endangered mammal and ocean species in the U.S. (Travaglini, 2009).
To date, over 5,000 alien plants have invaded the natural areas of North America (Tallamy, 2007).
Non-indigenous weeds are spreading and invading approximately 700,000 hectares of U.S. wildlife habitat per year (Pimentel, et al 2005).
The estimated damage from invasive species worldwide totals more than $1.4 trillion – 5 percent of the global economy (Pimentel, et al 2001).
The annual cost to the United States economy is estimated at $120 billion a year (Travaglini, 2009).
I complained about the Australian plant, pampas grass?  Australians  are fighting with Florida invaders, the pond apple,  in their country. Floridians love pond apple and the Australians hate it because it is wiping out their sweet melaleuca  berry trees. Such irony.
This website lists invasive species that are edible, but the recipes are no longer available from the site.
And, now a word about my petition. I received a call from a friend who is a scientist. She told me an environmental scientist friend of hers that she passed my petition to, explained why she would not sign my petition to halt the sale of non-native invasive species by our nurseries because it is too non-specific in its wording and does not address how it could be fairly implemented.
The petition is not a law. gives you 75 characters to state your petition. If it gets enough interest, it can then be pedaled to a congress person to turn it into a bill. The study for the bill would define the language used and be vetted for legality. A petition is just a first step in the  process. And, I’ve had a huge education about invasive species since starting it. Most invaders get here by accident, commerce, trade, transportation. Not through nurseries. Yet not selling them can have a beneficial impact. I would never have bought pampas grass if I had known what a monster it was. I would have bought something else to decorate that spot.

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.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Amazing that about 70 people gathered at the Sonora Courthouse Park on Saturday to “Occupy Wall Street”, but nobody knows who organized the event. The local paper expressed puzzlement.  People from a group dubbing itself The 99% were there. Others came from Tuolumne County Citizens for Peace. There were Republicans, Democrats, Green Party, Peace and Freedom members, and I don’t know who else.  In short, a cross-section of our community, with the same concerns.

The corrupting  political influence of big money;  the growing,  inequitably taxed,wealth of 1% of the people  at the cost of the declining income of 99% of the people;  Wall Street greed and fraud that plunged us into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression;  a broken political system hobbled by Republican extremists willing to block any helpful measures;  and a President who has failed to stand up to extremists on Wall Street and in the Congress.

Our tax money, bailed out the titans of the financial world whose scammers went unpunished while they brazenly raised their CEO’s  compensation by millions in the face of mass unemployment, the under employed, and foreclosures breaking the back of working families across this nation.

I didn’t see anger so much as frustration, determination;  parents with small  children who know their children are going to inherit this mess.

And, most refreshing of all, young people who are beginning to understand how undermined their future has become. Corporate profits are up 22 percent while squeezing wages and salaries and ratcheting up production. Working people have fewer safeguards; they fear for their jobs if they come out and protest;    Retirement income is threatened  while our failed congress  pushes to take away benefits, worker based health insurance, social security and every safeguard the unions have provided working people in the last century. The Governor of Wisconsin and his assembly  proposed a bill  to forbid Union Organizing.

It’s interesting that the OWS movement has not made up a list of demands, as in this is our agenda, and this is what we demand and it drives the media nuts. They don’t know how to attack them. They can’t call them outrageous. There are too many to ignore, as in  500,000 in Zuccotti Park in New York City, an encampment.  So the pugnacious, conservative radio hosts call them stinky, unbathed – which they are. Some of them live within walking distance of their own homes, but they choose the sleeping bag in the park.  They were forbidden a bullhorn so protestors  use  sign language and the echoing power of their own voices to communicate.  What a wonderfully human and Democratic gathering to give heart to a suffering nation.

Judging from this large group in the Courthouse Park in Sonora, a small town in a rural Motherlode county, the movement has legs. And it isn’t difficult to divine what our needs are.  Just read the signs.





Saturday, October 15, 2011


Oh, blimey, I’ve been home for five days and in my blog I’m still on the road. My brain has this need for chronological order, which Jim would refute. But, travelers, even if you don’t stop and sip, you can’t help but love wine country. The vines change character depending on the time of year. In places they undulate across the hilltops in beautiful patterns. We traveled twisty, quirky highway 128 until it ran out. Switched to 29, then 12.  The back roads whenever possible.

At a pull-out we stopped and grabbed a couple of pictures of plump grapes waiting for their transformation to wine.There are now hundreds of wineries to choose from.  Move in for a year or two and try them all.

At the main intersection in Calistoga, Busters Smoked Ribs and Chicken is some of the best barbecue you’ll taste West of  Kansas. No fat on these ribs, no steam cooking, simple wood smoke does the entire job. At this point, we could have driven the Silverado Trail, which parallels 29, a gorgeous scenic drive. It bypasses the small towns, Napa, Yountville, St. Helena, and others. We chose to wend our way through the  colorful towns,  both have something to offer.

A friend once complained the drive on highway 12 through the Delta is boring. Not to me. Rough and too many potholes is a fact. Jim has to cover his head when I open the cupboards for fear a can will drop on his head after a road like this. A wind farm popped into view,  new since I’d driven it.

Small sloughs,  fishing and boating defines much of life here and gives you a feel for the place even without stopping.

The  island ferrys are gone.  The time will come when  drawbridges will be obsolete. Even now,  the amount of traffic on the road that stops for a single small boat whizzing under seems ludicrous. River traffic isn’t what it used to be. Paying a bridge tender is costly. The only constant is change, so enjoy them now, they are an endangered species.

We arrived in Stockton on October 9th, missed the Derby, and missed a train museum on Highway 12. I promise myself every time I drive that road to stop at the train museum.  There are no warning signs. Suddenly, the driveway appears and you are past it before you can say:  the space between the words pig and and, and and, and whistle is uneven.”  You won’t find a place to turn around on Highway 12  until you are several miles past.   “Such is life,” says Jim.