Monday, September 30, 2013


In between my tirades on the state of the world, I managed to write another article on another inspiring local farm  for the Central Coast Grown website.  (Find the article here.)

Staci, the owner, grower and herbalist for Elfin Herb had warned me that her growing operation was small, but I wasn't prepared to find her farming everything (almost) in her home garden. And not a GIANT garden, either. In fact, I think most Californians probably have slightly larger yards.

"It's not size that counts, but how you use it." I've heard that said a lot about…well, other things, but Staci was proof that, even in farming, size does not limit what you can do as long as you do it right, are determined and have persistence and patience.

Here's Staci, showing me her pantry of dried plants. I can't get over the fact that the colors are so pretty!

Everything is handcrafted in small batches in her workshop at the back of her yard. She'll distill essential oils in copper stills that are not only perfect for small batch crafting, but so attractive.

I am always so easily inspired and influenced! After visiting Staci, of course, I had to start picking and drying my own flowers and herbs. And looking up different recipes online. If I am successful, friends and family who must be so tired of my fruit products will be getting a batch of homemade body care products this Christmas. 

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Boom to Bust

It's International Day of Peace today.

It was a common greeting back in the late 60's and early 70's, usually offered with the two-fingered "peace sign" which for some strange reason became the de rigueur photo pose for millions of young Japanese (even to this day! Point a camera at a group of schoolkids and see what happens!) 
The Pupster demonstrates the "peace" pose.

The boomer generation started off with such high hopes, beautiful ideals. What happened? Were the seeds of greed, selfishness, vengeance and lack of empathy already planted in us by our parents, unintentionally, as they tried to give us all the material comforts and conveniences of life? When we look back, yes, we were a lazy bunch. or were we just a bunch of hypocrites? It's easy to look back at the peace movement, civil rights movement, eco-consciousness movement cynically and say most of the people involved were really not committed but were there because other young people were there. You know, seeing demonstrations and protests as some sort of a giant rave. Was that all it was? Was it all a farce?

What failures we were in keeping the spirit and nurturing it for the next generation. Just look at the successive generations -- each one more self-absorbed than the last.

Boomer parents look at kids and go, what the heck is wrong with them? They're tied to their cell phones, their video games, their FaceBooks and Twitters, sending silly updates about what they ate or what they bought, always shooting "selfless." But WE gave that generation the cell phone. WE made the video games. WE created cheap laptops and the internet. WE turned them into vacant consumers who lack the brain cells to question authority, seek the truth, or even value what is real and true.

We were the kids who hid under our desks during a-bomb drills at public schools. We lived with the fear of nuclear annihilation. Well, that fear is still here but it's not our fear anymore. We've become fat and complacent, letting governments take us into war after war, letting them encroach on our liberties. We'll let corporations take over the world. We'll let industry destroy our ability to live on this planet, because as Big Dog says, Earth will still be here and the living things on this planet will mutate enough to be able to live in an irradiated world. But not us. Then again, why should we. We don't deserve this beautiful blue orb, so unique, so special, unlike any other we know of.

We could not teach our children the right values. We didn't even have them ourselves.

I've been disgusted with us a lot these days.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Where are they?

Hmm. Haven't seen a squirrel in days. Where are they? On the other hand, there is suddenly a lot of gopher action. Gophers don't like to coexist with other animals (squirrels, rabbits) so maybe the squirrels are gone?

More worrisome than the gopher activity are the bunny sightings. I don't think they've established residence on our ranch yet but I see them coming over from the nursery next door so it may just be a matter of time. A rabbit infestation doesn't sound very nice though the little cottontails are so cute.

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Monday, September 09, 2013


I'm ashamed to be part of this human race. Ashamed of our generation that just stood by as we killed this planet. Ashamed of how we single-handedly destroyed this once spectacular biosphere.

I'm ashamed of my friend who wrote to me "Sorry for the next generation, but I am glad that I'll be long gone when this planet gets hit by all the natural disasters brought about by human selfishness." She's the same one who said "So Tokyo is going host the 2020 Olympics.  Didn't think so when she became a candidate, but it definitely is exciting.  Hope it helps the economy as well as changing Japan in a positive manner."

I'm ashamed of Japan and our Dishonest Abe, though I suspect that PM Abe could more insane than dishonest. Or much more Machiavellian. 
"We have things under control."
Yeah. Like the media. Like the minds of the masses.

Nothing is under control at Fukushima. The spent fuel pool for Reactor Four is a veritable Sword of Damocles. Contaminated water is gushing into the ocean. Not a single person knows how to get it under control.

But Abe wants to just put a tarp over the whole matter and I am beginning to feel like the rest of the country does, too. "If we stop thinking about it, it will go away." "Yes, we CAN ignore it forever."

A whole segment of Japan is being cut off and forgotten. Fukushima is being sacrificed. Japan's good at playing dumb when it comes to inconvenient truths.

This isn't the first time. Okinawa was sacrificed during World War II. Hundreds of thousands of young men and women were sacrificed. Hundreds of thousands of regular people -- old folks, mothers, fathers, children -- were sacrificed. All for the greed of a few.


Sunday, September 01, 2013

Gangsta Squirrel Ghetto

Munched up leaves
There's an army of worms, millions strong, munching their way through dozens of giant oaks. You can hear them chewing, as well as their poop dropping like light rain on leaves. You can't stand under an oak too long or you'll be covered in worms. We have to take our clothes off before we enter the house.

I wasted a lot of water blasting them off our house before our nursery man next door tells us there's nothing we can do and it doesn't affect the oaks. "All you can do is let them do through their cycle."
Big Dog's been shoving smoke bombs into squirrel holes but they only have a temporary effect. New squirrels quickly find the old holes and move right in. Shiftless squatters!

Maybe our ranch is Gansta Squirrel Ghetto now. They're tough. They don't mind a few decomposing bodies at all.

"What's that nasty stench, man?"
"Oh, that's just Henry, my brother who died in the last bombing."
One of the gangstas diving into his hole.

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