remembering the value of home...


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Posted by anne on February 2, 2014 at 9:50 PM Comments comments (0)

The beautiful crescent moon.

And the beginning of spring.

.I eat a bunch of superbowl snacks and feel like a big round cheese ball. :(

I realize I need to eat more from the garden and harvest a bunch of fava beans, a couple of beets, eat a bunch of sweet peas to my face, thin the kale and bring it inside like a bouquet, dig a couple of new beds.  Plant one with carrots and marigolds and the other with mammoth melting peas and beets.  I pick up a bunch of small lettuces and herbs to throw in there, a couple of strawberries.  Three tomatoes and red/orange bell peppers.  I had twice as many starts as I had cash, and have to go back tomorrow with more.

I turn the ground in which the cucumbers had been frozen to death a month or so ago and ready it.  I havest and soak okra seeds. i'm catching up.  The sun is warm on my skin.  I take a break to stretch out in yoga.  

<3 Pictures to come...

Food Foresting!

Posted by anne on August 21, 2013 at 1:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Need: clean water vs. fracking

Posted by anne on August 21, 2013 at 1:35 AM Comments comments (0)

WATER as a PRIMARY NEED.  In my circles we say:  WATER IS LIFE.  

Nestle's evil CEO has been quoted saying that access to clean water is NOT a right.  

Halliburton is making sure we will have more trouble finding clean water as they frack the heck out of the groundwater, bubbling methane and other terrible chemicals through the watertable, venting off the excess vapors trapped in the rock while extracting the liquid natural gas.  If you haven't seen Josh Fox's Gasland, the documentary, please try to see it.  Or check out this website about fracking.  It is depressing, but if we don't stop it, the future will be more bleak.  We can create and choose the world we want to live in, we simply have to all act together.  

Tomorrow is a mass calling to oppose Fracking of our Public Lands.   THen October 19th was the Global Frackdown. The opposition is ramping up.  Join us and protect the water, air, climate.  Y'all!

If you don't know about fracking, Dick Cheney wrote a note allowing fracking to bypass the Clean Water Act, a dastardly deed that has caused terrible destruction of water tables all across the nation, killing animals and people with the toxic by-products and destroying groundwater safety.  This is not all the damage FRACKING does.

 We should not be allowing this, and the Tide is Turning.  What could we give up in order to live sustainably?  Swedes have a pretty good time, as do Germans and Icelanders...we have to decide what and who has power.  We need to organize to undo Citizen's United, for sure.  There is so much to do for those working in social justice and sustainability.  Sometimes it's dizzying.

Please get behind the anti-fracking movement for your children!  --to protect the water.

Hierarchies of Value and of Need

Posted by anne on August 11, 2013 at 12:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I have seen a lot of beautiful places on this trip.  And I took a giant hit to the pavement, one day in Portland over the handlebars. 

I found that I could get up after hitting the pavement and keep riding 3 miles, then ride 40-50 miles a day a few times before giving up, and now that I've returned home, I feel the soft tissue and other damaged the pavement made on my spine, hip, knee, elbow and face.

It hurt more when I saw the millyards was stunned into total desolation by the rate at which the Forest is being taken.  It jarred me like a punch in the gut.  In Coos Bay there is a huge ship that gets filled with these beautiful former trees onto gargantuan metal boats.  There are massive piles of sawdust, that we're turning the forest into.  There are places where you can TASTE the dioxin in the air.  Scroll down for these awful images to remind you why people are jumping up in 400 year old trees to keep them from being taken down.  There is only 4-5 percent or less of the native forests left.  What right do we have to take it?  

One of the most important values in our time, in my opinion is INTERGENERATIONAL EQUITY.

 If we really thought about the world we give to our children and grandchildren, doesn't everyone want our children's children  to have clean water, for example?  Why we have to keep arguing this is because there are people and animals dying all the time right now at fracking sites around the country, and groundwaters are being bespoiled that have sat under the earth for a really long time.  These corporations like HALLIBURTON, have no right to decide that generations from now on will have to buy their water from corporations because Halliburton had all holds released and are not unhampered and bubbling methane and et al through the water tables around the nation, outgassing so many chemicals that local people and animals are DYING!  The watertables that have held clean water for thousands of years are being permanently SPOILED.  What are we going to do about that?  ARe we going to allow it for MONEY to be ruined forever?  IN THE PROCESS, the UPRISE of the RATE of fossil fuel PRODUCTS being shipped OVERSEAS TO ASIA (the purpose for the KEYSTONE PIPELINE and several other projects, many in the northwest, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Idaho all of which in this country are seeing local resistance movements rise up.  

HERE IS WHY PEOPLE IN THE UMPQUA ARE BLOCKING LOGGING  IN THE UMPQUA in CASCADIA.   They are taking the forest so rapidly that there is almost none left.  Literally.  

What can you do?  Get behind these movements.  Many you can visit their action sites.  By showing up and being present, you are giving credence to it as a popular movement.  If the people DEMAND a different energy infrastructure, that is what we will have.  Germany has shown that it's possible.  It's a political thing, based around the amassing of wealth by destroying the world.   The Christians have given the green light to the destruction of the world, because they think the Rapture will save them, and they seem to be rooting for the apocalypse.  This is so horrific and disturbing.  The destruction of the world hurts the poor the most, which is not what Christ wants, I'm sure.   I'm not really sure what paradigm makes fracking or clearcutting logical or necessary.  I sincerly do not understand it.  I think it's psychopathic to destroy 200 species a day like a bunch of pretans.  I cannot stay silent, and I urge you to also speak up with your local community about this or other social justice or environmental sanity issues.  I'll tell you:  the immediate gratification is getting to work with passionate altruistic folks who are warm and colorful!!! 

Visit my links page if you want to find  awesome communities all across the nation with which to resist the destruction of the world.  Please contact me on the collaboration page if you know other communities resisting the destruction of the world by fossil fuels and its infrastructure. 

And I have also seen some awful destruction as a result of the way civilization doesn't take care to 'fill the well' or otherwise nurture the earth which gives us all life (and every other product you can imagine)...

In this post (which I will update over the next 24 hours)  I would like to explore the values that I have come to hold dear.  Money, as a tool to exchange energy, is fine, but when it is used as a marker to disempower whole groups of people and enrich those who already have a lot it becomes dastardly.  What values should our society hold dear?  How do we create the peaceful world we want?  These and more issues, coming up next!!  

In talking about what things I VALUE.  My first is INTERGENERATIONAL EQUITY, or leaving the earth not all ruined for the next generation!! Which keeps happening at an alarming rate?  Did they just kill off the pacific ocean?? Yeah, you know what assisted that ,y'all? The fish nurseries in the gulf of mexico were just deccimated and will not return.  Plankton at an all time low.  Whales choking on plastic.


Every Wednesday I"m going to be writing officials to illegailze Petroleum based Plastics and other 'Down With Fossil Fuels" letters.  I invite you to join me.  In a few days we'll be launcing the Writing Window Wendnesdays!  Starting the first WEDNESDAY in November!  Welcome back then!!

Partying with the Sugar Mafia to Lake Dorena

Posted by anne on August 7, 2013 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Lack of internet access and the way reflection bubbles experience to the surface slowly has this affect:  some of these blog posts are out of order.  This blog post was from the second week of July:.

The Sugar Mafia. Two beautiful and perky ladies founded the best bakery this side of the Mississippi.  They started it in their garage, making cakes and treats for restaurants to serve to their customers.  I was hired, then, as the dishwasher.  I remember one of the owners being so tickled that I was satisfying her dreams: going behind her and cleaning up the mess the cakes left.  I can imagine!  Until then she'd been doing her own dishes, I assume.

She and her sister started the Sweet Life, which rapidly and with great care on their part I'm sure, they began to build an empire that is now known in my writing as 'the Sugar Mafia'.  I love these ladies.  I love their faces, which are always beaming.  I was blissed to be invited to Catherine's party at her new farm location!  I set out from Springfield with a companion this time, Kim, to finally arrive at the party in Crow.

Kim wanted to give up a few times, and I cajoled her to keep going by the thought of Catherine's taco bar and dessert bar for her guests!  I admonished her, none too gently, at some point, "Stop talking, stop thinking so much.  Your brain is using a LOT of sugars.  Get into an Om state and put all your energy into PEDALING!"  We eventually did make it and were rewarded by a few slips down a giant slip and slide made on the hillside which I personally did not even try to resist and stripped down to my man shorts and slid down like a total weirdo!  Feeling sort of cooled off and halfway bathed, I proceeded to mingle and consume tacos.

What a treat to be amongst old friends dancing, sipping or group slamming drinks, playing like kids.  I enjoyed a midnight escapade to a local winery with one of its employees K. who turned out to be a magical being with which I felt privileged to share more healing energy!!!  I felt thankful for my folding bike at this time but also marveled at how weird everything got every time I got into a car, just for the reason that I became less personally mobile and dependent on the car to get somewhere.  

Eventually, early in the morning I opened my camping box and got out the bare minimals to watch the moon arc across the sky. The meadow was full of tall grass but all I coudl see was the moon, which felt hypnotic, drawing at the water within me, my brain swirling with wine and nature and happiness, good friends and vitality that long distance biking brings....and then at dawn there were a crowd of llamas clattering through.

The night was excellent and weird.  Later in the morning, I traded a thorough and healing arts session, at which I enjoyed her lovely company (I tell my her my vision of her as the Sugar Godsister and she says, "cotton balls in the lips," and then in a Boston accent "didya sell the cakes?") for a shower and laundry services, luxury leftovers were a tip as .  Such are the trades of the hobo traveler on the road!  :)  But it was a real pleasure to work with knotted muscles and feel a sense of contribution to the group.  I love giving to her because I think they're all so lovely over there.   And the beautiful ladies of The Sweet Life  and their friends and family are a creative, radiant bunch with whom I always love to play.

After such a raucous party I found it a rough ride to Cottage Grove from Crow.   Alcohol is not the best choice for the long distance biker.  It throws off all of your electrolytes and hydration for a few days, so when I finally arrived at beautiful Dorena Lake, I promptly spread out my tarp and power sprawled on the ground all evening, and after a beautiful swim in the setting sun, and a couple of random conversation with my neighbor campers I slept like a rock for 12 hours.


placid Lake Marie and the Apocalypse Flies

Posted by anne on August 6, 2013 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)

This is Lake Marie.....

I was initially disgusted by the hills necessary to get in and out of the campground, such was my mood after being pressured to move to the right all day by more than usual trucks with trailers....afflicted as I was with this and other symptoms of traffic weariness.  The loud and dangerous-sounding whine/roar of the large machines, their belching particulate which coat my face and lungs, angling further and further over this three and a half inch white line painted on the pavement all day wore on my nerves and made me tense and jumpy.  I had to peel back my hands from the handlebars, concentrating myself to not tensely grip the bike with every muscle from neck to toes.  I felt wiry as if a quarter would bounce off of me.

 I think of the white line as an impermeable barrier between these death machines everyone drives and my soft bodied human powered thing.  My legs with skin and bone, my spine, my face would not hold up if struck by one of these gargantuan metal-and-rubber beasts.  I would become pulp and splatter, especially at the speeds most are driving.  This three and a half inch white line, painted on the asphalt is my barrier against this unthinkable collision.  It is very unnerving when the cars weave into the lane, even after they pass me.  Worse are the oversize RVs and trucks pulling trailers all with drivers unused to the size of the vehicle already.  They sometimes have a hard time controlling their beasts and they gallop sideways into my lane.   I start to get the sensation that the white line is offering me no protection.  As these wander into my space I begin to get bursts of primal fear, the feeling that death may be close at hand.  Some trucks have a large heavy load like gravel, with a small narrow connector and then another wide and heavy container.   The first truckbed pulls at you with the suction of wind and then the next truckbed feels as though it will strike you for sure.  The protection of the white line is meager, indeed.

But, I am putting hope into the humanity around me, trusting it not to crush me, and so far it hasn't Every moment, cycling the highway, I am counting on those drivers around me not to make me into a smear on the roadway.  I am projecting into the universe that although life seems dangerous, I am not afraid, and I trust my traveling companions.

I am satisfying the restless part of myself.  I don't have to figure out how to solve that restless gypsy feet that I've been given by nature, or by being raised by a Vietnam Veteran. :)  All I have to do is plan a week-long bike ride to the next state and I'll have all the adventure, movement, danger and fun I can stand and I'll want to be home in my own bed, with my own routine, my friends...

Also, this ride has shown me that perhaps in order to find perfect stillness inside, I need intense movement on the outside.  That is, the more I rode, the more centered and still I felt.  The further I disconnected from the people and routines of my regular life, the more centered I felt.   Also, this was one of the most difficult parts of the ride:  really changing my habits and patterns and dividing myself from the known....stepping out into the unknown--even though I was pretty sure it was going to be mindblowingly transformationally excellent, I also felt attachment to the known.  Maybe it was something like a seed feels before it sprouts into a plant and is annihilated itself from the earth--completely transformed into something else.

This day was particularly harrowing, partly because of the previous two days.  I started out in Curtain, where my friend Kim returned me from a five day Portland-Lake Oswego getaway that I'll mention in a moment (and during which the Portland Rising event below took place)...and rode halfway to Reedsport stopping just before Elkton, where a sudden tree protected space on the far side of the road from the Umpqua gave me the cover necessary to camp surreptitiously until dawn.  I had a couple of strange moments: one where a cayenne capsule on an empty stomach gave me the most unpleasant symptoms (of super low blood pressure,  burning abdominal pain, the desire to collapse to the ground, rivulets of cold sweat pouring from every part of my body at once, etc).  Then, certainly the furtive prayers I was murmuring did something, as the RV camper, Ray, DID unlock the bathroom in his RV park for me to use as I was passing into Elkton.   He really saved the day, probably.  A cafe with a skillfully and lovingly made eggs Benedict, some rest and onward from Elkton to Reedsport.  What really made the day harrowing were all the trailers pulled by trucks with 'GOT SAND' and other sand related slogans stickered all over their backsides edged me out of the way over and over until I croaked admonishments with my dry carbon-crusted throat at their inconsiderate use of the WHOLE ROAD.  Sigh.

After pulling into the Umpqua River Lighthouse State Park and paying my fee, I began to set up my camp in the spacious (and empty of travelers) hiker biker campground just below some RVs.  A whole gaggle of  children below 7 on miniature bikes was sweet to see and would have been heartwarming if not for a 3-4 year old boy scream-singing a rhythm with 10 beats OVER AND OVER.  And then again, with emphasis, and then again, and again with no sign of tiring.  For a few hours.  It was incredible.  Pretty soon I was about ready to pull out my hair, already tense from the road and I stood on the path and parrotted the rhythm he kept repeating at a scream-sing tone as he was singing it.  It was uncomfortable, but I did it a second time.  His reply was to repeat the rhythm back to me again.  And again.  and AGAIN.  Wow.  Where are his parents?  Why do they think this is okay?  Is this okay?  I took a shower and marched up and down the hill getting situated.  It started getting dusky and I made this dinner:

Oh Lake Marie is right through a beautiful forest, down a steep slope and around the corner.  It is surrounded by picnic tables (a great place for a picnic!!)  It is picturesque and tranquil.  In the morning, mist swirled about a foot above the mirror still lake.  

The first thing I hear in the morning, in the woods above this lake is an amplified child's singing.  She is singing the Star Spangled Banner.  I immediately understand what is happening and am determined to skp the three days of peaceful unwinding and writing at this lake, pack it up and get on the road as soon as possible.  I cannot believe that I have converged with what turns out to be Sandfest 2013.  Soon after the singing child finished her song, a masculine voice took the mike and began speaking in carnival or evangelistic tones.  Engines were started and I swear, in several minutes, I could smell the fuel burning from across the lake, for on the other side of this placid lake are sand dunes, buzzing with the Apocalypse Flies of ATVs of all sorts

Since we live in America a large segment of the population feel it is their god-given right to burn gas as much as they want without thought to any consequences whatsoever.  The North Pole is a lake, I hear, and there is a big event, basically a celebration of fossil fuel burning machines and how fun they are!  Woo hoo!  Look at us!  We're burning off the POLAR ICE CAPS.

Horrified, disgusted, revulsed:  I contacted a friend from nearby and was swooped up just after the 30 minute trek across the wide green bridge and taken to a foggy picturesque town called Myrtle Point for a rest stop.  

beautiful cape arago nearby


Posted by anne on August 5, 2013 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Cob is a construction material used for hundreds and thousands of years.  It's easily made with simple ingredients, a particular mix of sand, straw and silt 'kneaded' together with the feet and formed into balls which have a plasticky soft consistency, and can be used to make nearly any shape, from house, to bench, to wall.  Read more about the history of Cob Construction HERE.  

There are several groups doing great work in Cob  these days, many of them pioneers over the last few decades... Like Cob Works.  

Images used without permission.

Here are some pictures of old school Cob Construction.

In sleepy foggy Coquille, Oregon, Evans and Linda Smiley founded the Cob Cottage Company in 1989.  They are addressing the need of low cost, durable, self-built housing by spreading information and training about Cob.

This is a worthwhile strategy that will be of high value as we go forward divesting from biocidal infrastructure.  Here is one of the housing component s of the permaculture movement, embedding our living systems gently within the environment.   If you would like to learn this inexpensive and beautiful building technique, there are opportunities for apprenticeships!   As you can see, the Smiley's have elevated cob, perfecting an ancient art...  If you get a chance to go to Coquille and meet these pioneers or take their wonderful classes, good for you!!

Beautiful Umpqua

Posted by anne on July 30, 2013 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Portland Rising 350

Posted by anne on July 30, 2013 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

The 350 movement is the most awesome thing I've seen in a while.  And, let me tell you.  I've seen some pretty awesome scenes!!

Scientists agree that 350 parts per million of carbon is the tipping point for climate.  We're now at 392, or perhaps since I last looked, we have passed 400.  We know we are in a tight spot, without the infrastructure for non devastating energy sources.  Yet the machinations of Mordor carry on, and in the Salish Sea (along the Pacific NW) a doubling of the sea traffic is now on the horizon.

Portland Rising Tide, and your own local 350rising organization, are on task to resist this.  Please go to the link above and find out about Portland Rising Tide and their work.

I had the wonderful opportunity to help film a direct action on the Columbia River.  For those of you who do not know, the Colombia is a massive river which splits the states of Washington and Oregon.  The action was impressive, 200 kayaks took the river like a critical mass, while folks marched across the bridge with signs and songs.  Suddenly three activists slid down on ropes they suspended from the bridge with a large sign reading "COAL OIL GAS//NONE SHALL PASS" .

It was a wonderful beautiful day, (if a little sweltering in the heat of the sun), and I was very inspired by the eloquent and impassionate entreaties of the speakers, the well organized workshops and the incredibly fluid coordinaton of 200 kayakers, some of whom had very little kayak experience!  

In feeling very helpless to do anything about the devastating possiblity of climate chagne due to the collapse brought about by the melting of the ice caps (etc) I have sought little corners to back iinto from which to take a stand.  Portland Rising felt like that corner: where people are unafraid, and even if the odds are against them, are willing to stand firm and resist the injustice that will be the undoing of us all unless we make major changes now.  


Fall Creek Getaway!

Posted by anne on July 26, 2013 at 3:00 AM Comments comments (0)

I love my friends!!  I spent a couple of nights layed out flat in Fall Creek with my friend and her beautiful son.  I learned about a new kind of parenting style where the child's needs drives the relationship.  I have never had the experience of asking a 3 year old to stop touching me a certain way (head bonks, jumping on me or whatever) and have him/her stop the first time asked.  I hear my friend negotiating agreements with her 3 year old sort of like she would with any relationship, setting boundaries, and holding him to what he's agreed to.  Boundaries around personal space are discussed and the feelings involved become primary.  When I see my friend rasing her beautiful (anglo) baby in such an emotionally rich and engaged way that is non-coercive, not very hierarchical at all (considering it is a parent child relationship especially!) I am very comforted about what the future may be like.  By raising a male to respect the boundaries of others, and to care about their feelings as important is wonderful and at 3 years old, little O.. has more emotional intelligence than some fully grown men.  I feel so grateful to know such brilliant folks.  Sometimes I wonder at my luck.  I have been through a lot of childhood hell, and everyone I know has, and we're all kind of brilliant misfits.   I love my peer group.  We engage our healing and work deeply to be resiliant and come to the place where we can ring out the tone of our beautiful excellence and not the continued patterns that our traumas from childhood brought us.  I find this wonderful.  

My friend says, "I approach polyamory this way: instead of trying to shove every relationship I have into this little box of how society says I should have relationships:  THE ONE intimacy that does everything for me... and I simply pay attention to the important relationships I do have for their own unique goodness, and nurture them in the specific ways they're calling for and value them for exactly what they are."  

I find this brilliant.  It's very easy to say the fight for equality right now has to with making sure everyone can join in the dyadic coupling up, even gays.  Yet what I hope for the queers of today is that we keep working at enlargening our basic unit of family to include us in dedicated groups like queer family tribes.   It has nothing at all to do with sex!  Why should my primary relationships be defined by who I have sex with?  Shouldn't it be, instead, who I trust to have my back every time, or who inspires my soul to greatness?  Perhaps these are not my sex partners!!  Since the nuclear family (a very new invention of the modern world, actually) is very exclusive and involves one other person only, it is obviously unstable.  One person dies, or leaves, and the other person is devastated.  In a group of 6 individuals there is much more stability by design.  If one person leaves or dies, the group can continue to function for the other members.  Who knows how it will all wind up.  I'm okay with the idea of being with one person, but I don't think it's the most enlightened or functional possiblity.  To create a new structure of society, why not start with the fundamental unit: the family?  Not the easiest life path, but what else are the brilliant young going to do with themselves?  We can focus our lives around money, but what fun is that?  What will that change?  I love my beautiful misfit freaky community, but I also want us to manifest enough wealth, all of us, so we don't have to worry about survival any more.  We deserve that.   There is a balance to reach, surely.

Riding down from Fall Creek was wonderful.  Little Fall Creek, gurgling in places, in some places spread out over the rocks like a great field of water, trees sprouting out from everywhere providing me with shade.  The warm green smell blankets me.  Several days activating the mobile bike spa with my friend in Springfield (and her two awesome kids, swimming in the river and eating raw pie and such) and the next phase is on me!  

My rad friend Kim joins me in Springfield for a day ride to Crow for a party.  That up next!