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In her own Write



Connie Madden wishes you wit, compassion, mindfulness



Updated: 2018-04-19T21:47:39Z

 



We the Future @ SRJC: Nikki Silvestri, keynote, on Soil, Communities, Global Warming

2018-04-19T21:47:39Z

We the Future conference at Petaluma campus of SRJC was well attended and fearless in its presentations, free and even included lunch. We treat our young students well in this (Petaluma) town! I very much enjoyed the presentations of Joey Smith, Let’s Go Farm, and Wendy Krupnik, Farmers Guild/CAFF, with […]

We the Future conference at Petaluma campus of SRJC was well attended and fearless in its presentations, free and even included lunch. We treat our young students well in this (Petaluma) town!

I very much enjoyed the presentations of Joey Smith, Let’s Go Farm, and Wendy Krupnik, Farmers Guild/CAFF, with others on the AG classes at the JC, then the presentation by Suzi Gracy and Caiti Hatchmyer, Red H Farm, both informative, engaging and energizing.

Inspiring is a good word for keynote speaker, Nikki Silvestri, beautiful lady with new baby! You can watch her presentation here: Silvestri is an advocate for climate solutions, healthy food systems, and social change, a past member of Los Angeles Eco-Village, she represents a fertile cross-pollination between social justice, intentional community and healthy food movements.

A day later, discovered an article about Silvestri in the Communities: Life in Cooperative Culture magazine I had on my desk from the Permaculture Convergence at Hopland’s Solar Living Institute last fall. Our friend, Art Kopecky, sold that to me and he has an article there, Communities and Zero Population Growth along with a good piece by Woody Hastings, Intentional Electricity, The Challenges and Rewards of Community Power. Great mag if you’re into intentional community or want to survive global warming!

So about Nikki Silvestri, Soil and Shadow, I wish I’d heard her earlier. Very uplifting her views; very possible the future she sees. She goes into her experiences with People’s Grocery, an Oakland co-op, she blogs and podcasts encouraging stories of community connections, emphasizing complexity in nature and relationships with people – that the more connections we have, the richer our experience and the deeper our ability to regenerate and heal. Even goes into why fecal transplants work – fast! Loads of microbes delivered right where they can be distributed!
Building soil is sequestering carbon, so mindful farming helps heal the planet! She’s on to that.

Her speeches cover Building True Allies and the Science of Hope, among others, and her blog may be found at
www.nikkisilvestri.com/blog/ Fin d a podcast here: (though she has many sites for podcasts)http://www.nikkisilvestri.com/blog/2018/4/10/tree-pruning-as-a-metaphor-for-healing-racism

From her Soil and Shadow site:
As the Co-Founder of Live Real and former Executive Director of People’s Grocery and Green for All, Nikki has built and strengthened social equity for underrepresented populations in food systems, social services, public health, climate solutions, and economic development. A nationally recognized thought leader, her many honors include being named one of The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans. You can see her full bio and website here.




Look and See, farmer/poet Wendell Berry film airing on PBS Mon. 4/23

2018-04-17T19:12:25Z

We were moved by the Wendell Berry film, Look and See, screened at Rialto, Sebastopol courtesy of Farmers Guild/CAFF. Important if you want to know what farming in Kentucky, in America, really is. Scary, too, as reality is so often these days. Farmers talking dirt, talking their love of the […]

We were moved by the Wendell Berry film, Look and See, screened at Rialto, Sebastopol courtesy of Farmers Guild/CAFF. Important if you want to know what farming in Kentucky, in America, really is. Scary, too, as reality is so often these days. Farmers talking dirt, talking their love of the land, talking how they barely scrape by and how they couldn’t see themselves doing any other thing even so. What’s making it so tough? Get Big or Get Out! the cry of capitalism. And the young farmer panel offering they don’t see where children fit in; give up having a family if you’re a farmer? Something is not right here! See the film Mon. Apr. 23rd on PBS.
Trailer at http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/films/look-see-wendell-berrys-kentucky/

We all want experience the fancy side of farming: the farm to table dinners featuring ALL ORGANIC LOCAL foods, done much as Alice Waters would at Chez Panisse! Glamour. There exist whole new-to-me categories of health-infused FRESH no guilt dinners and brunches made without pesticides or anything other than organic local. Perfect, right? Except the farmer now earns about as much as he or she did for crops – in 1990. Costs are way up for growing but food prices didn’t make it up so small farms are scrampling to survive, even though fresh local organic food makes a body stronger and its human happier. Public education is obviously needed to convince people local, organic food makes them live longer and have more umph – but public education is underfunded and often absent from anyone’s budget. FUND PUBLIC EDUCATION ABOUT THE NEED FOR SMALL ORGANIC FARMS for long-term good health while healing our global warming disease (carbon farming is a reality through farming!).

A panel following Farmers Guild screening was composed of Joey Smith, Let’ Go Farm, Shone Farm and SRJC (he’s an instructor, too), Caiti, Red H Farm, Ariel Greenwood, Freestone Ranch and Evan Wiig, founder, Farmers Guild as moderator.

We came away deeply touched by the film – and saddened by the prospect of flocks of young farmers, excited to be part of a solution to global warming and the processed food vs. healthy food dicotomy, only to be met with statistics showing most young farmers won’t make it. Still worth the struggle! Still a good idea when groups like Farmers Guild are close at hand to help steer through the obstacles.

Need customers who can buy a load of food from you? Look to the few co-ops and progressive groceries in our area as well as to restaurants and local local stores. If they do take you on, may be all you need to stabilize, but don’t bet on it! Seems small farms need to balance outreach to friends, new friends, restaurants, developing CSAs, famrers markets, marketing, whew!

But there are ways and ways as my Mom used to say and small farms are nudged to checking all our options and pick what works. And keep it up – we all want and need healthy LOCAL foods to be our best selves – pass the word.




Farmers Guild offers Wendell Berry movie @ Rialto, Sebastopol Mon. 4/9, 1 & 7pm

2018-04-08T01:23:34Z

Farmers Guild is offering two free screenings of a new Wendell Berry film, Look & See, followed by a panel discussion with young local farmers at Rialto, Sebastopol, Mon. Apr. 9, 1 and 7pm. Come early to ensure seats. I’m stoked! What a treat for those who want to hear […]

Farmers Guild is offering two free screenings of a new Wendell Berry film, Look & See, followed by a panel discussion with young local farmers at Rialto, Sebastopol, Mon. Apr. 9, 1 and 7pm. Come early to ensure seats. I’m stoked!

What a treat for those who want to hear common sense from a kind, wise farmer! Expect a great discussion of agrarian principles, poetry, the whole experience of farming in the hopes of living in a healthy and worthwhile world.

This from Farmers Guild:
…FREE WENDELL BERRY FILM and PANEL DISCUSSION exploring the agrarian philosophy of poet-farmer Wendell Berry and rural communities that must rethink their relationship to the land and the people on which they depend. Stick around for a discussion with three young locals working to forge their own livelihood from the land:
– Caiti Hachmyer, Red H Farm
– Joey Smith, Let’s Go Farm
– Ariel Greenwood, Freestone Ranch
– Evan Wiig, Farmers Guild & CAFF
Screenings at 1pm and 7pm
Rialto Cinemas: 6868 McKinley Ave, Sebastopol, CA

Our Oasis Farm just outside Petaluma will be well represented at the film with Abigail, Wayne, Rama and I attending. We much appreciate the straight talk and well-grounded thinking of Wendell Berry, a guy who feels the struggles farmers go through and adds a saving grace to every conversation.

It was with delight that I found not only Wendell Berry’s 2017 book, The Art of Loading Brush, but also Distant Neighbors, The Selected Letters of Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder. A deep and accesssible friendship lives between these two and their readers and students. Their 250 collected letters always include updates on farming and also delve into a broad understanding of the human condition, with focus on Native American writing (Lakota Souix, Russell Means), the writings of mystical Christians, (E.B. White, Teilhard de Chardin, Jesuit paleontologist who worked to understand evolution and faith), poets including Yeats and then, a broad understanding of many branches of Buddhism and into the rich ideas and practice of, among others, Satish Kumar, Indian activist and editor of Resurgence Magazine and Founder, Schmacher Collage international Center for ecological studies a former Jain monk, nuclear disarmament advocate, pacifist who “insists that reverence for nature should be at the heart of every political and social debate.”(Wikipedia).

Gary Snyder for me was the guy who spoke at the Human BeIn in Golden Gate Park, the guy who started the Watershed Festival in Berkeley, explaining what ecology means and so much more. The fact that his poem, Turtle Island, is constantly being rewritten gives poets of all stripes permission to keep growing in their writing and thinking.

Was particularly pleased to note comments about Satish Kumar, editor, Resurgence Magazine and Founder, Schumacher College in England, who I had the pleasure of speaking with during ceremonies for the UN 50th Anniversary in San Francisco. Marvelous human who I would love to cross paths again. And Schumacher College, it’s Small School and the whole institute are worth a review every few years to reflect on our own sense of direction.

Whatever Great Friend means to you, the friendship of Gary Snyder and Wendell Berry can offer some insight. Their letters cover complex and important ideals and information on how we live and what we live for. Very much looking forward to the film and continued writings of both Berry and Snyder.




5th Annual Farmers Guildraising in Davis! Hope for small farms; what’s working now

2018-03-17T16:02:12Z

So our tribe of 3, representing Oasis Community Farm just outside Petaluma, attended the FIFTH Annual Farmers Guildraising, this time held on campus at UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences – and it was all it was cracked up to be. Real solutions to farming challenges, great networking, […]So our tribe of 3, representing Oasis Community Farm just outside Petaluma, attended the FIFTH Annual Farmers Guildraising, this time held on campus at UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences – and it was all it was cracked up to be. Real solutions to farming challenges, great networking, fantastic dance band! Make-your-own corsages with amazing flowers and cotton balls (you could PLANT the seeds!) Simply wonderful all day and night event. Thank you, Farmers Guild/CAFF and especially Evan Wiig, who has so much energy and talent I had to tell him many think he’s brilliant – and he looked SPIFFY in his playful Man-in-the-White-Hat suit for the Agrarian Lovers Ball end of day. Evan looking Spiffy @ Agrarian Lovers Ball We loved exploring the gardens and farm buildings, meeting the people who run them, learning in the various workshops what works across the country to support small and usually organic – farms. The takeaway: we have a mountain to climb to keep small farms healthy – and together we can do it! Example is the collaboration between Bi-Rite Grocery, SF, and Oak Hill Farm, Glen Ellen, among others, bringing Sonoma County flowers and veggies twice a week during heavy production and keeping this 50-year old farm in fine fettle – even after the fire burned down some buildings! So who’s your grocery outlet or restaurant customer? Farms here need all the tools: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA boxes delivered or picked up), Farmers markets – AND grocery or restaurant buyers as well as farm stands or other tools you create. Stay flexible! The combination will be challenging but doable, is what I hear. The guys from Bi-Rite, San Francisco, Sam and Rich, were keynote speakers and they told us they love small local farms, are dedicated to working with local local local instead of Mexican or wherever else Sprouts gets their “organics”. Please. Really? “Bi-Rite is a neighborhood market,” says their site, “feeding our community with love, passion and integrity.” Sam and Rich are spoke about relationships and love – as if we fall in love in order to raise vegetables? Well, not so far wrong. It does take a village or tribe to keep the farms together and new ones are forming! Bi-Rite considers itself to be the “Chez Panisse of grocery stores” and strives to get average farmers atuned to food as a source of health. A great threat they see: we’re not cooking as much and the trend to buy delivered meals is also coming on. We can approach farming from a hi-tech vertical farming practice but whatever approach we take, we must rebuild the soils of our country for future use. And they say, we need more animals on the land. So – work with soil; shift consumer mind-set are two principles for Bi-Rite guys. Another concern – and hope – is how millenials view food. A study showed millenials want to support companies with principles so you don’t get co-opted by the big guys. Don’t be afraid to be teachers, say Rich and Sam. Learn as much as you can and weave it all into the story we tell. The most important element in success, they say, is love and trust. Thanks to Evan and friends, Amy and who all else put in place an “Inspiration Station” where people could list their desires and offers. Turned our our barn manager, Steve Lewis AKA Rama, had a meditation group to lead mid-day so he took the car leaving us without a ride to the Agrarian Lovers Ball, but a note on the board got us carpooled in minutes with patient people who put up with us not getting wher[...]



Almost spring at Oasis Community Farm

2018-03-01T19:59:39Z

So we’re still busy defining ourselves, sometimes the most delicious part of life! Thought to describe a couple of quick vignettes – hummingbird in the living room and music in the barn! With, perhaps, a detour for children in the house…always a treat, though pretty MESSY. Last night, Bella, 5, […]So we’re still busy defining ourselves, sometimes the most delicious part of life! Thought to describe a couple of quick vignettes – hummingbird in the living room and music in the barn! With, perhaps, a detour for children in the house…always a treat, though pretty MESSY. Last night, Bella, 5, asked to watch Nutcracker Ballet on my MacBook on the butcher block in the house kitchen, so it was on, several versions, maybe 2 hours with Bella and Terran, now 3, creating their very own “ballet” moves…lovely! Day before, Jade, 5, and I had a brief and extreme encounter with a hummingbird in the window of our living room. Had to get my phone for pics as the hummer sat on a cushion trying to figure how to get out. I managed to lift s/he onto a broom 3x and move toward the door, speaking softly so the bird would know I meant no harm. S/he dropped off onto an embarrassing pile of spider webs behind a post and I found myself picking the tiny bird up to pull the webs off its exhausted little face. THAT WORKED, so I then tried to get the bird back on the broom to get it out the door, but in the process reached for its tail feathers – which ALL came OFF! OUCH. Poor little hummer! So I’ve included a photo of the feathers with some pedals of quince brought to Sunday Supper before last by Zeb and very much hope the hummingbird, which flew from branch to branch of a nearby plum tree, is doing OK. Whew! Then, a bit unnerved, walked into our community barn to hear Rama on drums and his friend, Brian, on guitar singing such a sweet song I had to sit and listen before I could say food is ready in the house. Such is our budding community life, full of hopeful kids of all ages…just like Jungle Vibes used to be? But we don’t have to sell anything, just enjoy the best we can muster of music, conversation, action to reverse climate change, becoming more loving and better communicators (soon to practice Nonviolent Communications with our barn manager, Rama and books by Marshall Rosenberg.)Ana’s Hummingbird in our window with tailfeathers still on [...]



Kaleidoscope Cabaret Opens with Joy, Whimsy, Talent!

2018-02-23T21:16:40Z

Many in our area know Heidi, the Custom Costume queen formerly of Cotati, now at home across from Lucky’s on Petaluma Blvd. and sharing a wall with her BRAND NEW Kaleidoscope Cabaret. We’re delighted we got in the door for the first ever show! Full house, free popcorn, water bottles, […]Many in our area know Heidi, the Custom Costume queen formerly of Cotati, now at home across from Lucky’s on Petaluma Blvd. and sharing a wall with her BRAND NEW Kaleidoscope Cabaret. We’re delighted we got in the door for the first ever show! Full house, free popcorn, water bottles, peanuts and even mini chocolate cupcakes! And our girls, granddaughter, Annabella and great girlfriend, Jade, got to be Fairy Twins when Heidi put headdresses on them and beckoned them to the front of the stage. The girls walked a “tightrope,” danced around and had a marvelous time – budding actresses now? Tobias the magician did amazing scary and silly stuff (Sword swallowing, funny tricks) and we watched a quick version of the beautiful and heartfelt Butterfly Ship mythologic trip (thank you, Tessa McClary for your marvelous music, concept and choreography!) Was very pleased to see Bonnie Cromwell, Birthday and Classroom Safari, bring out a couple of animals we have personal relations with! Tytoo, the very beautiful Servil Cat from Africa, Bonnie’s pet, seemed captivated looking at the children in the front row and wouldn’t jump for Bonnie, but her Lemur, Rickoshay, made up for that by showing off his own trick of pulling Bonnie to him via a rope so he could bring the treats to his mouth. Those and the alligator and boa constrictors we used to see at Jungle Vibes Toy Store years ago. What a treat! And we’ll be hiring Bonnie to bring these critters to us at Oasis Farm soon…yippee! By end of the night, we’d had nearly three hours of great fun, laughter shared with many we know and many we’d like to know…what a great beginning for a small theater/cabaret – we need all the joy we can muster about now – and Heidi’s performance as M.C. was gracious and heartwarming! Comment on Yelp: Let me start by saying how wonderful Heidi is. She makes a variety of unique costumes and treats each customer with her full attention to detail when dressing them up. Not only do you get a unique costume but you get Heidi’s awesome input and accessories. Custom Costumes has a plethora of costumes, mermaids, cowboys, vikings, witches, saloon girl, Indians, wizard, gladiator, lion, belly dancer…. and the list goes on. Not to mention that they are all hand made and you don’t just get a dress and a hat, or a gun and a jacket, YOU GET THE WORKS. Heidi’s creative eye will not stop until you really look the part of your chosen costume. I could go on and on….and on about how amazing this little shop is, or about how awesome Heidi is at what she does, but you really should check it out for yourself. [...]



Jerry Brown’s last State of the State speech 1/25/18 – Thanks, Jerry!

2018-01-26T02:22:15Z

So glad to hear Jerry Brown’s careful presentation of California’s accomplishments, fears, challenges, and challenges…I mean, in the middle he had to go and say the Union of Concerned Scientists just moved the needle on the CLock of Doom to 2 minutes before midnight (annihilation via nuclear holocaust). BUT, he […]So glad to hear Jerry Brown’s careful presentation of California’s accomplishments, fears, challenges, and challenges…I mean, in the middle he had to go and say the Union of Concerned Scientists just moved the needle on the CLock of Doom to 2 minutes before midnight (annihilation via nuclear holocaust). BUT, he reminds us over and over, we now have great level of employment, are investing in education and health care, and we have become a national (I’d say international) model for reversal of climate crisis. Watch the whole thing here: California is projecting $16 billion surplus gas tax is threatened; Trump admin threatens a lot of what Jerry would like to see; what he and California would accomplish. Gavin Newsom in the mix; Reflect on the fact Jerry will not be prominent here after awhile. Ann Gust Brown – looking forward to making olive oil up on the ranch is Colusa County in the future? Our Governor has to walk a bit of a line – where he’s been critical of Trump, he also needs federal money. So far Fed has come through with disaster funding. May be where cooperation stops. A vacancy to fill: appointment of 4th justice (he appointed 3 of 7); one place this Governor will make an imprint. Fed. Government mandated we reduce the prison population will be lasting, though some feel he went too far. Came full circle to reforming the 3 strikes rule, etc. He always looks toward the future – is thinking of his family history – and hasn’t ruled out another run for President. Glad to say I was a bit player in his third run for Pres. in 1992 – his fire house was blocks away from 3220 Sacramento St./The Gallery, where visionaries spread their wings. Fantastic watching Jody Evans walk through the door with her flaming red hair and boots – had it all under control, if anyone could control Jerry – and later she went on to found CODE PINK. Well, a book will be out this year about those 3220 years, so back to TODAY’s speech. Who would Jerry Brown like to see be Gov.? Hasn’t endorsed but front runner is Lieutenant Gov. Gavin Newsom. He’s seeking a supporter of rail and all his other causes, looking at “a mutual dance with a new generation coming to take over the house.” At a budget press conference he offered “good luck to my successor – a financial correction is coming – preserve stability we currently have.” His office moved from $26billion deficit and leaves as I mentioned a $16billion surplus. “As my father used to say “I accept the nomination” ( that hint he may run again for US Pres?) “I’m here to report the condition of our state….we should never forget the bounty and endless opportunities represented here…hardships, bankruptcies – unemployment was above 12percent when he came into office and the deficit caused some to call CA The Coast of Dystopia, talk of a Great CA Exodus, the Ungovernable Coast and the question: is the California Dream dead? California had the worst business track record with income at $154billion; today that has risen to $2.4 trillion with 2.8million new jobs created. Very few places in the world can match that. Confidence in the work that California government is doing is well received – and it is significant that the budget can now be approved with a simple majority. Pension reform is in place – Republicans and Democrats did it together. There is a Water Bond and a Cap and Trade program. “Republicans, don’t worry; I got your back! Some American governments [...]



Women’s March Come Again! Becoming our own leaders…

2018-01-22T18:35:31Z

So Wayne and I along with a whole bus load of good friends made our priviledged way to SF aboard a bus with a toilet. Posh when you add champagne, chocolate, cheese and crackers. Sweetness of shared song, kids, dogs, sunshine, purpose…the energy of the Women’s March (in SF) was […]So Wayne and I along with a whole bus load of good friends made our priviledged way to SF aboard a bus with a toilet. Posh when you add champagne, chocolate, cheese and crackers. Sweetness of shared song, kids, dogs, sunshine, purpose…the energy of the Women’s March (in SF) was huge when a roar would work its way through – and I want to hold onto that and build something strong that is at this point nameless. A tribe? A community that is at least linked through social media, projects and, drat, could have said bring me your ideas for uses for our community barn. Some will come through anyway from individual conversations and bits of paper reminding us of Texting with Rapid Response at bit.ly/text-resist and Janice Cader Thompson is texting people (with what messages?) and there’s still a postcard group meeting at Aqus Cafe for over a year now sending cards to swing states to lean into elections. Good work, friends! More to come right away! Too many worries: social justice, nuclear war(!!!), sexual harrassment, robots! WOW! Hawaii had to be afraid of a nuke?!? What are we getting into and how to back out? Terrifying time in history. Placed a Whole Foods chocolate decadence cake infront of our friend, Zeb, and he grinned and said something like “So you think if I’m here these terrible things won’t happen?” To which I just added umhumm with a big grin. Just don’t go away friends! Come closer, please. And then there’s the Free SRJC event – Bill Perry’s Nuclear Nightmare, Thurs. Mar. 29th, 12:15p – my nightmare since I was 5? Recall listening to jets overhead from Melrose Park, Ill, and thinking, but never telling anyone “is that a Russian plane with a bomb?” No, no, no – make FRIENDS with Russians! And everyone possible. Not time to give up; time to focus and get *sh*t done. Perhaps the march in DC was the largest in history? Must overcome a certain meanness, increased rascism, somehow help refugees – we don’t want them here? What?!? “Progress takes time but we’re seeing huge strides – reaction to an administration, but people getting turned into activists hopefully to create a revolution,” random quote from NPR show. “One positive thing, a shift in our consciousness. A year ago, when people talked about sexual assault everyday people are having these discusions at the dinner table.” Yes means yes – great – now to agree to what we all want – Peace in the World or the World in Pieces. That means sharing what you’ve got and finding ways to make everyone safe so sanity is the rule of the day not the craziness we’re currently slogging through.GRL’s who will rule their world – we hope! Linda’s Precious kids Make love not war guy[/caption]Aunt Samantha Loves You [...]



Repairing the Face of God and more…

2018-01-04T20:07:53Z

So it’s old news – last year’s interview, actually, but David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker for low these many years, spent a few days with Leonard Cohen months before the fabled poet/songwriter passed and came away with some gems others may know from religious studies or other. “The […]

So it’s old news – last year’s interview, actually, but David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker for low these many years, spent a few days with Leonard Cohen months before the fabled poet/songwriter passed and came away with some gems others may know from religious studies or other.

“The job of a Jew,” Cohen said, based on teaching of the Kabala, is to repair the face of God. So, of course, I ask myself HOW did God’face get disfigured and HOW is anyone supposed to repair it? I know some answers will be found in Tikkun Magazine archives; I worked there briefly doing PR long ago and was impressed with the level of intellect centered there and appreciated throughout the magazine’s staff and zeitgiest, if that is the appropriate word, which I shall have to look up also. And I’ll ask Benjamin Zablocki, author of Joyful Community and other books, who has studied in depth a whole slew of things that interest me. Long overdue to talk about communes, anarchism and how on earth to be a kind person in a brutal world. Sigh.

I will never go to Alexa, the new voice of Amazon, for answers to anything after hearing an ad in a Transition US video for Alexa which includes a 20’s something woman asking “Alexa, how many ounces in a cup?” And “Alexa, how do I make shrimp primavera?” (pouring tomato sauce over shrimp and pasta). Double yuck! “Use the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) to add intelligent voice control to any connected product that has a microphone and speaker. Your customers will be able to ask Alexa to play music, answer questions, get news and local information, control smart home products, and more on their voice-enabled products. Quick Start ..,” they say. And forget to use your brain to THINK after Alexa puts it to sleep; really you didn’t need to bother learning anything.

OK, readers, whoever you may be: DON’T USE ALEXA IF YOU WISH TO USE YOUR OWN BRAIN. It is a sinister plot to take over humankind in favor of The Machine (a novelette by E.M. Forster?), a future society, in which The Machine takes care of everything, every little thing, until one day the protagonist begins to feel and see that The Machine is breaking down – and NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO FIX IT. Sigh. Scary sigh.

Hoping sincerely we didn’t already get to that stage of human experience on this globe, I look to 2018 for RENEWAL, plants popping out of the rubble and ash of Sonoma County and Ventura County, and at our Oasis Farm with focused work TODAY, a hedgerow to protect our orchard from wind while creating homes for birds, lizards and other well loved critters. Hedgerow, ha! Way to go, Oasis Farm and Wayne the Farmer Guy (and whosoever helps with the hedgerow).




STEADFAST, the blog. Common Ground article and a way forward…

2017-12-06T18:04:21Z

Great ideas fall on my head: Common Ground article, 43rd Anniversary Gratitude Issue, Small but Steadfast, stuck in my head as I’ve been ruminating on What Must Be Done while good work done by others over decades falls to the wayside in this alt-right Republican administration. Tax plan to benefit […]

Great ideas fall on my head: Common Ground article, 43rd Anniversary Gratitude Issue, Small but Steadfast, stuck in my head as I’ve been ruminating on What Must Be Done while good work done by others over decades falls to the wayside in this alt-right Republican administration. Tax plan to benefit the bloated wealthy? Done? Open National parks to drilling? OUCH! Keep boosting fossil fuels while we need to keep them in the ground? And the hate crimes building with the express support of those who love only people who look like them (it seems). Muslim ban? Muslim religion grows exponentially while we show without a doubt our government is not a friend.

What can I do? Possibly be steadfast in this blog. Loads of good ideas and works crossing our paths regularly.
Here in Petaluma, Undocufund volunteers gather money and resources for those who lost theirs in the fire, before and after the fire. North Bay Labor Council helps wherever possible. Long list of non-profits helping us be more resilient, even regenerative. Build the soil and your friend base.

While we have to dig in where we live, I must look over to Bill McKibben again and again and he’s saying Winning Slowly is the Same as Losing in the fight against climate crisis. We simply can’t wait another day to save the planet. Reading his Radio Free Vermont novel now – even Bill had to take a break from unending bad news!

So what I can do is write a regular blog along with baking cookies, cleaning house, making ready to make merry (which we also need to carry on). Little things do mean a lot. I take food, clothing, occasional magazines to Mary Isaak Center and the guy by the kitchen is warm and sunny and I know the gift is useful. And, of course, there is end of the year giving to every non-profit who can find your address or phone. I’ll send something to the Chronicle delivery woman this time. And the postman.

“Steadfast, stead coming from ‘place’ and fast to hold on to.” So take a risk, step outside your comfort zone and give of yourself in your neighborhood and globally. We have a great deal to add to our blessings list, but perhaps, add to those of others near and far, too.

So, like the article’s author, Julia Cho, I can commit to doing my blog every week. “…words provide enormous comfort,” says Cho, “and I feel most seen when I read something that resonates.” It is important for each of us to know we are seen and not forgotten.