Friday, December 19, 2014

Hope is an obligation

and other inspiring tidbits from the interwebs:

these days I spend an inordinate amount of time scrolling the interwebs for news and inspiration, currently things found at the intersection of food and the environment, but more recently, looking at the concept of Wilderness. Capitalized and not capitalized. What does it mean? Along this train of thought I stumbled upon: "hope is an obligation"  and other words of wisdom in an excellent Wendell Berry interview over at Earth Island Journal. Here's just a few things I love from it: 

" 'Wild' is not nearly so stable a term as “wilderness.” A “wilderness area,” I guess, can be described as “wild,” but so can a street gang. If “wild” means uncontrolled, then our present economy and “domestic life” are “wild.” So are our multiple epidemics of invasive species. So is our plague of toxic chemicals. If “wild” means “natural” then our domestic and economic life is “wild” because of its absolute dependence on nature. Your suggestion that “wildness” is a “way of being” reveals the difficulty, for the two terms are in contradiction. Ways of being, as careful observation of “wildlife” will tell you, are domestic. All species – except, temporarily, industrial humans – have to “make themselves at home.” They have to live in places to which they are well enough adapted to find food, raise young, survive winter, etc. And so I’m no longer comfortable in speaking of indigenous creatures as “wild.”

I think “wilderness areas” are necessary. But I am opposed to efforts to establish wilderness areas and parks by using eminent domain to drive out settled human populations. The Tennessee Valley Authority’s expropriation of farmers native to the Land Between the Lakes in western Kentucky in the 1960s was of a piece with our treatment of the Indians. It was an exercise in government tyranny. There is no necessary conflict between “wilderness values” and well-husbanded human home places. There is no sense in driving out people who belong to a place and replacing them with people who don’t. Better a settled human population than a population of tourists, police, “nature writers,” and “wildlife photographers.”

Given the opportunity, what life advice would you today convey to a younger Wendell of 60 years ago?

"Learn more science, especially biology, more foreign languages, more history. Be kinder."

What outstanding writing and or life lessons did your time with Wallace Stegner at Stanford grant you?

"I suppose I'm still under the influence of Mr. Stegner's devotion to the principles of responsible workmanship and responsible stewardship of the land. One's relationship to good teachers has no past tense. They stay with you.

What have you gained from your wholesale avoidance of electronic media?
I try to keep away from screens of all kinds, and I am less and less attracted to the radio. There are three advantages, or three results, that are important to me: a fairly continuous awareness of this place in which I live and of which I limitlessly desire to be aware; freedom from the talk of media people who are afraid to be quiet; and maybe enough time for reading.

"Hope is an obligation “ 

portland rainbow town

And here are a couple more links of inspiration:
Mark Bittman on inequity
And young farmers over at Farm Hack problem solving: big pieces of machinery are too expensive and too big for small farmers. So Farm Hack brings the DIY to infrastructure and technology for small farmers here

streets of portland

the beginning of a series? we shall see....

Sunday, December 14, 2014

gratitude is always found in the garden

it's a quiet sunny sunday morning. my favorite kind of sunday morning. 

full of gratitude from a day spent at a garden yesterday. it was sleepy and slow in the garden as we approach the soltice. but so full of life. there was rosemary, thyme, chives, and luciano kale towers still sharing their harvest. while some rows were tucked into their winter beds with blankets of burlap and clover. 

a community garden in a sense I haven't seen before. learning garden labs: about 12 acres of layered gardens--teaching gardens, urban apprentice gardens, school gardens, master gardener plots and family run plots, a magical summer playground for kids, a community orchard, and huge greenhouses.  Each area with it's own shape and function. Each area full of the energy of the many hands who have dug in the soil. Of stewardship.  

I got there a bit early. I was there to get a tour from a friend and help out with a wreath making workshop. The hand painted sign Orchard this way >>>> called to me. there I found espaliered apples in their full winter glory. some pruned, others not. 

orchards always call me. they bring me back to the many saturdays spent planting, pruning and caring for the orchard on that foggy hill in San Francisco. Of learning how to graft. And finding a home for my little apple creation in another garden I call home by the ocean. she has grown strong, kissed by the salt air. of walking the heirloom orchards with Gary at Seed Savers Exchange. 

These gardens, growing food, they are home to me. 

And the new faces with open hearts, so excited to call this space in Portland a piece of home, excited for the peace and pause of soltice. of exploring outside and also getting cozy with food and books and family. good people on good land.

and I wreathed. even though I've never wreathed before. and it wasn't all bad. and it's all oregon grown and dried. it dressed my bike ride home. Next year: this bike may just become a wreath of unto its own. 

here's to finding home in places of cultivation and community. and the cultivation of community.  

Saturday, December 6, 2014

giving of thanks

thanksgiving came and went so very fast and slow at the same time.  I can still say how very thankful I am. It is the holy-est of holy days for me. A meal cooked. With the ones we love. 

We had a cozy night for our Portland thanksgiving. A mezza to start with homemade hummus and tini tinis. A salad piled high: roasted beets, fried tofu, greens, carrot and a tahini drizz. Roasted root goodness (garlic, sweet potato, potato, delicata) blended into a curried soup. vegan chocolate mousse with a touch of Rasputin stout. 

so very thankful to live with the master of soups! and fried tofu....

the beers here. oh my. 

mmmmm mmmmmezza. 

beeets!!!! yo! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

more from sandy river delta adventuring

battled a wall of wind. toured Maya Lin's piece: a bird blind engraved with the names of all the special species Lewis and Clark saw on thier travels. and walked the sandy hoping for a beaver sighting...


I had no idea how amazing these beavers are. constructing lodges that are only accessible via underwater entrances. palaces they make with a dining room, nursery, and bedrooms! Nocternal creatures, we missed them this time around...

Monday, November 24, 2014

these are extraordinary times

tonight, I meditate on the shapes of things. on colors. on confluence. what a beautiful word right? 

sandy river delta. where the sandy and the columbia meet. 

waterfront wanderings in the rose city. where does your water come from?

Sunday, November 2, 2014


this girl's serious about her chow time. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014


sf friendly faces. hunters of: mushrooms, good photos of birds, and lifer beers. cultivators of good laughs. 

Regina's at Pine State, from a drizzly rainforest walk at Forest Park to the mountains of Hood and the confluence of two rivers (which most mystified and confused Lewis and Clark). The adventures in the aisles at Powell's books (I like big books and I cannot lie). Delicious libations at old Victorians and former elementary schools. You say Rodriguez I say Sanchez. Bus rides and feasts. almost empty gas tanks and forgotten maps to an historic lodge, discoverying mushrooms and mountain chickadees along the way. a deliciously stumbled upon falafel. and lucy winning hearts as always. 

I can keep my eyes open in a photo. Really. I can! 


slowly so very slowly she revealed herself to us 

there she is!!! 

THANK you for visiting :)))

a moss garden comes alive

it seemed the thing to do. a dream come true.
a winter in the pacific north west--a winter of moss gardening. the spot: outside our kitchen window. 
the materials: found and reused almost all. 
1. one propeller from pier 39 2. a pine cone from big sur 3. a boat chain from sauvie island hiking. 4. a succulent, a gift from SF. a part of home. 5. landscaping scallops already covered in moss purchased at Rebuild (an A.mazing store full of used everything for your house and yard) 6. moss salvaged from our nieghborhood. 7. free soil from craigslist 8. acidic soil mix from Garden Fever 


Monday, October 27, 2014

Standing at the Gates of Hope

I love this: 

"Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of Hope — not the prudent gates of Optimism, which are somewhat narrower; nor the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense; nor the strident gates of Self-Righteousness, which creak on shrill and angry hinges (people cannot hear us there; they cannot pass through); nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of “Everything is gonna be all right.” But a different, sometimes lonely place, the place of truth-telling, about your own soul first of all and its condition, the place of resistance and defiance, the piece of ground from which you see the world both as it is and as it could be, as it will be; the place from which you glimpse not only struggle, but joy in the struggle. And we stand there, beckoning and calling, telling people what we are seeing, asking people what they see."

Victoria Stafford in a new book of essays called: The Impossible Will Take Awhile

Saturday, October 25, 2014

hike pnw!

Oswald State Park 

rainforest on the coast. quiet sitka fungi moss wonderland only the sound of crashing waves just below

and WHALES!! 

champion beach runner

a restful stop for us and the feeding whales in the distance. what magic! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

hiking sauvie island's warrior point

past sauvie's lush u-pick and flower farms. a wildlife refuge along the banks of the columbia river 

a peaceful gathering space complete with a siddhartha under a wood arch

past fisherman. gun toating, orange flanked hunters of peasants and rabbits. through native grasses and white oaks. to the lighthouse

and the point. at which, it is fall. 

questions post hike to answer: what paw prints are these? what's up with salmon season and hunting season? and do I need to need to invest in flourescent hiking gear???