Doug Mosel Interview Now Posted at Mendocino Talking…


(Since landing in Mendocino County, Doug Mosel has involved himself in several worthwhile community projects: running the successful Measure H campaign against GMOs; co-founding the Agriculture & Ecology Hour on KZYX; and most recently creating the Mendocino Grain Project where he farms, mills and distributes locally-grown grains and flour to CSA members of the project and local stores. —DS)

Interview available here

Gene Logsdon Appears in GMO OMG video and Interviewed on NPR…

Available now on Netflix



From NPR: We introduce you to the Contrary Farmer – Gene Logsdon – who’s facing his own mortality in his new book Gene Everlasting: A Contrary Farmer’s Thoughts on Living Forever.

Breakfast for Acorn Gatherers…


Laughing Frog Farm

I’ve just finished my morning bowl of acorn mush, and is it ever way better than it sounds or looks – you do not want to see its photo, trust me on that. Here’s the method I used…

First I put my harvest in a pail of water to sort out floaters. I’d skip this step next time, as there was only one. Then I dried them in the sun a few days. I cracked the shells with a hammer – lots of acorns ricocheting around the kitchen – then switched to a regular nutcracker, which works fine. There were a few worms, and a few more that had begun to mold (perhaps due to the unnecessary immersion in water).

I put the shelled acorn meats through the blender with water – one cup acorns / three cups water. Then I poured the mixture into a quart jar and set it in the refrigerator. The next morning, the acorn meal had settled to the bottom, and the water was dark orange with tannin. I poured off the water and added more, screwed the lid back on, shook the jar, and replaced it in the frig. I did this daily for a week, by which time the water was only barely discolored. This is really easy, and takes no more time than it does to read about it.

I’ve used the resulting glop as a thickener for soup and pudding as well as a breakfast. The taste is mildly nutty, like chestnuts. Today I added raisins, pecan bits, cacao nibs, and just a taste of maple syrup and coconut oil, and heated it until it bulked up into the consistency of oatmeal. I poured it over fresh pear chunks. Satisfying. Warming. Divine.
Please also see Acorns and Eat ‘Em PDF

Millennials Like ‘Organic’ — Even if They Have No Idea What It Means…


From The Atlantic

Some labels magically make food appear more nutritious.

In August, The New York Times ran an essay by Sam Tanenhaus that sought to sketch a comprehensive portrait of Millennials. Tanenhaus, who labeled Millennials monolithically as “Generation Nice,” devoted some space to discussing the shopping habits of this bold new generation: They’re drawn to socially-responsible companies, they’re mindful eaters, and they adore all things organic, even the cotton in their clothing. Tanenhaus left one thing out, though: They’re easy to manipulate.

Why I Reject Hell and Why You Should, Too…


From Godless In Dixie

I have lost my patience with this Hell business.  Completely.  Not too long ago, a reader wrote me this note:

“I was raised a fundamentalist, I took my faith very seriously, and I took it so seriously that eventually it all just disappeared. It couldn’t handle the contrary evidence, and eventually it just fell away. For three years after, I led a very happy life as an atheist, and didn’t give religion or theism a second thought until about 7 months ago I woke up in the middle of the night with a terrifying fear of hell. After a brief spat of trying to be a christian again, I realized once again that christian belief seemed both historically, philosophically, and scientifically unfounded, and I’m finally getting to the point where touching hot water or looking at a fire no longer sends me into a frenzy of imagining my whole body will be engulfed in flames for all eternity. However, I’m still tremendously saddened by core christian beliefs, and I feel so hurt that my life has been turned into a sort of high-stakes gamble for no apparent reason. I want to live my life freely, but it’s quite a challenge when every steeple serves as a reminder that most people in my country believe I’m going to be tortured for eternity, and when christian apologists are trolling the sites that I look to for help, making a very sophisticated case for how god is love – but that I’m still going to hell.

“I’m growing very tired of feeling trapped by religious thinking, and jumping at the sight of a church, a cross, or a Jesus fish. It hurts me that people could worship a deity who seems so morally bankrupt, and out of love (!) rather than fear. So, I was wondering, might you have any advice for how I can move forward in my life without feeling so bogged down by a belief system that I find so hurtful?” (emphasis mine)

Messages like this make my blood boil, and they should make yours boil, too.  How could it not?  Anger is the appropriate emotion when you encounter abuse, and that’s what this is no matter how well meaning the people were who put her in this position.

William Edelen: Thanksgiving Thoughts


The Contrary Minister (2002)

My mind is filled with thoughts of Thanksgiving. Thursday is the day we set aside to remember blessings that have enriched our days and graced our lives.

I sit back in my chair and let my eyes once again caress the walls of my study, feeling their energy feed my spirit. The book-lined walls, how I love them.

My heart pours out a very special thanksgiving to all of the great and magnificent spirits whose thoughts and words fill these shelves and offer a feast, waiting only for my mind and soul to partake.

Goethe is there, with Albert Schweitzer and Meister Eckhart, the German theologian. There is Jung, Russell and Whitehead, Loren Eiseley and Suzuki, the Zen master, with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. There is Learned Hand and Oliver Wendell Holmes, with e.e. cummings, Robert Frost and hundreds more, waiting to once again fill my spirit with food that is timeless.

Does Religion Cause More Harm than Good? Brits Say Yes. Here’s Why They May be Right…


From Valerie Tarico

Most British people think religion causes more harm than good according to a surveycommissioned by the Huffington Post. Surprisingly, even among those who describe themselves as “very religious” 20 percent say that religion is harmful to society. For that we can probably thank the internet, which broadcasts everything from Isis beheadings, to stories about Catholic hospitals denying care to miscarrying women, to lists of wild and weird religious beliefs, to articles about psychological harms from Bible-believing Christianity.

In 2010, sociologist Phil Zuckerman published Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment. Zuckerman lined up evidence that the least religious societies also tend to be the most peaceful, prosperous and equitable, with public policies that help people to flourish while decreasing both desperation and economic gluttony.

We can debate whether prosperity and peace lead people to be less religious or vice versa. Indeed evidence supports the view that religion thrives on existential anxiety. But even if this is the case, there’s good reason to suspect that the connection between religion and malfunctioning societies goes both ways. It may be hard to measure whether net-net religion does more harm than good, but here are six ways we know that religions make peaceful prosperity harder to achieve.

Will Parrish: Impending Fish Disaster in the Klamath-Trinity


Wild salmon have splashed their way up the Klamath River and its tributaries — including the largest of those tributaries, the Trinity River — for at least 12,000 years. Owing to a geological peculiarity, the Klamath Basin was a refuge for countless forms of wildlife at the time. Located just south of the glacial formations that covered much of the western hemisphere’s lands, but just west of the volcanoes that rendered much of Northern California uninhabitable, the Klamath hosted an enormous diversity of wildlife that eventually spread across much of the American West.

Nowadays, the Klamath-Trinity have an altogether bleaker distinction: They are California’s greatest remain refuge for wild salmon. During the Arcadian time that endured prior to Euro-American arrival, the salmon lashed rivers into whiteness throughout Northern and Central California. People could walk across rivers on the back of the migrating fish. Now, the Klamath-Trinity — which courses through the wildest corners of California and Southern Oregon — stands as the only river system in the Golden State where runs of non-hatchery salmon still return most years by the tens of thousands.

Todd Walton: Stockholm Syndrome

t2Merlin pen and ink by Todd

Under The Table Books

“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” James Madison

In the days following the latest American election, I found myself musing about why so many people voted for so many cruel, stupid, shortsighted representatives and approved propositions designed to destroy our environment and our healthcare system? Why would millions of people elect the kinds of representatives who have done nothing but wreck our society for the past fifty years? Can we chock this up to mass stupidity? I used to think we could, but this election caused me to seek a slightly more sophisticated explanation, and though I may be wrong, here is what I came up with. America suffers from a severe case of the Oslo Syndrome.

What is the Oslo syndrome? The Oslo syndrome is a corollary of the Stockholm syndrome. Also known as capture-bonding, the Stockholm syndrome is the psychological phenomenon of a hostage or battered wife or terrified military recruit or a victim of fraternity hazing, empathizing and sympathizing with his or her captors in order to enhance his or her chances of survival, even going so far as defending those captors and ultimately identifying with them. The Oslo Syndrome occurs when an entire people is afflicted with the Stockholm syndrome.

A two-century fight for the small, the local and the beautiful…

wbWendell Berry

From Transition Voice

Twentieth-century America witnessed the blossoming of Agrarianism as an intellectual and cultural movement. Its roots lay within the mythos of the early American Republic, which cast the self-sufficient yeoman farm family as the foundation of ordered liberty. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1785:

Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty by the most lasting bonds.

Similar early celebrations of Agrarianism came from Jean Hector St. John de Crevecoeur (Letters from an American Farmer, 1782) and John Taylor of Caroline (Arator, 1813). Such paeans to the largely self-sufficient family farm reflected certain realities of that era. In the fateful year of 1776, about 90 percent of all Americans resided on farms and plantations. Despite the rapid growth of factories and cities in the next century, the number of farms and persons on farms continued to grow, reaching peaks – respectively – of 6 million and 31 million in 1917.

Fukushima: Twice as much Fukushima radiation near California coast than originally reported — Gundersen: Multiple plumes now along west coast…



Twice as much Fukushima radiation near California coast than originally reported; Highest levels found anywhere in Eastern Pacific — Scientist: Very little we can do… It’s unprecedented… God forbid anything else happens — Gundersen: Multiple plumes now along west coast… Will be coming “for century or more” (AUDIO)

Seattle Post Intelligencer, Nov 11, 2014 (emphasis added): Mike Priddy, supervisor of Washington’s Environmental Sciences Section [wrote] in an email exchange today: “… if the water has radioactive material in it at any level, coming into contact with it will cause the contamination to transfer. That said, the levels… pose no real health affects… whether you come in contact with the water or somehow casually ingest itThe levels I have seen in seawater are interesting from a scientific point of view, but well below health concerns.”

KHUM, Nov. 12, 2014 — Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (10:00 in): In winter time… offshore waters might move inshore… I’m hoping to get samples… as this plume moves its way maybe on to shore.

Take Two Show, Nov. 14, 2014 — Host: The thing that I read that did do a good job of reassuring me was a comparison to a dental x-ray. Maybe tell us that one? Buesseler: We’re comparing to a dental x-ray because that’s something people experience and choose to do… The risk is never zero, any additional radioactivity can cause additional cancers… There’s really very little we can do once its in the ocean. Fukushima was an unprecedented event… God forbid something happens today, it’s pretty unstable off Japan.

Meeting Tonight 11/20/14 Regarding MendoVito proposal to build 3,000 to 4,000 houses in McDowell Valley, off State Route 175…


Meeting Reminder: 7 pm at Shipley Hall, Hopland Research Station

A complete presentation of the project will be made Thursday at the Rod Shippey Hall, at the UC Extension Center, 4070 University Road in Hopland.

More Info:

Pre-Registering Required: Call Amber at the extension center, at 744-1424 ext. 101 or visiting HERE  to ensure space is available. Lewenz and four other staff members involved in the project will be in attendance.





Recipe: Twice Baked Irish Potatoes with Stout Beer and Fresh Kale…

From Cooking Up A Story

Ivy Manning—In the Kitchen

First, Ivy Manning visited with Shari Sirkin, of Dancing Roots Farm, and learned more about kale. Now it’s time to take that kale into the kitchen and create something delicious and easy to make, with ingredients that are commonly found in most kitchens! Full Disclosure: I made this Irish Potatoes dish for my family—it’s wonderful!

“What’s your favorite potato story?” Gene Theil, the spunky potato farmer nicknamed “ Gene the Potato Machine,” asked me one crisp November morning as I chose from his table of russets. I drew a blank. “Everyone has a potato story,” he assured me. It finally dawned on me: colcannon. My grandmother used to make the satisfying mash of kale or cabbage and potatoes for me when I was a kid. She said its origins came from necessity when times were tough in Ireland. Women would add kale, cabbage, or even seaweed to their mashed potatoes to stretch the meager harvest;– the greener the colcannon, the tougher the times. Gene was happy to hear that he was right again, we all have a potato story. My love of simple but comforting colcannon inspired this satisfying variation of double- stuffed potatoes; it’s a sort of Irish soul food, if you will.

How Much Does Soil Influence Taste?

The Contrary Farmer

I had no more finished the post two weeks ago about improving vegetable taste, when I read an interesting interview with Eliot Coleman, a name you all recognize, in the November issue of Acres U.S.A. Eliot has been a leader in perfecting year-round, organic farming— in Maine of all places. One of his most popular crops is “candy carrots” and how he grows them is pertinent to our discussion.  He plants carrots, around the first of August, and when winter cold arrives, he slides a movable greenhouse over the carrots so that the ground doesn’t freeze. He has learned that with a double cover, or a cold frame under a fabric greenhouse cover, the ground, though plenty cold, doesn’t freeze.  In the interview, he says: “When you leave carrots in the ground like this, they protect themselves against the cold by changing some of their starch to sugar, sort of like antifreeze. These are known locally as candy carrots.  We’ve been told by parents that our carrots are the trading item of choice in local grade school lunch boxes.”  

That’s the kind of detail about growing food for better taste that is so intriguing to contemplate. Do we know very much about soil in terms of health and food taste even with all the scientific effort that has been put to it? Does better taste mean better nutrition in the first place? I recently read about Lakeview Organic Grain Farm in upstate New York, known for its flour made from emmer, an old form of wheat.

This Video Featuring the Children of Saudi Blogger Punished for “Insulting Islam” Will Bring Tears to Your Eyes…


From Friendly Atheist

30-year-old Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi was punished last year for starting a progressive website that called for, among other things, religious tolerance and women’s rights. That was insulting to Islam, said his critics, and he now faces 10 Years in jail along with 1,000 lashes.

In a video created by Amnesty International Canada, his children narrate a letter they’ve written to their father… and… um… I’d tell you more but there’s something liquid-y streaming down my face.

The part at 2:21, especially, is just heartbreaking…

I don’t know if it’ll help, but you can easily write a letter to the King of Saudi Arabia right here urging him to drop all charges against Badawi.

Jan Hoyman interview just posted at Mendocino Talking…


(Jan Hoyman owns the Jan Hoyman Pottery Studio ( at 323 North Main Street in Ukiah. She was born in Oshkosh Wisconsin, then moved to Goshen Indiana, the heart of Mennonite Amish country. First daughter, second child of five. Attended Indiana University, took some art classes in college, became “enamored with clay” but decided she had to go to California in 1976 because “the Beach Boys were singing about it all the time.” That’s as good a reason as any. Jan continues…) 

Full interview here

The Instability Express…


From James Kunstler

The mentally-challenged kibitzers “out there” — in the hills and hollows of the commentary universe, cable news, the blogosphere, and the pathetic vestige of newspaperdom — are all jumping up and down in a rapture over cheap gasoline prices. Overlay on this picture the fairy tale of coming US energy independence, stir in the approach of winter in the North Dakota shale oil fields, put an early November polar vortexcherry on top, and you have quite a recipe for smashed expectations.

Wake up and oppose theocracy: Bill Maher, Rula Jebreal and the urgent Islam debate…

From Salon

Wake up and oppose theocracy: Bill Maher, Rula Jebreal and the urgent Islam debate

Since he delivered his “Real Time” monologue against liberals who treat Islam with excessive deference a month ago, the comedian Bill Maher has suffered all sorts of ill-informed censure aiming to set him on the Straight and Narrow about the faith of 1.6 billion Muslims the world over. Reza Aslan, a frequent guest on “Real Time,” chided him for coming from “a place of complete amateurness on religion” and using “facile” arguments against it. In an emotional confrontation on the show, Ben Affleck pronounced Maher’s (factual, poll-based) statements about Islam “gross” and “racist.” Yet another “Real Time” invitee, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, declared in print that those (including Maher) who “generalize” about Islam are tantamount to bigots and racial profilers.


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