Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Archive for February, 2010|Monthly archive page

The Archdruid Hits The Doomer Red Alert Button

In Around the web on February 4, 2010 at 9:04 pm

The Archdruid Report
Author, The Long Descent


I’ve mentioned more than once in these essays the foreshortening effect that textbook history can have on our understanding of the historical events going on around us. The stark chronologies most of us get fed in school can make it hard to remember that even the most drastic social changes happen over time, amid the fabric of everyday life and a flurry of events that can seem more important at the time.

This becomes especially problematic in times like the present, when apocalyptic prophecy is a central trope in the popular culture that frames a people’s hopes and fears for the future. When the collective imagination becomes obsessed with the dream of a sudden cataclysm that sweeps away the old world overnight and ushers in the new, even relatively rapid social changes can pass by unnoticed. The twilight years of Rome offer a good object lesson; so many people were convinced that the Second Coming might occur at any moment that the collapse of classical civilization went almost unnoticed; only a tiny handful of writers from those years show any recognition that something out of the ordinary was happening at all.

Reflections of this sort have been much on my mind lately, and there’s a reason for that. Scattered among the statistical noise that makes up most of today’s news are data points that suggest to me that business as usual is quietly coming to an end around us, launching us into a new world for which very few of us have made any preparations at all.

Here’s one example. Friends of mine in a couple of midwestern states have mentioned that the steady trickle of refugees from the Chicago slums into their communities has taken a sharp turn up. more→

Hen Song

In Guest Posts on February 4, 2010 at 8:52 am

The Contrary Farmer

For many years I could not understand why the sound of singing hens soothed me so much. Hen song is hardly melodic, being composed of two or three notes at most. It is plaintive in fact, a far cry from the bubbling warble of a bluebird or the soaring lilt of a meadowlark. Hen song is plainsong, equivalent to the way any of us might hum our way through the humble chores of daily life. It is quite different from the excited cackles that Mrs. Hen voices to announce that she has just laid an egg or been surprised by a cat. Nor is there any hint in it of her sharp warning cry when a hawk flies over. Hen song only keeps from slipping into humdrum because if often comes pouring forth from Mrs. Hen in a burst of what sounds like pure exultation at just being alive on a warm spring day and knowing that on her very next scratching in the soil, she is going to turn up a juicy worm to eat. You never hear hen song when the temperature is near zero and the north wind is blowing.

Hen song has even influenced human song on occasion. The Cackle Sisters, Carolyn and Mary Jane DeZurick, were quite popular fifty years ago. In their singing, mostly yodeling, they often imitated the music of the barnyard, especially hen song. Hence their stage name. Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, their music enjoyed a bit of resurgence about five years ago. Interestingly I heard them on National Public Radio, hardly a country music station.

I finally figured out why singing hens cast a spell of tranquility over me. It’s not because the sound is a harbinger of a nice warm day free of hen stress although that may be a contributing factor. It is because as a child, playing around our farmhouse, hardly two hundred feet from the chicken coop, I was unconsciously hearing hen song all day long…

More at The Contrary Farmer

Ukiah: Free-Range Organic Chicken CSA Signups

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on February 3, 2010 at 8:18 pm

From Adam and Paula
Mendocino Organics CSA

Do you crave yummy, local, organic chicken? Free-range? Mendocino Organics has it! And when we say “free-range,” we’re not talking about birds that live in a warehouse with a door to the outside that they never use. If you really want, you can visit these birds pasturing on our farm, adding fertility to the soil.

The chickens leave the brooder and move to the garden at 4 weeks.

In the spirit of community supported agriculture and agriculture supported community, Mendocino Organics is selling chicken CSA shares this spring. Right now, we are making our shares available to Ukiah-area residents. more→

The Enemy Is At Home

In Around the web on February 3, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Here is a short video of a speech given by a military soldier explaining the simple truth as to why we are actually in Iraq.


See also Iraq to sue US, Britain over depleted uranium bombs
Thanks to Don Sanderson

News from Westside Renaissance Market and Art Gallery on Clay Street

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on February 3, 2010 at 7:10 am

Holly Cratty Fine Art→


[Shop Locally-Owned! -DS]

Event THIS Friday. Information below.

Finally! The week when the WRM gets hot, food that is. Friday we expect our 1st delivery of Local Flavor‘s yummy pizza, which we will serve hot by the slice. We expect to feature the pizza regularly on Wednesday and Friday … assuming that you come get it. Until we get a sense of demand, production of these chewy golden discs will be limited to a few a day.

We are working on hot chicken from Kemmy’s for Tuesday. That leaves Monday and Thursday for ???

Karen Rifkin’s peanut butter pies are now in stock. Come find out why they were famous back in the day of the Palace Hotel. Once your taste buds fathom how rich these are, you will come to appreciate the relatively small serving size. Some things are not meant to be super-sized.

Don’t forget, we now have Haig’s hummus, falafel and dolmas, plus Sukhi’s gourmet potato samosas with mint chutney (vegan), hand-crafted in Berkeley and favorites in Bay Area farmers’ markets, and Paramount Piroshkis from SF’s Potrero Hill neighborhood. The piroshkis are a hungry person’s dream. Big, filling, flavorful and $2,25.

Also new: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons we have added Cafe Beaujolais’ Olive Rosemary Fougasse to the bread line-up. You want to get this unique, strongly flavored bread when it is fresh. Welcome our newest supplier, Maisie Jane‘s. You can find out about this line of all natural plain and flavored, high quality nuts & champion of small family farming heremore→

Sprezzatura Pasta

In Organic Food & Recipes on February 2, 2010 at 9:37 pm


This dish, invented by my brother, Dave, is very simple — nothing more than penne pasta with Parmesan and chard. But it’s not really easy. The exact amount of each ingredient isn’t as important; you can vary them if you like. The trick seems to be in the timing during the sauté stage.

It’s also not a bad idea to halve this recipe, as it makes the stage in the sauté pan more manageable. If you don’t feel you’ve got it right the first time, don’t give up. It may take some practice.
1 lb. dried penne pasta
~ Olive oil
5 to 6 cloves garlic, roughly minced
1 bunch chard (about 10 leaves), roughly chopped
1 handful pine nuts (optional)
1½ to 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
~ Salt to taste


  1. Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water. Undercook it slightly, because it’s going to get tossed into a sauté pan and cooked some more later. Drain the pasta and run it under cold water to stop the cooking. Sprinkle it with a little olive oil and mix it up to keep it from sticking together.
  2. Pour about three tablespoons of olive oil into a large skillet (about 14 inches across). Over medium heat, sauté the garlic for just a minute, then toss in the chard and sauté until the greens have wilted.
  3. Turn the heat to high and toss in the penne. If the full pound of pasta seems too much, just use as much as you can manage in the pan. If you’re using the pine nuts, toss them in, too. Mix everything up, then let it cook for a minute or so. (The pasta will want to stick to the pan if you’re not using a nonstick pan, and that’s OK.) Add the Parmesan and mix again.

More at

Homemade Cough Syrup: Natural Home Remedies for Persistent Coughs

In Around the web on February 2, 2010 at 9:36 pm


Monster Mall: A million dollars could not buy us off!

In Around Mendo Island on February 2, 2010 at 9:34 am

Record $1 million spent on Mendocino fight over big-box development

The Press Democrat
Thanks to Ron Epstein

Developers spent a record-breaking $917,375 on a failed ballot measure that would have allowed them to bypass Mendocino County’s planning process and build the county’s largest commercial development.

Ohio-based Developers Diversified Realty and Texas businessman David Berndt last year invested almost $102 for each of the 9,022 “yes” votes they won, only to see nearly 2 of every 3 voters reject their plan.

Measure A opponents spent $107,135, or $7 for each of the 15,292 votes that defeated the measure, according to final campaign reports filed Monday.

The ballot box battle over the Ukiah Valley’s planning process slashed the previous record held by a 2004 ballot measure that banned production of genetically modified crops in the county.

During that ballot campaign, agribusiness corporations spent almost $688,000 in a futile effort to defeat Measure H. Measure H proponents spent just over $145,000.

Measure A would have freed developers to build up to 800,000 square feet of retail stores and other commercial buildings on 80 acres at the former Masonite plant property just outside Ukiah without going through the county planning process.

Developers Diversified officials have yet to divulge what they plan to do next with the property, which they purchased for $6.5 million in 2006. They reportedly are in negotiations to sell a portion of the land to Costco.

Developers Diversified took the project to voters last year, saying the county process was too cumbersome and lengthy. They also said they did not believe the current county Board of Supervisors would approve the project.


Community Food Enterprise: Local Success in a Global Marketplace

In Small Business Skills on February 1, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Post Carbon Institute Fellow for Local Economies
Via Energy Bulletin

Article Excerpt
It’s time to connect the headlines between persistent unemployment in the United States and growing food insecurity. The next Obama stimulus package should focus on how local food can address both simultaneously.

A study done two years ago found that a 20% shift of retail food spending in Detroit redirected to locally grown foods would create 5,000 jobs and increase local output by half a billion dollars. A similar shift to Detroit-grown food by those living in the five surrounding counties would create 35,000 jobs – far more than ever will come out of the multibillion-dollar bailout of the auto industry. The experience of microenterprise organizations around the country suggests that each of these jobs can be created for $2,000-3,000 of public money–a tiny fraction of the price of the last stimulus.

To some skeptics, locavorism is a cute hobby only embraced by Prius-driving environmentalists in rich countries. Libertarians like those at the Cato Institute argue that the best way to localize is to open Walmarts in every community. Progressives like Peter Singer of Princeton University ask, “If you’re living in a prosperous part of the United States, what’s really ethical about supporting the economy around you rather than, say, buying fairly traded produce from Bangladesh, where you might be supporting smaller, poorer farmers who need a market for their goods?”…

Originally published January 25, 2010 in The Huffington Post

Report Excerpt
From the executive summary of Community Food Enterprise: Local Success in a Global Marketplace, by Michael Shuman, Alissa Barron and Wendy Wasserman more→

New! Conservers Club Tracking Polls

In !ACTION CENTER!, Dave Smith on February 1, 2010 at 9:22 am


To the Banksters and Titans of Industry, you and I are considered consumers. Not citizens. Not human beings. Just gaping pie-holes that needs stuffing with more of their stuff. They spend billions and billions of dollars trying to get our attention to sell us more stuff.

More and more stuff is killing our earth and our future.

Enough, already!

Conserve or consume. We have a choice. The future is up to us.

We can cut our energy use in half and have more fulfilling lives.

Or we can continue in status quo mode and face a grim and disastrous future.

We each make a thousand decisions a day that lead to our shared future.

We can go it alone, or we can choose to help each other into a better life.

How are you doing?


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