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Archive for the ‘Around Mendo Island’ Category

Will Parrish: Once A Lawyer, Now A Tree Sitter…

In Around Mendo Island, Will Parrish on June 15, 2013 at 5:01 pm

tTanya Ridino


The Clean Water Act lawsuit that aims to halt construction of the California Department of Transportation’s current version of the Willits Bypass will be heard in a San Francisco federal court on June 21st. Filed by the Willits Environmental Center, the Redwood chapter of the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Environmental Protection Information Center against CalTrans, the Federal Highway Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the suit aims to compel these agencies to examine less damaging and costly ways of addressing regional traffic problems and traffic problems in Willits, and to examine the legitimacy of CalTrans’ mitigation plan.

Federal Judge Jeffrey White denied a preliminary injunction last September that would have halted work on the project, which constituted a kind of preliminary ruling on the case. White has left open the possibility of ruling otherwise if the plaintiffs provide new evidence that he finds convincing. Following the hearing, he has up to 90 days to render a decision. The ruling appears likely to go in CalTrans’ favor.

Meanwhile, the Bypass can now lay claim to having inspired perhaps the first-ever lawyer-turned-tree-sitter.


Skill Share at the Todd Grove Park Ukiah Today Saturday 6/15/13 10 – 4

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on June 14, 2013 at 9:15 am


Mendo Free Skool & Transition Ukiah Valley

present a


Sat., June 15 from 10 AM to 4PM

Todd Grove Park Ukiah

Three 90 minute workshop sessions

beginning at 10:15, 12:45, & 2:30

Potluck lunch at 11:45
(so bring a dishes and sturdy dishes if you want to join us for lunch)

Likely skills you can learn are:

Tai Chi, fermented foods, primitive skills, bike repair (so bring your bike if it needs fixing), Charleston and Electric Slide dances, drumming, knitting, hula hoop making, kid’s use of tools,  Art, solar oven cooking, rope knot tying,and many more.

If you have a skill you’d like to present, contact us.  Or if you can help with set up that morning at 8:30 or clean-up afterward, or help during the day, also contact us

And the second

REALLY REALLY FREEMARKET will be happening in the park at the same time. Bring items you no longer want but that still have a useful life. Find new treasures to take home with you. It’sREALLY REALLY FREE.

For more information, contact us at 235-9080 or and after June 12th, check the Mendo Free Skool and the Transition Ukiah Valley websites and Facebook pages for a list of the exact skills offered and times.


Statement from Will Parrish: “The Greatest Gift Mendocino County Could Give The World Is To Stop The Willits Bypass”

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on May 22, 2013 at 8:00 am

Little Lake circa 1905. Picture housed at Mendocino Historical Society.Little Lake circa 1905: closer to their original state.


“Red-Tailed Hawk,” aka Will Parrish (a local journalist), issued the following statement from his tree sit, May 20th.

“On May 14th, I ascended roughly 70 feet into a 100-foot tall valley oak that stands in the path of the California Department of Transportation’s proposed six-mile freeway (“The Willits Bypass”) through Little Lake Valley. This tree, which has a nearly six-foot trunk and is covered from top to bottom with an intricate tapestry of lichens and moss, stands amid hundreds of ash trees in a lustrous grove in the north Little Lake Valley wetlands. The tree is certainly older than the State of California. It may be older than the United States of America.

This mighty oak stands like a sentinel at the southern edge of the ash grove. In its life, it has experienced the gridding, platting, and draining of its wetlands home for cattle ranching and the construction of Highway 101. It has experienced Euroamericans’ destruction of the Central Pomo people, who referred to the valley by the evocatively intimate name Mto’m-kai – a name that closely translates to “Valley of Water Splashing the Toes.” It has experienced the wetlands as they existed when the Pomo and early Euroamericans lived here, as an incredibly vibrant and life-sustaining ecosystem:

The tree’s days are likely numbered, though, as are those of the entire ash grove and nearly 90 acres of these wetlands, which CalTrans intends to drain, fill, and pave over to build its highway. It would be the most extensive destruction of any wetlands in Northern California in more than a half-century.


Willits Bypass Protesters Get a New Tree Sitter: Will Parrish…

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on May 17, 2013 at 7:31 am



As of Wednesday, Redtail Hawk landed in Condor’s nest and has roosted there. Condor has gone flying out in the Valley. Redtail brought a 25 foot banner with him that reads, ‘Save Our Water. Stop Caltrans NOW!’ The banner is visible from 101.

Redtail Hawk also goes by the name of Will Parrish. Parrish is a Ukiah resident who has been an instrumental part of the Bypass campaign. He is an activist and well known local journalist, who has written about and worked on forest and water protection, indigenous peoples land rights, nuclear weapons abolition, immigrant justice, and many other issues. He hasi written aabout dozen articles on the bypass and the resistance to it. To read Parrish’s most recent article on Caltrans mitigation debacle, click here.

This tree sit is in an Oregon ash grove just east of Highway 101, roughly a mile north of Willits High School. The tree is perched in one of the grove’s only oak trees. It is a valley oak at least 200 years old, one of precisely 1,815 oaks CalTrans inventoried to cut down.

This is the first tree sit in the wetlands area of the bypass construction zone, and has been strategically nested to bring attention to the activity happening in the wetlands currently. In a phone call with Redtail Hawk, he described the scene he is witnessing: Caltrans has brought in the wick drains and wick drain machine they will use to install the 55,000 wick drains to drain the wetlands, and they have begun test pile driving 100 foot steel tubes into the wetlands.

The current tree sit, and Condor and Redtail’s nesting in it, is to block destruction of this grove of trees in the wetlands, and to call attention to the destruction of the wetlands that is now beginning. More…

Chris Hardaker: Willits Bypass — These Desperate Times…

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on May 14, 2013 at 7:15 am



Good Morning, Mendo!

What a magical place for a desert rat. The trees, the ferns, the critters, the beards, the smoke. And grass! Actual grass growing anywhere it wants and can; and sometimes it even grows cows! And water, water everywhere.

Damn, this is the first county that defeated Monsanto. It’s in Guinness. A political superstar composed of grass roots. The people’s victory, literally. The sanctity of the environment is a sacred mission to all those who care. Kudos. Monsanto lost the battle. And you kept your seeds.

You defeated Monsanto and banned GMOs. Okay, great. But what has it really done to stem the tide? Okay, maybe a hell of a lot, since it got the news out there internationally. You made Anti-GMO, and probably Monsanto is Evil, a household word for those who still care to read or listen. Okay. Really okay. Prescient. Yaaaay for Mendo. A circle of determined people really made it happen. The rest was signatures and votes. But as a county, as the joke goes, what have you done for me lately?

If you want the answer, his name is Jack Shit. There’s a goddam four barrel attack on one of your most precious corners of the county More…

Willits Bypass: Hard-hitting feature story on ABC7 News…

In Around Mendo Island on May 11, 2013 at 8:53 am


From Save Little Lake Valley

If you live in the Bay Area, you know bad traffic can be. There are thousands of cars backed up in the same spots day after day. Many of those communities could make good use of $200 million of taxpayer money to improve their highways. Instead, that money is going north to a little town where traffic is actually going down.

There have been angry protests, tree sitters, and senior citizens begging to be arrested over this issue. It is happening in the normally quiet town of Willits where residents are at odds over a massive highway bypass that will cost at least $210 million.

“It’s insane to put this much money into a project that isn’t necessary,” said one protester.

Willits is 135 miles north of San Francisco on Highway 101. It is the major route through Mendocino County and north to Eureka. Just south of Willits, Highway 101 is a four-lane freeway, but when it comes into town 101 turns into Main Street with five traffic lights. So Caltrans wants to build a freeway to bypass Willits.

“To improve inter-regional traffic along 101. 101 is a very important corridor for commerce and for just people going on vacation,” said Phil Frisbie, a Caltrans spokesman.


Save Little Lake Valley Benefit Dance Tonight 4/20/13 7pm Willits Grange Hall…

In Around Mendo Island on April 20, 2013 at 10:38 am


‘A Fierce Green Fire’ Film Coming To Ukiah Monday, Earth Day, 4/22/13, 6:30 pm…

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on April 18, 2013 at 7:35 am

A FIERCE GREEN FIRE is a film showing on Monday night, EARTH DAY, April 22 at the Ukiah City Council chambers at S. Oak St. and Seminary Dr. It is FREE to people 25 years old and younger.  We suggest a donation of $5 to $10 for people over 25. It is co-sponsored by the Environmental Club at Ukiah High, Transition Ukiah Valley, the Mendocino Environmental Center, Save Our Little Lake Valley, Cloud Forest Institute, the Alliance for Democracy, and Transition Lake County.

Doors open at 6pm and the film starts at 6:30.

Spanning 50 years of grassroots and global activism, this Sundance documentary brings to light the vital stories of the environmental movement where people fought — and succeeded — against enormous odds. From halting dams in the Grand Canyon to fighting toxic waste at Love Canal; from Greenpeace to Chico Mendes; from climate change to the promise of transforming our civilization, A Fierce Green Fire is the history of environmentalism’s greatest hits.

From the Academy Award-nominated director of “Berkeley in the Sixties”, and narrated by Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Ashley Judd, Van Jones and Isabel Allende.

Will Parrish: Inside The Willits Bypass Protests…

In Around Mendo Island, Will Parrish on April 12, 2013 at 6:55 am



On April 2nd, the California Highway Patrol rolled into Willits with enough force to overrun roughly a third of United Nations member states. Roughly 25 CHP squad cars deployed underneath The Warbler’s pine tree south of town by 7am. A CHP SWAT team that “serves as a rapid deployment force and provides counter-assault team support,” as the Patrol’s web site puts it, ascended into the tree via a bucket loader with a roughly 150-foot crane. One member of the unit announced himself in the platform with a pair of guns slung around his torso, as another reportedly told The Warbler they were prepared to use “any means necessary” to remove her from the tree.

Amanda Senseman, after 65 days in the tree, her body weakened by five days of being on hunger strike, did not resist the SWAT officers’ efforts to remove her. They bundled her up into the bucket loader in such a way as to shield her from the roughly 20 people who were gathered across from her tree on short notice to witness and protest the extraction. Unbeknownst to the crowd, she was forced into a CHP cruiser; not until the cruiser sped away from Caltrans’ construction haul road, headed north on Highway 101, did any of The Warbler’s supporters realize she had been arrested.

Several people made a mad dash toward the squad car, if only as a frantic final way of demonstrating their allegiance to The Warbler and her Promethean efforts to protect Little Lake Valley. Sara Grusky of Save Little Lake Valley and I were arrested for being in Highway 101 as the extraction occurred. Minutes later, Caltrans’ “vegetation removal” sub-contractor, Atlas Tree Surgery of Santa Rosa, ripped through the trunk of her stately 110-foot tree More…

Mendocino Organics Newsletter: Farm Tour for CSA Members 4/13/13…

In Around Mendo Island on April 9, 2013 at 5:19 am

Mendocino Organics

It’s grey and wet today, but we’re busy as ever with CSA veggie planting, bottle-feeding kid goats, and keeping our sheep in check in the vineyard. Spinach and peas are popping up out of the ground as are the beets and carrots. Potatoes have been planted in Potter Valley and starting to break the surface. Lettuce is thriving in the high tunnel. We have one soil test back and we’re calculating nutrient requirements for the different crops to see if we need to add any amendments. And our yearly organic crop inspection is coming up next week!

Yes, it’s busy on the farm, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have time for you to come visit with us! Many thanks for supporting our farm – your farm. There are currently 26 CSA shareholders, with the hope for at least 50 members this year.

Cashflowing the farm is extremely tight, meat sales are helping subsidize the vegetable cropping, and we’re making cuts in the budget to make ends meet. We are keeping up on bills, but we still need to put significant investment into upgrading our postharvest handling, including the walk-in cooler. But, we’re still getting crops in the ground and hope that commodity prices are favorable this year. We will most likely have to sell certain surplus crops to Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op and restaurants. Local restaurants are tricky to sell to because they typically pay very low prices for very low volume, but we have a good relationship with Bar Agricole (a James Beard Foundation Award Finalist this year!) in San Francisco who always wants more of our produce. The Ukiah Unified School District is also interested in our produce.

If you know someone interested in joining our CSA More…

James Lee: The Bigger Picture Behind The Willits Bypass…

In Around Mendo Island, James Lee on April 6, 2013 at 7:30 am

Will-ArrestedJournalist/Protester Will Parrish Arrested

Anderson Valley

It is important to understand that the much bigger picture game is all about opening up the North CA corridor for mineral and timber extraction:

“What rarely gets mentioned is that the Willits bypass is part an ongoing series of Caltrans projects designed to open up the California North Coast to large trucks, thereby creating a through loop to foment the development of Humboldt and Del Norte counties (where these trucks are currently banned). The best we can hope for is an informed citizenry willing to stand in the way of bulldozers poised to do irreversible damage to a pristine valley once the deal-makers have provided the project with legal cover.”
GREG KING President, Siskiyou Land Conservancy.

This is verified by the recent sale of the Press Democrat to local politico’s who have deep interests in mineral and timber extraction:

“As reported this morning, the Press Democrat has been sold by Florida-based interim owners Halifax Media Acquisitions to a group of local investors, including lobbyist and developer Darius Anderson and former North Coast Congressman Doug Bosco.

Other key players in the purchase group include Steven Falk, former president and publisher of the San Francisco Chronicle and chief executive of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and Bill Hooper, president of Anderson’s development firm, Kenwood Investments, and a former executive with Clear Channel Outdoor, the billboard advertising company. More…

Willits Bypass Protests: 198 Methods of Nonviolent Direct Action…

In Around Mendo Island on April 4, 2013 at 6:19 am

p[Really Dumb, Katz! -DS]


[The treesitter who threw his waste at the CHP officer has done a huge disservice to the overall effort to stop this boondoggle... Ditto for the screeching fools shouting obscenities. It’s what happens when there’s no demo discipline — nutballs do their thing, public attention is diverted on to them, the greater public is estranged, the issues get lost. -TheAVA]

Practitioners of nonviolent struggle have an entire arsenal of “nonviolent weapons” at their disposal. Listed below are 198 of them, classified into three broad categories: nonviolent protest and persuasion, noncooperation (social, economic, and political), and nonviolent intervention. A description and historical examples of each can be found in volume two of The Politics of Nonviolent Action by Gene Sharp.

The Methods of Nonviolent Protest and Persuasion

Formal Statements
1. Public Speeches
2. Letters of opposition or support
3. Declarations by organizations and institutions
4. Signed public statements
5. Declarations of indictment and intention
6. Group or mass petitions

Communications with a Wider Audience
7. Slogans, caricatures, and symbols
8. Banners, posters, and displayed communications
9. Leaflets, pamphlets, and books
10. Newspapers and journals
11. Records, radio, and television
12. Skywriting and earthwriting

Group Representations
13. Deputations
14. Mock awards
15. Group lobbying
16. Picketing
17. Mock elections More…

Willits Bypass Rally for the Valley: Saturday 4/6/13…

In Around Mendo Island on April 4, 2013 at 6:00 am



Saturday, April 6th, 2:00-6:00pm
Willits’ Recreation Grove Park
@ E. Commercial St & S. Lenore Ave.

Come one, come all to an afternoon of music, speakers, and activities in honor of Little Lake Valley’s brave defenders—the tree sitters—and all those who have been working towards halting construction of the Bypass. Let’s move forward together into a new phase of our campaign to protect the valley’s ecology and economy from Big Orange’s unnecessary destruction.

The event will begin with a ceremony honoring the five tree sitters who were forcibly extracted by a CHP SWAT team on April 2nd: an opportunity for the greater community to demonstrate their appreciation. The Warbler is still on a hunger strike, and will be making her first public speech since she went up the Liberty Ponderosa on January 28th.

Confirmed musicians include Dirt Floor Band, The Real Sarahs, Madge Strong, and John Wagenet. Activities for people of all ages will take place, and literature tables will be set up.

Please spread the word, and bring the whole family. Stand with those who have risen up for Little Lake Valley!

Contact with questions or for more information, or stop by the new Save Our Little Lake Valley office space at 23 S. Main Street.

Julia Frech on Willits Bypass: The Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday will make history…

In Around Mendo Island, Stop Willits Bypass on March 28, 2013 at 6:07 am



[Losing our vote is the only threat that matters to an elected official... -DS]

Between 10:30 and 12:30, 30 people got up and spoke against sending a letter of support to Caltrans to continue construction on the Willits Bypass. After a break, 30 more people spoke up, making citizen dissent for the current construction unanimous. In some cases they were emotional about losing their valley and business, reminding the supervisors of their mission statement and the precautionary principle. Other testimonials brought up scientific studies, supporting evidence, and historical precedent. Some implored the supervisors to provide leadership in a world that is different than the one in which the Bypass plan was made 40 years ago, and to represent their constituents in Mendocino County. Every case was compelling, and together, the evidence was overwhelming: there is a better way to solve Willits traffic congestion, and support is overwhelming and growing.

After another break, Jared Huffman made a report on current items of interest to Mendocino County. Among them were the health of salmon fisheries and watersheds, the importance of reducing government spending on wasteful projects, and of the importance of reducing CO2 emissions and halting climate change. The supervisors agreed with him on these issues, making their forthcoming final statements and vote (on the bypass) conflict not just with their constituents, but to their stated concerns about government and the environment.


James Houle: The Willits Bypass and the Ukiah Costco…

In Around Mendo Island, James Houle on March 26, 2013 at 7:37 am

Redwood Valley

To the Board of Supervisors
Mendocino County

The Willits Bypass will allow through traffic on the Freeway to bypass the streets of Willits.  CalTrans advises that this will be good for our community, because it will get some of those big rigs off local streets and reduce air pollution. Phase I will cost over $200 million and the total could well be over $350 million if it is ever completed. It will not improve downtown backups for traffic headed toward Fort Bragg: this traffic will need to exit the new Highway 101 several miles north or south of town and drive through downtown streets to reach Highway 20 just as they do now.

While all of this is being discussed and protested to the north, the Ukiah City Council is proposing the opposite solution to their traffic problems. They want to use $6.2 million of local tax funds not to allow traffic to bypass Ukiah but to move it more efficiently into town. They want to expand freeway off-ramps and feeder roads so as to shuttle shoppers into Ukiah’s expanding Big Box stores along Airport Boulevard. Our visionary City Council feels this will be good for our community: generating new sources of sales tax revenue, even while admittedly forcing many smaller businesses to close.

Recommendations: First: The Board of Supervisors should lend its support to the effort by Senator Noreen Evans to get CalTrans to explain its justification for selection of what many see as the worst of the Bypass Options. Second: Insist that the Ukiah City Council explain to the public how their highway project will be financed, how loans will be repaid, and how this will impact the revenue sharing talks that continue between County and City.

Gina Covina: Bearing Witness to Little Lake Valley Destruction…

In Around Mendo Island, Gina Covina on March 23, 2013 at 6:30 am



Early yesterday morning, standing on the hillside across 101 from the Warbler’s tree-sit, at the south end of the proposed bypass. Orange traffic cones on both sides of 101 in both directions to keep cars from stopping. At the tree-sit pull-out, the many banners and signs of the people who can visualize a much better way, the table with maps and flyers and petitions and the notebook in which visitors write encouraging messages to the Warbler – all that, gone. Replaced with five CHP vehicles, a mix of black-and-whites and those beefy paddy-wagon-type pick-up trucks, a few CalTrans vehicles, a contractor’s truck, and directly under the Warbler’s tree, a clanging backhoe scraping the roadway wider. Way up the tree, the Warbler saw it and heard it loudest and clearest.

Over at East Hill Road the police presence was equally extravagant, with seven vehicles parked along Sanhedrin Way and patrolmen stationed all along the newly erected fence that cordons off the construction zone. Several hundred yards in is a ponderosa grove inhabited by new tree-sitters, Rain and John, one on a precarious-looking platform strung between two trees. Beneath them was the incessant roar and shudder of machinery that witnesses outside the perimeter fence couldn’t quite see. Over the top of the Manzanita/blackberry tangle that borders this woods, we saw the hardhat of the operator moving his machine back and forth as branches cracked. Moving along the perimeter revealed occasional clear views of the result – absolutely bare ground. Off to one side, the pile of trash that used to be a living web of grasses and insects and manzanitas and poison oak and little birds picking their nesting spots.

I hadn’t realized before just how essential the act of bearing witness to this destruction is to the process of change. To simply stand and watch, to allow ourselves to feel the obliteration of life that proceeds via fossil-fueled machinery, in the name of consecrating more ground to the domain of fossil-fueled machinery. Presiding grandmother-in-chief Sara Gruskey paced the perimeter fielding phone calls with tears lining her face. The prevailing mood held great sorrow and wild frustration, and at the same time an ever-deepening commitment. We know that when enough of us stand together More…

Willits Bypass Protest: Eight arrests, no violence, no resistance, no destruction of equipment or damage to land. Protesters transported to Mendocino County Jail…

In Around Mendo Island on March 22, 2013 at 5:11 am


Willits Weekly

WILLITS WEEKLY’S CAT LEE reporting from the CHP press conference Thursday regarding the Willits Bypass and related protest(s):

Eight arrests, no violence, no resistance, no destruction of equipment or damage to land. Protesters transported to Mendocino County Jail. About 20 CHP officers brought in from out of Mendocino County; here “as long as we’re needed.”

A statement from Steve Kruel, Public Information Officer, Ukiah CHP, regarding today’s arrests of eight protesters: “There are No Trespassing signs posted throughout the project, and our intent is to enforce that. So what we’ve done with the people who are trespassers is we’ve given them many opportunities, many dispersal orders and many opportunities to do that on their own. If they refuse to do that, then they’re being arrested for trespassing… The seven that I know of have all been for trespassing. I understand there has been an eighth arrest, but I don’t have any information on the eighth arrest.”

Those arrested were transported to Mendocino County Jail.

Seven arrests, as confirmed by CHP: Tara (or Cara?) Dragoni, no city listed; Jamie D. Chevalier – Willits; Matthew J. Caldwell, Willits; Sara L. Grusky, Willits; William E. (‘Will’) Parrish, Ukiah; Elizabeth K. Riegle (sp?), Forestville; Sandra E. Marshall, Redwood Valley.

When asked by the KZYX reporter “what provided the tipping point for you [CHP] to start arresting today,” Kruel responded: “They’re here to work without being interfered with. We respect the right of protesters to exercise their first amendment but if what they are doing exceeds what is intended by those rights or the right to demonstrate or if violence were ensued, we would take action to protect lives and property.”

PD reporter questioned if there was any exit strategy for removing Warbler from the tree. What’s your plan? More…

Stop the Willits Bypass: Action Alert In Effect For Thursday and Friday, 3/21 and 3/22…

In Around Mendo Island on March 21, 2013 at 7:10 am


From Save Little Lake Valley and The Warbler’s Tree Sit

The action alert we distributed the other day remains in effect. The Warbler’s Tree Sit Shuttle Service will again operate tomorrow and Friday — March 21st and 22nd. We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to ride over, visit the tree sit, and be of support in case of attempted construction activities or arrests by the California Highway Patrol. The tree sit shuttles depart from Bountiful Gardens’ storefront (near Our Yoga Center) in Evergreen Shopping Center, where Lo Bucks is located, on the south end of Willits. The shuttle service will start at 7 a.m. and continue throughout the morning.

You can stay posted to SOLLV’s electronic media tools —,, and our e-mail listserv — throughout the next few days. We will post bulletins as quickly as possible in case of major developments.

Though we again blocked Atlas Tree Surgery’s wood chipper machine from destroying habitat along the proposed CalTrans Bypass route on Monday, we fully expect them to return at some point this week. Also, we remain concerned about the possibility of an attempt by the California Highway Patrol to evict us. More…

Dr. Paul Lee: Alan Chadwick and the Origins of the Organic Movement in California…

In Around Mendo Island, Books on March 19, 2013 at 6:00 am

“It has taken me over thirty years to write this book. It tells the story of my starting the first organic garden at a university in the country, with Alan Chadwick, in 1967, who E. F. Schumacher called the world’s greatest gardener. I recount the gardens Alan developed after UC Santa Cruz; Saratoga; the Zen Center Farm at Green Gulch; Round Valley in Covelo, California; and Carmel in the Valley in West Virginia.

“I develop the philosophical background of Alan’s work and practice: the biodynamic and French Intensive systems he amalgamated. Biodynamics was developed by Rudolf Steiner in the early decades of the last century under the influence of Goethe who was Steiner’s great inspiration thanks to Goethe’s botanical studies. Goethe to Steiner to Chadwick represents the Vitalist tradition in defense of the integrity of organic nature as opposed to the Physicalist tradition of modern scientism reducing organic nature to matter.

“After we started the garden I had to find out why organic nature had been undermined by industrial society and why it had to be recovered and reaffirmed. Why did ‘organic’ have to become a buzz word? Why did industrialized and mechanized and commercialized food and flower production take over, supplanting natural and organic procedures? Why did they start calling factories plants? I tell you why. In my book! More…

James Houle: Costco Urban Decay Report…

In Around Mendo Island, James Houle on March 18, 2013 at 6:30 am

c1c2Before and After Costco
Northbound entry to Ukiah
See expanded version below…
Courtesy Dale La Forest & Associates

Redwood Valley

The ALH Urban & Regional Economics Analysis prepared last August by Environmental Science Associates, Inc. does a very inadequate job of characterizing the sales impacts of the proposed Costco Store upon retail food and beverage businesses in the Ukiah Market Area. Of all commercial sectors, ALH believes the food and beverages sector will be impacted most severely. There are a total of 26 groceries and supermarkets stretching from the Hopland to Willits and eastward to Lake County that ALH identifies as likely to experience some impact upon their sales volumes. Of these, seven are quite large including 2 Safeways (Ukiah and Willits), 2 Grocery Outlet Stores (Ukiah and Lakeport), Lucky (Ukiah), Raleys (Ukiah), and Food Maxx (Ukiah). ALH says there is “a potential for one of these larger supermarkets to close” and that large scale vacancies More…

Transition: Seed Swap at Farmers Market Today 3/16/13…

In Around Mendo Island on March 15, 2013 at 8:30 am

sThe corn cob husker is a popular feature at the Seed Swap

The Food & Seed Working Group of Transition Ukiah Valley is sponsoring a Seed Swap on Saturday, March 16th, at the Ukiah Farmers’ Market, Alex Thomas Plaza on School Street, 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Bring your dried, labeled seeds, preferably in envelopes.  Vegetables, flowers, natives, and herbs are welcome.  Share your bounty and pick up some new varieties. You do not have to bring seeds in order to get seeds.

For those who cannot attend Saturday, but wish to contribute, please leave your labeled seeds at Mulligan Books, 208 S. State Street, beforehand.

This is a great opportunity for experienced seed savers to share their knowledge of what is well-adapted to our local area, and for new gardeners to get started with free seeds and advice.

Contact: 707 485-0917 for more information.

Will Parrish: Protests Keep Caltrans At Bay (Stop Willits Bypass)…

In Around Mendo Island, Will Parrish on March 8, 2013 at 8:44 pm


Had it not been for a direct action last week by supporters of The Warbler’s tree sit south of Willits, this would have been the week CalTrans and its contractors dispatched crews with chainsaws and heavy equipment to mow down oak, madrone, manzanita, Oregon ash, and pine trees on the east side of Little Lake Valley, as a step toward construction of Big Orange’s planned new superhighway through Willits.

In conducting research for this story, I obtained a letter written by CalTrans Senior Resident Engineer Geoffrey T. Wright to the California State Water Resources Control Board, dated February 21st, with an update on CalTrans’ construction schedule. The following paragraph is the letter’s kicker.

“Caltrans and our Contractors will begin work Monday, February 25, 2013, by initially attending the environmental awareness training, proceeding with installation of construction area signs, and placement of the Environmentally Sensitive Area, as well as the required Best Management Practices. The following week, the contractor will begin clearing operations within the ESA fenced areas.”

In this case, “clearing” is a euphemism for cutting trees and stripping other vegetation from hillsides and meadows across a roughly 200-foot wide area that spans over 1.5 miles. Instead of devouring the trees, however, CalTrans and company have barely bothered to show up this week in the area in question, as of press time. More…

James Houle: Stop That Sprawl…

In Around Mendo Island, James Houle on February 25, 2013 at 9:00 am

Redwood Valley

At the Ukiah City Council meeting on Feb 20th, we heard a number of justifications for the City of Ukiah taking out a new loan to pay for the road improvements necessary to provide easy access to the planned Costco Store. Councilwomen Mari Rodin said that “It’s about avoiding sprawl”. Later, Sage Sagiacomo, Deputy CEO, said an aim of the City government was to “keep development within the park and discourage urban sprawl”. Vice Mayor Phil Baldwin said that “while the majority of the people in the city don’t love the big box culture and our dependence upon it, this at least keeps business corralled on Airport Park Boulevard” and avoids the hated sprawl. None of these condemners of sprawl explained to us what they meant by the term nor why they so feared it.

Therefore, I went back to the basic law establishing the RDA – Redevelopment Act (Health and Safety Code Section 33031), the original source of the funds that our local government wants to use to prevent “urban sprawl.” I discovered that sprawl, either of the urban big city type or the small rural town type is not mentioned in the Redevelopment Act at all! The first purpose of the RDA was to promote low to moderate income housing that the private sector does not provide. The second purpose was to cure “blight.” Blight is defined as “areas with unsafe buildings, stagnant property values, high business vacancies, high crime rates and residential overcrowding.” As County Supervisor Pinches commented several years back, we don’t really have any urban blight in Mendocino County. Sprawl is generally defined as the tendency to place housing in single family zones some distance removed from public and commercial services and thus vastly increasing the reliance upon automobiles for shopping and essential services. The Redwood Business Park along Airport Park Boulevard already qualifies as a contributor to sprawl and to encouraging reliance upon the automobile.

Sagiacomo opined that the City has known for a long time that, in order to realize its potential, the roads leading to it would need to be improved. Yet, just last year when Walmart applied for expansion to Superstore status, the City did not apply RDA funds to expanding the capacity of roads leading to it and the Planning Commission was forced to reject the Walmart application. Very puzzling this. Council member Mari Rodin explained that Costco shouldn’t be expected to pay for traffic improvements More…

Janie Sheppard: Three Dog Night — Installment Three

In Around Mendo Island on February 21, 2013 at 7:21 am

Jerry, Tash and Heidi

Mendocino County

Installments One | Two | Three |


If you don’t believe in angels, this story may change your mind.  Three weeks ago, 2 of them appeared in Ukiah to save Tash, our third newly rescued Jack Russell Terrier.

Recall, in Installment Two, that Bill had chased Tash through downtown Ukiah all the way to Todd Grove Park. Once again, it was a Saturday morning and Bill, accompanied by me, was doing the shopping.

I should have remembered, but didn’t, that Tash is cat-like in his amazing ability to squeeze around any apparent blockade such as a car seat.  After Bill parked in the side lot to keep the dogs out of the morning sun at the Coop, he got out of the driver’s side and as I hopped out of the passenger’s side, Tash’s warm body slithered around behind me and was out before it registered what was happening.  Oh no, not again. I tried calling him back: Tashy, come back!  Here Tashy!  Tashyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

He was off!  As he crossed Gobbi Street I became hysterical, emitting a cry at the top of my lungs – STOP!–  at the cars and at Tash.  The cars did stop as I ran in front of them to chase north on Main Street by the Safeway parking lot.  But not Tash; well, he did stop – briefly – to eat some tasty morsel off the sidewalk, but not long enough to catch him.  He crossed the street and a friendly pedestrian with her arms full of wrapping paper rolls called to him, trying to help.  Tash was having none of it; instead, he pranced across the street again, eliciting another death-defying scream from me.   Cars stopped – thank you Ukiah drivers.  But not Tash.

Before following in my footsteps, Bill filled his pocket with treats, figuring to lure him back with promises of treats.  But Tash was too fast.  He turned west on Clay Street, and then north on State Street.  At the corner, I threw down my purse and briefly resumed a running career.

At that moment, angels appeared in a red-and-white-candy-striped-Mustang More…

Terry d’Selkie Harvests Sea Vegetables on the Mendocino Coast…

In Around Mendo Island on February 11, 2013 at 7:21 am

Ocean Harvest Sea Vegetable Company

Ocean Harvest Sea Vegetable Company was born in 1985 from one person’s vision.  Today we sell a ton of dried sea vegetables a year; all harvested by hand in an ecologically sound and sustainable way.  Part of a small vibrant cottage industry located in Northern California, along the Mendocino coast, we pride ourselves on the quality of our sea vegetables.  We are happy to provide Ocean Harvest Sea Vegetables to you because we regard sea vegetables as essential to good health and as one of the most important foods for modern people.

Why Eat Sea Vegetables?

These marine plants are the vegetal ancestors of all life forms on the planet today, dating back over 3.2 billion years.  They have survived as a rich source of essential elements and trace minerals to be food for humans, the last species to develop; our interest in them is encoded in our cells.

These essential elements and trace minerals nurture the hormone-producing endocrine system, which regulates metabolism: “all changes in energy and materials that build, repair and fuel the human body”. Sea vegetables also provide a rare source of the element iodine, fundamental to brain function and stress reduction.  The Kelp Family More…

Will Parrish: The Warbler Tree Sit, Week 2 (Willits Bypass)

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island, Will Parrish on February 8, 2013 at 6:00 am



As the first tree sit Mendocino County has seen in perhaps 13 years enters its second week, there appears little indication either that the tree sitter — who goes by the moniker The Warbler — will voluntarily relinquish her post any time soon. There is also little sign that the Mendocino County Sheriffs or California Highway Patrol plan to attempt to extract her from her perch any time soon.

Just before this piece went to deadline, The Warbler expressed her sense that the tree sit, and particularly the support it has galvanized in many quarters of the North Coast, has forced CalTrans’ planners to regroup, right as they were on verge of finally beginning construction of the new six-mile superhighway through Little Lake Valley they have long coveted.

“I feel confidant CalTrans doesn’t know what to do about the tree sit,” The Warbler says. “They’ve seen the steady support from the local community and the press attention. They seem at a loss.”


Will Parrish: The Warbler & The Willits Bypass…

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island, Will Parrish on February 4, 2013 at 7:00 am



CalTrans got the go-ahead on January 15th to begin “vegetation removal” on its Highway 101 Bypass route through Little Lake Valley, courtesy of a California Department of Fish and Game memorandum signed by North Coast District Manager Neil Manji. The letter effectively states that CalTrans crews are free to excavate plants and chainsaw trees as long as they leave the stumps in place, being that the trees’ roots help prevent soil from washing off of hillsides into streams.

By January 17th, CalTrans Senior Resident Engineer Geoffrey T. Wright (who recently got a new office in Willits, at 300 East Valley Rd., in anticipation of finally beginning construction of the freeway) was touting in a letter to the California State Water Resources Control Board that he expected “a start date of +/- January 28.” All the agency still required by that point was final written permission from the Army Corp of Engineers to fire up the chainsaws. In the letter to the State Water Board, Wright said he expected to receive that permission within a week.

Part of CalTrans’ impetus for fast-tracking destruction of the oak woodlands that span much of the proposed freeway construction area’s broad six-mile band through Willits is the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act More…

On The Farm: Meal Prep for the Pigs…

In Around Mendo Island on February 2, 2013 at 5:04 am

Mendocino Organics

Even though vegetable production is at a near stand-still, we still manage to get pretty dirty around the home ranch and farms. In raising animals, we have daily chores, such as feeding, watering, and general check-in – checking that ewes are taking care of newborn lambs, ravens are not bothering our pigs, making sure the few cows we have are still happy out in the rangeland, and so forth.

If you’ve been keeping abreast of our farm development, you know we are striving to be a self-sustaining farm, creating all the fertility for the crops on the farm and importing as little feed as possible. These goals express both environmental/biological sustainability and economic efficiency.

grinding grain

So, we are increasing pork production More…

Willits Bypass: Why We Protest and Why You Should Too…

In Around Mendo Island on February 1, 2013 at 6:05 am



Last week a group of Willits residents launched a growing protest against the start of CalTrans’ by-pass project through the Little Lake Valley.  Why do we protest?  For one, because our political system and our politicians have failed us.

Instead of allowing the citizens of Willits to choose among a range of alternatives, democratically, we were invited to participate in a bureaucratic process, with the stipulation that the bureaucrats got to decide.  A few of us participated.  The Willits Environmental Center took a special interest once CalTrans decided to plough through what remains of our Little Lake.  A lot of ranchers and local landowners took part in a forum to hear about CalTrans’ mitigation plan (still not complete, I might add).  They were angry at the agency’s decision to renege on its promises to landowners that they would be able to continue grazing on lands acquired by the agency to “mitigate” for destroying the wetlands at the north end of the valley.  CalTrans heard a lot from the ranchers, and more from WEC, but scarcely listened, because CalTrans, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other bureaucracies were going to make the ultimate decisions.  Our elected officials, or most of them, conservative, liberal, and whatjamacallit in between, all supported the bureaucrats. More…

Colorado Farmers Begin Planting Hemp Under New Legalization. What about Mendo?…

In Around Mendo Island on January 30, 2013 at 7:25 am

Natural Society

[See also James Lee, Anderson Valley, on Local Hemp below and thanks for video above... DS]

Many farmers in Colorado will be expanding their list of planted crops this Spring after groundbreaking legislation was passed last November that allowed not only for the legalization of marijuana, but hemp as well. Now in case you’re not familiar, hemp is actually a multi-purpose substance that does not produce the high effects of marijuana. In fact, it’s mainly used as a super cheap and highly efficient building material — at least in other nations where ridiculous bans are not enforced on the ‘high-free’ material.

Colorado farmers like Michael Bowman will be planting 100 acres of hemp to be harvested and sold off as not only building material, but a highly nutritious superfood. While marijuana is considerably high in the substance known as THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), which of course is the compound that produces the ‘high’ effects, it’s also significantly low in what’s known as CDB (cannabidiol). That’s where hemp comes in. Both THC and CDB are known as cannabinoids, but hemp is particularly high in CDB while lacking in THC. More…

Gina Covina: First Harvest for Laytonville Seed Growers Co-op

In Around Mendo Island, Gina Covina on January 22, 2013 at 6:27 am


Laughing Frog Farm

Here’s a visual report on the first seed-sharing gathering of the Mendocino Seed Growers Co-op – at this point more accurately called the Laytonville Seed Growers Co-op, as that’s who came to yesterday’s event at the Laytonville Grange. It looked like a small group of gardeners – a baker’s dozen in all – until we got out our seeds. An altogether awesome collection, many with amazing stories and long local histories. By the end of the evening I was overwhelmed by the abundance of valuable genetic material, the breadth and depth of information exchanged, and the commitment to the future of food shown by beginning seed-savers and old-timers alike.

Above are some of the contributions, clockwise starting at the top: Crane melon, Bale bean, Orca bean, San Marzano tomato, hull-less pumpkin, Sweet Meat squash, Principe Borghese tomato, red mustard, Trombetta squash, Cannellini bean, Shintokiwa cucumber, Mache (aka corn salad). And in the center More…

Mendocino Organics now taking 2013 Vegetable CSA Sign Ups…

In Around Mendo Island on January 9, 2013 at 6:00 am


Mendocino Organics

Participation in the 2013 Vegetable CSA season at Mendocino Organics is now open!

Until March 1, 2013, we will waive the New Member Fee*.

Please find details on our website here, or contact Paula with any questions.

(707) 272-2711

Once you have learned about our farm and what we plan for vegetable production, you can sign up online

or download a hardcopy of the Participation Agreement

Since we’re sitting here in front of the computer, we might as well give a quick update about the 2013 Vegetable CSA! We are very excited to grow vegetables, that we might even sow some seeds this week. But, before we get ahead of ourselves in the fields, we are staying on top of the administrative side of things.

If you weren’t a Vegetable CSA member in 2012, you may not know that we use a great tool for managing the CSA called Member Assembler. More…

Janie Sheppard: Three Dog Night — Installment Two

In Around Mendo Island on January 7, 2013 at 7:30 am

Everything's cool so long as there are treats
Mendocino County

Installments One | Two | Three |

RITUAL, RULES, AND ROUTINE are writer John Katz’s three guidelines for successful living with dogs. And, dogs do the teaching.

Tashtego (now shortened to “Tash”) realized immediately the way to learn the 3 R’s was to follow Heidi’s and Jerry’s lead. At this, he proved adept.

The first test came when, after 4 nights, Tash objected to sleeping in his crate.  One plaintive bark alerted us to his wanting to be upstairs with the rest of us.  The next night we brought a dog bed upstairs and motioned that he should jump up on the big bed.  He did, and Heidi and Jerry glared at him.  He jumped down so we placed his bed on the floor near the big bed, put his blanket in it and he hopped right in, sleeping through the night with no further ado.  Ritual established.

Test Number Two was whether we could leave Tash out of the crate when we went to the Redwood Health Club at 5 AM for Bill’s swim and my spin bike class.  When he stopped getting up with us, instead opting to stay buried under his blanket, it was worth a try.  Not wanting to jinx the experiment I said not a word– all the time thinking we could come home to the aftermath of a dog fight: vet bills, blood, a horrible mess. More…

James Houle: Ukiah City Council Always Looking For Ways To Waste Our Tax Money

In Around Mendo Island, James Houle on January 7, 2013 at 6:24 am


Redwood Valley

We are in a serious and long lasting recession. City and County services to our underfunded school system, to impoverished families, and to the mentally deficient has been cut back severely. Yet our City Council members want to spend $2 million to reduce the traffic lanes on downtown State Street and plant a few  trees so we will have a nice comfy country look.

As if this wasn’t strange enough, at their last meeting they were talking about buying more sidewalk cafes for our local upscale restaurants, similar to what they already did for Patrona, our most expensive eatery. They are most generous to potential Big Boxes, and still want to give $6 million in taxes revenues (from the defunct RDA Program) to provide a wonderful private driveway for CostCo and Wal-Mart customers. This last giveaway has effectively been blocked by Governor Brown as merely another piece of corporate welfare. If  CostCo wants to steal business away from our existing stores, then let them build their own entrance ramp.

I think we can stop this two lane State Street scheme very quickly and the cafe al fresco notion as well. All we have to do is keep tuned in, attend their City Council meetings, and ask embarrassing questions. The City Council has little stomach for controversy.

Mendo Free Skool’s Skill Share Fair 1/12/13…

In Around Mendo Island on January 5, 2013 at 8:00 am


Mendo Free Skool’s Winter Quarter (Jan. 21st to March 31st) is almost upon us. We are celebrating the release of the new Winter Quarter calendar with the first-ever Free Skool Skill Share Fair! This is a chance to pick up the calendar, enjoy a potluck dinner, sing a few songs, shake your booty — and take part in numerous exciting workshops!

- Guerrilla gardening (including biochar seed bombs!)
- Tying knots
- Cheese making
- Mushroom foraging
- Watershed knowledge
- Candle-making
- Wine-making
- Bike repair basics
- Piano basics
- Change Your Own Oil
- Raising chickens
- Building with Earth plaster
- more!!

Free Skool Festival and Skills Share at the Spring House at 304 N. Spring St. in Ukiah from 1-8 p.m. We are looking for people with an interesting skill to share that they can teach in a short 1 to 3 hour session that day. Some possible valuable skills people may want to share might include knitting or crocheting or sewing, oil changes for your car, bike repair, basic carpentry, paper making, basket making, candle making, tool making — or you name it. Please contact the Free Skool collective at if you have a skill you’d like to share that day. We will also have the new Winter Session Free Skool Class Schedules available that day!  If you would like to be on our low-volume listserv, send us a blank email to You may also want to join our Facebook page at

The Skills Share Fair aims to celebrate and promote collective skill-sharing and a more gentle, practical way of life. Workshops are likely to include the following:

There will also be live music and dancing!!! (performers to be announced!). The event is a potluck. Please bring: More…

Paula Manalo Gaska: Bringing money back down to earth…

In Around Mendo Island on December 17, 2012 at 6:00 am

Mendocino Organics

Janie Sheppard: Three Dog Night — Installment One

In Around Mendo Island on December 10, 2012 at 6:24 am



Installments One | Two | Three |

It is a well-known fact that there can’t be a three dog night without three dogs.  And so–

Bill and I are inordinately fond of Jack Russell Terriers, believing them to be a special breed suited to living with a select group of slightly crazy people who have a fairly high tolerance for aberrant (for lack of a better word) behavior.

We believe, perhaps mistakenly, that we are among said slightly crazy group of people.

Last week we heard of a year-and-a-half-old male JRT (as they are known by their fans) who was in desperate straits (he had been sentenced to death).  Once more, we agreed, we could leap into the breach. After introductions via phone and email, Bill, accompanied by Heidi (one of our other 2 rescued JRT’s), drove to San Francisco to bring home number three, and after his interim rescuers duly appraised Heidi, who was on her very best behavior, we were deemed suitable adopters.

“Tashtego” was to be his new name.  And if you’re scratching your head trying to remember where you might have heard that name, here’s where you heard it: In Moby Dick, Herman Melville’s great novel incidentally about whaling, but really about how the world works (or mostly doesn’t), Tashtego is a Gay Head Indian harpooneer from Nantucket. Quequeeg (a South Sea Islander) and Daggoo (an African tribesman) are the other two. Think 19th century whaling: in Chapter 78, Tashtego slips while extracting spermaceti oil from the severed head of a huge whale, falling into its head just as it comes loose from its moorings and slides into the water. More…

Will Parrish: The Plight Of The Beautiful Tree

In Around Mendo Island, Will Parrish on December 7, 2012 at 7:22 am



The Kashia Pomo of northwestern Sonoma and southwestern Mendocino Counties refer to it as “Chishkale,” meaning “beautiful tree.” Northern California pioneers selected their name for it on an altogether more utilitarian basis: Its bark was central to the vast leather tanning industry of the late 1800s and early 1900s, so they dubbed it “tan-oak.” Today, the timber industry often doesn’t even give it the dignity of a specific name, typically referring to it merely as a “hardwood.”

To wit, Mendocino Redwood Company Chief Forester Michael Jani, who published a letter in the Anderson Valley Advertiser this past August explaining MRC’s rationale for using an average of 5,500 pounds of the herbicide Imazapyr every year to eradicate tan-oaks, which are not marketable in the timber industry’s current economic climate: “Herbicide use has been an important and necessary tool in the replanting and restoration of the natural balance on more than 60,000 acres of MRC forestlands and the establishment of nearly six million redwood and Douglas fir trees that otherwise would not be on the land… Today, there are areas of the forestlands that still contain a much higher proportion of hardwoods to conifers than is natural.”

Earlier this summer, Elaine and Mike Kalantarian of Navarro helped spark a modest outcry regarding “Hack and Squirt,” a method of killing tan-oaks (and occasionally other hardwood trees) that timber outfits have widely used in Pacific Northwest forests More…

Todd Walton: Yard Sale

In Around Mendo Island, Todd Walton on November 2, 2012 at 5:41 am

Under The Table

We just had a big yard sale to move along the myriad things we did not wish to keep in our new life in our new house. This was my fourth such undertaking and Marcia’s first time trying to sell stuff we no longer care to possess. I keep wanting to call the event a garage sale because the things were first stored in our garage, but the category heading in the newspaper where we ran our ad was Yard Sales, and the sale did take place in our yard, so…

Because the universe is mysterious and seemingly a bit sadistic, as well as loving and miraculous, Marcia came down with a bad flu cold a week before the event and was just starting to feel better as the blessed day dawned, whereas I was just entering Zenith Flu Cold Symptom Time as the alarm clock sounded at 6 AM on the dreaded day. Oh, joy. Had we not advertised the bloody sale in the newspaper I might have stayed in bed battling exhaustion and sleep deprivation and tides of snot, but such was not the case, the hordes would soon be descending, and so I rose from my warm nest and went out into the frigid dawn to help Marcia empty the garage onto our driveway.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the aforementioned possibly sadistic and certainly ironic universe had, just two days before the event, seen fit to break our two-car garage door, a folding fiberglass contraption More…

Dave Smith: Ukiah Priorities Skewed…

In Around Mendo Island, Dave Smith on November 1, 2012 at 6:21 am


Letter to Editors: AVA, UDJ

We all know that in emergencies, seconds count. Seconds can mean life or death.

My store on State Street in Ukiah is a vantage point for observing the response times of our first responders. As the sirens sound, first past the store is always the Fire Department paramedic ambulance, and then a few seconds later, sometimes many seconds later, comes the big, lumbering fire truck.

Chief Dewey is requesting the elimination of the Fire Department ambulance due to budget reductions of six firefighter/ paramedics (Ukiah Daily Journal 10/27/12) leaving us with fire trucks, and woefully inadequate private agencies, for emergency response. And our Police Department is so overwhelmed that the City Council is being asked to please add back police officers.

Meanwhile, our city staff seems to be hanging on to administrative jobs by unsuccessfully challenging state budget cuts to redevelopment money over and over again.

Has our leadership forgotten that their first priority is public safety? One wonders what their priorities are when they cut into bone before cutting away the fat.

Last Week of the Vegetable CSA 2012…

In Around Mendo Island on October 31, 2012 at 4:53 am


Mendocino Organics Vegetable CSA

Our Vegetable CSA shareholders enjoy a weekly newsletter sent via email. Here’s a peak at how we ended our veggie CSA season. Be sure to read our “Last Notes” – a farewell until next growing season!

In Your Share this Week – Ukiah

  • Butternut Squash
  • Pie Pumpkin
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Spinach
  • Red Russian Kale
  • Baby Turnips
  • Broccoli
  • French Shallots

Wine grapes are getting picked. Olives are ready for harvest. Reggae music is drifting through the neighborhood. Fall harvest is an active, energizing time of the year in Mendocino County, and the weather could not be more beautiful. Just in time for this last distribution, we have spinach, broccoli, and some baby roots. The turnip greens are good in soup, like miso soup. If you haven’t tried shallots before, they are a sweet allium great for any cooking.

Butternut is probably the most popular winter squash. They will last for a few weeks in a cool, dry place. You can slice it thinly, coat in olive oil, and bake for a delicious side dish. The other night, we couldn’t finish a butternut squash we baked, so the next day, we cut the remaining half into strips and cooked it in oil, almost like French fries. They were so good!

If you’re looking for a spiced up soup this fall, here is a good one from Every Day with Rachel Ray magazine (November 2012):

Butternut Squash Soup with Red Chile & Mint

Serves 4

Prep 10 min.

Cook 1 hr.

  • 1 butternut squash (about 2 lb.)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp. crumbled dried mint
  • 1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
  • 2-3 tsp. ground red chile or ancho chile, plus more for garnish
  • 4 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
  • Sliced fresh mint leaves, for garnish
  • t bsp. heavy cream, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Halve and seed the squash. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake until soft, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, then scoop out the flesh and measure out 2 cups.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, 1 tbsp. basil and the dried mint. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the squash, cinnamon stick, ground chile and 1 tsp. coarse salt. Stir in the stock or water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick. Break up any large squash pieces with a spoon, or pulse in a blender or with an immersion blender to smooth. More…

Barbara Kingsolver Takes On Climate Change…

In Around Mendo Island on October 29, 2012 at 6:15 am

Press Democrat

Barbara Kingsolver, Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa, presented by Copperfield’s Books, 7 p.m., Thursday Nov. 15, 546-3600 or,

Barbara Kingsolver, whose novels’ deep evocation of place has made her a national treasure, almost tossed her first book into the trash.

“I had no way of knowing that it could matter to anyone else. I didn’t dream I could be a writer,” she said in a phone interview this month, in advance of a 10-city tour that brings her to Santa Rosa and Corte Madera on Nov. 15.

Instead of discarding her manuscript of “The Bean Trees,” Kingsolver drove to a mailbox in an Arizona mall and sent it to a publisher.

“I was nine and a half months pregnant. I got out of the car and wobbled over and said, ‘Here you go, goodbye.’ It felt kind of like throwing it in the trash can,” she said. “I was pretty sure the results would be exactly the same.”

Kingsolver’s latest novel, “Flight Behavior”, is due out November 6

Fortunately for Kingsolver and the legions of people who became her fans, “The Bean Trees” was published in 1988 and became a critical and commercial success.

“The Poisonwood Bible,” her 1998 book about a missionary family that goes deep into the Congo, was selected by Oprah’s Book Club and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Raised in rural Kentucky, Kingsolver, 57, studied biology at Indiana’s DePauw University. In 1978 she moved to Tucson, earned a graduate science degree and worked as a science writer at the University of Arizona.

In the 1990s, Kingsolver met and married biology professor Steven Hopp at a college in southwestern Virginia; in 2004, Kingsolver moved there, and two years later the couple had a daughter, Lily.

Her new novel, “Flight Behavior,” takes on the topic of global warming and is set in Appalachia, where Kingsolver grew up and where she again lives. It will be published Nov. 6.

Following are highlights of a phone conversation with Kingsolver:

Q. Can you tell me about the title of your new book?
A. What I love about a good title is that it can function as a key that unlocks every important door in the book. Until I have that title, I’m not happy. More…

Dave Smith: Still the Best Damn Pizza in the Universe Bar None… (Update)

In Around Mendo Island, Dave Smith on October 26, 2012 at 5:15 am


When I make pizza at home, I always, always, pile way too much and way too many different ingredients on. I guess because it seems to be the American way of living large or something. Or maybe it’s because of all the choices available at Round Table and you fall into a pattern of having tons on top.

Here in Ukiah we have several good choices when we’re hankerin’ for something cheezy and greezy. There are home town favorite Marino’s and the ever-present Round Table. There are the (ugh) cheapo national chains. Schat’s offers tempting varieties sitting there amongst the croissants and sticky buns. And only recently the new owners of the Brewpub installed a pizza oven, hired away one of the Round Table managers, and offer pretty good selections which I assume are all organic. [And, just open, a new pizza restaurant on Standley.]

And then there are Greg’s pizzas at Mama’s downtown (formerly Local Flavor, and before that the Garden Bakery). Greg Shimshak says he learned pizza-making “from mama” and then honed his skills while learning and working at Alice Water’s legendary Chez Panisse in Berkeley. While there, he worked with our beloved Jacquie Lee who eventually migrated to Ukiah and opened the Garden Bakery, then retired and rented the building to Greg and Heidi. And that is why we have great, great pizzas available here in Ukiah.

I’m no sniffin’ hoity toity… my taste buds are very peasanty. Why Greg’s pizzas are incomparable is the difference between piling on the goop and the subtlety of blending just the right amount (not too much) of just the right combination of ingredients for the tastious flavors: field mushrooms, caramelized onions, goat cheese, fresh herbs; wilted kale, chorizo, onion, fontina; wilted spinach, basil pesto, onion, tomato sauce, goat cheese. And the thin crust? OMG! More…

Fruits of Labor: Adventures in Pomeography…

In Around Mendo Island on October 18, 2012 at 7:23 am

A cross between Golden Russet and Cox’s Orange Pippin.  It’s pretty, but still under evaluation before I can recommend it, or not.

Turkeysong Blog
Mendocino County

“Annual vegetables are like getting a goldfish.  Trees are like getting a tortoise that might outlive us.”

When we moved here to Turkeysong six and a half years ago, it was a very rainy December.  We moved into a tiny trailer with just a propane oven for heat.  I was rather unhealthy that winter with long continuing complications from Lyme disease, so my physical resources were limited.  But it was an exciting time and full of promise as we embarked on a long held dream.  Bathing was accomplished at the nearby hot springs most of the winter until I built a wood fired bathtub which worked passably well.  Parking was a mile walk down the 4 wheel drive only road, and the winter was so wet that only two trips were made driving in the 1/2 mile driveway before late spring arrived.  I carried office chairs, a desk and sheets of plywood down the half mile drive.   I remember many times walking in at night after bathing at the springs, exhausted, sick, dizzy and weak.  Most days I spent laying down alone in the damp cold miserable trailer feeling ill and tapped out.  The Accommodations were very uncomfortable, but frugality ruled the day and I still knew where my priorities lay.  Rather than move toward better shelter, showers, making the driveway passable or other creature comforts, I started preparing to plant trees and put in a garden.

The first year’s nursery row of apples, peaches, pears and cherries More…

Holly Cratty Memorial

In Around Mendo Island on October 17, 2012 at 6:44 am


This is devoted to the memory of the Westside Renaissance Market’s co-owner, and my wife, Holly Cratty, who passed away last Saturday evening, October 13.

I hope you had the opportunity to meet her and to know her at least a little. I know that those who did were blessed. In case you are one who did not, I wanted to share a small bit about this profoundly fine person.

Holly was a person of fierce integrity, wide knowledge, deep feeling and resolute moral courage and convictions. She believed, and acted on the belief, that we are obligated to do the right thing, not just talk about it (and never to take credit for it.) Her life was thus devoted to trying to help uplift others, to creating beauty and to doing what she could to help preserve the natural world – while also staying out of the spotlight.

She was a fully engaged person, in addition to helping run the Westside Renaissance Market and being vocationally and at heart an artist (although, if being a full time student was a vocation, she might have done that instead) she was also a philosopher, poet, scholar (in many fields), photographer, deeply contemplative person of spirit and faith, nature lover, animal champion, activist, humanitarian and relentless self-examiner.

She had a great thirst for both knowledge and understanding and was well versed in more subjects than anyone else I have known. She was keenly interested and informed about both things global and local. Holly added the “Renaissance” to the Westside Market and was a Renaissance woman.

Holly was also a gentle soul who vastly preferred home to a crowd and one-to-one conversation to a party. However, when in public behaving rightly toward others (i.e., following the Golden Rule) was always her first concern.

She was a devoted practitioner of kindness and humility.   As one example, countless times (biting my tongue the whole while) I have watched her patiently praise, encourage and draw out someone who was lecturing her More…

Will Parrish: Greenwashing Forest Destruction by Forest Stewardship Council…

In Around Mendo Island, Will Parrish on October 12, 2012 at 7:30 am

Forest Stewardship (sic) Council certified monocultures and clearcuts – Sappi, Swaziland

Visible from space: FSC-certified clear-cuts, Savoy state forest, Massachusetts, USA (courtesy of Clearcutting Massachusetts’ Public Forests)


The forests of the world are in deep trouble. One especially sobering illustration is as follows. 1970 is commonly cited (erroneously) as the year environmental movement was born. Yet, according to the World Wildlife Fund, close to half of the world’s remaining so-called “virgin” forests have been cut since. Although there has been a great diversity of campaigns throughout the world to protect what remains of the world’s forest, which have doubtless slowed the rate of destruction, those campaigns have nevertheless been woefully inadequate.

Meanwhile, according to an estimate by the Rainforest Action Network, two and a half acres of forest are cut every second: equivalent to two and a half football fields. That’s 214,000 acres per day, an area larger than New York City. Each year, 78 million acres are deforested: an area larger than England and Wales combined. More…

Mulligan Books Opens Downtown Ukiah Post Office…

In Around Mendo Island, Dave Smith on October 9, 2012 at 7:30 am

Ukiah Daily Journal

[I've edited for clarity... couldn't help myself... -DS]

Dave Smith, owner and operator of Mulligan Books & Seeds in the heart of downtown Ukiah, has expanded his business to include mail service.

“I used to go to the post office daily, and the people at the windows who worked there were friends to many of us who work downtown. When they decided to shut it down we protested with Barry Vogel and Mike Sweeney heading up the effort. People had been coming in, especially downtown merchants, concerned about the closure and its relocation to Orchard Avenue. When they finally left last December it felt like a ghost town and I definitely noticed the difference in foot traffic. I started talking to other merchants to see if [any of them were interested] in setting up a contract post office.”

“I knew it could be done and I thought it would be good for me and great for downtown. I had to apply and it took two- to three months to get everything approved. There is a lot to it and I am now on a steep learning curve. I can sell postage, stamps, weigh out packages, use express or priority mail and media and parcel post.

“I can only do domestic [mail] at this point but will be adding international pretty soon. The mail gets picked up here [five] days a week at 5 p.m. [earlier on Saturdays] More…

CalFire Fire Prevention Fee Errors…

In Around Mendo Island on October 1, 2012 at 6:30 am


More errors are being discovered in the bills being sent to rural property owners by CalFire for “fire prevention.” The controversial “fee,” which many are calling an illegally engineered tax, is based on dubious data collected by CalFire via a combination of assessor records, Community Development records, aerial photographs, and GIS (computerized Geographical Information System) compiled by a third party “designator fee administrator.” Not only do the bills reflect taxable “habitable structures” which are clearly not habitable, but they are based on data which is months if not years old causing the bills, in many cases, to be sent to the wrong people.

Adding penalty to injury, the burden of correcting the errors is the responsibility of property owners who get the erroneous bills. People with inaccurate bills can file a “redetermination petition” within 30 days of receiving their bill. The petition and directions can be downloaded from the Fire Protection Fee Service Center or the State Board of Equalization Websites. To protest a fee the property owner must “attach all documentation to prove your case and make copies for your records before mailing the petition to Fire Prevention Fee Service Center, Attn: Petitions, PO Box 2254 , Suisun City CA 94585.” (And you better send it “return receipt requested.”) More…

Gina Covina: Fall Equinox…

In Around Mendo Island, Gina Covina on September 24, 2012 at 5:55 am

Laughing Frog Farm

Here we are at the equinox, that small moment of balance between summer and fall when day and night divide the hours equally and half the summer garden is finished. I’m feeling the expansive generosity of summer’s abundance and the anxious urge to hoard for winter in equal measure, spiked by sudden washes of sadness at all the endings.

The weather has been combining summer and fall in equal portions for the past week – lows in the upper 30s, making early morning chores something to wrap up for (or postpone), while afternoons still reach at least the upper 80s. In the cool evening I make the rounds of the gardens retrieving layers of clothing shed during the day.

While some of our summer crops are through for the year – melons, winter squash, corn, soybeans – others gamely continue to produce, albeit at a slower pace. Now is the time to assess the cold tolerance of tomato varieties – Japanese Black Trifele, Greek Asimina, and Black Cherry have barely slowed their pace, while others balk. Asian cucumbers keep on (with hoop house protection). The bulky Feherozon paprika peppers are finally moving through orange to red, after months standing pale yellow on the plants (the yellow stage is delicious, but we’re growing them for seed this year so all summer we’ve just looked).

This moment of balance at the equinox is spacious but brief – already it’s time to resume the harvest, make apple sauce and raisins and pie, water the fall garden starts – to fall headlong into the new season. It’s not called fall for nothing.

Will Parrish: Coastal Trail Or Trail Of Tears?

In Around Mendo Island, Will Parrish on September 21, 2012 at 6:34 am


The physical geography that First Nations people have historically inhabited conveniently remains a mystery to most people in the dominant society. Seemingly, those willfully ignorant of such knowledge would include everyone in decision-making positions at the City of Fort Bragg and the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) who, for the better part of a decade, have been devising an infrastructure project along 4.5 miles of coastline outside of the city without bothering to consult the people who have inhabited the land since time immemorial.

Those people, the Northern Pomo, lived along the coastal bluffs and contiguous redwood forests in and around what is now called “Fort Bragg” for at least 10,000 years prior to the arrival of Gold Rush-era California intruders. Many Northern Pomo people are currently part of the Sherwood Valley Rancheria in Willits, which is comprised of various coastal Pomo people. But some still live right in the vicinity of the historical Pomo village of Kaidu, near the mouth of the Noyo River.

The infrastructure project, known as the Fort Bragg Coastal Trail and Restoration Project, encompasses virtually all of the beachfront land west of the city, north of the Noyo River, and south of the Georgia Pacific Mill site.

On the surface, most people would view the project as entirely benign. It dovetails nicely with the cultural sensibilities and economic interests of most people in the area, outdoors enthusiasts and those linked to the coast’s tourist economy being chief among them. The project would develop a network of trails and walking paths More…


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