ukiaHaiku Festival Tomorrow, Sunday, April 18, Ukiah Civic Center, 1:30-4 p.m.


early spring–
ukiah sprouts
haiku and taiko

Suspense is building with the approach of the Eighth Annual ukiaHaiku Festival and Awards Ceremony. The poems have been written and submitted, the judges have made their decisions, and the best is yet to come: the opportunity for the community to spend an afternoon basking in the haiku form of poetry. The ukiaHaiku festival and Awards Ceremony will take place on Sunday, April 18, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the Ukiah Civic Center at 300 Seminary Avenue. The thunderous sounds of Yokayo Taiko will drum the festival to life beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the courtyard by the fountain; the indoor ceremony will begin at 2 p.m.

Taiko drumming is a poetically perfect way to usher in a haiku festival because both haiku and taiko are art forms that originated in Japan. “Taiko” is actually the Japanese word for drum, but in North America it also refers to ensemble drumming using Japanese drums. The eleven members of the Yokayo Taiko ensemble, directed by Jennifer Ung, will perform “Taiko Train”, “Renshu” (Practice), “Hiryu Sandan Gaeshi and Isamigoma” (Leaping Dragon and Brave Horse), and “Iwai” (Celebration), written by Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan. Poets and audience members are encouraged to arrive early to experience the spine-tingling drumbeats of Yokayo Taiko. (Rain will cancel the drumming because it would damage the drums).

The indoor portion of the program will begin at 2 p.m. with brief remarks by Mayor Benj Thomas and Poet Laureate Theresa Whitehill. Winning poets from age 6 to 66+ will then read their poems aloud to an appreciative audience and receive their awards. A reception with refreshments will follow, during which audience members will have the opportunity to scan many of the fine poems that did not make the final cut and learn more about the Japanese art of origami, or paper folding.

Richard Heinberg: Peak Oil Bombshell

Santa Rosa
Energy Bulletin

According to an article in Le Monde on March 25, the U.S. Department of Energy “admits that ‘a chance exists that we may experience a decline’ of world liquid fuels production between 2011 and 2015 ‘if the investment is not there.’” This bombshell emerged in “an exclusive interview with Glen Sweetnam, main official expert on the oil market in the Obama administration.”

The Le Monde article goes on: “The DoE dismisses the ‘peak oil’ theory, which assumes that world crude oil production should irreversibly decrease in a nearby future, in want of sufficient fresh oil reserves yet to be exploited. The Obama administration supports the alternative hypothesis of an ‘undulating plateau.’ Lauren Mayne, responsible for liquid fuel prospects at the DoE, explains : ‘Once maximum world oil production is reached, that level will be approximately maintained for several years thereafter, creating an undulating plateau. After this plateau period, production will experience a decline.‘”

In other words, we don’t believe that world oil production will soon reach a maximum and begin to decline (the “peak oil theory”); instead, we believe that world oil production will reach a maximum, stay there for a few years, and then decline. That decline could commence as soon as next year.

Two comments: First, what’s the difference? Is this just a way to announce Peak Oil without acknowledging it?

Wendell Berry: Home Economics

Exerpts from Home Economics (1987)

The small family farm is one of the last places—where men and women (and girls and boys, too) can answer that call to be an artist, to learn to give love to the work of their hands. It is one of the last places where the maker—and some farmers still do talk about “making the crops” — is responsible, from start to finish, for the thing made. This certainly is a spiritual value, but it is not for that reason an impractical or uneconomic one. In fact, from the exercise of this responsibility, this giving of love to the work of the hands, the farmer, the farm, the consumer, and the nation all stand to gain in the most practical ways: They gain the means of life, the goodness of food, and the longevity and dependability of the sources of food, both natural and cultural. The proper answer to the spiritual calling becomes, in turn, the proper fulfillment of physical need…

The family farm is failing because the pattern it belongs to is failing, and the principal reason for this failure is the universal adoption, by our people and our leaders alike, of industrial values, which are based on three assumptions:

1. That value equals price — that the value of a farm, for example, is whatever it would bring on sale, because both a place and its price are “assets.” There is no essential difference between farming and selling a farm.
2. That all relations are mechanical. That a farm, for example, can be used like a factory, because there is no essential difference between a farm and a factory.
3. That the sufficient and definitive human motive is competitiveness — that a community, for example, can be treated like a resource or a market, because there is no difference between a community and a resource or a market…

Tim Stelloh: Unsolved Deaths & Disappearances on the Mendo Coast


Though lightly populated and scenic as a Kinkade painting, the Mendo Coast is–at times, anyway–as sinister, violent and lawless as the rest of this county. Below is an index of the area’s unsolved deaths, attempted murders, disappearances and questionable classifications–along with links to AVA coverage and websites with relevant info.

Jeanne Huckins

Huckins, 63, was found dead in the garage of her Fort Bragg home in January 2010–the victim of a gunshot wound. Though her death was officially labeled suicide, police now say they’re awaiting new evidence from the Department of Justice and that they recently received “good information” from Huckins’ friends, who have doubted the suicide classification.

Click here to read our coverage of her death.

Katlyn Long

Long, 22, died of a methadone overdose in the basement of her parent’s home near Fort Bragg in May 2008. Her ex-boyfriend was with her at the time of her death, but he’s yet to tell detectives what happened. Police forwarded the case to the DA’s office but no one has been charged.

Click here to read our coverage of the case, or here for a website devoted to Long’s memory.

Victoria Horstman

Horstman grew up around Fort Bragg and was heavily involved with the cops’ efforts in the mid-90s to lock up her husband, John Dalton, for growing pot. Her body was found floating in the Clark Fork River in Missoula, Montana three years ago. There were no signs of injury, and the medical examiner classified her death as “undetermined.”

To read our coverage of Horstman–and John Dalton–click here. More at

House of Cards: How Money Flows from the Poor to the Rich

From DAVE POLLARD (March 2006)
How To Save The World blog

On a couple of occasions, I’ve tried to explain the vulnerability and unsustainability of our over-leveraged, debt-dependent, consumption-dependent economy.While Jon Husband was visiting with me today, he talked about the power of visualizations, and I decided it might be easier to explain this with a chart… Here’s its explanation:

The economy depends fundamentally on the ‘consumer’ activities of taxpayers, and specifically on the willingness and ability of taxpayers to spend their money on real estate (flow 1), taxes and user fees (2), and the purchase of (now mostly overpriced, imported) products (3). The spending on real estate (1) drives up real estate prices, providing increased collateral to consumer lenders (4), allowing these lenders to loan ever-more money to taxpayers (5). This creates a self-perpetuating Real Estate Cycle (flows 1, 4, 5) that produces the Two Income Trap.

The taxes and user fees paid by ordinary taxpayers (2) fund large tax cuts to rich taxpayers (6) which are rewarded by campaign contributions to ‘friendly’ politicians (7), so that a Campaign Funding Cycle (flows 2, 6, 7) is created.

Keep reading on Pollard’s blog

Interactive Seasonal Ingredient Map


Use the interactive map here to see what’s fresh in your area, plus find ingredient descriptions, shopping guides, recipes, and tips.

Michael Laybourn: An update on PG&E Proposition 16


An update on the Proposition 16 initiative, which PG&E has written and managed to get on the June ballot. The initiative is called “Two-Thirds Requirement for Local Public Electricity Providers Act” and is a Constitutional Amendment that thwarts ANY attempts at local public power. Officially the bill is sponsored by “Californians to Protect Our Right to Vote”, which labels itself as “A Coalition Of Taxpayers, Environmentalists, Renewable Energy, Business And Labor”.  Which is not true. It is a coalition of one. PG&E has said they are willing to spend 35 – 40 million dollars to pass this law and Proposition 16 is completely self-funded.

PG&E wants to lock its monopoly advantage into the State Constitution, not wanting any competition.

Marin County and San Francisco, both have created public power authorities because they wanted more green power than PG&E was offering, took the case to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) after PG&E illegally threatened not to deliver power to them. Here is what happened:

PG&E must stop threats to public power agencies
David R. Baker, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, April 9, 2010
California energy regulators delivered a rare rebuke to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. on Thursday, banning some of the hardball tactics the utility has used in its efforts to derail Marin County’s new public power agency. Although the move by the California Public Utilities Commission didn’t go as far as some PG&E critics wanted, it could have great significance as other communities – most notably, San Francisco – try to enter the electricity business. “It’s really just a slap on the wrist, but it’s a very important slap,” said San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, one of the key proponents of a public power agency in the city.

The Suburbanization of Poverty

From Brookings Institution

An analysis of the location of poverty in America, particularly in the nation’s 95 largest metro areas in 2000, 2007, and 2008 reveals that:

  • By 2008, suburbs were home to the largest and fastest-growing poor population in the country. Between 2000 and 2008, suburbs in the country’s largest metro areas saw their poor population grow by 25 percent—almost five times faster than primary cities and well ahead of the growth seen in smaller metro areas and non-metropolitan communities. As a result, by 2008 large suburbs were home to 1.5 million more poor than their primary cities and housed almost one-third of the nation’s poor overall.
  • Midwestern cities and suburbs experienced by far the largest poverty rate increases over the decade. Led by increasing poverty in auto manufacturing metro areas—like Grand Rapids and Youngstown—Midwestern city and suburban poverty rates climbed 3.0 and 2.2 percentage points, respectively. At the same time, Northeastern metros—led by New York and Worcester— actually saw poverty rates in their primary cities decline, while collectively their suburbs experienced a slight increase.
  • In 2008, 91.6 million people—more than 30 percent of the nation’s population—fell below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. More individuals lived in families with incomes between 100 and 200 percent of poverty line (52.5 million) than below the poverty line (39.1 million) in 2008. Between 2000 and 2008, large suburbs saw the fastest growing low-income populations across community types and the greatest uptick in the share of the population living under 200 percent of poverty.
  • Western cities and Florida suburbs were among the first to see the effects of the “Great Recession” translate into significant increases in poverty between 2007 and 2008.

Organic Farming Opens a Way for Farmers to Return to Their Proper Role as Innovators and Stewards of the Land


“There seems to be three ways for a nation to acquire wealth: the first is by war…this is robbery; the second by commerce, which is generally cheating; the third by agriculture, the only honest way.” Benjamin Franklin

The twenty-first century’s uncertainty about the future abounds with predicaments like climate change, depletion of our water resources, and the end of cheap energy. And farmers are being called upon to assume a new role as innovators and stewards of the land because they know how to produce food.

“Farmers were the true founders of the United States,” said Lisa Hamilton, author of Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness, “because they went out into the wild and built the first structures and communities that eventually became our cities and the nation.” In 1800, 90 percent of Americans were farmers.

She spoke recently at the 21st Annual Conference of the Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) held in La Crosse, Wisc.

By 1900 after the frontier closed and the nation moved from an agricultural to an industrial economy, the percentage of farmers dropped to almost 40 percent. That’s also when farmers began to shift in their role from “citizens” to “producers.”

And they have been rebelling ever since over land and crop prices and agricultural policies, said Hamilton.

“They weren’t looking to change the system; they only wanted their fair share of the wealth.”

The Homeless Modern


In 1848 Alexis de Tocqueville wrote of “the approaching irresistible and universal spread of democracy throughout the world.” Since his time the drumbeat has quickened, and with the fall of the Soviet Union the ultimate triumph of democracy seemed inevitable. In his 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man, Francis Fukuyama argued that liberal democracy really is the final historical step in the development of political thought and practice. The fact that so much of the world today seems either to be embracing democracy outright, or taking faltering steps toward it, or at least paying lip service to it suggests to many that Fukuyama was right, and all that is left is merely a mopping-up operation.

Of course, the smooth highway to universal democracy encountered a serious obstacle on September 11, 2001. It would seem that not all the world shares the same dream. In fact, if the rhetoric is to be believed, the very freedoms that we in the West cherish as essential to a good life are just those that Islamic militants see as the source of Western decadence. With patriotic pride, we instinctively object. But with dispassionate reflection, we can see that the Islamist rhetoric may point to at least a shadow of the truth. If liberty is not directed toward a common good that transcends arbitrary will—even if it is the will of a vast majority—then it eventually descends into a libertinism that is ultimately destructive to society.

This raises important questions: Is it really true that democracy is a stable system that can, on its own terms, perpetuate its freedoms? Is it really true, as the end-of-history theorists claim, that democracy satisfies our basic need for “recognition”? If so, why do so many citizens in the most democratic society in the world behave as if something is amiss? Tocqueville noted the “strange melancholy often haunting” the Americans. This sense of longing is not explicit and generally has no definite object. It is, rather, an underlying dissatisfaction that today manifests itself in a variety of ways: restless mobility, consumerism, frenzied sexuality, substance abuse, therapy, and boredom… Read the rest here (pdf).

A youngster to us geezers: “Take a hike.”

From “VK”
The Automatic Earth

I was thinking of writing something about the age of consequences that we have entered. With the world going all topsy turvy and unending chaos. I wanted to write something about the decline of complexity, an age of payback or blowback but before I do that, I reckon I want to thank the old farts who got us here. I mean the baby boomers -and gen X’ers to some extent-. No really, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart from Gen Y. It is not even conceivable how ridiculously spoilt the boomers and Gen X’ers are.

You had everything, and you give us nothing. Now that’s a gift worth giving isn’t it?

Where to begin on the gifts that just keep taking from us. You saddle us with your debt burdens, your legacy costs. You use our names and paint little bullseyes on our dreams and hopes and shatter them with the gift of debt. Trillions upon trillions you’ve saddled upon us to save your McMansions, your stocks, your portfolios and your yachts. Thanks for that.

Youth unemployment across much of Europe and the US is hovering between 20-25% with Spain at 45%. This doesn’t even count underemployment, where the youth have been even worse hit. Unemployment and underemployment among young people could be as high as 40-50% in much of the world. So you gift us with debt as well as with no jobs and low wages!

Why do I feel like a PhD in Greece who’s serving fat tourists on a beach earning €700 a month, or maybe the Italian kids who can’t afford to buy their own house or maybe the Australian kid who was sold out by his government into buying houses that (s)he can’t even afford, in an effort to prop up ridiculously over-valued home prices. Or maybe it was the American kid who got out of college with a huge debt burden and now can’t find a job or even get a start in life because of your reckless greed and exuberance to party. Thank you, you’re so kind and gentle and giving.

Nine Myths About Socialism In The US


Glenn Beck and other far right multi-millionaires are claiming that the US is hot on the path towards socialism. Part of their claim is that the US is much more generous and supportive of our working and poor people than other countries. People may wish it was so, but it is not.

As Senator Patrick Moynihan used to say “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But everyone is not entitled to their own facts.”

The fact is that the US is not really all that generous to our working and poor people compared to other countries.

Consider the US in comparison to the rest of the 30 countries that join the US in making up the OECD – the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. These 30 countries include Canada and most comparable European countries but also include some struggling countries like Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Korea, Mexico, Poland, Slovak Republic, and Turkey. See

When you look at how the US compares to these 30 countries, the hot air myths about the US government going all out towards socialism sort of disappear into thin air. Here are some examples of myths that do not hold up.

Myth #1. The US government is involved in class warfare attacking the rich to lift up the poor.

There is a class war going on all right. But it is the rich against the rest of us and the rich are winning. The gap between the rich and everyone else is wider in the US than any of the 30 other countries surveyed. In fact, the top 10% in the US have a higher annual income than any other country. And the poorest 10% in the US are below the average of the other OECD countries.

Cookbook Review: In The Green Kitchen – Alice Waters

Mendocino County

Friday, Bill and I ventured to Berkeley where we had a lunch reservation at our favorite restaurant, Chez Panisse. I truly love the café, the cheaper alternative to the very posh upstairs restaurant.

Simple is the way it is, but Waters’ version of simple: white tablecloths covered with white butcher paper, flatware that is perfectly weighted so it doesn’t slip out of your hand, simple plates that are always spotless, servers– several who I recognized from previous visits.

The décor is craftsman with a big touch of Frank Lloyd Wright in the fixtures and furniture. The walls have posters of the old Marcel Pagnol movies, Cesar, Fanny and Marius. I have a sentimental nostalgic feeling for a life I did not live in Marseille about 100 years ago so the posters take me there. And I imagine what Cesar, Fanny and Marius ate in their little bistro/bar, anticipating the café food.

Waters’ cookbooks are things of beauty. The best known is probably Chez Panisse Vegetables, published in 1996. The color linocut images are gorgeous. The recipes are arranged alphabetically and according to season so that if you find perfect red and yellow peppers in the fall, you just might want to make pizza with them.

But I digress. In the Green Kitchen goes in a different direction. Thirty cooks contributed recipes that they use in their home cooking. There is no fussy food to be found here. The recipes mostly illustrate basic techniques, but with flair and lots of herbs. Examples of really simple stuff are a Cherry tomato & tofu salad, which, Waters informs us, “applies traditional Asian flavorings and methods to the foods of this continent.”


Anderson Valley

(This memoir first appeared in the Anderson Valley Advertiser April 2010)

I have read a great deal about dreams and dreaming, and whether you believe dreams are communications from the astral plane or meaningless imagery resulting from cerebral out gassing, they can certainly remind us of people and places and things we have successfully avoided thinking about for the longest time.

I recently dreamt of being in high school again, and of a transformative moment in my less than excellent adventure there. My dream was a fair enactment of the event from my junior year, though the dream ended differently than the so-called real event.

I was a disinterested student suffering from the sudden onset of chronic pain in my lower back that ended my official athletic career in a heartbreaking twinkling. Verbally precocious, I was enrolled in Advanced English wherein my teachers persistently failed to see the genius behind my sloppy prose. In class discussions I invariably scored points with my classmates for wit and irony and double entendre while merely annoying my sadly average instructors on whom subtly and originality were invariably lost. Or so it seemed to my arrogant teenager’s mind.

My English teacher for my third year of incarceration was a very sad woman who never relaxed. Not in our presence. Ever. I will call her Mrs. R. She trembled when she spoke, as if she feared lightning would strike her for pontificating about things she clearly knew nothing about. She was not inherently stupid, but her anxiety rendered her so.

Ike Heinz: Ukiah Landfill biggest air-polluter. Do we want more of it?


A new attempt to rethink Ukiah’s waste stream

In reference to the Ukiah Daily Journal article 3/26 (see article below), the city staff is taking the first steps towards a disaster in planning to open this site again. The Landfill at the present condition has no space to deposit more garbage. Toxic landfill gas is emanating constantly unused into the air with no installation to flare off the gas. 300 cubic feet of landfill gas per minute and neighbors protest.

The State Waste board and water board are not aware of any new applications for reopening the site and outstanding requests are still pending.

All of our good counsel from the Landfill Gas Task Force has fallen so far on blocked ears. This issue was presented to the city council in one form or another since 2001. We produced a feasibility report stating usable gas till 2023. We made a DVD film of Sonoma County’s Central Landfill with city staff visiting this 10 megawatt electric power production site, operating since 1993. Additional gas is used as CNG, fuelling  36 County busses.

In January 2010 we submitted a proposal to the Ukiah City Council and the County sanitation board in regards to available technology, to make use of waste water bio-solids with gasification. Landfill gas could be added at the same time and the proposal received no response.

We are recommending a different approach to the waste stream cost. Neglect to sort will cost you more!

Promote Reduce – Reuse – Recycle.

Movie Review: From Japan, Elegant (And Eloquent) ‘Departures’


Departures explores distinctly Japanese questions about class and culture, but it’s entertaining enough to appeal to a global audience. [Recommended by Darca Nicholson, we recently rented from Netflix and loved this little gem. -DS]

If there was one real surprise at this year’s Academy Awards, it was the winner for Best Foreign Language Film. The front-runner was widely thought to be the Israeli war movie Waltz with Bashir — but the Oscar went to Departures, a Japanese film that hadn’t yet opened in the U.S.

The brainchild of its leading actor, onetime boy-band member Masahiro Motoki, Departures turns out to be a delightful surprise, at once an engaging dramedy and an eloquent social statement about … well, I’m getting ahead of myself.

When a Tokyo orchestra goes bankrupt, its cellist, a young sad sack named Daigo (Motoki) finds himself unable to support the big-city lifestyle to which he and his wife are just becoming accustomed. So they move to his rural hometown, where he starts a job search.

There’s no orchestra to work for, but an ad offering a career “working with departures” sounds promising; the travel industry intrigues him. So he arranges an interview and, to his surprise, is hired almost before he sits down. At a high salary, too.

There is, however, a catch: The word “departures” in the ad was a misprint. The job involves working with the departed — the dearly departed. As in, Daigo will be preparing bodies for cremation.

He’s about to flee the interview when the boss offers him his first day’s salary and suggests he try the job for a bit and see.

Pinky Kushner: Here is what I’m sick about…


Sometimes, it’s important to take positions on little items as well as big ones.  This week at City Hall, the Ukiah City Council voted 3-1 (with one absence) to go forward with a plan to re-configure the municipal pools at Todd Grove Park (see UDJ article below).   The decision was regrettable and needs to be reversed for three primary reasons:

It is fiscally irresponsible for the City, because the re-configuration, although partially funded by a State grant, will cost the City $450,000, which it does not have.

It is a decision that was not made democratically since it was made during winter months and was not posted on the pool itself and did not involve people who use the municipal pools regularly.

It is an unreasonable use of State money for recreational facilities because the re-configuration reduces the available pool area by nearly 50%, thus reducing recreational access not enhancing it.

The agenda item can be found on the City’s website at

A letter that I sent prior to last night’s meeting is copied below.   I plan to appeal this decision in any way that I can.   How can I fight for the earth and ignore my own backyard?

April 5, 2010

City Council Members
City of Ukiah
Ukiah, CA

Behind Obama’s Cool

From NYT

In 2004, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois attended a White House event wearing the campaign pin of her state’s candidate for the United States Senate. When she saw President Bush do a double take at the one word on her pin, she assured him that it spelled “Obama,” not “Osama.” Bush shrugged: “I don’t know him.” She answered, “You will.” Not long after this, Barack Obama gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, and many people suddenly knew him. It happened so fast that he seemed to come out of nowhere. The truth was more intriguing — he had come out of everywhere.

His multiple points of origin made him adaptable to any situation. What could have been a source of confusion or uncertain identity he meant to turn into an overwhelming advantage. As he told a Chicago Reader interviewer in 2000:

“My experience being able to walk into a public-housing development and turn around and walk into a corporate boardroom and communicate effectively in either venue means that I’m more likely to be able to build the kinds of coalitions and craft the sort of message that appeals to a broad range of people.”

David Remnick, in this exhaustively researched life of Obama before he became president, quotes many interviews in which Obama made the same or similar points. Accused of not being black enough, he could show that he has more direct ties to Africa than most ­African-Americans have… More at NYT

Take Action: Credit Unions

A Call to Action from Redwood Credit Union President & CEO Brett Martinez

As a Member and owner of Redwood Credit Union (RCU), your voice is vital on issues related to your Credit Union, our industry and on financial matters that can affect you and your fellow Members. As our nation begins to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression, Congress is considering legislation that will significantly impact credit unions, and you can help.

  • In recent years, credit unions have excelled at providing much-needed financing to local small businesses. In your community, Redwood Credit Union was recently ranked the #1 SBA lender in the greater North Bay.
  • Currently, credit unions are restricted in the amount of business loans we can make. Meanwhile, many large and mid-sized banks have not extended credit lines or enhanced their business lending—even after receiving taxpayer funds to do so.
  • Congress has introduced two key pieces of legislation to increase the existing lending cap. If Congress passes this legislation, RCU and other credit unions will lend to more small businesses, aid in job creation, and help improve our local economies.

The vote by Congress is likely to occur soon, so please take a moment now to let your Representatives know you support this legislation that would lift the business lending cap on credit unions.

Blast from the Past: Scott and Helen Nearing

Simple Food and the Good Life
Published: September 9, 1981

[For many of us in the sixties and seventies, the Nearings represented models of how we wanted to live: simply, self-sufficiently, independent from the corporate world we had grown up in. Mendocino was (and is) well stocked with Nearing acolytes. Only much later did I learn that Helen was a “bond baby” who received monthly checks from Standard Oil. Oh well, oil wells… not so simple… Beautiful  lives, just the same. Speaking of which: National Treasures in person→  -DS]


”Live hard not soft; eat hard not soft; seek fiber in foods and in life.” For the five decades that Helen and Scott Nearing have been homesteading in Vermont and Maine, they have made a concerted effort to live by that philosophy, which is the guiding principle of Helen Nearing’s recent book, ”Simple Food for the Good Life” (Delacorte, $12.95).

Back in 1932, when the Nearings fled to an old farmhouse in the Green Mountains, they considered themselves pioneers. They wrote about the satisfactions and rewards of living off the land in a book called ”Living the Good Life,” first published in 1954. Before long, they became the symbolic leaders of generations of homesteaders in a movement back to the land that still seems to be gaining momentum.

More at NYT

Scottish Fiddler Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas in Ukiah this Saturday 4/10/10


This Saturday, April 10th at 7:30pm at the Saturday Afternoon Clubhouse in Ukiah, Ukiahjoel and Spencer Brewer present a special return engagement with the world famous fiddle legend Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas for one performance. Last year this famous team performed to a full hall in Ukiah with multiple standing ovations…… this is not a concert to be missed!  This year for the first time, they will also be offering a fiddle/cello master class as well!

The fiddle/cello master class will be held the same day at the Saturday Afternoon Clubhouse from 2:00 to 4:30. Admission for the workshop is only $25. For more information or to sign-up go to

“Alasdair Fraser is recognized throughout the world as one of the finest fiddle players Scotland has ever produced. [His] name is synonymous with the vibrant cultural renaissance which is transforming the Scottish musical scene.” —SCOTS Magazine

Scottish fiddle legend Alasdair Fraser and cello artist Natalie Haas team up to make some of the richest, most exhilarating music imaginable.

Farming for the Future (Video)

Thanks to Linda Gray

Watch it here

[After college and an early career as a nature photographer, daughter comes back to the traditional cow and sheep farm in Devon where she grew up. Her father, who calls their work “glorified lavatory attendants,” and uncle, are still farming it long after they should have retired. Her friends tell her to sell it and get on with her life, but she wants to preserve the nature that is still abundant and thriving there.

She knows that the farm will have to change to survive, and she turns to Colin Campbell and Santa Rosan Richard Heinberg, Peak Oil experts, to understand what the future will bring; and then explores sustainable alternatives she (and we) could adopt: grass and hedgerow husbandry, Permaculture, and Forest Farming.

A 50-minute, beautifully-made, sobering, yet hopeful documentary, well worth spending time with. -DS]


Action Alert! Rescue Local/Organic Farming in the Food Safety Bill!

Action Alert:

Rescue Local/Organic Farming in the Food Safety Bill!

Urgent—Call your Senator Today

Next week, as early as Tuesday, April 13, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a sweeping overhaul of federal food safety law – S. 510. The House food safety bill passed last year (HR 2749) included several measures that threaten small-scale organic producers, including a registration fee of $500 and blanket application of complicated monitoring and traceability standards — regardless of one’s farm size.

There’s no doubt that industrial agriculture needs better oversight. But, family-scale local and organic farms are probably the safest in the nation — they are part of the solution, not part of the problem — and need to be protected!

Julia Child’s Famous Potato Leek Soup (Organic Version)

For about 2½ quarts, serving 6 to 8

4 cups sliced organic leeks—the white part and a bit of the tender green
4 cups diced organic potatoes—old or baking potatoes recommended
6 to 7 cups water
1½ to 2 tsp salt, or to taste
½ cup or more organic sour cream, heavy cream, or créme fraîche, optional

Special equipment suggested: A heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan with cover.

Simmering the soup: Bring the leeks, potatoes, and water to a boil in the saucepan. Salt lightly, cover partially, and simmer 20 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the cream, taste, and correct seasoning.
See also: “When you think about it, a breakfast cereal is a bizarre product — there is nothing natural or normal about eating manufactured flakes and puffs created by giant machines in factories, shipped around the world and sealed in plastic for months…” Against breakfast cereal at Energy Bulletin
Image Credit: 1961, public domain

Fox and Republicans Feigning Outrage Is Showbiz. It’s Bull. It’s Bad For Democracy.


Video here

Rachel Maddow calls bull-pucky on Fox News and the GOP for fake outrage on everything from fake pimp James O’Keefe who helped take ACORN down, to Climate-gate, to recess appointments, to the individual mandate in the health care plan, to Miranda rights, to trials for terrorists, to the birthers to you name it.

She asks “Has there ever been a time where we shared so few political facts?” and after noting that we need some actual serious political discourse in America and how important that is to our democracy adds this:

Two things disqualify you from this process. You can’t threaten to shoot people, and you have to stop making stuff up.

Amen sister. She’s right, the Republicans and their allies in the press should be disqualified from this process for propagandizing the public and for allowing the violent rhetoric coming out of these Tea partiers, Fox News and Republican members of Congress to continue. Until some more of your cohorts in the media are willing to do the same thing you did here, that’s not going to happen. This dangerous nonsense only going to get worse until we get these media monopolies broken up.

We should have hundreds of those like Rachel Maddow, Amy Goodman, Thom Hartmann, Bill Moyers and others out there that everyone that visits this site is well aware of, giving equal weight to liberal voices that there is a market for, but has been suppressed by our corporate media that wants to pretend to play fair while marginalizing those that care more about facts over hype.

I don’t know what it’s going to take to finally get Glenn Beck off of the air or for someone in the GOP to finally tell Michele Bachmann to sit down and shut up but something’s got to give or we’re headed down a very dangerous path with how this all ends. I truly think some of these useful idiots would rather destroy our country than ever stop what they’re doing, and it saddens and terrifies me. I was happy to see Rachel call some of them out for what is just a small portion of how destructive they’ve been to our democracy and our political discourse.