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California Climate Change Policy Leaves Out Agriculture

An article I came upon… California Climate Change Policy Leaves Out Agriculture

   It is this kind of issue the Regional Water Quality control board wishes to address with the newly-required ‘Regenerative Agriculture’ classes for all commercial produce growers in California. But they go about it the wrong way. The classes should be given for free to licensed growers… not enforced onto us at our own travel and expense.  The water testing is another thing that should be shared across the board. If this is for the good of the planet, whey are we the ones to bear the cost?  And there is little (seems to me nothing) to help the very small scale grower, nor any consideration given to those who are already doing some or many of the actions they desire…. Instead, like nearly any governmental program, all are lumped together, and all herded through the same door into the same classes. So we who have run on a deficit for the last few years are paying nearly the same as the super huge corporations.


   If I’m upset about this, imagine the commercial growers who would see this all as ‘Tree-Hugger BS’. At least I believe in and support the basic premise of the classes.


   Here’s an excerpt from the article….


Hamerschlag’s report finds that careful studies have shown that several underused farm management practices, such as cover cropping, conservation tillage and organic fertilization, have the potential to deliver significant carbon sequestration benefits while helping farmers conserve water, maintain yields and resist weeds and pests in the face of climate change.

The report makes ten specific recommendations for addressing the inertia that has prevented California from taking effective action on agriculture and climate change and calls on policy makers to develop programs of targeted research, outreach, technical assistance and financial incentives for farmers.

“As a first step towards swifter action,” Hamerschlag said, key state agencies “should establish an inter-agency working group on agriculture and climate change. Federal agencies, NGOs and farm groups all have critical roles to play and should also be actively involved.”

Go here for the full report: http://www.ewg.org/Agriculture-Missing-from-Californias-Climate-Change-Strategy


   The last is the reason I am reluctant to make a decision to close shop and stop producing.  I believe that in time, the officials will realize they have destroyed the most productive farms on a ‘per-acre’ basis.. the small family and organic farms with their growers more interested in producing good foods and taking care of the land than just making a buck this quarter.


  We’ve been operating at a loss the last couple of years…. most of that is due to advertising costs that have not borne fruit. I’ve decided we’ll stop with advertising in the conventional sense… it seems to gain us very little for the cost.  This will allow us to at least operate without having to post a loss. Perhaps in a couple of years the government will come up with a plan to let farmers be able to take the classes through the internet and not have to travel 200 miles for them. Perhaps the government will decide that if it requires a thousand dollars worth of water testing yearly, they will reimburse the growers for some of that cost, since the reason is to help the entire country out. Instead as it stands now, they will push out all the large gardens (small farms) that make some of the best produce. Actually, they won’t, those folks will mostly just operate ‘under the table’, selling their produce to stores that are willing to take food from unlicensed growers without paperwork and receipts. But that will defeat the entire purpose of the testing.  Governmental actions generally have unintended consequences that often are more horrendous than initial inaction by the government.

Controlling Hearts and Minds

    I took a lot of  ’AgriBusiness’ classes in school. They tried to impress on us the importance of ‘economy of scale’. “Become a giant farm, have specialists for everything, and ‘mine’ the soil for all the nutrients you can, bring in all the inputs that allow you to grow the foods you need, use the pesticides so the produce will be blemish-free and appealing to the consumer.”  Then I went overseas and spent some time in Third-World countries, eating the fresh local produce…. I remember being at a market in Morocco and seeing scabbed oranges for sale…. I thought to myself how these would never sell in the USA and we were so lucky to have such great produce in the States. But when I peeled the rind away, the orange was as nice as any I’d seen, and the taste was better than oranges I recalled in the USA. That was the beginning of a desire in me to produce organically.  It is the taste of the food, the nutrition, and the food safety in it that really counts.

   But organic methods don’t work so well on the large scale of a huge agribusiness with its economy of scale. An organic operation must have patches of unworked land with bugs in them, and a variety of foods grown, not the large scale ‘monoculture’ that makes for such economy in the case of a large farm.  Yet the small scale of the standard small family organic farm means those people lose the economy of scale that a large operation has. For instance, marketing and compliance with food safety regulations can both be done more efficiently with a large farm.

   We are going through hoops right now with the local regional Water Quality Control Board  who want to do monthly testing of our well water. They say the costs will be ‘insignificant’. But over one thousand dollars yearly is not insignificant to us.  It means we must reduce some other costs that we can control, something like marketing.. which might reduce our sales. 

   While I understand the issues related to food safety, I also would like to see this country become less one of huge corporate mega-farms, and more of a hodge-podge of small family farmers, each selling locally or shipping on a limited basis some unique vegetable that cannot be grown efficiently in other places.

   North Carolina is a place I have some family, so when I see NC articles, they jump out at me. One such recently was about the Feds starting to examine small farms in NC.  The small-scale growers there are concerned that the proposed new regulations will drive them out of business.  I understand their concerns. But I have a prediction…. our government and people tend to move in cycles…. fear becomes hysteria, and then rules and changes out of all proportion to the threat are soon enacted … then years later cooler heads prevail, and things ratchet down some. Still, once you give the government the reins, they tend to keep tight fingers on them and never relinquish power.

   There’s a movement afoot to build small farms in the inner cities. Some propose bulldozing entire near-empty blocks and replacing them with farms to provide healthy nutritious foods for the local people. There will also need to be farm managers for these places, and many workers. I expect the federal government will give a large amount of assistance to these enterprises, and non-profits will be rushing to fill the spots, for which the government will pay them (we’re working with non-profits regarding our water testing, but still they charge, and everyone in the line there is making money, non-profit does NOT mean free).  These groups will be getting funds and assistance to meet their payroll and goals… but it seems that rural dwellers will still remain paying on their own…. but we’re used to being ignored by the government, except when they want to get their fees and revenue and now code-enforcement money.

   Believe me, the only thing the Federal Government can do is protect the country from invasion and fight wars, it is the only thing that is large enough to do that.  But pretty-much, that is the only thing the Feds should be doing… it is too large and unwieldy an organism to be able to see the small.  And so I expect it will in general wipe out small farms…. except for the ones that are willing to go ‘hat in hand’ and let the government take over their operation, and run it as a non-profit. In this way, the government will control the food supply.  Control their food, you control their hearts and minds.


Chapter 17

When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists.
Second best is a leader who is loved.
Next, is one who is feared.
The worst is one who is despised.
Such as these have no faith in their people,
and the people in turn become unfaithful to them.
The Master doesn’t talk; he acts.
How sparing he is with his words!
When his work is complete and the purpose is achieved,
the people regard the triumph as their own.



Chapter 22

Yield, and maintain integrity.
If you want to become whole; let yourself become partial.
If you want to become straight; let yourself become crooked.
If you want to become full; let yourself become empty.
If you want to be reborn; you must let yourself die.
If you want to be given everything; you must give everything up.
The sage accepts the world as the world accepts the Way.
He is free from self-display; and therefore he shines.
Freed from self-assertion; he is distinguished.
Removed from self-boasting; his merit is acknowledged.
removed from self-complacency; he acquires superiority.
It is because he is free from striving that
no one in the world is able to strive with him.
When the ancient Masters said,
“If you want to be given everything, give everything up,”
they weren’t mouthing empty phrases.
Only in being lived by the Tao can you be truly complete.


Chapter 44

Fame or integrity, which do you hold most dear?
Your wealth or your life, to which will you cling?
Gain or loss, which one increases your anxiety?
In fame and wealth and gain can be found the seeds of failure,
And in integrity and life and loss can be found the root of treasures.
Thus it is that a contented person is never ashamed of what they have,
Having self-restraint he can avoid trouble,
In this way he can endure long, and live contentedly.


Chapter 53

If I possess even the smallest bits of wisdom,
I would walk the great way, and my only fear would be in straying from this great road.
The great way is wide and the going is easy, but how people seem to prefer the side paths.
When the offices of government, the palaces and temples are richly adorned, and lavishly outfitted…
when the ministers are concerned chiefly with pomp and display;
the fields will be dusty and overgrown with rank weeds, and the granaries of the land will be bare.
The gentry wear elaborate richly embroidered clothes,
eat and drink in excess with their sharp swords at their sides,
these are surely the robber barons. This is not in keeping with the Way.


Chapter 57

Rule the kingdom with justice. Use surprise tactics to fight a war.
But it takes letting go to win and hold the world.
How do I know it is so? Through this: -
The more restrictive the laws in the kingdom, the poorer the people will be.
The more sharp weapons the people have, the more troubled and chaotic the state will be
and the less secure the people will be.
The more clever and advanced the people, the stranger the contrivances they will invent.
Law after law promulgates robbers and thieves.
Therefore the Master says: “I will let go of the law,
and the people will act rightly of their own accord,
I will love tranquility and the people will act with righteousness.”
“I will make no effort, and the people will prosper.
I will let go of all of my desires, and the people will return to native simplicity.”




Chapter 58

When a government is unobtrusive and tolerant the people will be happy and prosperous;
when a government is suspicious and strict the people are dissatisfied and crafty.
Good fortune is linked to calamity; misery is tied to happiness.
So who can tell when the end of this will come?
Is there no measuring-stick for the norm?
What is seen now as right and true will certainly someday be seen as wrong and false.
The people have labored under this sea of vexations for a long time.
Therefore the Master is square without sharp cutting corners.
His straightness is not strained; he is pointed without being piercing.
And he is bright but not blinding.


Chapter 72

When the people have no more fear of oppression; that is when oppressive forces will overtake them.
Do not restrict the people in their dwellings.
Do not oppress the people with heavy taxes and burdens.
If you do not wear the people out, they will not weary of you.
Therefore it is that sages know themselves well, but this self-knowledge is not displayed for all to see.
The sage respects himself, but does not try to become admired.
He will choose self-knowledge and love, and set conceit and opinion aside.


Chapter 75

When the nation is in want of food,
it can be seen that the government officials are eating too much of the grain in excessive taxes.
And why are the people restive and hard to govern?
They are in a state of near rebellion due to the intrusive machinations of the government.
The people learn to make light of death when they strive to obtain goods and extravagant items.
They are relentlessly working to acquire more, and look to death as a release from pursuit of material gain.
In this wise it is easy to not place too high a price on life.


Chapter 76

At birth a person is soft and supple; at their deaths they are firm and strong.
All creatures, plants and trees are born tender and flexible,
when they are dead they become brittle and dried.
Thus it is that people who are stiff and hard are companions of death.
The soft and yielding are the followers of life.
It can be seen that a great inflexible army will fall under it’s own weight,
just as a stiff unyielding tree will break in the wind.
Dwelling in an inflexible unyielding manner will bring downfall.
The pliant and supple will survive.



Chapter 77


The way of nature is much like the drawing of a bow.
That which is high is lowered, and that which is low is brought up.
The excess is removed, and where there is deficiency more is added.
The way of nature is to reduce the excesses and spread them to where there is deficiency.
The way of the world is otherwise, Mans way is to take from those who have little,
and give to those who have much.
Who is it that can offer more to the world, and have still more to offer? Only the person of the Tao.
Therefore the sage acts without laying claim to the act.
He can accomplish without boasting.
He has no wish to appear superior.


Chapter 81

Truth is not spoken with rhetoric;
rhetoric does not embrace truth.
The good do not quarrel; those who quarrel are not good.
Those who know are not widely learned, those who are widely learned do not know.
The sage does not hoard for himself. The more he does to help others, the more he can do.
The more he gives to others the more his own treasures increase.
The way of Heaven is to cause benefit, not harm.
Therefore the sage observes this and imitates it.
He acts, serves, and does without relentless striving.




Farm on wheels, a ‘novel’ concept?

Oy-Vey!   These young kids come up with an old idea and think they’ve reinvented the wheel!

   When I was a kind and visiting my grandma’s home in Germany, there would be a vegetable vendor who came along with a  small truck loaded with vegetables. He had some particular horn on his truck that everyone in the neighborhood recognized, and all the ‘hausfraus’ would come running out of their doors with marks in hand, eager to purchase the fresh veggies he carried. Remember this was ina  time and place where most families did not have a car, and the men worked and most of the wives stayed at home cooking everything from scratch most of the day. If a woman was out of green onions, this guy might save her a one mile walk to the store, so it was a good marketing-delivery concept.  There was also a fish guy who had live fish who’d come along on Thursdays so everyone could have their Friday fish. And the beer guy would have the key to your cellar, he’d replace your empty beer bottles with full ones, and credit you for the empty bottles.  And the milkman would give you your milk and yogurt.

   This concept was common in most towns in Europe and also in the USA. Only when WWII came along with the huge demographic changes in the US populace, and the wheels that ended up in nearly every driveway that these professions disappeared.  With most women in the workplace, and most families with a car for easy travel, and the proliferation of heat-and-serve foods, perhaps there is not much of a market for this service.

    Yet some Einsteins have come up with a ‘unique idea that should make money’  in the form of an electric truck that will sell veggies in the inner city neighborhoods.  Perhaps in some places this idea might work. But I think most people want to go shopping at a store where they can browse at their own pace, and not feel like they’re holding the guy up. Also US citizens are used to ‘spic-and-span’ in their foods. The idea of an open truck driving around with food sitting in the open might not seem all that appealing to many consumers. Now, I live in farm country, and anytime I drive to town I see huge open trucks loaded with strawberries, broccoli or tomatoes driving to the packing houses…. so I know this happens, but folks in the cities don’t know veggies except cello-wrapped, and mostly already washed and trimmed… indeed, many folks have no familiarity with fresh veggies, they get most of their veggies (when they eat them) from a can or frozen packs.

    Anyways, I hope the idea catches on.  It is a good concept, and hopefully all those husbands that have been laid off from construction and factory jobs and staying at home while their wives work, will shut Oprah off for a bit and cook their wives a good meal for when she comes home.  Maybe the vegetable truck will be handy for them while the wife has the car at work and the second car has been sold to pay the mortgage.

Words of counsel

Something I wrote in January, 2005… that I need to look at again from time to time.

One ship drives east and another drives west
With the self same winds that blow.
‘Tis the set of the sails,
And not the gales,
That tell us the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate;
As we voyage along through life,
‘Tis the set of the soul
That decides its goal,
And not the calm, or the strife.

- Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   The winds blow hard this night, California is in the grip of a series of storms we call ‘The Pineapple Express’. These are high winds bringing moisture laden air that will dump with a fury upon encountering California’s hills. The winds blow day and night, overturning trailers, jackknifing rigs on the freeway. Locally the winds blew a mobile home off the truck dragging it along the highway as it crossed a high bridge over a reservoir. The trailer was dashed to pieces hundreds of feet below.

   The winds are only one problem, the rain is another. Landslides, road closures, and flooding have been occurrences in the Southland. We have had two or three weeks of unrelenting rain, nearly daily rain, daily gusts. I must say that we have had the occasional respite from rain that has enabled us to venture onto the terraces to pick cactus on occasion. And the leaves we are picking now!.. beautiful,. deep green, rich with the nitrogen given to us by nature in her life-enabling rain that we so often curse with one breath while we thank God for the water we all need. The leaves are washed clean of dust; the normal speckling of minerals and well water is replaced by a clean green slate of rich vegetable bounty.

   While we sit miserable in our house, wishing we could be out enjoying fresh air and digging in the ground, we are reminded of how fragile this life is, the scenes on television of the horrendous flooding from the Tsunami are so overwhelming that to be sad to be in a clean warm house with food and fresh water and the internet and television is the height of self-indulgent narcissism. I thank God for this land he brought me to, and I thank the American people for the help they gave my family in a war-torn country before I was born. We in this land of plenty have the world at our feet, and the resources of the world are gobbled up by our insatiable appetite. It is right and fitting that we give our hearts and some money to those suffering so much.

   But yet, we must remember that it is the same appetite for building and renewal that gives us the low casualty figures when we have our own natural disasters. When the earthquake happened here just over a year ago, two people in a neighboring town died. A couple months later the same magnitude earthquake happened in Iran, and many thousands died. We use our resources and those of other nations who sell to us to make our people safer, we use technology to make our world move with a more responsive speed. When we ship cactus to New York it gets there in five days or less on average, and this for a small price considering the distance involved.

   The same Tsunami event on the California coast would likely have been detected with our satellites and deep-sea buoys, alerts would have been sent throughout California, and many thousands of persons might have been saved. Now while it is hard to imagine Los Angeles evacuating in an orderly and manageable fashion, I am sure the loss of life would have been greatly reduced due to our way of life.

   This brings us to the next comment, we tend to want the others in the world to adopt our way of life, and we spend a huge amount of money trying to bring people into this way and philosophy. I truly believe the USA is being altruistic when we try to raise the standard of living of others. But it is said that while ‘you can lead a horse to water, you cannot make him drink’. Not all in the world want our life with it’s hectic and frenetic pace of meetings, schedules, and people and business. I remember lazy afternoons in Morocco while the businessmen drank tea in their slow-paced method of business. Even the relief efforts are not up to our standards, in India it is said the survivors are divided into separate camps based upon caste. This is a horrendous thing to us, tantamount to dividing survivors based upon race. But it is hard for us to impose our vision of equality upon others, just as we resist efforts by the international community to change our foreign policy or greenhouse gasses policies.

   I must say, I like this place, I will stay here and enjoy the blowing of the wind, and the clatter of the rain on the roof, the life giving moisture that will hopefully enable us to have another good year of cactus, and I place it all in the hands of the Almighty as to what winds, and what rains He may send my way, it is up to me to make the best of those winds, and those rains to ensure my family’s success, and the nourishment of the people. AMEN.

Jan 29, 2005

Got up in the morning, cold. Turned on the TV and watched the 1964 Japanese movie “Fight Zaguichi, Fight!” about a blind Swordsmaster who saves a baby after it’s mother is killed by brigands. I am struck by the similarity of the Samurai code of ‘Bushido’ with the European Knights code of ‘Shivalry’, and the modern ‘Code of the Fighting Man’. The greatest fighting men live by a code, to not offront the helpless, to practice self-restraint.
It is only through Self mastery that one can advance to the height of one’s own ability, hence it is said:

Chapter 33
Understanding the world is knowledge,
Understanding yourself is enlightenment.
Mastering others is strength,
Mastering yourself is true power.
Having many things is affluence,
Being content with what you have is satisfaction.
Will power will increase perseverance,
But tranquility with the Tao brings eternal endurance.

   Hold onto Restraint, remember always to have compassion. No matter how great you are, no matter how powerful and cunning, and quick you are, You will still find compassion to be your greatest ally.

   Blessed are the mercifull, for they will receive mercy

   I’m brought to smile often at a memory of a trip I made to the market recently, a young man in his twenties was with his parents or grandparents. He was mentally disabled, and strode through the market with the simplicity and wonder of a child. He reached his hands up to the lights as a child will to the stars. His face had the radiant glow of a saint, and his loving caregivers indulged his whims. They strode the market with him, holding hands, loving and adaptable to his mind. They showed no shame of him, and he in his simplicity walked through the market happy in his ignorance. Looking through his eyes at a new world, one he had never seen before, until he recognized a food he loved, then he asked for it.

   There was something about his happy countenance that thrilled me, this is the essence of humanity itself, stripped of all indulgences, ego, and aspirations. This young man looks for nothing out of life, he lives from one moment to the next. And his caregivers provide all for him, and will love him to the end of their days.

   This is the way I see God providing for us in Paradise, we will not need to worry about anything, all will be taken care of by a loving and benevolent Master. But this is not the way of this fallen world. Although the world is beautiful it is also a harsh and nasty place, full of killing and dying. All things destroy something in order to live, from the smallest paramycium living on detritus on the forest floor, to the lion killing a fawn to eat. But one day the lion will lay down with the lamb, and the Shepard will watch over them all. But in this life this young man will be provided for by the loving couple until their demise, then perhaps some others will watch over him, and someday I may see him in his old age, walking through the market with the same look of wonder in his eyes, hands reaching to the sky.

   From the Gospel of Jesus Christ

   Ask and it will be given, seek and you will find,
   knock and the door will be opened.
   For everyone who asks recieves, and he who seeks finds,
   and to all who knock, the door will be opened.
   What man among you when his son asks for bread would give him a stone?
   And when he asks for a fish would give him a snake?
   If you then who are imperfect know how to give good gifts to your children,
   how much more will your Father
   who is perfect give good things to those who ask him?
   Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about what you will eat,
   or what you will wear, isn’t your life more than it’s food?
   And your body more than it’s clothing?
   Look at the birds of the sky, they neither sow nor reap,
   nor gather into barns, yet God feeds them.

   Which of you by thinking can add a day to his life?
   And why do you worry about clothing?
   Consider the lillies of the field, how they grow,
   they neither toil nor spin, and yet I tell you
   that not even Solomon in all his glory was robed like one of these.
   Therefore if God so clothes the grass that grows in the field today,
   and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won’t he all the more clothe you?

   So don’t worry about these things and say ‘what will we eat, and what will we wear’,
   for that is what the gentiles seek,
   and your Father knows that you need these things, but first seek the Kingdom of God.
   And these things will be given to you as well.

come calling





Bea’s Song
River Song Triliogy II
~Cowboy Junkies~

John says I look at the moon and the stars
these days more often than I look into his eyes
and I can’t disagree so I don’t say nothing
I just stare on past his face at Venus rising,
like a shining speck of hope hanging over the horizon

With each passing year that I sit here
that horizon seems to inch just that much nearer
and all that appears on it seems as clear as spit
But if there’s on thing in my life
that these years have taught
it’s that you can always see it coming
but you can never stop it

Speed River at my feet running low and flat
I’m sitting here burning daylight,
thinking about the past
and that distance out there
where the earth meets the sky
The slightest move and this river mud
pulls me further down
John’s at my side,
but he’s not noticing that I’m drowning



‘Lonely Sinking Feeling’
~Cowboy Junkies~

She says, “I’m getting that lonely sinking feeling,
you know what I mean?”
With his hand on her back he’s thinking,
“Where does that leave me?”
Just when I think I’ve uncovered the secret
to peace and tranquility
that lonely sinking feeling creeps up on me

He says, “I’m seeing those doubt filled
questioning eyes
and I can’t believe it’s true”
With her head in her hands she sighs,
“It’s me, not you”

Just when I thought that I’d discovered the joy
of loving one so completely
that lonely sinking feeling creeps up on me


‘Come Calling’
~Cowboy Junkies~

If I could fix me up a week of twilight hours
we’d sit on the point
and watch the sun continually flounder
Bathed in gold we’d plug into some kind of power
and connect with those days
back before all of this went sour

‘Cause I’m drinking for the pleasure of falling
and I’m falling for the pleasure of pretending
that you’re sitting by the window waiting
for me to come calling

Odd how the darkness always makes us whisper
and with the last of the sun
you can feel the approach of the winter
Now is the time of each day
that I Desperately miss her
I suppose I will learn how to live my life without her




‘Angel Mine’
~Cowboy Junkies~

 I search all the time on the ground
for our shadows cast side by side
Just to remind me that I haven’t gone crazy
that you exist and are mine
And I know that your skin is as warm and as real
as that smile in your eyes
But I have to keep touching and smelling
and tasting for fear it’s all lies

I can’t promise that I’ll grow those wings
or keep this tarnished halo shined
but I’ll never betray your trust
angel mine

Last night I awoke from the deepest of sleeps
with your voice in my head
And I could tell by your breathing
that you were still sleeping
I repeated those words that you had said

I can’t promise that I’ll grow those wings
or keep this tarnished halo shined
but I’ll never betray your trust
angel mine



A Trip to Cold Canyon

A trip to the landfill…..
Our first in a few years.
We don’t like to throw anything away…
when we do, it’s probably really worn out.
In this case it was our 17 year old sofa and loveseat.

Arroyo Grande, Grand Ave

Arroyo Grande, Grand Ave

 I took the 101 up to Grand Avenue in Arroyo Grande, the next town over
and the town our phone bill says we live in….
but folks in our area tend to feel they live in Nipomo
Arroyo Grande is a really super-nice little town.
It is surrounded by many thousands of acres of small landholdings.
It has good schools, and fine folks.


Arroyo Grande, Grand Ave

Arroyo Grande, Grand Ave

Arroyo Grande  was celebrating its ‘Harvest Festival’
it’s good when small towns celebrate things.
It brings nearby folks over, and makes almost everyone smile and have fun.

Arroyo Grande is a town full of small ‘Mom and Pop’ shops, cafes and restaurants.
We’ve only eaten in one of them, that is a pizza place in the white building to the right.
It was great Pizza and was a Tuesday night ‘All you can eat’ we attended a dozen years ago.
I ate so much for the price, I’m too embarrassed to go back.

There is a butcher shop to the right halfway up the block…
We’ve used them in the past to process meats for us.
But we don’t raise livestock anymore.

Arroyo Grande, Grand Ave cafe

Arroyo Grande, Grand Ave cafe

Arroyo Grande is far enough inland to have clear weather most of the time.
Yet it is close enough to the coast that it stays cool even when it is 100 degrees ten miles further inland.
It seems a great place for these numerous cafes with tables on the sidewalks.


The Famous Corbett Canyon, corbett Canyon... corbett canyon

The Famous Corbett Canyon, corbett Canyon... corbett canyon

 Further on along 227, I came upon the northern opening to Corbett Canyon.
Corbett Canyon Winery used to have a national commercial for their wines.


Rock formation alongside Hwy 227 near Edna

Rock formation alongside Hwy 227 near Edna

This area has many protrusions of rock
including the fabled ‘seven Sisters’ that are just a bit north of here


Cold Canyon Landfill

Cold Canyon Landfill

Arrival at Cold Canyon Landfill


Cold Canyon Landfill

Cold Canyon Landfill


The sanitary landfill at Cold Canyon
I like the way the landfills operate in California.
They really do try to segregate the materials according to hazard level.


Coming along Price Canyon Road to Pismo Beach
Coming along Price Canyon Road to Pismo Beach

To get back to the coast, I took Price Canyon Road, a five mile drive.
This is the sight of the ocean as you get into the back -end of Pismo Beach.


Avila Beach, Port San Luis area

Avila Beach, Port San Luis area

When I got to Hwy 101, I turned right (North)
This is the view of Avila Beach and Port San Luis
a most beautiful area


Slo-Mo Tractor Roll

August 1, 2007
Tractor Roll

A tractor rolled while cutting terraces on our hillside

A tractor rolled while cutting terraces on our hillside

A bit of a near-terrible accident.
A tractor went over onto it’s side when travelling along the slope.

A tractor rolled while cutting terraces on our hillside

A tractor rolled while cutting terraces on our hillside


Luckily, the ROPS (Roll-Over-Protection-Structure) saved the tractor from rolling on down to the bottom of the hill, and rolling over onto the operator while doing so.
This shows well the importance of utilizing your safety features and not modifying the original system in favor of ‘ease of use’, or ‘speed’.
The operator (a friend of mine) escaped serious injury,  we used our tractor to push this one back up. So, all ended well, but illustrates the dangers that can come when using equipment, especially in ‘challenging’ terrain.

A tractor rolled while cutting terraces on our hillside

A tractor rolled while cutting terraces on our hillside

This is my friend Jeff taking his tractor back down the hillside after we got it pushed back up using my tractor which you can see behind him.  Jeff’s a trooper, he got right back onto the seat and rode the tractor down. It was weird seeing the tractor roll over… I was downhill a hundred feet and watched it all happen in that strange slo-mo that the mind does.  This could so very easily have been a horrendous accident.

Gott Sei Mit Dir





By Neil Young



   Sep 29, 2004

   The full moon comes over the hills as I drive home early in the AM. A full night behind, the warmth of home ahead of me, the realization that life is full of twists and turns just like the road I drive.

   The full moon often makes me think of the many places I’ve watched that great orb rise and settle down.

   Some of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen has been the moon lowering itself into the Western sea. That great Pacific Ocean that lies not too far from home. Great glossy sea, smooth with the oils from the kelp, shining the reflection of the moon back into the dark sky. The moon can drown out the stars with its reflecting brilliance.

   There are times that the moon takes up the reflection of the sun from the earth. These are the times that we see the dark moon, but it has that curiously light aspect to it. Not the full moon shining like we usually associate with the lunar light. This is actually the reflection of the sun off the Earth lighting up the moon in a shallow imitation of it’s full-moon brilliance. This is a parlor trick of God as He plays with His great polished mirrors that He so long ago set spinning in the vastness of space when He took His first days foray into creation. This back-shining is called ‘Gegenschein’, which is German for something like ‘reflected back’.

   As I drive along looking at the moon, seeing the silver light shine upon the fields and hills around me, I can’t help but remember the words that my Grandmother once told me of her life on the farm in Hungary before the Nazis came. They had a large farm, and were well-to-do by the standards of the time and area. They had fields, orchards, and livestock. They did all their farming with animals and human power and all in the family worked long and hard to enable them to have a full larder before the winter snows would drown the fields in a carpet of white.

   When the harvest of wheat was ripening the work would be long and hard. Yet the mid-days were still hot. My grandmother told me they would wake at about two AM, and the old women would have already prepared coffee and baked rolls with lots of sugar for energy. The workers and family would all eat and then climb into the wagons for the ride to the fields where they would work harvesting the wheat by the light of the harvest moon.

   At about six AM the old women would send the young children out to the fields with cooked bacon, rolls with butter and jelly, potatoes and eggs and more coffee. All work would cease for breakfast. And then they would resume work after eating and refortifying themselves.

   The at about ten AM the children would return with a small lunch of rolls, jelly and butter, and other assorted treats. Then they would get back to work again.

   A full lunch would be sent to them at about noon, this would be a large and massive lunch consisting of chicken or pork, vegetables including always potatoes and some Cole crop such as kohlrabi or cabbage. They would also have a fair amount of homemade brandy. This large meal would make them all sleepy, and they would then go to sleep in the shade of the trees or under the wagon. This would spare them from the heat of the day.

   After a four hour break and nap they would resume working again. At about five or so a small supper would be sent out to keep them from hunger. This would be the same kinds of things they had for lunch, but in smaller quantities. Then at about eight or so they would have some more food, something with sugar for energy. they would work until about ten at night, when they would return to the house to stumble bone-tired into their beds to sleep for four hours until they woke again at two AM.


   I think about my grandmother and the hardships she endured in her life. The sadness of having her husband snatched away to die in a foreign land when she was just a young woman. Widowed at twenty-four, and then driven from her farm and the land of her ancestors by the communist government with a young daughter in tow to go penniless to another land where she was regarded with suspicion because of her accent and different clothing and eating habits.

   She was indeed a marvelous woman, and a strong and wise one. She had a tenacity that was amazing, an intuitive knack of being able to find the simple in the complex, to break all down into the simple meanings that a peasant would understand and be able to convey to a child.

   Now as I watch this moon on it’s ascent as I drive this California freeway at a time when all good and honest people should be safely tucked away into their own beds, I reflect that this is the time when she and her kin would be rising from the goose down folds of their beds and rising to the scent of fresh coffee on a cool Hungarian morning, and I am just now heading home to retire for the night.

   How is it that life has taken us all from one generation to the next in a flight from the peaceful bucolic peasant life with it’s hugely manual labor to the frenetic pace of a cyber-ponzi scheme that rushes from one moment to another at all hours of the day? She told me often that I should slow down, and take some time to enjoy my garden, not just work in it. She was trying to tell me to take the time to smell the roses.

   She is now passed on into another world for some eighteen months now, and she walks with the Lord in a land of eternal sunshine in the peaceful fields of her youth, alive with the sounds of the birds in the trees shining with green leaves. The children of a lost time run with her, free from the trauma of war-weary men who break into the house and rip up the bed sheets to make bandages for their fallen comrades and cause unspeakable damage to the innocents around them out of avarice and despair.

   She is free now from all of mankind’s ills and demons. but she left me and other people she touched with so much. So much she told us and taught us. And so much that she did not say. I can still think of her way of saying “uhuh” when she did not agree with something I was going to do. This was her subtle way of telling me that she did not agree with the outcome that I thought would ensue, but she left it to me to do as I wished and experience the outcome so I would more fully learn the lesson. Now as a result of so many decades of hearing her advice, I can imagine what she would say to almost any situation that might arise in my life. If I get that little niggling doubt in my mind I can hear her “uhuh” coming through to me warning me of a dangerous and foolhardy undertaking (I’ve had my share of those).

   So, I drive along, a smile of whist fullness on my lips, a longing to be able to hear her speak again. But I speak to her everyday, and ask God often for His help in her new life. And I know that He loves her much more than I ever could, so He holds her close to His heart always.

   There is a saying I heard once, “when you pray do not say “The Lord is in my heart”, say “I am in the heart of the Lord”". And she is in His heart.

   So, I turn from the freeway, heading to the California hills that are now my home. Two generations from the plains of Hungary, and one life from the next.

   The harvest moon rising in my eyes.

   Gott Sei Danke.


The following little prayer in German was at a site from
Bruder Titus, that I liked enough to want to include.
Because it would have meant a lot to my grandmother,
it means a lot to me.

Gott sei mit dir

Gott sei mit dir, da wo du wohnst und lebst
und schenke dir seine Gnade.
Gott sei mit dir, da wo du arbeitest
und schenke dir seine Kraft.
Gott sei mit dir, da wo du hoffst und betest
und schenke dir Erfüllung.
Gott sei mit dir, da wo du den Frieden suchst
und schenke dir Gelingen.
Gott sei mit dir, da wo du feierst
und schenke dir Freude.
Gott sei mit dir, da wo du liebst,
und schenke dir seinen Segen.

God is with you

God is with you, there where you live and love
and gives you His grace.
God is with you, there where you work
and gifts you with His strength.
God is with you, there where you hope and pray
and gives you fulfilment.
God is with you, there where you look for peace
and gives you success.
God is with you, there where you celebrate
and gives you joy.
God is with you, there where you love,
and gives you His benedictions.

To Live is to Fly



‘To Live is to Fly’
~Townes Van Zant~




Won’t say I love you babe
Won’t say I need you babe
But I’m going to get you babe
and I will not do you wrong
Living’s mostly wasting time
and I waste my share of mine
but it never feels too good
so let’s not take too long
You’re as soft as glass
and I’m a gentle man
we got the sky to talk about
and the world to lie uponDays up and down they come
like rain on a conga drum
forget most, remember some
but don’t turn none away
Everything is not enough
nothing is too much to bear
where you been is good and gone
all you keep’s the getting there
To live is to fly low and high
so shake the dust off of your wings
and the sleep out of your eyes

It’s goodbye to all my friends
It’s time to go again
Think of all the poetry
and the pickin’ down the line
I’ll miss the system here
the bottom’s low and the treble’s clear
but it don’t pay to think too much
on the things you leave behind
I may be gone but I won’t be long
I’ll be bringing back the melody
and the rhythms that I find

We all got holes to fill
and them holes are all that’s real
some fall on you like a storm
sometimes you dig your own
But choice is yours to make
time is yours to take
some dive into the sea
some toil upon the stone
To live is to fly low and high
so shake the dust off of your wings
the sleep out of your eyes



prayer for change


Jai om numah shivaya
(prayer for change)
~Apache Indian~

Well everybody would you focus your mind
Search for the truth and you will find
Good spirit and strength from within
That fights against all sin

Jai om numah shivaya

I shall walk across the land that has been chosen
And I shall climb the mountain so high,
I shall go across the sea and ocean
And sing with the birds in the sky,
Its only Jah up above man who leads the way
Under whose shadow I abide,
Me say you’re running and you’re running and you’re running away
But from yourself you know you can’t hide

Jai om numah shivaya

Well everybody would you rise and focus your mind
Search for the truth and learn to be kind
Everybody would you fight against the evil you find
Tell your people about the religion of your mind

Jai om numah shivaya

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty I and I
Everyday I rise…rise up above their lies
But still them want fight I and I
Everyday I rise …rise with my spirits well high
Cause you know Jah Jah guide I and I

Jai om numah shivaya


“Sadness is but a wall between two gardens”
~Kahlil Gibran~



~Pink Floyd~


The sweet smell of a great sorrow lies over the land
Plumes of smoke rise and merge into the leaden sky:
A man lies and dreams of green fields and rivers,
But awakes to a morning with no reason for waking.


He’s haunted by the memory of a lost paradise
In his youth or a dream, he can’t be precise
He’s chained forever to a world that’s departed
It’s not enough, it’s not enough.


His blood has frozen & curdled with fright
His knees have trembled & given way in the night
His hand has weakened at the moment of truth
His step has faltered.


One world, one soul
Time passes, the river rolls






It’s not enough it’s not enough
His hand has faltered


And he talks to the river of lost love and dedication
And silent replies that swirl invitation
Flow dark and troubled to an oily sea
A grim intimation of what is to be.


There’s an unceasing wind that blows through this night
And there’s dust in my eyes, that blinds my sight
And silence that speaks so much louder than words,
Of promises broken