seeking the wild of the everyday

Sunday, November 24, 2013

made of moss: one week.

lantern walk, laternelaufen, at teddy's school. one of the parent's is from germany and hosts this party at the school every year. 
 cash talks:
we put an offer on this dreamy former pot growing dilapidated farm house.

ty and i wanted it so hard. we were nervous. it's like taking the red pill and birthing yourself from the matrix of suburbia, into a simpler, earthier, less convenient existence. we even hesitated. i mean, the septic was busted but we were starry eyed.

someone's mommy and daddy showed up with an all cash offer. true story. we scramble to get the house on the market, write up a heart felt letter, and life is flipped around for a few days and then it stops. gah, it gets to me. i want to trust in the universe, and know that whatever will be will be, but sometimes it feels like money is the answer, and not the flow of your heart. but, she wasn't the one and i want to believe that. it'll be better somewhere else. reading this helps with getting through the crunch. we can trust. we can let go of what is not serving us, and sometimes i feel my disdain for suburbia is not serving me. it's where i'm at right now, i can let go... and the challenges have led me to cultivate more beauty than i ever could have imagined. we are cared for.

at least teddy is in a great (amazing) school, right on the county fair grounds.

and i feel confident that he is being nurtured and growing strong and happy. that's a load off of my paranoid in suburbia back.
 x-ray goggles of the roseville landscape:
like i've said, november suits her best.

lush. fertile. diverse. wild. 

a visit with jessica.
she's a weaver, drawn to the loom by the essence of the craft. making things that are beautiful, useful. using her hands, and her time. not looking for convenience, but purity of purpose.

it was quickly clear to her that she would not be visiting west coast craft again. see her face? she called it "market research." here's a tiny vid of her and her massive loom. (video stolen from my aunt's fb page...did i mention jess is my cousin?)

she shared a space with pragmatic amber, who makes the sturdiest bags around. they attracted quite the hipster crowd. i still really want one, the rolltops are so dreamy. she makes them herself, by hand. they appear pricey, but mainly because everyone is so accustomed to prices brought to us by sweat shop exploitation. the cheap price of our target totes have many high costs carried elsewhere, (i know i'm preaching to the choir.) most people walked past jess's wares; they were not flashy enough to show off to friends, or to add to their lifestyle-ism accruement. or they would scoff at the price of her blankets. one blanket takes 20+ hours to make, so she pays herself very little. discussing "craft" with jessica was very educational for me. she's an ol' timey gal for sure, holding onto something that's almost extinct: making cloth. making the everyday things, reclaiming authenticity over a synthetic lifestyle. people wanted to fetish-ize her because she's seems quaint to the mainstream, it's dehumanizing. she sells enough to the right kind of buyer, the people who love the blankets, and who love what she does. but they weren't at the "craft" show. (not to say that there wasn't authentic craft at the show. all creation is beautiful and needful, i guess i'm drawn more to the skilled carved chair than the dangly earring, although i adore both.)

thinking about "everyday use" by alice walker. read it if you haven't. it's one of those short story lit classics.

the crowd was pretty hip in a BIG way, i could never ever ever top the outfits i saw. but there were a few herbal/forager/wild crafter pockets to be found. a lot of jess's friends i met are formerly from the east coast and their thoughtful criticism of west-coast life styleism was something to think about. i kept on asking questions, to really clarify the vaguely emerging concepts.. "live to work vs work to live" sort of thing.

slept on a futon in an oakland treehouse, hearing tales of her new farm life in a "holler" in NC.

food at guerrilla coffee in berkeley with h and j. i love the deeply intellectual exposure (i don't care how bumpkin that makes me sound,) my own being so far limited due to many variables. (young motherhood, limited formal education...etc.) jess arranged visits with her bay friends and i tagged along. h works at the sfmoma, and they both attended bennington together.

stinson beach, free boy.

missed my mary big time. but i know we'll have more big times ahead.
 and then it rained.

tyler, in his element: laying pavers in placerville.

bushel of buckeyes.

weber creek in the deluge, robed in november beauty.

 father in law's coat: stolen. (not really, i returned it.)

made of moss.
rocklin at sunset.

scouting out more valley oaks/acorns in rocklin.
10$ fire pit from a neighbor is not a bad buy. not a bad buy at all. bringing wildness to our backyard, embracing the embryonic dark.

just a photo from today, william, me, carl. two of my brothers.

my sunny spot in the morn. someone gave us that antique trunk as decor for our wedding party...i screwed some casters on the bottom to make it "furniture," possibly desecrating a valuable heirloom in the process. oh well, "everyday use," as they say. it's been sitting in the garage, which may explain the black widow that just scuttled across my couch. (!!! WAHWAHWAH!!!!<---me, crying piteously.)
parting shot: teddy READING green eggs and ham to ty tonight. it's very exciting news, people.
i'm content this november, learning a lot, and moving through tight spaces.
pondering climate.
planning all sorts of wild, local, and seasonal treats this week. i think people will tire of my acorn/persimmon/pumpkin creations. :)
sending love.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

salmon run

a glorious day at the american river...
the "milked" salmon get flushed back into the river.
now, and only on a superficial intellectual level, i can understand dam building. flood control for the settler residents of sacramento valley. hydro-electricity for all of the street lamps lighting up the night sky.
the dam at folsom dammed salmon spawning, and closed off hundreds of miles of waterway that the salmon have spawned in for ages and ages just dandy.

the river is swarming with bright red masses of mature salmon, just beneath the surface.

i could only sit, in tears, and witness the unnecessary struggle of my wet brothers and sisters.

so they considerately built a handy concrete ladder for the salmon to jump over, for their spawning satisfaction. then the fish swim into a facility, where a few disgruntled technicians squeeze out bright red eggs and milt (spermy stuff) into a bucket and slosh it around, then the fish get flushed down a tube back into the river. 

the salmon swim, being anadromous (meaning, roughly, running upward) they come so far, using magic magnetoception and scent and the stars to return from the ocean to their natal spawning ground. oh, wait, they don't. their magnificent wild bodies lead and thrash into a metal gate instead. nature, denied.

this means the female doesn't nestle down in egg-protecting cobble, or that the fry spend their youth in the more nutritious up-stream waters (they grow up in a number of concrete canals at this particualr hatchery). this means that hundreds of miles of stream and river bed won't be fertilized with the carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, etc, that the numberless carcasses provide, and the bears and eagles residing higher in the mountains will be without a major food source. the salmon is a keystone species, meaning it supports more it's share in food web/life cycle proportions than one could imagine, and it can only go so far. 

in my area, and many others, this life cycle has been commandeered for the good of mankind, engineered and manipulated to work around modern improvements.

these fish, like along with feed lot turkeys, hogs, cows, chickens, etc, no longer reproduce on their own. man needs to intervene and do it for them, perpetually. until it's competently forgotten by their dna. a solution to another solution.

he could watch the salmon all day. they're quite acrobatic.
with a fever i scan the gawking crowds, searching for a mirroring expression: anyone else who's feels wild with grief. nothing. no one. no one else feels disgruntled or doubtful about our industrial improvisations to an already perfected cycling flow.

they've lost something. we've taken something.

tell me we've done something good. that it's better than nothing. tell me that we have clean energy, a former winter flood plane now safe and littered with tracts of houses. and the salmon species will continue.

tell me i'm unreasonable and that i care more for fishes than people.

that night i go to bed angry. and wake up heavy.

nature has her way, and it is perfect.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

with darkness comes bustling.

we begin the quiet dark days: we get up with the sun, soak up as much as we can and stay out past sunset. we retire early. already my hands have found work, i'm brushing up on needle work.
we crack acorns while the sun shines on the driveway,  and put up the harvest in our larders.
crazy eights in the evening with teddy.
i'm already looking at the calender for the winter solstice, feeling apprehensive about this darker time, but i am going to try to be still and rest and care for myself. i want to be with all of the wonders and drudgery of this time....but: demeter is really without her persephone.

foraging FTW: pomegranate picked from a friend's, home-brewed kombucha with wild elderberry syrup, and acorn soup. oh yum yum yum.
NUTS, i'm in love. big creamy "sweet acorns" from the white oak family, valley oak. it turns out i've been misinformed about my oaks, maybe i heard something as a kid and never checked the facts, buuut, red oaks have more tannin (any oak with spiky, live, etc..) and white oaks have less (blue, valley, etc...)

in folsom, ca, near my favorite tree, gathering the sweetest, fattest acorns. loving the plant community: elderberry, toyan, and cottonwood.

sometimes there's a swing some kid put up.

the giving tree

hailey, my love, helps.

deborah gets me the hook up. the earth is so fruitful.

the view from her place in newcastle.

she caught that big baby between us during his first moments out of the womb!

strawberries from down the street, pommy pips for jelly, pesto for days, acorns to be leeched.

shucking our bumper crop of pomegranates. tyler is so handsome. it's not often i see this face without hair. :)

my momma came down to help me can the pomegranate-strawberry jelly.

and it is the most delicious thing i've ever made.

we remember where we've been, and where we've come from. flopsy at teddy's school's alter.

and ferrell. he taught me so much of what i know now, of who i am. i'm still saying goodbye.

and: the one night of the year where it's cool to be in suburbia. i've never seen the neighborhood so packed. yes, that's two suckers in one hand. but guess what? they forgot all about their booty the next morning, and that's all she wrote.

teddy, obviously, is a mail carrier. lincoln's a lump.

the older kids from teddy's school had a haunted house in our area.

investigating small spaces, in three photos:
1. roses, hideout, clothesline.

2. dreams do come true: salvaged wood, hunted down in parking lots... shipping pallets and particle board; a completely free baby chicken coop in the works. i figured a lot of people don't have yards, and i was wasting my small but totally viable space by not going for it. updates to come. hailey even has a few hens for me.

3. a green tomato pie from my yard ------land-------- (getting romantic.)

dehydrated late season goodies from hailey's garden, and jarred them in olive oil. sooo good.

thinking about weaning. chronically. i think that means we're getting really close to pulling the plug. ty's going to have to fill in BIG TIME.

it's a good thing we're best friends.
right after his shave. whistle whistle whistle.

a sample of cold leaching.

acorn soup

in newcastle, at my friend heather's. she is a wild food expert and held an acorn class. be still my beating heart.

acorn "noodle," made from acorn starch. if you grind acorns and put them in a jar with water, a white layer of starch rises above the's called acorn "cream." you scoop it out and lay it flat in a pan, and it will thicken and congeal into this! we ate them in a stir fry with burdock roots.

acorn bread with violet jelly. i'm dying here, already in heaven.

love my acorny friends.

elderflower cordial in club soda.

bottom left: cheesecake with acorn crust. help me help me, rhonda. i'm begging you.

my little wild boy.

heather has the biggest pomegranate tree i've ever seen. the boys got lost under it, and i took home the lion's share.
she has really cool things in her pantry like pickled green almonds, oak moss, and pine tree flour. she asked me to be her assistant in future classes and i just about cried.
we're bustling and busy.
and it's good.
got a freezer full of summer's and autumn's fruits,
a corner full of squashes,
and cupboards filled with home made love.

hopefully a post soon about teddy's school.

happy journeys into long bare branches, extra blankets on the bed, and twinkling orion lit evenings! it's gonna be good.