Friday, May 27, 2011


“The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail, its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storm may enter, the rain may enter — but the King of England cannot enter; all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement!” —William Pitt the elder

Just try pulling this off in the good old USA in the age of the Patriot Act. Anybody gets a chance to ask a question of a "pub; ask 'em what William Pitt said about an Englishman's home and the forces of the Crown. Ok, so theory and actual practice probably didn't always match up, but at least the Prime Minister of England was on the record. He became Lord North and his son William the younger became the youngest Prime Minister of England in history. He was about twenty four at the time. Couldn't even get elected to OUR lamentable house of representatives.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I posted a version of this over on Women On and my blog in Creation Spirit Communities. It's hard to piss me off, but I'm officially, royally, totally pissed off.

What is it with those who call the shots? These fishermen, rig workers and other Gulf Coast residents who helped clean up BP's mess don't wear suits and ties so they don't count? They speak with a Cajun drawl instead of Mid Atlantic bureaucratese so the power brokers can write them off? Gulf Coast Syndrome in the Colorado Springs Independet. Read it and weep.

Oh, and for a real kick in the face. The dispersant BP used over here in the colonies is banned in the UK. And our EPA didn't have the balls to force them to use something safer.

And remember that our current speaker of US House gained national "recognition" when accused the president of "picking on BP" when Obama insisted on BP putting money in an account to cover some of the costs. Not enough it seems.

So be an ecological Paul(ine) Revere and spread the word.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


This little squirrel has been willing to let me get within a couple of feet of her.


“Jesus Christ, you don’t know what it is? Do you?” Henry VIII to his “physician” in the Tudors. I sprang for the DVD set and have been dipping in and out of the series. Enough that it’s set me thinking about some things. Henry had at least two accidents during jousts. Sometime in the 1530’s he developed an ulcer on his upper leg. The best current theory is a bone infection that flared up periodically and finally permanently.

History records that the condition was painful, sometimes extremely painful. And we’ve all seen how our modern politicians are treated if they appear even a little bit hesitant about making a decision. A monarch claiming absolute power can hardly tell his ministers “you know, I was having a really bad day yesterday and you caught me at a bad time, I’ve changed my mind about……”

Imagine how Fox news would treat a modern president in this age of cell phone recoding and Twitter accounts. And then imagine the hot house of any European court with its shifting factions and power struggles, . I’m not sure what would be more dangerous; ministers who didn’t realize what is happening or ministers who did. Imagine a clique with an agenda and they’ve come to realize when to approach a monarch or another leader not at the best time, but the worst. I wonder how many “unwise” decisions have been made over the years because someone with absolute or nearly absolute power hurt like hell and wanted to be left alone.

Friday, May 20, 2011


the more they seem to stay the same.

We don’t subscribe to HBO or Showtime so I didn’t stumble over the Tudors until BBC America started carrying the series. Interesting, and not nearly as much sex as the original ads implied. What’s interesting here is that Henry, either as something of a hypochondriac or probably in pure self defense was an amateur herbalist. Early in his reign parliament passed a charter to protect herbalists of the time. This charter became part of the English common law in effect in the American colonies. And has never been repealed so this charter is still part of the laws of the original thirteen states.

I don’t know what some of the conditions described are; but it seems that not much has changed since about 1512 when this charter was passed. I really enjoyed the accusation that too many of the doctors and surgeons didn’t know very much, expected to be well paid, and often did more harm than good. Doesn't sound like much has changed.

Herbalists Charter of Henry the VIII

Annis Tircesimo Quarto and Tricesimo Quinto. Henry VIII Regis. Cap. VIII. An Act That Persons, Being No Common Surgeons, May Administer Outward Medicines

Note: Under the General Laws of the Colonies taken over by the U.S.A., these rights are still in force in the original thirteen states, and have never been repealed.

Where in the Parliament holden at Westminster in the third Year of the King's most gracious reign, amongst other things, for the avoiding of Sorceries, Witchcrafts, and other Inconveniences, it was enacted, that no Person within the City of London, nor within Seven Miles of the same, should take upon him to exercise and occupy as Physician or Surgeon, except he be first examined, approved, and admitted by the Bishop of London and other, under and upon certain Pains and Penalties in the same Act mentioned:

Sithence the making of which said Act, the Company and Fellowship of Surgeons of London, minding only their own Lucres, and nothing the Profit or ease of the Diseased or Patient, have sued, troubled, and vexed divers honest Persons, as well Men as Women, whom God hath endued with the Knowledge of the Nature, Kind and Operation of certain Herbs, Roots, and Waters, and the using and ministring of them to such as been pained with customable Diseases, as Women's Breast's being sore, a Pin and the Web in the Eye, Uncomes of Hands, Burnings, Scaldings, Sore Mouths, the Stone, Strangury, Saucelim, and Morphew, and such other like Diseases; and yet the said Persons have not taken anything for their Pains or Cunning, but have ministered the same to poor People only for Neighborhood and God's sake, and of Pity and Charity:

And it is now well known that the Surgeons admitted will do no Cure to any Person but where they shall be rewarded with a greater Sum or Reward that the Cure extendeth unto; for in case they would minister their Cunning unto sore People unrewarded, there should not so many rot and perish to death for Lack or Help of Surgery as daily do; but the greatest part of Surgeons admitted been much more to be blamed than those Persons that they troubled, for although the most Part of the Persons of the said Craft of Surgeons have small Cunning yet they will take great sums of Money, and do little therefore, and by Reason thereof they do oftentimes impair and hurt their Patients, rather than do them good.

In consideration whereof, and for the Ease, Comfort, Succour, Help, Relief, and Health of the King's poor Subjects, Inhabitants of this Realm, now pained or diseased: Be it ordained, established, and enacted by Authority of this present Parliament, That at all Time from henceforth it shall be lawful to every Person being the King's subject. having Knowledge and Experience of the Nature of Herbs, Roots, and Waters, or of the Operation of the same, by Speculation or Practice, within any part of the Realm of England, or within any other the King's Dominions, to practice, use, and minister in and to any outward Sore, Uncome Wound, Apostemations, outward Swelling or Disease, any Herb or Herbs, Ointments, Baths, Pultess, and Emplaisters, according to their Cunning, Experience, and Knowledge in any of the Diseases, Sores, and Maladies beforesaid, and all other like to the same, or Drinks for the Stone, Strangury, or Agues, without suit, vexation, trouble, penalty, or loss of their goods; the foresaid Statute in the foresaid Third
Year of the King's most gracious Reign, or any other Act, Ordinance, or Statutes to the contrary heretofore made in anywise, notwithstanding

It takes a little time to read through the piece, but it's worth it if only to prove that the more things change the more they stay the same. LOL

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Going for the texture on this one. The little sparkles are the rain drops.


It rained off and on all night. The rain collected in the leaf clusters of the lupins I transplanted last summer. They are growing very well and filling in beautifully. We have a purple one, purple and white, a maybe pink, and an unknown. Two of them were part of a wildlife mix we planted out back. They never did get big enough to bloom, so loking forward to some surprises.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Finally got the third garden spot spaded. Dirt is so clumpy and full of clay. Heavy as lead. It’s gonna take a couple more years to loosen this stuff up. It’s kind of funny. We planted clover in both beds. One we got nice big plants and almost no roots. The second we got smaller plants, but boy did we get great root networks to loosen up the soil. Of course I have no idea how long it’ll take for the dirt to warm up enough to actually plant anything. Word is that the La Nina might be lifting. God it’s gray over here.

I get a kick out of the squirrels, they seem to really get a kick out of picking the absolute hardest way (in my opinion) to get around. Use the fences for highways. Maneuver from tree to tree to tree. Had one playing “neener, neener, neener) with one of the local cats. He was good at using the planters to bounce off to avoid the cat, who seemed to be having a good time even though he didn’t have a prayer of catching the squirrel and probably wouldn’t know what to do with it if he succeeded.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


This was printed in the Eugene Register Guard yesterday. Blachly and Triangle Lake are located in the Coast Range of Oregon. The cut off from Highway 99 heading west is about fifteen miles north of Eugene. One of the chemicals, atrazine, is banned in most of Europe and has been lined to various birth defects, cancers and infertility. And it's in most of our water, even if you aren't downwind from a clear cut. Day Owen is also one of the founders of the local Pitchfork Rebellion.

Triangle Lake residents alarmed by pesticide test results
By Day Owen
Appeared in print: Tuesday, May 10, 2011, page A13
My urine — and the urine of 20 of my Triangle Lake area neighbors — was tested and came back positive for two of the most dangerous pesticides: 2,4-D and atrazine.

It is probable that nearly everyone who lives in our coastal mountain logging community also is poisoned. We are now going to offer free tests for children at Triangle Lake School.

Our recent tests were conducted by one of the world’s premier experts: Dana Barr, who for two decades ran the labs at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. The analytical chemist is a researcher at Emory University, specializing in chemical exposures.

For seven years, we begged the state of Oregon unsuccessfully to test our urine. We knew that the timber industry helicopters that were spraying pesticides from the sky near our homes and schools were making us sick. We got zero help.

The stumbling block was that the pesticide industry is so powerful in Oregon that it exercises considerable control over state government. The agency in charge of investigating pesticide complaints is overseen by the Pesticide Division of the Department of Agriculture, which is heavily influenced by the pesticide industry.
Last year, we petitioned the federal Environmental Protection Agency for redress. It sent an investigator from the CDC, Capt. Richard Kauffman, to look into our allegations of foul play. His report on PARC — the Pesticide Analytical Response Center, overseen by the pesticide division — was scathing.

After seven years of being treated like dirt by Oregon government, we decided to take matters into our own hands and asked Barr to test our urine. Her results proved us right, but we are not celebrating.

Vindication is not sweet when every organ in your body hurts. The yearly spring spraying season has begun, and the amounts of 2,4-D and atrazine in our second urine samples taken in April have gone way up. Many of us are very sick.
L, a resource for environmental lawyers, lists the dangers of atrazine: increased risk of breast and prostate cancers; birth defects and fetal deaths; low birth weights and premature births; and increased toxic effects when combined with other chemicals.

2,4-D, is also more toxic when combined with other chemicals. Now they are combined in our bodies — along with who knows how many other herbicides that our budget does not permit us to check.

Almost no research has been done on the synergistic effect of several herbicides in the body, but it is believed to create a far more toxic brew than any one pesticide alone.

2,4-D is found in just 2 percent to 4 percent of the general population. But like atrazine, it was found in 100 percent of Triangle Lake residents tested so far.
Here is what we are now asking the state to do. Note that we are especially interested in fixing structural flaws in the spirit of Oregon’s legally mandated policy of best management practices.

We ask that the governor lead an effort to move PARC back under the authority of the state Public Health Division.

We ask that the governor move the authority to establish pesticide buffer zones around homes and schools from the Department of Agriculture to the health division. Pesticide lobbyists previously caused that authority to reside solely with agriculture. That is a glaring structural flaw for two reasons: Agriculture has no expertise in health and environmental toxins. And significantly, it has a financial conflict of interest because it is linked to the pesticide makers.

We ask that the governor order an investigation into exactly how the atrazine and 2,4-D entered our bodies. Both herbicides recently were sprayed aerially near our homes, and we want the governor to confirm the obvious: The stuff drifts farther than industry admits.

Oregon must repeal the part of the Oregon Right to Farm Act that prohibits a county from enacting a pesticide buffer zone.

We believe we have a cancer cluster in our region. We want that studied.
We want meaningful pesticide reform, beginning with adoption of a strong precautionary principle. Whatever steps are necessary to prevent trespass of pesticides into our bodies against our will must be taken, even if that means banning them entirely.

We demand that Oregon alter its rules that currently permit three members of the state Board of Forestry to have financial conflicts of interest.

Unless the above-named structural flaws are remedied, we will file a class action lawsuit alleging that the state of Oregon has failed to abide by best management practices. You can’t put the fox in charge of guarding the henhouse, yet that is exactly what Oregon has done.

Day Owen is the founder of the Pitchfork Rebellion, a forest dwellers support group that can be contacted at P.O. Box 160, Greenleaf, OR 97430.

It's strange, or perhaps not so strange that our so called culture of life seems to be restricted to the question of abortion. Supporting our families, poisoning our land, our animals and our poeple with pesticides and herbicides. We're spending billions to treat the diseases linked to the contamination, but doing nothing to end the contamination because too often the people who are supposed to deal with the problem used to work for or are being paid by the companies causing the problem.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Shamanism is not a religion, it is a practice that is used in different spiritual paths. When Michael Horner brought what he calls core shamanism back to the US he was surprised to find out how quickly Americans could pick up the practice; especially using the drums for the rhythms that helped them step into the otherworld. Maybe that’s why extreme conservatives are so suspicious of dance or rock music used in church services.

This is from an interview that is part of a collection from Shamanism compiles by Shirley Nicholson. In many ways shamanic practice can subvert organized religion. How can you enforce the rules from the top down when the individual can access the otherworld and who or whatever dwells there on their own?

Interviewer: “You mentioned earlier that every shaman is in effect his or her own prophet. Some people might consider this a rather dangerous idea.”

Michael Horner: “If a state political organization is founded in part upon a state religion with a dogma based on one or a few “official” prophets, then shamanism, where every shaman is his or her own prophet, is dangerous to the state. In my opinion, the real problem is not too many prophets, but too few.

Shamanism is, as I said, is not a religion. The spiritual experience usually becomes a religion after politics has entered into it…….We are restoring ancient methods to get our own direct revelations, without the need for ecclesiastical hierarchies and politically influenced dogma. We can find things out for ourselves.”


Spotted an unusual visitor at the back of our Fred Meyer in Springfield this morning. Of course I had to go to the net to get this shot of a western tanager. I didn't have my camera with me; he'd have been gone anyway. They start migrating in during early May. I've never seen one at the feeders, I think he might have been heading for the hills; literally. The book says they like mixed conifer forest areas and they should find that just north of here in the Coburg hills. Good luck, kid. Hang around for awhile.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


This shot is from the web by a photographer down in Utah named Mike Fish. Short of hanging the camera from a cord hand the curtin rod, the birds are gone by the time I get the machine and get back to the

Had a pair of black headed grossbeaks at the feeder this afternoon. Don't know if they're just passing through or if they'll stick around and raise a family. We're in town, but next to a heavily wooded hill. Maybe they'll find a nice little nook to share with the sparrows.

The dogwood is finally leafing out. That makes it harder to identify who's hanging around. Hey guys come over on this side of the tree, pretty please.

Friday, May 6, 2011


Well, two garden beds are spaded; inspite of the crappy weather. One bed is on the northwest side of the house. This time of year it gets sun starting about eight and lasting until about five. The back of the garage is on one side and a concrete retaining wall is on the other. We're going to try onions and I'm not sure what else. I'm hoping that the two walls will create a good micro climate on the warm side.

The other bed is on the south east side of the lot and will probably go for tomatoes, basil and peppers. They need about the same amount of water and this is the other hot spot. Supposedly they do well planted together. Must check the labels and hope that anything labeled "determinate" really is. In theory that type of tomato will only get so big. The second bed is closer to the hill and goes into the shade earlier in the day. Leafy greens will probably go back there. We have a trellis that we'll try to use for lemon cucumbers. Every year is different and we keep learning about what works in the yard.

We lucked out, and almost everything came through; even a fuschia in a really large container. I'm surprised, fuschia's don't usually make it.

Now if it would just get a litter warmer and a little drier. Oh well, gardeners live on hope.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


It all started with pancakes. A batch makes a dozen and the leftovers never quite taste the same after they’ve sat in the fridge for a day…..or six. Hey, the commercial guys sell frozen pancakes. So the left over half dozen or so get popped onto a small cookie sheet, placed in the sharp freeze section and then packaged. Thawed and crisped on a griddle they’re almost as good the second time around. And very convenient they are too.

And if it works for pancakes? The local Market of Choice has split chicken breasts on sale often enough to make it cost effective to bone them out, slice them and do the pancake routine with them. Yes, they sell brined, frozen chicken. But, this way I know what we’ve got and the bones and trimmings to cook down for soup. There’s plenty of meat left on the bones when you’re done trimming. And I would dearly love to see the chickens those parts come from because one package of three half breasts weighed almost four pounds.

Our pepper plants did a good job last summer so we did the same thing with them. Seeded, sliced and put with a package of baby peppers on sale we got enough frozen peppers to last until spring.

I’ve even started doing the same thing with bread. Bake a loaf, let it sit overnight in the fridge and slice it the next day. Freeze and bag the slices and you can have a nice variety on hand. Granted we have to rearrange things regularly to make sure we know where everything is.

Oh, and I make a really mean home made pizza. It gets the same treatment. ;-)

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Around the first of May the seven sisters of the Pleiades appear in the sky just before sunrise. This is the signal to celebrate Beltane; the arrival of Celtic summer. Even when it’s raining the sky is brighter than it’s been since November. Summer is here (or at least on the horizon).


Maiden of flowers, open the door,
Smith of Souls come you in.
Let there be welcome to the growing strength,
Let there be welcome in the summer of the year.
In bud and blossom you are traveling,
In fruit and fragrance you will arrive.
May the blessed time of Beltane
Inflame the soul of all beings,
Bringing energy and effort to conflagration.
From the depths to the heights,
From the heights to the depths,
In the core of every soul.

Caitlin Matthews in the Celtic Devotional

A nice citified, civilized welcome for Beltane and I have to admit that Beltane’s flowers were a little thin on the ground today. We’ve got a few tulips, the first lilacs, some candy tuft, wild bleeding heart and red dogwood. Hey, that works.

Here’s a wilder welcome for the new summer in Jethro Tull’s lively Cup of Wonder. We’re dancin’ and drinkin’ here.

"May I make my fond excuses for the lateness of the hour,
but we accept your invitation, and we bring you Beltane's flower.
For the May Day is the great day, sung along the old straight track.
And those who ancient lines did lay will heed the song that calls them back.

Pass the word and pass the lady*, pass the plate to all who hunger.
Pass the wit of ancient wisdom; pass the cup of crimson wonder.*

Ask the green man where he comes from, ask the cup that fills with red.
Ask the old grey standing stones that show the sun its way to bed.
Question all as to their ways, and learn the secrets that they hold.
Walk the lines of nature's palm crossed with silver and with gold.

Pass the cup and pass the lady, pass the plate to all who hunger.
Pass the wit of ancient wisdom, pass the cup of crimson wonder.

Join in black December's sadness, lie in August's welcome corn.
Stir the cup that's ever-filling with the blood of all that's born.
But the May Day is the great day, sung along the old straight track.
And those who ancient lines did lay will heed this song that calls them back.

Pass the word and pass the lady, pass the plate to all who hunger.
Pass the wit of ancient wisdom, pass the cup of crimson wonder."

*Probably refers to the barley and honey cakes called by some Lady Cakes. I found a recipe on the net called a Lady Cake and supposedly for Beltane but somehow I don’t think early Irish had either chocolate or amaretto liqueur in their pantries.

*Since Beltane is a celebration of summer and fertility we’re probably lookin’ at some good wine here.