Life is a Journey, with chapters

Well, except we all end up, no matter how long it takes, at the final destination.

In our day & age, along the way, much of our lives have been reduced to entertainment. How do we have value personally?

Photo by Pixabay on

On our life journey, there are many chapters along the way and generally, we learn something in each of the chapters as we grow and develop. We move past just survival.

We work so we can kick back and be entertained. How much of a difference have you made in today’s world? Don’t look at the whole world and cry the blues!

You can not fix all the world’s problems but you can take a step. And every. single. step. Counts.

Find one small area you can have an impact on.

Chapter Closed…moving on

We ended our chapter on the School Street Farm at the end of 2013. Our lease expired and we could not extend it despite loving that little rural area in Sonoma County. If you know anything about real estate in the SF Bay Area you know finding a small piece of land large enough to grow on is pretty near impossible… unless you have inherited land or have made a “killing” in some other field that you can now transfer funds from.

It took us 7 years to find the right piece of land and a way to buy it. We are now farming on 4+ acres but it was a long haul to get here. We are not ‘gentleman farmers’ wealthy enough to just own the land but are having to utilize the land to help pay for itself.

Because we always had an interest in farming/gardening/vineyards/construction Jim had, through the years. acquired a significant number of tools, implements, tractors, trailers, that are needed in a real-world setup. In addition, we used vacation time as education time. Yep, we are nerdy people. We went to different short-term classes (week-long) to learn about different aspects (raising cows, raising shrimp, driving horses to pull wagons), you know, your everyday adventure!

Expand your Horizons

People ask me if I did not grow up learning all these things, how did I do it? How does one learn to milk a cow, to make butter, to start seedlings, to propagate plants, etc.

I’d tell them there are these rather new inventions in the modern world. Unlike in times of the past. Priceless things… .called books, libraries, and colleges that are quite useful in learning something!

And of course, google & youtube have become awesome educational tools. The wealth of information at your fingertips today is incredible. The wealth of newly released research information is phenomenal. You don’t have to wait for a book to be published. All at your fingertips, if you want to venture into a new arena. Zoom & PodCasts have virtually eliminated time & costs that were barriers to go to conferences, taking classes, listen to new info. Let’s see, can I find any more superlatives to tell you how lucky we are?

It starts with one step. Every journey starts with one step.

It has taken us about 5 years to create the basis of our farm. We spent 4 years living in our 5th-wheel RV on the land and spent our time developing the infrastructure. It was pretty intense as there was a lot that needed to be done. And Jim was working full-time off-farm.

We bought raw land so none of the basics were in place. I take that back; we had a 100 yr old barn almost ready to fall down and an ol’ chicken shed. 5 ft high weeds and junk strewn about the acreage. I think we spent $10,000 just collecting and hauling off junk. But at least it had never been used for chemical farming. We also had 3 huge old oak trees, 200-300 years old, that graced the property.


(Shhh, don’t tell everyone.) Research I did said the most profitable crop for small acreages (under 5 ac) would be flowers. At least while people were still getting married or celebrating events. Flowers that could not be shipped in from overseas. A blossom shipped in from overseas out of season.. $25/peony. Grown here $5. I was shocked at the cost of imported flowers (85% are imported), appalled at the carbon cost, and the toxic chemicals used overseas (that we are exposed to while handling the flowers). Dropping the import tariffs for overseas growers decimated the huge California floral industry in the 1960s wiping out local providers.

One of the early garden beds; was replaced with our house when the county told us that was the only location we could use for a home as it had already been disturbed by the paddock off the barn.

We went to work… Building soil, garden beds, high-tunnels for season extension as well as putting in a well, bringing in electricity, developing a septic system, fencing, etc. We opted to go with a manufactured home instead of building from scratch, so we could focus on the land. Creating orchards, building out a flower farm, working toward building something we consider sustainable for us and the life around us.

Setting a Vision/ a Goal

We are in the middle of the “6th Great Extinction”. Being aware of that we have settled on healing the land and working toward something that gives back more than it takes. Regenerative farming is all about rebuilding the life in the soil and our micro-habitat. Regenerate

It helps to work out your long-range goals or your vision of how to make a difference. It gives you an anchor point to fall back on to make sure you are headed in the direction you want. It’s not fixed or static but can adjust as we move through life. The picture often becomes clearer on where you need to head in the middle of your journey. Sometimes you didn’t even know the questions to ask when you started out.

We call our farm “The Heritage Farm” because we want it to be an example of returning to the heritages that mother nature has distilled through the millennium. Instead of breaking her processes, thus creating problems for ourselves, we want to integrate into those systems she has evolved. We share the world with all the life within it, otherwise, we dominate it into extinction. That is where we would end up as well. Extinct.

We added miniature jersey milk cows to our farm to preserve the genetics of the breed. And because they fit into a healthy ecological balance for small farms.

Getting It Together With Mother Nature

When we did the farm tour we talked about working with nature instead of trying to force our methods on a system that has been developed over many millenniums. Each one of our so-called fixes or improvements tends to have a down-system problem that develops, then it has to be solved. Ad nauseum. And so on.

Regenerative farming has to do with trying to understand what nature has created and how to support that. Put more back than we take out, support the other partners in the whole process by sharing, and develop synergistic relationships.

One of the best examples, also one of the funniest, is this TED Talk from a well-known chef.

Think about how that might apply in your world. Do you leave micro-habit areas for the beneficials and pollinators? Make water available for them? Leave the old blooms, berries, scraps for the bees & critters to snack on as the prep for winter. You CAN make a difference. Even small ones add up.

The Problem with a Wide Open Gate

I have been somewhat ambivalent about the refugee crisis because I’ve seen the underlying causes ignored despite warnings.  The core issue is “overshoot” – growing past the capacity of the planet to cope. On a personal level my sympathy is with the refugee who is struggling to cope, but on a macro level… we need to find a viable solution.

Without a balanced population in relationship to resources, we have been blindly marching to this damning situation. Those who pointed it out were, at best ignored, and at worst, vilified. There was sorrow & grief in my soul as I saw where we were headed and understood how little I could do to change it.

Written in the early ’70’s, and it’s projections reconfirmed in 2004, pointed out clearly the consequences of ignoring the “limits to growth”. But no one wanted to hear that the party might end; instead choosing to ignore science & rational thought in order to continue “doing what we have always done”. 

The original Limits To Growth (LTG) study published in 1972 1 , the “Report for The Club of Rome‘s Project on the Predicament of Mankind”

The  study, Limits to Growth. … examined the five basic factors that determine and, in their interactions, ultimately limit growth on this planet-

  • population increase,
  • agricultural production,
  • nonrenewable resource depletion,
  • industrial output, and
  • pollution generation.

What are the outcomes from the study? Basically collapse.

When there is not enough food, not enough jobs, power struggles for control of resources, collapse of people’s rights for brute strength (the protections of law morph into the rule of the gun/violence), and a focus on short-term profit at the expense of long-term sustainability… you get people on the move to find a liveable situation.  The refugee’s are a symptom of the underlying sickness of our current cultural framework.

Friedman, in his article, points out possible solutions.

Why am I ambivalent about opening the immigration doors wide?  Historically, we farm, ruin the land & move on.

Because without changing how we interact with the world, having everyone move into the “have” world and out of the “have not” world is not a solution for anything but disaster. It all devolves into everyplace becoming the “have not” world within a short period of time.  We need to address the underlying problems, not the symptoms. We need bold visions and leaders with the wherewithal to lead. Hard to find in this day & age in our current politicians. 

I’m being too hard nosed? Let’s look at opening the doors wide open. Take the population of California and squeeze it into ONE city (like Tokyo)… now, replicate that all over the USA, Europe, etc a million times. (you know, 7.5 BILLION people, our current population), and figure out how you are going to feed them, clothe them, educate, find jobs, etc. Especially after we have destroyed the productivity of the soil, contaminated our waters, fished out the oceans, and turned our climate into “hell on earth”. 

Oh, by the way, anybody consider birth control? I don’t mind how many children you have but please, only use your “allotted share of resources”. If I look at the world population,

  •  it was approx 200 Million,  1 A.D. 
  • 1804 before we hit 1 Billion,
  • increasing to 1.6 Billion by 1900
  • When I was born (in the ’50’s) we were at 2.5 Billion., the baby boomer generation; growth exploded across the planet.
  • By the 1960’s reliable birth control was available but didn’t slow world population.
  • Currently: 7.5 Billion but it is slowing

One world divided by 1 billion, with a USA lifestyle, is probably the max the planet can cope with… if we do it intelligently. 2 billion if we use a european lifestyle (and a happier healthier one overall, I understand). But that takes being proactive and respectful of the world around us that provides us with the capacity to live.


At our current rate we are using up 4 planets of resources on 1 planet.  How long can you draw down that “bank account”?  War, Famine, Disease, & Pestilence are our future writ large. It felt good to read about the issue, while discussing some of the underlying problems, and focusing on developing possible solutions.  

Thomas Freidman wrote an Op-ED for the NYTimes with some very pointed insights to the world crisis occurring now and how we reached this point. He covers several points that I’ve been watching over the last 20 years… namely population growth past the planet’s carrying capacity. He ties many of the loose ends together and points a direction for some kind of resolution to the current crisis. 

Here is an excerpt from the post:

All of that switched in the early 21st century: Climate-driven extreme weather — floods, droughts, heat and cold — on top of man-made deforestation began to hammer many countries, especially their small-scale farmers.

This happened right as developing-world populations exploded.

  • Africa went from 140 million in 1900 to one billion in 2010 to a projected 2.5 billion by 2050.
  • Syria grew from three million people in 1950 to over 22 million today, which, along with droughts, totally stressed its water resources.
  • Guatemala, the main source of the migrant caravan heading our way, has been ravaged by deforestation thanks to illegal logging, farmers cutting trees for firewood and drug traffickers creating landing strips and smuggling trails.

A satellite map just released by University of Cincinnati geography researchers demonstrated that nearly a quarter of the earth’s habitable surface changed between just 1992 and 2015, primarily from forests to agriculture, from grasslands to deserts and from wetlands to urban concrete.

Meanwhile, the internet has enabled citizens to easily compare their living standards with those in Paris or Phoenix — and find a human trafficker to take them there. …

So it’s now much harder to be an average little country. The most frail of them are hemorrhaging people, like Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Sudan and most every nation in sub-Saharan Africa. Others — Venezuela, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya — have just fractured.

Together, they’re creating vast zones of disorder, and many people want to get out of them into any zone of order, particularly America or Europe, triggering nationalist-populist backlashes.


I (Thomas Freidman)  was in Argentina last month and am in Peru now; in both countries I found people worried about the refugee flows from Venezuela. Peru has taken in 600,000, and it’s beginning to stir resentment here among lower socio-economic classes.

The BBC reported in August: “Tens of thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing their country amid chronic shortages of food and medicines. The country’s longstanding economic crisis has seen more than two million citizens leave since 2014, causing regional tensions as neighboring countries struggle to accommodate them.”

The story added, “The UN — whose migration agency has warned that the continent faces a refugee ‘crisis moment’ similar to that seen in the Mediterranean in 2015 — is setting up a special team to co-ordinate the regional response. … More than half a million Venezuelans have crossed into Ecuador this year alone and more than a million have entered Colombia in the past 15 months.”

There are now more climate refugees, economic migrants searching for work and political refugees just searching for order than at any point since World War II, nearly 70 million people according to the International Rescue Committee, and 135 million more in need of humanitarian aid.

A responsible presidential candidate in 2020 needs a policy that rationally manages the flow of immigrants into our country and offers a strategy to help stabilize the world of disorder through climate change mitigation, birth control diffusion, reforestation, governance assistance and support for small-scale farmers.

This is our biggest geopolitical problem today. Forget the “Space Corps”; I’d make the “Peace Corps” our fifth service. We should have an Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Peace Corps, to send Americans to help stabilize small farms and governance in the world of disorder.

And this has to be a global project, with the U.S., Europe, India, Korea, China, Russia, Japan all contributing. Otherwise the world of order is going to be increasingly challenged by refugees from the world of disorder, and all rational discussions of immigration will go out the window.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on FacebookTwitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram.

Thomas L. Friedman is the foreign affairs Op-Ed columnist. He joined the paper in 1981, and has won three Pulitzer Prizes. He is the author of seven books, including “From Beirut to Jerusalem,” which won the National Book Award. @tomfriedman  Facebook

Falling into the Forecasted Traps

You have heard of the Darwin Awards, right? The awards that are given for those outrageous events which remove the recipient from the genetic pool, thus ensuring that his genes are NOT passed on.

Here is an unbelievable winner (2010) which actually had his winning event, videotaped.


Angry Wheelchair Man, the rashly rushing rammer who epitomizes the downfall of the human race.

(25 August 2010, Daejon, South Korea) An angry handicapped man, annoyed that an elevator departed without him, thinks it over before ramming his wheelchair into the doors (bam!) once, twice, three times in all. Success and failure combined as he gained access to the elevator

Not to be too sarcastic but you can almost see the embodiment of the current status of western civilization played out in front of us. THIS is the answer to the 2nd WHY in the previous post.

We refuse to act like the laws of nature apply to us, so the same story is told time after time. Country after country, civilizations after civilizations, century after century. Except now, we have run out of new places to go.

Can you see the various elements in the video clip?  The overweight guy (ok, let’s name it… OBESE guy) on his motorized conveyance (because he can no longer move on his own) who is so ticked that he can’t have it “his way”, so he is going to insist, apparently tossing aside the logical consequences of his behavior, he forces the issue.

He forgot “Nature Bats Last” or “you can’t wish the laws of physics away” just ’cause you want to have it YOUR WAY.

Here is the symbolic connection.  We, as a society, have been told repeatedly that we, in our mass numbers (1 billion to 10 billion by 2050) are altering the very systems our survival depends on. The list goes on ad nauseum… and it is too unpleasant to contemplate. Like Scarlett in “Gone With The Wind”… I’ll think about it tomorrow!

Instead we keep ramming that door insisting that we will have it our way until we, as a human community, go over the edge.  Only, we take more than just ourselves, we take our children and grandchildren as well.

What sense does it make to have a population of millions on an island that cannot provide food or water for it’s population. One’s life becomes dependent on outside resources. Yet we expect someone to “provide” those resources. The harsh reality is that support will only be in the short-term, and people will suffer… and die.  And our hearts will bleed because we can’t fix what is already broken.  We need a new path, a new vision.



Every way I turn there is need because we are in massive overshoot. We have lost resilience by becoming too specialized.

Our numbers place us at higher and higher risk as we push the natural world past it’s capacity to support us.

The more of us, the increased likelihood of a “disaster” impacting us. As the disasters increase in intensity & frequency the worse the impacts becomes. Roughly 5 million people in the USA in 1800, now 330 million+.


Of COURSE each disaster (tornado, hurricane, drought, flood, fires) will affect more people.

It is imperative that we think beyond what we want, desire, convenient… if our children are going to have a life.


You have heard the litany before:

  • rising temperatures, increased catastrophic weather events,
  • more fires, bigger fires,
  • droughts, floods,
  • rising oceans, acidification of the ocean killing off the organisms that provide the very air we breath,
  • contamination of our water, massive overdraw of our aquifers,
  • declining nutrient value & increasing pesticide contamination of our food,
  • resource depletion.

Research tells us that the more people you pack into a limited space the more dysfunctional their behavior becomes. In an immediate crisis neighbors help neighbors.  But with each ongoing crisis,  competition for available resources begins to increase, our community networks begin to break down. The haves and have nots go to war with each other. In the longer term, nobody wants to go down with the ‘ship’.

I know it sounds cold-blooded; we have done it to ourselves and while it is painful to experience, it is a choice we have collectively made.


We have leaders, real leaders who have named the issues we face; the need to make significant changes in our world.  Question is, will we support them and build a new future or will we be sidelined by “arguing where to put the deck chairs as the Titanic goes down”?

Bernie Sanders: “The time is long overdue for Congress to understand that these recent disasters, and those that will surely follow, are exacerbated by climate change.

How insane is it to pour billions of dollars to rebuild devastated communities while continuing the same policies that led to their destruction? Now is the time to aggressively transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energies like wind and solar.

Now is the time to begin the process of preventing future disasters.”

So what are the practical steps we take CAN take in this impending series of disasters? It’s no longer about us; it’s about our next generations.

  • Recognize the problems – look at your situation & analyze what you can affect
  • Work on building resilience – LOCAL resilience – support your local community (mom & pop businesses instead of corporations), relocalize your food sources (100,000 acres of grapes/corn/soybeans doesn’t do you much good if real food is not there to keep you alive!)
  • Build your skill sets – cooking, plumbing, electrical, gardening, preserving foods, basic construction skills, sewing, chickens, rabbits,
  • Reduce reliance on high tech; go low tech as much as possible (what would YOU DO if the grid went down for weeks or months?) At least know how, develop a plan to wean off high tech as your total support
  • Learn to ENJOY living real life, wean off being entertained for life by media, build relationships!


Build a library of all round resource books, in paperback (not digital) in your home. Can you imagine the grid going down and you can’t charge your laptop/kindle/tablet to read the instructions to do ______ (fill in the blank)! As bad as not having a can opener to open your emergency canned foods.

I recommend “The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 40th Anniversary Edition: The Original Manual for Living off the Land & Doing It Yourself” by Carla Emery  (Author).

THIS was an excellent all around book. It’s fun to read, as it covers 30 years of her hands-on experiences.










  • The Bio-Integrated Farm: A Revolutionary Permaculture-Based…

The Bio-Integrated Farm: A Revolutionary Permaculture-Based System Using Greenhouses, Ponds, Compost Piles, Aquaponics, Chickens, and More


Learn how to work with nature instead of using chemicals to control nature & increase the quality of your products.  Putting the microbiome to work, as it was designed.







The Solar Living Sourcebook is a wonderful layman’s education in the various systems, for sustainable living.


ISBN-13: 978-0865717848
  • Take some classes, expand your exposure to learning how to do things instead of paying someone else to do it
  • check out books from your library that you may want to consider purchasing as you develop your skills

Then do the obvious:

Support the politicians that advocate core changes. Make your voice heard. Vote with your dollars!

  • reduce flying, reduce driving, reduce use of plastics,
  • reduce your sugar intake (you body is not built to handle the overload – don’t buy cookies or cakes, try making them),
  • eliminate HFCS (high fructose corn syrup from your diet – your body does not know what to do with it and just stores it as fat around the waistline),
  • EAT what your body needs (not what you desire)… walk 1/2 hr before a meal whenever possible, wait 20 minutes before taking 2nd’s at the dinner table (takes that long for the brain to recognize that you are full)
  • Decrease your body intake of pesticides, hormone disrupters, medications, chemicals you consume via food/water/containers

Purchase a Berkey Water Filter – yes, it took me a while to do it because of the price, but must admit it has been totally worth it. As more info comes out about what is in our water (that is NOT filtered out by commercial water treatment or stuff that is RELEASED by commercial tx) the happier I am. Read the fine print on what the Berkey can do, for yourself. Buy it, or something that does the same thing.

I’m glad we bit the bullet and made the purchase. It’s good to know you could take crappy pond water and have fairly reliable safe drinkable water. I don’t have to depend on FEMA or some outside resource to provide water in an emergency setting.

Why are catastrophic disasters occurring more frequently?

Because there are more of us in “harm’s way”.

We don’t live sustainably… we depend on outside resources which place us at higher risk.

And YES, we have upset the balance in nature to the point that events are bigger, longer lasting, and more intense.

Get over it.  It’s the new reality. Now… how do you deal with the coming future?

Start thinking and acting in ways that will reduce the impact for your children and grandchildren. If there is be any future for them.

Be a victim, or be proactive…. but don’t whine about it. Get moving.

Just don’t keep slamming on those closed doors and drive off the cliff.


OMG, I’m trapped in Catastrophic …

I’m being trapped in an ongoing onslaught of disasters… each one pulling me in with the sheer threat and then finally, the reality of it actually happening.  Only it’s not one; it’s one after another.  Hurricane after hurricane. Four in one season hitting and there is a month left to go.  An outlier hurricane hitting Ireland, of all places. The world feels unhinged. Flooding, unheard of depths of flooding, in Houston area. Vegas Mass shooting.


Firestorm outside Santa Rosa, CA Oct 9, 2017

Firestorm & fire tornado hitting outside my door in Sonoma/Napa county.  Porto Rico wiped away with a lackluster ongoing response by emergency responders.  Earthquakes & buildings collapsing. Schools crushed.

My heart bleeds. The catastrophes are never ending, and I’m seduced by the TV screen, the YouTube video clips, the radio reports, the emergency alerts on my iphone and am drowning in the wave after wave of hits.

I tear myself away and ask,”When is it going to end?”


My anxiety level is hitting the danger zone…despite not actually, really being in the middle of true danger. The closest I personally came to real danger, was the toxic smoke from the 200,000 acres that burned beginning 10 miles away from my home held back by 10,000 firefighters who stood the line.


Lost Sense of Control… Why?

Why? There are two parts to that why:

  • Why do I keep listening? and
  • Why is it happening?

The first is easy to answer. Why do I tune in? It’s part of our genetic makeup that has allowed us to survive the last million years or so. Stay aware of one’s surroundings.


1883 KRAKATOA – first event broadcast around the world



The problem being that one’s surroundings have expanded from a few miles around hunter/gathers, to telegraph network a 150 years ago that allowed intercontinental news to be passed around the world, to today’s virtually instantaneous audio and video portrayal of “news” to impinge on our every waking moment.


Trigger Words

Couple that deluge of information along with the media’s increased use of psychological imperative emotional words geared to trigger an adrenaline response, that trigger that need to know.  News Flash, Breaking News, this just out… the drum beat of  thumping continuously behind the talking head, to alert you to the drama.  Couple that with goal to not only tell you what is going on, but to have you feel like you are there; coercing disaster victims to play out their emotional trauma, for their ratings. “What did you feel, watching your ____ (fill in the blank) burn, flood, washed away?


I’m pretty sure our psyche was not engineered to cope with such a deluge of on-going disasters and yet we’re not setup to turn it off. It takes conscious thought and decisions to do so.

  • Yes, this is happening somewhere;
  • No, it is NOT happening to me or my family, and
  • No, I can’t change it/fix it.
  • Yes, I can contribute to relief measures, but
  • I can’t live my life and the lives of millions of others.
  • Well, not and stay sane for very long.


According to the National Institute of Mental Health:

“The rates of anxiety and depression among teens in the U.S. may be as much as eight times higher than they were 50 years ago – higher than during the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War and the societal turmoil of the 1960s and early ’70s. And teens from all geographic, economic and ethnic demographics are affected.”

“…the kind of hopelessness that young people experience nowadays is unprecedented. Never before have we been so well-informed about the insurmountable threat to our environment or had such constant exposure to the injustices faced by so many around the globe.”


Social psychologist Jean Twenge, author of “Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled – and More Miserable Than Ever Before,” wraps it up neatly:

“The research tells us that modern life is not good for mental health.”

“In a pre-smartphone age, young people were forced to interact face-to-face with their family, peers and community, and they learned empathy and social responsibility through witnessing the visceral, immediate impact of their actions in real time. In this way, they strengthened their understanding of themselves and their connection with others and the world around them.”

We used to have a world that included community connections through our church, clubs, community centers, etc. In our current world of connecting by social media, we interact on a stage.  Not really connecting with others but just fulfilling our preconceived roles and never knowing if they are valid.  They are just the “face” we put on, thus not grounded in action & consequences.  Never getting past the superficial because absent facial expressions, tonal inflections, reactions,  we never know how the written words will be interpreted.

Teens are not the only ones experiencing difficulty.  CNN reports that an astounding one fourth of U.S. women are now on antidepressants. So many, it has been showing up, across the USA, in our water supply.

Quiet Time

                     One day in the car, I turned the radio off, turned off my Audible book,                                  turned off my GPS map. 

I had an epiphany, “what if I just experienced the now, the quiet?”

If we fill up all our spaces with things, when do we have time for processing, thinking, sorting things out, allowing our imaginations to be active.  When do we have time to connect with the breeze, the smells, the little sounds (birds, crickets, dogs) that are part of the actual world.

We need to take back control of our space… we’ve given it over to the consumer-driven society in exchange for entertainment, non-stop. As they work to increase their “ratings” we suffer the loss of our connections with our family, our friends, our community, in real time.

Important, I think, to create a buffer space between “staying on top of the news” and living in real time.  To actively make choices that protect our psych from overload; especially those of our children.  On advice from my grandson’s pediatric neurologist (a micro preemie born more than 3 months early), once home absolutely NO SCREEN time for the first year, and minimal for two years, to facilitate healthy neurological development.

I suspect this should be true for all of us, “In all things, moderation.”

Ask yourself, is any more information useful or needed… and pull the plug, if the answer is no.   Take some time out and experience the outside world. Breathe, be thankful, smile. Spend quality time with family, with friends, in real time.


It rained last night, the air is cleared of smoke.  I take a deep breath and can see blue skies and the surrounding tree studded hillsides. I hear my chickens in the background and appreciate the absence of sirens & the whir of helicopters, today.

We have been blessed.

It should be savored.


Why is it Happening?

The second part of the why… is the subject of my next post.


The Sleeping Giant Awakens…again

History repeats itself, with a variation.

This time the danger is not from the outside; it’s from the inside.  We will see if our checks & balances,  our system of government, can withstand the onslaught.sleepinggiant

“Make America Great Again” touted by a presidential candidate, would tend to make you think they were running for the office, to govern the country.

He promises, through his leadership, to basically turn back the clock. To return to the 99%, everything that was.

Think again: In the guise of leadership we have a business man who sees the opportunity to make a buck…  a lot of bucks. NOT interested at all in governing for the benefit of the 99%.

We will see if our system of governance, of three branches, of checks & balances will stand the test.

It snuck in the door under the guise of seeking to provide a breath of fresh air to a corporate supported political structure. A political structure that seemed to only respond to mega-interests, instead of the common man, the 99%.

Not realizing that we had the ultimate con man asking to be placed at the helm, to right ship, he steps up to the plate.  He promises to return all to the way it was.  The token words, promise everything, but there is no substance. 

If you want to steal from a bank, the best way is to own the bank.  If you want to steal from a country, the best way is to “own” the country.  Install your cohorts and divide it up among yourselves. The technical term is an oligarchy.

Replace the rules & regulations that put constraints on your actions, so they allow you to take advantage, to the determent of the man on the street, the environment, the world as a whole.

Tell the coal miners they will get their jobs back, all the while knowing that automation will eliminate those potential jobs, and while the environment is increasingly damaged, the corporate owners will take home huge profits.  

He’ll tell people what they want to hear, that will reverse their desperate situations, even if it makes no sense.  He will scapegoat the “others” to protect us from them.  He will alter the facts to fit his world view. 

Something Better….really?

We gave the new guy on the block a chance to back up his words with substance.  Repeal & Replace with something better, cheaper, more coverage, for more people! The mantra was shouted at rally after rally. 

Well, that was short-lived and quite an eye-opener.  Absolutely no idea on what to do.  More expense, less coverage, and 24 million more, with no healthcare coverage.

Reality sucks, because reality doesn’t care about word games.  It’s dollars in and dollars out.  Saying something over & over, louder & louder won’t change anything. Certainly not in 17 days. “I didn’t realize it would be so hard to do!” is no excuse. Like duh!

The most promising outcome of installing a con-man into the “highest office” of the land, is that his own cons will trip him up. It’s certainly entertaining… a poorly written script that would be sent back to be written into something more believable.

The country as a whole, the sleeping giant, is waking up to the reality of a group installed in leadership positions who’s only goals appear to be to dismantle every protection, for the benefit of the 1%.

The investigative journalists certainly have something to put their teeth into!

The New Game in Town

Realistically the choice was pretty bad from most people’s perspective. The political insider or the business outsider. He at the very least, voiced the correct mantra’s that appealed to us all.  Business as usual in the political world, or someone from the outside.  The only real third choice, that rose from a grass-roots movement, was disemboweled by his own party, to protect the “elites” choice.

Well, the country told the “elites” what they thought of that.  They would at least take a chance on something outside business as usual. Let’s hope they heard the message; you can only push people so far before they start to push back. 

If you want the game to continue, you need to share… and you need to pay attention to the damage that is being caused, else you kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, you haul home.

Daily, unbelievable changes. Never mind science, Climate change… no such thing. Eviscerate the EPA. Who cares about melting oceans. Drill baby, drill.

It takes 3 barrels of energy to only get 2 barrels of energy out of the tar sands; never mind, I can make a quick buck before it all catches up! Who cares about all the water ruined in the process… who needs it.

The Real World…yes, really

Pulled from our daily business of working, raising families, enjoying the benefits of computers, movies, sports, etc. we can no longer play a passive role while going about our everyday lives. In WWII the country pulled together almost overnight once confronted with the danger.

We are again called to address major issues that endanger the long-term quality of our lives and the world we live in. Our forefathers gave their lives to build our country.  Hokey as it may sound today, those were hard fought days, they endured to protect future generations.

Amid all the other significant concerns, what rises to the fore at this point in time is the need to prevent one small group of men who want to replace our government with an oligarchy; to tear apart the country for their own financial benefit. (Putin as a mentor, perhaps, if one needs an example.)

By definition, an Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power rests with a small number of people. Aristotle pioneered the term as a synonym for rule by the rich.

They make the rules.

In Greek history, after the restoration of democracy from oligarchical coups, the Athenians devised a method for selecting government officers in order to counteract what they saw as a tendency to oligarchy, if a professional governing class were allowed to use their work for their own benefits.

Currently, we have a blatant oligarchy being installed; before we had a somewhat subtly hidden oligarchy which was also working to “change the rules of the game” for their benefit.

The prior oligarchy was just a bigger group – corporations and they went through the motions of playing by the rules.

We sent a loud message of rejection with Trump’s election but we may have jumped from the frying pan into the fire. That’s OK. Getting burned definitely gets your attention and motivates you.

If nothing else, the stakes have been raised so high, that if we don’t pay attention and begin to institute some changes, we will indeed deserve what we get. Incredibly though, change IS occurring.  People are actively talking about political issues, who have never been engaged before. I see it everywhere, which gives me hope.

Freedom is not Free, it must be guarded and maintained. It takes a population that is involved.

It’s time to put childish things away

It’s wonderful to not worry and let other’s deal with the details, while we get on with the business of living our life.  But not being involved has its price and it can be a pretty nasty one.

No easy solutions but ignoring the situation is not an answer.  It is required of each us to take an active role in building a consensus of basic quality government for the benefit of the whole country. Not for “special interests”, not for the financial benefits of corporations, or for the 1%.

Start on the local level: your community groups, your city council, your county officials.  Change comes from the bottom up.

The sleeping giant has been awakened and it is US; it’s time for us to make a difference.

Overshoot: in Today’s World

The challenging part of being a parent is setting boundaries for your children. As parents, we know, giving your child everything they think they want is NOT in their best interest. Or ours. We would raise a generation of “entitlement”-  I want, therefore I should have. The real world has limits. The real world has consequences. The real world (physics) does not care. What does that translate into?

farmstand products

Re-Localizing Quality Foods

The simply way to illustrate this is using food, something we all relate to. Given the choice between fresh cookies hot out of the oven most of us would choose to eat one (or one dozen) instead of broccoli. And that’s OK… unless you make it your lifestyle. We recognize that our body can not sustain itself on junk food. Luckily our body will, looking at those cookies at some point, say ENOUGH. I need some real food.

OK. Let’s extrapolate that out to some areas that are not as clearly seen and the internal limits not as explicit.

Historical Constraints

Historically population growth was constrained by disease, food availability, and war (kill off the young men). We lived in a world bound by certain constraints. If you could not grow enough food, or have something to trade for food, you starved. If you did not eat well enough, you were more susceptible to disease and would die off. If you had “resources” that others wanted they would come to take yours (war). I.e. If they did not have enough food or resources, your’s was up for grabs. Pretty basic raw life, for most of history. We’ll just move in and take over someone else’s stuff (land, food, gold, timber, you name it).

To some degree there was a rough check and balance system, by nature, in play. Too many people? Some will die (starvation, disease, war).

Technological Trap

What happens in today’s world. Because of our technological increased capacity to feed the “world” (in varying degrees, but still, compared to history) our population numbers have exploded past the carrying capacity of many countries. It’s called OVERSHOOT.footprints-1

Overshoot… you are consuming more than is being produced. Your waste products are not being broken down fast enough to prevent toxic buildups. You are consuming the very things you need to provide your future.

The answer, in the past, has always been to move to fresh territory. Take it and use it, regardless as to who was there originally; in human terms “might” trumps all. Your tribe (family, clan, tribe, country, race, etc) comes first. Everyone else becomes the “enemy” and it translates to “OK to take from”.

Reality Is A B.I.T.C.H.

We have now reached the end of that storyline. Out of room, no new territory to take, used up, spent, killed off what was there… what does the future bring?


It brings us face to face with the constraints of reality. Unless, of course, you want to continue the ‘head in the sand game’ that has been played for the last 100 years. As adults we must face the real world and start thinking as adults and not as “entitlement children” who think the hard&fast real world is subject to our wants.

I have little hope that this will happen because we seldom want to give up what we have at present; letting go and moving to a simpler life that respects the limits. We need to treat our land as a valuable resource to be nurtured and preserved. 

That’s where the Britxit comes into this picture.  It’s a country where the common people have said, enough is enough. We have too many people to take care of as it is.  It’s the same theme you hear in the USA about illegal immigrants, etc.

A simplistic way to look at this situation is:  Should your children starve so that others do not?  When you limit your childbearing to provide for the children you have, does that mean that others can come and have as many children as they “have the right to”? and you pay the bill? (i.e. you give up conserving resources, living within your ecological footprint?)

Those questions are tough ones to face.  less-pop


We either face them & deal with them or endure the consequences long term.

Seriously, each country needs to be able to provide the basic needs for their own population. Develop a society that sustains itself.  Relocalize your food supports.

56 Countries can NOT feed their population without importing food; many of those countries do not have resources to trade for food… and yet their populations are expanding.

When we took the technological steps to develop medicines we removed a constraint that in one sense of the word, kept things in a ecological balance (a rather raw brutal balance). If we choose to remove a constraint then I believe we also need to exercise a balancing technological constraint by utilizing birth control. (I’ve always said that providing food aid needs to include providing birth control as well.) It’s a part of living within nature; not abusing it.

Immigration Policies

This is NOT going to be a popular policy but we must rebalance or nature will do it for us.

If you don’t allow immigrants then you figure out how to live without their “slave labor”. If you can’t fill the job, then the the cost /value will go up until someone will, or learn how to do without.

Moving to another country is another example of using up all the resources in one area and moving to another, to utilize the resources that are there.

Immigrants, refugees are part of that pattern. It sounds cold blooded and harsh to say it, but shifting the problem elsewhere is not a solution. It’s a temporary fix that will result in the same outcome, UNLESS we constrain our population base.

Right or wrong, christian or not, fair or not, it is a reality that must be dealt with or nature will take care of it in her own way. And it ain’t a pretty way….

The proverbial Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Death, Disease, Starvation, & War.line-separator


2016 – we are at 7.5 billion


Life Moves On, the Path Changes

K bull calf - Old World Jersey

Life on the Farm

What a surprise… our journey has taken us from our sustainable farming adventure to big city life in an apartment. Like CRAZY. But again, it’s an education in what many people must deal with.

It, of course, is about following the money.  We were finally able to close on a foreclosed piece land that met the requirements we were looking for, for a future farm.


Need Dollars


In order to get a construction loan to build on that 4 1/2 acres, someone had to have a formal job.  Thus Jim put out the “word” and got four serious offers back.  Amazing considering he is 64 (ancient wisdom & experience) within two weeks (in the Xmas holiday season, no less.

But none of the job offers were local. The closest (and most appealing because our youngest daughter was here) was San Diego.  We moved into a senior apartment complex in N San Diego, University City.

Instead of the gentle breezes and crickets in the distance, we are now serenaded with breakneck traffic, screaming sirens, and trucks lumbering down the road, shaking our windows day & night.  Our precious little patio is virtually unusable except on Sunday mornings, when the traffic load finally dies down.

I’m quite convinced that our brains and our psyche where never meant to endure the constant onslaught of noise & fumes that filter through the windows.

Interestingly, where there are jobs, there are fairly high rents. Not just a SF-Bay Area phenomenon.  There are many academic, science, medical, and high tech complexes. Very much a mini-silicon valley and toss in some of the most advanced medical facilities in the world (education, research, and patient care). Decent wages but the rents reflect that.

The only advantage we had in a senior complex, the deposit was minimal. We, at least, have a bit of green around us and some trees, plants, flowers, etc. compared to the SD ApartmentComplexhuge beehive complexes that are 5 – 15 stories high apartment complexes, packed shoulder to shoulder to each other. apartments

Depressing and claustrophobic.

But the rental rates are marching their way up to the stratosphere.  We started at $1900  (1,000 sq ft) and will be at $2300 -$2500 (depending on a 6 month lease or a 12 month lease) at our next renewal.  Sad that it is such a waste of monies we would rather put into building the farm. There goes any discretionary income… and I wonder how those raising a family can cope with the chipping away of the income they have while dealing with the increases in expenses just having kids, incurs.

Yes, you can get rents slightly cheaper… and then spend 1-3 hours a day commuting. Really.  Someone asked how far we live from the airport, “depends on the time of day. At the right time it’s only a 18 minute drive. At the wrong time, it’s at least an hour. Same 10 miles.”

We opted for a higher rent, biking to school and work, less commute hours in the car, and more quality home time. It’s all about trade offs.

Someone asked, “How do you like living in San Diego?”.  Well, it is true, the weather is wonderful.  The evenings are spectacular on the coast, rarely too cold & the dry heat is moderated by the ocean so that those living within 10 miles of the coastline live in 70-80 degree weather almost year round.  A lot of people like living here because of the

SD 4thofJulyBeach

the beach in San Diego, 2016 4th of July

weather… and I mean ALOT of people… as in San Diego is the 3rd largest city in California (I had no idea).  It’s now almost non-stop town between the cities of LA & San Diego. That’s a vision of the near future: LA and San Diego merging into one huge metro-complex.

San Diego county has enough water for 800,000 people, I’m told.  With a population of 3 MILLON water has to be “brought in”. Not just water, but food as well. Very little arable land to grow; good crops of boulders, rock and sand. Not enough water or food to support the population base in San Diego County, by a long shot.  If one could subsist on avocado’s, strawberries, and flowers one would do just fine.

Just pray that the “next really big one” is not down here in San Diego, as a significant earthquake would take the whole county down rather quickly. Any significant disruption of the transportation or water systems would bring it to it’s knees. transform_fault

The good part of an EQ in this part of the country; it’s two plates sliding past each other. San Diego is headed toward San Francisco. NOT the subduction type EQ that happened in Japan, where one plate is pushing beneath another (and triggering a tsunami).

Folks here live day-to-day, without a thought to what the future might bring; they just party on into the night.

But they do enjoy the weather, and we do as well.







Marshmallow Study, REALLY?!

There is more to the story; much more.

The basis of a Stanford study, called “The Marshmallow Experiment”,

One now, Two in a While

One now, OR Two in a While

that was begun in the 1960’s and has been replicated several times (and validated)… looking at the long-term effects of delayed gratification that could be demonstrated in 4-5 years old who were followed through adulthood, for 40 years!

The ability to delay eating a marshmallow for 15 minutes to get TWO instead of just one marshmallow, was indicative of abilities that would translate into an increased life-long capacity to delay immediate gratification for long-term benefits.  The implication was that the inherent genetic programming of the child had already pre-determined their path.


That was the implication of the study, but further study brought out more insights which creates a picture of a much more complicated process; one in which the environment actually plays a significant role, in the first 4 years. The environment that the parents create, actually.

As a labor & delivery nurse for some 25 years+ I’m well versed in the innate personality differences that are present from the very moment of a newborn’s first breath. Having had the unique experience to be part of over several thousand births, it always continues to be incredibly inspiring.first breath

A newborn, in those first few minutes of life, show great variability in their response to emerging into the world. Some open their eyes and look around at the new world that they have entered, calm & accepting, while others have their eyes clamped shut as they scream bloody murder until placed in their mother’s arms and are calmed by her heartbeat and touch. There is indeed a whole spectrum of responses.

Some, of course are a response to the type of deliver: varying from easy, short labor vrs long, traumatic vrs newborn’s responses depressed due to being recipients of drugs for maternal pain relief, vrs those that had oxygen issues during labor and delivery. But generally, for those rough deliveries, these are temporary adaptive responses and the newborns innate personality shortly becomes apparent.

Differing Personality Types

From the moment of birth,  normal delivery and  Cesarian section deliveries, newborns show a range of responses that are part of their own personal patterns.  It’s easily recognizable at birth; how does the newborn respond to brighteyesstimulation, to change, to touch, to comforting measures, to voice, etc. He recognizes mother, and father, in the delivery suite, illustrated by the quiet, calm responses when parents interact with the newborn, who “tunes in”.

Dr. T. Berry Brazelton wrote a book, in the early 1970’s that looked at how newborn’s communicate with us, as well as identifying newborn temperament that are all within the normal range of development. He moved beyond the “sick” or premature newborn, to what the normal newborn brought to the table.

Infants and Mothers: Differences in Development  Dr.T.Berry Brazelton 

While babies may not speak their first word for a year, they are born ready to communicate with a rich vocabulary of body movements, cries and visual responses: all part of the complex language of infant behavior.

He identified three major personality groups he called Quiet, Average, Active Baby.

Brazelton was able to identify ways that mother’s could interpret their newborns behavior patterns and work with them. So yes, many things are innate, part of our genetic backup. It turns out that being able to “hear” our newborns and respond to their needs influences the way they interact with the world around them. (To learn more about the specifics of the process check out this webpage: Brazelton Assessment ).


Getting back to the Marshmallow Experiment; if a newborn or toddler, is raised in a world where their needs are heard and met fairly consistently then they build a picture of a world that is dependable.

The Marshmallow Experiment, with a Twist, at the University of Rochester; divided the children into two groups.

  • The first group was exposed to a series of unreliable experiences. i.e. promises were made but not kept.
  • The second group was exposed to a series of  promises that were made and consistently kept.

Each group was learning something about the world around them.

The first group had no reason to build trust. “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush” would be an apt expression for that group. If your world is constantly changing and unreliable… you tend to live for the moment.

The second group was learning two important things: waiting can be worth it, and, I have the ability to wait; in fact they would wait up to 4 times longer than the first group! Impressive. Especially given that it only took a few “reliable experiences” to influence their behavior.


As mothers and fathers we have an enormous effect on the world our children experience. If we build a framework that is caring and consistent, then our children find it dependable.

In an experiment: when a newborn cries are answered within 3 – 5 minutes, they quickly settle. That same newborn if left to cry for 10 minutes, so that they are not ‘spoiled’,  are unable to settle for over 30 minutes.  Babies do not get spoiled, they only know their needs are answered, or not. But once they are “out of sorts” (i.e. abandoned) it takes much longer for them to calm back down when their needs are attended to.

Responding & nurturing our children works toward building healthy adults, as we create a dependable world as much as is possible, from which to reach out and deal with a world full of experiences.  Over time, as our experiences and awareness expands we are able to tolerate more “ambiguity” in our world and work toward the goals we have set.

Incredible Value of Parenting

I often think, that we don’t realize just how important our young mothers and fathers are, in the development of their children.  It’s not enough to “birth” the child, feed, cloth, & educate. Not if we want them to successfully navigate the future world. Here is 3 min video on how dependent the child is to social interaction with mom: Mother/child interaction

The biggest complaint that we heard voiced, when working with “street kids” (those who had left home, and were roaming the country)… was the sense that they had been abandoned by their parents to the TV, the video games, to someone else, while their parent’s focused on their careers. (NOT my statement, but what I heard from them). Or parents just were too tired to interact with them, when they did come home from work.

Few (uh, as in none) had been taught life-skills (cooking, mechanics, gardening, sewing, etc). This was true of most of our farm interns, as well. (Usually from stable families and educated.) They lived a life of either processed foods out of a box/bag or fast foods. (In the ’70’s only 2% of meals were out of the home; today over 50-70%).

I worked hard to get my nursing degree and to work in Maternal-Child nursing. I will say that we tried to make it a point that at least one parent was home most of the time, and that I worked only 3 days a week for most of my nursing career.  I felt like 4 days a week, life revolved around work but working 3 days a week allowed life to revolve around family.  This is NOT a choice most people have, though.

I ended up dropping my nursing program with my 2nd child. I delivered her in the middle of my semester on Maternal-Child Nursing (with lectures on how important the maternal connection was in the first two years of life).  The dichotomy was crushing.  Coming home from a lecture to a newborn that I had abandoned for school (a choice I had the luxury of making) was more than I could emotionally deal with. My first responsibility, if within my power to do so, was to the child. It’s not always an easy choice, it was a high price to pay. It took me years to get my nursing degree because of the detour.


Just before the housing crash, when we put our 10 year project of a remodeled home (we were all involved in the building process) on the market, the kids were devastated (not little kids but young adults, college & senior in high school).

We had all poured heart and soul into creating a home that worked for us.  All I had to say to them was, “would you rather have dad home/retire or he continues to work full-time ?” They opted for having dad there & getting to live life, in lieu of having “things” (possessions that posses us, I guess).

Real happiness is not things, of course, but it is meaningful work and relationships, after all. It felt good to see the choices the young adults opted for.

The take home message for me, from “The Marshmallow Study, with a Twist”, was how important our interactions are, with little ones.  To be consistent, to follow through on our word, and to nurture them creates a world they can trust. That trust factor allows them to look past grabbing the immediate satisfaction, building the capacity to work toward longer range goals.  Your interactions with preschoolers is more significant than you might think!

With a Twist:






The REALLY Big One

It was a silent tsunami in Japan that was the telltale sign of the ‘the really big one’, off the coast of the USA.   It was the beginning of the construction of a nuclear power plant that put things in motion.radioactivity-sign-nuclear-power-plant-19146173

Way back in the ancient days (1970’s I believe) when tectonic plate theory was firmly accepted, the Northwest Coast (Washington & Oregon) were assigned a low seismic rating because there had been no earthquakes in recorded history.  (Well, western recorded history!)

In the ’80’s construction was begun on building a nuclear power plant along south of Puget Sound, in the Coastal Range…  

Only, there was this law that said you had to do a hazard’s review.

Now the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS, pronounced Whoops!), knowing that there was a sub-duction zone 30-60 miles off shore,  claimed it did not have dangerous earthquakes, it had “creeps”. Micro-earthquakes that took the pressure off the fault line.

The review was dropped into the lap of Thomas Heaton of the USGS, who had no idea of what the risks might be (he was located in Southern California).  He decided, in something this big (a nuclear power plant), he needed to play the devil’s advocate… and actually LOOK for previous earthquakes, before the 200 years of recorded western history.

We humans are such funny creatures, as we consider ourselves to be incredibly intelligent, and yet we insist on believing the world we live in right now is how it was and will be, negating natures ongoing attempt to disillusion us from that fantasty.


ringNow the largest known earthquake EVER recorded, 9.5 occurred in Chile in 1960, devastating 600 miles of the coast frontage (5700 people died). This was the equivalent area, only below the equator, as Oregon/Washington fault zone, along the ring of fire.

Four years later, a 9.2 hit Anchorage Alaska area, above the Oregon/Washington fault zone. Between the two area, a silent zone that expelled it’s energy via “creeps” instead of “quakes”, at least according to WPPSS. This was where they wanted to build their nuclear plant. The arrow points to the zone in the ring of fire that was supposedly “different & quiet”.


In actuality, research showed Heaton, the creeps were not even occurring.  Heaton was concerned that the “zone” might actually be locked up, and instead building  pressures toward a huge release.  Had it ever happened in the past? i.e. geologic past (decades, centuries ?) Where to look?

First, indigenous peoples… what stories did their oral histories record. YES, they did tell of a time when the waters retreated for four days, and then returned to submerge the Cape & the surrounding high areas, until only the mountain tops were above water. It was days for the waters to retreat.  Tribal members who had canoes where able to escape the rising waters but were carried for away, according to the story.stortell

Estimated dates ~ time frame for the oral story to have occurred:

1657-1777 “…there was a big flood shortly before the white man’s time, ….a huge tidal wave that struck the Oregon coast not too far back in time… the ocean rose up and huge waves swept and surged across the land.  Trees were uprooted and villages were swept away.  Indians said they tied their canoes to the top of the trees, and some canoes were torn loose and swept away… After the tidal wave, the Indians told of tree tops filled with limbs and trash and of finding strange canoes in the woods.  The Indians said the big flood and tidal wave tore up the land and change the rivers.  Nobody knows how many Indians died.  Beverly Ward, recounting stories told to her around 1930 by Susan Ned, born in 1842.

1640-1740  “These are stories from my grandfather’s father (born c. f800) about events that took place four generations before his time… over 200 years ago” “…the land shook… a big wave smashed into the beach.” Chief Louis Nookmis, age 84 in 1964

1690-1715 “My grandfather saw one of the old women (survivors) who had been left alive.  She had been hung up on a tree, and the limbs of that tree were too high up.  So she took her pack line and tied it to a limb, and then when she wanted to go down by means of that, she fell; she was just a girl when she fell from it.  Her back was broken from it (she had a humpback thereafter).  That is what she told about the raised water.”  Annie Miner Petersen, age 73 in 1913

To document the reality, digging was begun, to look at the soil structure beneath the surface.  Sure enough, several feet down beneath the soil was a layer of sand that extended several feet down. Below that, there was a sharp delineation line where a layer of pure black peat was found.

What did that mean? Sand brought in by a tsunami and below that, the black peat was the coastal terrain/swampy area that was above water before the incident. Sharp line means it happened quickly.


Brian Atwater (USGS) took over the search and more extensive research was done.  An excellent review can be found in Chapter 1 of “The Earth in Turmoil”, by Atwater written in

Researchers found similar layers almost wherever they looked, up and down the coast.  While the earthquakes may not travel far in distance side to side (to the east), they did travel north/south!  Just how big were these quakes?

Land research was followed by core samples from the seabed just offshore, the continental  slope, to look for “debris” patterns indicative of earthquakes/tsunamis.  Six such patterns were identified quite quickly, indicating a history of significant earthquakes with tsunamis. The last one, close to 300 years ago.  The exact date?  They went to Japan, who of course, kept excellent records for a much longer period of time than the newcomer westerners knew of.

Searching the records, Kenji Satake revealed a “silent tsunami”. A tsunami that occurred without an accompanying earthquake, which matched the data from the Cascadian Quake timeframe. The tusnami that occurred equated to the date of January 26, 1700 around 9pm in the evening, in the range of a 9.0 earthquake along the Cascadian Fault line.

By now the idea of building a nuclear power plant had gone by the wayside.



The estimated 8.9-9.2 Earthquake was slightly smaller than the Chilean Eq of 1960 & the Alaskan EQ of 1964, but in the expected range & comparable to past EQ’s. Further research showed there have been at least 12 giant EQ’s in the last 7700 years, occurring on average between 230-700 years apart. Not exactly an everyday occurrence, but nothing to ignore either!

Another tidbit that came out was that the Cascadia Fault Zone seemed to trigger off the San Andreas Fault as well. EXCEPT for the 1906 SF EQ, the major EQ’s along the Cascadian Fault appear to trigger EQ’s along the San Andreas Fault Line.  Hmmm, nice to know.

The Cascadian Fault zone runs from Vancouver B.C. all they way down to N California @ Cape Mendicino, 1000km (630 miles).

Below that is the beginning of the San Andreas Fault line that runs the length of

The Cascadian Fault Zone is where the Juan De Fuca Plate (JDFP)  is subducting (which lies just west of the west coast) under the North American Plate… It will eventually disappear completely under the continent, as the Pacific Ocean is shrinking. The Pacific Ocean Plate will then meet up with the North American Plate. Juan de Fuca Plate is a remnant part of the once-vast Farallon Plate, which is now largely subducted underneath the North American Plate.

We have a few islands, called the Farallon Islands named after that disappearing plate, just west of the Golden Gate Bridge entrance. On a clear day you can see them in the distance. They used to be the mountains on the coast to the west of the San Francisco; coast line around 10,000 yrs ago, now submerged with only the peaks showing as islands today.

The Farallon Plate has almost completely subducted beneath the western portion of the North American Plate leaving that part of the North American Plate in contact with the Pacific Plate as the San Andreas Fault. But the two plates are shifting past each other, instead of the ocean plate being sub-ducted under the continental plate as it is in Oregon/Washington.


Cascadia Fault: subduction means one plate is being forced under another & can trigger tsunamis; creates active volcanoes, mountains (Cascades)

San Andreas Fault: transform fault means two plates are sliding along side each other , also called strike-slip, they don’t make or take away land, they just shift positions (north-south). Thus tend to do much less damage unless, of course, you build a major city right smack on top of the fault line!

Yes, LA will move up next door to SF, some day… talk about a crowded neighborhood!

I vote to move away from the actual fault line (remember California EQ’s damp out really, really fast)…. and localize resources so that disruptions in transportation will not cripple one.


The next “big” one in terms of distance & destruction ~ EQ & Tsunami will probably be based off of the Cascadia Fault Zone and trigger the San Andreas Fault.  If it just triggers a segment of the zone instead of the whole fault line, we may get off light with just an M8.0 EQ, unless it affect highly populated areas. 

The Hayward Fault in Berkeley-Hayward is long overdue, but while disastrous, will be relatively localized.  Heavily populated with people & businesses it will, still, have far reaching effects.

“Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice.”   Will Durant (1946).  How true…


Oregon/Washington Cascade Range (mountains) & active Volcanoes are a result of the          JDF plate being sub-ducted under the North American Plate.

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