Wendell Berry: 'Soil is not usually lost in slab or heaps of magnificent tonnage. It is lost a little at a time over millions of acres by careless acts of millions of people. It cannot be solved by heroic feats of gigantic technology, but only by millions of small acts and restraints.'"
1. Native Hedgerows for Wildlife, talk TONIGHT in Milpitas
2. Environmental activist needs temporary housing
3. Let’s celebrate birthday of Wendell Berry today/learn to be at home
4. Next Time, by Joyce Sutphen
5. Mutability, by Percy Bysshe Shelley
6. Nonnative plants, ecololgical traps?
7. Knowland Park update
8. Animal welfare potpourri: rodenticides, frogs, fracking, captive orcas
9. Help track blue banded pelicans
10. Twist on “price of liberty is eternal vigilance”
11. California Disclose Act - find out who pays for political ads
12. Coastal Prairie Photography Workshop, Aug 24
13. Street trees, plantings: deter dogs?
14. Mt Sutro and fire - an exchange
15. Still Life, by Carl Dennis
16. A tale of two women: Lindy Boggs, Helen Thomas
17. Work Song - Wendell Berry
Native Hedgerows for Wildlife, a talk by Pete Veilleux
Monday, August 5, 7:00-8:30 PM, SCCL Milpitas Library, 160 N Main Street, Milpitas, (408) 262-1171 x3616
Hedgerow: "A row of bushes, shrubs, or trees forming a hedge." You often want hedges to create a sense of privacy in your garden. But instead of one type of plant for a solid green wall, you can mix native species, creating flowers and berries--interest for you and habitat for your fellow creatures. Find out which type of native plants work best for hedgerows.
Pete Veilleux is a master designer, nurseryman and photographer. Pete builds gardens using native plants for long-lasting, self-sustaining landscapes which help people get the maximum use and pleasure from their patch of earth. He is the owner and propagator of East Bay Wilds Native Plant Nursery in Oakland.
"Gardening with Natives (GWN) is a special interest group within the Santa Clara Valley chapter of the California Native Plant Society. It includes a mix of landscape architects, designers, seasoned native plant gardeners, and beginners. It offers over many talks throughout the year at public libraries which are free and open to all. Visit our web site at: cnps-scv.org to find out about more events and how you can join the chapter. SJPL (San Jose Public Library), SCCL (Santa Clara County Library), SMCL (San Mateo County Library)"
(JS: I am willing to vouch for Steve Krefting, a prominent environmental activist of last few decades.)
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
I’m looking for a relatively short-term rental, say two to six months (unless it *happens* to be an ideal mix of affordability and space in which case could be longer). At this point the location is quite flexible - I don't need to stay near the house at this point. I also have cats, which is unfortunately a liability for renting.
I’m once again sending this appeal to as many people as I can think of in hopes that someone may have a productive lead. Thank you for all the good thoughts you've sent me and for any leads you may have.
45 Montcalm St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Today's the birthday of Wendell Berry, born in Port Royal, Kentucky (1934). He grew up on farmland that had belonged to his family since 1803, and after college and some traveling, he moved back to that area permanently. He bought a small farm in his hometown, which still had a population of only a hundred or so people, and he began farming it the way his grandfather had taught him, without any machines. He grew squash, corn, and tomatoes, and he got a flock of sheep, a milk cow, and some horses. And he wrote about his experiences as a farmer in more than 40 books of poetry, fiction, and essays.
Wendell Berry said, "Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you."
A Spiritual Journey
And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,
no matter how long,
but only by a spiritual journey,
a journey of one inch,
very arduous and humbling and joyful,
by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,
and learn to be at home.
~ Wendell Berry ~
by Joyce Sutphen
I'll know the names of all of the birds
and flowers, and not only that, I'll
tell you the name of the piano player
I'm hearing right now on the kitchen
radio, but I won't be in the kitchen,
I'll be walking a street in
New York or London, about
to enter a coffee shop where people
are reading or working on their
laptops. They'll look up and smile.
Next time I won't waste my heart
on anger; I won't care about
being right. I'll be willing to be
wrong about everything and to
concentrate on giving myself away.
Next time, I'll rush up to people I love,
look into their eyes, and kiss them, quick.
I'll give everyone a poem I didn't write,
one specially chosen for that person.
They'll hold it up and see a new
world. We'll sing the morning in,
and I will keep in touch with friends,
writing long letters when I wake from
a dream where they appear on the
Orient Express. "Meet me in Istanbul,"
I'll say, and they will.
After Words. © Red Dragonfly Press, 2013
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly! —yet soon
Night closes round, and they are lost forever:
Or like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings
Give various response to each varying blast,
To whose frail frame no second motion brings
One mood or modulation like the last.
We rest.—A dream has power to poison sleep;
We rise.—One wandering thought pollutes the day;
We feel, conceive or reason, laugh or weep;
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away:
It is the same!—For, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free:
Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but Mutability.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, born 4 August 1792
Nonnative Plants: Ecological Traps
Offering alluring habitat for songbirds, exotic plants may actually decrease the animals' long-term survival and fitness
7. Dear Knowland Park Supporters,
Wow, our petition has almost reached our goal of 1500 signers! And the comments it’s receiving are so inspiring—reading them reminds us that we are not alone in this fight. People from all over the Bay Area (and even many other states) have added their support to our petition calling on the US Fish & Wildlife Service to deny the permits for the zoo’s destructive expansion into Knowland Park. They understand that these local fights to save our last wild places of habitat near urban areas are key to wildlife and native plant survival—and they are essential to having an authentic relationship with nature, not a packaged, developed one.
If any of you haven’t yet had a chance to sign, now is the time—help us reach 1500 signers by going to:
And please “like” us on Facebook so others who care about saving parkland will join us. Click on “Latest” at the bottom of the petition page to read the comments from others who signed in support. Some of our favorites:
“Better idea: shrink the zoo to expand the park.”
“I grew up with this awesome park... we need to let be what the next generation deserves to enjoy.”
“Because it speaks to all of us, no matter where we live. It speaks to integrity: the land was to be preserved in perpetuity, not developed. It speaks to what's happening in so many areas: development over the health of other species and the land.”
Surprisingly, our petition has reached a lot of folks out there who grew up in Oakland and now live elsewhere, but remember the Park and want to save it. It’s also attracted support from people elsewhere who are engaged in the same kinds of battles to save their special places. This isn’t only about the zoo and its development plans. It’s part of a larger struggle to save what remains of our natural ecosystems. And your help is crucial.
THANK YOU SO MUCH to those who have contributed since our last call. And we have wonderful news! The Fund for Wild Nature just awarded us a $1500 grant to help keep our work going. If we can match that within the next two weeks, we can launch the next phase of our campaign by early September. Can you help with a check? Or use the donate button on our site. We’re sorry to keep having to ask, and the work is all volunteer—but the rest requires money. Tax deductible contributions should be sent to our Treasurer, Lee Ann Smith, 111 Shadow Mountain, Oakland, CA 94605. Or use the “Donate” button on our website, www.saveknowland.org
Finally, we are looking for more volunteers to help with the next phase of our campaign. If you can spare a couple of hours a week, we would love to hear from you! Please email us at email@example.com if you can help out!
It’s the dry season at Knowland now, the time when some say “there’s nothing there.” But we saw a coyote last weekend, the owls hoot at night, and the creatures still live and migrate through as they always have. It’s worth some effort to keep it from becoming a theme park.
Animal welfare potpourri
Finally DPR is trying to get these products off Walmart shelves and regulate them properly as CA Restricted Materials through a strict permitted process. This is a good move for California’s wildlife and it would be timely for land managers and pesticide applicators to send DPR your comments/support for this regulation.
DPR 13-002 Designating Brodifacoum, Bromadiolone, Difenacoum, and Difethialone (Second Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticide Products) as Restricted Materials (Notice 7/19/13; Comment period closes 9/3/13)
Any interested person may present comments in writing about the proposed action to the agency contact person named below. Written comments must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on September 3, 2013. Comments regarding this proposed action may also be transmitted via e-mail to
or by facsimile at 916-324-1452.
Oil companies frack in coastal waters off Calif.
Associated Press, August 3, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Companies prospecting for oil off California's coast have used hydraulic fracturing on at least a dozen occasions to force open cracks beneath the seabed, and now regulators are investigating whether the practice should require a separate permit and be subject to stricter environmental review.
In a statement to the AP, the EPA defended its oversight of offshore fracking, saying its system ensures the practice does not pollute the environment in a way that would endanger human health.
(JS: Endanger human health? Screw the whales, dolphins, fish, and everything else?)
Don't miss the new documentary, "BLACKFISH" - regarding captive orcas. It's a damning indictment of the industry, and should prove an invaluable tool to "free the whales" (and the dolphins, too--of which the orca is merely the largest species). Some great interviews of former trainers, and some extraordinary footage, both captive and in the wild. Were you aware that Tilikum (SeaWorld's bull orca who has so far killed three people while in captivity) is the sire of 52% of ALL of SeaWorld's orcas? Isn't that just BEGGING for trouble? Just sayin'.
9. Help needed tracking Blue Banded Pelicans
You can be a direct contributor to an important scientific research study being done to track the migrations of rehabilitated California Brown Pelicans. Over 1,100 (and counting) blue banded pelicans are revealing their migratory secrets due to spotting and reporting by you, the public.
Help the International Bird Rescue Blue Banded Pelican Project and Contest sponsored by Eagle Optics and you could win a spotting scope. There is also a photography contest. For more information on how to report the birds, the contests and the reasons for the research, visit
Last year 119 blue bands were reported within two months from Mexico to Canada. Each bird has its own story and all were rescued by caring humans and given a second chance at life at IBR’s center in Cordelia or San Pedro, CA. Get involved and help spread the word by posting this information where other pelican lovers will see it.
Thank you and good luck from International Bird Rescue and Eagle Optics.
10. LTE, Guardian Weekly
Suzanne Moore's piece reminds me of a paraphrase of the slogan of the Returned Services League of Australia: "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance"; the rather more ominous "The price of eternal vigilance is liberty."
Gosnells, Western Australia
SB 52, California Disclose Act
SB 52, the new California DISCLOSE Act
• Lets voters know who really is paying for political ads — on the ads themselves.
• Political ads will have to clearly and prominently list their three largest funders.
• "Follow-the-money" disclosure stops special interests from hiding.
• Applies to all kinds of political ads, including TV, radio, print, and websites.
• The California DISCLOSE Act will change the Big Money game.
Please help pass the CA DISCLOSE Act by signing the online petition at http://www.caclean.org/petition .
Endorsed by major environmental groups including Sierra Club Calif. and CA League of Conservation Voters.
To volunteer, email David Schmidt at firstname.lastname@example.org , or call him at 415-971-5201.
12. CA Coastal Prairie Photography Workshop, Saturday, August 24
This one-day intensive course on the SF Bay shoreline will provide an overview of macro and landscape photography techniques from two practicing professionals who are also botanists. California grassland communities will be the subject, however the techniques can be applied to various plant communities.
Includes in-field instruction on the coastal prairie and in-class demonstration of post-processing using Adobe Lightroom 5 software.
The instructors are ecologists and professional photographers: Lech Naumovich, is executive director of the field-based non-profit, Golden Hour Restoration Institute, and Jim Coleman is a restoration ecologist from the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center.
Saturday, August 24 in Richmond. The deadline to register is August 14, 2013. Enrollment limited to 15 participants. For more details and registration information see www.cnga.org.
The last newsletter contained an item about sidewalk planting and street tree basins. The same article contained a squib about deterring dogs from depositing in the basins. I post here a statement by SFDPW urban forester Carla Short:
Here is the list that we’ve developed.
In addition you could consider planting small succulents that are not too spiney or spikey, dogs don’t generally like to walk on them. Echeverria is a nice one. You could also use mulch that has some pine cones in it, as they don’t generally like walking on that either, and lastly you could sprinkle some chili pepper around the edges, which will discourage them from the whole area.
I am very skeptical of these putative deterrents; nevertheless, the Ruta (rue) and Citrus (both in the Citrus family) and rosemary do have pungent volatile oils that could possibly deter dogs, so I won't dismiss out of hand. I know nothing of the value of the other three, nor of the succulents, supposedly uncomfortable to walk on. Dogs can pee on them while standing on pavement.
14. Mt Sutro - exchange on nextdoor.com posted with permission
Responding to Donald Enochson's July 29 discussion with USFS researcher about moisture content of thinned vs unthinned, a very important point is the dramatic difference between the east side of Mt Sutro and the west side. The trees on the west side intercept the ocean fogs and wring most of the moisture out of them.
This can be seen by anybody if they will go up there during some of our wet fog drips. Go, for example, to the Aldea Housing area and look at the trees with the thin crowns. You will find little or no fog drip, and that situation obtains throughout the summer, so that by autumn the understory is very dry. (It is dry now.) But walk on the Historic Trail on the west side and the trail is mucky and slick.
The whole plantation can become exceedingly dry in September, October, November, especially if we get those drying winds from the northeast that blow for several days, as happened in 1991. Only a fool would ignore this situation.
Donald Enochson said:
Jake, I agree only a fool would ignore the situation. That Aldea Housing is a disaster waiting to happen. Do I see some housing there with wood, not stucco siding? That’s even worse. I wonder if that housing meets City building code standards. Cal-Fire and US fire experts recommend a 30 foot clearing (no vegetation) around structures and then tree thinning to at least 100 feet. They recommend spacing 10 feet between drip lines, pruning lower branches, and clearing out the underbrush. For mature Eucalyptus that would mean at least 70 foot spacing between trees. Looking at Aldea Housing, it is nowhere near meeting any of those standards. 1991 was the end of a six-year drought, and fog-hours per year was nearing a low point. Add to that, a heat wave with Diablo winds and a fire can easily get out of control. The convergence of prolonged drought, low fog years, and a heat wave will occur again and it is only time before that area explodes. I know that people who live adjacent to the forest, Stanyan, Christopher, Crestmont, and Edgewood, like the screening that the trees provide. That degree of thinning for 100 feet could negatively impact the ambiance the trees offer. However, they should be worried.
by Carl Dennis
Now's a good time, before the night comes on,
To praise the loyalty of the vase of flowers
Gracing the parlor table, and the bowl of oranges,
And the book with freckled pages resting on the tablecloth.
To remark how these items aren't conspiring
To pack their bags and move to a place
Where stillness appears to more advantage.
No plan for a heaven above, beyond, or within,
Whose ever-blooming bushes are rustling
In a sea breeze at this very moment.
These things are focusing all their attention
On holding fast as time washes around them.
The flowers in the vase won't come again.
The page of the book beside it, the edge turned down,
Will never be read again for the first time.
The light from the window's angled.
The sun's moving on. That's why the people
Who live in the house are missing.
They're all outside enjoying the light that's left them.
Lucky for them to find when they return
These silent things just as they were.
Night's coming on and they haven't been frightened off.
They haven't once dreamed of going anywhere.
Ranking the Wishes. © Penguin Poets, 1997
16. A tale of two women
Lindy Boggs and Helen Thomas, pioneers for women and democracy, died on July 27th and July 20th respectively, aged 97 and 92
Aug 3rd 2013 The Economist
EVER since Eve wheedled Adam into eating that apple, women have known how to get what they want from men. That does not mean it is easy. In particular, the smug men-only leather-bound world of Washington, DC was long resistant to their charms. Lindy Boggs and Helen Thomas set about prising it open in starkly different ways: the one with southern delicacy and charm, the other with gelignite.
Together, their list of “firsts” was impressive. Ms Thomas, who spent most of her career as a reporter for the UPI wire service, was the first woman to head a White House news bureau, the first female president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, the first woman member (and later president) of the Gridiron Club. She was also first-thorn-in-the flesh for no fewer than ten presidents, crouching in the front row at their press conferences, pad, pen and scowl ready, to hold the wrigglers and liars to account. Mrs Boggs was the first woman elected to Congress from Louisiana; co-founder of the congressional women’s caucus; the first woman to preside over the Democratic National Convention, in 1976, and the first to have a room in the Capitol named after her. Well, sweetie, she would say, she just happened to be around at the right time.
They knew each other a little. Both adored Eleanor Roosevelt; both had a penchant for pearls, though Ms Thomas, chronically untidy, rarely bothered to put a comb through her hair; and both were firmly on the left of the Democratic Party. For Mrs Boggs, brought up in old-time elegance on the cotton and sugar plantations of the deep South, this was a stranger affiliation than it was for Ms Thomas, from the car-pounding melting-pot of Detroit. But both remembered regularly putting the world to rights round the family dinner table: Mrs Boggs’s family, the Claibornes, with the assurance of people who had held public office since George Washington’s day, Ms Thomas’s with the loud, scrappy exuberance of recent Lebanese immigrants. For Mrs Boggs, being a liberal Democrat meant extending civil rights to the blacks sweating out in the family fields and to the women, like herself, who seemed destined only to marry, keep house and live in their husbands’ pockets. For Ms Thomas it meant, besides that, letting presidents know what was on the people’s minds, and especially opening both barrels on warmongering Republicans.
She thrust her way to the top of the Washington press corps, paying her dues with years of dawn starts and on-the-hoof reporting, because she saw no reason why women should be relegated, in the Kennedy years, to “diaper detail” and “Jackie watch”. She had covered his campaign when he was a no-hoper; she demanded, and got, the right to cover him as president. Once there, insatiably curious, she determined to hold every president to account by asking hard, rude questions. “What’s your plan for leaving Vietnam?” was her first question to Richard Nixon. “Why did you really want to go to war?” she asked George W. Bush—and, when he mumbled about al-Qaeda, added tartly: “I’m talking about Iraq.” She was the first woman to take on the job of saying, at the end of each press conference, “Thank you, Mr President.” She could make the words drip acid.
Mrs Boggs, in contrast, did her bit for democracy by being niceness itself. Everyone was “Darlin” to her, swirled in southern sugar—even, when she later became ambassador to the Holy See, cardinals and archbishops. She came to Washington in 1946, gloved and veiled as need be, in the train of her congressman husband Hale; ran his office for him, and then in 1973 inherited his seat when his plane went missing over Alaska. Alone now among the Louisiana delegation, she had always treated blacks as equals and pressed for programmes that advanced them. She won their votes, and served nine terms.
Her speeches were all “Hale this” and “Hale that”, wifely and devoted, and at her yearly garden parties she did all the cooking. But she also got on the best committees to expand the rights of women. Her great coup was to get them included in the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974—allowing them to get credit cards and mortgages in their own names—by gently telling the banking committee that she was sure it was only an oversight that women had been omitted. She also got money for shelters for abused women by, it was said, a whisper in Speaker Tip O’Neill’s ear.
Damage and diplomacy
Ms Thomas never whispered in anyone’s ear. She demanded the whole story. During Watergate, casting caution aside, she made use of the drunken late-night telephone calls of Martha Mitchell, wife of the attorney-general, to open up the scandal. When George W. Bush became president and she had left UPI, her most visceral question came roaring out: why did those jackasses keep backing Israel? In 2010 she said on videotape that Jews should “go home” to Poland, and was instantly disgraced. A lifetime of crusading for democracy suddenly counted for nothing.
As a guest once at Lyndon Johnson’s ranch in Texas, she had enjoyed the most tongue-singeing chili laced with minced jalapeño peppers. That was just how Lindy Boggs liked to cook and serve it, too; but so graciously, and smilingly, that you never suspected what was about to hit you.
If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow-growing trees
on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it,
if we will make our seasons welcome here,
asking not too much of earth or heaven,
then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live
here, their houses strongly placed
upon the valley sides, fields and gardens
rich in the windows. The river will run
clear, as we will never know it,
and over it, birdsong like a canopy.
On the levels of the hills will be
green meadows, stock bells in noon shade.
On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down
the old forest, an old forest will stand,
its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots.
The veins of forgotten springs will have opened.
Families will be singing in the fields.
In their voices they will hear a music
risen out of the ground. They will take
nothing from the ground they will not return,
whatever the grief at parting. Memory,
native to this valley, will spread over it
like a grove, and memory will grow
into a legend, legend into song, song
into sacrament The abundance of this place,
the songs of its people and its birds,
will be health and wisdom and indwelling
light. This is no paradisal dream.
Its hardship is its possibility.
—Wendell Berry, Clearing
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