Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Let’s Go For a Ride in The Gater

A Gater is a small green utility vehicle. It has a driver’s seat, a passenger seat, and small dump-truck bed behind the seats.  “Necessary for a farm,” said the previous owner, and he left it for us. 

I had wanted a Gater since touring 60 acres in one. An Oregon Real Estate Agent and I sat in a Gater's dump bed leaning against a hay bale while husband dear sat beside the property's owner, the driver. The agent said she was scared out of her wits when the driver took off like a bat out of you know where, but I thought it was almost as much fun as a Disneyland ride.

I will be careful with you though, don’t worry. I won’t try to brush you off, as my husband appears to do as he careens through the pineapple fields while I am dodging volunteer trees that have sprung up between the pineapple rows. 

Our ride today in the Gater will be easier than walking to the area I want to show you, for we would likely be huffing and puffing in this sultry heat. 

You’re willing? Okay. Let’s go.

The sun isn't up yet as we climb into our seats, but birds are trying to pull it from its slumber. We will not see the sunrise, for the trees stand in the way of it, but the sun gradually brightens the sky, and enlivens the expanse of emerald green around the house as though the morning goddess, sleepy eyed, is turning up her rheostat.  

We putt through the row of eucalyptus trees that separate the house area from the orchard. We pass a MACK dump truck the size of a small house that is tied to the ground with vines the way Gulliver was tied by the Lilliputians.

I push in the throttle, and the Gater gallops up a gentle incline—or slithers, whatever Gater’s do. We bump past the pineapple field, and past the few scruffy orange and lemon trees that while small in size, produce delicious fruit.

To our left are macadamia nut trees. Ahead is the best lime tree in the world. Its limes are the size of lemons, and so fragrant they can call me from bed when daughter dear is making French toast dusted with powdered sugar, slaughtered with butter, and loaded with fresh lime juice.

 A Star Fruit tree grows beside the lime tree, and while the fruit of the enormous beautiful Star Fruit tree that grows close to the house tastes horrible, this tree’s fruit is delicious. I don’t know why. 

There are more eucalyptus trees along the side fence separating this property from the ten acres next to us. Ahead and to the right is jungle.

Along the back fence grows two exquisite plants, so hidden in the brush I didn’t know they existed until the day I found them flowering by the fence, shining like beacons. One is a Macaw plant, its flower a brilliant red, that looks as though folded by an origami specialist. Next to it grows a hanging Lobster Claw. Both have waxy petals and together they look like bird’s beaks and lobster claws, as their names describe.

Macaw flower

I pull back the throttle, and we roll to a silent stop. I wanted to show you the largest most beautiful tree in the area. It is the reason I brought you here.

It is a Signature tree.

We hop out of the vehicle and walk up to the tree.  It is evergreen with leaves thick as a succulent’s. The amazing thing about this tree is that if you scratch a message in a leaf that leaf and message will last for years. Looking up into the immense green foliage, we begin our search. I know the vicinity, and there we find them—notes from the two little girls who lived on this land before us, little notes, sad notes, notes that said, “Goodbye Farm.”

A few days ago my family wrote their names on the leaves, and now you and I could sign our names as well, and for a while far away in the vast Pacific on a tropical island we would be made illustrious for a time. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

In Praise of Goats

Orville and Wilbur with a rider, Oregon

Little Boy Darling with Do and Re, Hawaii

If you have never met a goat you might not imagine how sweet they can be.

The subject of goats came up for me when my daughter told me about the #Weston Price Conference she attended last week in Los Angeles.

It was a food conference, and you might wonder how the subject of goats came into the conversation. No, don’t eat them.  Use them. One of the presenters was a farmer. And he said we need more animals on our properties.

I began thinking about Orville and Wilbur our free-range goats, who came running from the forest every morning to dive into the horse’s hay. They talked to us, followed us, came when called, and hiked with us. They kept the brush cleared around the house, and they never damaged anything. Well, they would have eaten all ornamental plants and flowers, but everything not wild was behind a deck railing.  The house was fenced in the goats were fenced out.

One thing the farmer said about goats is that they are problem solvers, and they use that ability to get out of fences. They use that ability, too, to climb on anything fun, but we didn’t have that problem with Orville and Wilbur, as all temptation was out of reach, and we lived in the forest. They were perfect.

When we moved to Hawaii we bought two little nannies, Do and Re, still on bottles when we got them, and the only time they were penned was in the dog kennel when we were away from the house over night. The rest of the time they were free-range, as sweet as kittens, and kept the property trimmed as though we had hired a ground crew. They came when called and hiked along the “green trail of bliss” with us.

There was a star fruit tree close by the house whose fruit tasted terrible (another tree in the orchard tasted great, I don’t know why the difference), but the one by the house dropped fruit on the ground leaving a mess—not after we got the goats, they erased all evidence of ground fruit. And you don’t have to worry about goat poop, it’s like a deer’s, pelleted, and when dropped into the grass it disappears.

A downside was that we had to enclose anything that could be climbed upon, the boxes in the storage shed, the Prius, and the tree in the front yard. So I suggest penning in the house and leaving the goats free. They will stay close, they like people.

That’s our story.

The conference speaker said that people are desert makers. If ground is scraped bare in a dry arid climate, like Africa, the ground can heat up to 140 degrees where no plant can survive.  With animals and grass and grazing, the soil will be about 70 degrees, perfect. The grazing animals will nibble the grass encouraging it to grow. One must not allow them to over-graze however, but rotate them to different pastures. And goats, being browsers, will keep the brush cleared. In Oregon they can clear out blackberry bushes that left to their own devices will  over run an entire acre—or more.

The farmer showed two pictures with the caption, “Which picture had the rain?”

The green land had animals, the dry one didn’t.

Up to Chapter 10 on

Sunday, November 15, 2015

What Happens Next?

“A young couple are driving down a beautiful country road.  In the back seat are their two kids. They stop for a moment to drink in the view… what happens next?”

This was a test for our thought processes and how we are being programmed. Many people would say “A car comes barreling down the road and bashes into them.”

Who’s in control of our thoughts?

For a reprieve, drink in the joy of an innocent. Only a camera is pointed in her direction.

“Have you ever seen a deer frolicking in the surf?”

“Well I did.”

click on

Sunday, November 8, 2015

What’s That You Say?

The other day at the grocery store the checker remarked that he had gotten recognition for being the fastest checker that week. Did he get an award? He didn’t say, but he seemed proud of his accomplishment.

“Are they timing you?’ I asked.


At the grocery store?! Not them too.

I already know about emails from a large corporation. The respondents have eight minutes to answer an email, and one must go down the list in order of first written, even if the ship has already sailed. Sometimes to answer the question requires doing research. Whoops, no time for that. Sometimes the system breaks down or is slow. Too bad, you are still on the clock.

One solution is to shuffle that email off to another department. Clearing your docket is paramount, not answering the question.

Why all the rush? Why put people on a clock? It demoralizes them—except maybe the checker at the grocery store. It turns them into an assembly line mentality. Have happy customers? What a concept. Those grocery store checkers are so fast I hardly have time to unload my cart, slide the credit card, give them my reward card, and scribble my signature. That’s after I stood in line of course.

Do the efficiency experts go to school to learn how to drive employees insane? Faster makes more money--so it is believed. No wonder some people hate their jobs.

I understand we are a technologically based culture, and I remember when a computer needed an entire room for all its bells and whistles, and that computer had less memory that the lap top I am currently typing on. Let's not forget, however, that there are people attached to that computer, or standing in front of us waiting for eye contact. Have you ever stood in front of a clerk while  behind a computer screen you heard, "Click, click, clicky, click, click?"

Oh yes, and televisions in restaurants. Why? Didn’t we go out to escape the box or to visit with friends or to enjoy our meal in luxury?

Guess not.

Remember, some genius created a device to record television shows enabling them to be watched later.

I was wondering the other day if painting was out. You know, a brush, paints on canvas, sketching. Well, I watch Face Off on television and those people know how to sketch and sculpt, and fabricate in a day or two what it would normally take months to create so I know there are talented, skilled, creative  people out there, but when I see something like a Bionocle, a toy so complex you know a computer created it, it makes me wonder if a person with their simple little hands on materials has a chance anymore. CGI has replaced glass backgrounds movie backdrop painters used to paint by hand. Remember when the Disney corporation hand- painted all those cells used in their animated films? And the art of Bambi is so exquisite it should never be lost, although the sadness of Bambi could. It was my first movie and it scared me forever.

Those who have read me for a time know that I am conflicted. I want to be uplifting, encouraging and motivational, yet I feel that my years have given me a perspective that ought not to be lost. Again I ask, where is the medium? (I know, finding it “takes some share of wit, so tis a mark fools seldom hit”--Cooper.)

And I have noticed that the sweet by and by might get a nod, “That’s nice.” Ho hum. We do like something we can sink out teeth into. (Gosh isn’t blogging fun, we can throw out cliché’s. on a regular basis.)

We ought to look at what's important in our lives and what's not. What do we want to accomplish?  Has happiness eluded us? Let's get it back. 

I had an epiphany the other day driving home from Portland. Earlier I printed my mother’s Letters and interspersed mine among hers telling the family secret. Well, that’s over. I decided my mother deserves her own voice without being colored by mine, so I expunged all my commentary within the book. I did write a Foreword and Afterward, and I’m back to my water-color cover. I guess with winter coming I like the snow. And the book ends with snow falling in crystalline stars on my sister and my lapels.

The Foreword can be seen on

Still posting chapters on
The menu says Home Blog About, the book content is posted on Blog

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Ain’t It the Truth?


Scientists search for it, yet, we hear that statistics can be skewed, tests can be manipulated, and the new, the unusual sometimes so threatens the establishment that their innovative ideas are blown away like so much chalk from the blackboard.

Lawyers and truth? The goal is to win, and whose “truth” can they trust anyway?  Reasonable doubt is often the best we can hope for.

Truth, the word, gets thrown around like broadcasting lawn seeds.

The earth is the center of the solar system. Nope.

Some people believe “The Bible, said it, I believe it, that settles it,” without understanding that long ago Monks painstakingly hand copied the Bible. Most Biblical scholars agree that there are “glosses,” that is marginal notes make by the copiers, became incorporated into the text by future copiers. 

Around the year 300 many religions were tossed about, many canons for the Bible existed, so old Roman Emperor Constantine said, “Enough already. These are the books for the Bible, and Christianity is the religion of the state.” And then years later someone unearthed a few old scrolls buried in the Dead Sea region that created cause for pause.

“What I said is not what your heard, and what I meant to say is not what came out of my mouth, and you weren’t listening anyway.”

Being clear is like hitting a bull’s eye.

Journalists endeavor to uncover the truth, but then the pundits, the naysayers, the opposition, attack their copy. Controversy ensues, and the truth gets lost under tons of oratory. So much doubt is cast upon their findings that soon the populist doesn’t remember what the initial question was.

I suppose we can count on gravity—we believe that to be a “truth” we’re pretty sure it exists, but then we went into space and had to be tied to our seats lest we float to the ceiling, or worse.

“Seeing is believing.” Optical illusionists made us go out and buy new glasses.

Some people think their idea of God is the truth, other people think theirs is.  For some their God is Love, others say that God directed them to terrorize their fellow human beings.

“Sell the sizzle and not the steak,” so say the advertisers. Tell a good story and people will buy your product. Amp it up, glorify it, make it shine.

And then what happened?  Along came philosophers, and writers such as Wayne Dyer who said “You’ll see it When You Believe It.” They ushered in the idea that perhaps we create according to our beliefs.

A few years ago I was involved with a woman’s group who often read esoteric material. After a week apart we would come together completely befuddled.   What to believe? What was the truth?  A conclusion grew out of our conversations. We had to trust out own inner guidance system. Did it “Ring true?” Did it resonate with our thought systems?

We were left trusting our feelings.

I saw the movie Truth last night with Robert Redford and Kate Blanchett, about Mary Mapes, the Producer of CBS, and Dan Rather the year he left the network. I think it ought to be mandatory showing in high schools, and for everyone else, and it lit a fire under me.

P.S. Still adding chapters from One Year on the Island to