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Loose Change

A collection of short items that have no other place to go for now.

If there is a collection sharing a theme, we might move them off to their own page as with Bull Tales

I expect that the Sagan Slideshow and the Cookshack Burning collections will each wind up on solo pages.

Gary - Lone Oak Memory Fragment

This would most likely have been Spring Equinox, May Day, or Summer Solstice - maybe in '72.

I remember cleaning cactus buttons - lots of them - for the big pot of tea.
Someone - Lesley? observed that Lavender was known for having a strong anti-nausea effect.

... Wow man this is so cool.

I mean look at this hilltop - did you ever notice how the grass looks like seaweed? Look at the kids ! They're the fish!


I think the lavender was a great idea. This is the best tea ever.

I don't even feel - Urp! - Ummmm, never mind but it was still the best and
a great idea. Might've been Lesley


I look but can't find the hawk...

And the small plane crawls endlessly across the impossible sky - gnarling
as it goes - and the sound fades, strengthens, and folds back in on itself
- forever dwindling

Man! Did you ever notice the clouds? Wow! Look at them all lined up like
Ice Cubes in the sky,


Dinosaur bone dead oak trunks, kids, rolling down the slope.

The leaves, the grass, you, me, we are all breathing!


Mark - Sagan Slideshow Smoke Plume

Also, on Carl Sagan's visit I remember that among those who came
with him was an award-winning (Hugo? Nebula?) artist who showed some
phantastic planetscapes which he claimed were all based on the
science of what we knew about these planets.

On the slide show, the first sign of `intelligent' life was a smoke
plume, but Carl said it didn't count because it could be made by a
volcano or other natural process. Coincidentally, the smoke plume
came from the huge copper smelters at Bisby Arizona which was the
nearest town of any size to Peggy Hitchcock's Paradise Ranch that
Winter wrote about in another posting.

Jody - Treehouse No More

Walking through the Backlands at night could be a mystical pathfinding dream, or a cold, muddy, wet, windblown nightmare; but I loved every moment of those wanderings. My night vision seemed to get
stronger the more I did it. Down this slanted path through the grass, into the deep darkness in the trees and across a tiny footbridge across the gurgling stream... Sometimes in search of a bed in a hidden cabin or smoke drenched tipi , or a dinner at some remote spot in the woods, or best yet to the treehouse.

Ah the treehouse. Winter will have to tell of its building and of Oak being born in it. I traded her my Frontlands cabin so Sandy & I could move into it. I know several high priced lawyers were involved in the negotiations. At night with the fire crackling in the stove, and fresh picked Swiss chard cooking, I would look out through the windows through the dark eaves of the surrounding forest, and see twinkling far away, the Emerald City, San Francisco.

When a big storm blew through, it became a ship tossing and turning as
the gale would lift and shake her, with us in it.

But the storm that brought her down was a very quiet one. Of falling snow. The 3rd day of 1973. (Are you sure it wasn't 1974? Michael Emrys)

Filling the treetops and weighing down the branches, until they groaned, and broke with great tearing sounds. The silent morning became a weird chorus of falling and breaking trees, near and far. Then one of the main supporting branches under us broke and we realized it was time to abandon ship.

We stuffed backpacks and grabbed guitars and while climbing down the ladder, were showered with an avalanche as another huge part of the mighty oak broke with a shudder and roar.

We meandered out through the crazy falling forest out to the road. But Page Mill was gone. There were only snow covered hills and meadows. Everybody migrated to Struggle, and we fired up the sauna and celebrated.

Judith! (et al) Whoa those names take me back 37 years. I was 17 and hitchhiked across the country to visit my brother & sister-in-law Stewart and Sally (Rain) who had gone out to California after high school to work with the Draft resistance. They lived at Struggle, and all those people you name lived there (except Chris who was in prison along with David Harris.)

I went out there twice that year. I was living at a small commune in Wisconsin where we all took turns in the cornfield with shotguns guarding 'bricks' . Before that I spent 6 months in hiding in Toronto. The west coast seemed benign and healthful.

In the big house, my brother and Rain presided over an impressive spread, a corner bedroom and the room next to it which seemed to be Rain's dressing room; Stewart had the study on the other side. Marion/ Iris lived between there and the kitchen. Rain and Tramp seemed like they were always off riding horses, long wild black hair flying.

We stayed in Gail's bedroom, she was away, and gazing down upon us from the wall was that poster of the three Baez sisters on a sofa "girls say yes to boys who say no." Joan I mostly remember coming and going in her Peugeot. I heard she wiled away time down the hill shopping for beautiful clothes and then gave them away to Gail, who was her secretary. This was 1970 you know, the 60s were fading hard..

Funny the little things that stick in your memory. Cristie was pregnant yes, someone was cutting up a huge red snapper on the porch, and I saw her cross over from her and Robert's house, way pregnant and naked-... and then did an immediate about-face when she saw the fish.

Jeffrey Shurtleff on a monthlong fast which he contemplated ending with popcorn. Stewart angelically surprised me and my boyfriend with Christmas stockings. Weekly potlucks down the hill at the Resistance office in Menlo Park. Craig and Lee Beckum up at the Land with a juicer. Eucalyptus trees, bay laurel, water towers, brown mountains, all new to me.

I remember I spent my first few days that summer lying in a hammock to soothe my New England stomach after bombardment by avocados artichokes and muchas otras frutas . I was crazy about cooking and vegetarian food was a new challenge. I even whipped up a batch of gluten ravioli, quite a culinary triumph even if not the most delectable dish imaginable..

Tonight these are all the memories I can muster up from that formative young year of my life.

I later moved to the Land, in 1976, to help it slowly and gracefully die (the Land, that is, not the LAND). But that's another story and will be told another time.


Mecca Burns

Michael Emrys - The Rattlesnake

One summer morning, probably in 1975, it was pretty warm when I woke up, so I went out on my steps to brush my hair. Just then, a rattlesnake came slithering up out of the woods. I thought, "Uh-uh, this ain't good," and went back in to grab my machete to kill it. When he saw me move, he stopped and coiled up and that gave me an idea. Leaving the machete aside for the moment, I grabbed my camera instead. I came back out and he was still there all coiled up and shaking his rattle. I started snapping away, but I wanted to get a real action shot, so I grabbed one of my crutches and started poking at him to see if I could provoke him to strike. Lest you think I was truly crazy to do that, I knew how far he could strike and was keeping all parts of my body beyond that range.

Well, that sucker just wouldn't strike. In fact, after I started poking at him, he simply uncoiled and started off the way he came. A pacifist rattlesnake! Who ever heard of such a thing? I couldn't in all conscience kill an animal that was so willing to cede the field of battle, so I let him go. As he crawled off, I called after him, "And don't come back!" I guess he never did, because I never saw him again. I never saw any of his friends around my house either. I can imagine him telling all his snake buddies, "Don't go up there. The old coot who lives there is a real son of a bitch."
photo by Michael Emrys

I believe Brett, Silver, Murph and other people helped ease the pain of the poor doe and filled
our empty stomachs with delight by roasting her up in the long hall bbq.
help with this particular nite is needed! but YUMMMMY