Life in Bay Center on Willapa Bay

Living in a maritime fishing village in Southwest Washington state on Willapa Bay

A nation of gardeners

Posted by pallix on December 1, 2008

Fruit and vegetable gardens in the US are rising in popularity as environmental consciousness meets depression economics

Last week, while helping a friend turn over her soil, I came across a giant bean that had grown out of old compost. “Fava beans,” said my friend the gardener. I opened the pod and there they were, nestling in fuzzy little pockets. How come I had never seen a fava bean pod before?

These epiphanies of mine usually follow the same pattern. The way a pinch of herb smells or the precise indentations on the body of a bean reduce me to mute wonder. This is immediately followed by a resolution to plant my own kitchen garden. Technicolour fantasies come after, featuring the same homegrown cherry tomatoes and basil that I have been fantasising about for years now. And then … nothing.

The excuses are legion. It’s winter, too cold for plants to grow. I don’t have enough outdoor space. It’s illegal to use the fire escape for anything other than escaping from fires. And what is this strange new language of annuals, biennials, perennials, hardy through zone six, pinch back and soil pH? Will I really remember to water the plants everyday?

Yet, as we move into the holiday season, and then the new year with its promise of newer improved versions of ourselves and the world, my fava-bean-inspired resolution seems to have something it did not have in previous years: a socio-cultural momentum.

Roger Doiron, the founder of Kitchen Gardeners International, reminds Barack Obama that he is the eater-in-chief. To Michael Pollan, Obama is the farmer-in-chief. Both men have asked for parts of the White House lawn to be replaced by an organic fruit and vegetable garden as a symbolic and practical measure to meet the growing food crisis. (As symbols go, this is guaranteed to be a smarter gesture than outgoing President Bush’s comment about Indians and Chinese eating more and more.)

The case against lawns has been growing increasingly hard to ignore over the last two decades as we learn more about the ways in which human consumption is destroying the earth. In 2008, the artist Fritz Haeg published Edible Estates, a chronicle of the garden as art and activism. Haeg links the seemingly insignificant fruit and vegetable garden with larger issues: where our food comes from, how it is cultivated, creating communities in neighbourhoods, ownership over what we eat and whether it will rain tomorrow.

We may be approaching the tipping point of the kitchen garden movement as environmental consciousness meets depression economics. In the US, vegetables have gone from fourth place to second place in the average garden budget. Greenhouse managers report more first-time gardeners coming to their door. (In the UK, vegetables are being stolen from community gardens on an unprecedented scale.)

 

read more at link here

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40,000 Show Up For Free Food; Weld County Farmer Shares Bounty From Platteville Fields

Posted by pallix on December 1, 2008

DENVER — About 40,000 people showed up to a Weld County farm Saturday in the hopes of getting some free food.

But within an hour the food was gone.

“We had originally planned to take everyone by tractor to the fields but due to the overwhelming response we had to allow people to walk or drive themselves,” said Dave Miller.

Many families had be to turned away and sheriff’s deputies were called in to handle traffic.

The farm had planned to be open all weekend handing out potatoes, onions, beets and carrots, but now organizers said everything has been given away.

 

read more at link here

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Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates

Posted by pallix on November 28, 2008

Playing around with the templates to my blogger blogs and I ran across this gift from this blogger, some fresh new 3 column templates to use.  I liked what I saw and immediately began changing the templates on several of my blogs.   You can play around with your templates too — visit her site .   Oh and a little bonus, she has added many holiday templates

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View Driving Home

Posted by pallix on November 23, 2008

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I was capturing some of the scenery on our drive home. We were driving home as the sun was starting to set.  I was able to get a nice set before we lost the light.   Not bad considering these were taken as a passenger in a moving vehicle.

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Wind Power Plans Coming to Pacific County? Will the communities accept new eco-industry?

Posted by pallix on November 21, 2008

article at Daily Astorian

If a project isn’t sold to the community it will struggle to gain public acceptance

There are suddenly plans for a lot of wind-based power generation blowing into Washington’s Pacific County, possibly a hint at what may occur in many of the coastal counties of Oregon and Washington in the years ahead.

A "joint operating agency" of Washington state electricity providers is planning an 82-megawatt wind turbine farm in the Naselle area, with completion of up to 45 wind turbines eyed in 2011. A smaller, very interesting four-turbine project is getting started in northern Pacific County and southern Grays Harbor County. In total, all this may be enough to power some 40,000 average-sized homes.

The Pacific Northwest and the nation need more of the relatively clean energy that wind farms provide. Pacific County can use the construction and operation jobs that Radar Ridge would generate along with electricity. A similar-sized plant in Calgary cost about $140 million Canadian in 2006, perhaps not far different than what the local project will cost in U.S. dollars a year or two from now. That’s a mighty big and mostly welcome investment.

At the same time, it’s important to note that phalanxes of giant wind turbines have not met with universal acclaim everywhere they’ve been constructed. Residents often complain about the impacts they have on landscape, bird migration, traffic, hunting access and other rural values.

Quoting Canada’s National Post, "Activists now decry windmills with a fervour once reserved for nuclear plants. To some, it seems strange to waste time railing against a power source that does not generate greenhouse gases, is relatively quick to construct and can serve as a powerful symbol of a community’s environmental convictions. They say critics are only displaying a modern strain of ‘Not In My Backyard’ syndrome.

"Opponents, however, say they are driven by concerns about windmills’ effects on everything from bird migration to health to property values to earthworms.

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The Chinook Nation Restoration Act – H.R. 6689

Posted by pallix on November 19, 2008

Chinook Nation Restoration Act – H.R. 6689 – Extends federal recognition to the Chinook Indian Nation. Makes the Chinook Tribe and its members eligible for all services and benefits provided by the government to federally recognized tribes regardless of the existence of a reservation or the location of residence of any member on or near any Indian reservation. Provides that, for purposes of the delivery of federal services to enrolled members, the Tribe’s service area shall consist of specified counties in Washington and Oregon.

Requires the Tribe to: (1) submit to the Secretary of the Interior a membership roll; and (2) conduct, by secret ballot, an election to adopt a constitution and bylaws. Provides that if the Tribe transfers all rights to land to the Secretary, the Secretary shall take such land in trust for the Tribe’s benefit, subject to specified restrictions. Directs the Secretary to: (1) negotiate with the tribal governing body regarding establishing a reservation; (2) develop a plan for doing so.

Requires the Secretary to: (1) notify and consult with all appropriate state officials and owners of land adjacent to those considered for the proposed reservation; and (2) provide complete information on the proposed plan to such officials. Provides for the plan’s submission to Congress upon approval by the tribal governing body.

Requires any real property transferred by the Tribe or any member to the Secretary to be held in the name of the United States for the Tribe’s benefit. Prohibits the exercise of eminent domain for purposes of acquiring lands for the Tribe’s benefit.

Latest Major Action: 7/31/2008: Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

Links: 

 Open Congress

The Library of Congress

Baird confident of support for Chinook recognition  – article at The Daily Astorian

It is time to recognize the Chinook Nation – indianz.com – has several links to history of getting tribe federally recognized.

Recognizing the Chinook Nation  Long Standing Injustice about to be Set Right  is explained at Congressman Brian Baird website.

Official website of the Chinook Nation

Posted in Bay Center, Chinook Nation, Native Americans, U.S. Representative Brian Baird | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Summer Garden into Autumn garden

Posted by pallix on October 11, 2008

Summer ends.  Autum leaves turn.  The garden valiantly lives on…the carrots are growing, the beets, newly planted lettuce varieties.  Parsnips planted (but  I think the visiting dog dug that section up).  I already know that parsnips, carrots and beets will be okay in the ground from my ‘accidental’ discoveries i previous years.  I had given up on the garden and was surprised to find these root vegetables were quite content to be in the ground, and entirely still viable.   Now I will more deliberately, not accidentally, have root crops growing this Fall and Winter.

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Fighting slugs in our container veggie gardens

Posted by pallix on August 15, 2008

Last year I had no produce from my gardening efforts. Why? Because mostly the slugs, native to our Pacific Northwest, ate, usually in one overnight, anything tender that tried to grow. This year I was determined not to grow my vegetable garden for the slugs to eat.

This year, though, the weather decided to not to be spring when it was spring, to be only sort of summer with a periodic warm day, and here it is August and I can pretty much say there wasn’t much of a spring and summer this year where I live. So growing the vegetables was not going to be easy with neither the weather cooperating nor the voracious eaters – those slugs!

Determined to persevere against the odds, I so thoroughly reasearched slugs, that I felt ready to take aim and do serious battle with the critters. And even with the delayed to non-existent spring weather, I was equally determined to grow a veggie garden this year.

For the slugs; used several methods – bait traps, beer traps, copper pennies laid out along the top edge of the container boards, going out at dusk and spearing them. My knight contemplated the problem and came up with a unique solution. He built the container beds and then he nailed the ‘slug gutters’ to the outside of the container boards. I could fill the slug gutters with salt and any slugs daring to cross would not make it to the vegetables. That seemed to work quite well. I still set the beer traps – just in case. Result – we have growing vegetables which haven’t been eaten by the slugs. I think my knight has been very knightly about saving me and my vegetables from the slug eaters!

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Congressman Brian Baird Town Hall Meeting, South Bend, WA, July 1, 2008

Posted by pallix on July 3, 2008

On Monday, June 30, I received an email from Congressman Baird’s office advising he was holding a Town Hall meeting in South Bend, on July 1 (the next day).  He holds Town Hall meetings annually in towns and cities across his district. I wanted to attend, for a couple of reasons. 

Some background:  Last summer, Congressman Brian Baird held a Town Hall Meeting in Raymond, and this was at the time that Congressman Brian Baird who had voted against the invasion into Iraq, decided that he wanted to come out approving President Bush’s ‘Surge’ of U.S. troops in Iraq.  Congressman Baird had made a trip to Iraq last year, to assess the situation of war in Iraq and had conversation with General Petreaus, coming home to believe in the value of proceeding with a Surge in U.S. troops deployed to Iraq.  The deaths of U.S. troops was at an increasing frequency, and violence was rampant in Iraq, IED’s and suicide bombings – killing civilians, Iraqi police and soldiers, and U.S. troops.   Last year, Congressman Baird made national news in his support for President Bush’s call for a ‘Surge’ (of troops) in Iraq. 

My husband and I, being a military family with 2 returning Iraq veterans (both from Washington state),  attended that Town Hall meeting in Raymond, WA last summer primarily to challenge the Congressman on his support of the ‘Surge’ and it was a contentious exchange with the Congressman.  Please refer to the article ‘Baird faces his constituents in Raymond’ in Daily World last September.   

The article features photo of my husband, Arthur Ruger, and the pointed question he put to  Congressman Baird man to man -“was the war worth our son’s blood.”, to which the Congressman responded yes, he believed it was.  That was a slap in the face to us, as we do not believe, have never believed this war was worth any son or daughter’s blood.  It was important to me then, last night, a year later at the Town Hall Meeting in South Bend, for me to connect to the Congressman based on our exchange from last year.  That same year, in December 2007 our son-in-law deployed to Iraq in his second 15 month stop-loss, extended deployment, where he is now.

I wanted very much to attend Congressman Baird’s Town Hall meeting last night, even though I seem to have run out of things to say about the wrongness of the Iraq war. We attended, and after Congressman Baird gave his presentations, he opened it to audience questions. I listened through all of the questions, intending to ask my two questions at the end of the proceedings.

Issues discussed during course of the meeting:

Gas Prices; Astonishingly – well to us anyway – when the question of gas prices came up, as we knew it would, and someone asked about off shore oil drilling and leased land not being used for oil drilling, Brian Baird started to discuss it and then asked the audience for a show of hands as to who was in favor of off-shore oil drilling. And almost all the hands went up. Then Brian Baird asked who was not in favor, with my husband, mine and probably 3-4 other hands going up.

I was stunned. And in somewhat confused language pointed out peak oil and global warming and then gave up, saying never mind. I could not believe what I had just witnesssed. An expectation that enough information is out there now about the growing oil crisis, that I had thought more would be appreciative of our need to change our lifestyle to become less oil dependent and the urgency in finding alternative energy lifestyles.

Acidic Ocean; Congressman Baird acknowledged Al Gore’s documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, and then explained to the audience about acidic ocean, disappearing coral reefs, and how as a coastal community we should be concerned about our oceans. Then he answered other questions, and while I was listening attentively, I had already recognized that once again, our views on oil dependency (my husband and mine) were indeed the minority opinions amongst the community we live in. We’ve encountered this before along the course of our speaking out against the Iraq war as military family with loved ones deployed in Iraq.

Funding Iraq War vs Domestic Needs; Later when a young reporter from the Aberdeen Daily World newspaper tossed out a comment about trading off the $$ being spent in Iraq against using for homeland needs, Congressman Baird explained that we were not using current funds, rather creating a deficit that would be paid in our children and grandchildren’s time. As Congressman Baird explained it that were we to withdraw the troops now (which he then went on to explain was a time consuming process and needed to be done responsibly so as not to leave troops exposed and at-risk), there would still be no funds available to be used for domestic concerns. Rather that it would reduce somewhat the future deficit which would be paid for by our children and grandchildren.

Copper Roof Replacement at Pacific County Courthouse; would cost considerably more than was originally estimated with rising costs of copper.  Inquiry if the Congressman could get the county some $$ help to replace the copper roof.  It being a historic building, must comply with regulations pertinent to historic buildings.  (Read more about it at this Daily World article, ‘Costs of New Roof Skyrockets’)
The discussions flowed covering various issues:
Historic Post Office in Raymond lacking accessibility for disabled; seems because the Raymond Post Office is considered a historic building, and it lacks accessibility for disabled, changes cannot be made to the building to be more facilitative without regard to the regulations governing historic buildings.  At this time, disabled citizens (wheelchair bound, or unable to manage the stairs) are unable to make access to the Post Office.   (Read more about this at Daily World article, ‘Baird Hears of Acces Woes’)

Illegal Immigration:  Someone asked the Congressman about illegal immigrants, and he responded by breaking it out into three categories;  a) illegal immigrants who are hardened criminals should be sent back to countries of origins, but how to do that – ask the country ‘hey will you take back so and so who is a hardened criminal?’;  b) illegal immigrants who are hired by employers knowingly as illegal and paid under the table should not be permitted to remain; and c) illegal immigrants who are hired by employers who have verified social security number and background and taxes are being paid out of wages – those illegal immigrants have likely been here number of years, working all of those years and some provision should be provided that permits them to remain on worker permit.  Congressman cited responsive employers like Coast Seafood who work to comply with current laws and have large number of immigrants employed.

Columbia-Pacific National Heritage Area Study:  Included was a concern expressed by owner of Rose Ranch regarding our area (Willapa region) becoming a National Heritage region. She identified probably 10 coalitions that have concerns should we become designated a National Heritage site. I have tried to blog some about this at Washblog, but am too underinformed to articulate the concerns well.
As the meeting wrapped up, I was at last able to ask my two questions;

1) Senator Cantwell obtaining $2 million towards Doppler Radar for SW Washington due to the December 07 storm (read more here) , and what was his position on that? He said fully in support. Then I pointed out that while the $2 million was great it was going to take a lot more $$ to build the Doppler, and where would that money come from, would he work towards that end. He said something about $2 million being a big drop, and likely the rest of the money might have to come from the State.

2) Last year, in your Town Hall, we talked with you about our son in Iraq because you had just gone national in your approval of the Surge, and I guess I wanted to have you inquire how he is doing. Before I could finish the sentence though, it seemed that Congressman Baird did remember and did ask how our son was doing. Which left me with a weak follow up, that really that was all I wanted was for him to inquire after our son’s well being. Then the Congressman went on to explain why he took the position that he did last year on the Surge and how it seemed to be working, violence was down. I actually did find myself saying that conditions did seem to be more favorable to our son’s (actually it is son-in-law) deployment this time, or at least I’m relieved that if he has to be there, it isn’t the year before, and that I hope he gets through this deployment and safely home.

After the meeting concluded, Congressman Baird, did come over to where I was sitting, and had some private words with me. He wanted me to know that he cares, that what I was doing as a mother was natural and he was glad that I was doing what I was doing; that what my son was doing was patriotic and what I was doing was patriotic; that when he is in DC the  groups that hold vigils in DC showing the 4,000 killed, he looks at each and every face and feels it deeply.

Congressman Brian Baird talking to Lietta, Town Hall Meeting in South Bend, July 1, 2008Congressman Brian Baird talking with Lietta Ruger, Town Hall Meeting, South Bend, July 1, 2008

(photo courtesy of Steven Friederich of the Daily World) 


For the most part the words he chose to use with me were agreeable, but I didn’t like the words about patriotic – and I wasn’t altogether sure he understood that I am among those military families opposed to the war in Iraq and have been speaking out against the war in Iraq.  Personally, I wouldn’t say the ‘Surge’ (of troops) in Iraq is working, that would really be beyond my ability to discern.  But it does seem the violence is down, and whatever strategies are being used, our son-in-law who is deployed in Iraq now in his second ‘stop-loss’, extended 15 month deployment seems to be less at risk than had he been deployed in Iraq a year earlier.

As Congressman Baird was shaking my hand and done with his part of the conversation, and before I could correct any misperceptions, others were coming around, and reaching out to me, whereby I offered my smiles of appreciation. Right about then someone else said to us, wait, wait, I didn’t get the picture, and then snap went the camera. I remember saying is this a photo op and we shouldn’t be smiling then. It was a confusing moment, and then there were 2 reporters wanting me to spell my name, wanting my son (son-in-law, I corrected) name which I never give, and the moment to correct any misperceptions that the Congressman might have about my position had passed.

More details of this Town Hall Meeting reported in the Aberdeen Daily World articles here and here.

Posted in climate warming, coastal storm 2007, December 2007 Storm, Doppler Radar, Pacific County, Pacific County Commissioner, Pacific ocean, South Bend, spartina, storm 2007, Town Hall Meeting, U.S. Representative Brian Baird, willapa, willapa bay | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Growing Sweet Potatoes – underneath those vines, there really are sweet potatoes

Posted by pallix on June 30, 2008

I have a sweet potato vine growing in a container in my kitchen window, and I keep wondering if it would actually grown a sweet potato underneath the soil. Perhaps so. From a poster at one of the listservs I am subscribed to, she cites her experience with sweet potatoe vines…and it sounds like it was an unexpected surprise to her to find actual sweet potatoes growing.

I am put off a bit by learning the sweet potato is a cousin to the morning glory vines, and yes, the leaves of the vine do look much like the morning glory vines in my yard. Since I already ‘fight’ with the spreading morning glory vines that never really are eradicated, but I try to keep them from overtaking our intentional plantings, I’m not sure I would want to generate another aggressive vine spreader with sweet potatoes. So, I will think some about this, how I can grow and keep contained, because I do want sweet potatoes – Yes!

A shout out of thanks to Brenda for sharing her experience (below):

I just took pieces that were sprouting & put them against a chain link fence. The vines grew all over the fencing. Then they branched out all over my garden.. like weeds. When the leaves started to die a little, you could see the potatoes peeking up from the mound at the base of the plant. As I started pulling up the runners, I kept finding more.

They are a member of the morning glory family & the vines act like it… I had one potato that was the size of a coconut!! No special care. Didn’t water them any more than the normal grey water from the laundry & whatever water God gave me. No pesticides. A little mulch from the horse stable but nothing special. I harvested more today. Very hardy. Willing to take over the world if you let it.

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Growing Potatoes in Garbage Can (or other similar container)

Posted by pallix on June 30, 2008

Okay, I wanted to try this last year, and so another growing season, and I am doing it this year (2008).
From a poster on one of my listservs – the simple explanation and then the detailed explanation with link to site.

We have been growing potatoes in containers for years and it is really easy. You need to put drainage holes in the bottom and broken clay pot pieces to help drain water off the roots to prevent root rot. Add some rich soil (we compost all left over veggies from the kitchen) then plant your potato eyes. As the vines grow cover them with more loose compost and they will keep growing. Web site that explains the process in more detail.

Link to detailed instructions;

How to Grow Potatoes in a Container (Ciscoe’s Secrets) ——————————————————————————–

Get a clean garbage can or similar container. Plastic works great because it won’t rust out. Drainage is absolutely necessary. Drill several 1/2 inch holes in the bottom. It also helps to drill some holes in the side about half-inch up from the bottom of the container.

Fill the container with about 6 inches of good potting soil. Mix in about a handful of osmocote 14-14-14 fertilizer. Osmocote is a slow release fertilizer that will stay active for approximately 2 1/2 months. Organic fertilizers formulated for acid loving plants such as rhododendrons also works well. (Note: After 2 1/2 months with osmocote, or about 1 1/2 months with organic, fertilize with a good water soluble fertilizer such as Miracle Grow about every two weeks according to directions on the label). Place whole seed potatoes in the soil. There should be about 5 inches between potatoes. Cover with an additional inch or so of soil. All potatoes should be completely covered with soil. Water the spuds in.

The potatoes will begin to grow. When the vines reach 4 inches, cover all but 1 inch with compost or straw. I like to use compost, because it is easy to reach in to pick potatoes. Every time the vines grow another 4 inches, keep covering all but the top inch. Eventually, the vines will grow out of the top of the container. It is a good idea to stake up the vines so they don’t fall over and brake. Place 4 bamboo or wood stakes (one in each corner) and tie the vines to the stakes with twine. By now the whole container will be filled with compost. Soon the vines will flower. Not long after that, the vines will begin to produce potatoes all along the vines that are covered with compost in the container. Once they have become big enough, you can reach in and pick a few for dinner any time you want. These spuds are called “new potatoes.” They won’t keep long in the fridge, so pick-em and eat em. After the vines die back at the end of summer, the potatoes remaining are storing potatoes. You can harvest and store them as you normally would. These will keep well as long as they are stored in a dark, cool, and relatively dry location.

One last note: take care to provide adequate water. You don’t want to drown the plants but it’s also important the soil at the bottom never dries out. In late summer spuds may need to be watered on a daily basis. Use a watering can to water to avoid wetting the foliage. I found that keeping the containers in an area with morning sun exposure prevents the soil from drying out too rapidly and still allows enough sun for a bumper crop.

This method of growing spuds is really fun. You get lots of them without using much space, and it amazes visitors to your yard. Last year I harvested 35 large Yukon Gold and 55 good sized Peruvian Blue potatoes. Great served with brussels sprouts!

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Epsom Salts – Nutrient for flowers and plants

Posted by pallix on June 30, 2008

entry from the Tacoma News Tribune ‘Get Growing’ blog

Alert! This just in from the Epsom Salt Council. Could it possibly be true?

Just as “Milk does a body good,” Epsom Salt may be one of the most perfect nutrients for flowers and plants. And mid-to-late spring is the ideal time to nourish the soils and roots of your favorite foliage and flowers with this inexpensive and easy-to-use compound. According to the Epsom Salt Council, research indicates Epsom Salt can help seeds germinate; make plants grow bushier; produce more flowers; increase chlorophyll production; improve phosphorus and nitrogen uptake; and deter pests, including slugs and voles.

Anyone used Epsom salt? What did you think? If you haven’t tried it, but want to, the Epsom Salt Council recommends these amounts:

Shrubs (evergreens, azaleas, rhododendron): 1 tablespoon per 9 square feet. Apply over root zone every 2-4 weeks.

Lawns: Apply 3 pounds for every 1,250 square feet with a spreader, or dilute in water and apply with a sprayer.

Trees: Apply 2 tablespoons per 9 square feet. Apply over the root zone 3 times annually.

Garden Startup: Sprinkle 1 cup per 100 square feet. Mix into soil before planting.

Roses & Tomatoes: Use 1 tablespoon per foot of plant height per plant; apply every two weeks.

For more details, click here.

UPDATE: WSU professor Linda Chalker-Scott has written an interesting article that takes a skeptical look at using Epsom salt in the garden. Click here to read.

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Bus Fare for Pacific Transit not planning price hike

Posted by pallix on June 24, 2008

For rural transit agencies, fare hikes aren’t as useful. Pacific Transit in southwest Washington has seen ridership increase, but the system is small and fares are low — from 35 to 50 cents.

 

 

“A certain percentage of the public depends on public transit — seniors, disabled people, people who can’t afford a car,” Director Tim Russ says. The agency has always wanted to “keep fares as reasonable as possible,” he says, “and we intend to keep it that way.”

   excerpt is from Crosscut  Seattle article ‘Get on The Bus, Gus, unless it costs too much’

This is good news to hear, as with the climbing gas prices, more people in more places will look to public transit.  Here in Pacific County, we still have an operating bus sytem.  No trains though, and the train tracks were taken up.  I wonder if the future hold relaying some of those defunct train tracks?   

Since this area used to operate as a bay community, use of boating for transportation, I do also wonder that should gas prices, use of vehicles become too prohibitive, if a return to waterway transportation might come back into vogue here.

 

Posted in Neighboring communities, Pacific County, Transportation | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Senator Cantwell gets $2 Million approved for Doppler Radar in SW Washington

Posted by pallix on June 24, 2008

 A U.S. Senate Appropriations subcommittee has approved a $2 million request from Sen. Maria Cantwell for a Doppler radar and other equipment needed to track weather patterns along Washington state’s coastline. reads the first paragraph in an article at Daily World, an Aberdeen, WA newspaper.    Good news indeed! Especially to those of us in Southwest Washington counties who experienced the December 2007 storm (hurricane strength storm!) that flooded out Lewis County and had four counties in SW Washington declared FEMA disaster areas –  my county, Pacific, and neighboring counties, Lewis, Grays Harbor, Thurston.

A deserved shout out of thanks to Senator Cantwell.

read more below the fold

 

  The storm hit us in December and was unrelenting for almost 3 days.  For many, and for us in Pacific County, we found ourselves cut off and isolated from the rest of the state for several days without power, land line phones, cell phones, gasoline, or access to much in the way of help or services.  Which isn’t to say that the Emergency Management Teams were not responsive; rather that the isolation was an outcome for several days.  You can read more about it at the Washblog story here  and here of course, here at this blog.  In March 2008, Senator Cantwell held a meeting of the minds roundtable in Aberdeen, WA to discuss the whys and wherefores of the storm.  What came out of that meeting was the lack of adequate Doppler Radar coverage to read the weather conditions in Southwest Washington.  

The Olympic Mountain Range and Willapa Hills (where we live) provide an interference that the current Doppler Radar located in Scappoose, Oregon is unable to read.  The only other Doppler Radar to cover reading weather conditions in Washington is located far north at Camano Island. Oh, and KING 5 TV news has it’s own Doppler Radar that it purchased but it cannot read the weather conditions in SW Washington due to the natural terrain interference (Olympics and Willapa Hills).  

  Meanwhile California coastline, which is far less storm-laden than our own Washington coastline, has mulitiple Doppler Radars to read that coastline weather.  The inconsistency becomes more conspicuous as was evident in the powerful presentation given by University of Washington Professor Clifford Mass (see his website here) at the Senator Cantwell roundtable meeting held in March.  

  Arthur and I attended that meeting in March, as bloggers at Washblog, as residents of Pacific County directly affected by the storm, and as general public.  We were and are certainly not experts. I took notes, even had a brief interview shown by KIRO 7 TV, but I didn’t get around to actually writing up the story at Washblog.  I did start to write it up here at WB, and can’t recall for what reason I didn’t conclude posting the actual story as I had the notes. Now I wish I had posted the story of the meeting.  

 So in the absence of having written up the story, here are excerpts from the article ‘Doppler radar station funding clears one hurdle’ at Daily World this weekend;

 

The request was spurred on by the savage December storm and intense lobbying by concerned residents as well as local community leaders. The approval is just the first step in what is usually a long process to get federal funding for practically anything these days, although the senator hopes the funding will make the final cut in a 2009 appropriations bill.The Coastal Radar was one of the top priorities given to Sen. Patty Murray during a community forum immediately after the December storm. A few months later, Cantwell conducted her own forum on the issue at Grays Harbor College and residents again were given a chance to make their case, which was spearheaded by Professor Clifford Mass, of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

 

Cantwell’s Press Office said the funding was approved on Thursday by the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Commerce, Science, Justice and Related Agencies.”Despite having the worst non-tropical storms in the nation, Washington state has the worst weather radar coverage of any U.S. coastline,” Cantwell said in the press release announcing the news.

“Our nation’s weather radar system has a gaping blind spot right over the outer coast of our state, placing our communities at risk and hindering the everyday lives of our citizens,” she added. “Just last fall, Washington state experienced storms with hurricane-force winds and torrential rains that hit right in the heart of this blind spot. The funding passed today by the Senate Appropriations Committee is a major step toward solving this gap and better protecting Washington neighborhoods, businesses, and communities.”

 

Cantwell’s Office didn’t say where the Doppler radar would be located, but the likely spot would be in the Westport-Grayland area, which would be able to catch weather patterns coming not only off the coast but in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the mouth of the Columbia River.The fishing industry, in particular, has been lobbying hard for the doppler system for years now, citing the dangers of fishing off the coast without a clear warning of storms that could be coming on to the horizon.

Cantwell’s Office noted that a single radar on the central Washington coast could view storms over a hundred miles offshore.

As an aside, I know my neighbors up in Mason County and Kitsap County on the Peninsula also  felt the effects of that storm in December.  I think with the sizeable, and unexpected flooding out in Lewis County which cut off I-5, some of our neighbors storm woes did not get much media coverage.  

On an upside to this storm, I read that some of the flooded out farmers in Lewis County are able to make a showing this season at the Olympia Public Market.  Why not pay a visit and make a special effort to purchase produce from the Lewis County vendors?

By Lietta Ruger

Posted in climate warming, coastal storm 2007, Doppler Radar, Neighboring communities, Pacific County, pacific northwest storm 2007, storm 2007 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

After the Storm of the century in Pacific County

Posted by pallix on January 2, 2008

While it appears I last posted an entry Dec 7, 2007, that is not quite accurate, as I began trying to chronicle the media reports as they unfolded, by collecting them and creating a special page for the articles here  – titled Storm of the Century, Pacific Northwest, December 2007.    The second week after the storm, on December 11, Pacific County held a debriefing meeting calling together all of the emergency, disaster responders across the entire county.  It was a public meeting, and I saw an announcement of the meeting in Oregon newspaper, which I then tracked down to find Pacific County Commissioners website, made contact by email indicating if it was public meeting, I wanted to attend and also input.  I was advised it was public meeting, yes, but intended for debriefing and time wouldn’t permit public comments.   I invited my mother to attend with me, and I think the two of us were the only ‘public’ to attend the meeting.

I took notes, and continued adding comments to the original story of my report of our experience that was already at Washblog.  For more detail of how those weeks between the storm and now unfolded, visit and read the comments at Washblog.   My husband, Arthur, during this time was fully engaged as bi-lingual case manager with DSHS and was deployed to Grays Harbor CSO to help with delivery of emergency/disaster related DSHS programs.  Grays Harbor and Lewis Counties were declared FEMA disaster counties, and that specification permitted and authorized the DSHS programs . He was putting in 14 hour days for an entire week, and the applications numbered in the thousands, a thousand and more a day.  The following week Pacific, Mason and Thurston counties were declared FEMA disaster counties.  He was putting in the hours at his own CSO in South Bend in Pacific County.

During this time period, I had taken my vehicle into Steve’s Auto for repairs, and repairs were clearly needed, but he had to order parts which were delayed in arriving due in part to after the storm clean up  delaying normal operations.  We were without vehicle for almost three weeks, until after Christmas, so for my mother and I, it meant staying pretty close to home most of that time and cabin fever set in from time to time.

I had wanted and tried to share  at the Dec 11 county debriefing meeting, something of the Bay Center experience of the storm and Sheriff Didion seemed to want to discourage me from sharing, citing that there would be public community meetings in January 2008. Not much deterred, I wanted to make sure some report from Bay Center became part of the county record, as to date I had heard nothing from or about Bay Center, and wondered why volunteer fire department, or Bay Center Community Association or someone from Bay Center was not representing on this county debriefing meeting.

I actually don’t know if anyone from Bay Center was invited to participate in the debriefing meeting and perhaps declined to come, or if representation of Bay Center community is met via South Bend representation, ie, South Bend Fire Department, South Bend Police.   But if that is the case, it seemed odd to me that the small community of Nemah was represented at this meeting, and reported their experience as much like what we experienced in Bay Center – isolation and no information and a seeming failure of communications across the county.  So I insisted on making a bit of a report as a member of Bay Center Community Association, to report on actions taken by the Bay Center Store.

Earlier in the meeting, there had been a go around of introductions, and I had introduced as resident of Bay Center, public, and contributing editor of Washblog.  Perhaps Sheriff Didion saw me more as contributing editor of Washblog, and less as active resident concerned about the disaster response to and in my community of Bay Center.  After about three attempts to explain I wanted to report on the response in Bay Center, Sheriff Didion permitted me to speak, whereby I gave a very brief report of the actions of the staff of the Bay Center Store in the absence of any other contact or communication in, to or out of Bay Center.  It seemed the representatives in the meeting listened politely, but I felt a bit unrecognized and that perhaps I had not made my intentions clear – wanting something of representation from the community of Bay Center at this meeting.   Later, when the meeting was concluded, Sheriff Didion did seek me out and apologize saying he meant no disrespect.  I said I understood what he was trying to facilitate and the intention of the meeting, and having years of experiences with business meetings, know he was keeping meeting on track and did a good job.

So, I am still puzzled, then, about the coming together of my community in Bay Center to meet to discuss things of this nature.  Actually the Bay Center Community Association did have it’s monthly meeting the week after the county debrief meeting, and I did not attend – other things came up.  I did query in email  to the secretary who took notes of that meeting, inquiring if there had been discussion of the storm, community preparedness, county response.  She said that had not been part of the discussion, and more the meeting settled an administrative issue about a financial matter as to who was to be signed onto the Association’s check book.   I responded  that I was disappointed the storm had not come up for discussion.

On another day,  when my mother and I went out to walk the dogs and check the mail, I was having discussion about the storm, the community response, the county response and talking about the county debriefing meeting I had attended.  Several from the town coming in to check their mail entered into discussion, and we had a bit of an informal town hall type meeting right there in the post office.    Later at the town Christmas pageant, I had another opportunity to talk to some from the community about the storm, the response, including the wife of one of our own who is National Guard and participated as National Guard deployed to help in Pacific County.

About 2 weeks after the storm, I wrote letters to the editor that I sent to Pacific County PressChinook Observer and Willapa Harbor Herald to compliment the staff of the Bay Center Store, the community, the work of all who participated across the county in responded, while also indicating Pacific County could do better.  The letters were long, and I had thought they would not be published, or if published, would be edited for length.  Surprisingly both Pacific County Press and Chinook Observer printed my letter in it’s entirety; Pacific County Press making it an article, Chinook Observer placing it in center of the many other letters to the editor they received commenting on the storm and response of Pacific County.   (text here of my published letter to editor).    Willapa Harbor Herald has yet to publish anything I or Arthur have submitted to their paper as letter to editor.  Perhaps we are not following their particular established protocol, as we have sent ltte by email, and perhaps they don’t take email ltte.  Something for me to check into another time, perhaps I will phone them to learn why they don’t publish the ltte he and I have sent.

Wanting to ensure that when Pacific County was declared a FEMA disaster county, that the community of Bay Center understood they could then be eligible for the DSHS disaster related food program, Arthur drafted a flyer that I could post at the Bay Center Post Office.  I sent a copy of his flyer as well to Stephanie Fritts,  PCEMA (Pacific County Emergency Management) and I’m glad I did as it became one of the notifications that were shared around the county (including in the Willapa Harbor Herald – h0w ironic).

We finished up the holidays with pleasantries the Saturday before Christmas.  Arthur’s daughter payed us an overnight visit and we took her and my mother to Astoria, Oregon for a high tea; a Christmas Tea at the Windsor House of Tea.  It was charming.    There had been no opportunity to do any kind of Christmas shopping at all, and this was our one day to do a bit of gift buying, so we did a hurried shopping, and later that evening exchanged gifts.   On Christmas Eve, we attended Christmas Eve worship services at our church, St John’s Episcopal in South Bend, WA.   It wasn’t until Friday of Christmas week that I got my vehicle back, and by then it was time to take my mother back to her home in Tacoma.

A most different and unusual Christmas holiday, but very much neighbors helping neighbors and my husband had the opportunity to be a bit of Father Christmas in a real kind of way to people who lost so much due to the storm, and at the very least he was able to provide comfort, humor  helping people to chuckle a bit, even in the face of losing so much as he approved application after application.   It wasn’t he alone, and there were DSHS case managers, supervisors, administrators, directors from across the state putting in the long hours over the Christmas holiday season to help people in Grays Harbor, Lewis, Pacific, Mason and Thurston counties during the disaster of the storm of December 1 -2, 2007.

I am trying to find ways to put away the affect the storm has had on me emotionally, as life move on, and we transition from the end of last year into the new year.  It isn’t so easy to let it go, and while I know we were not nearly so adversely affected as many were, somehow,   I have experienced this storm as an intrusion into reality as not only a personal wake up call for how we will need to adjust our lives while we remain living in this community and county, but also it needs to be a wake up call of bigger proportion than just us, just this community, just this county, just this state.    We experienced the best of neighbors helping neighbors and some of the hallmarks of rugged individualism that comprise the people in this region, but we also experienced, or I experienced what I perceive as a glimpse into the future as global warming marches onward.  No matter the cause, no matter the diversity of reactions, it sure seems to me that global warming won’t be waiting for humans to make up their minds if it is a real phenomenon or not, but that nature will respond to whatever is and has been affecting it irrespective of whether humans want to react to it proactively or not.

I remember once when I was a supervisor of a team of case managers, a training exercise I attended, an exercise in which we were all to pretend we were in a submarine which was unable to surface and the oxygen was limited.  Our instructions were that we had xx amount of oxygen, and our job was to survive xx number of minutes on the air we had without verbally speaking to one another.   I was stunned that the participants in this exercise were following the instructions and were not verbalizing, but motioning by charades how to share the oxygen.  I deliberately broke with the rules, and spoke aloud, saying this is ridiculous, we are about to run out of air, and will drown in this submarine, and we need to talk to make a plan quickly, and yet we are ‘following instructions’ to not talk aloud?!  We are about to die and need to work together to avoid that outcome.   Unfortunately for me and the participants I was not convincing, or persuasive,  so the miming and pantomine and charade acting continued, and when time was called for the exercise, sure enough, our group was dead – had died.

The lesson I took from that is that while I may well have been ‘right’ in this instance, but without stronger skills of persuasion, I was unable to convince my group of my viewpoint, mission, and purpose, so I perished with the group.  The actions of the team, in this instance, put me in more peril than trusting my own instincts, yet I needed the team to avoid perishing.  In some ways, it feels like that exercise was a bit of the reality we experienced here in Pacific County this past month – the month of the storm of the century.

Posted in Bay Center, Bay Center Grocery Store, Bay Center proper, Chinook Observer, climate warming, coastal storm 2007, Pacific County, Pacific County Commissioner, Pacific County Commissioners, Pacific County Press, storm 2007, storm of the decade, Willapa Harbor Herald | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Survived hurricane-force winds of 119 mph, infrastructure collapse Pacific County, Washington coast, December 2007 Pacific Northwest storm

Posted by pallix on December 7, 2007

More on page on this website (see tabs above) dedicated to ‘Storm of the Decade, Pacific Northwest, December 2007′

Today is Friday, Dec 7, 2007 and we just got power back yesterday, Thursday, Dec 6, 2007, after being without power, communications, access in or out of the county since the storm hit last Sunday, Dec 2, 2007. It was what it was advertised by the Chinook Observer to be – the storm of the decade and it affected most all of Washington coastline with grave flooding inland and great parts of Oregon coastline. Most hard hit with massive flooding was Lewis County and Grays Harbor County, our neighboring counties. Pacific County was hit hard too, enough to collapse a seemingly fragile infrastructure; no power, no land phones, no cell phones, no 911, no access in or out of the county and even emergency communications out of county to notify status were limited and curtailed. It was an eerie feeling to be so completely cut off.

Later as the week wore on the reality of not being able to access our own bank account or get gas as gas pumps need electricity to work, and word of possible contamination of water in South Bend/Raymond, the fragility of the infrastructure not only in our own county but any county became evident to me. We must learn to rely on individual preparedness, and preparedness and help from among our community to see us through those early days of catastrophic weather events. And given what we experienced with this storm, I’m inclined to believe that with climate warming, we will see other such storms, perhaps not at that magnitude, but enough to cause breaks in the infrastructure here in Pacific County and in neighboring counties.

Sorting out how to tell parts of the story, and rather than one big fat blog entry, I will want to break it down some. For the days without power and communications (phones, cell phones, 911, emergency access), I started a journal. Now that we have power back and I am seeing via internet news all the devastation around us in our own county and neighboring counties, I recognize we are among the very fortunate.

Providing the link to the Washblog interview Noemie did with me when she phoned me yesterday to check up on us where she gives an account of what I shared with her.

Report from Lietta Ruger: Storm Causes Complete Infrastructure Collapse in Pacific Co.

I just spoke with Lietta Ruger, one of Washblog’s editors, and she asked me to post a little summary of our conversation. She plans to post something more in-depth later.

She and Arthur Ruger live in the Willapa Bay community in Bay Center. There is no locally owned broadcast media in the area, and so they rely primarily on King 5 TV for their storm warnings. KIRO and KOMO generally don’t provide coverage on their area. She said that no warnings came through mainstream media on the severe impacts that their community was expected to face from the impending storm last weekend. It was only because they happen to subscribe to what she describes as a tiny newspaper, a weekly called The Chinook Observer, that she learned her community was facing perhaps “the storm of the decade.”

Having received this one warning, she and Arthur brought out their candles and blankets and cooked up the food in their refrigerator and battened down the hatches – just in case. The storm hit on Sunday and the three of them – including Lietta’s mother – stayed indoors for two days as winds up to 119 miles an hour raged outside. There was no electricity, no phone service, no cellphone service. After the storm subsided, the roads were so impassible in every direction, and the power outage and the lack of emergency service so complete — that as far as people in her community knew, they might have separated from the rest of the United States and floated off into the Pacific Ocean.

It wasn’t until yesterday that a local store selling crank radios opened and she and Arthur were able to tune into coverage from Astoria, Oregon to find out the extent of the damage to the rest of Washington state.

Even then, most of the stores remained locked, the social services office, where emergency help is usually offered, remained closed and dark. The gas pumps, which run on electricity, don’t work. People who have medical emergencies are out of luck. And at least one woman did die, when her house caught on fire from the candles she was using to provide light.

There was no safe way to travel by water, either, because the water was moving too fast and there were too many other dangers, low tree branches, objects, etc. Even the county’s weather monitoring equipment failed. We know that winds reached 119 mph in Bay Center and 120 mph in Astoria, she said, because private citizens had equipment that withstood the wind, while the wind broke the county’s equipment.

The problem wasn’t with community members. People helped each other quite a bit. In fact, the owner of the Bay Center grocery store, a woman named Lori, drove from Long Beach through all the hazards to Bay Center and fired up the generator and stove and cooked soups and made sandwiches to serve the people in that community. And her husband and son did that in the other grocery stores owned by the family in other nearby communities. But now that the electricity has come back on, and she’s learned that the rest of the world is still here — though Grays Harbon and Lewis Counties appear to have suffered even more — now she’s feeling pretty upset.

This is a warning, she said, that we need to get our act together on emergency preparedness. We are experiencing the effects of climate change and we can expect more. This kind of storm is not on the usual scale. It’s a clear signal, as well, that we need some major changes in how we do media. Pacific County needs its own broadcast media. We talked for awhile about testimony at the recent FCC hearing in Seattle that local communities are endangered by the centralization of broadcast media. That is absolutely correct, she said. Now that she has a little time to think, it’s hitting her, the extent of this collapse of infrastructure: the lack of emergency preparedness and media coverage and the blackout on all services during the storm or for the 2 days afterwards. “This complete and utter failure, she said, “is unacceptable.

(read more at the Washblog story)

A few photos below taken by my mother of Bay Center in Pacific County, after the 2 days

of hurricane-force winds. Click on photos to see larger view.

Downed tree on Bay Center Road

Downed treee on Bay Center Road, Bay Center, WA in Pacific County, WA

Several downed trees at Bay Center residence

Several downed trees at Bay Center residence, Bay Center, WA in Pacific County,WA

Tree down on power line Bay Center Road

Tree down on power line Bay Center Road,Bay Center, WA in Pacific County,WA

Blow down trees in the county park at tip of Bay Center

Blow down trees in the county park at tip of Bay Center, WA in Pacific County,WA

More on page on this website (see tabs above) dedicated to ‘Storm of the Decade, Pacific Northwest, December 2007’


Posted in Bay Center, Bay Center Grocery Store, climate warming, coastal storm 2007, Neighboring communities, Pacific County, Pacific County Commissioner, pacific northwest storm 2007, Pacific ocean, South Bend, storm 2007, storm of the decade, willapa, willapa bay, Willapa Bay in the news | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The neighbor who knows a thing or two about a thing or two

Posted by pallix on November 21, 2007

My neighbor, a generational oyster farmer, has taken a shine to sharing information with us, believing we are uninformed city dwellers (we were, but we are learning), and what he likes to call ‘Yankees’ when he is in a bad temper. He has Native American blood, Chinook. I don’t know how much and while he presents as if he is fully Chinook, I am given to understand it may be a percentile. So, he has seen me attempting my kitchen garden and has given me his insights as to how he did it when he was a kid growing up.

Seems though, that I would need chickens, a chicken coop built atop the garden to create the scenario he describes with natural fertilizer for the garden, and bonus of eggs. Well it sounds efficient to me, but we don’t live on a farm, it’s a lot within the township. Although this is not as much a town as a fishing community, so not too likely my neighbors would complain too much if I was inclined to take his advice. Nah, I’m not quite ready to go there.

Further, he’d have me kill a bear for the fat to make pies as he shares a story with me of how his mother asked him when he was a kid if he wanted a blackberry pie. Sure, he says, and she says, well go kill me a bear. Seems she used the bear fat for lard. Or so that is how he tells me it was, back in the day, when he was a kid growing up around here. Well, there are no shortage of blackberries, in fact, they threaten to overtake anything in their path, including houses. I have actually seen here a house completely overgrown and ensconced in blackberry brambles . I haven’t seen a bear, but my other neighbors have on one of their walks along the beach.

Recently, my neighbors who have overgrown blackberries in the unused part of their lot, had the thickets cut down. One morning I look out my door to see a sign that says ‘Lietta’s Garden’. We had talked about having me expand my kitchen garden to include growing some vegetables and a couple of fruit trees on this part of their lot. Apparantly, they thought it a good enough idea to have paid to have the thicket cut down. As I explained to her, I think that blackberry brambles come back ferociously and cutting them back isn’t going to be enough; they would have to actually be eradicated.
Lietta’s Patch
Lietta’s Patch

My other neighbor (the oyster farmer) has taken to letting his yard go to wild, so blackberries have overtaken the front and side parts of his yard. I had been telling him about our other neighbors yielding part of their lot to the idea of a community garden and I’d like to extend that to include his yard too. He agreed, said sure, go ahead. I doubt we will actually, as he is known to have a change of heart and having said one thing one time, wouldn’t necessarily have ‘meant’ it.

He has been amused at some of what he calls my city philosophies as I’ve talked to him about community garden, sustainable living, 100 mile diet. But he keeps bringing me bits of information. Research papers on spartina, that plant life growing in Willapa Bay that has generated controversy about effects Willapa Bay and on oyster farms in the area. More recently though, he is intrigued (and terribly amused) at my mention of wanting to help grow a farmer’s market in our area (existing Public Market on the Willapa), as an extension of the idea of the 100 mile diet. He brought me a magazine, ‘Mother Earth News’ because of an article that mentions the 100 mile diet. I actually appreciated and enjoyed the magazine, and subscribed to the online email newsletter.

Oh, and that reminds me to mention how my oyster farmer neighbor does not have a computer, does not want a computer, and calls it ‘the box’. He knows we do have computer, use it daily, write our blogs, including as contributing editors to political blog forum Washblog, and that topics come up in our political blogging that sometimes more directly affect Southwest Washington, Willapa Bay, Pacific County.

A couple weeks ago, he brought us a treat – some fresh oysters and said ‘enjoy lunch’. Oh, how sweet, I said, but you know neither of us eat or like oysters. He looked at me in utter surprise and said exactly what one of my other neighbors said to me when he learned we don’t eat oysters and my husband doesn’t eat much seafood at all — ‘whaddya move here for then’. So that makes twice I’ve heard that now from my immediate neighbors. Guess not too many people don’t like oysters. And being that the town up the road calls itself ‘The Oyster Capital of the World’, one could indeed wonder why we moved to this area at all. We don’t have a boat, we don’t boat, we don’t fish, we don’t hunt, we don’t farm and lately we don’t even get much hiking, walking in.

This week, my oyster farmer neighbor brought me a newspaper – Capital Press, because it had a few articles that referenced the 100 mile diet and sustainable living. Oh, I said, I just learned of Capital Press because of the award The Daily Astorian won for it’s comprehensive reporting on climate warming. Pshah, he says – ”I don’t believe in that climate warming stuff”. Ahh, I said, well you will when you recognize it has potential to affect oysters and Willapa Bay. “How”, he says.

And I launch into my newly developing language about how climate warming will affect the Western Coast and salmon and he cuts me off to remind me he is a studied geologist and launches into some history about the salmon. I listen politely for a while, then explain to him that what he is telling me is very likely true (salmon hatcheries, diseased spawnings, etc) and that he very obviously knows more about that than I could begin to know, BUT, I tell him — with climate warming, what was may not continue to be and that was more the point I was wanting to make while applauding The Daily Astorian for the many articles that explore climate warming in our region.

I was startled though with so many of the other facts he was rattling off including his statement that grain can’t grow here in Western WA – too wet, so where was I going to get grain (wheat, etc) within 100 miles for my 100 mile diet. And he also pointed out that since we are located at water’s edge, rural, and distant from most of the farming communities in SW Washington, perhaps I could expand my search beyond 100 miles. I searched my mind for a moment, recognizing the truth of what he was saying. Now I really have to rethink the whole concept of the 100 mile diet. Ah, those early tribes did eat fish, berries, and now I have to go learn what they did for grains. Ah, and that perhaps is why it is necessary to ‘trade’ and/or ‘barter’ with neighboring communities. Across the mountains in our state, is the drier and warmer climates, where most of the agriculture is grown – wheat, grain, fruit.

He was also quick to rattle off all the various diseases that can affect crops; seems he had done some farming in the area when he was younger man. After listening to him for awhile, I exclaimed in mild distress, that if I listened to him, I would give up already, and not ready to give up. Much I need to learn, I know, and how about being a resource when I have questions. He does know a thing or two about a thing or two, but he also doesn’t know some things about some things and not usually easy conversations. Friendly, but not easy.

This morning I read through the articles in the edition of the The Capital Press he provided and there was a wealth of useful information on agricuture, farming, and so I figured if there was an online email newsletter, I’d sign up and get online updates. Yep, there is, and I subscribed.

Now…about that grain problem with grain not likely to grow in Western WA along the coastline, how am I going to fit that into the 100 mile diet……..

well, article in The Capital Press about Shepherds Grain grown in Spokane – direct seed, organic, sustainable sparks an idea for trade with my daughter who lives in Spokane. She says blackberries don’t grow readily in Spokane and she is having to $6.00 for 1/4 lb while I have them growing around here all over the place at no charge. I took her pounds of blackberries that I’d picked for her this summer. Now I’ll make an offer to trade her blackberries for Shepherd’s Grain. While it isn’t quite within the 100 mile diet distance limits, it’s conceptually keeping within the concept. It’s grain that isn’t grown and shipped from thousands of miles away. Hundreds, yes, because Spokane is a few hundred miles from here – one side of the state to the other in this state is hundreds of miles – but it is from within the state and therefore Local! I solved that problem nicely. Well sorta – still got to work out the shipping exchange with maximum carbon reduced methodology.

Posted in 100 mile diet, agriculture, blackberries, climate warming, farmers market, Native Americans, Neighboring communities, oyster farms, oysters, Pacific County, South Bend, spartina | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Brian Hatfield, wins State Senate election

Posted by pallix on November 21, 2007

SOUTH BEND – Appointed state Sen. Brian Hatfield was elected by voters with a 76 percent victory last Tuesday night, just two days after his wife died of breast cancer.His was one of only two Senate seats on the Washington ballot.

The other seat was easily retained by a Republican appointee, Curtis King of Yakima by a similar high percentage.Hatfield earned 13,455 votes in the four counties to 4,386 by his opponent, Jesse Ashe, a Kelso Republican. In Pacific County, the vote was 5,261 for Hatfield (76 percent) to 1,663.Hatfield was appointed to the position a year ago after the resignation of Mark Doumit. He had to run to complete the final year of a four-year term.

Results announced Tuesday night were augmented with additional mail-in ballots tallied Friday by the Pacific County Elections Department staff.

read more at Chinook Observer

website for WA state Senator, Brian Hatfield (D), 19th Legislative District; Grays Harbor County, Pacific County, Wahkiakum County, Cowlitz County.

Posted in 19th Legislative District, Brian Hatfield, Neighboring communities, Pacific County, politics, state Senator | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Daily Astorian wins 2007 Dolly Connelly Award for series on climate change impact on Pacific NW

Posted by pallix on November 13, 2007

I have also posted this as front page story on Washblog.

The Daily Astorian has won the 2007 Dolly Connelly Award for excellence in environmental journalism for a series of articles on how global warming stands to impact the Pacific Northwest and its living creatures.

Established in 1998, the Connelly Award is given out annually by the association. It was established by Seattle P-I columnist Joel Connelly in memory of his mother, who worked as a freelance journalist and correspondent for Time-Life.

I learned today in Salem, Oregon Statesman Journal publishing a Seattle AP report. Hey, the Daily Astorian is our neck of the woods – out here in Bay Center, in Pacific County. So I followed the link and found a fantastic resource in the collection of articles for this special report featured in the Daily Astorian.

An award wining special report as provided by a collaborating collection of 22 writers, seven photographers, seven editors, six page designers and two logo creators from The Daily Astorian.

There are 71 articles from March 2006 to the most recent one in Sept 2007. I will be reading them over the weeks ahead and I’ve already read through several of the articles. I can see some grave relevance, not only for our immediate region on coastal Southwest WA, but along the WA coastline and those Puget Sound bodies of water.

I’m struck by how the articles reference two of the nearby towns of South Bend and Raymond in the region where we live as the ‘canaries in a coal mine’.

from one of the articles ‘What you would see here would be a hell of a mess’

Not only would the coastline change, but there is no question there would be a corresponding rise in the water table, said Douglas Canning, recently retired from the Washington Department of Ecology’s Shorelands Program and affiliated with the University of Washington’s Climate Impact Group.

A rise in the table water would cause low-lying inland lakes to expand. Areas that are now wetlands could have standing water year-round, or become small lakes. New wetlands could form on previously dry ground. Freshwater marshes could become inundated with saltwater.

Because Raymond and South Bend are feeling the symptoms, Canning suggests county leaders consider them their canaries in a coal mine.

“Those are my poster children,” for demonstrating the dangers of the long-term effects of rising ocean levels, he said. Any unanticipated consequences of climate change and a rise in the ocean level should manifest there first.

I’m also struck by the specific article on Bay Center (where we live) becoming an island. We already are an ‘island’ technically, but the article isn’t talking about the mere channel of water that separates us now from the mainland where a small bridge is our way in and out.

from one of the articles ‘Maps reveal extent of worries for Bay Center, Oysterville’

Washington’s Pacific County covers 928 square miles, but by 2100, based on predictions of ocean level rise caused by global climate change, the county could lose 20 square miles to the ocean.

A Geographic Information System analysis of Pacific County was done using a projected rise in ocean level of 3.4 feet by 2100. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates an approximate rise in ocean level of three feet by 2100, and a Canadian study suggests the Pacific Northwest may experience half as much again again as the global average.

Bay Center, bracketed by Willapa Bay and a river, will become a virtual island at high tide.

Of course, those are immediate concerns to those of us who live in Pacific County, however, I don’t think the effects are limited to Southwest Washington as much as The Daily Astorian chose to do a very comprehensive and scientific analytical report, giving me reason to be very proud of the reporting in our region from what is considered to be a small town newspaper in The Daily Astorian.

Astoria, Oregon, on Highway 101, is a Megler Bridge away from us in Pacific County, so we consider it very much part of our region. The Megler Astoria Bridge spans the mouth of the Columbia River where the river meets the Pacific Ocean.

I wonder if the newspapers to the north of us in the larger cities along western Washington coast have invested this kind of time in reporting? And if not, why not?

By pointing to the concerns we face in our region, I think the smorgasboard of articles points to larger concerns beyond just our immediate region. For example:

Will fishing cool down as the oceans warm up?


Bananas growing in Oregon?


Northwest water supplies rely on storage and conservation


It’s like a freight train coming and no one can stop it
Salmon are hardy – but can they survive warmer water? It may be hard to believe that chinook salmon or steelhead could be bothered or hurt by a few degrees warmer water

Invasive species hurting lifestyles on Long Beach Peninsula

Forests and crops struggle to beat the heat

Cranberry crop on the Peninsula may be vulnerable to climate change


Along with drier landscape comes another problem – more weeds
SPOKANE, Wash. – Bigger weeds. Weeds that go further up mountainsides. Weeds that take advantage, not only of warmer temperatures, but higher carbon dioxide levels that will accompany global climate change.


Sea birds, insects and other critters suffer amid changing climate


Growers around the Northwest point to evidence of more pests


Forests encounter new pest problems in the age of global warming


Effects on bird species bring climate change into focus
Bird count shows some new species are appearing here


Climate change activists converge in Skamakowa
(my note; Skamokawa is a tiny town in Wahkiakum County, the next county over and south from us in Pacific County. A tiny town like that taking a lead in climate change — I’m mightily impressed!)

Climate change team

This installment of the climate change series is produced by the East Oregonian Publishing Group, whose member newspapers include The Daily Astorian in Astoria, Ore., The East Oregonian in Pendleton, Ore., The Capital Press in Salem, Ore., (covering four states); the Blue Mountain Eagle in John Day, Ore., The Wallowa Chieftain in Enterprise, Ore., and the Chinook Observer in Long Beach, Wash.

I seem to have gravitated to a place where I find the focus of my attention on quite hefty and heavy topics, between activism regarding Iraq war (wars in Middle East) and concerns with climate warming. At least I feel like with the climate warming there are some things I can do (we can do, each and every one of us) that might make some difference to the greater sum in effort to work to reduce impacts. And in each little step I find I can take, I feel a small but empowered sense that this is something where we can have a unifying commonality and work together in building communities and work towards life-giving purposes.

Oh, but with Iraq war, I feel like I have failed despite my best efforts after 5 years of focused activism. I feel the failure acutely as my son-in-law leaves at the end of this week for his second deployment to Iraq. I really find myself feeling awkward in knowing what to say to him, and I can’t shake the feeling of having failed him and his wife and children when I am with them. I realize it is in the hands of Congress now, and am coming to the sad realization that there is nothing Congress will do to shift the course of Iraq war for the remainder of this President’s term. I’m not so sure Congress will do much even when (if) a new President takes on the Commander-in-Chief role in Jan 2009.

Posted in agriculture, Bay Center proper, climate warming, estuary, farming, migratory birds, Neighboring communities, oysters, Pacific County, Pacific ocean, shorebirds, South Bend, spartina, tideflats, waterfowl habitat, wetlands, willapa, willapa bay, Willapa Bay in the news | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Doing Something Positive – The Urban Pioneers are doing it, so can we!

Posted by pallix on November 11, 2007

Excellent video encapsulating wide array of concepts in Sustainable Living.  These Urban Pioneers got a jumpstart back when it was called self-sufficiency- meaningful living, abundant living, simplistic living, getting off the grid.  And they go even further back …   see the video below.  Big hat tip to Path To Freedom Journal blog.

from the Path to Freedom Journal blog ‘about us’
On 1/5th of an acre, this family has over 350 varieties of edible and useful plants. The homestead’s productive 1/10 acre organic garden now grows over 6,000 pounds (3 tons) of organic produce annually,providing fresh vegetables and fruit for the family’s vegetarian diet along with a viable income.

In addition they have chickens, ducks, goats, brew their own biodiesel (made from waste (free!) vegetable oil) to fuel their car, compost with worms, solar panels provide their electricity needs, a sun and earthen oven is used to cook food in.

Posted in agriculture, farming | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »