Monday, January 16, 2006


The events of this past day have been too horrible to contemplate.

Two nights ago, we lost ALL of our sheep to a pack of wild dogs or coyotes (we think) based upon the nature of the wounds. Animal control told us they thought it might have been a mountain lion--but at 6:30 am we found a pack of wild dogs still in the sheep yard, so we think the dogs did it. The carnage was horrible.

The thing is, the pen is right next to our house and we heard NOTHING. In the early morning we found two dead (Twinkle and Buttercup) and Dancer is nowhere to be found. The sheep had broken open the fence gate trying to escape--so Dancer probably ran away--but she has not returned and we have searched and searched for her. I do not have much hope that we will find her alive.

I do not know how the predators got into the sheep area but they did. I think they knocked down a segment of fencing (there was evidence of a struggle) or leaped the fence. The sheep would never let us close them in the barn at night--though they slept there when it rained. They would never let me shut the door (they always bolted out). The net is this: these sheep died a terrifying death.

We have only had these magnificant animals since early December. We were looking forward to their lambs in the spring. Renee and I spent yesterday burying Buttercup and Twinkle in the spot they used to enjoy sitting.

I am not sure what the lesson of this is... I wish I could write something profound about life and death and the give and take of living in the country..... but this is just horror.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Natural Building Class

I am still planning a natural building class here at Dancing Treepeople. It will be in mid-july. I will post the exact dates once I have them. We will be implementing a combination of natural methods, strawbale, cob and others. If you, or anyone you know, is interested in learning these techniques and would like to join us, let me know.

Plus, I was excited to discover that Michael Pena from the Robinson Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians is interested in natural building classes too! We may join forces and get something going here together. The tribe is planning a number of structures and they may even go into the business of producing local adobe bricks!

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Hat hovering over the ring....

I can't help but feel that we are on the threshold here in Lake County. A precipice, really. We face huge forces that will change the place forever if not carefully managed by people of integrity who are paying attention and understand what is at stake. Most people I know feel that the beauty and way of life here will be overrun by outside economic interests. (we do not even have sufficient developer fees in this county) A number of folks believe that we need a change of county supervisors in a couple of districts, including mine. Many agree that the fate of the county hangs in the balance.

So, here is what happened: I kept waiting for someone to emerge that I could support. I was ready to launch their campaign even. I waited.... and waited... and waited. I faced a cold realization: no one else is running for whom I would want to vote, let alone campaign. What is that old saying? You are the leader you have been waiting for. Some people were asking me to consider running for county supervisor.

Yikes. If I choose to run, I face a long-time incumbant who is accessible to people, known by everyone, and shows up. I would face criticism that I have lived here for less than two years. An easy choice would be to just keep waiting, at least until the next term, when folks could get to know me better. The problem is this: in four years, it will be too late. Who will work as hard as i will to protect this place? Four more years will see so much destruction.... and so much is at stake.

So here we are: The Choice. To move into public service is a significant step. As successful as I have been, I have never aspired to a public, political life. As I thought about it, I realized that (at minimum) I have the management and analytic skills and abilities to do a very good job for the people of Lake County. I will pay attention, and am astute enough to understand the forces at play... Lake County needs people like me who will serve with integrity and a higher ideal but can excel at the day-to-day management reality.

Bottomline: I decided that I WILL take this step, IF the people will have me... The real challenge will be to get to know folks, to let them get to know me, and to really understand their hopes and desires for our lives here.

It seems to me that true leaders can and must create a positive vision of community life: one where everyone can share in the abundance an area has to offer (not just a select few with the means to exploit it) and all can have a hand in restoring and preserving places of beauty for future generations.

Up until now, I've been dedicated to promoting a vision of an ecologically sustainable future for people in relationship to the natural world. This is self-reliance. I chose to be here in Lake County, precisely because this place has not yet been utterly spoiled. Here, it is still possible to recreate a local economy and a vision in keeping with a rich local history. Here we can still have a relationship with the natural world and potential for a life-giving, connected, self-reliant community.

I wonder: Is it even possible to articulate such a vision in modern politics? Perhaps people already feel it in their soul and just need leaders to really serve: to listen well and work hard to preserve that which we most value.

As a first task, I and a handful of (amazing) supporters initiated a local signature drive--signatures in lieu of filing fees--to gauge voter support. I will be going door-to-door to talk with people.

I've discovered that campaigns are quite expensive. Family, friends and constiuents--all are welcome to donate to this (my first) election campaign: Denise Rushing for Supervisor and I hope that you will support me in this in any way you can. My website is up: