January Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope – ‘Inhabit’

Join us for a close look at permaculture, the transformative approach to agriculture, economics, society, and governance, that inspired the Transition movement and much more.

Inhabit introduces permaculture projects, concepts, and people to help everyone understand what permaculture is all about.

Inhabit film.png

If you’re already familiar with permaculture, you’ll get a glimpse into what’s possible – what kind of projects and solutions are already underway and what actions you might want to take.

If you’re not familiar with permaculture, you’ll learn about this revolutionary way relating to the Earth.

For everyone, it will be a reminder that humans are capable of helping to heal our planet.

Filmmakers Costa Boutsikaris and Emmett Brennan documented more than 20 sites in a range of rural, suburban, and urban environments. They explored responses to local and global challenges, ranging from issues of food, water, and medicine, to governance, economy, and culture.  Come learn what they found out and share your own experience, ideas, and perspective. See the trailer…

Friday January 26, 7:30-9:30pm
Fireside Room, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto,
505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto
All ages welcome! FREE, Donations appreciated.

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Sharing the Holidays

The Share Faire took place this December at Cubberley Community Center once again. We shared holiday decorations, goods, books, garden plants and persimmons, vinyl records, clothes, fabrics, toys, and so much more.

Inside the two rooms, A6 and A7, we had two themes: homemade holidays, and garden/making. Kids of all ages were busy making colorful rolled beeswax candles with Lori, who also showed how to make melted ones (and left some candle wax to take home). We got a chance to make salt dough creations – menorahs and ornaments – with Joyce – and she showed how to color them gently, and displayed an heirloom handmade menorah. Peggy shared her expertise with worms to hold and answered questions on home composting. Peter demonstrated a simple and unique applesauce recipe that was flavorful and delicious. Barbara and Herb led the sessions on storytelling – everyone regaling each other with tales from holidays past.

Click through the slideshow below:

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Transition Café – Giving Thanks

Submitted by William Mutch:
I had a few ideas for this week’s Transition Café, but we missed last week, and I’d really like to have a giving of thanks. This has been a shocking week, on top of a shocking year, to the degree that it is beginning to be difficult to be shocked by what is coming out of Washington, D.C. Last night, after the Permaculture Café, I got to explain across a language barrier why I have a safety pin on my coat. It took a bit, but we got there, and the fear and rage the woman expressed at the week’s issuances from our President caught me off guard. Again, I’m surprised at myself for being surprised at this. She asked if the Safety Pin-Wearers are an organization, I said we are a loose one.

One of the things I am thankful for is that we are not going down without a fight, and possibly not at all. There are so many good people doing what they can to help and support each other through this parade of “it-can’t-happen-here” scenarios, I feel as inspired by them/us as I feel shocked, outraged, and saddened by what we have unleashed upon ourselves.

Also, the Permaculture Café was on fire, last night. The conversation gloriously bounced all over the Permaculture spectrum, and spent no little time on Holistic Management, then on to Darren Doherty and Geoff Lawton. Thanks to everyone who showed up, so glad to have you! You’ll probably hear about this again in the announcement for that Café, shortly.

Lastly (not really), so very thankful for the inclination and ability to continually learn and teach new skills. I’m teaching a tool sharpening and care class this Saturday, and in preparing for that I’m looking at the fabulous web of skills attached to that one, and the ones which led me to it. Wonderful memories of those learning edges.

And…thanks to all of you who follow these e-mails (in the old days we might have called them “columns”), and who write in and/or chat with me about your reactions and ideas for our Café conversations. I realize that our “virtual Transition Café” community has grown, over the years, and seems huge, at this point. This is happening in the Permaculture Café, too, where folks in the “virtual Café” are following along, reading the books along with us, and either writing in or talking to me about them in person.

 

 

 

Fun and Games

A fine time was had by all at the first ever TPA Games Night.  Folks showed up with games, snacks, and a spirit of humor and adventure. Although Pictionary enthusiasts had trouble illustrating ‘ban’ and ‘unconscious,’ no one minded. And the Forbidden Island team did manage to get off the island successfully.

If you missed the evening, not to worry, we’ll do it again in the new year!

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Holiday Share Faire 12/10 – Save the date

Our Holiday Share Faire is around the corner on Sunday, December 10th, at 1-3pm. We’ll occupy two rooms on the A-block again this year at Cubberley Community Center, and fill them with all things holiday.

Some things slated to be offered by skilled TPA volunteers and regulars:

  • Garden Share! While the Palo Alto Garden Share lacks a permanent home, we’ll have a chance to share the bounty of our gardens at the Faire. Bring your produce, plants, seeds, and garden books and tools to share.
  • Telling stories. We’ll share stories about this season – of darkness and light. How does it impact your traditions? We’d also love to share tales of best and worst gifts given and received over the years. Read an article here by Mas Masumoto (of Masumoto Farms) on how and why our stories are so important to share, especially in these times.
  • Peter Ruddock will share a favorite holiday recipe with details on how to make it. Yum.
  • Lori Stoia will teach us how to make candles – and you’ll have a chance to make a simple beeswax candle of your own to take home.
  • Let’s gather together and make homemade decorations, garlands, menorahs, ornaments and more from natural materials, foods, and dyes. Joyce Beattie and Barbara Weinstein will teach us how.
  • Peggy Prendergast offers her skills as a Master Gardener on composting for the winter.

We’ll also share Holiday decor, cards, and our usual goods share.

Looking to demo something else or help out? Contact us. We’re always happy to get more volunteers :  set-up, organization, greeters and more.  If you’d like to participate, please sign up here.

Please put the date on your calendars and join us in this joyous season!

More at transitionpaloalto.org/sharing-expos/

 

Transition Café – Stuff

Friday, 10 November, 6:10-7:45pm, at Red Rock Coffee, in Mountain View.
–Posted by William Mutch
We have Dusky-Footed Woodrats (Packrats) in the garage, many of them, and they are disassembling our Human objects and collections of objects and reassembling them as their own homes. Going into the garage at night is interesting, as they will rattle their tails and/or stamp their feet to convince me to leave and alert others of their kind to my presence. We have already pushed them out of the engines of our cars, the dryer vent, and the drainpipes. Some of us have so much Stuff crammed into the garage, though, that the Woodrats are able to do their thing and be pretty much unassailable, without the Humans pulling lots of Stuff out. Not that the folks whose Stuff it is weren’t comprehensively warned about the situation. Still…

Speaking of Stuff, we’re coming up on the Holidays, and the great giving of Stuff. There was a time in my life when I felt I needed to give Stuff to people on holidays, etc. Even dated a woman, once, who was not interested in something well thought-out and relevant to her life, she just really wanted a Thing to indicate that I had spent money on her on the Day in Question.

How many of us are like that, though? Many business seem to think that rather a lot of us are. Myself, I’ve gone through the phases of giving, and preferring to receive, gifts which are relevant and useful, to preferring money that the person receiving it can use to supply themselves with things I could not imagine them wanting. Not always sure how that is received, though, as some folks see it as a Test of the Relationship to find a Thing which would be the most useful to them.

What do you do with all of your Stuff? How many of us rent storage for our Stuff? Storage for our Storage? How many of us wish we had,after seeing what the Woodrats have done with it? What kind of Stuff do you have? I have weaknesses for things which are practical and educational: books, pottery, tools, cool storage doodads. I really dislike clutter, although you wouldn’t know it, to look at my bedroom, at the moment.

How much Stuff do you need? Is it the same for everyone? Is it appropriate for one person to judge another’s Pile of Stuff? Some folks seem much more at home where there is not just clutter, but actual filth: weeks worth of unwashed dishes, food smears on surfaces, unemptied garbage and compost, and a certain smell about the place…and that is home, for them. Raccoons spring to mind, certain types of Rodents, some Humans. Think Freshman dorms…So easy, though, to look at someone else’s Stuff and see trash, and our own to see treasure. There might even be a saying, about that…

In an atmosphere where we have shows pillorying Hoarders, inspiring ordinary folks to spy on their neighbors to find out if they have *gasp* a Hoarder in their neighborhood, how could anyone possibly know how much is too much, or what is right for them?

Of course, the more Stuff you have, the more you have to defend, and sometimes you have to defend against folks who are born to hoard (see above).

Stuff (and maybe some nonsense)at Red Rock Coffee, this Friday. Dinner often happens, afterwards, maybe it will this week, too.

 

 

 

 

Wasting no time

Barbara O’Reilly sent this message after seeing Wasted! at October Fourth Friday:

Thank you for the Transition PA movie/educational evening. I just wanted you to know that it inspired a couple of actions. 

I stopped to talk with the manager when I went to shop at Trader Joe’s the next day. Indeed, he knew about the importance of not just tossing less than perfect food.  (See photo below.  Perhaps a note to their HQ would encourage all their stores to update their signs or write a story about their efforts for their newsletter.

The other photos below result from my investigation of my own fridge. I rearranged and added a shoebox to house the items I need to use soon.  I removed the items that needed to be used ASAP and listed & weighed those that needed to be tossed.  The photo shows 2 1/2 lbs waste: tomato soup, moldy cheese chunks & spread, 1 cooked beet gone soft, 4 oz. dates – package dated 2002!  An unopened can of anchovies dated 2012 I dug into the garden where veggies will grow next spring. I then started a soup stock which used up the almost expired zucchini, crookneck and kale. 

Waste & Recycling have been a passion (obsession) or mine for many years.  A friend and I spent each Thursday at Los Altos Farmers Market sorting the aftermath of waste from the food vending booths.  Those vendors are required to buy compostable containers/plates but all was then being collected in the black/opaque trash bags that in our town go directly to landfill.

By setting up and “wo-maning” 3 three bin stations (big bins for recycling and compostables, small one for trash) we found significant improvement and with our added step of relocating items using our grab sticks we went from 35 black bags/week to 1/2 garbage bin; 3 compostable and 2 recycling bins filled each week.   

Now that theFarmer’s  Market is closed I am working on a better waste system at our Senior Center and then on to other public buildings and events in Los Altos.

Sarah from Zero Waste had a good display  at Fourth Friday for encouraging people to think before tossing and the audience certainly had plenty of questions for her…a good addition to the evening.

oreilly from wasted 1

Third Friday Games Night

Time to take a break from work, other responsibilities, and the seemingly endless barrage of news about natural disasters and human-caused craziness.

Join us for the first ever Third Friday Games Night

Let’s celebrate what brings us all together, and have some fun!

Bring your favorite board game, card game, or other fun activity – or just show up and play along with what others have brought.

All ages are welcome. Please feel free to bring a light snack to share if you’d like.

Friday November 17, 2017   7:30-9:30pm
Fireside Room, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto,
505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto
All ages welcome! FREE

games night

 

Sunset Sit

On a cool October evening, my children and I joined some Transition regulars at the Baylands for a Sunset sit on a Tuesday. It was evening, and any soot from the incessant fires up north had settled. The gate was closing at 7, so we parked our cars outside and walked up the path, where there were benches and sandbags in front of the reeds and saltgrass. We met up with Barbara and William, and looked around for a good place to sit.

We decided to sit for 20 minutes, so I got out for the kids their dinner and some snacks. They decided to sit on a bench together while I sat within line of sight on a nearby ledge. My daughter picked at the curried quinoa and ate carrot sticks, watching movement and listening and walking back and forth along another ledge. My son ate directly from the can of puffed rice, watching the lights in the distance across the water, having told me he was doing some mindful eating. My little girl asked a few questions first, then settled down.
I sat, feet gently resting on woven reeds in the marshy area below, listening to at least 20 different bird sounds, private planes from the Palo Alto airport passing low and close overhead, trucks beeping farther away, animals and wind. For 15 minutes, the kids were silent, eating.
Then my daughter walked over, sat quietly beside me, and held my hand. Silently, she leaned against me for the last five minutes, her feet dangling over the ledge.
We got up, packed up our containers and bags, likely leaving the few dropped bits of food for local wildlife, and met up with Barbara and William. We chatted, saw more planes as they disappeared into the orange-red sunset, looked at the signs that described what was happening here, where the ocean turns into bay, where saltwater meets fresh, what animals and plants make their home. My daughter drew with sticks in the sand. Then, too cold, we said our goodbyes and drove home, the sky an inky blue.