News Flash!! Mr. Dumpty Loses Face!

One of Caper Acres most famous icons has lost his face. Right now, Humpty Dumpty is a mere shell of himself. Like a big, cold cement-gray egg, legs dangling, he sits a-top his famous wall, waiting. But don’t worry kids, Mr. Dumpty’s predicament is only temporary. An inmate from the Butte County Sheriff’s Alternative Sentencing program will give Dumpty a whole new persona on Monday.

A few inmates from the Butte County jail have been allowed to help the Bidwell Park maintenance crew clean the restrooms at Caper Acres on Mondays when the whimsical playground is closed. One of the inmates majored in graphic art design at Arizona State University so she volunteered to put Dumpty back together again.

Stay tuned for an up-date on Humpty’s Dumpty’s new face. Until then, here’s how he looked before he lost his looks and what his status is now.

 

Humpty Dumpty before

Humpty Dumpty before

 

Humpty Dumpty, now

Humpty Dumpty, now

 

 

Good News! “Wisdom and Peace Prevail!”

I heard on the news this morning that Obama stopped all drone attacks. And that George W. Bush sorrowfully apologized for all the people that were killed in his war on Iraq. And Obama promised to halt U.S. involvement in all present wars. That all the leaders of developed nations, including the U.S.,  promised to stop using their $$ for wars and weapons but instead to use the $$ to provide food, shelter, healthcare, education and jobs for all their people and that no one would ever be poor or hungry again.

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50th anniversary of Chico Peace Vigil, 3rd and Main Sts.

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50th Anniversary of Chico Peace Vigil

And Corporate CEO’s woke up to the fact that our Earth is dying and asked all the peoples of this beautiful Planet to forgive them (which we did) and vowed to immediately stop spewing more CO2 into the Earth’s atmosphere and to stop all their other greedy and polluting behaviors and donated all their money to developing alternative and sustainable energy sources.

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Grand Canyon, North Rim

Mt. Whitney, Sierra Nevada mountains

Mt. Whitney, Sierra Nevada mountains

And, finally, that all the Earth’s people began to live together in peace and harmony, respecting each others ways and beliefs without trying to foist their ways and beliefs on to anyone else.  Wow!  Isn’t that great news?!

Alas, sorry to say:   APRIL FOOLS!

 

The High Cost of Convenience

Yesterday, on the corner of Salem and 8th Sts., I witnessed the removal of an ancient Valley Oak that had occupied and shaded that corner for at least 200 years.  Just hours before, it stood straight and tall, its branches reaching into the sky.  But soon, one by one, its lateral branches and then its trunk were chain-sawed off until all that was left of it was nothing but a pathetic decapitated stump of its former self.

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Before

Before

After

After

The tree had been condemned at a public meeting.  It was said that it had to come down because it was a danger to people and because it stood in the way of two proposed duplexes.  The developers apparently assumed that the oak was incompatible with their construction design – either you get a tree or you get the duplexes, with no alternatives in between.  As for the tree’s danger, I’m not a tree expert, but it looked perfectly healthy to me. The cut pieces of its trunk that I saw showed no evidence of disease.  I still think that, somehow, the tree could have been included in the architectural plans for the duplexes.  But it was more convenient for the developers to get rid of the tree than take the time to accommodate it in their plans. What a shame, what a loss.

The tree doesn't appear to have been diseased.

The tree doesn’t appear to have been diseased.

Pieces of the oak's limbs don't appear to be diseased.

Pieces of the oak’s limbs don’t appear to be diseased.

Forty new trees are to be planted around town to make up for this loss.  I just hope the young, little trees survive the current drought.

Pieces of the oak's trunk.

Pieces of the oak’s trunk.

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The oak is hauled away.

The oak is hauled away.

Sad Effects of Worst Drought

[This is a message I sent to our Mayor of Chico and the other City Councilors.  It was my submission as part of the City's Goal Setting meeting on Monday, January 6, 2014.]

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Dear Mayor and City Councilors,

I’m writing to you because I’m greatly concerned about the severe drought that’s occurring.  Do we have a drought plan?  Shouldn’t we start conserving the water we have?  Other towns in the state have already made it mandatory that their citizens conserve water, for example, by only watering lawns on certain days.

I didn’t fully comprehend how bad the drought is until last Sunday when I visited Paradise Lake.  I know Paradise Lake isn’t a direct Chico water source but its current condition is symptomatic of the present volume of available water storage throughout Northern California. Seeing it this year in comparison to prior years measured the severity of the drought for me. If Paradise Lake is this low now what will it be like in August or September?  If our state is experiencing fires this December (as in the Big Sur fire) and this January (as in the Campbell fire) what will the fire danger be like in August or September?

On February 13, 2011 Lin and I went up to Lake Paradise for our usual hike along the lake’s perimeter. When I took this photo (the first one below), the setting sun lit up the trees and shrubs along the water’s edge.  I titled this photo “Lakeside.”

The second photo is what I saw this year, on January 5th, 2014. The lake level is so far down it’s hardly recognizable as the same site. The subsequent photos show how much the lake has shrunk at other sites.

The last two photos are of our yard.  Last fall we decided to get rid of our lawn and just plant plants.

"Lakeside"  2/13/14

“Lakeside” 2/13/14

"Lakeside" comparison, same spot, 1/5/14

“Lakeside” comparison, same spot, 1/5/14

Paradise Lake #1

Paradise Lake #1

Paradise Lake #2

Paradise Lake #2

Paradise Lake #3

Paradise Lake #3

With grass

Our yard with grass

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Our yard without grass, west section

Without grass, east section

Our yard without grass, east section

Winter Solstice Greeting

Perhaps it was just a light induced aberration, caught by the camera’s lens, but there it was:  the cold, winter light of the moon reflecting back on itself.

In the darkest of times, we each give off a light that mirrors itself in the faces of others.

Happy Solstice to all.

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Two Moons

Two Moons