Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Message from Rio

Brazil is the largest county in South America.  All but two other South American countries share its border. Poverty, pollution and political unrest abound in Brazil.  In spite of the naysayers wanting to change the location of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, the man and woman in charge of the Opening Ceremony put together on a “shoe string” budget a awesome and beautiful story of Brazil and her peoples as well as delivered a powerful message to the world: climate change is here. AND they provided a gripping demonstration for all who watched: an opportunity for each participating athlete to plant a tree to assist in the mediation of the toxic gases produced by humans worldwide mining coal and drilling oil,  and the global practice of burning these fossil fuels. These human practices are polluting Mother Earth’s atmosphere and threatening life as we know by accelerating the rate of the global climate change.

Global overpopulation of humans was alluded to as well as the diminishing diversity of plant and animal life. The celebration of the human diversity in Brazil was so clearly evident in the colorful attire and with the indigenous singing and dancing meshed with the European transplant influence. 

The overall theme was one of “celebrating what’s right with the world” and brought attention to possible solutions for righting what’s not right.

 One just never knows what might show up when space is created:
 last Spring I gave away all of my succulents and now I am
celebrating what's right in the world
with this picture of what filled the space:
a stunning Angel Wing Begonia in full bloom.
As the Olympians plant tree seeds to boost Brazil’s reforestation of Rio, those of us living in California are experiencing raging wildfires fueled by dead or dying trees. An aerial survey was done recently by four researchers examining the aftermath of California’s historic drought. They estimated that 66 million trees over five years have died and predict that tens of millions of trees will die even if heavier rains come this rainy season. As the most majestic plant, the tree, dies, fuel amasses for the wildfires now burning thousands and thousands of acres right here in Northern California. Climate change in California seems to bringing less rainfall with a roller coaster of unseasonably cool temperatures mixed with unseasonably warm temperatures, and poor air quality. So it cannot come as a surprise to anyone that millions of trees are dying and wildfires are raging.

On the left side of this picture is a Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
native to the Eastern U.S. and  naturalized in California.
This tree provides afternoon shade for especially our Great Room.
Along the right meeting the sky are Italian Alders (Alnus cordata)
which provide a windbreak for the duck yard. MuRefuge's tree
population is a reflection of my learning curve, moving from
Permaculture to native plantings.
Native Alders would be my choice now. 
Here at MuRefuge the towering, but yet to reach adulthood, Douglas Fir died this past rainy season. With heavy hearts Dwight and I cut off the branches which will be chipped.A goodly amount of the truck was left standing for woodpeckers’ use. Other trees, especially the fruit producing ones, are clearly stressed and have been provided Summer water heretofore not a practice at MuRefuge. The Persian mulberry tree was also dying so it too now has its branches in the brush pile to be chipped and the trunk available for woodpeckers’ use.

Looking South and slightly East from the gravel road in front of our house,
on the immediate left is the brush pile to be chipped and directly behind
is a Oregon White Oak (Quercus lobata) tree planted by a Blue Jay.
Behind or directly South of the house are two more Oregon White Oak (Quercus garryana) trees
 located on the other side of the fence which denotes our South property line.
May we all ask ourselves before engaging in any human action, “Is this beneficial to Mother Earth?" AND, of course


  1. the Olympic forest idea was very moving.

  2. From my friend in Palm Springs: " enjoyed your blog again. Have been enjoying the olympics. Their opening ceremony was very appropriate.
    Do hope we get rain and the trees quit dying .
    Thx for your efforts again. Love...A"

  3. An email received: "Loved your Blog Cathie... A Wonderful reminder too of the Wisdom and Hope in:
    * Stopping to ask the important question … what’s best with Mother Earth?
    * Cerebrating what’s right with the world …
    * and.. Laughing!
    With Love and Appreciation, -Ann"