“The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, “What good is it?” If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.”  ―  Aldo Leopold

Finally  Spring has settled into a familiar pace which temperatures near normal and rain nurturing the parched land.  The last two days brought steady rain which the soil swallowed up without a puddle in sight.  Even the earthworms did not have a reason to rise to the top as they usually do after a two-day soaking of the ground.

One of my hero, Aldo Leopold, would be proud of the people of Wisconsin who recently defeated Governor Walker’s mining repair bill.  Just like the “budget repair bill” that he rammed through our legislator in spite of the people’s’ outrage, the mining bill would have done irreparable harm to the very fabric of nature in our state.  Imagine a strip mine four miles wide, one mile deep, and 25 miles long with permanent rights granted to divert rivers and groundwater for its operation and the dumping of slag into nearby wetlands; and all of this to show “job creators” that “Wisconsin is open for business.”

Only a blind and greedy fool could believe that such a thing would benefit or state.  The only benefit a rational observer could possibly detect would be the profits filling the pockets of politicians and corporations alike.  But we, the people of Wisconsin, defeated such an outrage and god willing we will defeat Scott Walker with the recall election in early June.

In celebration of this year’s Earth Day NASA’s on April 22, Webby Award-winning Global Climate Change website, http://climate.nasa.gov , has unveiled a new version of its popular image gallery, “State of Flux.” earth-day:

NASA image gallery highlights Earth’s changing face.

I wonder what Aldo Leopold would think if he could see those images, and I am certain that he would confirm what he said so long ago:

“We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” 

Aldo would be proud to know that here in Wisconsin we still cherish nature and we remember that without the earth we are nothing.  And yes,  the good fight continues in the State he loved and once called home.


It is March and already it is crystal clear that something is very much out-of-order.  Last week brought hundreds of tornadoes racing through the heart of the United States, leaving devastation in their wake and entire towns whipped from the face of the mid-west.  All the while I see Sandhill cranes winging their way up the Mississippi and Blue birds already in the orchard – all of them early in their migration north – early by almost a month.

But why should that matter to us? Why worry about such things, when there are daily matters to be concerned about?  Paul Gilding tells us why we should pay attention to the changes at hand.

And James Hansen explains how our elected officials have kept a lid on climate truth.  Jim has tried to get our ear about the truth of climate change for over 30 years, however, without much success.  But now, that his predictions are knocking down our doors we may finally stop and listen.

So, the next time you hear a politician talk about the need to open up oil reserves, about strip mining, and about the need for a Tar Sands pipeline, think about how this puts all of us into harm’s way.

Don’t be mislead by slick commercials about the “save” extraction of oil and  gas and learn about the true cost of fossil fuels made from fraking, from tar sands and shale.

Garth Lenz: The true cost of oil | Video

Think about yourself, your kids and grand kids.  And better yet, think about calling your elected officials and demand that they do what is right for us and our planet.  Solutions are already here, what is missing is not the technical know how, but rather the political will to put them into action.

Hold your elected officials accountable and force them to change course now, while we still have a change to make a difference.

It’s February and winter is still on the lam.  Well yes, January brought some snow, but it’s hard to believe this is Wisconsin in winter.   Here at Sontheim temperatures hover in the balmy mid 40’s and occasionally tumble below 20 degrees.  The migratory birds are confused and the Canadian Geese can’t make up their minds if they should be coming or going.  On any given day you can watch great flocks fly South, only to see them return on the next day to head North again.  It is astonishing to watch such confusion and it makes me uneasy when I think of our Hummingbirds.

Other than experiencing the strange effects of climate change all else seems fine at Sontheim.  Our Sophia had a rough encounter with epilepsy last year while Sam and Lilly experienced good health and unfettered romps in the woods.  All we know is that the seizures started after Sophia had received her lyme disease booster and Dr. Sander, our trusted family vet, and I suspect that the vaccination may have been the trigger.

Sammy loves eye contact.

All together Sophia had four seizures, the first of which took place in the early morning hours on 8-24-11.  We tried medication which unfortunately she was not able to tolerate.  So I decided to treat her with food.   Sophia’s fourth and hopefully final seizure was on 11-01-11 and thankfully there has been no recurrence since.

Recently our Sam also gave us a scare when I heard him give a sharp yelp while he was out of sight.  All I know is that something must have happened to his rear end, because for several days thereafter he was not able to take the stairs.  In consultation with our vet I gave Sam some Rimadyl to ease his discomfort, and sure enough, it did not take him long to be his usual rambunctious self again.

While all things seem right on our beautiful patch of land high on the bluffs, nothing seems right in Wisconsin.  For a year now, our beautiful state has being torn apart by the divisive politics of Governor Walker and his cohorts in the State Legislature.

The Assembly just passed a mining bill which  will roll back long-established environmental safeguards.  All 183 pages of the bill were written behind closed doors by the republican majority and their mining company lobbyist.  As with the bill that stripped collective bargaining from workers’ rights last year, this bill is being rammed through the legislature without public input.  As it stands, bill AB 426 will give mining companies the right to rape our land by looking the other way when they divert water from our rivers, when they deplete our groundwater through high capacity wells, when they pollute the air and dump mining slag into our pristine wetlands.  And all of this for the mere promise of a few hundred jobs.  Or should we also mention the millions of mining dollars that are flowing into the coffers of the six republican incumbents who are being recalled by the people of Wisconsin!!!

All across our nation, the fight is on to preserve citizens’ rights and quality of life.  2012 has barely begun, but it is already clear that it needs a lot more than a just little bit of love.   Oh Charlie Brown, how I envy you Your Christmas Tree.

Jon Stewart Takes On Mitt Romney’s Tax Return: How Do You Justify Making The U.S. Median Annual Income In A Day? (VIDEO).

Really Mitt?

$57,000 a day?

And your tax rate is half of what we pay?

Mitt for President, REALLY?

During 2011 I often found myself calling the Whitehouse comment line to urge our President not to give in to right-wing demands, but all to often I was sorely disappointed.  I call instead of sending written messages because my voice most clearly tells the message taker how serious the matter is for me.

So mark my surprise and delight when the new year began with President Obama’s decision to install his nominee to head the new consumer protection agency with a recess appointment, and in doing so thwarting the right-wing attempt to kill the new agency before it even got off the ground.   This bold action was followed by his rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada which would carry the most environmentally harmful crude ever to be extracted, through the center of our land to be refined in Texas.  I am aware that President Obama’s rejection is not the final resolution of the matter and that this pipeline will raise its ugly head again in years to come.

And now there is the matter of SOPA and PIPA and once again the need to fight against big money interests.  This time it is not the environment that is at stake, but the freedom of the internet which has evolved into the people’s’ tool to fight injustice worldwide.  Let me share a video which clearly outlines what is at stake now and in the future.  As with the Keystone XL the fight will not cease as long as big money interests seek to enrich themselves to the detriment of everyone else.

And let me not forget to mention our Supreme Court’s infamous Citizens United ruling which gave corporations approval to spend millions of dollars to buy elections.  Here to the people are fighting back in an attempt to overturn that ruling by lobbying for a constitutional amendment which would accomplish that.

So there you have it!!!  The new year is shaping up to be filled with battles all around.

For me it is lucky that multiple sclerosis has eased its grip.  As I continue to recover ever so slowly from this devastating illness, there will be no lack of important things to do.  And just like having done my share in collecting a million signatures for the recall of Governor Walker in Wisconsin, I can say that together WE CAN succeed in the effort to make 2012 a better year.

The interesting thing about blogging is that individual posts sorted by their categories can create a timeline of events that chronicle a life.  In my case I am referring to my previous posts about Multiple Sclerosis.  I don’t write about my life with MS often, but as I review my previous posts on that subject I realise that an update of my condition is in order.

Only four months ago I lived in a world of ever diminishing possibilities.  MS was getting the upper hand and I was rapidly descending into the netherworld of physical paralysis.  But in spite of it I was unwilling to give up the search for a way to stop progression.  I remember feeling somewhat belittled after reading my neurologists evaluation in June where he expressed surprise about my continued optimism to find healing.

Uncle Albert, putting it all into perspective!

He wrote:  “In spite of her marked decline from secondary progressive MS patient continues to explore alternative methods; she is still hopeful that her condition can improve.”

That was in June when my husband had to accompany me to my appointment because alone I would not have been able to navigate the ample corridors of the renowned medical center where I get my annual neurological checkup.

After that appointment, many things fell into place and my decade long search solidified into a true path toward healing.  And this is what happened:

I had been reading about the impact food has on people with multiple sclerosis.  Over the years I had encountered many personal accounts of how individuals found healing by changing their diets.  But it was not until I found Dr. Ashton Embry’s research, on his website www.direct-ms.org, that I saw a clear way to develop my own path that will lead me to regain my health.  Especially helpful was this article   http://www.direct-ms.org/sites/default/files/Embry-Darwinian.pdf.

Success finally came when I decided to have a comprehensive allergy test which included 250 foods, 10 food additives, 10 antibiotics, 10 anti-inflammatory agents, 10 environmental chemicals, 20 molds, 50 functional foods and medicinal herbs.  The laboratory which conducted the tests provided a complete report of my food and chemical sensitivities/intolerances in addition to recommendations on how to eliminate all problematic agents from my diet.

I implemented the recommendations immediately and was astonished by the instant turnaround in my condition:

Within three weeks of eliminating all allergens from my diet my bladder function returned to normal.  At week four the fine motor functions in my left  hand returned and I was able to voluntarily straighten my fingers. At week five I had a complete resolution of all bowel problems and my overall condition improved to the point where I was now able to be active a good portion of the day.   Today, only four months into the my personalized version of the MS recovery diet, all MS progression has stopped and I am able to take short walks outdoors.  I now know that I have found the way of healing; and for the first time in my twenty year journey with MS I look forward to what is to come.

Nothing can express the change in my relationship with Multiple Sclerosis better than the following metaphors.  I equate the first two decades of living with this illness as having a prowling tiger in my house.  I had to step lightly in order to avoid waking the beast; yet in spite of all my efforts, the beast could and would strike any time.

Now that MS is quiet and lies dormant, the tiger has vanished and in it’s stead the illness sits idle like the unused car in my garage.  I know now which foods turn the key and activate this dreaded disease.

Allow me to leave you with a blueprint for healing by giving you access to these life altering resources:

1.  For a full explanation of how and why the diet works please read Ann D. Sawyer and Judith E. Bachrach’s book:   The MS Recovery Diet, published by the Penguin Group, 2007.

2.  For complete nutritional information for people with Multiple Sclerosis see Dr. Embry’s website  http://www.direct-ms.org/recommendations.html and for recipes visit  http://www.direct-ms.org/sites/default/files/Direct-MS_Cookbook_0.pdf.

3.  Even though there are many ways to get tested for food allergies, I chose to get the complete test from www.Alcat.com.  It was expensive, but worth every dollar spent.

May this information become the bedrock on which you build your own path to healing.  Blessings to you all.

in order to bring the wealth of communal knowledge to people in need.

Meet Bunker Roy whose lifelong committment to human dignity and self-sufficiency has proven that a single individual can make all the difference. 

Honoring Wangari Maathai

On September 25th the world lost a true hero in the untimely death of Wangari Maathai.  Her story is one of unmatched courage in the face of oppression and of boundless optimism for the future.  A story where one single women stood up to political and social oppression and to environmental exploitation.  She fought for the reforestation of her homeland which she knew was closely linked with bringing economic justice to the women of her homeland.

Honoring Wangari Maathai.

Upon hearing of Wangari Maathai’s passing I felt a deep sense of loss, as if she had been personally dear to me.  But in truth I know that the loss I feel is not personal but rather that it stems from the realization that an incredible force for the common good has left us forever.

I will mourn her deeply.

Summer has gone and the Autumn is filled with harvesting the abundant fruit our young orchard has provided this year.  The peach trees suffered broken branches from the weight of the fruit and will need to be trimmed after the first frost.  The asian pear trees also were heavy with fruit but luckily the branches did not succumb to their heavy loads.

I have a neighbour who helped harvest the fruit in exchange of plenty of it for her own canning.  The surplus we distributed among friends, to everyone’s delight.

Sammy is enjoying the Asian pear harvest

The dogs happily participated in gathering the fallen fruit and all of them were eating their fill.  I was astounded to see how many pears each of them ate without any ill effect.  Even our Berner girl Sophia, who is famous for her touchy digestion, did not experience a stomach upset.

Sophia contemplating another pear while Lilly looks on

Now, all that is left to harvest are the Bartlet pears and the apple trees.  It will be a pleasure to accomplish that task in the coming week with mild weather and temperatures near 70 degrees.

Our own Hummingbirds left a few weeks ago, but there is still activity at the feeders as migrating Hummers stop to replenish their flight weight.  Only yesterday three more arrived from far North, settling in for a few days to enjoy the abundance offered by blooming prairie flowers and our freshly cooked sugar-water.

It is always bitter-sweet to watch these tiny travellers arrive in dire need of an abundant foodsource and see them settle in for a week or more until their flight weight is restored and they are able to continue the dangerous journey to South America where the lucky ones will spend the winter.

All to soon, the last of them will be gone, the feeders will be put away and winter will come.

Hummingbirds all a-flutter during courtship: How fluttering feathers can generate courtship sounds.

Hummingbirds catch flying bugs with the help of fast-closing beaks.

All is well at Sontheim.  The gardens have turned into a jungle, the fruit trees are heavy and the air is alive with the sound of summer.

Hummingbirds are playing at the feeders and sugar-water production is in high gear.  Some of our beloved Hummers are getting fat and soon they will be ready for their epic migration South.

The dogs are having fun in the fields nearby and it is awesome to watch their curiosity when they encounter the myriad of wildlife coming from the woods.

The only thing that is short in supply among all this abundance is TIME.  The time to sit and tend to my blog seems to have disappeared.  So, instead of sharing my own ‘pearls of wisdom’ I give you more food for thought.

Meet Eve Ensler in her newest presentation on TED: