In Praise of Honey Bees by Shepherd Bliss

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Image by Joy 蝴蝶 via Flickr

by Shepherd Bliss
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Sebastopol, California
August 2, 2019

I attended a honeybee gathering recently at a wild place in rural Sebastopol. During my nearly 30 years of organic farming here, I have usually had honeybee hives on my farm. The berries need their pollination.

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Love at First Sight—Old Man Adopts Dog by Shepherd Bliss

Shepherd Bliss and Daisie

Shepherd Bliss and Daisie
Copyright by Taylor Lampson, used with permission

by Shepherd Bliss
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Sebastopol, California
August 25, 2018

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” — French Nobel Prize winner Anatole France

Searching for a dog, I recently visited three animal shelters. At the final one, I saw a dog that I instantly connected to.

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Robert Bly: Film Tribute to a Radical by Shepherd Bliss

Poetry Out Loud MN finals 27

Image by Nic McPhee via Flickr

by Shepherd Bliss
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Sebastopol, California
December 26, 2015

Poet Robert Bly, now 89 years old, is a radical, by which I mean he returns to the roots. Haydn Reiss has captured him in his new, moving film “Robert Bly: A Thousand Years of Joy.”

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The Spiritual Crisis In the Industrial Wine Industry by Shepherd Bliss

Red Raspberries Ripening

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

by Shepherd Bliss
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Sebastopol, California
August 31, 2015

I have been contemplating why the growing struggle by rural residents against the expanding, industrial wine industry in Sonoma and Napa counties, Northern California, has touched my heart and soul so deeply.

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Black Oak Down by Shepherd Bliss

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Image by Scott Hess via Flickr

by Shepherd Bliss
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Santa Rosa, California
June 26, 2014

A loud, crashing sound startles my young farm-hand Emily Danler awake in the dark of the night. She camps out in order to start picking berries at sun-up. My dog, inside, barks. After a physically-demanding day farming, I sleep through it all.

Looking down the boysenberry field to the bottom of Kokopelli Farm the next morning, tears come to my eyes. The tall, old black oak had split right down the middle of its deep, wide trunk. I would never again see its crimson leaves announcing the beginning of Spring. Continue reading

Mothers in White Demand Justice for Slain Teenager Andy Lopez by Shepherd Bliss

2013/11/09 Justice 4 Andy Lopez Rally

Image by Daniel Arauz via Flickr

by Shepherd Bliss
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Santa Rosa, California
December 28, 2013

Christmas Eve is when many families gather to celebrate and exchange gifts. But what would you do when a beloved child of your immediate or extended family had been killed two months before?

This Christmas Eve a committee of the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez met to plan a peaceful, dignified action to support the family whose 13-year-old son Andy Lopez was killed October 22 in Santa Rosa by Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus. They demand a halt to cops killing innocent children and then not being indicted and punished.

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“Moral Injury”–One Military Veteran Kills Teenager, Another Kills Himself by Shepherd Bliss

by Shepherd Bliss
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Santa Rosa, California
December 12, 2013

The Intensity of PTSD

Image by Truthout.org via Flickr

Thirteen-year-old Andy Lopez was killed by sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus on October 22, as the boy walked home in his Latino neighborhood in Santa Rosa, California. The Iraq War veteran claims he mistook the eighth-grader’s toy rifle for a real one.

A month later another Army vet, Paul Duffy, took his own life nearby. Duffy, as some friends called him, was found by his wife hanging from a rope in the writer’s cabin he had built outside his Tomales home by the Pacific Ocean. Continue reading

The Paul Hobbs Empire Strikes Back by Shepherd Bliss

Paul Hobbs Winery 06

Image by smilla4 via Flickr

by Shepherd Bliss
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Santa Rosa, California
November 29, 2013

The Watertrough Children’s Alliance (WCA)–mainly mothers with students at schools near where yet another apple orchard is being converted into a chemical vineyard–filed a lawsuit on the afternoon of Nov. 25 against the Paul Hobbs Winery. The next day Hobbs struck back with a press release, promising he “will aggressively fight.”

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Justice Coalition for Slain Andy Lopez Founded, by Shepherd Bliss

Posters printed for the protest march in downtown Santa Rosa an noon. Callo g for Justice for Andy Lopez who at 13 became an ancestor too soon after being shot to death by police. Thanks to @muertealpoder who pulled a super long night to get these printed

Image by dignidadrebelde via Flickr

by Shepherd Bliss
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Santa Rosa, California
November 22, 2013

A new, powerful coalition of Latino, social justice, green, progressive Democrats, student, civil liberties, peace, and other groups has emerged in Sonoma County, California. The killing of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus on October 22 unites them.

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Andy Lopez’s Family and Others Speak Out + National Day of Protest by Shepherd Bliss + Cindy Sheehan: Jailhouse for Gelhaus

Posters printed for the protest march in downtown Santa Rosa an noon. Callo g for Justice for Andy Lopez who at 13 became an ancestor too soon after being shot to death by police. Thanks to @muertealpoder who pulled a super long night to get these printed

Image by dignidadrebelde via Flickr

by Shepherd Bliss
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Santa Rosa, California
November 8, 2013

The October 22 killing here of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a hail of bullets from sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus has resulted in daily peaceful marches, prayer vigils and speaking events honoring Lopez and calling for justice, as thousands in the northern California community continue to mourn and express outrage.

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Killing of Teenager Andy Lopez Ignites Latino Community by Shepherd Bliss

Posters printed for the protest march in downtown Santa Rosa an noon. Callo g for Justice for Andy Lopez who at 13 became an ancestor too soon after being shot to death by police. Thanks to @muertealpoder who pulled a super long night to get these printed

Image by dignidadrebelde via Flickr

by Shepherd Bliss
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Santa Rosa, California
November 1, 2013

Colorful Aztec dancers lead a few hundred chanting, slow-moving people of all ages on a march from the Latino neighborhood of Roseland to Santa Rosa, California’s downtown square on October 30. They demanded justice for the killing of 13-year-old Andy Lopez on October 22 by sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus.

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Andy Lopez: The Killing of an Innocent Child by Shepherd Bliss

by Shepherd Bliss
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Sonoma County, California
October 26, 2013

Rally against police brutality

Image by Fibonacci Blue via Flickr

Another child has been killed. Andy Lopez was playing with a toy on Oct. 22 near his home in a Latino community in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, Northern California. A sheriff’s deputy pulled the trigger and hit the 13-year-old seven times, fearing that his toy assault rifle might be real. His partner, sitting next to him in the car, held his fire. That patience was a better approach. Who is responsible for this death?

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The Killing of a Vibrant Apple Orchard by Shepherd Bliss

by Shepherd Bliss
Writer, Dandelion Salad
June 20, 2013

Apple blossom

Image by furbyphotos via Flickr

Do not be deceived by the thin perimeter of a few live apple trees remaining next to Apple Blossom School and the five nearby schools on Watertrough Road with 700 students in the Sebastopol countryside in Sonoma County, Northern California. A glorious, historic 47-acre orchard that nurtured people, wildlife, and the environment thrived there for many decades. Then chain-sawed trees languished on their sides with dying green apples, which will never ripen to red, cut down on June 14. Witnessing this slaughter was enough to make a grown man weep.

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Mothers and Allies Challenge Wine Industrialist by Shepherd Bliss

Apple blossom

Image by furbyphotos via Flickr

by Shepherd Bliss
Writer, Dandelion Salad
May 9, 2013

Half a dozen mothers from small town and rural Sebastopol in Northern California quickly rallied hundreds of people to their side to challenge Sonoma County’s Paul Hobbs Winery. He wants to convert a 40-acre apple orchard into a vineyard that would use pesticides; it borders five schools on Watertrough Road, including Apple Blossom and Orchard View. Together they have around 700 children, as well as many teachers, staff, neighbors and wildlife.

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The Corporatization of Public Higher Education by Shepherd Bliss

Say No to the Corporate University

Image by Cold Cream Coffee via Flickr

by Shepherd Bliss
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
Jan. 24, 2013

The Case of Sonoma State University

The new Center for Ethics, Law, and Society at Sonoma State University in Northern California has caused quite a stir among our academic community during the first week of classes, as well as from those outside SSU. Its funding and the further corporatization of public higher education have been questioned.

The notorious insurance monolith AIG provided two-thirds of the Ethics Center’s $16,000 first year budget. What might AIG’s intentions have been for funding the Center? Continue reading