Thursday, March 28, 2013

Muir Ranch, Part the Second

I know the title of these posts on Muir is hokey.  But every once in a while I just get in a mood.  Probably need more roughage. 

On the other hand, visiting Muir Ranch on a Plug Mob Saturday has a bit of drama all about it.  Being on 1.5 acres there is lots going on at any given time. 

While I visited soccer was taking place on the field that is across from Muir Ranch, a Master Gardener class was taking place, folks were coming to the ranch to pick up their weekly box of vegetables - all at the same time.  Lots of energy.  

By the way, income generated from sales is used for funding for summer internships for Muir Ranch students.  You know when you till and sow and weed during the summer and you wish you had someone paying you to do that?  Well, these lucky student will be getting  paid.

I was surprised by how many families were at the Ranch.  Some of them local and some like Ines and Joshua who came from the other side of the arroyo.  It was sweet to see the father helping his son who wanted to smoke the bees.  Son helped explain that smoking relaxes the bees, a fact that most of us adults wouldn't have been able to share. 

I watched as they picked up leaves from the ground, stuffed them in the container, and then lit.  

There were lots of lessons being learned, not the least of which is wind blowing in your direction pushes smoke in your face.  

The fact that you can be successful in your work with the wind and the smoke was also a lesson learned.

I loved the elegant simplicity of the smoker and the fact that little hands could squish and control the amount of smoke emanating from the smoker.

There was also a chance to see Alex, Doss, and Katia.  Folks who have an interest in the Ranch.  One was a science teacher who is intimately involved with the day to day workings, one who assures that some of the food raised on the ranch goes to students' families in the district who need a bit of help, and a young volunteer who willing took a hose that had been given to me, that we're not going to be able to use. 

It was great to talk with Alex and Alondra who are students at John Muir High School.  Good to see young folks enjoying their work and working hard on a Saturday morning, complete with a great smile on their face. 

There's a good deal of controversy around use of space at the moment.  A King Solomon Special.  The ranch was hoping to expand to pay more interns.  The City is planning to move the soccer field that was going to be at Hahamongna to Muir.  The high school would gain a much needed field for their sports.

At the moment it feels like the Environmentalists, the Urban Farmers, and the Soccer playing folks aren't able to see a common light at the end of the tunnel.  Three conflicting needs and seemingly conflicting outcomes.  I have no idea what the outcome will be.

I can't think of a pithy, upbeat, last line.  This is a problem that is deep and will have long lasting outcomes.  It will also likely be among the first of many that will be taking place in the city as it continues to grow.


  1. Very difficult. Though I'm all for keeping Haha as open space, I also support the creative efforts going on at Muir, Surely there must be some other location for the soccer field. I also wonder why Pasadena continues to grow when it seems to have reached its recreational capacity.

  2. In spite of your wonderful post, I have come to realize I despise politics. I wish I could come up with a better word than "despise." It must come from my childhood training in fear of confrontation.

  3. I've heard the situation as being Muir Ranch against the Environmentalists. And I bet there are other places where the Soccer Folks are against the Ranch or however many variations you would get if James calculated a defined number of parties.

    The plus to the soccer field added to Muir would be an underwriting for a need that exists for some of the students. The negative would be a loss of expansion, at the very least, for other students.

    I think part of this is about politics, but the greater part is about a city that is changing. Demographics can be like sand on a seashore. Changing in ways that are often so subtle, but changing none the less.

    Poor planning for the city has made this tremendously difficult.