Reallocation

Food Distribution at Community Bridges, which most of us still know as Mountain Community Resources, or simply MCR, is still the most reliable and most abundant source of food for those who need it. It continues to operate between 11:00 a.m. and noon on Thursdays, although the procedure for retrieving food has changed to comply with social distancing.

Participants are unable to wait in queue to select the particular produce, canned food and dry goods they desire from tables that are stocked with what is available. Instead, volunteers assemble packages containing an assortment of what is available, and then load them into vehicles as they drive through the parking lot. It is significantly more effort, but effective.

There are less of us who lack homes and need to obtain food from Food Distribution than there has been in a very long time. However, there are a few more who benefit form this resource, but do not lack homes. The demographics have changes somewhat, but Food Distribution had been as popular as it ever was.

More recently, it has become even more popular. So many otherwise lucratively employed people have been unemployed for a month. Some will remain unemployed for a while longer. Many are without income while unemployed, so are unable to afford some of what was so easily obtainable only a few weeks ago. Food Distribution is nothing fancy, but it helps.

Food Distribution volunteers have always been very generous with surpluses of produce and perishable food items after participants have obtained what they can use. Those who had use for it took large volumes of it for canning or freezing, or for smaller volumes of it to be refrigerated for those who lack homes or refrigeration. What was leftover went to goats and swine.

The incentive to take significant volumes of surpluses to distribute to those who lack refrigeration has been diminishing for quite some time. Now, there is suddenly more incentive to take surpluses to those who had no prior use for it.

Because the various food items are divided somewhat evenly as they are packaged by volunteers, there are no large volumes of surpluses remaining after Food Distribution. Even if there were minor surpluses, they can not be obtained without violating social distancing standards, although volunteers might offer them to those who often take them.

However, the packages of food typically contain more than what some of us need. Rather than deliver what we do not need directly to those who can use it, some of us have been leaving it out where they can get it later, but hopefully where animals do not get to it first.

One More

One more of us who had been lacking a home is presently in the process of procuring a stable domestic situation. It is all happening in a rather circuitous manner, but at least it is happening.

Because of the current pandemic, state and county agencies are desperately trying to shelter more of the homeless populace, while also expanding the space available for those already residing in shelters, so that they are not so crowded. It is a monumental task to say the least. Temporary shelters have been added to established shelters, and in other locations.

Homeless people who are elderly or otherwise classified as ‘high risk’ are being accommodated individually in motels and other available buildings. Generally, that would not concern us here in Felton, since even the elderly of the homeless do not reside in crowded conditions, and are able to maintain reasonable distance from others in the Community.

However, one within our Community was in a dangerous situation prior to the onset of this pandemic. He had been without a home, not because of a lack of resources, but because of an inability to manage resources. Dementia had compromised his rationality to the extent that he could neither maintain his prior domestic situation, nor accept assistance from case workers.

He was not sheltered as a direct result of the state and county efforts to shelter the homeless, but happened to deteriorate to the extent that case workers were finally able to compel him to accept immediate medical assistance. He was then transferred to a residential healthcare center, from where his case workers will arrange for a more permanent domestic situation.

It is difficult to be optimistic in regard to dementia. Life will not be easy.

Fortunately, he collects sufficient income in retirement to sustain a reasonably comfortable lifestyle.

No Vacation

Some have said that those who ridicule the homeless should try being homeless. I disagree. For several reasons, I do not believe that any more people than absolutely necessary should ever attempt homelessness. As long as someone who is homeless would prefer to be sheltered, there is more homelessness than there should be. This is something that society needs no more of.

There really is no way to ‘try’ homelessness anyway. Someone is either homeless or not. Spending a night under a bridge without losing the security of a home to return to afterward will by no means makes someone an expert. Spending a few or several nights under a bridge might provide more insight into the basics of such a lifestyle, but is still no substitute for the real thing.

Homelessness in no vacation. Otherwise, it would be more popular. Backpacking and camping are popular only because those who do it start out well outfitted, and get to go home afterward. Traveling to places far away from home is popular too, but is preferably done with even more than the comforts of home. Someone who vacations in Paris is no more homeless than Parisian.

Those who are inexperienced with homelessness are fortunate. Hopefully, none of them will ever need to experience it nearly as intimately as a tourist experiences Paris. Those who are so deficient of civility and compassion for humanity as to ridicule or otherwise express unfounded disdain for all collective homeless people should instead be examining their own inadequacies.

That seems to be a common theme. Those who complain the most have the most to complain about. Even if it were possible to ‘try’ homelessness, doing so would not provide much practical insight for those unwilling to use it, who are so intent on contempt of others.

Social Distancing

While so many of those with homes to go home to are not out socializing, social distancing should be easier for the rest of us. In many regards it is. Although some who lack homes live within very minimal proximity of others in the same situation, the innate crowding is no worse than it is for families with children living in the same home. Some have dispersed to avoid socializing.

Of course, because of the difficulty of storing food, most of those who lack kitchens must still shop for food more frequently than most. Some manage to store a bit more than typical, in order to avoid shopping. Some are even consuming more of the edible but undesirable vegetation that grows wildly along the roads. It is better for stinging nettle to be harvested from trails anyway.

It is amazing that both Felton Presbyterian Church and Saint John’s Catholic Church continue to serve lunch. Felton Presbyterian Church serves lunch right around noon on Tuesday, starting a bit earlier and continuing a bit later so that a large group does not need to arrive at the same time. Saint John’s Catholic Church serves lunch between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Thursday.

The most important stipulation is that bagged lunches are served to go only. No one can stay to eat. The hours from which lunch is served at Saint John’s Catholic Church are abbreviated for now as well, starting half an hour later, and ending an hour and a half earlier. Of course that can change. Those preparing lunches for us really should be isolating at home, not out socializing.

Even with all that is going on in Felton and the rest of the World, it is amazing that the Community continues to provide for those who need it most.

March 22, 2020 – Memorial Tree Update

Before

If it continues with the healthy growth it exhibited after a seemingly slow start last year, the still small Memorial Tree of Felton Covered Bridge Park should be happy now, in its fifth season. It was pruned, groomed and relieved of weeds last Friday. Its first dose of fertilizer will be applied today, before fresh new foliage starts to develop. New binding should remain until autumn.

The last update for the Memorial Tree was on August 10. An update regarding its horticultural concerns posted earlier this morning on my other blog, where this post will be reblogged to. This little tree has certainly been through some difficult times. It is gratifying to see that it is recovering and doing well. As it grows, it becomes more resilient and less susceptible to damage.

The Memorial Tree is actually the fourth tree to be planted on its spot since Felton Covered Bridge Park was developed. That is a long story that I wrote about earlier. Although the original oak was not a memorial tree, all of the surrounding redwood that were installed with the rest of the landscape are memorial trees that were sponsored by family and friends of the deceased.

There was no intention for this little oak to become a Memorial Tree when it was installed to replace the three trees that had preceded it. At the time, we were contemplating a location for a Memorial Tree for Jeff Scofield who had passed away the previous spring. Ultimately, the still new oak became designated as the Scofield Tree. Its species and location are so appropriate!

Shortly afterward, a lifelong friend of Mr. Scofield also passed away. Before we could dedicate another Memorial Tree, another friend passed away! The little oak became the collective Memorial Tree for those who lack Memorials.

After

“STAY AT HOME”

The font of the sermonette on the other side is too small to get a good picture of.

That is an order! . . . but not just any order. It is an official California State Order. Most of us have been doing rather well with it from the onset. Many of us are unable to go to work anyway. We might be catching up on some of the many chores we have been neglecting, and maybe wondering how to pay the bills if our income stops. It is a uniquely troubling time, to say the least.

What about those of us who lack homes? Avoidance of others is facilitated by so many others staying at home where they belong. Otherwise, social distancing is the best we can do. Even that is quite difficult for those who live in very close proximity to others in the same situation. Because of the trouble of storing what we need, we must shop for food more frequently than others.

Larger Communities, such as Santa Cruz, are attempting to shelter more of those who lack shelter, particularly those who are classified as ‘high risk’. Hotels should be commended for their cooperation with this endeavor, and for providing uncrowded individual accommodations to the elderly! Many prefer to avoid crowded shelters where practical social distancing is impossible.

Lunches at both Felton Presbyterian Church and Saint John’s Catholic Church can not be served to our significant groups, although Felton Presbyterian Church continues to provide bagged individual lunches. As their flier in the picture above indicates, showers at Felton Presbyterian Church have been canceled. Fortunately, we have other meager resources, and adequate food.

We know how to work with limited assets.

News is confusing. We all know why it is so very important now though. There is no need to say so. Nor must we read about it in the flier above. There are plenty of other credible resources.

Actually, the font is not all that bad.

Better Homeless Gardens

‘Better Homes & Gardens’ appeals to those with homes and perhaps associated gardens that are, well . . . better. It also appeals to those of us who would prefer our homes and gardens to be better than they presently are. Those of us who lack home or garden space are likely more concerned with basic survival than the latest fads and trends of contemporary domestic lifestyles.

Of course, that does not dictate that none of us are interested in domestic issues or gardening. Every one of us has lived in a home at one time or another, and intends to do so again. Many of us have likewise enjoyed gardening, and intend to do so again. In fact, a few of us presently enjoy gardening without our own garden spaces. Some of our gardens are remarkably productive!

Garden spaces are are not as difficult to procure as domestic situations are. Some of us who reside in homes but do not enjoy gardening are pleased for others to utilize some of our otherwise unused garden space, rather than allow it to remain fallow. Some even consider the cost of water consumed by a garden to be worth the incidental management of unwanted wild vegetation.

This happens to be the time of year for warm season vegetables to get started for summer and into autumn. None of us really need to grow any vegetables. We have access to more than we need from food distribution and donations. We just enjoy growing a few vegetables that are not commonly provided by the typical sources, such as tomatoes, green beans, peas and corn.

Some of us just enjoy gardening for the sake of gardening, and share the vegetables, fruits and even a few flowers with anyone in the Community who appreciates the produce.

Misconceptions – Accurate Information

How do those with whom we have no prior affiliation perceive us? It is impossible to know without some degree of acquaintance. Yet, new acquaintance, while providing rudimentary insight of how others perceive us, or how we perceive them, also changes such perception in the process. Is that good or bad? It could improve a bad first impression, or ruin a good first impression.

Good or bad, it is more accurate. To most of us, such accuracy is considered to be an asset. Accurate perceptions of others are useful for knowing who is trustworthy and who is not. Mistrust that is justified by accurate perception of character or experience is very different from a lack of trust of the unfamiliar. Conversely, justifiable trust of the familiar is earned with familiarity.

Sadly, some prefer to mistrust and fear the unfamiliar rather than attempt to determine if such mistrust and fear are even justified. For some, their potentially unfounded but very real fear is what prevents them from exploiting opportunities to become more acquainted and perhaps more comfortable with the sources of the same fear. Some merely lack opportunities to exploit.

What is worse is that there are a few who seem to crave mistrust and fear, regardless of their ability to engage sources of their mistrust and fear, and potentially dismiss unfounded threats. Although they do not likely live in constant fear, they claim to in order to justify their disdain for the sources of their alleged fear. They try to convince others that they should be fearful too.

The same accuracy of information that the logical sort employ to dispel unjustifiable mistrust and fear is an incumbrance to those who intently crave the same sort of mistrust and fear. They therefore and merely abstain from the use of accurate information.

Writer’s Block

It is now getting late on Sunday night. Nothing is written for this week yet. It will be a stretch to get these next few paragraphs written and posted before midnight.

I can formulate all sorts of excuses for my very late start. I really am ridiculously busy. However, the real reason for the difficulty of writing something for this week is very literally not very interesting. There are literally not many interesting topics to write about.

The weather is excellent.

Everyone is getting enough to eat.

Many of us who formerly lacked homes have procured habitation.

Many of us who had been unemployed have procured employment.

The Community is amazingly generous and supportive.

Even our pet companions have it pretty good.

This is getting to be redundant. I have repeated some of this information a few times in the past several months. The good news is that this is all good news. The bad news is that it is not very interesting after reading about if a few times.

In the past, there had been more interesting bad news to write about. It is scarce now.

Some have recommended that I write more about homeless culture and society. Some have expressed interest in brief biographies of members of the homeless Community. Such topics are not so easy to write about without compromising the privacy of those involved.

For a blog that evolved from a social network that originally exposed unfounded persecution and discrimination of the homeless, a lack of subjects to write about is a good thing.

I suspect that there will be a few new pleasant topics to write about this year. It is still too early to discuss some of those topics. It is not easy to wait for them.

Now, I will post this before midnight.

Dixie and Associates

Dixie was such a princess!

Dixie has been gone longer than most of us realize. She passed away two years ago on February 18.

She certainly was the princess of her empire. Her dedication to her regal obligations was exemplary.

Of course, her species is famous for their dedication. That is why they stay with us when things get difficult.

Only a few years after losing the person she had always lived with, and the home that they shared in Boulder Creek, Dixie lost her second home south of Felton. She adapted and continued with her duties until the very end.

Gala is a gingerbread dog, and frosted around her muzzle now.

Galadriel, whom most of us know as Gala, spent most of her life in a comfortable home with a spacious fenced back yard. She does not miss it as long as she is with the person she has always lived with. The same applies to Meggy Mae, who has traveled to other towns and even Idaho as the person she lives with pursued employment.

Meggy Mae is a bit slower these days, but is as distinguished as she ever was.

Some of our companions lack permanent homes. Others live in comfortable homes and even in other towns, but come to visit enough to be integral components of our Community.

Peewee lives a comfortable life in Bonny Doon.

There are too many to get pictures of them all. Buddy is a stout rat terrier and chihuahua hybrid who had relocated to Gilroy and Morgan Hill for employment of his person, but is back in town now. Loki, a spitz, lost his person and their home several years ago, but now lives quite comfortably in Boulder Creek.

Buttercup lost the person she had always lived with, and their home, but is now in a new home with a new family.

It is very difficult for everyone involved when a companion must live with other people in another home while his or her primary family is without a home. Most of the companions of those who lack homes within our Community have been very fortunate to be able to remain with their primary people.

Moose often visits from Boulder Creek.