Some of you may have seen the story about the “Oklahoma Grandmother Arrested in Keystone XL Protest” or the “79-Year-Old Oklahoma Grandmother Locks Her Neck to Heavy Machinery in Keystone XL Pipeline Protest.” Here’s a pic of her doing her thing:



It didn’t take me long to realize that this bad-ass woman has been here on Progress on the Prairie before when I took some pictures of people at the rally against the horrible, awful Personhood Amendment.  Her name is Nancy Zorn; here she is in that signature pink and purple outfit:


She makes me proud to be an Okie.



“It’s the economy, stupid. ” Bill Clinton’s campaign coined the phrase back in 1992 and successfully defeated Bush 1 by focusing on economic issues. And judging by the 2012 presidential debates, American political players are still narrowed in on the economy. One blames China for a lagging economy, the other agrees; one blames the poor, nobody blames the mega-rich money hoarders.

All the attention paid to “economic recovery” this and “recession” that fails to consider a few things. Humans, more and more, are creating our own economies based not on how much money we can stockpile in the bank or how many 2-story houses and SUVs we can buy, but on how our earning and buying align with our morals. Humans don’t do things just to make money, like so many businessfolk and politicians seem to believe and would have us believe. There is a renewed interest amongst us human beings in bartering, reusing, DIY, repurposing, and recycling products that doesn’t give 2 shits who is or isn’t POTUS.

My friends and fellow humans truly interested in progress are going back to small-scale, in-house production for a variety of reasons, most of which have nothing to do with earning a buck. We are growing our own food when possible, turning our yard space into garden space, and brewing our own beer because it makes us happy. And then we share with our friends because that also makes us happy. We are repurposing grandma’s old dress into new baby clothes and pillows and stuffed toys because handmade is better than store bought. Always. Objects with a creation story last beyond the material expiration date and have value beyond a number.

What’s more is that humans care about the Earth. Because of our increased awareness of unresolved environmental problems, we are cutting our purchases of disposable crap. We are choosing, instead, to buy lasting or buy used, and we are returning to systems of trading and bartering. We are also buying local, so that we don’t use as much gas \ spend as much money on gas. We are looking up videos on how to fix stuff on our own or with our children, and we are helping other friends in our community with services they might need FOR FREE.

This black market economy has not been an accident. While we humans – my generation especially – were accused of being apathetic, uninformed and lazy, we were actually re-wiring an old economy to work better for us. And we’re not just employed\ unemployed workers or confident\ unconfident consumers because democracy is not a business. After all, this is ours. Call me idealistic but my vote isn’t about the economy, and I don’t even like the word ‘stupid.’

After a long drive Monday, my daughter and I decided to camp about an hour outside of Yellowstone in Shoshone National Forest. Beautiful. It was my daughter’s first overnight in a tent somewhere other than our backyard. Here’s a picture of our tent’s front yard at sunset:


Shoshone was the first forest designated a National Forest, so declared by Benjamin Harrison. It got its name from one of the indigenous tribes, the Shoshoni, that lived and worshipped and ate and made babies, etc. in the area before the U.S. Government kicked them out. The history of the land is way more rotten than the USDA’s website lets on. Didja know that Sacajawea was a Shoshoni? And, just a quick review, we all know she was probably not so much a willing guide as she was a kidnapped adolescent, right? I can hear the poo-pooers now: “Why do you have to focus on the negative?” Well, sir or madam, I’m not focusing on the negative, I’m acknowledging the real history since the shiny, watered-down version is plastered all over the park and on the official website for my daughter to “learn.” And that’s how I parent.

Anyway, my daughter and I had an amazing experience in that forest, near the river, on the mountainside. We took a hike and gathered some sage, which just grows wild everywhere. Saw the teeniest little chipmunks darting about. It’s a very, incredibly, humbling, breathtakingly, amazingly awesome environment…thanks to the Shoshoni and everyone else who has taken such great care of it for the last 10,000 or so years.  And I highly recommend it over Disneyland if you’re looking for a family vacation.

Okie Stories

January 12, 2012

I haven’t been blogging very much lately, but I have been writing and busy in other ways. Recently, This Land Press published a story I wrote about the time me and 2 of my friends killed, dressed, skinned, and butchered a goat. Check it out HERE! It’s a reworking of the story I related here on Progress on the Prairie a while back. Also, a very talented journalist named Abby interviewed my friends and me about the killing experience and our personal views on eating meat.  She made a nice audio piece — like a mini This American Life episode — out of our interview, and you can listen to it here.

Here’s to Okie stories!


Take Your Girls Camping

September 11, 2011

Take your girls camping. All you need is a backyard. You can borrow mine if you don’t have one. Try teaching them to build a fire. Check for current burn bans. Let them gather wood of different sizes. Get your fingernails dirty, and let your hands get scratched by errant twigs. Let them wad up newspaper or strips of grocery sacks or all those pages of homework (busy work). Teach them useful, exciting skills like how to light a match. The world won’t burn up if you supervise their playing with matches. They might burn a finger. So? Good.

Ignore fear-mongers who tell you it’s dangerous. Their message is tempting. But you and your girls will be happier and stronger if you don’t buy the extra worry.

roasting marshmallows

Roast marshmallows. Or pears. Or corn. Or hot dogs. Pitch a tent.  Make a pallet. Watch the stars. Tell the moon she’s beautiful and good night.


Apple Dandelion Fritters!

April 10, 2011

Don’t kill your dandelions, fry them! If you have sprayed chemicals all over your dandelions because you were brainwashed into thinking they are bad, bad weeds then you will have to miss out on these delicious Springtime delicacies. Ha! However, if your yard is wild and pollutant-free and ugly like mine, then you are in luck!

apple dandelion fritters


diced apples, 1 handful

dandelions, 1 handful freshly foraged

egg, 1

flour, 1 cup

milk, 1/2 cup

applesauce, 1/2 cup

cinnamon, 1 dash

oil for frying

syrup or honey for dipping

powdered sugar for sprinkling

Step 1: Send kid to pick the flower parts off the dandelions while you cut up apples and measure out ingredients. Pull the yellow petals out of the rest of the green part of the flower for this recipe. The green can be kinda bitter, which I think is great for more savory recipes, but not so much for this sweeter one.

Step 2: Mix everything together. Batter should be thicker than pancake batter, but not as thick as biscuit dough. Ya hear me? Then drop it by the spoonful into hot oil. I use a medium-low heat.

Step 3: Fry for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until beautiful and golden.

Step 4: Sprinkle with powdered sugar, dip in syrup or drizzle with honey.

Step 5: Now EAT!

Num num,


Seriously, I don’t want to over-react or be all alarmist. I’m not about to say anything that other people haven’t already said. But I’m scared shitless about the problems of nuclear enery and the problems at several of Japan’s nuclear facilities right now.  By the way, I prefer to go to the IAEA website for reliable news updates concerning events in Japan. They seem to turn up the scientific reporting, and turn down the alarm/ fear/ capitalist/ US-centric rhetoric.

And you see, back when I found out during the 2010 presidential campaign that Obama was cool with the nukes, it was the one thing that left a suspicion of him in my mind that never faded. And so it accordingly stressed me out when I heard him defending nuclear energy yesterday, but it stressed me out even more to hear about Obama and his administration’s pushing ahead to build NEW nuclear plants.

I couldn’t agree more with Robert Scheer in his piece, No Nukes Is Good Nukes. I feel relieved that really smart people are as disturbed by this energy source as I am.  The thing is, I don’t just think that the waste produced by creating nuclear power is bad for people, I think it’s kinda the worst thing that has ever existed on the bad-for-the-planet scale. And it damages everything: land, water, animals, seeds, mature plants, rocks. Everything. In a FOREVER damaged kind of way. Go read Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko. Or listen to and watch Winona LaDuke talk.

Even in the middle of nowhere on the fertile plains of Oklahoma, I’m scared.