Summer Update – San Juan Capistrano, CA

Solstice at San Onofre Surfing Beach in San Clemente, CA
Solstice at San Onofre Surfing Beach in San Clemente, CA

Another season is upon us. It seems like they just keep rolling through. I guess time does fly when you’re having fun…

The Ecology Center.
The Ecology Center.

Since our last update in Spring, Edna and I haven’t traveled too far or served an enormous amount of tea. Instead, we’ve focused on digging in deep with a new community of folks, working, and taking some time for self.

In early April we took the recommendation of several folks and made our way to an Earth Day celebration in San Juan Capistrano, CA at a place called The Ecology Center. Folks had been telling me I had to visit TEC for a while now, and I thought what a better time than a big celebration to bring tea to? Immediately I was impressed with the place – sustainability in action, permaculture design courses, eco-education for all ages, etc. After a fun day of making tea, I was invited back to a potluck with the permaculture design class. I made tea with all the folks working there and at the end, Evan, who runs TEC, asked if they could hire me for a project. I asked what project?  He said, I’m not sure, but I’m sure we can figure something out.

Woking on The Ecology Center's truck
Woking on The Ecology Center’s truck

I came back to The Ecology Center the following week to build a potting cabinet/work-table – and I’ve been here ever since! The projects kept coming, and I was stoked at finding this place. My work here is part paid in money, part paid in resources, and part volunteer. I’ve been building and fixing many things, teaching skills to folks of all ages, taking photographs and videos, organizing, and I even built a bicycle-powered blender.

I had been planning on heading to AZ, where I was hoping to find a good community of folks to be with, some work for money, a place where I could serve tea, and a place where I could just park and folks would come to me. I was told by a friend to not try and find this place, but let this place find me. And it sure did – only not in AZ.

Gathering mallow for tea at The Ecology Center.
Gathering mallow for tea at The Ecology Center.

The Ecology Center has been a little paradise for the tea bus. They love grey water re-use, so I can dump Edna’s greywater tank on their fruit trees. They have recycling cans, water to fill Edna, plenty of sun to charge Edna’s batteries, all kinds of food growing that I can harvest, WiFi, etc. They also have events throughout the week, some of which I can serve tea at. People know to find me here, and often come for some tea, or just a conversation. I have become a helper to many folks here, even helping people in my spare time with fixing everything from bikes to broken car windows to broken ignitions. TEC is also next door to Orange County’s only family-run organic farm, South Coast Farms, which operates a farms stand with tons of awesome produce.

Soka University's Garden Show
Soka University’s Garden Show

In late March, we took a little trip to Soka University of America’s campus for a Garden Show they were having. A few of the students there have developed an empty lot into an awesome garden, and they were throwing a party/music show and wanted the tea bus to be there. It was a hassle working with security to get the bus in, as they had health concerns. It was decided that we’d use disposable cups, or people could bring their own mugs. What a bummer! But in the end, security wasn’t there, and we served people in our cups and theirs. After the show, we rolled Edna up a walking path to in front of the dorms, where people were celebrating Earth Hour – an hour without electricity. We lit some of our vegetable oil-powered lanterns, and people gathered in Edna for some tea. We fit 23 people inside, with singing, music, and chatting. It was a wonderful moment for so many folks there, including myself. It is fun to get inspired with younger folks, folks who are just figuring things out in their lives.

I’ve been serving tea only once every couple weeks this Spring, but just made a vow to do it at least once per week this summer. I find that if I don’t serve tea, I feel a little disconnected from myself and my purpose.

Panhe Festival - Who could say no?
Panhe Festival – Who could say no?

When Edna and I have been serving tea, it’s been incredibly well received here in Orange County. We’ve been serving tea every full moon at Aliso Creek Beach for a full moon drum circle, which can be a little crazy, and definitely is busy (10 gallons of tea last full moon). We’ve also pulled up randomly on the streets of Laguna Beach and San Clemente. In March we served tea at the Panhe Festival, which was a fun Native American Earth Day celebration at San Mateo Campground – the site of a previous Native American village. In April we took a nice little trip down to Encinitas, where we were followed by a filmmaker in serving tea at their yearly street fair, as well as a Farmers’ Market (where the market manager went off on us for making tea for folks – “I’m 99% sure that the San Diego Department of Environmental Health would have a problem with what you’re doing”). In May, we boogied on up to Fullerton to a house concert with Andrew Dahl-Bredine, a fabulous singer/song-writer, and were hosted by the awesome Poareo Family. We then headed up to LA to be at a mini family gathering, where many of my family members who had no idea what I was up to got to experience the tea bus first-hand.

Adam and Jodi sing to Willow on Solstice.
Adam and Jodi sing to Willow on Solstice.

Our Summer Solstice was a great day at San Onofre Surfing Beach in San Clemente. We arrived when the beach opened at 6 am to try and skip the lines to get in, but they were already there! It was a day of lounging, serving some delicious Lemon-Tulsi-Stevia sun tea, and hot tea to order. Ally has just arrived back here to Orange County (to work at The Ecology Center), so she accompanied Edna and I in making tea and hosting guests. A long-time family friend from the music festivals of my childhood stopped by to say hi and do some boogie boarding, as well as some other local friends to eat some dinner together. We cooked up some gifted tuna (Thanks, Gregolio!) and had some ridiculous fish tacos as the sun set on the longest day of the year. The beautiful moments that we get to call life are in such abundance!

We’re looking forward to serving more tea around Orange County, as well as some small bus projects on our time off from other work. Thanks for hosting us, The Ecology Center!

A gift from Mountain Rose Herbs
A gift from Mountain Rose Herbs
A gift of 127 tinctures from Farm to Market.
A gift of 127 tinctures from Farm to Market.

We have received a couple of great donations in the past few months. First off, I would like to thank Mountain Rose Herbs for their continued support – this time with an enormous box of teas to get us through the summer. Also, Farm to Market, a local small grocery store that recently shut its doors for good, donated a grocery bag full of tinctures to the tea bus. Both of these donations were exceptionally generous. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

 

Movie night at The Ecology Center.
Movie night at The Ecology Center.
Tea break for employees of The Ecology Center.
Tea break at The Ecology Center.
Set up for tea and teaching the permaculture class.
Set up for tea and teaching the permaculture class.
Trick for sun tea: use a sprouting lid to strain.
Trick for sun tea: use a sprouting lid to strain.
Papap Joe's espresso bar. Kind of Ironic.
Papap Joe’s espresso bar. Kind of Ironic.
My family - aunt, cousin, grandma, grandpa, great-aunt, uncle.
My family – aunt, cousin, grandma, grandpa, great-aunt, uncle.
7th grade scavenger hunt for native useful plants.
7th grade scavenger hunt for native useful plants.
The Ecology Center from Edna's roof
The Ecology Center from Edna’s roof
Panhe Festival!
Panhe Festival!
Soka <3 Edna = Guisepi
Soka
Singing songs at Soka
Singing songs at Soka
Friends play music at Soka's Garden Party
Friends play music at Soka’s Garden Party
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Flyer for Edna being at Soka

 


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