The Fourth Planting


After the last planting in the spring, I attended the Western Burrowing Owl Workshop hosted by Dr. Lynne Trulio in the summer to learn more about the owls. You can sign up for the next workshop (if available) here.

Burrowing Owl Workshop PPT 2018-min.pdf

On the first day we did a classroom session and on the second we had a field day where we learned how to identify burrowing owl burrows.

That's when I learned, despite our efforts at Burrowing Owl Billows, the number of owls in the South Bay Area was still steeply declining.

The theme for the fourth planting in the fall of 2018 was "Superheroes" because there'd been all these superhero movies coming out, but, in reality, we don't need more violence, not in the wake of the California fires.

What really makes a hero "super" is when they sacrifice to do the right thing. Despite the air quality conditions that recommended everyone stay indoors, we went out to save the owls as planned anyway.

Even though there hadn't been rain, Phil had also soaked the ground the day before the planting so we didn't need an auger to dig holes for the plants. However, it helped having Animal, who I'd met at Burning Man. He expedited our efforts with a pickaxe.

Jen, from the second planting, led the charge on meals this time with her chickpea salad sandwich recipe.

Chickpea Salad Sandwich


  • 4 cups cooked chickpeas (1.5 cups dried chickpeas)

  • 1 cup vegan mayo

  • 2 large ribs celery, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced

  • 2 tablespoons parsley, diced

  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard

  • 2/3 cup slivered almonds

  • 1 teaspoon Poultry Seasoning Blend

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • Black pepper

  • 1/2 tablespoon dill

  • 1 cup sliced grapes


  • Lettuce

  • Bread

Note: This recipe is upgraded. It's From My Bowl. See photos below!

  1. To cook dried chickpeas, add to a large bowl and cover with several inches of water. As the beans rehydrate, they triple in size -- adding plenty of water is key. Soak the beans 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.

  2. Add soaked, drained, and rinsed beans to a large pot. Cover with several inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until they reach your desired tenderness, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Keep lid off.

  3. First, add the cooked chickpeas to a large bowl, and mash them with a fork. I prefer to roughly mash around 75% for a nice texture.

  4. Add the remaining ingredients into the bowl, and mix until well-incorporated. Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 7 days.

  5. To assemble each sandwich, lightly toast (optional) 2 slices of bread, and layer each with a piece of lettuce. Place a heaping portion of the chickpea salad onto one slice of bread, then fold the other on top.

And we're done! We added 50 plants to Burrowing Owl Billows.

This is how real life superheroes walk.

Afterwards, we ate vegan food together at True Food Kitchen in Palo Alto. Remember: there's no point in all the work we're doing to save the owls if we all die because of climate change. Diet change is the fastest and most effective way we can all reduce our carbon footprint.

Check out how Burrowing Owl Billows looked afterwards! Despite the declining numbers of owls, hope had started to take root. We might not be too late to save them.