In Memory of the Rev. Peter Rood

We were deeply saddened to hear of the death of Father Peter Rood this past week. Peter was the rector of Holy Nativity Episcopal Church in Westchester for many years before moving to Oak Harbor, Washington to serve at St. Stephen’s Church in 2019.

He liked to call Holy Nativity a “community center that just happened to have a church attached to it” and said yes to pretty much anyone who wanted to use the church for the greater good of the world. He ripped out a side lawn and created a community garden. When the neighborhood wanted a playground he took out a section of the front lawn of the church.

He was also a big supporter of Kelly and I. Along with Environmental Changemakers he hosted book events for us. He collaborated with the Los Angeles Bread Bakers in building a community oven which became a place to gather for monthly bread and pizza parties. Peter had the same condition as Kelly and was very supportive during Kelly’s two open heart surgeries. He was a kind, creative and loving soul who will be greatly missed by so many people.

I went though my photos to find pictures of Peter at work but he was always moving around too much to get a shot. I did find a sign that hung in the parish hall at Holy Nativity that sums up Peter’s life: “May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe you can make a difference in this world so that you can do what others claim can’t be done.”

Peter is survived by his children and stepchildren, Dylan, Julian, Hilary, Kajia, and Paul: a half-brother, Austin; and several grandchildren. His wife, Christen Herman, died in 2021.

Non-Toxic Cleaning for the Home

Why Green Cleaning?

We’ve been sold a pack of lies. Professional marketers have convinced us that a good housekeeper keeps a pantry full of specialized cleaning products for every item in the house. A toilet cannot be cleaned with the same stuff you use to clean a sink, or the floors, or the shower.  This lie is merely expensive and wasteful. Far worse is the lie that the chemicals in household cleaners can’t hurt us, that we need harsh mystery cleansers in cheerful bottles to make our houses into homes to keep our children safe and well and to hold up the family pride.

In fact, we were being sold cocktails of chemicals which were and are still ill regulated and little understood, thinking all the time that they were safe, because they were on store shelves.  In Europe, a manufacturer has to prove that a product is safe before it goes to market. In the U.S., the people have to prove a product is dangerous before it can be pulled from the market.

We know for a fact that many common cleaning products are harmful to human health. Some of the best consumer protection work in this field is being done by The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit, non-partisan group dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. Their website,, is a treasure trove of consumer information. They rate the safety of everything from tap water to cosmetics to cleaning supplies. We encourage you to reference them often, and support them if you can. We’ve used their information to shape this guide.

Please see their Guide to Healthy Cleaning ( Look up how they rate your favorite cleaning products, and also browse their top rated cleaning products in various categories.

To quote from the EWG’s website, they made the following findings in their survey of cleaning products:

  • Some 53 percent of cleaning products assessed by EWG contain ingredients known to harm the lungs. About 22 percent contain chemicals reported to cause asthma to develop in otherwise healthy individuals.
  • Formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen, is sometimes used as a preservative or may be released by other preservatives in cleaning products. It may form when terpenes, found in citrus and pine oil cleaners and in some essential oils used as scents, react with ozone in the air.
  • The chemical 1,4-dioxane, a suspected human carcinogen, is a common contaminant of widely-used detergent chemicals.
  • Chloroform, a suspected human carcinogen, sometimes escapes in fumes released by products containing chlorine bleach.
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds (“quats”) like benzalkonium chloride, found in antibacterial spray cleaners and fabric softeners, can cause asthma.
  • Sodium borate, also known as borax, and boric acid are added to many products as cleaning agents, enzyme stabilizers or for other functions. They can disrupt the hormone system.

To add to the problem, many cleaning products contribute to the pollution of our watersheds and oceans. Here in Los Angeles what you flush down the sewer ends up in the ocean, with some, but not complete treatment. Nobody really knows what will become of all of the chemicals mixing in the ocean as of now, how they will combine, or disperse, or create new chemicals.

Continue reading…

We’re taking a little break

cowboy erik baby 2Apologies for the lack of posts on here lately, but as our regular readers know, Erik’s mom, Marguerite, has been ill for some time and as of this week she has moved into hospice care. As a result, we’re taking a break from posting for a little while. These are sad times but they are full of good memories and lots of love. And speaking of good memories –I’ve been sifting through the Knutzen family albums and thought you might like to see one of Erik’s–or should I say the Sheriff’s?– baby pictures.