Thursday, July 31, 2014

Homesteading and ignorant people

I received an email as follows from a reader which was so interesting I asked her permission to post it here. She titled her email "homesteading and ignorant people" and wrote:

I read your blog and I've commented occasionally as well. I want to have a homestead too, but I don't yet have the skills needed. I go to a church college group and tonight I told two people separately that I want to have a homestead. They smiled, which I didn't understand at the time; but when I got home, I realized they were laughing at me. Like, "Ha ha. That girl wants to be a farmer." Like only dumb people do that or it doesn't require a high intellect or it's not a worthy job or something.

Now I'm so mad at their ignorance and their affirmation of typical American public schooled ignorance. (1) They don't know me very well; and (2) They don't know anything or not much about homesteading. I guess both these things can be changed, but for the moment I'm just very angry.

In your experience, do most city people think like that too? These are people that are kind of important to me so I care more about what they are thinking than just some random person. I feel very thunder-puppyish right now but I think it's worth it.

I replied: "In my experience city people are split about 50-50 on their reaction to homesteading. Some sneer, and I mentally dismiss them. Others are envious or supportive and a lively discussion ensues. Sounds like you just happened to get two sneerers in a row."

The reason I wanted to post this on the blog is to hear whether or not this woman's experience is typical or unusual. Thoughts?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Home from Portland

Sorry for the silence of the last couple of days. It always takes awhile to recuperate after a trip and catch up on things like unpacking, laundry, etc. Nonetheless, follow me home from Portland.

On Monday morning, Older Daughter and I made our pilgrimage to Powell's Bookstore, surely one of the most wonderful entities on the west coast for book-lovers like us.

Here we're approaching Portland's beautiful downtown area.

Some of the older buildings in the Pearl District are gorgeous.

We passed the elaborate entrance to Chinatown.

The über-tight parking garage for Powell's was undergoing construction, making it even über-tighter. Über joy.

Ah yes, joy.

As we checked out at the cash register...

...we saw bumper stickers sporting Portland's unofficial motto. There's something endearing about a city with a sense of humor.

Immediately after leaving Powell's, we hit the road for the looooong drive home. Mt Hood was visible, still clad in snow.

Soon enough we were in the Columbia River Gorge, following the river.

We made a lightning-fast stop at Multnomah Falls.

Turned out to be the 100th anniversary of the Benson Bridge, which dramatically spans the falls.

The sun wasn't conducive to photographing the entire span of falling water, so I contented myself with a quick pic of the lower falls.

And of course the footbridge.

It was already hot by this time, so Older Daughter kicked off her sandals and waded in the creek on the way back to the car. I kinda wished I'd joined her.

Then we hit the road again for some serious driving.


Very quickly things become dry and treeless.

The scale of these hills on the opposite shore of the river can be gauged by the white 18-wheeler in the bottom left of the photo.

There are enormous 300-foot-tall windmills all over the place.

We passed this massive but unknown gizmo being transported as an oversized load.

The last major sight we see before hooking a left on Hwy. 82 is a massive tree farm of fast-growing hybrid poplars, irrigated with water from the Columbia. I believe they're used for paper production.

They're so much alike they could be clones.

First stage of the trip, done.

The wonders of irrigation in an otherwise dry desert.

First loop of the Columbia. This brings us into Washington.

Old abandoned mining operation, I think.

Negotiating the Tri-Cities' complicated highway system, trying to sort the right route to take.

This second leg of the trip has some mind-numbing stretches, and by this point we were getting mighty tired of being in the car.

The third leg of the trip (after we turned off Hwy. 395) had improved scenery, but we were stuck behind a lumbering truck. It's not that the truck wasn't trying its best; it's just that we really really really wanted to get home.

But the desert gradually morphed into the sweet hills of the Palouse.

In the late afternoon we stopped in the charming town of Colfax to stretch our legs and find a bathroom.

The wheat is nearly ready to harvest.

These are (mostly) lentils.

Here's the sign we were waiting for!

This looks more like home.

It was wonderful to get back to the farm and reacquaint myself with all our critters. At the risk of sounding clichéd, there's no place like home!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Last day of sales

The last day of the event was enjoyable -- brisk sales, moderate weather, cheerful crowd. We sold 29 pieces, a highly respectable number for a Sunday. Older Daughter came with me to the booth and was able to see why her mom returned exhausted every night.

Because Older Daughter wasn't driving, she could take a shot of the beautiful downtown as the bridge flung us over the river (I'm always too busy negotiating lane changes and dealing with merging traffic at this juncture).

The festival site from the bridge.

Shots from the day:

A weird freaky tattoo in the crook of a woman's elbow. (She was particularly proud that the eye would "blink" whenever she opened or closed her forearm.) It never fails to amaze me how many people in Portland are tattooed. I've heard it called Ink City.

Older Daughter took a walk with the camera and found this silver-bodied street performer imitating a statue.

The base of his platform had the following announcement:

She watched, fascinated, as the living statue did some "contact juggling" with up to four balls.

When he was done with his four-hour performance, he packed down -- in slow "robotic" motion -- his box and tips...

...and went away.

She also saw a Jack Sparrow look-alike.

Amusing T-shirts:

(No offense to our LDS neighbors or readers.)

The bands brought dancers. This woman was twirling what looked like leather balls at the end of strings. She was very graceful. Apparently she's called a "fire dancer" because at night the balls can be lit, which must be a beautiful sight.

There were also hoop dancers (three) who looked lovely as they twirled their hoops. Photos don't do them justice.

Older Daughter decided to tie up one of our mini "shot glass" tankards in her funky long earrings, which were pinned into her hair. (It got too heavy so she soon took it out.)

Now compare Older Daughter's pretty ears to this fellow's:

This gentleman told me he has one more eight-inch "stretch" to go and his lobes will be a full inch in width. He had identical gauges in both ears.

This fellow walked into the booth in extremely unique shoes.

The event ended at 7 pm and then came the laborious break-down. Afterward we wanted to visit the famous Voodoo Doughnuts (just a few blocks away)...

...but the line was long and pretty much immobile. We waited five minutes and decided it wasn't worth an hour of our time just to get into the door, especially since we were exhausted. So we went back to our friend's house and crashed.

Shortly after posting this blog post, Older Daughter and I will visit Powell's Books and then head out for the long drive back to Idaho. Can't wait to get home!