Friday, September 24, 2010

First days of Autumn

School days, school days
Dear old golden rule days
Readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic
Taught to the tune of the hickory stick
Music by Gus Edwards; Lyrics by Will D. Cobb, 1907
Just in case you are going on with your life and thinking this might be behind you, school has started! I am back substituting, although so far only a couple of days in the library - an easy transition. Colin and Susan are back to the classroom as well, although Susan pretended she was working while we adventured through California and Oregon. THAT was very fun and very interesting. Here are some of the highlights for your enjoyment and to remind us all that summer adventures stay in our hearts, to warm the winter


After a great wedding in San Mateo, we headed north up highway 101 towards an organic, bio-powered CSA in Mendocino County. The morning drive through the Sonoma wine country was beautiful and although we were rushed to get to the farm interview, we did stop for gas in Kyrsa and Dave's new home - Healdsburg.

Our destination for this day was an older CSA operated by a couple from my own my generation. They are committed to a social and economic ideal that makes their operation interesting, as well as being beautiful in its setting. As Susan interviewed, Colin and I watched the farm manager explain economics and agriculture while processing vats and vats of  tomatoes. She worked so fast we could not really see where she was getting these vast vats of ripe red beauties but we were mesmerized by the speed and efficiency of the process. One interesting concern she expressed was the negative impact of the illegal marijuana growing on Mendocino  farms and communities. She voiced this as the biggest challenge to small farmers in the area. I know we all hear about this but to realize the size of the problem was surprising to me.

Traveling north on highway 101,we talked about this and many other entertaining topics . The drive through the California redwoods is always awesome in the way that word is meant to be used.Coming out of the trees and into view of the Pacific Ocean is really the best of California on a summer evening.

Driving on into Oregon, listening to an audio-book on murder and mayhem in the Alaska's wilds and feeling removed from the everyday schedules and expectations! 

The next afternoon we were visiting a goat dairy in southwest Oregon. These small farmers have a lot of hard work and certainly don't get rich but they DO live in the most beautiful spaces! We had time to interview the goat dairy, hearing all about the social and economic concerns of its managers, visit the resident donkey and donkey-baby and taste local cheeses and chocolates made in southern Oregon. Not a bad day, especially when you include lunch by the Rogue River.

Our last day of farm adventures took us to Lake Oswego- What ? farming in Lake Oswego... I don't think so! But in this suburban enclave they has survived an original farm site, now part of a pea-patch style plot program and a city recreation district. Amazing use of Green Belt Space! As a celebration of a great road trip, we spent our last night in Portland celebrating the city of books and beer. What a wonderful opportunity it was for me to spend time with two of my favorite people and learn a little more about their world and my own.

Thank you, to Susan especially, for allowing me to peak into her world of changes and visions for a better tomorrow.
    Happy travels to you all.
    Mama Llama

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