Saturday, March 7, 2009


We saw this fence on a recent long beach walk. The fence is meant to keep ATVs (or "quads") off the beach.

Mom, off to the left, walking on the beach. The clouds that day looked like they were hanging from strings.

An abandoned railroad track less than 1/4 from Mom's house. I walk down this way sometimes.

Trees along the abandoned tracks.

I drove by this yesterday and had to take a picture of it. The lumber industry used to be the big, booming industry in Oregon. At least one great-grandfather, both grandfathers, my father, my brother, and two brothers-in-law all worked at one time in various lumber industry jobs-- loggers (my great-grandpa was a pioneer logger who worked in the Oregon forests on horseback, and one brother-in-law did some helicopter logging), sawmill workers, longshoremen, tugboat operators, and more. There were mills, log trucks, big ships from around the world, tugboats, and log rafts everywhere, it seemed. Our lumber towns bustled. These sawdust burning wigwams were a common sight next to sawmills. I have a clear childhood memory of seeing them in use at night, with the top of the cone glowing orange from heat and flames.

From Oregon State University:

A curl of smoke wafting from a wigwam sawdust burner used to be a common sight in Oregon timber towns. Unless sawdust was burned, people would have been buried in the stuff. It was a waste product without much value and in seemingly unlimited supply.

Times changed. Timber supplies dwindled. Wigwams were outlawed in the mid-1970s for polluting the air. Instead of burning it, Oregonians found uses for lumber mill waste: to make fiberboard, paper and cardboard, and to furnish the growing horticultural industry with pots, compost and mulch. With declining timber supplies and increased demand, the price of sawdust skyrocketed, up to five times its former cost.

Back of the store.

Last week, as we drove along the freeway on our way to the mountain pass that would take us home to the high desert last week, Melissa and I got hungry. We didn't want to eat fast food (I'd rather skip lunch, actually) or even grocery store food, so Melissa used her phone to search the internet for a natural foods store in the town we were passing. Yes, there was one in town, and the comments about it on the internet were positive. Melissa noted the address, we asked for directions, and we found this great little store where we bought some kombucha, dried mangos that were so delicious we stopped by the store on our return trip to pick up some more, a couple of oranges, a "raw" food snack bar, and some dark chocolate. Then we were happily off along the freeway again.

The road home, covered in a small amount of late-winter snow. Our house is less than 1/4 mile away, just past that white fence and down around the corner a little ways.

"Books for Simpler Cooking" at my Kitchen Notes blog.