Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Energy Crisis

In light of the debates last night I thought I would re-post on my opinions about the energy crisis in this country. I had a very unique experience and I can't help but feel that if every person had an experience like this they would become more tolerant of difference of opinion as well as more protective of our countries valuable resources.

We just recently moved here to Forest Grove, Oregon from Chicago, IL. This was a trip we did in a U-Haul over a four day stretch. I was able to get a up close and personal view of the country that most people fly over or just get to see in a thumbnail in google image.

It is very difficult to imagine what the this country is like even in this day in age where you can be in a part in Japan with just the click of a button or a flip of the channel. Even with the largest television screen you can not fathom the size or the wonder because we are also bombarded with so much fantasy its hard to grasp the immensity of nature. It is also hard to gather a non biased opinion about the local people of an area because film or blog is brining it to you through the perspective of the presenter. I will try my best to bring this experience to you but if you ever get a chance to drive to your vacation spot or really take the time to see new places there is no better thing then actually doing.

This trip changed every aspect of how I thought of the consumption of energy. When we first started the trip we saw the classic corn fields passing by. Corn is our most fossil fuel intensive crop. We have all seen fields as we drive down the road but when you start to drive miles and miles and realized the quantity of fields and the trucks of corn going out it really starts to boggle the mind.

We passed trains that stretched with hundreds of cars filled to the brim with coal. Some trains were loaded with lumber as they passed along a treeless field of farmland. Above them loomed giant windmills. In some of the most secluded parts of the state the vast sky was interrupted with large webs of powerlines. They seemed to go on for an infinite amount of time.

The most dramatic lesson came to us in North Dakota. We had to drive in one stretch from Minnesota to Montana because of the oil boom in North Dakota. Every single hotel, motel and apartment had been filled by people working for the oil companies. We stopped in two cities and in all of the small towns outside of the city. All were full. At the same time we hit Dickinson ND tornados were touching down. We were locked in a gas station (not the safest place I am sure) for about 20 minutes. There were a few locals there and they seemed so angry about what the oil companies had done to their town. They said rent 3 years ago was maybe $100 - $200 and was now a couple thousand. You couldn't buy new property there or rent a hotel for a vacation. All of this happened when the government changed regulations on how oil could be drilled to meet our high demand for fossil fuels.

Every time I eat a piece of fruit from the other side of the country, shop in a store that has the exact same items as a store 2000 miles away or even spend a few hours on the computer I am reminded of the amount of energy it takes to get these things here. How much time and miles have passed by to get something from point A to B. I was struck again by this fact when buying eggs at the farmer's market. The eggs had just been gathered that morning and the lady was explaining to another that most eggs bought at the store could be over a week old.

We all need a reminder of what it takes to power this country. We also need to realized the quantity of resources it takes to power this country. We need to conserve, buy local and care. We need to think about the diversity in this country and realize not everyone is going to think the same way. We need to broaden our horizons and start thinking more cohesively instead of selfishly with small boundries. We can not think small when it takes such a large expanse to keep our daily lives in motion. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Still Woking On The Idea

The Technology Loop

I have been sucked into the technology loop! I am now managing this etsy shop, facebook, twitter, blogspot, yelp and tumbler. I have an Amazon account, netflix, emails with funny video links, recipes, eco friendly feeds and following other people's blogs.

It can all become overwhelming but can also be totally awesome in a way that it gets you out there. Its like your credit rating where the more you spend on the credit card and pay it off the better credit rating you have and the person who is frugal with their money and never needs a credit card has a horrible credit rating. You need the credit rating to get anywhere! Your head starts to spin.

The expense of managing all of these hubs of information about me and my shop are paying off though. More and more people all over the world can find out about me. I can google eco friendly candles and mine will show up third in a list of items that are drawn from major sites like My small candle business I created in my kitchen is now all over the web. A person can google their name and their picture will show up. I called a lamp parts vender and he had actually heard about A Wandering Soul.

What does this mean for my little etsy shop? Maybe a sale here or there but the action is being spread out. I am making connections so that I can go do shows outside of the internet. I am meeting artists who think like me and have given me tips on how to work with different mediums. We are forming un-official alliances and my name is getting around.

I was talking to an owner of a small sub shop here in Forest Grove, Oregon. They had to get their business going working every spare hour they had to make the dream work. It is a fantastic place with lots of customers. Little did they know that they have been twittered about and added to facebook gps checkins. They have been yelped about and have a virtual five star rating.

People of my generation turn to the internet first when making choices. We are used to being bombarded with information and the only way to get through the tangled mess with a shred of sanity is to attack it with a search engine and word of mouth. It is a world of technology and instant, raw un-censored reviews. You have to dive in head first even if it is intimidating and you might make mistakes. Who knows maybe your business will be the next thing to go "viral"!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Latest Art Project

Almost perfect. By my third try it should be just the way I want it. I have to add an orb to the top left corner and attach the middle flower to the orbs on the right. It pops out when I wrap it around the candle. This was a daunting project in the head today. No A.C. in our place accept for a window unit upstairs. That has become my new art home. lol

Shout Out To Phil's 1500 Subs

If you are visiting the Forest Grove area and want a really great in expensive meal Phil's 1500 Subs  is the place to go. When we first moved here and were lagging from unloading the U-Haul we found this place online and stopped in. It is a great shop in the plaza next to Safeway.

The people that work there are SO nice and they did the nicest thing ever. I mentioned to them in passing we were from Upstate New York and told them how my husband's favorite sandwich was the Buffalo Chicken. They said they would mention this to Phil and they did! This month they have what my husband describes as "The best buffalo chicken sub he has EVER had"

They picked the best chicken that is nice and juicy and covered it in the perfect amount of spicy hot sauce.  They do it with peppers, onions, pepper jack cheese, lettuce all slathered in frank's hot sauce and blue cheese.

I had a bite of his sandwich and it rocked my world. Other subs I love from their shop are the Turkey Burger Sub, The Viking that is like a Italian combo, and their Warhead that is a ruben type sub with a twist.

Thanks Phil's 1500 for making an amazing Buffalo Chicken Sub; the best one on the West Coast!

Draft For A New Candle Luminary Cover.

All of my best ideas come to me as soon as I get comfortable in bed at night. I lay down shut my eyes and start having visions of shapes and colors. I need to start keeping a sketch book under my pillow. It would be nice if all my head pictures would drain out my ear and onto the pages so I could get a better look at them in the morning. haha! My poor husband has gotten an elbow more then once where I exclaim to him "Oh my goodness I just had the best idea!" Poor guy. 

The Old Cellar Hole By: Alma M. Sevier 1980's

This is another entry from my grandmother's journal. She used to take me to these cellar holes sometimes and we would look at the fallen mossy rocks with remnants of bottles and jars jutting out from them.

The Old Cellar Hole By: Alma M. Sevier 1980's 

The yard is silent now. Grass grows knee hight right up to the front step. Honeysuckle is growing within the foundation walls. All is so quiet.

The road has become grass covered. An aging lilac bush; two stately elms; possibly a clump of daffodils remain; almost always a patch of myrtle. The myrtle is very likely covering a small grave. One of the stately elms has aged; so much so it has broken over like an elderly man. It is ready to return to Mother Earth - dust to dust.

Once a family with several children walked and romped this dooryard. The trees must have shaded them in play; the farmer rested his team after watering them at the well. Long hot summer days. The breeze always blows on this yard as it sits on a hilltop overlooking a deep falley. The yard would have been tread bare beneath young bare feet. A rope swing; no doubt; swayed from one of the strong elm limbs.

I stood on the front step today when I went to call. Of corse there are no buildings there now; no front door. The cellar walls and the cistern are open to the black berry bushes; which are growing up from the cistern floor. No one answers my step, but I go each year anyway. Just to be neighborly and have a quiet moment to think.

Do you suppose old homesites grow lonely? Do they miss the new baby's cry; the little children's laughter; the older children's secrets? I feel once a site has been lived on there are always parts of the past events that occurred there; left behind. PIces of broken pottery; a rusty can; and empty medicine bottle; a cement path; and old well. All of these things had and importance at one time.

A red-winged blackbird settled down with a warning sputter. It aroused me from my deep thoughts. I always "feel life" when I come upon a cellar hole or empty house. These places held pioneers; people who cleared the land; lived; worked; died. Did many things we do now. They moved on; the place stood vacant. Many causes and reasons are given for the desertion. Fires, no insurance monies to re-build. Bad roads no easy way to get to needed supplies and medical help. Taxes! Many of Central New York pioneers moved on to lands "out west".

Stone walls were lain if the ground provided enough stones. Orchards were carefully planted and cherished. Many varieties of fruit. These were the source of delicious pies in the winter. Wells had to be dug by hand and stone walls lain to line the pit. Many stories are told by our ancestors of the walls falling in on whoever was working there. Of children falling in and being seriously injured or drowning. Some of these wells went as deep as twenty feet and more.

Many cellar holes are deserted due to result of fires. Started by overheated chimneys or lighting; or overturned lamps or candles. There were not volunteer fire departments then. If you couldn't put the fire out with a pail of water you were doomed. It was cheaper to desert the place and find a new home if you were a poor family. Neighboring farmers usually bought the land; adding to their existing acreage.

Many un-marked graves are in the dooryards of these vacated home sites. Many lay in the door yards of existing homes. They lay under the before mentioned myrtle patches and shrubery. I myself have an aunt who died at birth; buried in a dooryard at ONondaga Hill; and a cousin buried in another dooryard in Onondaga Hill; due to childbirth death. Babies were born un-assisted some times; into cold bedrooms and often into a large poorly fed family; everyone being at a weakened state. Many serious diseases passed through communities; un-checked by our modern vaccinest. If a family lived isolated deep in the sparsely settled lands they were helpless to do much better.

If one listens close to the "old timers" tales about these homes and deserted sites, you realize they AREN'T forgotten!! It's just that people who lived there formed new life and homes somewhere else. Their memories return often. So often one hears a child from these sites; now full grown and possibly aged; reminisce about "how cold the water always was from that well; that farm crew the best potato I 've ever eaten; there was the best apples from that orchard".

No; they aren't forgotten; they are just un-used. So when you pass one - don't PASS - PAUSE and look around (with the landowner's permission). Step up to the "front door" and listen. Listen - do you hear sounds of a past life? I'm sure you'll find a surprise there - if only a memory of YOUR old home; somewhere in your past.

Written in memory of the "Morgan Place" atop Smith Road, New Woodstock, NY It has been bulldozed over now and is part of the neighbor's farm field. There are many, many such cellar holes throughout the local State Lands; located between New Woodstock; Erieville and Georgetown areas. Many are almost invisible now in 1997 but can still be found if you park your care and HIKE!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Bulk organic herbs, spices & essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs

Bulk organic herbs, spices & essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs

Cape Lookout Oregon

We traveled through Tillamook to find this beach. I wanted to see this place especially since we had just gotten some amazing sharp cheddar that had been made here recently. My husband was wondering how a place right on the ocean was known for making cheese. I told him "sea cows" ha! It was a cute quiet little town surrounded with beautiful pastures filled with grazing cows. Mountains surrounded the very flat farm pastures. A river interrupted the fields and then moved onto a tidal bay area where people were clamming! I have never seen clamming before other then TV or photos. It is REALLY neat and I would really like to try it next summer. The rules and regulations were laid out on a board and people in rubber boots mucked around in the mud digging up clams with funny little basket scooper things on sticks. I have some hot pink farm boots just for this task.

We drove past a few view points of the ocean and moved on to the Lookout Point parking area. It is good to get here early because though the lot is of ample size there are a lot of visitors. People were hiking in from far down the road.

I had been dreaming about moving to Oregon for some time. Quite often I would google image pictures and would see stunning photos of a rocky cliff coast. I could not imagine what it would be like to see cliffs like that and added it to my bucket list. To me the Oregon coast is as exotic and wonderful as Gunung Mulu National Park, Borneo (also on my bucket list). 

I got to scratch the cliffs off my list when I went to visit Cape Looktout. We started down the path to the populer lookout and realized we were going to be just in time for low tide if we went to the beach first. There were a lot of tourists anyway so we headed left down the less traveled trail to the beach. This seemed to be a much longer trail then the Crescent Beach trail in Ecola State Park but is much less steep as it makes a long gradual z shaped decent down to the beach. This is the kind of trail you would want to take visitors down. They could do it with most any kind of shoe one water bottle and even little kids could handle the trip. There are shortcuts that are very steep but if your in great shape and want to try it can cut an hour off the hike. Keep in mind the plant life is delicate and that you are in bear country and that staying on the trail is probably your best bet. 

One of my favorite critters here in Oregon are the giant slugs. I saw a record breaking slug munching on a bright orange and yellow muchroom. It had left large bite marks in the soft mushroom top. It had like a tube mouth that would slowly come down and scrape bits of the shroom off. I didn't think to take a video of this but I am probably the only person in the world who would want to watch a video of a slug eating a mushroom. 

There were lots of mushrooms and ferns on the trail. It was fantastic and I tried to take pictures of as many as possible. It reminded me of a much larger version of Clarks Reservation in Syracuse, NY. Clarks is a unique area with something like 150 unique verities of ferns growing on its cliffs. 

This is a nice quiet beach. Not as quiet as Crescent but large so you don't feel crowded in the least bit. The cliffs are immense and the tidal pool is VERY exciting. It seemed to be a crab breeding ground and I spotted at least 3 or 4 different verities of crabs. I am sure there were more but to my untrained eye it seemed to be about that many. There were babies the size of a pencil eraser everywhere. They were scooting around some with teeny tinny shells and some still searching for their shell home. There were large crabs crabbing around menacing the smaller ones and others defending their spots. I found some dead crabs and a big guy fending off a new intruder in one pool. 

The coolest thing I was able to spot was a giant sea snail. After a little research I think I found the name of the creature. Lottia Scabra seems to be the name. They seem to be a rare find though especially of that size. Apparently they are a delicacy. Hopefully this one is safe here at the park. 

I really enjoyed watching the dancing fog at this beach. When we arrived the water was vivid blue and smooth as glass. The fog was way out but slowly creeped in. It would creep in, move back and then move down the beach. People were slowly moving through the fog. It was like watching the saints march in the movie Fantasia. It was almost somber as if you were witnessing ghosts moving through the fog. The waves started to pick up and had a pleasant methodical crash. The waves looked really big to me and were still the vibrant blue with wonderful white crests. 

We explored every inch of the tidal pools and then moved down the beach to a area where sand and soil had broken off leaving a exposed area of layers and a wall of towering pines peering down the collapsing edge. We sat in the sand eating our lunch while the dogs dug little holes of cool sand to lay in. Daisy our beagle snuck some licks in on my sandwich while I distractedly starred down the beach. We were still tired from the King Mountain Trail adventure and headed back home soon after lunch. I would really like to visit this beach again and out of a whole state filled with 5 star beaches would give this one 10.