Sunday, June 24, 2007

On the Tanana River, Fairbanks

There are few things that beat a trip down the Tanana river in Alaska, watching the black and white spruce, alder, birch, and aspen fly by. The river, which Knut describes as a "little crick" compared to the Yukon, is a big, meandering, glacial river that undercuts banks, turns silt into new bars, and offers countless channels and side passages. Jamie reads the river like a map and speeds us downstream for a look at the awesome expanse of boreal forest that is Interior Alaska.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Farmers' Markets

We went to the Farmers' Market in Corvallis today (this is not a picture of it) and it got me thinking about markets. The Corvallis Farmers' Market is widely admired in Oregon and considered to be among the best. Certainly our location in the midst of the Willamette Valley positions it near plenty of organic farms and a number of them market their goods on Saturday morning along the riverfront walk. First Street is closed off and the vendors set up shop. All sorts of things in the manner of vegetables, fruits, meats, honey, fish, oysters, flowers, and sweets appear in the booths. There are usually a few groups of musicians (ranging from singleton BobDylans that never made it off the Iron Range, to aging hippies, to little kids). There are lots and lots of people, dogs, and strollers. Mostly people buy little or nothing--I'm guessing it would average 2 or 3 leaves, a half a carrot, and a couple berries per person. The walking pace is slow-to-stop and the circulation is counter clockwise. It is not a place to buy food; it's a weekly social scene. Nancy and I rarely go there, opting for the cooperative market (they carry most of the local farmers) or the farmstand at Gathering Together to avoid three of my least favorite things--a slow walking pace, strollers, and dogs.

Anyway, it got me to thinking about some markets that I've been to where people do go to get food. I'm thinking in particular of the Granville Island Market in Vancouver, BC, the vegetable boat at Campo San Barnaba in Venice, the Rialto Market, also in Venice, and the open air market in Split, Croatia. I'll grant you that none of these are "Farmers' Markets", although each offers produce, meat, and fish grown or captured near by. None featured dogs (living or for offer) and there were few strollers to be seen. Granville Island seemed the most touristy to me, but it is still a serious food getting place. In the others, I seemed to be the only tourist. Locals looked at my camera and must have thought, "What, this guy has never seen carciofi, calamari, or a tonne before?" All were social--people spoke to each other and discussed the selection, the price, the weather. What they weren't to my eye was a place to go to be seen and to see others.

So in Corvallis, Oregon, where we don't have green grocers, or for that matter, any grocers within walking distance of most of the population, we drive to town, close off streets, and don't buy much food from farmers who harvest their offerings, load them into trucks and cars, haul them to town, sell some, and take the rest back home. Then we stop at Safeway on our way home and buy our food, put it in plastic bags, and anxiously wait next Saturday and the Farmers' Market.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Spring in the Forested Northwest

One of the great things about my job is that I get to visit beautiful wooded areas and see what's happening at different times of the year. Most of the pictures in this set were taken from a vantage point at the top of the canopy in an old-growth forest in Washington. The only canopy crane facility in North America makes that possible. What better way to think and learn about the forest than to suspend yourself in it?

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Why start a blog?

Hmmm. Good question. I've never kept a journal except for a few half-hearted attempts on canoe trips. I don't even keep meeting notes in a notebook--they get filed away chronologically by the date of the meeting. I still seem to be able to find what I need, so why impose order on function?

Mostly I started this because I like to take pictures and share them except that I don't make my gallery public since my name is in the address and...oh what the hell, no one will look at this anyway.

It's but I have hardly anything posted there right now anyway. You can see more of my pictures on Nancy's blog. Maybe this blog will be just about the pictures and what I was up to when taking them.

The header picture is Korcula, Croatia as our ferry departed heading for Dubrovnik. It was particularly beautiful in the sun after a few days in the rain.