Thursday, August 23, 2012

Things I Learned During Two Months of Farm Work in the Okanogan

• It's pronounced "oak-a-noggin".

• The number of hours of labor that go into bringing you a bag of organic salad greens, an heirloom tomato, or a pint of pesticide-free strawberries is staggering. No matter how high the prices at your local farmer's market, your farmer is likely earning nowhere near minimum wage for his work. Small-scale organic farming is a labor of love.

• If you sleep in an old camper in a sheep pasture, you may occasionally get friendly calls from the neighbors.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


"I have so many fun things planned for you this weekend!" Hannah declares as we walk briskly up the steep incline from the dock to her brother's house.

"That is exactly what I need right now," I reply fervently. It's May 4th, and I'm fresh off the boat: I've just waved goodbye to a village worth of friends, including my newly-ex-sweetheart. I knew today was going to hurt. That doesn't make it hurt any less.

Now I've landed in Stehekin, a teeny town at the north end of Lake Chelan, where I'll be spending the weekend. I first heard about it over a year ago from a sailor friend:

Roscoe: You should come visit Steheekan.

me: Steheekan?

Roscoe: It is an odd little mountain community. You either hike in for 2 days, or you drive 4 hours from [Bellingham], take a boat 4 hours up the river. And you have this pretty much self-contained little mountain community of probably less than 1000 people, spread around a place that looks astonishingly like Rivendell.
No phones, no newspapers less than 2 weeks old. Maybe 6 cars.

me: oh my gosh. this is definitely going on the list.