hay buckin’ / bye caitlin

October 29, 2010

Caitlin and Wynne helped us bring in the last of the summer’s hay. We didn’t have a big truck or forklift this time, so it was all blood, sweat and tears.

We loaded 6 tons of hay onto the wagon and put it in the big barn. Everybody’s favorite job was to drive the tractor, so we had to take turns with it.

Caitlin just left to go home to Portland, and I miss her lots. Dang it, we even have straw hat style in common.

Okay, I know I’m lame. I haven’t posted anything in nearly a month. Unacceptable. This is an extremely busy time for me and mine, blah-dippity-blah. Moving on.

I wanted to say hurrah for the Wallowa County Farmer’s Market 2010. It’s over for the year, but it was a splendid season. Some of my dear market buddies are featured here:

Emily Cooper of Short Season:

Emily is rad. She decided to start her own pickle making business and jumped through numerous hoops to make it happen. Our government is very concerned that small-scale pickle makers such as Emily might destroy us all and they make it close to impossible to satisfy all the various requirements needed to sell people pickles. Nonetheless, Emily persevered and started Short Season, which has been doing quite well. Every time I look over at her booth someone is walking away with a jar of pickles. She makes awesome beet, garlic scape, green bean, and cucumber pickles. And she grows all the produce herself. Rad.

Joanie, Mike, Rhia, and Lexi of Fluit Family Farms:

I’m not sure I spelled their names right. Hopefully they forgive me. The Fluit family has a ranch in Wallowa County where they raise free range grass-fed beef. The girls Rhia and Lexi help their dad with the ranch and they do everything he does, as far as I can tell. The girls round up cattle, raise and race horses, do all the ranch chores, drive the forklift, help their mom at the market, etc. They are also the most down-to-earth, nicest teenagers I’ve met in a very long time. They rock.

Wendy McCullough of Sally B Farms:

You will not get by Wendy McCullough’s booth without buying some of her soap. My booth was right next to hers and I was consistently impressed at her ability to sell her (admittedly awesome) soap to every single person who walked by. As I recall, the PH of goat milk is very close to that of human skin, and it creates a luxurious lather which hydrates as it cleans. Most people give up lotion. She raises the goats herself and those goats who do not make the goat milk soap grade are sold for meat. Goat meat is tasty, I had some at a local Goat Roast recently. Goat milk soap is also nice and I use it daily. Yippieee!

Carol Bartlow: Kettle Corn RAH RAH RAH!

Carol and her kids make kettle corn and the smell always wafts directly towards my booth and makes me deliriously hungry. Eventually I end up sprinting across the market to her booth, glancing over my shoulder every 3 seconds or so to see if any customers are waiting, throwing some money at her, grabbing a bag of corn and racing back. She’s used to this. She helps me pack up all my stuff, too, at the end of the market, and is really, really nice.

Me of Arrowhead Ranch Produce:

The intrepid Wallowa County Vegetable Grower Extraordinaire.

L to R: Elsa and Caitlin, apprentices for Beth Gibans of Backyard Gardens:

Beth Gibans started the farmer’s market here in Wallowa County and without her and her farm apprentices there’d be no market. They are the mainstays of the market and entirely reliable in their vegetable bounty, arriving every week with huge baskets of produce. I love them heaps.

There are other market vendors, too, but these are all the ones I know and hang out with. It’s nice to see them every week, find out what they’ve got, talk, endure difficult weather together, etc. We have many, many market stories, all of us.

Bye, market folks, until next year. I will only ever get to see you at barn dances, potlucks. committee meetings, parties, ice skating, skiing, and book club.