Monthly Archives: August 2013

Organic Farming in the Rockies

Larch camp
Day 2 – Day 6
Waking up in a Montana Larch forest to freshly picked huckleberries and French pressed coffee, care of my husband, as the kids slept, was delightful. After a slow morning of yoga in the sun and quiet chatting with Joseph I realized that nature is my medicine right now…wilderness, walks, crickets, wild chamomile, berries and quiet. There is a lightness that I haven’t felt in years creeping back into my spirit. It is contagious and I think we are each experiencing it in our own ways.
The previous evening was wonderful. As dinner was cooking on our camp stove the boys eagerly started their “adventure school” work, writing and drawing in their main lesson books about the beginning of our journey. Although I expect their enthusiasm will wear off as school becomes an integral part of the trip it was quite satisfying to see them work. Ila played her part. She participated by snatching up Mr. E’s crayons when nobody was looking, then running as fast as she could then stopping and eating them as he chased her down the trail. Ila’s entertaining yet goofy urge to eat crayon continued. We gave her a piece of paper with crayons so she could participate. When everyone was looking her way she would use them to draw. Once she decided everyone was looking away she shoved it in her mouth and started devouring as fast as she could. “Ila no!” someone would shout….back to drawing.
J and E 1st lesson
Ila's main lesson
From there we enjoyed the spectacular drive down to Missoula and took care of some busy work…Laundry, food shop, gas. We also learned that town life was complicated with our family of five. Instead of hanging around we wasted no time and headed North to the Salish Indian reservation.
Next stop, was our college friends’ organic farm, Fresh Roots Farm just outside of Polsen, MT. About an hours’ drive North from Missoula their picture perfect farm was nestled literally at the base of the dramatic western edge of the Rocky’s. The Mission Range towered above as we enjoyed this lovely resting place and opportunity for karma yoga. Weeding onions, gathering eggs, washing beets, sharing meals and playing in the sun, E was sold on the farm life and on his new 4 yr. old buddy Kena. Mr. J was psyched that it had wifi (read download more books) and an opportunity to learn how to fish and Ms. I was all about the animals. She made friends with the sheep, courageously pet a chicken and was pretty much the last gal standing at the end of each night with late night visits to see the cows, horses and donkeys. The stay included pasture walks, lovely hikes with refreshing and picturesque swims at nearby Flathead Lake – a lake so vast it seemed more like an inland sea with the Rocky Mountain rising abruptly out of its eastern bank.

Mr. E's new friend

Mr. E’s new friend

I, E, K on tractor
Days before we set off on our journey from Bellingham, Joseph Mr. J and I watched Food Inc. We wanted to educated ourselves before we traveled, knowing that the temptation to eat mindlessly and poorly on the road was too easy. We hoped that the film would make this decision simpler. Interestingly, we experienced the themes of the movie first hand on the farm. As the kids played on our last morning, our hosts prepared an incredibly bountiful box of veggies for us for the road and we packed up the car, a plane flew super low over us spraying the commercial seed potato farm adjacent to our friends’ farm. Although common to farm folk, it was incredible to our little town family that such spraying of pesticides (and earlier in the season, herbicides) was acceptable much less right next to a certified organic grower. The wind was quiet that day however is it realistic to say that all of the spray fell over the exact area and not in the common irrigation ditch or atop other parcels of land?
Flathead lake swimming
Kena fishing
Joseph and Karl harvesting
Over our last breakfast, Karl and Darcy, our farmer hosts gave us a quick lesson about commercial/organic farming regulations and practices as well as the impact of GMO’s and the power of large companies like Monsanto (with printouts regarding the major chemical companies that now own the majority of seed companies and the rights to the seeds as well as the major organic seed sellers).
camping at the farm
We left the farm with a focus on continuing to learn more about our food, visiting other farms across the country, remaining aware about our choices and feeling thankful for our friends in the gorgeous valley and their dedication to sustainable, organic growing…
The Farmers
Let the adventure continue. Next stop Glacier National Park.

Categories: Adventure, Camping, family, GMO, Hiking, Homeschooling, Montana, organic farming, Rocky Mountains | 7 Comments

Farewell Cascade Mountains…

Family hiking at Cascade pass

Family hiking at Cascade pass

Destination: Cascade Pass

Fauna: Pika, Humming Bird, Chipmunk, Black Flies

Magnificent day hike on Friday accompanied by JoJo and Mr. B drinking in the last of the Cascades before we head East. A quintessential cascades trail with wild flowers, thunderous icefalls, jagged peaks and little pikas jotting across the trail. Above all else, it was the black flies that motivated us to keep moving towards the pass. We learned from the Ranger hiking down the trail that there was a reprieve from the black flies above tree line. The flies called for the necessary trail game favorite “Thinking of an animal” to keep the boys spirits high. The animal had to be something local to the environment (and not prehistoric or mythological). The game moved us through the 3.7 miles to the pass where the boys very quickly discovered the remaining snow fields – total bonus at the end of an arduous hike.

We feasted with a spectacular views overlooking Eldorado, Boston Basin and the breath taking valley below. As it started to rain we realized how ill prepared we where for the weather. This was a great shake down of packing and preparation as we pull together our gear for the trip… each of us needs our own day pack with water, snacks, poly-pro layer and rain gear ready to go at all times.

Little Ms. I mostly riding on my shoulders and desperately trying to walk herself was a superstar. Her black fly annoyance and concerns were quickly quelled by the profusion of huckleberries and salmon berries on the trail! She napped little as the ergo was a poor substitute for her cozy BOB however her spirits where high throughout the day and she quickly crashed on the way home as the boys sang her to sleep. The day ended at the Cascadian Farm Ice Cream stand in the gorgeous valley outside of Marblemount.

Farewell sweet Cascade Mountains. May we drift home to you next summer…

Mr. J meets a mountain goat

Mr. J meets a mountain goat

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5 a roof rack and a potty…

While at the bank the other day Little Ms. I needed to go to the potty… this meant that the kind bank manager needed to take out his keys, unlock the door, take us up stairs to the secret inner bank chamber and hang out while she “went to the potty”. The novelty of this adventure reinforced her desire thus we needed to repeat it 3 times! You can not tell a potty training toddler to hold it nor can you call her bluff…moral of the story, the potty is the first thing to be packed in an accessible place in the car aka The Silver Seagull.

Other things that have so far made the list:
Etch a sketch
3 match box cars
jump rope
small soccer ball
sidewalk chalk
wipe on wipe off markers (to draw on windows)
duck tape
fix o flat
jumper cables
hand sani
dental floss

Packing list…to be continued.

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Welcome to our Family Adventure

This is where we will be posting….

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