Tag Archives: travel

We ran away to the South Pacific!

17 Apr

20140417-104213.jpg20140417-103738.jpgI’ll admit it wasn’t a bucketful of practical, but we ran away to the South Pacific. We left every thing to fend for it’s self while we walked barefoot and swung in hammocks. The wind howled while we floated in the salty tide and collected beautiful purple spiral shells and turned brown. The snow piled and melted while we ate coconut and papaya and drank warm beer with new friends.
On the bluff here in Alaska, the darkness and cold wind shuttered everything inside. In the islands of Vanuatu, the doors open wide, the warm soft night breeze stirred our hair while we stirred our pineapple daiquiris. Maybe the coyotes howled , I don’t know, but the birds sang in raucous joy every morning in Vanuatu.
There is a part of me (a gift of my parents) that whispers in my ear “This is not very practical, you could be buying that irrigation pump; remember that compost tea brewer that was so expensive? Well…..”
Yes, well. I can say that it is a struggle to balance all the wants and needs of one very short life. A little bit here, a little bit there is my default setting I guess. A little bit exotic travel, a little bit digging in the dirt and hunter-gather. It is by no means an equal proportion…. Yet. We have met many travelers that have told us “I wish I would have done it the way you are and started while I were younger.” It occurs to me that we haven’t met anyone yet that said they wished they would have saved all they could and waited for retirement to travel, see the world and learn. Maybe we should be experiencing the world while we are young so we can apply the knowledge all through our lives?
As it happened, our high tunnel roof tore in high winds while we were away; not shred but like a seam down the peak- it separated. The high tunnel looks like a skeletal whale eroding out of the tundra. We still have snow on the ground, slushy tired snow, so we’re not planting early this year. Instead we are researching a new cover.
In a greenhouse grower’s magazine we came across an ad for a bubble wrap covering that looked intriguing. Here in the states it’s called Solawrap.
Here in Alaska, it’s $1500 to barge the material to us. (One round trip airline ticket to the South Pacific). The new covering will be north of $4500 (45 days of high living in a bungalow which includes meals or purchasing 20 dugout canoes with outrigger). The hardware is separate (coconut crab for two?).
We pull on long johns and wool socks, find a matching pair of gloves, wonder where we left our favorite wool caps and know exactly where our sun glasses are. Back to it.
Next up, WTH is Solawrap and will it hold in category 3 cyclones?




May, icy sweet

3 May

The snow is still most stubbornly with us. Either you can skim on top or you punch through past your knees. May.
We have just returned from an adventure to the Southern Hemisphere, Ecuador. For a month we indulged ourselves with brilliant food, brilliant color and brilliant scents; that is how I remember it. Every thing seemed to dazzle.
I learned that Ecuadorian communities and agriculture are striving to become better stewards of their land and of their people. There are whole communities that have reinvented themselves with organic farming, wild crafting and handcrafting. They run community owned hostels that give tours of the many community’s businesses. They have lifted themselves out of poverty where 50% of the children under 5 didn’t live to see 6. To be sure, they had visionaries to lead the way, but the whole community had to make it continue.
We toured a rose farm (of course) that was eager to show off their facility; and they had a lot to be proud of. The warehouse was clean and bright and big.  They had large posters listing the commitments to fair labor practices and the employees rights, beside one of Claudia Shaffer and roses….

We saw boxes of wrapped roses of every wonderful color ready for shipment to Whole Foods in the U.S.   Others were going to Europe and to Russia. One batch of crazy neon tie-dye roses were heading for Thailand, the foreman just looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and said “They like them that way…”  They color the roses the same way you would color a stem of celery: colored water in the vase. I had found an indigo blue rose at the hostel we stayed at; but the whole thing was deep blue, the leaves, stem, petals, all of it. When I clandestinely lifted the stem from the bouquet it stained my fingers inky. That one must have been touched up with an airbrush….like a model in Victoria’s Secret.
All the intense color of Ecuador has to sustain me now as my world is again white. This time I see patches of brown and an international orange life ring poking out of the snow. Yard art doing it’s duty to brighten and make curious the world.