Saturday, November 15, 2014

Heading to Tacoma Today to Pour Wine at the Lost & Found Thriftique


Come on down, or up, to the Lost & Found Thriftique in beautiful downtown Tacoma for an Open House where I am expected to be attired like a waiter, complete with apron, so as to look respectable, whilst serving a variety of fine Washington wines to cold, thirsty shoppers.


As you can see the address for Lost & Found Thriftique is 118 North Tacoma Avenue.

You can find the Lost & Found Thriftique on Facebook.

Operating Hours are from 10 am til 5 pm.

Or til the wine runs out....

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Elf's Warning Santa Not To Eat Brownies Left For Him In Washington Or Colorado

I saw this on Facebook and thought it was a bit amusing.

Santa's Elf giving the ol' guy pre-flight instructions well ahead of the upcoming Christmas, warning Santa that "No Matter How Tempting, Do Not EAT any Cookies or Brownies Left Out For You in Colorado or Washington!"

Probably good advice for Halloween trick or treaters too.

Monday, September 29, 2014

In Washington Marijuana Is State Approved With Loving Farms Open For Business

This morning, via my nephew, Spencer Jack's dad, for the first time I saw an advertisement for Marijuana.

I am guessing this ad appeared in the Skagit Valley Herald, and if not there, likely in some other Skagit County publication.

At the top of the ad it says, "It's here, State Approved Marijuana".

Then we are informed "No Medical Card Required & Public Welcome 21 and Over No Minors Permitted".

This locally owned and operated operation is called Loving Farms.

Loving Farms is on Facebook.

I don't know if it is a state of Washington warning type deal like that which the government insists be on cigarette packs, but the Loving Farms ad has what appears to be a warning type message...

This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do no operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product. For use only by adults twenty-one and older.  Keep out of the reach of children.

Sounds like good advice. Keep this stuff away from Spencer Jack....

Friday, August 15, 2014

Come Tour Tonasket in Okanogan Country with Tootsie Tonasket

This morning, via Tootsie Tonasket, I received the postcard you see on the left, inviting me to "Come Tour Tonasket" in Okanogan Country.

I have passed through Tonasket a time or two, but I can not say I have actually toured Tonasket.

As the postcard indicates Tonasket is in Okanogan Country. Tonasket is also in north-central Okanogan County. I believe Okanogan Country extends well beyond Okanogan County, north, across the Canadian border, where, in British Columbia, one finds Lake Okanogan, if one wants to.

Tonasket is named after Chief Tonasket of the Okanogan Tribe. Tonasket became the chief of the American Okanogans after the Oregon Treaty of 1846 established the U.S.-Canada border, which left the Okanogan Chief Nicola north of the border, thus giving Tonasket the opportunity to take over the south of the border Okanogan Tribe.

The population of Tonasket in 2014 is slightly higher than 1,000. Many of those 1,000 are descendants of the pioneers who first settled the Okanogan Valley.

In addition to the aforementioned Tootsie Tonasket, another Tonasket native who has become known world-wide is Walter H. Brattain, who grew up on a ranch near Tonasket and after attending school in Tonasket went on to co-win the Nobel Prize for Physics with William Shockley and John Bardeen for inventing the transistor.

The biggest Tonasket event of the year is officially known as the Okanogan Family Faire, known more commonly locally as Barter Faire.

Tootsie Tonasket's Tonasket fame is based mostly on her annual appearance at Barter Faire. Last year Tootsie Tonasket created quite a stir as Lady Godiva at the mostly anything goes event.

I am looking forward to taking a Tour of Tonasket someday. Maybe during Barter Faire.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Washington Trails Association Website

Last week, over the course of a couple days, Washington native, Maxine, hiked two of the North Cascades most popular hikes, Sauk Mountain and Cascade Pass.

At the summit of Cascade Pass Maxine continued on up the Sahale Arm trail to find that the view was among the best ever.

During the course of describing her latest hikes Maxine asked if I'd seen the Washington Trails Association website.

I had not. So I checked it out.

I am much impressed with this website. It pretty much comprehensively covers all the hiking trails in all the mountain areas of the state of Washington in all 31 Wilderness Areas.

Daily, multiple hikers add detailed trail reports, with pictures. Some days there are dozens of reports from various Washington mountain trails.

Like I said, impressive.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Skagit Valley Herald Refuses To Cover The Mystery of the Missing Skagit Valley Strawberry Crop

In the palm of a hand you are looking at one of Sven & Ole's giant Skagit Valley strawberries. If you have only had a California Driscoll type strawberry you have really not had a strawberry in all its deep red, juicy, tasty glory.

This year much of the Skagit Valley strawberry crop was not picked, even though it was a bumper crop.

Why were the strawberries not picked? Not enough pickers. The reason there were not enough pickers I do not really understand, but it has something to do with a strike against the Sakuma Brothers and their farming operation.

What ever became of the Skagit Valley's school kids picking berries to earn a few bucks during summer vacation? I have yet to get an answer to that question.

Mr. Martin Burwash, he being the chief operator of the Sven & Ole strawberry growing operation tried to verbalize his frustration via a letter to the editor of the Skagit Valley Herald, that being the local newspaper, which apparently had been turning a blind eye to the plight of the valley's farmers.

The Skagit Valley Herald refused to publish Mr. Burwash's letter, so Martin then published the letter himself, on Facebook, along with a paragraph preceding the letter, explaining his frustration with the inability to be heard....

Interesting....during our plight to get a crew to pick our berries, my partner went to both the local radio station and the local newspaper telling them of the problems growers were having finding labor. Neither the radio station or paper saw fit to run any kinds of stories or announcements. Even the community as a whole did nothing to help us. In response I wrote a letter to the editor of the Skagit Valley Herald, taking them, the radio stations and the community as a whole to task. Today the paper called to say they would not print the letter as they categorically deny they were ever informed growers other than the Sakuma Bros were having problems finding pickers. Really?

Here's the banned letter.....

Collateral damage has been defined as “damage to things that are incidental to the intended target.”

In the ongoing dispute between Sakuma Brothers and their workers, we are the “collateral damage.” Who are “we?” We are the other farmers in the valley growing strawberries. “We” are the farmers for which there are no printed signs of support or shiny tractors driving through the streets. 

Our fruit also rotted in the fields due to a lack of pickers. Although we had no dispute with our workers, to show support for those on strike, the people we traditionally hire each year were encouraged not to pick. Where normally we hire 45 pickers, we struggled to get 15. Proportionally, 2/3 of our crop was lost.
When you are merely collateral damage, you find there is little interest in your plight. When the local newspaper was told of the labor crisis facing all local growers due to the Sakuma Brothers dispute, they showed no interest in expanding coverage to report the entire story. When asked to announce growers needed pickers in the fields, local radio stations followed suit and showed no concern.

Printed signs or tractors parading up and down local streets and roads are an appreciated show of support. But that is the issue, they are just that, merely a show. Those of us suffering collateral damage did not care about your signs or demonstrations. What was needed was support in form of people willing to help us save our crop.

Collateral damage is impersonal. It is a shake of the head. It is a “that’s too bad you got caught up in this.” But in the end it is a loss suffered for which there is little or no outcry and concern.

__________________________________________

I have blogged about the Sakuma Brothers a couple times, once about the lack of pickers issue, once about their Sakuma Brothers Market Stand.

This is all very vexing and perplexing to me......

Monday, June 23, 2014

Why Are There Not Enough Pickers To Pick Skagit Valley Strawberries?

On the left you are looking at Martin & Cam looking at a strawberry picked at the Ole & Sven strawberry patch in the Valley known as Skagit.

A couple months ago, after I learned about the problems Skagit Valley berry growers were having getting their crops picked. I blogged about it in The End Of A Skagit Valley Sakuma Strawberry Legacy.

On Facebook I have been following the berry picking woes of Ole & Sven, currently not having enough pickers to pick their strawberries, resulting in tons upon tons of berries rotting in the field.

When I was a kid, growing up in the Skagit Valley, when school let out for Summer most of the Valley's school kids went to work picking berries.

We got paid 75 cents per flat of strawberries picked. I remember berry picking as both hard work and a lot of fun. With a party at the end of the season after which we got our paychecks.

I was more than a little shocked to recently learn that the current amount paid for picking a flat of strawberries is $20.

Wow. I assume this to be true due to the fact that I saw no one claim otherwise.

The most flats I ever picked in a single day, back during my berry picking career, was 29, at a field we called El Rancho.

29 flats times $20 is $580.

If this really is the case, that this much is being paid to pick a flat of strawberries, why are there berries rotting in the fields?

I don't understand.

Are kids no longer allowed to pick?

Back when I was a picker we co-picked with migrant workers, most of whom migrated from Mexico, following the crops across the west. Over the years many of the Mexican migrants decided to remain in the Skagit Valley, which is why the Skagit Valley has such a large population of Mexican descent, good Mexican restaurants and celebrates Cinco de Mayo.

I don't remember at what point in time the migrant camps disappeared from the Skagit Valley. Did the United Farm Workers movement result in better pay for working the California fields so there was no longer a motivation to travel north to Washington?

I have no idea.

Surely the people who live in the Skagit Valley know the berry growers are having a picking problem? Why aren't the people helping out?

This past weekend the town I grew up in, Burlington, had its annual Berry Dairy Days celebration. Berry Dairy Days was always a big deal for me and my siblings, partly due to mom and dad making us cool floats for the Berry Dairy Days Parade. And partly due to the fact that the carnival was located a block from our house.

What with this past weekend being the Berry Dairy Days celebration I am perplexed as to what there is to celebrate, what with tons of berries going to waste.

Is free strawberry shortcake after the parade still part of Berry Dairy Days? My best guess would be no.