Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 8
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Have a Cow

For the next semester I will be traveling with 20 other Whitman students throughout the American Southwest, studying conservation, ecology, literature and politics. I’m here to share the antics that happen along the way.

Thursday, September 4, 2014 – Starvation Ridge, Wallowa County, OR

We get a lot of guests here on Semester in the West, but of the most unexpected were the cows I greeted as I walked to our chair circle this morning. We are in cattle country and dodging cow pies is currently of high concern, reminding me immediately of my childhood. Yes, you read right. I associate my childhood with cow dung. Let me explain.

Growing up, my family went camping in the Ochoco National Forest every Memorial Day Weekend. The climate and ecology there is very similar to where I am now: dry Ponderosa Pines, creek beds ready for exploring, and roads that kick up dust as you walk. There are various ways to keep yourself entertained on camping trips far away from civilization: hikes, creek walks, card games, etc. When I was about 11 years old, my cousin Mindy and I decided to pass the time by making a fairy village.

Before I humiliate myself, let me be clear that building a fairy village in Eastern Oregon is very different than building one near my home in Portland, were rich moss and fallen leafs abound. In the Ochoco National Forest, there are pine cones, sticks and rocks to build the structure of a village, but few items for decoration. Maybe it was because of minimal resources, maybe it was for the novelty, but Mindy and I determined that the best way to adorn the teepee we had built was to slice a cow pie and use it for the walls. Don’t fret – we used a shovel and gloves, but we were proud of our creation, and proud that we had faced the nasty for the greater good of the fairy community.

Rudely, no fairies came to take advantage of the new real estate. I can’t say I blame them. I wouldn’t live in a house of poo either. Yet here I am now, living on a carpet of cow pie. Funny, the ways life comes full circle.

This was originally posted on my blog Triple Trouble in Walla Walla on 9/4/14 and can be found here: iamwhittie.wordpress.com

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