Friday, August 24, 2012

Tour Eve

We launch the formal Permie Tour 2012 "Symphony with Seeds and Soil" tomorrow, so today is sort of a kick back, pack, stow, complete checklists sort of day.  I have been living in the Land Whale for a week and have utilized some of that naval ship-shape-ness I have mentioned before.  My bunk is made and stashed away each morning; my clothes are neatly put away in the tiny cubby hole that is mine;  my bike tools, bike lights, spare flashlight, binoculars, etc. are stowed in what (in my mind) is called the "gear locker." The bikes are locked and loaded on the carrier, the gas tank is full, new wipers are on, I checked the oil--maybe I am finally becoming the neat-nik person my Mom was always looking for when I was a kid.   Jocelyn is a kindred soul in this--I can tell she has that organizing gene.  She is doing her part to see that things are being collected, organized and prepared for a final push to load out in the morning.  She no doubt recognizes that she will be living with three men in a tiny space for three weeks and is probably trying to instill a standard that will make it work for all of us.

Speaking of Jocelyn, she is attending to the needs of her clients and setting them up for her to work for the next three weeks "on the fly" from the Land Whale which is equipped with a mobile wi-fi hot spot.  All you readers who work at home, take heart.  Now "home" can be a Land Whale hurtling down the interstate at 60 miles an hour or so.  Or on some farm in California where interesting things are being grown in interesting ways.

Crane Girl Statue
Paul, who used to live in Seattle, felt we should take some "shore leave" this morning and go into Seattle. His sights to see were not the usual tourist fare, though.  He felt the statue of the "Girl of a Thousand Cranes" a 'must-see' so we went there first.  The story, he told me, was that a young girl who was a survivor of the atomic bombing of Japan became very ill due to radiation exposure.  She believed that if she made one thousand paper cranes in the name of Peace, she would get better.  He said she didn't make it to one thousand and she didn't live.  Her peaceful example, though, of avoiding self-pity and working on a task devoted to world peace inspired the creation of a statue to her memory.  Today the statue is continuously draped with the paper cranes folded by others who want to make sure the little girl always has thousands of paper cranes around her.

The next place we went was to the Ballard Locks (officially the "Hiram M. Chittenden Locks".  These are the locks that allow boats to pass from Lake Union to Puget Sound.  I have always been fascinated by boats and water and how humans have built things to take advantage of bodies of water.  Today, for example, I saw a yacht that had to be nearly 100 feet long ease up into the locks and drop down into the Sound for a day of motor sailing, or heading off somewhere exotic.  Right behind it were a couple of women in a small sailboat heading out for their own water borne day on the water.  The people running the locks seemed experienced and helpful as they filled and drained the locks over and over again assisting people get where they are going.  It looked like a job I would enjoy doing for a while, but only when the sun was shining which would probably mean Seattle would not be a good match. 

Boat in Ballard Locks
On the other side of the locks there is a fish ladder that allows salmon heading to the sea as smolt to leave and spawning salmon looking to return to their freshwater homes to get through the locks themselves.  There is a cool viewing window where the returning fish swim by and get a rest from climbing the ladder before moving on.  I saw a dozen children transfixed by the presence of living, wild fish right before their eyes.  As a bonus, there were enormous sea lions hanging around the fish ladder like it was buffet night at the local fish joint--quite a show to seem them flash through the water after the salmon.   If you are in Seattle with kids, its a winner of a stop, and I recommend it.(Ballard Locks) There is a lovely park right there and the Carl S. English Botanical Garden so you can also go see some lovely, albeit not quite permacultural, gardening.


  1. Thanks for these daily posts, Geoff. I'm loving this opportunity to be a virtual traveler.

  2. What a beautiful sculpture. Touching story...I am really looking forward to being a fly on the wall during your tour! Julie