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Essays

Scenic Pastures examines the history of land use in the Willamette Valley, and draws a parallel between the Native American practice of prairie burning and modern, pasture-based beef production. I argue that eating locally pasture-raised beef is among the best ways to preserve Oregon’s rural and forest lands. It features an interview with my personal source of this meat, rancher Mark Poorman at Crooked Gate in Monroe.

 

How to Enjoy the Outdoors is a persuasive illustration of the often antagonistic dichotomy of outdoorsmanship: Consumers vs. Aesthetic Appreciators, or Thoreau vs. Roosevelt, or REI vs. Cabela’s if you prefer.

 

Long Beach is Razor Clams is an exhaustive discussion of the relationship between Pacific Razor clams (Siliqua patula) and tourism on the Long Beach Peninsula. It involves interviews with a local native of the area, amateur historian and biology teacher Laurie Choate, and the lead shellfish biologist for the Washington Deaprtment of Fish and Wildlife, Dan Ayres. I shopped this around a bit, but found no interest. This version doesn’t really have a good narrative hook, and is just more of an “everything you ever wanted to know” type of piece. I know plenty more about razor clams, so you can ask me if you don’t find it in there.

 

Chestnut Farming in the Northwest is another “kitchen sink” piece, with a focus on a single chestnut farm on Mount Hood’s northern slope called Nella. The Nella family is from Trentino-Alto Adige in Northern Italy, and they throw a great chestnut festival (castagnata) the first weekend of every November at the farm. Check it out.