Category Archives: Uncategorized

It’s Okay To Not Hustle

There’s this meme going around Facebook right now, saying “If you don’t come out of this quarantine with a new skill, your side hustle started, or more knowledge, you never lacked time. You lacked discipline.” Thankfully multiple people have already skewered it, but it continues to be shared around by the sort of person who is trying to one-up everyone else, or who’s just plain clueless–or, for that matter, just trying to guilt you into buying whatever they’re selling.

Now, there’s not a damned thing wrong with self-promotion. That’s how indie artists, authors, and other self-employed folks get the word out. You have to be able to talk good talk in order to get people’s attention. But leading with this meme? Guilting people for not leaping from sudden unemployment straight into the thick of the ever-shifting gig economy? That ain’t gonna fly, Brocephus.

You Have Good Reasons to Slack

Excuse me while I dust off my counseling psych degree a sec, here. *ahem* We are in a very sensitive, turbulent time right now. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in a century in the Western world. We are in a hugely traumatizing situation here. Not just for the financial losses, but the fact that COVID-19 has killed thousands of people and left many more with permanent lung damage. We still haven’t gotten a handle yet on exactly how contagious this thing is, how long you’re contagious for, or whether you’re immune once you’ve had it, assuming you survive. We don’t have adequate testing, emergency rooms estimate that for every positive test there are 10-20 people out there infected and untested, and everyone with a cough is suddenly Schroedinger’s COVID case. Governments worldwide are slow to react in spite of the rising death toll. People have had friends and family die horribly from this thing in a short period of time. Even people who didn’t already have issues with anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses are feeling stressed, strained and scared–and, yes, traumatized. This image is guilt-tripping people who are actively being traumatized.

So we’re already starting with a populace that is dealing with this collective trauma, as well as whatever personal trauma each individual is experiencing. Not always easy to seize the day when you’re going through that. And I can think of a few other reasons that might further complicate this whole “Just get a side gig!” thing:

–They’re a parent who suddenly has all their kids at home, all the time, demanding time and attention and food, AND they still have to work eight hours a day from home, or maybe even more if their S.O. is unemployed/sick/etc. By the way, if someone trots out Isaac Newton or William Shakespeare or some other historical guy who managed to do epic things during a pandemic, remember that they usually had wives or servants to do all the laundry and cooking and cleaning and (if applicable) childcare for them.

–They’re disabled or chronically ill, and don’t have the ability/energy/etc. to just go and make something happen, just like that. Imagine if you just randomly got the fatigue from a really bad flu, and you never knew whether it was going to last a day or a month. And if you tried exerting yourself when you were feeling better, chances are you’d slip back into fatigue-land. That’s what a lot of my chronically ill/etc. friends have to deal with, to say nothing of issues with accessibility of resources for starting a side gig.

–They don’t have any money for the supplies needed to start a side hustle, or the supplies have been hoarded by hobbyists preparing for a Pandemic Staycation.

–They don’t have the skills for something that just requires what they already have (like, for example, writing on a laptop you already happen to own). Often these skills are things that can’t be perfected in a few weeks at home, but may take years to develop before they’re really marketable–like, for example, the skill to make a decent living on side hustles.

–They have anxiety, depression or other mental health conditions that make it hard to function even in the best of times, but even moreso in this…well…mess. Even people who were mentally healthy before are going to be developing diagnosable anxiety and depression disorders before all’s said and done. And speaking from personal experience, those of us who look successful on the outside can still be internally hamstrung by these conditions at times.

–Plus there’s the fact that we’re not supposed to, you know, leave our homes, which narrows down the field of potential side gigs by a lot.

Even doing something less financially-wrought like learning a new skill or subject takes time, energy, and sometimes money, any or all of which may be scarce for the reasons above and more.

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

I am saying all of this as someone who is arguably an expert on the side gig. I have spent the past eight and a half years 100% self-employed (and a lot longer doing it part-time) as an author and artist, able to cover all my bills and expenses, and for a time I was the primary breadwinner of a multi-person household. I have like ten different things I was doing for a living before this all hit, a pretty diverse set of streams of income, even if most of them just up and evaporated in the past few weeks. And while I’m definitely a hell of a lot leaner now than I was a month ago, I still have my head above water for the moment. So I think I know side gigs.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m overall healthy. I have a dog who is a lot less demanding of my time than kids would be. I have my own space where I can focus more or less without interruption. More importantly, I have the skills, the knowhow, the drive and the personality to go out and seek new opportunities. And I’m used to fluctuations in income, though admittedly this one’s unprecedented. Don’t gauge yourself by where I am now. I’ve spent twenty-two years building up my art business, my first book came out in 2006, and I’ve had a series of really good opportunities come my way that I had the privilege to be able to make the most of. I am not your measuring stick, so don’t say “Well, if she can do it why can’t I? I must suck!”

If you’re feeling crappy because you aren’t hopping to it and carpeing the diem and getting everything done, here’s what I have to say to you: Look, you just had your world turned upside-down. Job loss, scarce commodities, sudden lack of outside childcare, restricted movement and inability to be around much of your support system, and did I mention a pandemic is happening, too? Any single one of those things would be difficult for just about anyone to deal with, never mind all at once. And I don’t even know what all else has already been going on in your life–unstable or unsafe living situation, other health issues, breakups and other losses, interpersonal conflicts. You know, normal life stuff.

You’re Not Lazy, or Screwing Up, or (Gods Forbid) Undisciplined

It is totally okay if all you’re doing right now is surviving. It’s okay if you feel like you’re drowning, overwhelmed by all that’s happening both on a global level and more personally. It’s okay if all you can manage right now is to get out of bed and stumble through each day a moment at a time, struggling with a tidal wave of emotions. It’s okay if you’re just trying to keep your kids busy, dealing with a crowded home every single day, or trying to keep COVID-19 at bay. It’s okay if, instead of firing up DuoLingo or opening an Etsy shop, you spend your evenings vegging to Netflix or reading a book or playing hours and hours of Animal Crossing.

Not every moment in your life has to be about being productive even in the best of circumstances, and that goes exponentially so right now. Be patient with yourself, and be kind. You may be one of those folks who literally has to spend all their time scrabbling to try to cover the bills or get some leeway from bill collectors, and you have to dedicate your waking time hunting for resources just to try to get through this week. Believe me, I feel for you, I have a lot of friends in that situation right now, and I hope all of you can find some relief and assistance.

May I suggest something? If you have the energy for something more than the bare essentials of getting by, put that energy toward self-care, whatever you can manage under the circumstances. You can use it to recuperate, to rebuild your emotional and physical resilience. That way if things get rough again in the future, you have more internal reserves to build on. If your usual methods don’t work or aren’t accessible due to lockdown, ask others what they’re doing to keep themselves grounded in this trying time.

Just because you have more time doesn’t mean you don’t have to throw yourself right into something productive! Don’t feel pressured to just go-go-go the moment you have a little freedom to move. If you do decide you want to try a side gig, or a new skill, or learn all about some specialized topic of interest, go for it! If you have the energy and attention and opportunity to pursue something new, it can be a great coping skill during this traumatic time. Just don’t pressure yourself; keep it fun.

One last thing: I want you to save the image I have at the top of this post. And then if you see someone post that meme, saying “Come on, you lazy bums, get up and make that side gig happen! Learn new stuff! Do all the things! No excuses!” you pull out this version, and you look at the edits, you remember that it’s okay to be where you are, and you get back to doing things at your own pace no matter what someone else says. (I find visualizing stapling a printout of the edited version to the offender’s forehead to also be therapeutic, but that may just be me.)

Hang in there, okay? It’s going to be a rough time, but you’re not alone, and what you’re feeling right now is shared by so many people. So just let yourself be where you are in this moment, and we’ll see what hope tomorrow brings. And remember that whatever you’re capable of in this moment: it’s enough.

Did you enjoy this post? Please consider supporting my work on Patreon, buying my books here on my website, buying my art and books on Etsy, or tipping me at Ko-fi!

New Paths to Animal Spirits is Now Available!

I am pleased to announce the newest offering in my self-publishing endeavors! To be clear, New Paths to Animal Spirits is NOT the brand new book I alluded to in yesterday’s post; that one’s still being written. Instead, it is the new, self-published edition of my now out of print Llewellyn book, New Paths to Animal Totems. As the title suggests, I updated the language to be more culturally neutral; however, the content is basically the same, so if you already have the first edition, don’t bother buying this one unless you happen to be a completionist or something like that!

However, if you don’t have this book, it’s actually one of my favorites that I’ve written ! I was reminded of this as I was doing the interior layout for this edition, re-reading the text as I went along. Like all my books, it’s a toolkit that you can pick and choose form, rather than a monolithic chunk of holy writ. I like recommending it to newbies because it breaks my practices with animal spirits down into systems, but it also offers more experienced practitioners some ideas, too, as I basically dissected my practice into the three main approaches I take.

You can read more about this book, and preorder a copy at http://thegreenwolf.com/books/new-paths-to-animal-spirits/ (you can also get instant gratification and order an ebook there, too!) I just got the approval over on Amazon/Kindle, and I’ll place an order for my first batch of paperbacks at the end of the week; your copy will come out of that first batch. I expect to have the box o’ books in hand by the second week in April, and will prioritize getting those out to everyone who preorders now.

I have a few more books that I’ll be converting to self-published status in the weeks to come, so keep your eyes peeled for those new editions!

SHINY NEW PRODUCT!!!!!

DO YOU LIKE SKULLS?

DO YOU LIKE FUN?

DO YOU LIKE WEARING FUN SKULLS????!!!!

Try my SHINY NEW PRODUCT, DEELY BOBBERS WITH REAL ANIMAL SKULLS! After two decades of making stuff with dead stuff, and working really, really hard to come up with new ideas, I am pleased to announce that this greatest of inventions is now ready for YOU to BUY!!!!

LOTS of animals skulls for you to choose from, except all I have right now are muskrats but they’re really cool muskrats. I’ll have more soon, I promise! And you get a leather-wrapped headband so that you don’t have to think about how the plastic inside of it will someday end up in the ocean and kill a progressively smaller array of animals who mistake it for food and eat it and then die!!

if YOU want to be the life of the party!!!! then you need an ANIMAL SKULL DEELY BOBBER! Just $39.95 plus shipping anywhere that’s the United States!!!! And for a really great deal, buy TWO for just $79.90 plus shipping!!!!

“HOW DO I BUY THIS AMAZING NEW PRODUCT??” you ask? Comment below if you want information on how to wire money to me via a secure Western Union transaction!!!

Or better yet, check today’s date, skip the silly deely bobber entirely, and click on this text right here preorder my next book, Vulture Culture 101: A Book For People Who Like Dead Things!

Coming Soon: The Vulture Culture 101 IndieGoGo Campaign!

I am excited to announce that the official IndieGoGo campaign for my next book, Vulture Culture 101: A Book For People Who Like Dead Things, will launch on February 6, 2018! More than a book on taxidermy or bone identification, Vulture Culture 101 is a guidebook to the subculture surrounding the preparation, collection and appreciation of hides, bones and other specimens. It’s suitable for both beginners and experienced Vultures and may even appeal to those who are just curious about us and our collections.

The full IndieGoGo campaign won’t be launched til the 6th, but you can get a taste of what will be included at the prelaunch page here. And you can sign up for an email reminder to be sent to you when the campaign officially starts!

As with my wildly successful IndieGoGo campaigns for The Tarot of Bones, this campaign will help me to fund attendant costs for the book, such as paying guest writers for how-to essays on topics like hide tanning and bone cleaning, as well as the cost of printing physical books and having them shipped to me. Anything left over after that will help me cover my bills and other expenses as I finish up the last bit of writing, editing, layout and other work that remains before projected publication in Summer 2018.

I will, of course, make an announcement when the campaign itself goes live, but for now check out the prelaunch page for a taste of what’s to come! And, as always, thank you for your ongoing support.

Want To Help Me Have a Happy Birthday?

Hey, folks! Today’s my birthday–yes, I’m a Samhain baby! I’m taking the day off and having some quality time out in the woods, and later there will be tasty, tasty foods.

If you’d like to help make my day even better, please take a look at my various projects and consider supporting me through them. I’m self-employed, so taking a day off is a pretty big luxury. Even if you aren’t able to support me financially right now, just sharing this post with other folks helps as it gets the word out further. I’d really appreciate it!

So what am I working on these days?

–Artwork: I create artwork out of hides, bones and other natural materials. It’s been a big part of both my creative and spiritual lives for the better part of twenty years. You can purchase my work here on Etsy, and a more limited selection on Storenvy and on eBay (though Storenvy has some items that aren’t on either of the other shops!) Also, if you’re the owner of a shop that would like to carry my art or, for that matter, my books), here’s information on wholesale and consignment options. And if you’re interested in renting my costumes and other work for a film, photography session or other project, here’s where you can get more info on that.

–Books: My first book on animal magic came out in 2006, and I’ve had several others published since then through Immanion Press, Llewellyn, and the occasional self-publishing adventure. While the critters have always been central to my work, in more recent years I’ve been expanding my writing to include lants, fungi and other denizens of nature. You can find my books here, and purchase signed copies directly from me! (If you don’t want to commit to a book yet, you’re welcome to read my writing for free on my personal blog and over at my shared blog, Paths Through the Forests, on Patheos.)

–The Tarot of Bones: This is a HUGE project I’ve been working on for almost two years, and it’s just about ready to come to fruition. Throughout 2015 I created 79 assemblages from bones, moss and other natural and reclaimed materials, one for each of the Tarot cards plus the Happy Squirrel. I then had the pieces photographed, and I just sent the final card designs to the printer last week. I’ve also written a companion book to go with the deck. They’re not *quite* ready for preorder yet–I am waiting to get the physical proofs in the mail–but you can keep up on updates by entering your email in the Subscription form on the right sidebar of the official Tarot of Bones website. I expect to have the deck and book in hand in early 2017.

–Curious Gallery: For those in the Portland, OR region, I’m running a two-day arts festival celebrating the synthesis of nature, culture and art through the medium of the cabinet of curiosities. Now in its fourth year, Curious Gallery will be on January 7-8, 2017 at the Portland Crowne Plaza Hotel. If you preregister today, you can get in on the last day of Early Bird pricing! We’re also still accepting applications for vendors, presenters and artists, so check out the website for more details.

–Still Death: Also in Portland, I run a monthly art and education session where folks get to draw animal skulls from my personal collection and learn about comparative anatomy! We generally meet on the third Tueday of the month at the Fernie Brae on SE Hawthorne. You can find out more information, to include on upcoming sessions, here on the official website.

–Patreon: I am incredibly fortunate to have a significant number of people who like my work enough to want to support it on a monthly basis. If you’re interested in getting access to sneak peeks, news and other exclusive content, or you’d like a package of art or books in the mail every month, or even have a monthly totem reading or spiritual consultation, here’s where you can sign up as my Patron!

–Readings: Speaking of readings, you can get one card and five card totem readings from me, even if you live far, far away! I won’t be offering Tarot of Bones readings til the deck is out, but for now you can get information on what I do offer over here on my totem readings page.

–Events and Workshops: My booth is a frequent site at Northwest conventions and festivals, and I also present workshops at local bookstores and other venues. If you’d like to meet me in person, check out my calendar of upcoming events and appearances!

–Social Media: Want to stay connected? Here’s where you can find me online!

And again, even if you aren’t able to support me financially, just sharing this post around will help immensely. Thank you so much for making my birthday more awesome 🙂

I’m Headed to Paradise! Want To Help Me Get There?

Have you ever daydreamed about an ideal life? One where you had something you wanted dearly given to you? I know I have. And I just had the realization of one of those daydreams offered to me.

I’ve been offered an incredibly generous opportunity to move the Green Wolf studio to the Washington coast a little north of the Columbia River; the studio space is on a property that’s literally beachfront–you can see the water from the house, and it’s just a few minutes’ walk away through grassy dunes. The property extends into pine and fir forest, and up to a big, beautiful freshwater lake. The property owners are working with the Nature Conservancy–an organization I’ve supported for many years–to improve the habitat for several endangered species, including Western snowy plovers, Pacific red-legged frogs, and at least one endangered species of butterfly. Wanna see some pictures?

living

This is the main room of the studio space–roomy, with a wood stove to augment the central heating. This would be my main workspace–there are a couple of small bedrooms for art supply storage and a place to sleep when I stay here multiple nights.

kitchen

It has a HUGE kitchen! With an island and everything! I LOVE to cook; it’s one of my favorite forms of self-care. So this is definitely a benefit a lot of art studios lack.

solarium

Check out this awesome solarium just outside the kitchen! Currently it doesn’t have any heating or cooling, but the windows allow plenty of crossflow of air, and space heaters are a thing. I foresee moving my plants in here, at least the outdoor ones. Who knows how else this little nook might inspire me?

dunes

But what’s outside? LOTS of dunes. Sand, and grass, spotted with fir and pine trees. This is just a tiny taste of the land I’ll be living on. Isn’t it beautiful?

sunset

I think the thing I might be most excited about is the ability to see sunsets over the ocean. I haven’t lived in a place where I had a good view of sunsets since I was a child, and I’ve missed them desperately. This will be the view from my workspace every night.

Sound amazing? It IS! I’m still utterly gobsmacked that this is happening, and that it seems like such a good fit for everyone involved. For me, personally, it’s going to be beneficial on several levels:

–I’m under a LOT of stress; I have a lot of irons in the fire that I have to keep a close eye on, I’m the financial backbone of a household of three, and being self-employed is always a feast or famine situation, beholden to others’ desire to part with their money in return for art, books and other goodies. I’m thirty-seven years old, I’ve lived in cities for the past fifteen years, and the noise and traffic have really been wearing me down the past few years. Living in a more rural area, like what I grew up in, will be an indescribable stress reliever. Just being able to sleep without a white noise machine for the first time in over a decade will have remarkable effects.

–You may have heard me talk about how I share a tiny apartment with two other people. I love living with my partner and our roommate, but it IS really cramped in there. This studio move would allow them to stay in the apartment full time with more space while I split my time between the coast and Portland. And I’d have more room for artistic creativity in a beautiful space with LOTS of natural light, and I’d feel more inspired to write and engage in other endeavors. I’d still be able to spend some of my time in Portland taking care of business and being with my city friends, and keep my home there as well.

–I can use my years of environmental volunteering experience to help improve the land here, from cleaning up beach trash to planting native species. I’ve always wanted a space to dedicate myself to in a really deep, intensive manner, and I might actually have the opportunity if this all works out in the long run.

–Right now if I need to escape to a quiet place for a break from work, I have to make an effort to get out of town, which at the very least involves setting a day aside and driving somewhere, plus deal with all the travel expenses. Where I’ll be moving to is surrounded by national and state parks and wildlife refuges, plus little cute coastal towns with museums and antique shops, and of course the land itself. This means I don’t have to spend as much money on the rare occasion I take an actual vacation–and I can sleep at home in my own bed (and therefore not have to save up for hotels).

–I’ll finally have a place that I feel comfortable having company in–something I haven’t had since I was married years ago. (And yes, I can have friends and family over!)

So how can you help? Well, the timing on this is a bit tight financially. It being April and all, I’m already having to budget a four-figure sum for paying my tax accountant AND paying federal, state and local taxes. Having traveled a lot in the past two months for events, I haven’t been home to work on art as much, and while the coffers aren’t empty, they’re more thinly populated than I would like when preparing for a move. And since I’ll need to spend a fair amount of time over the next few weeks packing my studio up for a late-April relocation, that’s going to be less time to do the catching up I had intended to do this month. I hadn’t really planned to move; this was a pretty sudden and unexpected opportunity. So I have to budget for moving expenses, plus some groceries and household items for the new studio space, on top of normal bills and business expenses and taxes.

I don’t want or need handouts. What would greatly help, though, is purchases! If you’ve been eyeing any of my artwork lately, or have felt the desire to buy my books, now would be a really optimal time to do so! I have shipments of all my books headed this way to arrive any day now, and my Etsy, eBay and Storenvy shops are all full of things I’ve created that are ready to go to new homes. If you’re in Portland, I invite you to join me the evening of April 19 for Still Death, my monthly educational and art session where you get to learn a bit about comparative anatomy and then draw/paint/otherwise use some of my animal skulls for artistic reference–just $10/person. (Yes, I’ll be in Portland for Still Death every month!) You can buy a totem card reading from me, one or five cards. You can become my Patron on Patreon and get all sorts of nifty monthly perks sent to you in the mail. And while it won’t benefit me immediately, contributing to the Tarot of Bones IndieGoGo campaign between now and April 30 will help ease further financial pressure when I get the deck and book printed later this summer.

Even if you aren’t able to contribute, please pass this post along to others so they can have the opportunity to help me make a smooth transition to my new studio space/second home! Many thanks for your support, both in the past, and as I move into this exciting new stage of my life.

Want to See What Nonprofits I Support?

Hey, all! I just created a page listing nonprofit organizations I’ve supported over the years whether through donations or volunteering: https://thegreenwolf.com/nonprofits-i-support/

(I’m almost certainly forgetting at least a few–-I’ll add them as I remember them!) Since I began creating my hide and bone art in 1998, and later as I added writing, event organization and other efforts to my creative career, I have donated portions of the proceeds to these groups. When I’m able to, I also make time to volunteer with litter pickup, invasive species removal, tree planting and other efforts.

I highly encourage people to check out these organizations and consider helping them out!

Updates to the Green Wolf Website

Hey, folks! Just wanted to let you know about a bunch of updates to the Green Wolf website that I made this week:

Animal Parts Laws Page: This got a BIG overhaul; the page is now linked to three sub-pages, one each for U.S. Federal, U.S. State, and non-U.S. laws. I went through and updated dead links and redirects, and of course the non-U.S. laws section is an entirely new addition! If you know of any laws that are not included here, please email me at lupa.greenwolf(at)gmail.com

Portfolio: I updated my portfolio with some of the best of my recent artwork; there’s purchasing links to Etsy for those that have not yet sold.

Buttons: Buying my books is easier than ever, since I replaced the broken old Paypal buy it now buttons with a shiny new shopping cart!

Wholesale and Consignment Information: Are you the owner of a brick and mortar business, or a well-established online shop or festival/convention booth? Would you like to diversify your product offerings with high-quality handmade items and nonfiction books? Consider adding my creations to your offerings through wholesale or consignment!

Oregon Desert Adventures, Day 2

Time-Sensitive Note: The Tarot of Bones IndieGoGo ends in a week! If you haven’t yet backed it, you still have time to claim some awesome perks 🙂

Monday morning broke open with a haze of clouds and regret that I hadn’t brought my white noise machine with me. The hotel I was in was nice enough, but the neighbors were somewhat loud and someone decided to fall asleep with the TV on. I managed well enough with a white noise video on YouTube, but I miss my little cocoon of familiar static. Still, I got enough sleep to get up and going in the morning (with a quick trip by the continental breakfast).

My initial plan had been to head over to Boise and then come home by way of John Day. However, I found myself really disliking the idea of continuing down I-84 and wanted something more rural. So I dropped down 395 and headed south all day. My goal was to get to Steens Mountain on Tuesday, so my Monday was a leisurely wander from Pendleton down to Burns.

cabinIt was a day of many stops along the way to satiate my curiosity. When I was growing up, our family trips were all Point A to Point B with no stops in between, and only to go see family. I spent many hours wistfully looking out the window at signs advertising everything from tourist traps to state parks. Once I got out on my own I started making up for those missed opportunities, and these days even the heavily-laden trips to vending events often include stops at antique shops and the like.

When unburdened, though, I’m like a dog with my nose to the ground–“Ooooh, what’s THIS, and now I want to go over THERE, and I think I’ll get going again except OOOOOH THIS SEEMS AWESOME!” And it’s soooo worth it. Today I discovered many treasures I would have missed otherwise if I was just driving to get from Point A to Point B.

I mean, no sooner was I out of Pendleton than I saw the sign for McKay Creek National Wildlife Refuge, and of course I had to go take a look. Since it’s post-migration there weren’t a ton of birds there, but there were some black-billed magpies with their flashy black and white coloration, and mourning doves cooing in the morning light, and California quail shuffling off into the grass. I made a note to come back later in the year when there would be more water birds. Not that the day was completely devoid: not even a mile south I pulled over on the side of the road and got out my binoculars to watch two dozen American white pelicans circling overhead on a lazy thermal–a spectacular addition to my birding life list! I also saw a hovering American kestrel and a red-tailed hawk along the roadside.

battleDriving down 395 is like an ecological layer cake. You mostly alternate between second and third growth Ponderosa pine forests, and scrubby sage and juniper deserts, with some farmland and pastures thrown in for good measure. It’s a truly fascinating experience because the shift from one biotope to another can literally happen as you turn a bend in the road. So it was that after miles of wheat and cattle, I found myself at a little campground on Battle Mountain, so named because it was the site of the last conflict between the Bannock tribe (who had retreated here from Idaho) and US troops, with some unwanted spillover onto the local Paiutes. I felt more comfortable here than at Celilo, in no small part because I was the only person in a field full of empty picnic tables.

After lunch, I drove on, more than once pulling onto the shoulder to snap photos of falling-down old cabins. I made a brief foray into lovely Ukiah, OR (population 230), then tarried a bit longer in Fox, a near ghost town with a few old buildings, a beautiful 19th century church, and a lovely old cemetery. In fact, cemeteries were something of a theme; once I passed John Day and went into Canyon City, I had to go up and check out the graveyard there, including the old Boot Hill where two horse thieves and a pair of prostitutes, all from the old mining times, were buried apart from everyone else. The main cemetery was rather lovely, with some gorgeous old markers. I had to cut my visit short, though, as I could see rain rolling in across the land.

rainI did stop in old Canyon City where the buildings dated from the early 1900s. I took some pictures, then ducked into an antique shop where I bought some agate slabs and gabbed with the owner for a good hour or so; he’s a truly fascinating person who’s lived there for sixty years and has quite a lot of stories to tell. By the time I left it was getting late and the rain was beginning to fall harder, and I wanted to get to Burns at a reasonable time.

But there was just one more stop–as I drove down the highway, I saw a sign for Swick Old Growth Interpretive Trail. How could I pass that up? I’d outrun the rain a bit, so I decided to chance the weather. And it was worth it, for I found about a half mile loop of nicely paved trail with a series of informative signs about the old growth Ponderosa forest I was in. It was absolutely full of birds; I heard woodpeckers and mountain chickadees high up, and got some really good views of western bluebirds in the lower branches.

And now with a hotel room key and food all arranged, I’m relaxing from another lovely day. Tomorrow–Steens, and perhaps more!

Unnamed outcasts buried at Boot Hill, Canyon City, Oregon. Long may they rest in peace.
Unnamed outcasts buried at Boot Hill, Canyon City, Oregon. Long may they rest in peace.