Here are some photos from our travels through the countryside this summer on our way to Jay’s dairy judging gigs in Idaho and Washington.

Washington and Idaho have STUNNING AGRICULTURAL AREAS!! We highly recommend, at least once, taking back roads on your summer trips – across Hwy 20 (WA), Hwy 2 (WA), and Hwy 95 (ID).

Chickpeas! Grown in the Palouse region.


Most of the wheat fields were in the process of being harvested – the most stunning GOLD colors!




So, thought the NPS “Spalding Site” would have information about the Spalding Mission, but instead was entirely Native American oriented. Literally 100%. Didn’t learn a peep about the Spaldings. We saw lots of interesting Indian artifacts in the museum, such as the lovely beaded bag (above). Just don’t ask me about the Spaldings, lol!

An active church, built in memory of the Spaldings.
Red Lettuce seed, I presume, in the Payette, ID area

I have always heard that honeybees do not like mint. I’m thinking this must be erronious, because there were honeybees on the mint growing in fields!?

ECHINACEA: The most awe-inspiring view of our fall travels – an entire, enormous field of simply ECHINACEA!! Heavenly! (Near Nampa, ID)

Much of the Treasure Valley region around Boise is irrigated via canals and siphon tubes. We even saw alfalfa in a siphoned field, but didn’t get an answer as to how they harvest it…an alfalfa SEED field perhaps or done with a tractor with skinny tires?

Made us chuckle, a sign at the ice cream shop in Nampa

FOOD: Excellent experiences, all our meals were delightful. A few highlights were “The Catch of the Day” – Alaskan Salmon at Brick 29 Bistro and Crab Cakes (free! with purchase of an entree) at the Riverside Hotel in Boise (that also had an awesome buffet breakfast!), and authentic Pad Thai in Duvall, WA (of all places).

Some farmers are implementing different cropping techniques to benefit the soil and reduce pest issues. I wish we could have talked to one to ask about the above field.

Boise Farmers Markets – there are TWO within a couple blocks of each other. We went on NATIONAL HONEYBEE DAY – very fun. The photo at left is a lady roasting peppers. On right is a produce stand run by refugees (didn’t get the whole story, but somehow Boise is working with refugees, setting them up with un-used plots of land in or near the city to work at growing and selling crops – so cool to see a program of helping without just giving.)

Last full day in Boise – at the Western Idaho Fair – this class had a ton of kids, like 14! That’s why Jay’s concentrating so hard. 🙂

On any trip, half the trip is planning, the other half luck in timing – we drove into Pendleton, Oregon at 10:50, walked into the Pendleton Woolen Mill a couple minutes later, signed up, and got on the 11:00 am tour! Score!


A spinner’s dream: Multiple carding drums, soft roving, pencil roving, and thinly spun yarn! Mmmmmm!

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That trip about wiped us out, then the next week was fair week, then the next weekend we took a two day trip, including travel, to Monroe and back:


(Above) Jay was sure that this is where Jeremiah Johnson really lived… So cool, except for being so desolate.

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(Above) Jay stopped to talk to a wheat farmer filling up his seeder with wheat (and 10% tillage radishes – super cool). Garrett was very informative about his wheat farming – 7 inches of rain per year, they leave the wheat stubble high to catch snow over winter, then return the straw to the soil for organic matter, even though it clogs up some of their seeders. His great-grandfather started with 80 acres, his current family farms 6,000. They make about the same income as the great-grandfather did…

Coming into Monroe from Hwy 2 we saw a series of waterfalls coming down the mountainside – so gorgeous!

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Another luck of the draw, we arrived at the Evergreen State Fair too early (most of the barns didn’t open til 10am) so we wandered by the show ring next to where Jay would be judging and lo and behold: The Open White & Natural Color Border Leicester shows (Our foundation ewe, Millie, came from these same bloodlines!). We had so much fun watching and listening to the judge!!

This show was an open (adult) show, with a lot more cows to judge than one might see in a 4-H/youth show. Some of the cows were Ex 92 and looked it!

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The open fleece show obtains entries from all over the Pacific NW:

If you wanted to take your family to a well-rounded fair, the Evergreen fair would be the place to go. A really nice variety!

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At the end, though, we were definitely ready to come home, sleep, and recoup from a summer full of travel (something we’re quite un-used to). Here’s to a long, slow, quiet winter! 🙂


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