Guest Post: Seven Years on a 31-Foot Boat

Today I thought I’d share with you the adventures of my friend Wendy Hinman, who spent seven years traveling around the world on a 31-foot boat with her husband.

Then she wrote a book about it. It’s a good book, too!

Listen to Wendy describe some of her adventures in this video.

After all that, Wendy and Garth are planning to do it yet again! But on a larger boat next time.

I know I’m too much of a wimp, but what about you? Do you you dream of sailing around the world? Would you dare to actually try it?

I meant to do my work today

Teresa laptop outdoors

 

Brown birds

But a brown bird sang in the apple tree

 

Papilio Rumanzovia Butterfly on Flower

A butterfly flitted across the field

 

Leaves

And all the leaves were calling me.

 

Bee buttercup

The buttercups nodded their shining heads, greeting the bees who came to call

 

Lizard

And I asked a lizard the time of day, as he sunned himself on the moss-grown wall.

 

Grass

The wind went sighing over the land, tossing the grasses to and fro

 

Rainbow

A rainbow held out its shining hand

 

So what could I do

So what could I do

 

But laugh, and go

But laugh, and go.

–I Meant to Do My Work Today
by Richard Le Gallienne (1866-1947)

 

 

 

 

Chicken Parade

 

 

For a fabulous musical slide show of the chicken parade,  please visit this site and click on Slideshow on the right.

Who would drive 75 miles on a Saturday morning to go to a chicken parade?

Domesticus would, and did. And is pleased to report that the good people in the tiny hamlet of Edison, WA (population 149) and their fine-feathered friends made it well worth the trip.

Even though we missed the actual event—but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

We thought it would be a race, but it didn’t really work out that way, chickens being what they are. It was called the “Keep Your Chicken In Line” parade, with few rules and no prizes.

Still, Sydney Hedington, holding Mr. Fluffy, had the pre-event jitters. “I found out it’s for hens only,” said the wide-eyed  8-year old.

“Tell them it’s a family rooster,” advised her 10-year-old sister Hannah, holding Mrs. Fluff.

Sydney holding Mr. Fluffy

 

Hannah holding Mrs. Fluff

Hannah holding Mrs. Fluff

“Let’s get going, girls, or we’re going to miss it,” said their dad Phil. Phil used to work in construction but now he works for a big a farm that grows corn and wheat. He has 30 chickens at home. He was cradling tiny, quivering Tye-Dye, a serama breed that he said is “the smallest chicken in the world.”

"The smallest chicken in the world"

"The smallest chicken in the world"

Some people like the Hedingtons carried their birds in the race-cum-parade, and others leashed them or pulled them in wagons domed with chicken wire. Some decided to let their chickens run free, and they promptly raced away from all the commotion at warp speed. After the parade their owners were still chasing after them with nets down the back streets of Edison.

And so it was that Fred, normally a free range chicken but confined to a leash for the parade, strutted to the finish line first.

“The free range chicken leads the way!” crowed owner Austin Breckenridge. Like Phil, Austin works on a farm. In the farm’s off-season, he manages a duck hunting club.

Domesticus interviews Austin, owner of the Chicken Parade winner

The parade “from one end of Edison to the other” lasted less than five minutes. If you blinked, you missed it. And it’s a good thing Bigfoot was there with his camera, because Domesticus blinked.

After all, it’s a long trip from Seattle to Edison, and you have fuel up with a grande mocha from Starbucks. So by the time you’ve arrived and done your initial reporting, a short detour to the Old Edison Inn becomes necessary.

Though hundreds of chicken paraders thronged the street outside, the Inn was dark and empty. A young man behind the bar muttered to someone in the kitchen, and we thought we heard the words “fucking chicken thing.” However, when we apologetically asked to use the facilities, he gave us a genuine smile and said, “Sure,” pointing us to a door marked “Gals.”

And in that brief interlude, we missed the whole chicken parade.

But we caught the spirit of the thing, and it will stay with us for some time.

Somebody dressed up as a chicken

Somebody dressed up as a chicken

 

Somebody learns about chickens

Somebody learns about chickens

 

 

 

Late Bloomers

Meadow in the Olympic Peninsula

See more photos of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, Cape Flattery, and Rialto Beach HERE.

 

The day my sister and brother-in-law leave it’s appropriately gray and cold, despite a weather forecast of upper ‘80s. Losing my family, even if only until Christmas when I’ll visit them in Florida, hurts a lot more than expected.

Ain’t no sunshine. Bill Withers got that one right.

There was a time when the sadness of their departure would have been tempered by relief. Not that we couldn’t stand one another; we all more or less got along, the two sisters and two husbands, then two sisters and a different husband. We did OK, with some tense moments. But it also felt good to kiss them good-bye and get back to my own life and lengthy to-do list.

This trip is different.

The four of us sit cramped in a car for hours the morning after my sister and her husband’s long flight from Florida, but no one complains. Instead we revel in the shifting scenery of dark evergreens and the glinting Sound as we head for our whirlwind tour of the Olympic Peninsula.

It is a trip of surprises. Hurricane Ridge, which I remember from an October trip as a long drive just to see some distant, foggy peaks, is a giant panorama of mountains whose sharp contours slice the sky, and we walk along once-icy paths of alpine meadows blooming with lupine and fireweed.

I am jolted again in the mossy depths of the Hoh rain forest, where I have demanded that everyone bring raingear and hats – surely the world’s wettest spot will require them. But by the time we pull up to the trail we have seen how the sun has blasted its way even through the densest canopy, and it is obvious we don’t need this stuff.

Snap! My husband snags a photo of us looking sweaty and bedraggled as we step across a log breaching a cool stream.

Snap! In a mind-boggling change of climate, we pose among driftwood skeletons along Rialto Beach, bundled in hats and coats. In July! we will exclaim to each other in years to come.

My sister wielding a bat of kelp amid the driftwood

On the last day our only dispute, despite the heat, the cold, and the endless driving, is over the fastest route to the Three Crabs restaurant before catching the last ferry.

By the time the crabs arrive, I’m mellowed out with wine, and plying the metal implements to crack them and pull out the juicy strands of meat seems beyond me. My sister, unasked, cracks and pulls for me before getting to her own plate.
Is this really my sister, the one who always insisted on keeping our possessions separate and wrote “Leave it alone” on all of hers?

Without the wine, perhaps I’d feel like the heel that I am, but as it is, I revel in the moment.

Outside, in a spirit of crazy exuberance, we hunch over and gyrate like three crustaceans under the Three Crabs sign.

Snap! There we are, looking ridiculous.

The Three Crabs

A large party of fellow diners, perhaps perceiving a sense of camaraderie in our nutty behavior, asks us to join them in a group-hug photo. So we throw our arms around one another with a bunch of friendly strangers.
“Friendly strangers” bounces around and echoes in my mind. It strikes me that that is what we have been for so many years ourselves, but now something has changed, and we are more than that.

Why? We haven’t done anything out of the ordinary, just gone to some beautiful places and taken some goofy pictures to remember them by.

It’s more what is missing. Gone are the old rivalries, the not-so-subtle insults and insinuations, the insecurity disguised as bravado and sarcasm. Without realizing it, we have all become more tolerant, more supportive, nicer. Has it really taken us until middle age to get to this point?

We are two grown women now, my sister and I, close friends, with husbands who are also becoming close —  remarkable, considering that one is a leftist, the other a libertarian, and both are passionate and argumentative about their views.
It must be hard for them, I think, to hold back that gush of venom that I know wants to burst forth in response to the day’s news or a passing remark. But they don’t look strained, identifying trees and birds together and discussing the finer points of Photoshop. My sister and I also flow together, laughing at absurdities and offering advice without being intrusive.

And this is the best surprise of the trip: it turns out being with family—in-laws and all—is a joy. I never expected that as I hurtled through the years trying to navigate my own life with my own goals, an early one of which was to get far away from family and home and rush headlong towards – well, someplace else.

At long last the me, me, me has receded a little, just enough so that I am getting to know these wonderful, now middle-aged people around me, and realizing how lucky I am to have them.

And how sad it is we live so far apart.