My booth at market

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Since I began growing lavender I have been a vendor at one Missoula market or another; actually, I have vended at all of those downtown. For the last 8 years I have held a booth at Clark Fork River Market under Higgin’s Bridge. But for one year my transportation to market has been one tricycle that you see in the photo (taken by D. McAdoo). I have retrofitted the trike to fold up and out as my display and sales booth. It came with the basket between the two back tires. And I attached the one to the handlebars and the two to the sides. What makes it ‘minimalist’ is the amount of space it takes up, it has no carbon footprint (other than the methane that now and again escapes from the human combustion engine that peddles it…) and the time it doesn’t take out of my life/pocketbook. I only require about a 5 foot space to set up, which means cheap rent at any market. Breakfast, coffee, and a market snack are the fuel it takes to peddle it the 1/2 mile to and from market. Not having to pull a vehicle into market before and after for unloading and loading saves an immense amount of time and frustration.The price you pay for a farmer’s produce rarely covers her time spent farming, and crafting her product, let alone the time it takes to set up and take down her market booth. So my theory is; It better take less than a half hour to setup and break down, cuz I’m not making any money for that time. And I certainly don’t want to get caught in the traffic jam that ensues at the end of a 6 hour stint of standing out in the hot sun selling my wares. Been there, done that. Don’t do it anymore. When I’m loading up the trike I think of myself like an outfitter packing my mule. Everything either has to collapse or fold up; my chair, an umbrella. Clip on or tie down; I utilize lots of clamps and twine to attach buckets for fresh bouquets, attach the umbrella, tie down things that will blow out on the fast peddle to town, clamp trays into place to extend shelf space. I used a couple screw clamps to attach a board to the back basket. This board acts as a sign as I’m peddling about and flips up and over the basket as my display table while vending. And everything else has to nestle into the attached baskets securely for the ride and look good on display.

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This is Shorty. See, he is riding his own trike! In fact, it was years ago I saw Shorty ride by at the craft market when I stopped him and commissioned him to make me a market trike. He built mine for me, and I store my trike in his garage during winter. Actually, Shorty’s garage is a museum of trikes! He must have at least a dozen. They are his sole mode of transpo. He rides a different one to market to buy his fresh produce each week. He tells me they are all for sale, for the right price. He crafts them all by hand from bits and pieces, odds and ends that he finds discarded in dumpsters, and junk heaps. Talk about a minimalist!

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Cabin Library

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I purchased this cabin and land with all the money my mom left me after she died in 2005.
I had a husband then; he begrudgingly helped with the mowing – usually mowing down baby trees I had planted and coddled. He claimed it was an accident. Now I don’t have a husband…only partly because of the tree desecration. Mostly because even at 30 years of age, I was too young a bride. He never liked coming here anyway. I never put his name on the title. I knew it would be my ace in the hole. Every woman should have one.
The bed is a single bunk, but we would sleep together in it. Well, he’d sleep. I couldn’t due to his snoring, (only after I left him did I realize how sleep deprived I had been.) There’s no escaping it in the cabin. The cabin measures 8′ x 12′, or 96 square. It has a quaint oval door which makes it appear hobbit-like. The ceiling is arched so as to appear more roomy inside. If I stretch my tallest I can touch it with my fingertips. It actually feels like a ship inside. The bunk takes up one end and has a large window where I can watch the riparian edges of the creek and the prairie sail by before I arise the mornings I am here; at least once a week for a couple days.
Today I am awakened by a magpie pecking at the skylight window above the bed, (there’s also one above the kitchen). Magpie is trying to eat the myriad tiny bugs that are on the inside of the window trying to get out. Magpie is molting, her antics are as silly as she looks right now. 4 snipe fly over and land creek side. There is something so comically cute about their long bill, striped head, and round little button eye. Maybe it’s the way they pull their chin in and stand so straight and tall. 2 dozen Hungarian partridge spook from their yard stroll around the cabin – like my little clutch of chickens, into the tall grass when I go out to pee. I hear a pheasant out in the tall grass.
There are two shelves at the east end of the bunk. The bottom shelf was made for me by my first boyfriend from a nice piece of hardwood he found. He burned the runic poem into the face of it as you can see. This is the cabin library. When I was married I had amassed an extensive library at the house. Actually, books have always been the one thing I wouldn’t part with in all my adult years. Every move to a new location entailed hoisting heavy boxes packed with my collection. And collect them, I have. I have procured a few rare ones along the way; Cornelius Agrippa, The Rock is my Home, The French Farm House. My very first job after I graduated high school was at a bookstore, and I have worked at many others since then.
While married, the cabin became my little playhouse. I put all my favorite things inside. This small trove of books are ones that make my heart sing or are filled with life saving practicality:
Carla Emery’s Encyclopedia of Country Living, Dick Proeneke’s One Man’s Wilderness, Pruitt Stewart’s Letters of a Woman Homesteader, Tasha Tudor’s Garden, Letters of Queen Elizabeth I, Outdoor Survival Skills, edible plants and animal identification books abound. The stack on the left bottom shelf are my ranch journals. Each time I come to the cabin I make notes of animal and bird sitings, irrigation water in the ditch, creek levels, lists of projects, projects accomplished, how much – if any I made on the hay. Much of what I write in them is dry and quite boring but now and again a nuance is captured in the way the wind blows through the tall grass, or the cat-like mew of a short eared owl, or how I can feel it-thru the tiny cabin, when a big horned owl lands on the chimney, or the covey of partridge take shelter under the cabin when the harrier makes a creek-long pass.
There’s a rageddy little brown title-less binding in the upper right. This is a journal I found in my Mother’s things when my brother and I cleaned out her apartment after she died. It has only a few meager entries but they are precious beyond description. They are dated 1965; the year my brother was born and I was one. The tiny glimpses into the day-to-day life of a mother with two babies encourages me to keep writing. One entry simply said: Loading the kids up on the stroller, we are going to the park. They just love being outside!
I like being at my cabin. Maybe it’s because outside is so right in my face.