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Monday, August 1, 2011

The Flophouse in the Willamette Valley

Photo from
The Flophouse hit the road this weekend and headed down to the Willamette Valley in Oregon to spend a few days at the family farm.

The Willamette Valley is something to see - a very fertile and productive agricultural region with diverse communities surrounded by absolutely stunning natural beauty.  The original inhabitants of the valley were the the Kapaluya indians.  The first European settlers were French-Canadians: mountain men and their Native American wives and children (called the Metis).  The area where they settled is still called French Prairie and the names of the towns in the area reflect their French origins:  St. Paul, Gervais, St. Louis.  My father says that the French-Canadians played a large role in ensuring that this region became part of the U.S. The area was originally under joint British/U.S. control and the Metis joined with other American/European settlers to form the first local government which put Oregon on the road to becoming a U.S. state.  Later waves of immigration in the 19th/early 20th century included people from other U.S. states, Ireland, Switzerland, and Austria.  These diverse people brought their faiths with them and there is an abundance of small and large churches everywhere you look:  Russian 'Old Believers', Russian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Seventh-Day Adventists, Mormons, and Mennonites.

Farmhouse and Woodshed
Our farm is located a few miles outside the town of Silverton.  It's not large (only 40 acres/16 hectares) but it has an old barn,  a well, a very productive black walnut orchard, fields suitable for growing wheat, two woodlots and a lovely little wooden farmhouse.  The fields are rented to local farmers who keep them in perfect condition and the house is also rented separately.  Working on the farm is a family affair:  this weekend we painted, cleaned and swept the farmhouse in preparation for new tenants and we walked the property, checked the ripeness of the walnuts and ate cherries directly off the trees next to the house.  We are back in Seattle now but we'll be going back down next weekend for the annual family reunion under the walnut trees.  Here are a few more pictures:

Walnut Orchard and Wheat Field

Field and Woodlot

Walnut Orchard


Anonymous said...

I love it :)

Victoria FERAUGE said...

Thanks, Mani. It's really pretty - could be more comfortable. Sleeping in the barn is, well, really really dusty.