Thursday, July 03, 2014

This and That


Meet Bob. He’s an American Kestrel, a small raptor who currently lives at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho.



Bob helps the docents explain the history of Falconry and the need to protect habitat for birds of prey. Smaller birds and rodents probably wouldn’t agree, but that’s life.



The Center also participates in the multi-center breeding program for the North American Condor, which is still an endangered species. Currently, more than half of these giant birds known to exist are living in facilities like the Center. But each year, more Condors are released into the wild.

While in Boise brought the truck in for an oil change only to discover a leak of transmission fluid. The service advisor at Lithia Ford managed to get us on the schedule for that day, provided us with a rental car at no cost, and even had the truck washed before we picked it up. I think this is just the third time the truck has been washed in the five years we’ve had it. We almost didn’t recognize it in the parking lot it was so shiny.

We then moved on to Boardman, Oregon. We stopped here only because it’s roughly at the midway point between Boise and Portland, where we’ll be staying though the Independence Day weekend. Boardman was a big surprise. It’s hardly more than a dot on the map near where I-89 west hits the Columbia River.


About a year ago, Boardman opened the Sage Center which is a small museum detailing the area’s agricultural diversity and technology, and we learned a lot.



One of the primary crops here is potatoes, and the Center has a living “sculpture” demonstrating the automated process of taking raw potatoes and turning them into frozen curly fries. This happens every day at a plant in Boardman. By the way, we saw a listing for a “chip plant” and figured it was where they made potato chips, but no. Turns out it’s a chipping plant for trees as a midway step for wood to become paper. We didn’t get any pictures, but coming into town we drove through a giant tree farm where a type of poplar tree is grown. Every year many thousands of trees are cut down, and the same number of seedlings are planted. It takes about 12 years for the trees to mature to an age where they can be sent to the chipper, en route to becoming the NY Times, the Daily News, etc. A great example of managing a renewable resource.

But back to the potatoes.


After peeling, the spuds get cut and curled, and eventually make their way to the fryer.





At the end of the process they get frozen and bagged, then shipped to grocery stores around the world.

For a town of about 3000 people with an agricultural economy, the Sage Center is truly an amazing museum, and I didn’t even mention the simulated hot air balloon ride over the surrounding countryside.

Sage Center And to top off our visit, Penny and I were named visitors of the day, for which we were each given a dish of Tillamook ice cream, which is made in Boardman.


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