There's some irony in here somewhere.
I woke up same time as usual today (thank goodness for the weekend...) to drive to Ashland and meet Ian at a local park at 8:00 (early). We donned our waders and went down to the creek to collect macroinvertebrates (aquatic insect larva) for kids to check out at the Earth Day fair. These same young learners would later prove troublesome. We collected all we needed and headed to the fair.
We arrived and set up fairly quickly. Too quickly, in fact, because when we were done, we had over an hour before the fair was open to the public. Damn Ian and over-preparedness and damn me and my efficiency. Luckily the day was nice; people kept saying that this was the best weather the fair had ever had (and later went on to say that this year's fair had the most people too). As they day progressed and more and more people came, I got an idea of what I was in for.
Southern Oregon is mostly little islands of Bumfucknowhere, USA surrounded by private/state/federal "no-man's-land," but Ashland is a little hippy haven. There I was surrounded by people who made most Arcata folk look like Bush's drinking buddy. I think that these folk are surrounded by so much gun toting Bubba land that they over-compensate; liberalizing themselves in patuli oil. And they all loved the earth, the sky, and swaying to the sounds of the local bluegrass group. They do not like jets purposely spraying chemicals and toxins in the atmosphere, anything without the word natural, sustainable, alternative, or biofuel, and the Forest Service.
There were about eighty booths there; different organizations (land trusts, government departments, clubs), information booths, and companies. The companies struck me as the most interesting because a lot (not all) seemed to prey on the helpless, weak, and idealistic do-gooders that were prancing through the place eating their $8 bowl of tofu and brown rice. They saw it as a good business opportunity to sell this stuff because most of the people there were not poor, love-first hipsters, but $30,000 Prius owners (they were actually selling these and other cars there!) that could afford a small wind turbine to power their grow operation.
We didn't get too much shit-talking directed at us (everybody told me they expected more), but we were positioned (I think strategically so) on the outer-most ring of booths. Apparently the Forest Service cuts down trees it shouldn't and puts too many limits on other things (fishing, off-highway driving). Some or all could be true, but you just can't please everybody.
The kids activity (with the macroinvertebrates) turned out pretty good. It was a good way to teach about streams and their inhabitants. The kids liked looking at, and touching, the bugs so much that they were often too rough and overhandled them. You can't really tell a kid to stop and get lost when their parents are right there watching them squeeze the life out of all the critters in the container. You can only tell them to be gentle and that maybe sandwiching them between two pieces of hard plastic or piling them all on one another to see if they would fight isn't such a great idea.
When I got "home" I made a delicious dinner of broccoli-garlic stir-fry, rice cooked in rich chicken stock, and chicken. I piled it high on my plate (I wasn't even that hungry; it just looked GOOD) and promptly, by a series of unfortunate events, dumped it on the floor. I almost still ate it.
Noteworthy event of the day: seeing eight modelesque girls walk out of the local butcher/meat/deli/sausage store. I may have had a double-take.