Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Geography/History More Vacation


On Sunday I posted about how I am feeling so content with where I am. One of the things I discovered on our vacation was just how much our State is changing. Believe me it was quite a surprise, but it was really truly sad to see. Before I go any further with this post, let me tell you that we came home from vacation to find out that our State is broke, and my husband almost didn’t have a job to come back to. He is safe for one year after that we have no clue what will really happen. I realize we might have to move for him to have a job, though I doubt you will see us stay in Washington, I just don’t think I could live any place but where I am in Washington.

I had been looking so forward to showing Selena many things on our drive to and from Spokane. The things that I remembered are gone on the way side now. I remember field after field of agriculture. One stretch was always labeled with the crop that was growing in the field, everything from potatoes, barley, wheat, to corn. Now these fields are barren, a few crops here or there, but even the signs are not correct as to what is growing in the fields. Now more of these fields are filled with:

100_3256Don’t get me wrong I feel strongly that we do need to look for cleaner more sustainable power sources, but as we stood looking at the acres and acres of these windmills, we realized out of all reality there were only a handful of working windmills. Not only that but I couldn’t help but ask, what happened to the farmers?

On our way home we took a different route, down South through the Southern Central part of the State. I remember this area being filled with Grape orchards, fields and fields of fruit trees, asparagus farms, and all different kinds of agriculture. These agricultural farms now have been replaced by housing. Again my heart sank and I had to ask what happened to all the farmers?

I lived in Kennewick for a little over a year in the early 1980’s. While at that time Kennewick was not that big of a town, it was really very clean and well kept up. Now the familiar sections of this town are as shabby and ran down as I found Spokane to be. Again at the time I lived there the orchards and farmlands just seemed to meet the city on every end of the town, but these farmlands and orchards are now gone.

Kennewick is home to the Columbia Cup, Hydroplane Races. The area where these races are held along the Columbia River, has changed very much. It is now no longer just a cruising strip along the river, but has been developed into a nice park, with an area for kids to play, and a small water park. I was happy to see that this area had been cleaned up from what it was. We even took Selena down for a little water fun.

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It was so fun watching her explore this new water experience. The look on her face was hilarious as the water shut off and just disappeared before her. At first she spent most of her time running from water spout to water spout trying to keep up with the spurting water. Before long she realized that if she stood in one spot, the water would come back on. At one point she even got down and hit the hole where the water had come from trying to figure out how to turn it back on.

Right at the entrance to the Columbia Park, they have built a beautiful Regional Veterans Memorial. Built to honor all the veterans of the Tri-Cities region, this memorial in Columbia Park consists one 40-foot column and 10 smaller ones, totaling 60 tons of granite. The columns recognize those who have died in service to their country, those who who have served in the past, those currently serving their county as well as one column for each branch of the armed forces.

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After leaving Kennewick, our trip should have taken us through field after field of grape fields, orchards, but we even discovered that many of those are gone, except the really large ones. We pulled into a town very well known for fruit stands on every corner. Yes, the fruit stands are still there but only a few remain open, and though we didn’t stop at them all, but only one, the amount of fruit and fresh vegetables, were at a very minimal from what one usually finds in these fruit stands.

It really saddens my heart to see how our State is  hurting so bad at this difficult time. It really wasn’t until we went on our vacation that the full reality of everything hit home with me. We had fun on our vacation, came home to quite a shock, and much uncertainty, and a very good picture engraved forever in my mind that our country is truly on the change.

Let me ask you this, What are some of the economic changes you are seeing where you live and within the State you live in?

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  1. In NC, we've seen a lot of farms be replaced by housing developments and commercial buildings as well. Part of the issue here is that most of the farms used to be tobacco farms. The textile industry used to be big here too, but now it's mostly oversees. Having only lived here for about 10 years, I didn't see most of these changes. But I have seen significant changes in terms of building. The neighborhood I live in used to be farm and wooded land. All of the major shopping centers I go to were not here 10 years ago, nor was my neighborhood or any of the neighborhoods around this area. The amount of change has been dramatic in 10 years. But the economy is actually pretty good in our area, so that's a plus. I actually like seeing all the houses going up right now. They had stopped building for a while but now things seem to be getting better again.

  2. It's so hard to come home and see things have changed so much. I went through the same thing when I went back to Abilene or when I drive over to the part of Austin I grew up in. Of course for me it's big changes because of so much construction, so I guess that's a good thing, but it's still a weird feeling.

    But, I do wonder what happened to all of your farmers. That really is a shame.

  3. In this recession time, we're seeing a lot of people moving away from Montana, to find work. I heard one of our senators on the radio, this morning, saying when it comes to the economy, Montanans' first concern is their jobs, and their second concern is their neighbors' jobs - that sounds about right. Everyone is doing their best to hold on, and keep the town working.

  4. It must have been pretty depressing to see disappearing farms and the towns that are falling apart. California definitely has seen better times too. What I see mostly is reduction of public services. For example, our library went from being open 6 days a week to being open only 5 days with reduced hours every day. I expect to see a lot more impact once we go to public school next year.

  5. That's sad to see so many changes. I don't feel like I see very many obvious changes living in the city, but there was a very well loved city-run arts program that was completely stripped from the budget this year, and it was sad to see it close. It brought low-cost art programs to so many young children. This is our first week doing more "formal" sort of homeschooling (if you can call it that for a near-3 year old) and our first week linking up here. :)