The pickins in the Oregon economy right after our return from Alaska
were dreary at best. I picked moss and sold it, shaved chittum trees
of their bark and sold that and I even packed said items into the side
basket of my old schwinn bike and cycled on my own power to the
local merchant to sell them. In case you are unaware, chittum bark
is what they make laxatives from. The bark back then sold for .32
per pound. Since we needed firewood anyway, and there did seem
to be a need for the um, end product in this country, I was able to soothe my conscience
over stripping these trees of their bark along with cutting them down and I went
about my merry but trail blazing way. I even picked up our goat milk on my bike,
fed the kids on brown rice, wild black berries and government commodities.
Our oldest daughter took the two little ones down to the river to catch crawfish
about twice a week and arriving home from the woods we would feast on a poor
mans miniature lobster dinner, with dandelion greens and taters dug from the neighbors
garden. But my apartment over the shop was too small, (boy did I have alot to learn).
We only had one vehicle that ran sometimes. It rained and rained and rained in the
winter. I had grown up with a steady pay check and we had never known the uncertainty
of not knowing weather there was going to be a paycheck or not. I had always worked
but now I had babies and I did not want to have someone else to raising them.
Hubby with all his multitude of talents and education could only find a job driving school
buses. The economy was really bad. And we both had student loans to pay off.
Needless to say, after dealing with students who shot spit wads,
toted hand guns, and cleaned their fingernails with machetes while riding
the bus, we decided it was time to move where he might find a more lucrative position.
About this time a friend from California called and offered Hubby a job at
the then outstanding wage of $10 per hour! Dollar signs clicked and rolled
over and over in our eyeballs. Though we didn’t move to Beverely Hills, we
did immediately pack our bags and embark on another grand adventure.