NAVIGATION ∧

the photo journal + misc. news of Emma Kisiel

Yaquina Head

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From the farm near Philomath, we drove to Newport. Out of all the biggest towns in Oregon, you’re the closest to the coast when you’re in Corvallis (Philomath is just west of there), so that’s always our excuse when we’re there. We had a great day at Yaquina Head – we saw lots of ocean creatures, including harbor seals and Pelagic Cormorants and Common Murre and this starfish’s butt 😂

Sheepherder Wagon

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Our 5-year wedding anniversary was Memorial Day weekend! We spent Friday, our actual anniversary, at the rose garden after work, and on Saturday I met Nathaniel for lunch and we went to DC Vegetarian (my first time). Sunday morning, we headed to our farm stay Airbnb. I’d been looking forward to staying in this sheepherder wagon on a working sheep farm for a long time. It was everything I imagined it would be. We really did sleep in a wagon on the farm – just a really comfy bed and a bit of space for Cody on the floor. Our wagon was one of three, and the most secluded on the property.

I’m trying to remember what we did that day when we arrived, but it wasn’t anything major. Honestly, we just walked from room to room and from one area of the farm to another to visit with all the animals. After we’d been there an hour or two, there was a dramatic rainstorm that separated me from Nat and Cody and isolated me in the barn with the chickens, geese, turkeys, rabbits (and their newborn babies), alpacas, and sheepdogs. It was… so nice. It being May, the sheep weren’t up by the barn. We walked down the road to see the sheep (and their resident guardian dog/s), and we walked around the property and the orchard. Sitting on the “porch” of the wagon as it got dark, listening to the nighttime rain and for the owl we had heard in a nearby tree when we first arrived, was one of the loveliest moments I can think of in a long time.

In the morning, we sat in the classroom (a common space; fiber classes also take place on the farm) reading books about sheepherder wagons, drinking coffee and hot chocolate, and having fresh eggs for breakfast. Then we hung out with our host for a while, watching two kids fish around in the pond right outside our wagon for newts and tadpoles. When we left, we drove to the town of Philomath (pronounced FLOW-mith, not phi-lo-math!) to get a look around and grab donuts. We met a really wonderful cat, and that was that. We headed to Newport for the rest of the day, completely forgetting that we’d planned on going to Wilhelm’s mausoleum since it’s only open one day a year, on Memorial Day. Oh well – next year, maybe!

Bird Festival

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I think the Bird Fest was one of those things I found out about from our city’s free newspaper – my neighbors and I always joke about all the exciting news we learn when reading it every month. As soon as I heard about it, I knew it was a very Emma-friendly event and I had to go, even though I would be alone (it was a Saturday) – a little uncomfortable since there was no on-site parking and all attendees rode a shuttle together from a short distance away. Nat actually really wanted to come, so we went early with the hope of getting home before he had to leave for work… I ended up loving it so much that I called him a Lyft and he went to work while I hung around for another couple hours.

Dogs aren’t allowed at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, so I had never been. I loved the small interpretive center – and then all the activities and presentations of the festival! There was birdhouse building and duck decoy and Gyotaku fish painting (mostly for kids), archery, a fish casting challenge, and a waterfowl retrieval dog demonstration. Also, Conestoga wagon rides! My favorite part (after the wagon ride, obviously) was learning about the “monster invaders” and lamprey, and ~pond life~. I spent a long time watching tadpoles and salamanders swim around in water scooped from the pond. I left after the live bird show, but not before making a bird feeder and a seed ball and snagging a bird tote to color (my dad actually colored it beautifully during his visit a couple days later).