There were certainly lots of MISadventures on our way to Palouse, and a little mishap on our last day in the area, besides that we had a lot of fun in Eastern Washington.
Palouse is the land of wheat and barley and lentils and garbanzo. No matter what the crop, in the summer just before harvest they are fields of gold. And if you get lucky as we did, you get to see them post-harvest as well where you can marvel at the patterns the farmers create with their combines.
The swirls are the result of technological necessity. The shape of the hills was created during the last ice ages with glaciers being pushed up as ice moved. The steepness of the hills required that a self-leveling combine be invented so as the farmer harvested the sloping hills it ensures the combine doesn’t fall over.
We sat and watched several fields being harvested, it is fascinating to watch. Plus we love the farms and barns and silos that are in the foreground and background of the area they are working in.
The vast majority of tourists come in the spring when the fields are a glorious green, flowers are blooming and even the rustic barns look approachable.
But we love the summer. (Although it was pretty darn hot!)
There’s nothing like a red barn against a golden backdrop.
The people in this area are friendly as well, lots of waves from the fields, passing trucks or people walking along the road.
People like Verna who we spent an hour with when we stopped to look at a brick building in Starbuck. She shared the town’s history from the time she arrived as a fish counter to the time she and her husband the ex-mayor closed their bait shop. In the end, when we bid her farewell she hugged us and gave us a cup warmer from the remnants of her store.
Or the five farmers who rescued us when our Jeep got stuck. They were on their way to rescue us before we even walked 100 yards from our car. They smiled and laughed and asked us about where we were from like we were old friends.
Or the couple who lived on the property with the famous round barn. The barn was built by the Leonard family and it’s celebrating its 100th anniversary. There is farming and family history everywhere.
Don’t Miss: Steptoe Butte
This park gives you amazing 360-views of the whole region. It is beautiful at both sunrise and sunset. I would say it is a great spot for star photography as well, but the park closes at sunset. (Boo.) It is quite cold and windy, so it was the perfect escape from the 90 and 100-degree temperatures we were experiencing!
Don’t Miss: Barns
Besides the Leonard Barn shown above, there is the Heidenreich Dairy Farm. It is such a happy place. We visited several times and you could hear the family laughing and talking as they worked. They had wonderful birdhouses at the opening of their property and very content chickens running around as well.
Check out Artisans at the Dahmen Barn to see a barn converted into a great exhibit space. My favorite part is the fence surrounding the barn which uses old farm equipment.
Wherever we went in Palouse, we encountered warm, hearty souls who were fantastic ambassadors for this region rich in nature’s bounty. It was a good reminder of why the heritage of farming is so important to hold onto.
How about you? Have you been to this region in Washington? What time of year did you go? If you haven’t been, have I piqued your interest?
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