Apr 5, 2015

Tulips At Wooden Shoe Farm.

Tulip fields. I really needed to show some Baird children tulip fields. There are just some things in life that you need to be able to say you have seen. The only tulip fields I have ever seen are the ones in Washington State up by Mt Vernon. I saw those fields on a cold, cloudy, uncrowded day but I was still impressed and have wanted to go back to see them ever since that day. Now that we are on the west coast I realized I really did not have any excuse to not take my girls to see tulip fields. I kept trying to figure out when we could make it back up to Seattle. You only have a short window of time once the tulips start blooming and this year they bloomed earlier than usual so with Utah spring break plans, Easter, school, work, life and various other things I have not been able to find the two days I needed to take this trip. And then one day while lamenting to someone the lack of time to see tulip fields in my life they mentioned that there were tulip fields in Oregon. WHAT? I guess that makes sense. I really wanted to go to the Washington ones but Oregon could do in a pinch, right?

So last week I looked it up and it was true. Off of Exit 271...yes, the same exit as the Woodburn Outlet Mall, about ten miles to the east there is a tulip farm....Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm to be exact. I was a little surprised to see that you had to pay to see tulip fields. I looked up the Skagit Valley Tulip fields just to be sure I was not remembering wrong and I am right, you do not have to pay to look at the tulip fields in Washington State. In Oregon kids 12 and under are free and everyone else is $5.00 with a $20.00 maximum per car. When I looked at the fields of parked cars and contemplated the math it made me feel like planting a tulip field right away. And then there were gift shops, craft booths, food choices, pony rides and much more. We American's do like our views, food, and souvenirs all in one convenient location. I rebel against that sort of tourism with all my might so we did not buy anything. If I were to ever cave and spend money it would have been on tulip bulbs.

I read some reviews about these tulip fields online so I was prepared, and I prepared my children for;

big crowds,
wearing our rubber boots
and lots of patient waiting.

We left Cottage Grove at about 11:15. It was a beautiful day. Blue sky. Puffy clouds everywhere. About 55 degrees. It only took about an hour and twenty minutes to get there. There was no traffic on the way in to the farm. I kept anticipating it but there ended up being only about twenty cars in front of us waiting to pay. I did not follow the long line of cars to the back parking lot I took my chances on people leaving the front parking lot and found a spot there. I was still marveling at all the cars. Full parking lots kept appearing around ever corner. You could not see the tulips from the road which is probably why they are able to charge you money to see them. Note to self, when you plant your acres of tulips think about that :)

Once the tulips came into view we were still a little disheartened by all the people but we quickly figured out that if we headed to the far edge of the field we were pretty much the only ones over there. Everyone else was competing for their few " I went to the tulip field today" social media pictures on the closer, easier to get to side of the field. Because of the slight hills in the fields we could not even see the globs of people on the other side ( yes, glob is a word). There were a few people that set out the way we did, but not many. It was like another world on the far side of the fields. SO  much easier to enjoy the fields and get pictures without the rest of the world in them.

Natalie was not impressed with the tulips and felt compelled to whine in large amounts. The flowers petals were to hard. She was too sore from track practice last week. I always do what Tatiana wants and not what she wants. You name it she mentioned it in that certain tone all parents know and deeply love :) I can not seem to sugar coat her behavior to you in anyway. It was challenging. But I am the mother of seven so I just laughed at her, scolded her sternly at one point, and then just finally did the good mom thing and ignored her. When I was trying to get one picture of her since she always complains about me not having pictures of her from our outings I had this brilliant, light bulb moment....you know the one....when the word teenager pops into your head. Oh dear, I totally forgot that I have one more child to go through being a teenager. Whew, she is normal. Annoying, evil, and capable of ruining my day in about 10 seconds.... but normal. So nice to have an explanation for this.

Tatiana was on a quest for the perfect picture and I was her photographer since I was the only one available. She instructed me on where to stand, where to crouch, and what to have in the background and I did alright. She took some very beautiful pictures on her own. At this moment in our lives she is less challenging to hang out with than her sister.

The special treat for us was that at the edge of the tulip field was a humongous grove of hazelnut trees that was so fabulous. There is just something about acres of trees perfectly planted in rows that makes us Baird girls very happy. They made a beautiful canopy and a whole different photo opportunity. So we played in the grove for awhile.

Once we came around to the busy, crowded side of the field we all wanted to hurry. Crowds of people were all searching for the perfect picture. Parents begging children to behave for the picture. People taking selfies. It can be a little comical if you take a minute to observe it all. There were lines of people buying things.Someone playing a violin under a canopy. SO many people watching opportunities. Lots of dogs. Everyone except us seemed to have received the memo to bring a dog. As we hurried past the crowds towards our car I stopped to snap the sign and a picture of my personal favorite tulip....just in case I ever decided to buy the bulbs.

The crowds of people coming into the tulip farm had greatly increased since we had arrived at about one and the traffic we had been promised was now in full view. On the way back to the freeway there was one two way stop at a four way corner that gave us a bit of a wait but other than that it was a quick and easy ride home. Most of the traffic was heading towards the tulips.

I am so glad we got the memo about the rubber boots, the fields and pathways really were muddy and I love the freedom rubber boots give you to just tromp on through the mud without a care in the world. I noticed lots of people wearing their nice shoes. I am so glad we arrived at the time of day that we did. Because we decided to watch the first session of  our church's general conference from Salt Lake City we could not leave before eleven, otherwise I would have been at the fields at the break of day giving Natalie something to really whine about :)

Now I find that I am looking forward to showing the girls the tulip fields in Washington so that we can compare...you know just for fun.

It is interesting to think about all the people that went to the tulip field today and how each one of them are most likely sitting at home right now telling someone about their experience at the tulip field today. What they saw. How they felt. If it was worth it. Some may be grumpy about the crowds and commercialism. Some may have loved all the spending money opportunities. Everyone has their own view. You really have to know how you view things to know if you are going to like an experience or not. Some people know without a doubt that they do not like crowds and won't go near them with a ten foot pole. Others know that crowds will not bother them in the least.

As we were leaving Tatiana was talking about how cool it would be to be the very first person who discovered a tulip field and how at this point in the world most of the amazing places to see have already been discovered. It was an interesting discussion and gave us a lot to think about.

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