Monday, March 28, 2011

Who Will Volunteer?

The Best Damn Chili On the Rimrock 2011 is mine. Woohoo! I did it. I have to revel in this moment because it may be the only time I can ever claim victory. The winner from 2008, 2009 and 2010 had a schedule conflict and couldn't enter, so where I was able to win with a little under $200 in my pot--in previous years, he's won with $1300 in his. I hope his chili is back next year!

(Mine was the Flammable Fluid there.)

Still, I'm going to enjoy the moment and the trophy. I'll pull it out whenever I serve my guests chili, and if they complain or say they've tasted better, I'll refer them to my little chili accolade and say, Not on the Rimrock, my friend, not on the Rimrock!

The dessert auction was lots of fun. Here are a couple of the wonderful cakes:

As for the cheesecake I made--

my husband was determined to bring it home, too. And I’m so glad he did, because with a big family like ours, it disappeared right quickly, and had me wishing I’d made even more.

It all goes for a good cause.

Land conservation is dear to my heart. I’m so thankful to the people who came before me who donated land to the public, and to the volunteers, most of them in their 70’s and 80’s, who are probably the greatest generation of Americans to ever live, and who work to maintain them.

In a month, we’re going to have the Palisades Park Cleanup. We’re going to ask volunteers to come out and help us remove the CRAP some idiots have dumped onto the beautiful Rimrock. In the past, we’ve removed sinks, stoves, tubs—even a canoe. Who are the jerks who dump this stuff?

We'll also clear trails and thin trees.

Who do you think usually volunteers at the cleanup? Young, teenage men—strapping fellows who can lift 240 pounds? Nope. Young women, fit for a marathon who have a membership to the local gym and have participated in the Iron Man? Nope. The volunteers are going to be, mostly, those same 70 and 80 year olds of the Great Generation I was talking about.

The crew I worked with last year consisted of my husband and I and an 84 year old man from our community doing his darndest to pull out thinned trees and drag them to the road for the chipper. He doesn’t even have horses or use the park, but there he was clearing trails and removing garbage for the community.

But something bad happened. As he was pulling the trees over the dense and unlevel ground, he tripped and fell off a rocky embankment and hit his head on the basalt. We ran over and helped him up, but he was bleeding from a very nasty head wound. Another volunteer ran to get the First aid Kit and my husband cut away his hair and bandaged it. Of course, he wouldn’t hear of going to the hospital or any of that. Instead, he got up and started helping again and attended the tailgate potluck afterwards.

What are we going to do after this generation is gone? Who’s going to step up and help? I know one thing, I’ll be attending with my teenage son and daughter (and, hopefully, their friends) on April 16th. As far as I’m concerned, it should be required of all of our kids. The schools should keep track of their volunteer hours and make it part of their grades. Maybe we’d have less vandalism if they knew how hard it was to clean up.

If you have time and live near Spokane—please mark your calendars for April 16th 9:00-12:00 (just three short hours) with a Tailgate Party to follow at the Palisades Park Community Clean-up. Many hands make light work, and it's always a lot of fun.

Mike and I at the cleanup. Volunteering together was a blast!


  1. Congrats on your chili! Wish I could have had some, yum...

    Have you heard of nature deficit disorder? It's the theory that many modern behavior problems in children are actually side effects of them not spending enough time out in nature. Anyway, modern lives don't seem to focus on nature and it shows. How many people nowadays go camping, or hiking, or fishing out in the elements? Not many. If you don't spend time with nature enjoying it then you see no reason to preserve it. The older generations spent a lot more time out in nature than younger folks. Just my $.02.

  2. Oh congratulations! So proud of you!

    I've never known anyone who has won a chili cookoff. Just so you know, I will now be referring to you as "My friend Linda ... you know, the Chili Champion in Rimrock" in all future discussions :)

    We've invited our 4-H club members to join us in our clean up days. They turned out last year and actually rescheduled an event this year so they could attend again. Might be worth checking with your local chapter.

  3. Congratulations on the chili contest. Who pays to take all that stuff to the dump? Does the dump let volunteer clean-up groups have a free pass? I suspect around here part of the reason why so many people dump in the desert is because the disposal plant charges so dang much and they are really picky about you having to separate out your stuff into groups. We can only afford to take a few loads once every 6 months or so, but we'd never dream of illegal dumping. We just let the crap pile up on our property. Believe me, it's not any worse than some of our neighbors though. We don't have a toilet in our yard.

  4. The food looks delicous.

    I don't know who dumps all that crap but it's a shame people don't have more respect for nature. I'm not surprised that only the older generation shows up to lend a hand, they were taught correct work ethic and community pride. Now there's not so much of that going on anymore, it's more about me, me, me...

  5. Congratulations on winning the chili bake-off! That's pretty cool.

    People dump their crap in the woods here as well and sometimes right out on the country roads. It is so frustrating. They have no respect for anything.

    It's prety much the older generation here that clean up the trails as well. I don't know what will happen when they are gone.

  6. No, I haven't heard of nature deficit disorder--makes sense though!

    Good idea about contacting the 4-H--I'll do that.

    I think the city picks up all that garbage when we're done. It's a city park. I think the County owns a bit of it, too.

  7. Wow, time to party there is WA - Congrats on your Chili Win!! Raising my coffee (decaf) in a celebratory toast ... Cheers :)


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.