O.C.F. Caretaker's Journal

April 2000 Entries

March 2000 / Main / May 2000

Thus, when the lamp that lighted, The traveller at first goes out,
He feels awhile benighted, And looks around in fear and doubt.
But soon, the prospect clearing, By cloudless starlight on he treads,
And thinks no lamp so cheering, As that light which Heaven sheds.

Thomas Moore (1779-1852)


Sunday 30 April Another bright and busy day out here. The Sauna is starting to get gung-ho about thir set-up and there was work happening in Main Camp. Rainbow was plumbing and Bucket was cleaning off the roof of the Kitchen. It's earlier than usual but who am I to stop progress. Randy and Howard mowed long and hard trying to keep up with the rapidly growing grass. Steve and Dave Cole of the OCF Navy were here and did some planting on the river. Lots of the other usual suspects out today, along with some unusual ones---such as Jim Richmond passing on through, up from Arizona and off to a job interview in Seattle. There have been a few local teenagers that have lately been regularly showing up to fish the Long Tom. Since they are respectful and always ask first, I see no harm in letting them--- although I sort of suspect that the fishing is only an excuse to get them out here. If I was a local kid I would definitely find a reason to come here too. It was actually a pre-Fair day where I did Air Traffic Control all day, but it was only Class D Palookaville small field kind of stuff, not the Class B airspace Chicago O'Hare International Airport major holiday craziness that it will become around here in about a month or so.

Saturday 29 April Steve is up in Astoria at a wine festival this weekend, probably his last getaway before the Fair. That leaves me here minding the fort. David Hoffman was here early this morning as usual and he and I went and raked the the ankle-breaking and toe-stubbing round rock that was kicking around on the path between Commie Village and White Bird. We got about five wheelbarrows moved to an old water barrel site, which will in turn be hauled out soon. The wooden water barrels stations will be eliminated this year and replaced with regular water fountains. Water Barrels is being merged into Water Crew. Rainbow is on site for the first time this year and Tim Wolden was here also. They got straight to work and between the two of them they got the Fair water supply turned on and Rainbow got the hot water and showers in Main Camp fired up. This must be some kind of record---that can be attributed in part to the light Winter, and in part to the fact that things are just a little more together each year. Vic Parkinson arrived and decide to give a driving lesson while safely here on the Site. Unfortunately the clutch got dropped and the front universal joint and yoke of his drive train were broken, the rear one cracked. I hauled the rig up to the Ware House and we were able to get it apart with the airwrench and a propane torch. It is nice to have such tools on hand. The parts are on order and should be here in the morning. Other than that, quite a few visitors checking up on their booths or whatnot on this beautiful Spring Day.

Thursday 27 April For a man who was to become one of the most famous explorers in history Fernao De Magalhaes (born 1480) had a life that was quite a hard luck story. When he was about 25 years old, Magellan was fighting the Moors in Morocco and was wounded in the thigh by a lance, making him lame for life. He was offered a meager pension and a worthless title for his troubles, but young Ferdinand had other ideas. Like Columbus, Magellan believed he could get to the Spice Islands by sailing West, but by then he knew he would have to sail around the New World to do so. The Portuguese king refused his request to fund an expedition and so Magellan traveled to Spain and convinced the teenaged King Charles I to accept his proposal. The King supplied Magellan with a fleet of five ships and 265 men, agreeing to give him a twentieth of the profits on his return. Magellan set sail on 20 September 1519, intending to return to Spain the way he went. No sooner had they left than the Spanish captains began plotting to kill Magellan. Cartegena, ringleader of a mutiny attempt, was relieved of his command and thrown into the brig. The fleet eventually anchored off the coast of Rio de Janiero on 13 December, stocking up on food and water and then making their way down the coast of South America. Winter in the Southern Hemisphere was setting in and the farther South they sailed the colder it got---which forced a frozen encampment in Patagonia on 31 March, 1520. Captain Mendoza released Cartegena, who once again attempted mutiny. Magellan was able to quash the rebellion by marooning Cartegena, imprisoning some rebels, and executing others. The Santiago was sent on a reconnaissance mission down the coast to look for the passage and was wrecked in rough seas. In August Magellan decided to move the remaining four ships South. In October, the fleet sighted the strait which now bears his name, and started through. It.took 38 days to pass through however. During that time the captain of the San Antonio abandoned the expedition, and sailed his ship back toward Spain, taking most of the provisions with him. Finally during the last week of November the three ships emerged into an open sea, which Magellan named the Pacific. Magellan now thought the Spice Islands must be a mere few days away---but badly underestimated the immense size of this new ocean. This part of the voyage took approximately four months. The crew starved, came down with scurvy---and survived only by eating sawdust, leather straps, and rats. The expedition reached the island of Guam in March and then continued on to the Philippines. The ships dropped anchor at the island of Cebu and the men were able to get the equivalent of some shore leave. Magellan met with the local chief and converted him to Christianity---after which the wily old chief persuaded Magellan to assist him in conquering a rival tribe on the neighboring island of Mactan. In the subsequent battle, Magellan was hit by a poison arrow, massacred, and then presumably eaten by Mactan warriors on 27 April 1522. Juan Sebastian del Cano took over the three remaining ships and 115 survivors. With only enough men left for two ships del Cano had the Concepcion burned. They sailed south to the finally reach the goal of the Spice Islands, where they loaded up with a cargo of spices. In an attempt to guarantee that at least one ship would make it back to Spain, the Trinidad went East across the Pacific but was forced to return due to leakage and disease. It was was seized by the Portuguese, who then killed most of her crew. Del Cano traveled through the Indian Ocean and around the Cape of Good Hope on the Victoria. On 6 September 1522 del Cano and 17 men returned returned to Spain, almost three years from when they had left, becoming the first men to circumnavigate the Earth.

Wednesday 26 April Tim Justice was here to wire up the Ware House with lights. We used old fluorescent fixtures which Jim Sahr had rescued from another job so the whole project didn't cost a dime---true old school Fair. It's now lit up like a virtual 7-Eleven and so we will actually be able to see at night in there---a brilliant concept! The crowning glory, to me at least, is a fixture mounted over the work-bench, where I have spent many happy hours straining to barely see what I was doing in the near inky blackness. The day was clear but towards sunset clouds were starting moving in and I went down to watch it. The Sky was indeed spectactacular as the Sun set behind the horizon, illuminating various layers of clouds in a swirling and ever changing kaleidoscope of form and color. As I sat quietly with my back to the fence a pair of honking Canadian geese came flying right overhead and settled down about twenty yards away, not realizing I was there.

Tuesday 25 April It came as no big surprise that Phil Knight withdrew his 30 million dollar pledge towards the rebuild of Autzen Stadium in response to the University of Oregon's decision to join the Worker Right's Consortium. After all the Evil Bastard recently terminated Nike's contract to provide hockey equipment to Brown University, citing their decision to join the WRC. One of Nike's main objections to the WRC is that the latter's code mandates companies producing logo clothing to pay their workers a living wage. Nike has been seeking cover for years behind its claim that a living wage is an unverifiable. Meanwhile, research has repeatedly demonstrated that Nike shoe workers are being paid at below the subsistence level, even if we accept Nike's own unreliable claims about its pay rate. Nike employs over a half million workers in sweatshops overseas and pays most of them about a dollar a day. A pair of shoes costs Nike about five dollars to produce---which it can then sell for upwards of a hundred dollars in the United States. Nike claims that they are doing their own monitoring and are very concerned about their workers. On-site investigations reveal a different story however with evidence of: physical and verbal abuse of workers in Nike factories in Vietnam and El Salvador; Indonesian military being employed by a Nike contractors to intimidate workers during wage negotiations; Nike refusing to reinstate Vietnamese workers who have been humiliated and dismissed for talking to journalists; workers being fired for trying to organise unions in El Salvador, Thailand and Indonesia; severe fire hazards in a factory in China, Nike actually lobbying against Human Rights Legislation for China; and the list goes on and on. Nike has been involved for many years in an endless cycle of lies, cynicism, denial, and concealment but is beginning to see profits and stock prices fall as the American people realize just how badly and for how long this corporation has been exploiting workers rights. Read an open letter to Phil Knight signed by forty-five human rights organizations. Refuse to wear the Swooshtika and please inform those who do about its implications. We don't need his stinking money and we should refuse to give him ours. BOYCOTT NIKE!

Monday 24 April The deadbolt on the tenant's door at the town office was not functioning properly. Apparently they had gotten locked in and had to throw their keys out the window to a friend to get out. I was called in to have a look at it and after I got it fixed headed back here. Steve and I drove the tractor around, with the brush hog attachment, along with a chain saw, over to Elder's Meadow on the Far Side and we worked on opening that area up by mowing, clearing blackberries, and removing a dead fir tree that had fallen down into it. I have upgraded my computer with more memory and a new 270 megahertz G3 processor. At first there was initial problems seating the card and then worrisome instability and crashes. Eventually I found the correct DIP switch settings for this computer and everything is solid, and it is flying along at over twice the speed it was before. Now . . . . . if only I could type twice as fast.

Easter Sunday The second annual Easter Egg Hunt was held around here and as usual it got rained on. But a good turn-out for that with plenty of young enthusiastic kids. Tree Crew were also here and got a lot of work done between showers. I took to the river with Doug and Jackie Blanchard to plant some trees on the banks and clean the floatable trash from the log jams. We got caught in a downpour. Ah Spring. By evening it was beautifully clear again and I triked down for my usual starwatching meditation. The great dome shifts another degree to the West each night as the Winter constellations slowly slip behind the horizon. Even though the lights from Veneta (and Eugene beyond) obscure the fainter stars on eastern horizon, that is where the action as I try and coax the Summer stars into view. It was quite cold out there tonight though and I was eventually driven back by my frozen fingers. The mercury is down to about 35 degrees and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see frost out here in the morning.

Saturday 22 April I promised Leslie that on Friday I would have two No Parking signs posted at the town office. As is typical, it was a last minute endeavor to finish painting the signs and put them up, but I got it done. I stopped by Terra Tech to pick up a hoedad and by CAT to prod the HPV project along. Today is Earth Day and while there wasn't the turnout we had hoped for, there were certainly enough volunteers here to plant several hundred trees. Water Crew had their annual gathering and Easter Egg Hunt. It is good to see all those familiar faces coming out of the woodwork. We are now like the proverbial cartoon snowball rolling down the hill, starting to get bigger and bigger.

Thursday 20 April Despite the prediction for a partly cloudy day, it was clear as a bell, the sky an incredibly intense blue. Dave Peek and I surveyed the old water barrel sites for potential new booth spaces. The better ones have already been transformed into pocket parks however, leaving only a few places that will be perhaps good roving cart spots. Charles Drew was out, wearing his Personnel Committee hat, and met with Steve and I individually. Buck Morris has fixed the hydraulic pump on the Site Truck on Monday and so with it up and running I went in the tractor store on West 11th and picked up our new grade box. Toward evening I coreplugged Chela Mela, which finishes that job for the meantime. After dark I rode the trike down to Cabal Crossing. Along with the chaise lounge I now have stashed down there, I brought along a blankey and radio, tuned to the classical tunes---adding a whole new level to the comfort and relaxation to the experience. At first I enjoyed the sparkling antics of the Dog Star, hotly flashing red, white, and blue on the western horizon. Eventually I turned my attention to my quarry of the evening, the Great Globular Star Cluster in Hercules. This immense formation of stars is about 35 light-years across and around 26,732 light-years away. It is over 10 billion years old and contains an estimated million stars. Despite all these impressive numbers, M-13 appeared as a small smudge through my 8X binoculars ---read big telescope needed here. After watching the Moon rise, I reluctantly headed for home.

Wednesday 19 April After an initial mix up about our meeting place, Marc and I loaded our gear into the Jeep and headed to Mount Hood. Marc was coming off an eighteen hour shift and got what sleep he could during the ride. We arrived at Timberline around 0100 this morning. The wind was pitched, but we were blissfully unaware at that time of the whiteout conditions that had been prevalent just hours before. After a brief lecture from the janitor we were admitted into the Lodge and even given a free snow park pass. We rested and prepared, and about 0230 we were outside, putting on our crampons and beginning the climb up Palmer Glacier. The Full Moon bathed the entire scene a serene light, making the use of headlamps totally unnecessary. The wind had abated to a pleasant breeze. A bright shooting star blazed across the sky. Towards sunrise the combined light of the Moon and Sun produced an unearthly yet fleeting azure glow. Within the couloir we could not observe the sunrise directly, yet we saw its golden reflection on the peaks surrounding us. Fumaroles steamed, filling the air with a distinct sulfuric rotten egg smell. The shadow of the mountain raced across the cloud tops and converged at the very horizon, a hundred miles distant. Then it rapidly advanced toward us and the refraction of the light around one of the mountains peaks caused a spectral aurora to appear on the cloud tops below, ever changing and lasting over an hour. We crossed the icy blue abyss of the bergschrund on a narrow bridge of snow and ice. Up through a saddle and onto the summit beyond at about 0630, the entire Cascade Range laid beneath our feet. You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know---Rene Daumal . We descend into the warming day encountering just four other climbers and are are back at the Lodge in time for a celebratory breakfast buffet.

Monday 17 April EFN was on the blink again last night and I couldn't even open my page on the net, much less post to it. In any event Sundays are usually a big day for visitors out here and yesterday there was in fact a Sauna workparty, an Energy Park get together, a Path Planning meeting, as well as others out checking in on their booths. Today Steve and I took four Yew posts to the Far Side and created chained gates across the two accesses to the Ballfield. Tomorrow night is the full Moon, sometimes called the Hare Moon in April due to Pagan and Roman symbolism concerning fertility rites. The Easter Bunny has similar origins. Easter is always the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the the Spring Solstice and therefore will occur this coming Sunday. Marc Donafrio and I are going to take advantage of the light of the Moon tomorrow night to climb Mount Hood. We will start climbing sometime after midnight from Timberline Lodge and should be on the summit by early Wednesday morning.

Saturday 15 April Half the month is over and just another three little fortnights before Main Camp begins. Yesterday it rained off and on and I spent most of the day in the Ware House, painting the parts the latest bike project, cleaning up that mess, then upstairs organizing the inventory of bolts, screws, nails and other hardware. It is a tedious, seemingly never ending job going through container after container, but I have gotten rid of an estimated thirty gallons or so of bent rusty nails and other such junk during the past year---all left over from who-knows-when. Although all will be reduced to chaos once again, it should be a relatively easy matter to put it right. The upside to all of this is quickly being able to find what you need, when you need it. Arrow, Steve, and I did Our Daily Bread. Today was the Highway pickup and the usual amount of dedicated volunteers were here to see it get done. Steve Simmons and I put together the new mutant bike---a double articulated, three wheeled piggy-back model is about the best way I can describe it. It is definitely wacky, even if I do say so myself. We went out to the compost pile at the Dead Lot and covered it in black plastic to kill the weeds and help break it down. Along the way we noticed that new garbage had already been tossed onto the roadside that we picked up this morning. Again the three of us had dinner at Our Daily Bread. We have to remind ourselves how lucky to have such an oasis right here in Veneta. Rick, the owner of the restaurant, is experiencing a large amount of vandalism out in front of his business, doubly unfortunate because he working so hard and is doing such an incredible job of improving the place. There is also a front page article in the recent West Lane News about serious ongoing damages to the Veneta City Park, which is not for away. Except for the daily trash that accumulates along Areo Road, the Fair has thus far managed to escape this latest wave of tortured teenage terrorism.

Thursday 13 April It was a good soaking the Fair Site had last night, as it rained for over fourteen hours straight, enough to get under canopy of trees. It was well needed. Funny to be thinking about drought in April. My friend James, who is also my incidental Mac guru, was here to help me upgrade the processor in my computer. Unfortunately we couldn't get it working but he will see if he can upgrade his Mac clone to a G3 with the card or if it is just bad. Fortunately we able to get my computer running again with the old one. The old adage "If its not broke, don't fix it" was going through my mind. Other than that, the only other visitors to the Site were a couple of local teenagers who asked permission to go fishing in the Long Tom.

Wednesday 12 April Yesterday I got the grass mowed up here and helped our neighbor Dr. Joe plant Douglas Fir trees with along his side of our property line, among other things. In the evening I saw HIGH FIDELITY****, a diversion into the oh-so-familiar world of geeks, collectors, and failed relationships, told from a stylistically interesting first person perspective. Today it was water quality monitoring day, and so while my partner was relaxing at the dentist with a broken tooth, I carried the torch on for Truth and Justice. This evening it rained. Ordinarily that wouldn't be big news around here but it has been about three weeks since we have received any significant rainfall. The Site is much drier than at this time last year, which has both its good and bad implications, and tonight's shower changes that situation very little. Here is an update I got from Paxton today concerning the psychedelic happenings under the tipi back in Traffic Camp. It is a reply from Jack DeAngelis, the Extension Entomologist at Oregon State University. The stage that glows is actually the adult female that looks like a larva and glows when disturbed. Yes, these are beetles (family Phenogodidae). Very common here in western Oregon. Hope this is useful. Hmmmm . . . .

Monday 10 April Sunday was a day that involved enough mundane little jobs that I can already barely remember what half of them were myself. I did however (after several nautical misadventures such as temporarily losing a paddle downstream and getting rope hopelessly tangled), get the ferry boat rigged up across to the Far Side. Today I was back at the office bathroom giving the wall an all-in-one primer, texture, and paint job. I've talked to Dan and May Hitchcock and they will be putting a mural in the there soon to complete the transformation. I met with Leslie and Craig Huber about our happening project. Doe arrived and we went over to look at the industrial sewing machines that Shalini of the Pag Bags Booth had advertised in the Fair Family News. After some testing we picked out an absolutely bombproof Singer, which we loaded up into my Jeep. Money came from the Sailgate budget but this machine will be a valuable asset to the Fair for many years to come. On the way back I stopped in at Goodwill and found a chaise lounge marked two bucks. I hauled it on up to the check-out counter and the manager comes over and says it's fifteen dollars. No look, three of your stickers right there---two bucks, two bucks, two bucks. Yes sir, but I put those two out there personally and they're each fifteen bucks. Yep, and those ones are still right out there too, but this here one was way back in the back and see here it's marked for two bucks, three times, can't be no mistake about it ma'am. Okay, two bucks then. Once I got my fabulous prize home of course, I had to take it down to Cabal Crossing for a little field testing. Makes a galaxy of difference too, even though with the Moon at first quarter tonight it was two bright to actually see any actual galaxies. But training my binoculars on the Moon itself for quite awhile, I smugly reclined in total self satisfied comfort and cheap relaxation.

Sunday 9 April Marian Anderson was born in Philadelphia in 1897. Her father sold coal and ice while her mother washed laundry for a living. Marian sang in the Union Baptist Church choir as a child. In 1925, she entered a contest with 300 competitors and won first place. She started becoming recognized for her extraordinary ability and her neighborhood began chipping in for professional singing lessons. Quickly she became internationally famous and toured Europe extensively. She returned to give a seventy recital tour in the United States---at that time, the longest, most extensive schedule in concert history. Aware of her ever increasing popularity, her manager Sol Hurok booked a performance at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. When the owners of Constitution Hall, the Daughters of the American Revolution, realized that Ms. Anderson was a black women, they refused to allow the performance to go forward. The public was outraged, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR in disgust, and Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes formally invited Marian Anderson to appear in front the Lincoln Memorial. On Easter Sunday, 9 April 1939, a record 75,000 people assembled to listen to her sing and the event was broadcast by radio to an audience of millions. Although it was a difficult and painful incident for her personally, it remains a significant historical milestone in the struggle for racial equality. In July of that year she received the Spingarn Medal of the NAACP, which was presented by none other than Eleanor Roosevelt. Four years later the DAR invited Anderson to take part in a concert for China Relief at Constitution Hall. She accepted. In 1955, she became the first black person to join the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She sang at the inaugurals of Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy. Marian Anderson went on to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963, a Congressional gold medal in 1978, the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award in 1984 and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991. She died in Portland, Oregon on 8 April 1993 at age 96.

Saturday 8 April Is it a fungus? Is it a algae? No, it's super-small glow worms! At least that was the consensus betweem Paxton and Charlie Lefevre last night about the glowy stuff down in traffic camp. More research to follow when Paxton takes some samples he took to be examined by entomologists. Last night it was a good crowd of us at Our Daily Bread and Leslie noted that it was exactly three months to the Fair. It is my two year anniversary on the job. Today Arrow, Mike, and Michel Bishop were working on the deck on the Traffic Desk, so let the games begin for this year. David Hoffman was here as usual, Steve Simmons brought his rickshaw back out to work on, John the new mechanic finally got Lobstra running, Howard got the mower put back together, and there were a lot of other miscellaneous folks here as well. Things are getting into gear around here and I am going to go out on a limb by predicting a hot, dry, dusty Fair this year.

Thursday 6 April Sorry for missing a couple days, and not to make excuses, but with Daylight Savings Time in effect it gets way late before I know it---as it is right now. I've been busy around here, the Spring chores are stacking up. I visited CAT and got the Human Powered Vehicle project into gear. I coreplugged East 13th and Main Stage Meadow. Finished converting an old makeshift trailer into a new cart that can be pulled by a bike or by hand. Tonight I went to a source water assessment meeting in Veneta at Leslie's request. It was quite informative about the area's aquifer and geologic characteristics and some of the potential sources of contamination of Veneta's well water. One of the biggest concerns to public drinking water, it turns out, are abandoned or inadequately sealed wells. These offer a direct conduit that contaminates can take to reach the aquifer in high concentrations. Paxton and Lois are here to check out the phosphorescent foxfire, for which he brought camera and a couple of microscopes. It is a difficult thing to study though, because with enough light to illuminate it, you can no longer see the green glow that the stuff puts off. We isolated a small piece of it by using a red light which allowed us to see the glow and the substance it came from simultaneously. Paxton suspects it is a fungus. We also spent time checking out the night sky after it unexpectedly cleared around sunset and there was a spectacular view of the lunar and planetary conjunction, really quite beautiful. Paxton also brought down a telescope, but the resolution is actually no better than my binoculars. It is clear to me now that I am going to need a larger telescope than I first imagined.

Monday 3 April It was on of those glorious, great to be alive days, the sun beating down and a hot breeze blowing. It felt like Summer was already here although I know that Spring has just barely arrived. I was on the tractor coreplugging some of the paths and the Dragon Plaza and the soil conditions were perfect just for it and the new double coreplugger does a massive amoung of work in short periods of time. Later I headed into town to do a few errends such as some banking and dropping off my Birkenstock shoes to be resoled. It was still light and warm at seven when the Board Meeting started. After the I looked up into the clear sky was struck by the fact that only the very brightest of stars were visible beyond the glare of lights from the city. I think I will always need to live where I can see the night sky from now on. It is very reassuring to see those old familiar constellations up there. On the way home there was only a thin band of clouds in the West, but by about midnight, when I was thinking about going down to the lots, I saw that the sky was again overcast. It was sure easy getting used to that great weather but this is still Oregon after all.

Sunday 2 April On Friday I was finally cleaning up a stack of lumber that had been left over from last year's final dimensional runs. While using a DeWalt screw gun the tip of the tip broke off, flew up, and hit me directly in the eye. By the end of the day my eye was watering profusly and even my sinuses were reacting, to show how closesly related those two things are related. The next morning we hauled out the hay from the nursery, and I helped our new mechanic John trying to start Lobstra, the red flatbed, but to no avail. At 1430 I headed up to Salem and met Charles Drew, and from there we hopped into his Miata---and with the top down up we went at top speed to the Rose Garden in Portland for the Blazer game. They took it to the Milwaukee Bucks 113-79 and I enjoyed watching the pros for my first time ever. They are unbelievably fast! However, I had to wear sunglasses and they kept fogging up due to my still watering eye. By this morning though it was a whole lot better, but I can tell this cautionary tale in hopes that someone might learn from my experience. As for myself, I have been converted to Mr. Safety Glasses, which I will ALWAYS be wearing whenever I use power tool and such from now on. Today was a banner day around here, mamy people out walking about, and the VegManECs had a major workparty to clear away the bail dams and chicken wire around trees. For my part, I stayed around the Ware House and did air traffic control while working on fabricating a small trailer. We even broke out the radios and that is a real sign that the Fair is on its way! They last several nights have been clear and moonless and I have been taking advantage to go down to Cabal Crossing and giving myself some astronomy lessons. I am just trying to learn the constellations and some major stars right now and I am really becoming quite facinated. Tonight, for example, I "discovered" the Beehive Cluster. It is located in the center of Cancer, which is the dimmest, most non-discript constellation the Zodiac. To the unaided eye M-44, appears like a fuzzy smudge. The Ancients thought they were looking through a thin spot on the floor of heaven and called it the Gate of Man. It was said that the souls decended through this hole to be born. In reality it is a cluster of stars some 515 light years away. It is a stunning sight the first time it comes into view with a pair of binoculars.

Saturday 1 April It is with great happiness and pleasure that I am announcing some of the wonderful acts that have been recently booked and will be appearing in the upcoming Millennial version of the Oregon Country Fair. On Friday 7 July we will proudly welcome Phish to the Main Stage, followed by Phil Lesh and Friends. Deadheads rejoice! It is almost hard to believe, but ever since Pink Floyd heard about the Friday Night Show last year, they have been after us to let them play their version of Dark Side of the Moon---and they will have their chance to try to do it better right after sunset. On Saturday the headliners are going to be Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young and Siegfried and Roy, along with their white tiger, will be taking the day off from Las Vegas to become our very special guests at the Midnight Show! The rumor has been going around for awhile, but now it is official, Santana will in fact be closing the Main Stage Sunday night. Also, on all three days, Bob Dylan is going to be playing acoustic solo at Shady Grove, performing medleys of all his oldtime hits. Because of the annoyance the helicopters that will be ferrying all the superstars around, and in the spirit of Woodstock, all fairgoers who are wearing tie-dye will be admitted free. Our food booths have also captured this spirit and have unanimously decided to simply give away their food during Fair hours. These are just a few of the highlights expected at Fair this year, but be sure and check out the Fair's website for the full details. And remember, you heard it first right here at the Caretaker's Journal!

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