Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Great and Legendary Saari Farm of Fort Bragg

My friend Joel is partly of Finn decent and like most great Finnish folks he is obsessed with Finnish culture, ("Oh look!" he yells and points. "Another bath house!") history, geography etc. A great region of Finnish settlers is Fort Bragg California. Apparently when some of Joel's relatives moved to the United States they relocated here. In fact, he still has deep and distant family roots here. The Kjeveblahblahblahs and the Saaris are last names prevalent in Fort Bragg that Joel is directly related to, including a dentist according to the local phone book. When the Saaris moved to Fort Bragg many generations ago they bought a farm about a mile from the coast. I had heard the tales of the farm from Joel over the years including when his great uncle moved away when he was very old and Joel went to the farm to help clean and organize the place. He found some cool old pictures from the 70's! Anyway, the family sold the farm to a young couple who intended to raise alpacas, a creature valued for their wool. Joel wasn't sure if that's what happened but he did tell Gina and I where the farm was and we went to investigate The Great and Legendary Saari Farm.

I'm not sure about you but I love looking at something that someone told me about that is distant to where I usually am. It just seems plain exotic. That's the feeling that rushed over me when we followed the directions written on my arm and traveled to the farm. Above is a panorama of the Saari farm, and as you can see it sure as shit is an alpaca hot bed! No shit! I enjoy imagining Joel's quiet and contemplative relatives hoeing the earth, feeding the chickens and cursing the aggressive Russians.

This video with my narration really gives you the feeling of being there. Just imagine the Finns taking in the new world, surroundings, languages, cultures and customs so foreign! Gazing across the great Pacific and imagining the home country only an ocean, a continent and another continent away!


Anonymous said...

I am interested in connecting with some Finnish families in Ft Bragg.
J. Johnson

Me said...

When I lived in Paskenta, California we would vacation quite often at Fort Bragg. It was the equivellant then of what the Oregon Coast is for me now.

I loved Fort Bragg and hearing that Joel has family directly tied there is kind of crazy, and here is why.

I know Joels dad has a thing with strange coincidences or maybe he has a more mystical name for them I cant remember.

Anyway, Here I am as a kid hanging in Fort Bragg from maybe mid 80's to early 90's. In the summer of 90' or 91' I moved to Hyder Alaska, and then a year later to Ketchikan. Where we obviously all met.

Justin Ingmans Dad Roger, during the 80's was building the Jeanine Kathleen in of all places

fort bragg.

and now Joels family or distant relatives all settled in Fort Bragg?

this is getting a little bit like a LOST episode. My question to Joels dad would be, Is fort Bragg the nexus or is ketchikan?

My favorite thing about Fort Bragg was this old dump that (as far as I can remember) was at the edge of town right on the beach. So the whole beach is all of this really smooth glass and like china pieces worn down by being constantly thrashed around in the surf second after second for thirty or forty plus years----

**obviously now another twenty years have been added on, so maybe all the glass is round now... how knows!?! I guess it is possible too that most of the glass is now gone as there were constantly people picking up pieces of glass. In fact that beach of glass is the reason we would always be going up to fort bragg (other then for the love of the coast.)
My dad in those days was pretty inventive with his masterful skills as a stone mason. He hated to actually work with brick, and preferred to build these elaborate light house lamps and other crazy things out of the glass. Eventually he just stopped doing that and became a stoned mason... well and then maybe just stoned...

bad jokes but also truthful.

--- I also remember a lot of like metal stuff at the dump. I dont remember any garbage, but old cans, bottles, silverware, some car parts, but no trash? Perhaps this was an early form of recycling or something... or maybe I just dont remember the trash because I was a kid and didnt care about germs or anything other then running around adventuring, or obviously I guess the trash probably could or would have all washed out to sea. I guess we didnt have packaging then like we do now so probably not a lot of waste in those days.

Anyway, the beach was amazing especially when it was sunny and the beach would glow with a green and red splashes of light from the suns reflection off the glass.

So I wonder, did you see the glass beach seth? and has Joel ever seen the glass beach or spent anytime in fort bragg either as an adult or as a kid? and do I get a story written about these events by his dad?

Teemu Selanne said...

almost as epic as the Kalevala

ssojk said...

dude Seth you may have to write my biography when this is all said and done. maybe even my autobigraphy if you don't mind changing your name.

My Dad has a few tales of Fort Bragg back in the day but he grew up in Coos Bay, up the coast in Oregon. He did just visit his cousins the Kjeldsens there a few months ago, and sure enough the old glass beach is still there!

The Power of Crystals said...

We did see the Glass Beach! It was on the hotel's list of things to do. It blew my mind that an entire town would just use a beach as a dump. All the way up until 1990! There is still tons of glass on the beach but now it's all very small. The beautiful big chunks were probably wiped by folks like your Pop. I was stunned by these massive conglomerations of rusted metal that at one time had been probably thousands of different pieces of garbage but due to time and salt water have basically melded together to form what looked like entirely new parts of the beach. A meth head's dream!