Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tiny living enthusiasts are flocking to sheep wagons - video

If you're looking for an authentic taste of Basque culture outside of Basque Country — a picturesque, fiercely proud region in the foothills of the Pyrenees that fans out from the Bay of Biscay in the northernmost reaches of Spain and southwestern France — you’ll find it in Boise, Idaho. That’s right, Boise. Since the late-19th century, the area in and around southern Idaho’s Treasure Valley has been home to a lively Basque diaspora — a vibrant and close-knit community that’s, well, no small potatoes. Today, an estimated 16,000 residents of Basque descent live in the Boise area. My own family even has ties to the Boise Basque: my aunt by marriage is of Basque extraction and, in turn, my first cousins grew up with a maternal grandmother fluent in Euskara. Outside of the Basque Block, traditions are preserved in other ways including in the remarkable handiwork of Kim and Kathy Vader of Idaho Sheep Camp. The Vaders — Kim, a craftsman, is descended from a long line of Basque sheep ranchers — are in the business of building bespoke sheep wagons — that is, cozy little mobile shelters inhabited by early Basque immigrants who worked the land as shepherds and farmers. Even modern-day sheep ranchers, including relatives of Kim and Kathy, continue to use these rustic proto-Winnebagos in lieu of sleek, newfangled travel trailers. “There was a time there they decided to go to travel trailers, but after a year they decided travel trailers didn’t work so they went back to the old sheep wagons,” explains Kim. “I think the construction of them [the travel trailers] just didn’t hold up. Too many foo-foos and too many things to come apart and they just didn’t hold up.” Globetrotting documentarian and downsized living enthusiast Kirsten Dirksen of faircompanies recently profiled Kim and Kathy Vader in a new video that provides a glimpse into the rich history of sheep wagons — the “Airstream of pioneers” as faircompanies calls them — and how the cozy, canvas-covered dwellings-on-wheels are now being embraced by tiny home enthusiasts and those seeking a “more original” vacation home or guest house...more

Here's a video about the Vader's and the sheep wagons: 

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