After leaving Salem, Oregon, Wendi and KDcat drove less than an hour to the city of Corvallis where they met up with their hosts the Zander's -- Joni, Steve, Bekka, and Stephanie -- a fellow unschooling family Wendi had come to know in an online forum. It was great to be in their company and we loved them right away,? Wendi wrote. ?Their home is absolutely beautiful on a really cute lot with plenty of plants and trees around ? including the most delightful flowers that smelled divine (I think they were called Daphne).

Corvallis is the city we ve mentioned multiple times -- the city that feels like it s the right fit for us. Well, it lived up to our dreams in just about every way. It s a progressive, hip town with a lot going on. The people are friendly, the weather is beautiful, the land is gorgeous, and there are lots of unschoolers. Access to fresh, ogranic, raw foods doesn't seem to be an issue anywhere in Oregon, according to reports from the road so far. While they've been away, we've talked quite a bit each night about what they're finding -- and fresh organic produce seems pretty much everywhere out west. "The west," wrote Jim Morrison, "is the best." (Surely he was a raw foodie.)

Jon Gold, owner of the Sunny Side Up Cafe (a vegan and vegetarian restaurant there) and an unschool father, put together a little gathering of unschoolers for KDcat and Wendi. They were able to meet some local unschoolers and ask questions. There was also a gathering one day at the cafe where KDcat was able to do some art at a table with some other unschool teens. It's definitely a creative, easy-going town with some fantastic people in it!

I wrote on Monday that today (Thursday), we would be discussing mint here -- specifically, harvesting some late-remaining mint from our mint bed (shown above in all its glory) and making something with it. I failed, however, to take into account that it's been getting darker earlier and earlier these days. By the time I was able to get outside and talk about mint, it was just too dark.

So, I thought I'd forego the video, and just write up some minty facts to freshen up your Thursday. To begin, I would highly encourage anyone who is new to gardening, and wants some early success, to experiment with mint (including spearmint, peppermint, and the various varietals available here and there). I can almost guarantee that you'll have some wild (and I do mean wild!) success, and will soon enjoy more mint than the law allows. It's so easily grown, and spreads around so easily (via its root system), that it would almost be considered invasive if it weren't so darned desirable and fragrant. (It's tough to walk past a mint bed without snatching up a leaf, rolling it between your fingers, and inhaling the scent deeply.)

In yesterday's installment, we talked a bit about Salem, Oregon. I inadvertently missed this video in Wendi's batch of uploads. So, here's Wendi interviewing Kerry Matson on her path to raw and some of her favorite raw foods!

Once again, we thank our trip snack sponsor, Natural Zing, for helping us to make this possible on our budget!

Today, we're going to show you haw to make some tasty brownies. Best of all, this recipe takes only a few minutes. Let's get to it!

First, throw a couple of big handfulls of raisins into your food processor.

Jim here... again! Isn't that what all of the Oscar-nominated actors always say -- "It's an honor to be nominated"? Yes, I think that's the usual response. Who'd have ever thought that a raw foods blog would be saying the same thing ! Well, I'm happy to report that Wendi has received two such honors lately, in addition to being selected as an honoree among one blogger's nine "top favorite raw girls on the net." Let's take a look at these one by one, shall we?

First up is the "Best of Raw 2008" awards. Wendi was nominated in the category "Favorite Raw Vegan Educator for 2008." You can vote for her here until December 30 at midnight! Show your support; vote Wendi!

To keep all of you inspired while we are away, we've asked some

remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy!

Jim here... Anyone else like a good funky beat ? Who's familiar with Kool & the Gang's 1973 classic, "Jungle Boogie"? Surely a lot of people know that awesome tune. If you do, recall some of the main lyrics: "Get Down Get Down, Get Down Get Down!" That's the tune I want you to keep in mind as you read this post. Hear the drums, the bassline, the electric guitar, the horn section, the voices, the phrasing, the overall dynamics of that distinctive groove. Consider how magically it all comes together.

So, Wendi called me this morning and said, "Why don't you put a blog post up about your new challenge "

What fun do you have planned for yourself today, this weekend, or sometime in the near future? If the idea of having fun feels a bit foreign to you, then we sure are glad you found our blog. We'd love to encourage you to have some fun every day, but to especially have extra fun on the weekends (or whenever you have a couple of days off in a row).

What makes the weekends so special? For most people the weekends are a time when your schedule isn't dominated by weekly work commitments. It's a time when you can (no matter how busy your life is) probably arrange your days the way you'd like. So, why not arrange some time for fun? If you can manage it, try to arrange an entire weekend of fun for yourself!

As many of you know, I'm more of an intuitive eater than anything else. I eat what I intuitively feel my body needs most of the time. Well, for the past two weeks what my body has been asking for is cauliflower. I went through a cauliflower stage sometime last year, and it seems I'm back to eating that lovely white flower veggie again!

At first I was making mashed cauliflower (like? mashed potatoes) and keeping the recipe very simple. I've made complex versions of the mashed cauliflower before, but I was really drawn to a more simple taste so all I was adding was some olive oil, salt, and a tiny bit of macadamia nuts. Yesterday, however, as I was cleaning the cauliflower (since my body was telling me it wanted more of it), I had a sense that I wanted something more vibrant, more fun than simple mashed cauliflower. So, I followed my intuition (picking up whatever I felt my body wanted to eat with the cauliflower) and here's what I created...

Happy Navratri!

You haven't been hearing much from me (Wendi) lately, for a variety of reasons. Over the next few days, I'll be celebrating Navratri and posting here on the blog at the end of each day. In my posts, I'll be sharing some of what has been going on with me and why you haven't seen much of me around, as well as comments on my celebration of Navratri.

I love this video, in which Wendi interviews our new Portland-based realtor, Bill Futrell. It's a nice interview, but I love the way Wendi's enthusiasm for raw foods rubbed off on Bill almost immediately. There's even a moment in here in which Bill starts talking about Natural Zing. We thought for sure everyone would think we put him up to that, but he did it absolutely spontaneously! So, thanks Bill for helping to support our Snack Sponsor. Anyway, here's what he had to say about Portland, about where we'll fit in, and about his first exposure to raw foods:

One thing I can tell you for sure: Portland is WAY more expensive than Pittsburgh. A year ago, I invested a ton of time reading about low-cost cob houses, straw-bale construction, Earth-ship homes, homes fashioned from "obtanium," thatch roofs, off-the-grid systems, igloos, you name it -- anything DIY-oriented. (Okay, well not igloos; that was a joke. Even though igloos are probably pretty neat-o.) I'm sure we'll get to many of those types of projects one day still. But for now, as you can see, we're going to put down roots in a really great city out West. We're doing it with intention, though, and in harmony with our mission to help ourselves and others obtain the highest levels of health and happiness.