Thursday, January 19, 2012

Stomping Grounds

Since the holidays ended this year, I've caught myself a couple times saying, "I want to rewind to a few days before Christmas."  It was a wonderful day, followed by another and another....

Prairie and Jon were here for a whole week.

Christmas breakfast 

Hot out of the oven
Christmas Day was filled with family. We had breakfast, church, ham dinner, the afternoon walk, and always music making, storytelling, gaming.

The afternoon walk

The day after Christmas we were thankful for generations of friends dropping by from morning till night with a parade of food, music, games and fun.

Day Two, the four panel - four artist project

Day three we headed to the river and Mike helped gather the neighbor's cattle out of the breaks. The first day he rode from dark to dark in torrential rain, his horse new to canyon, the soil thawed in places and greasy on steep norths. That night he rode in spent and filthy, weighted down with thirty extra pounds of sodden gear. The second day was dry at least, but even longer. 

Near the bottom of Tulley Creek
 Jon, Prairie and I fixed waterline and went hiking. The day after the storm we hiked up Tulley Creek to our old stomping grounds. Tulley was our first home in the canyon when we arrived from northern Idaho. Back then Prairie was 2 months old and Gabe was still in diapers. 
Almost to the bench

Prairie and I couldn't remember the last time we'd been to Tulley Creek. We used to hunt apricots near there. In July we'd make the scorching dusty drive, arriving at the old orchard, some years finding a jackpot and others not a single fruit. The reliable reward was the swimming hole and jumping off cliffs into the river. When the ranches sold and sold again and we stopped going.
Our first home in the canyon so many years ago
Now Tulley is in the care of McClarans, our long time neighbors and we had the rare bonus of bumping into a couple of the girls when we reached the house. They were heading north to sort and trail cattle on the bench. It was so good to see them and share a few words about the recent storm, nasty slick trails, the holidays and family.
Maggie at the creek

Beth gets the gate

I love this kind of understanding, with people who have worked and lived in some of the same places, places that in a way, now seem like friends and relations. 

From Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef