Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How it Goes

Freeze and thaw. Freeze and thaw. A faint plumping in the catkins. A few green sprouts of annuals, and the bluebunch wheatgrass stirring every time the temperature hits thirty-nine degrees.

 Gabe, Wes, Dawson, James and Luke go fishing

The weather in the canyon finally improved to where the ground is drying out some and the animals are better able to travel. The wet and frigid conditions in December also took a toll on the main road, undermining it near Fall Creek with a dangerous and spooky undercut that sprawled beneath the downhill edge.

Thankfully, the County road crew is working on it this week and has closed the road for repairs. Mike was likely the last one down as he got a late start last night, leaving the valley after truck maintenance that took too long.
Herders, looking at birds, after crossing cattle upriver, Mike, Dawson

Weston in Mike's back pack

Earlier this month, we had the boys for three days while their parents whooped it up in Seattle at the Seahawks play-offs. Wes enjoyed worming his way into our bed both nights, reminding us of just how squirmy a sleeping one-year old can be.

Fisherman Jon R helps between holes

We finally got the new alley, holding box and gates in so we could use the corrals for weaning. Mike and Gabe gathered and sorted, with a couple really long days. For the next month, Mike will be at the river, tending the calves until we turn them back in with the herd.
New alley and holding box, calves gathered and sorted

Guests arrived the last weekend of January, winners of the ranch stay auction item at the Zenger Farm fundraising dinner in Portland. Prairie works at Zenger Farm and encouraged us to help in raising funds to build their Urban Grange. Zenger Farm provides a ton of food education opportunities in the Lents area. Prairie enjoys working with families in the neighborhood, and coordinating outreach to involve schools, families and volunteers in the Farm.

Justin teases a few fish out of a hole

It turned out we had a lot in common with our guests, with many lively exchanges and conversations during their stay. Justin is a fisherman, and Alivia an avid outdoors person, so they were right at home in the canyon. We all stayed up too late, Justin and Alivia slept in, and we enjoyed sharing stories of children, travels, and our questions about the world.

Alivia and Sara hike the bar

The calves are healthy and it's good to be part-way through weaning, another sign that spring is inching toward us. We know we've got a lot of freezing weather ahead, that the norths won't really thaw until March, but the birds, the little patches of green, and even the first caterpillar, remind us of warmer days to come.

Dawson finds the first caterpillar of the year

From Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef