Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Visitors Young and Old from Near and Far

The canyons beckon to everyone seeking the early green world of river fishing, blossoming trees, nesting birds and shirtsleeve afternoons. We've enjoyed a string of visitors, young and old, both local and international. 

Games before breakfast! 

Marcy and Dennis Sheehy arrived from Wallowa with four grandkids in tow. Nonstop games, meals, fishing, art and some amazing domino constructions ensued. The important thing was no work!

Right angle bridging and it worked!

Painting and drawing

Fishing and lots of snagged lures

It's been a tough winter and they were glad to get a break from ranch chores. Fishing efforts yielded a few fish and a few good battles with trees over snagged lures.

Mike and Dennis have worked together as rangeland scientists in Mongolia, so they enjoyed their usual dialogue about grass, technology, herbivores and people.

Dennis and Mike goofing off

I had some help from Jacinda who came down to ride Pumpkin Creek with me. We were looking for a couple pairs of early calvers that we left behind when we trailed down to the river. We didn't find the pairs but we did engage in a little rodeo on the way home.
Jacinda and Chester

Something spooked our horses as we poked along near the end of the day. I lost my right stirrup on the first jump, but managed to stay on through the next couple, and so did Jacinda. We were so close together it felt like synchronized riding.

Aunt Vera and Mom 

Aunt Vera loved the braised beef cheeks

Mid month, the 'oldsters' arrived, from Seattle and North Dakota, Mom, almost 89 and Aunt Vera, soon to be 93. We had a fine time eating delicious meals, playing countless Scrabble games, and lounging in the warm sunshine of the canyon.

Dawson and Great Grandma study birds

The grandboys were glad to see Great Grandma Lorry again and Mom even helped ride herd on Weston a few times. As Mom announced to me one morning, "You've got your hands full, you're doing eldercare AND childcare!"
Great Grandma rides herd on Weston

We have a new pup, Bell, named after our old friend Chuck Gibson's banjo - Julia Bell Swain. Wes likes to feed her, generally spilling puppy chow and then returning it to the dish one kibble at a time. He is learning to teach Bell not to try and herd or wrestle him.
Wes feeds Bell, again....
Mom spoils Bell

Mom loves all animals, and doted on Bell, calling her 'baby' and 'sweetheart'.  As in, "No baby, no sweetheart, you can't chew my shoe..."

Our next visitors came the farthest, from Ethiopia, via Washington DC. The Goodland family are originally from England, though their children have never lived there.

Goodland family at cut bank, first snake! 

Andrew is an economist who met Mike and Dennis through work in Mongolia, funded by the World Bank. After living in Beijing for a number of years, Goodlands are now stationed in Addis Ababa. While in the states, they brought the whole family to Eastern Oregon to visit the Sheehy's and Mike and I. On a hike upriver, they had the exciting experience of seeing the first rattlesnake of the year. The day rounded out with a picnic, a treasure hunt and time on the swing.
Rock skipping

End of a lovely day

We are thankful to have friends and relations making the journey to Magpie Ranch to share their lives with us.  I'm reminded of precious hospitality, how much it means to us in when we are the travelers, and how much we learn when we can host others in the places we know and love. 

Weston  learns the ropes from Sara

From Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef