Friday, July 15, 2016

Out of the Canyon and off to Kyrgyzstan

We're out of the canyon now. We topped out with the cattle in early June, trailing the cow herd up to the Zumwalt Prairie from the Imnaha Canyon. Everything went smoothly and the cows were happy to be on the summer range. Cammie, Dawson, Wes and I helped trail on the last day.  

Day two of the cattle drive

Day three, not much farther to go

Sara and Weston with Chester

While Prairie was home for a visit, Harlan, now eight months, got to spend time with the cows. Like the horses, he was very interested and happy to be with them, but didn't want to get up close and personal. They are big animals!

Happy to be on the prairie

Picnic with the cows

Once all the cattle were on the summer range, we made a trip back to the river for salmon season ,  Gabe caught several nice salmon. Dawson got up at the crack of dawn to fish everyday and caught several trout, but no salmon this time.

Early riser

A keeper

We had a tremendous mulberry harvest this year.  There are a few trees scattered along the riparian area and the fruit was perfect for picking while we were there. We ate as many berries as we could and froze some for Prairie to take back to Portland. 

Jon and Prairie pick mulberries


As part of our conservation and restoration projects, Mike did some annual monitoring in the canyon. Measuring the type and quantity of plants in certain rangeland sites helps us get a sense of how well we are doing at managing our use of the range. Some of our goals are encouraging healthy native ecosystems and nudging historically degraded areas toward an improving trend.

Monitoring plot

Mike says rangeland management is just "gardening on a very large scale." As a rangeland ecologist, he enjoys studying the natural world, especially the canyons and prairies that have been our home for over thirty years. I love how he can explain things and I drive him crazy with questions sometimes.

Canyon dinner, my favorite way to cook

Mike will be headed to Kyrgyzstan soon to consult on a community-based pasture management livestock project. It will be his first trip to Kyrgyzstan. I have some fears about him travelling so far away to people he's never met. But I know he will share his best science and his practical experience raising livestock to help the Krygyz herders answer questions and think about new management tools. He will learn a lot. I hope he makes a few good friends.

I'm going to miss him while he's gone. 


From Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef