"Away" is the command we give the dogs to travel counterclockwise around the cattle. It's short for "away to me." Last week Mike returned home after a month in Kyrgyzstan and I found myself willing him toward me. Almost as if I could gather him in. As if some part of me were silently calling 'away to me, away' as his plane hurtled west around the globe.
And when I finally picked him up at the airport in Walla Walla, at 2 am in the morning, I could relax."That'll do," I thought. The command we give the dogs to quit working, the job's done.
After a month of workshops and trainings and management plans, Mike was coming home to a whirlwind of ranch work. I was hoping he'd have a few days of relaxation before jumping into moving cattle, monitoring pastures, harvesting beef and making deliveries.
|Buying koumis from Kyrgyz herder family|
Weston and I made plum, pear, apple galettes as a welcome-home treat. Wes is happy to demonstrate his knife skills, including telling me the first one I gave him was "too sharp." He got to take a gallette home to share with his dad.
|Wes cuts pears|
As much as I wish I could give the command to 'stay' I know I'll be sending Mike back across the ocean again soon. His work in Kyrgyzstan isn't really done. In October he'll head off again, making another circle in the big pastoral rangeland world.
|Mike, Wes and Dawson in their Kalpaks (herder hats)|