Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"Thank You So Much"

The encouragement and appreciation of our customers goes a long way to getting us through the rough spots. After delivering to our local customers a few weeks ago, we geared up to haul a freezer trailer of beef to Portland, which is always a bit stressful. The trip went extra smooth this year. 

Everyone was so nice. The guys at the trailer rental place in La Grande who prechilled the trailer to minus five and tested the wiring before we picked it up. Linda and Morgan at Valley Meats who helped us load the trailer. Zenger Farm who hosted our delivery location. Customers aged 4 months to 70 years who thanked us again and again for the delicious beef. Prairie and Jon and Harlan who shared dinner and offered us a warm soft bed for the night. Even Kevin at Valley Meats, working 'eight days a week' in this busy season, came outside and stood on the street for a minute in the sunshine and thanked us for returning empty boxes on our way back to Joseph.

We made it! Ready for customers to arrive at Zenger Farm

We arrived home to a beautiful late fall afternoon and a note from one of our customers, "Thanks again Mike and Sara! It was nice to see you yesterday and all of the Thomsens (Kristina, our boys Noah and Henry, and I) are excited to get this year's beef." Sigh, what could be nicer than to feed people delicious natural beef raised with care and effort by our family.  

Exploring Zenger Farm wetlands with Harlan

Before we made the trip to Portland, we took the cows to the canyon. We went early this year and will go up Pumpkin Creek for a month as we didn't graze that range at all last winter. We trailed the cattle to McClaran's corrals in the valley where we loaded the trailers. Then we hauled to the end of the pavement at Fence Creek and walked them in four miles to the Hall place where they will stay for a while before we cross the river and head to Pumpkin Creek.  

Cow herd at the Hall place

The drift fence at Halls had slid down the steep hillside, but we were able to prop it up enough with the materials at hand. We'll go back later with some new material and make better repairs. We are thankful to have neighbor's like Halls who provide an important stopping point for our cattle when we are coming and going from the canyon.  
Patching up the drift fence

While I was in the canyon I was glad to have a chance to gather the walnuts before the wild turkeys ate them all. I enjoy sitting in the dirt under the big trees, picking through leaves and twigs and tossing the nuts onto a tarp to drag inside. The acrid pungent smell fills the air around me, another smell of harvest season, of putting food by for winter. I'm thankful for these resilient and long-lived trees and the food they provide.  

Walnuts curing in the mud room

Most of the vegetation along the river is still green, but the poison oak has turned and the sumac colors the canyon like veins of blood flowing down the draws. It felt good to be in the sunshine, in the last warm weather of the year. 

Poison oak lovely, but still annoying

It was warm enough to get sweaty working. Warm enough for the river to look inviting and almost make me want to jump in. But I was content to take off my boots and dip my feet in the cold clear water, and just sit and listen for a while. Thankful for beauty and kindness and another turn of seasons. 

Under the Horse Creek bridge

From Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef