|Chester and Theo in the yard|
With all the rain, the river was high and muddy. Luckily the only flash flooding that occurred was in a side canyon fifteen miles away, on the road to town. The state highway crews jumped in and cleared away tons of debris so the road could reopen after a day.
|High and muddy Imnaha|
We had some welcome help from family and friends as we rounded the corner toward summer. Branding, repairing fences, and getting ready to trail cattle out of the canyon to the prairie.
|Harlan on the horse swing with Jon|
The boys slept in their tent on the porch. They figured the rattlesnakes probably wouldn't come up there. Abby slept in the house, but joined the party the next day so she could read up on sharks...
|Tent nest on the porch|
|Dawson, Abby and Weston|
As it often does in spring, the weather seemed to suddenly turn off hot, hot, hot. I got overheated brushing out blackberry and poison oak on the Log Creek trail in preparation for trailing cattle. I was very happy to have my itchy sweaty labors rewarded by finding a hummingbird nest amongst the blackberry vines.
It was an easy trail to the summer range at the beginning of June. We enjoyed a couple days of cooler weather, a little rain, but not so much to make for muddy trails. I remember one year when the temperature dropped into the forties with a cold driving rain. We had been on the trail two days and we were nearly there. Gabe said, "I think we can make it all the way if we keep going for a couple more hours." Through chattering teeth I responded, "I cccccan't ffffffffeel my ffffffingers. I hhhhave to ggggget in the ttttttruck and wwwwarm up."
|Harlan ready with walkie-talkie and tools|
Gabe and Prairie and Cammie did most of the riding this year. Moms and kids took over on the last day. Prairie on Chester with Harlan in front, Dawson on Buddy, and Cammie on Bird with Weston on the back. Little did we know this would be Bird's last trip out of the canyon. After a brief illness, we had to put him down in July. RIP bird, you were a wonderful horse and we miss you.
|Moms and kids on the last day|
June also brought special guests when Mike hosted a study exchange of pastoralists from Mongolia for the Nature Conservancy. I was grateful to be included in several days of activities as the group met with local people involved in ranching, range management, conservation and community development.
|Welcoming the Mongolian delegation with cowboy scarves|
It was a big surprize and a lot of fun when Mike and I and Bayar (Science Director, TNC Mongolia) figured out that Bayar was the person who years ago lent a car to our Mongolian friends Ene and Aza so they could drive from San Francisco to Joseph to visit us. What a connection!
|Study tour stop on the Zumwalt Prairie|
I love it when pastoralists from different countries have a chance to meet each other. There is always a lot to learn and even with language barriers (those translators are kept BUSY) we seem to understand each other. Whether checking out fencing tools or horse tack, discussing our marketing or production methods, or talking about the serious challenges to rangelands around the world, we relate to each other in a special way.
|Visit to USFS range allotment with rancher and scientist Dennis Sheehy|
Mongolians have a robust culture of horsemanship and are enthusiastic about horse races. At Buckhorn overlook, we made a stop to learn about Nez Perce fisheries, tribal rights and practices, ranching in the canyons, and research applying remote sensing and weather data to predict forage conditions on vast rangeland areas. During lunch, a Mongolian delegate got out his phone and we gathered round to watch a tiny video of his horse winning an important race back home. I made a joke about how in Wallowa County our horse races are to see who can go downhill the fastest...that got a reaction as they looked over the edge into the canyon.
|Looking into the canyon from Buckhorn|
There were many emotional moments. I especially enjoyed visiting with the women delegates and was reminded how women have many leadership opportunities in Mongolia, more so than in the United States. And we had a lovely evening near the end of their stay hosted by Mike and Nikki Beachy and their boys for a potluck, s'mores, a traditional Mongolian-style toasting circle, and wonderful singing in several languages.
|Joe receives his special gift.|
One of the most moving interactions during the study exchange was a presentation of a special amulet to Joe McCormack. The man making the presentation said that as a child he dreamed of making a journey to the other side of the world and meeting other native peoples. Now to his amazement, his dream had come true. We all felt a tenderness in our hearts as we watched Joe accept this gift with grace on behalf of the Nez Perce people.
Thank you Joe.
Tá’c kîiye pîihekin.
It is good to see each other.
From Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef