July 14, 2015

Riding the Circle

Dear Friends,

I was talking with someone the other day, who mentioned “riding the circle.”  That phrase transported me so quickly to a place I love — in the saddle, and so much more.  When livestock are gathered over a big stretch of country, you make a big sweep, like riding a circle.  And someone always needs to take the outside lap.  Most often, it’s the person in charge, so they can be sure that everything is gathered.  It helps them in planning the next steps in the work.  But when I was more active on the ranch (pre direct marketing!), many times the outside lap fell to me.  I loved it!  I had a big stout dark horse that could really cover the country.  No horse outwalked him; he loved to run, and we got to cover the longest distance, right up my alley.  His name was Apache, and he’s gone now.  He lived long past retirement, and is buried here on the ranch.  For years, we took the longest circle.  Besides loving that horse, I loved the high ridges with the longest view, when you just stop — and take it all in.  You can see the edges, and feel the completeness.  That gives me peace.

On these big gathers, you never know what’s ahead.  The terrain is familiar, but conditions change.  You can’t always prepare; you just pay attention and deal with what comes.  You step out, begin the work and keep going no matter what, because others are counting on you to do your share and show up.
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I think we’re all “riding the circle.”  Most of us go where life takes us; to places we never expect and for which you don’t prepare.  The preparation comes along the way.  It’s all about stepping out and doing the work, and it helps when you have a good horse like Apache.

Dan and I made a trip to Washington DC just before the 4th of July.  We had the opportunity to meet with senior officials in the US Department of Agriculture, along with other senior government officials and Senator Merkley from Oregon.  I had never been to Washington DC before.  I am so grateful that as normal citizens, we can actually go to our nation’s capital and meet with the leaders who make and implement policies that protect and nurture this awesome country.  We live in a great land with amazing privileges. We need to keep “riding our circles” and work to keep it that way. (You can learn more about our visit at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s Blog)

I hope to see some of you in Antelope, OR on August 2nd.  This will be the 24th year of the annual music event held on the lawn of our little community church. This year it is expanding into the “Rise Up Country” Music Festival (No admission fee/donations accepted), featuring award winning entertainers including Joni Harms, Mud Springs Gospel Band and Susie McEntire.  We’ll have an authentic Chuckwagon BBQ by Paradise Rose ($12 per person/kids menu also) that you won’t want to miss, along with kids’ activities to include Ranch Animal Petting Area and Face Painting.  It begins at 1 p.m.. Seating is limited; please bring a blanket or folding chairs. Hope to see you there!

Warm Regards,