Looking Back and Giving Thanks
Looking back I recall how Rick, with his characteristic romantic flair, had tossed his duct-taped down vest in the corner of the porch and into the kitchen he came with a bottle of champagne in one hand and a copy of the February Sunset Magazine in the other. Grinning from ear to ear, he said “We’re gonna have a toast while we read Home on the Range!” Turning the pages, we admired Rob’s photographs which so aptly give the reader a sense of place. And we nodded our heads in agreement as Jeff eloquently drove home the importance of small family ranches and challenged people to think about what they eat. We were privileged to have him feature our Montana ranching community in the telling of his story. Even though we knew we were facing certain indigestion--neither of us much of a drinker--we clinked our glasses with gusto. Here’s to the future of small family ranching. Here’s to Montana Branded Beef. Here’s to Jeff and Rob who believe in us enough to tell our story in pictures and in words. (Not just in a farmer-stockman journal, but in a well-respected mainstream publication read by people on both sides of the Mississippi.) Here’s to Montana Bunkhouses Working Ranch Vacations.
Today, there is still much to celebrate and to be thankful for.
· Comfort in the rhythm of seasons repeating themselves summer after spring and winter after fall and the healing that mends a broken leg or a broken heart.
· Grandkids that fall asleep on our laps while watching the annual cowboy poetry gathering.
· Weather that warms from thirty below to thirty above when the Chinook winds blow in the winter.
· Snowfall in the mountains with some promise of irrigation water, snow for sledding on the hill behind the ranch house and a snowman in the yard.
· The legacy we leave our kids of happy memories as time repeats itself with joy and bitter-sweet sadness.
The importance of this legacy is what sparks my vision, fuels my choices and instills a spirit of entrepreneurship that drives me to continue growing Montana Bunkhouses Working Ranch Vacations in spite of some very large odds.
Thanks and “Hats Off” to my family and my friends in Big Timber and throughout Montana, as they give me encouragement to strike out on my own and to grow the agri-tourism cooperative. Leading the way … going against conventional wisdom. Putting a new face on agriculture… in Montana where myth has long been in partnership with reality.