Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Day in the LIfe by Paty Jager

Last Saturday started like any other day. We awoke, had breakfast and I did some household chores before going out to feed Apollo and George.

I checked on the water trough for the three big horses up on the hill. It needed more water. While it filled I took photos of lizards and gave Bud a rub down.

He enjoyed being scratched on his head, neck, shoulders, chest, sides, belly and back. I was standing on the opposite side of the gate giving him his all over grooming. When I finished, he blinked at me and turned pressing his backside against the gate. Obviously, he felt I had missed an important spot! I scratched the base of his tail and his big brown cheeks and he walked away.

Back at the house I spent the morning working on book promotion and writing blog posts for the coming week. Hubby arrived for lunch, we ate and I sat down and wrote on the work in progress. The afternoon wasn't as hot and my brain was clicking right along on the story when my phone rang.

Hubby called and said the truck driver who picked up a load of hay asked if we were going to the Frenchglen Jamboree. I'd noticed the ad in the newspaper but hadn't mentioned it thinking hubby wouldn't want to go. It was a day of kid's events and cattle roping competitions followed by a barbecue and DJ music. I agreed it would be fun to check it out. He came in the house at three cleaned up and we headed toward Frenchglen.

On the way we crossed a cattle guard that was doing a good job of guarding the cattle. ;) And the sign was truthful. We had to slow down several times for cattle using the road as their own highway.

We drove by the Peter French Round barn and Diamond Craters. This is a small area where volcanic lava made tunnels and bubbles that burst or crumbled, leaving large indentions in the earth.

Diamond Craters
Next we drove through Diamond Valley. If you've read my book Davis: Letters of Fate Diamond Ranch and other places on this trip are mentioned in the book.  All that is left of the community is a Hotel/ bed and breakfast, a couple houses and down the road a grade school.  It is a ranching area where they grow meadow grass hay and raise cattle.

Diamond Valley
We arrived at Frenchglen, driving by the arena where they were still roping. We continued on to the  Hotel.

There were some booths set up with people featuring arts and crafts of the past. They were closing up so we were too late to check out what they had. Which was a bummer because, you know me, I love anything that pertains to U.S. history.

Looking toward the Steens Mts.
There was more smoke from fires here. We couldn't even see the Steens Mountains. We paid for our dinner and sat on the hay bales arranged for seating. 

It was mostly locals with a few of the people staying at the hotel also attending. We could tell when the roping finished. trucks pulling horse trailers arrived parkign along the road and men and women in cowboy hats, wearing boots, and spurs lined up for food. There were a lot of young families. The whole time we sat there country music was played through large speakers. It was a good meal.

Cowboys & Cowgirls lined up for grub
As we were leaving, I asked hubby if we could return via the scenic tour route. He looked at the time and said, sure. We left Frenchglen headed as if we were going up on the Steens, then turned left to P Ranch. Yes, the P Ranch of Peter French the cattle baron who lived in the area in the late 1800s and who is a secondary character in my book, Davis. There was a doe and fawn eating in the old orchard.

We continued on the scenic tour route. We saw a mother pheasant with young on the road, two bucks laying in the tall grass. All we could see were the tops of their antlers.

Young pheasant
Lots of different birds, and a doe and fawn who ran down the road toward us.

This road follows along one of the canals that Peter French had built to be able to use more of the ground for raising cattle and hay.

 The waterways are lined with willows the Paiute use to make baskets and cradleboards.

 Looking out across the vast meadow land, I tried to imagine what it looked liked with thousands of head of cattle grazing or teams of men and horses haying the meadows.

Large meadow
Now most of the land is part of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.

The scenic road ended on the road to Krumbo Reservoir. We returned via 205 to the Diamond loop road. Instead of turning back the way we came, we drove through Diamond and came around through the Virginia Valley and home.

Once Apollo and George were fed and we were showered, we sat outside and watched the sunset. The smoke in the air gave the sky a beautiful pink tint.

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