Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Saltmarsh Ranch

We have spent the last three days in the Ashland/Medford/Jacksonville, Oregon area being wined, dined and entertained by our ‘old retired friends’ from Chicago, who are busy now raising Soay sheep on the Saltmarsh Ranch.

The weather and scenery did make it hard to leave our wonderful ‘camping’ spot on the Klamath River (Klamath River RV Park). Our last morning there was another beautiful, sunny day - so we broke out the camp stove to make French Toast outside and sat on the banks of the river for one last meal before heading to Oregon.

French toast on the banks of the Klamath River.

Friday the 13th was just another wonderful day in our basket of wonderful days this trip;-) At about 10 AM we were welcomed to the Saltmarsh Ranch by the barking of guard dogs warning us NOT to mess with the sheep and the baaaaaa-ing of the sheep just saying ‘Hi!’.

Welcome to the Saltmarsh Ranch.

Unlike us - who are footloose and fancy free traveling to visit with all our friends and family all over the country - Priscilla and Steve decided to retire from being a Chicago attorney and a PhD professor/Dean at a Chicago university, respectively, move to their little slice of heaven in Jacksonville, Oregon, and raise Soay sheep!%*@! Just like all the handbooks say (if you can find one!) - this means dawn to dusk ‘chores’ every day of the year -

Steve and Shawn relocate the irrigation pipes on the alfalfa.

If my memory serves me right, this little plot of land has gone from hosting a couple dozen sheep to the almost 200 residing here now! This includes the 70 lambs born this Spring, which we got to see learning their way around in the world. It is really fun for us to visit from year to year, as we were here their very first year in the original farm house with the first ‘batch’ of sheep, their very first guard dogs, very first guard llama and when Molly (the sheep-herding dog) was only a puppy learning her trade. Now - there is the exquisite new home, lots of sheep, four guard dogs (including a brand new puppy, Luke), two guard llamas and Molly is an old pro! Not to mention all the new lambing sheds that have sprouted up on the property and the changes in the pastures.

Rams, rams everywhere!

Guard Llama Hank would let Steve approach the fence but gave us the evil eye and kept pffft'ing at us.

Lots of new lambs had arrived in the past few weeks.

Aren't they cuuuute?

We also benefit from wonderful brunches, lunches and dinners of fresh vegetables, fresh farm eggs (forgot to mention all the chickens - and we went to pick up 12 brand new chicks!! More fresh eggs in future trips;-) ), fresh baked breads and biscuits, home made jams - and on and on and on!! At the end of our stay we were even sent off with fresh eggs (which we had today!!) and fresh baked bread. Who would NOT want to come visit this Ranch?!?!?!

Most important - every year or two we get to renew our friendship picking up where we left off last without seeming to miss a beat. Isn’t that what friends and life are for? And, as we discussed with them, thank goodness everyone’s vision of retirement is not the same - or we would not have this wonderful place to relax and catch up every so often.

So - renew a friendship today - and relax - E & G

PS - A wonderful little golf course also called while we were in Phoenix, Oregon (imagine - Phoenix!) - Centennial Golf Course - one of the most well maintained courses we have played. Met (and played with) a fun couple from the Bend area - and E played really well. SO - really liked this course. Highly recommend if you are in the area.

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