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Adventures at Imperial Stock Ranch

Posted on July 14 2015

20130521-124911.jpg You know when you can feel that something will be a life changer before it happens? This trip to OR this last weekend, was one of those. I'm really not into to flying- I would rather drive across the country to clam dig in Maine than get on a plane. And this one was tiny.... Chest tightening, ohhh no! It's not a coffin, Ash it's a plane. Mom did a good job of distraction by talking as the plan took off. The flight was so quick! Before I knew it we were on a train and heading to our friend, Sheri, who was picking us up in Portland. (mental note... Visit Portland!) I was so excited when we hit the road and headed to Imperial River Co. the lodge where we were staying. Holy cow!! Right on the Deschutes River! A seriously amazing place. We grabbed our room key, dropped our bags in the room and almost ran to the river edge- where it was rushing into some rapids a little ways down. So amazing to think people of the 'Oregon Trail' crossed all of this (rapid rivers) on foot, horse, or wagon - pre bridges. Those were a strong bunch people. Anyway Saturday was our day at Imperial Stock Ranch. The drive was gorgeous. The scenery was nothing like I've seen before. Vast expanses of flat land covered in sage brush and other short bushes and flowers that require minimal water. Sage green bushes, yellow, white and purple flowers, fields of crops that seem to shimmer in the wind, and dramatic skies (up until the morning we left) 20130521-073815.jpg 20130521-073830.jpg The town was called Maupin, OR (Jeanne pronounced it mop-in) what a cute sounding name -for a cute mini town. Once we got there we were greeted by a couple pooches. The ranch was so much prettier than any picture I had seen of it - but at first look could have been just another ranch. Definitely not the case. I wish I had a video of our visit that you all could watch. This has been a working ranch for over 140 years and non of the history has been lost. Though the ranch has changed families the care and the process have not changed. It's really amazing and very admirable. To stick - in a modern time of technology- to a 140 year old process. There were several structures that were built in the 1800's and still serve their original purpose. No imported materials, no power tools, 100% USA made with 100% man power. We are talking before cars, engines... Just hard work. I was blown away. 20130521-074738.jpg The original barn 20130521-074812.jpg 20130521-074835.jpg 20130521-074847.jpg This is the original corral for breaking horses... 1800's! 20130521-074944.jpg 20130521-074955.jpg This was so cool. It was a giant grain bin inside the big barn. They still use this. Barley treats for the horses. 20130521-075125.jpg Salted hides. 20130521-075213.jpg 20130521-075226.jpg This was in the sheep shearing barn. The wool was so clean and smelled yummy! What knitter wouldn't love the smell of fresh wool?! They are so resourceful and 'waste not want not' seemed to be the unspoken Moto of the ranch. The bags used for stuffing and sending out the wool were reused many times and not because of expense. Purely because the ones they had worked just fine. 20130521-075622.jpg 20130521-075653.jpg Jeanne climbed into a "chute" with one of the giant bags attached to the bottom. She gave us a demo... Someone tosses in the wool while the person in the bag stomps it down. Reminded me of stomping grapes for wine. She stomps the wool until she's literally able to walk out of the bag. Everything about being a rancher is physical. 20130521-075949.jpg 20130521-080001.jpg 20130521-080059.jpg 20130521-080010.jpg 20130521-080128.jpg We seriously loved all the bummer lambs! Holy moly! The cutest, cleanest, lambs we had ever seen. Thanks to the vegetation and lack of mud these babies stay clean. 20130521-080348.jpg 20130521-080407.jpg 20130521-080426.jpg 20130521-080657.jpg Inside the "Hinton" house was super cool too. From its winding stair case wrap around porch (with swing!), fun wall paper.... And did you notice?? It's the Imperial Stock Ranch official yarn shop... It's where the magic (the yarn magic) happens. 20130521-081009.jpg 20130521-081026.jpg Jeanne was a wealth of knowledge with a passion for the ranches history. She is a real pioneer woman with a twist of modern business woman. She is a woman to strive to be like. Hard working, funny, and full of life. I can't wait to go back! I wish I could translate the energy and the magic that we experienced on the ranch. It was hard to leave, to say goodbye and head back into a faster pace of modern life. The experience was enlightening and I am craving more! I wish I could be a fly on her boots and follow her around all day to see what it's really like. There is this natural urge to want to know all the crafts and skills of being self sustaining after visiting a place like Imperial. They literally would survive without a town, or help from anyone else for a real long time. Jeanne her Husband, Dan, all the ranch hands, family members, and yarn girls work hard to keep the traditions of the ranch and the local economy going. No importing to get them along. Purely USA, and not without struggle. Especially in this time where it can be hard and expensive to find products local or from the USA and fast and easy to order online and overseas. 20130521-081940.jpg I have lots of info and an interview to share with you all... But I wanted to share these photos and give you a taste of the experience. It just doesn't translate with words. I want to rope the land like Paul Bunyan and close the divide between us and Imperial Stock Ranch. I feel like I've made a life long friend and I plan to visit again! I keep trying to think of a way that is practical to get me back there ASAP. KNITTING!!! he he Can not wait to go back! Happy knitting xx Ash

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