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Life on the Ranch
Friday, Oct 13, 2006 from Hammond, Montana
Posted: Oct 13, 2006 | 512 words | 0 Comments
I left Minot early this morning and found myself in Hammond, Montana tonight. Now Hammond is no booming metropolis. I believe the only building with regular business hours is the post office, which is probably the size of a dorm room. It took me about 460 miles to get here, it was a very long haul. As I got into Montana I went further and further into the middle of nowhere.
I’m living on the ranch. I won’t be making blog updates until I leave and am in the city again. The only other light in sight other than the house is a cell-phone tower (but not big enough to get reception here), the neighbors live a mile away, there is nothing but ranch land for miles in each direction. Here at the Phillippi Ranch there is about 6,000 acres. There are a few hundred head of cattle, some sheep, and a few horses. And of course there are cats and dogs.
From the highway (which has about one car every hundred miles it seems), the ranch is another 9 miles in on a pretty choppy dirt road. First I met Carsten, who is also 23 years old. He graduated from a small college in western Montana this spring as well and made it home a month ago to help on the ranch before he goes on to be a teacher. Later I met his parents, Lester and Reneta. I was greeted with a warm house and warm welcomes. There is something different about them I can already tell. And different in a good way! There is a calm about them. It’s something about the ranch that is relaxing and laid back. The air is as fresh as it can get. I can see more stars than I have ever seen in my life. Most of all I know this is a home. They raised three kids here. They work hard and live peacefully at home. I have to say that Lester, Reneta, and Carsten might be the easiest people to talk to that I’ve met so far. I could go on and on. This is probably the fastest I felt welcome and at home.
This evening I got a peak at the last few minutes of the sun setting. There were absolutely no buildings, lights, or anything else to obstruct the sunset. While the sun tucked under the blanket of earth I helped Lester and Carsten feed the sheep. And afterwards I got the 15-minute quickie of how a ranch works, from where the cows and sheep go, how they’re bred, daily duties, and how the land is owned and or leased.
It didn’t take long to realize and appreciate what it’s like to live on a ranch. Just imagine the feeling of running 6,000 acres of land and eating eggs, meet, and vegetables from that same land. The rewards of hard work are priceless. Most of all I feel how strong the sense of home is here on the ranch. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store!