Welcome to our ranch near Canada's west coast in Beautiful British Columbia's West Chilcotin mountain region. Where calling the vet means hollering back at the house to bring your kit, new friendships are formed from the back of a horse and true fun for a five year old is getting a machete for Christmas. Where 'cutting the dinks off' has a totally different meaning than what first comes to mind, Muck Boots are a household name, a hand shake still means something and the coffee is always on.

Friday 3 July 2015

Photos and a Story

Well folks, its Rodeo Weekend for us.  Which means (for me) a whole lot of burger flipping and very little sleep.  It has been a crazy mad rush to get ready this year.  It always is, of course, but this year more than ever.  Our old concession stand (which was a portable trailer) had simply seen it's last days and was no longer useable.  So the Community purchased a 40 foot steel container and turned it into a beautiful and fully functional concession stand in less than 3 days.  I kid you not.  Truly amazing what this little community can do when the decision is made and the time has come.  A resourceful group of people I'm proud to call family, friends and neighbors!  
I've got a few photos that I will post next time.  Of course I was not quick enough for the full 'before and after', but you'll be able to appreciate the work anyhow.  We start cooking in it tomorrow, so I'll really be able to give you a full report.  
On that note, I'm keeping it quick and simple tonight as it is my last chance to get a decent nights sleep for a few days.  
So here are few photos that I hope you enjoy, and a Grandma Dorsey story.

All the best!  

 Happy Cows!

 View of one of the neighboring ranches.  You can see Anahim Peak and the Ilgatchuz.

Cowboy and his horse.  

From Grandma Dorsey's book "Our Story"

It was a radiant day in June when we moved into the cabin for the summer.  It was a beauty spot on the shore of Anahim Lake.  Fish and ducks were close by and plentiful.  
I was overjoyed at the prospect of having four walls around me and a stove on which to cook.  I had enjoyed the campfire cooking when the weather had been pleasant, but on stormy days everyone crowded around the fire and gave me little freedom.  As I entered the cabin I saw the stove and I quickly crossed the whip-sawn floor and kneeled before my treasure.  Even in the dim light it seemed so small and flimsy.  I opened the over door to find a rusted cavity that would only hold one pie plate.  I lifted a rusted lid to find a fire box that would hold only kindling.  The top measured about eighteen inches by twenty two, and the weight of the rust seemed to be too much for the sagging tin.  Even the manufacturer had neglected to put his name on it.  
Lester, Mort, Bill and George went about their task of unloading the wagon with a great display of cheerfulness.  No doubt they were thinking of the cozy shelter in store for them.  No more cinders in the soup, yeast bread and pie every day!  I glanced around to see if any wood was available.  At least I would give this contraption a trial.  The cabin contained one wobbly table and two precious pack boxes.  In spite of their condition, I knew better than to destroy them.  I went outside to join the crew.  
"How does it feel to live like a lady?"
"What kind of pie for supper?"
"I haven't seen real windows for six months."
"Give me an axe, I'll have that fire hot in no time."
"George, go down to the lake and catch a few fish for supper."
As they crowded into the little room I felt ashamed of my misgivings and tried to enter into the home coming spirit.  
"Welcome home boys, welcome home."
The stove did boil the coffee without letting the pot fall through the rusted lid, and as we drank the brew everyone found something pleasant to say about the little tin stove.  Somehow I managed to create a better meal than usual.  The fresh fish helped and after all, no one really expected pie.  
Our few belongings scattered about the cabin did overcome some of the bareness and we draped the pack boxes with saddle blankets.  Already I was thinking of the curtains I would make for the tiny windows, along with a bedspread, that would cheer the place up, and I was proud of my effort.  Before bedtime I set the bread that I would try to bake the next day.  
The next day the sourdough hotcakes scorched on the little tin stove, but we all agreed that a cook stove takes a little getting used to after months of campfire cooking.  I spent all day baking the six loaves of bread.  I oven would only hold one loaf at a time and that must be carefully tended and covered with cardboard to keep from burning.  By bedtime the six loaves had been reduced to two by the hungry cowboys, and I could plainly see that baking bread was going to be a daily chore.  
The next morning the front lid did let the coffee pot down and there was dead silence as I cleared the mess away.  I substituted a tin plate for the broken lid.  It was a perfect fit.  I managed to scorch the hotcakes a little less that morning.  The bread baking job for the day lay ahead of me and I began to long for my smoky old campfire.  I glanced at the cheerful souls around me.  I just couldn't admit defeat.  
Two days later I tried the long awaited pies.  I had never made pie before.  Shorty, another drifting cowboy, had come by the day before and had decided to stay with us a day or two and rest his horse.  When I asked him if he knew how to make pie, he told me he was near to being an expert.  As soon as the crew had gone to work, I placed Shorty on a pack box at the table.  I needed his advice.  He had forgotten the right proportions but we made a start.  He had remembered that we needed flour and lard.  First he decided that I had too much lard so I added flour.  Then he decided that I had too much flour so I added lard.  By this time the batch was getting larger and larger and I felt I would be baking pies all day.  I now realized that Shorty was as inexperienced as I was, so I set him to work boiling the soaked dried apples while I continued to roll out the pastry with a discarded whiskey bottle.  To keep the bottom of the pies from burning we placed them on discarded milk cans, carefully arranged in the oven.  To keep the top of the pies from burning, I covered them with a piece of carefully scrubbed tin.  I felt that I was devoting my entire life to cooking.  Dinner that night was a gala occasion and everyone smiling lovingly at the little tin stove.  

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