For three years we've been trying to get to this place in Ontario, Oregon. These hills and haystacks are the home of Dane's Aunt Jean and Uncle Roger. Roger, a third generation cattle rancher, inherited this land from his father. Roger told us about the journey that brought his father and grandfather to settle these hills during the dust bowl migration; they survived the first winter by burning sage brush. He learned the cattle trade from his father, and shares his same love of cows. Roger says he always knew he wanted to be like his father, and so he is.
In addition to grazing and selling cattle, he also uses this land to grow an 'Old World' variety of pinto beans that is sold to Mexican restaurants. And, until he recently retired, he also taught agriculture at the local community college. Roger is a quiet man who rises with the sun and works until it sets getting more accomplished than one may fully understand. Born and raised amidst this sage brush, and having raised his own family here, he has never been away from this land for longer than two weeks. He is currently on that very two week trip as I write, exploring historical D-Day sites across Europe with his wife.
We are grateful for Roger's example of what living the quiet life looks like: one man's acceptance of what was given to him and the earnest hard work it takes to sustain it. It wins the respect of outsiders, like us. We are inspired by Roger's will as he continues this operation solo today, well into his sixties, having born no sons to assist or inherit his efforts. We are inspired by his gratitude to his own father. As we steadfastly approach parenthood ourselves, we are inspired to continue with our own efforts in building a quiet life that our children may one day inherit. For now, we have a bag full of pinto beans to remind us what the quiet life tastes like: just right.