The first was Ryan and his dog, Guardian. Ryan assured me that Guardian was well behaved, even though he was just about a year old. I said he was welcome to bring the dog-- but that it MUST be well behaved. Our own, dear Bouvier, Alice had lost control of her senses (on April first) and gone after one of the mules, Ernie. Ernie did what any self-respecting mule would do when assaulted by a 70 pound dog: she kicked. Broke Alice's humerus. And it was not funny.
Well, sometimes rabbits and calves just bring out the worst in a dog.
Guardian, an 18 pound Schipperke, took one look at those rabbits and started them on an Indianapolis Speedway training course. They banked turns right there with the best race car drivers. All the while, Ryan was calling, "Guardian, 'cookie'!"
Then the calves caught his attention.
Now at this point, the mules and horses were still pretty suspicious of the calves. They hadn't decided whether it was better to annihilate the little buggers while they still had them on the defensive, or whether they would grow up to be benign blimps on the landscape. A strange dog chasing THEIR calves galvanized them to action; Bert and Ernie set off at a dead run, intent in stomping Guardian into the dirt.
I never did see a dog run faster.
That cookie was looking mighty fine by now, and so were the arms of his owner. Guardian spent the next hour or two back in the cab of their pick-up truck.
By the time Ryan let him out again, I had electrified the rabbit pens. Guardian thought he'd give up on calves and content himself with the rodents, but a great shock reset his brain and he gave up rabbits, calves, mules, horses and other possessed creatures of The 3-Bell.
For the next couple days Ryan and Betsy mapped out the irrigation field, not a small task. I'd crawled in the day before Ryan arrived, and was grateful for the reprieve of walking back and forth across the field armed with a tape measure, stake, surveyor's tape and a hammer.
I could have sworn that Ryan had said he was staying to the weekend, but on Thursday morning, after inquiring as to whether or not coyotes ate men sleeping in tents with small dogs, he announced he and Guardian had to be shoving off. The coyotes had been in rare form that night and I suppose if one were from the city in California, one might legitimately ponder such a question. He did look a tad rough.
Our next visitors were refugees who were visiting a brother who lived in Tonasket; however, as it turned out, he was in California visiting with their family. The couple arrived to find the brother gone but the wife there with a zillion kids who were entertaining themselves by bouncing off walls while she was attempting to get all seasonal fruit and vegetables canned. After a few days of helping can tomatoes, bean, peas and a host of other things, they called the ranch. Can we PLEASE come to see you TODAY!
They screwed sprinkler heads together then set out with a can of glue and fittings to install them. They looked quite relaxed by the time they left that afternoon.
The best sports of the season were Clare and Jade who are from the U.K.. They planned to "WWOOF" their way around the U.S. with a few side-trips thrown in for good measure.
Jade called and asked if she and Clare could come out to the 3-Bell for a week. I had visitors coming, old friends from the coast, and could not accommodate them. In any event, our "boot camp" would be moving to The Diamond T Ranch- Betsy's place in Winthop. I told them they could meet Betsy in Winthrop on Sunday and they jumped on it.
I also told them what we'd be doing: bucking poles down the hillside so that we could build a rail fence at The 3-Bell Ranch. We'd need 86 twelve-footers, and another couple dozen at eighteen feet or so.
Their experience is best told by Clare herself in her Long Distance Clara blog post, "Into the Frying Pan".
The title does sort of give it away... Their experience, that is.
Needless to say, better sports are hard to find! These two gals are tops!
We look forward to meeting new WWOOFers this coming year. And we wish those folks who helped move The 3-Bell Ranch along its course the very, very best.