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Winter Update from Siberia, in northeast Oregon

Happy New Year! 

We thought we'd better bring our clients, students, and friends up to speed, as we are pretty much cut off from the world this winter. It's been quite a winter so far! After a wet fall, December started out normal but soon turned cold. Shortly after Thanksgiving, Beverly joined our cowboy buddies from Nyssa, Oregon and spent a couple of days gathering while Wil held down the ranch. We had thought we'd enjoy the time off holed-up in our little cabin and work on winter projects at the home ranch...WRONG! God had other plans...try survival mode!

It began snowing the first week of December, and by the 15th winter was in full swing, dumping snow every few days-- 6, 8, 10, and 12 inches at a time! Relentless storms were followed by frigid drops in temperature. One week it stayed in single digits and dropped to minus 15 at night, causing our pasture tanks to freeze solid and frost-free hydrants to fail! Ha! This forced us to move the horses back down to our barnyard paddocks and stalls, creating twice the work and quite a sight. There are now piles of snow off the roofs four feet high where the horses leave their stalls. Our little Banana Belt here in Eagle Valley has become part of Siberia, northeast Oregon!

Beverly & her dad in Daniel, Wyoming, 2008 Bill Johnston, a Wyoming native, was a very active, avid fly fisherman and downhill skier, inspiring Beverly's love of the outdoors and nature.

The storms have blanketed the northwest with two to three feet of snow in places that have been lucky to see a few inches in recent years. This is a God-send for the drought, but what is truly unusual is the 60-plus days under freezing temperatures that haven't allowed the snow to melt. We had a two or three day Chinook ten days ago, and that helped a bit as we  got up to the 40's. But back down it went, leaving a solid crust of ice on the snow and a  sheet of ice on the ground, making any travel by foot or horseback impossible. In the  middle of all this, Beverly went to Seattle on  December 28th to spend time with her quickly-failing father who sadly  passed on January 1st at age 91. The freeways were closed almost every other day, so she finally opted to fly out of Boise to Seattle, and that was a hair-raising three-hour drive to the airport.  That time was tough on both of us. The ranch tractor broke down, leaving Wil in knee deep snow trying to feed our 13 head with a four-wheeler which proceeded to get stuck on a daily basis! HA! But no worries for this guy, Wil is used these wooly winters from his years living in the wilds of British Columbia. I think we call him the Iron Horse, right? At any rate, upon returning "Janu -buried" 13th, Beverly resumed duties at the ranch, shoveling all the out-building, garage, horse barn, and bunkhouse roofs, a process that took a solid week or more. Blessed with a few days of sunshine, the project went well, assisted by a neighbor and Wil's continuous management skills from the ground...teamwork, we call it!

Anyway, all-in-all, our days have been blessed, filled with chopping firewood, feeding the horses, stoking the woodstove, cooking, shoveling paths,  plowing snow, and fighting off cabin fever with Bible study and laughter and hours spent watching the wildlife coming in to forage. Deer, elk, wild turkeys, quail, dove, song birds, geese, bald eagles, and hawks; all are looking for a handout in this snow-covered countryside.

The cat and dog are getting fat hugging the wood stove and friends frequent the home.  Life on hold is good, and we are so grateful to be here this year to shovel our roofs clear and save them. Countless buildings, horse barns, arenas, hay sheds, school buildings, grocery stores, warehouses, and more--the list too long--have succumbed and caved in under the weight of this ongoing snow accumulation. We have no complaints, only praises. Yes, the Arizona sunshine sounds delightful about now, but we're here to ride it out!

However, all this has set our business in a holding pattern and we're having to put off clients who are eager to visit and get their dibs on our string of geldings until spring breaks. I've got no other updates, as riding has come to a standstill other than an occasional round pen session. The ice and crust on the snow is not conducive to safe riding. We wish there was more to report on for those of you who have deposits with us on some of these fine geldings, but please be patient. Until we get a warming trend, our appointments and private clinics will have to wait, but rest assured, as soon as it does we'll be back working to bring the horses up-to-speed that we had planned on schooling over the winter. We well keep you posted and keep our eyes on the promise of spring!  Watch for our spring thru June dates for Training Sessions that we'll be holding here at the home ranch.

From Siberia, NE Oregon...         Where the horses are wooly!         Beverly, Wil, &                 Katie "Cabin Dog"


For all horse inquiries, please call Wil Howe Ranch at 541-893-6535 mornings or evenings Pacific Time for personal attention to your requests. Remember, we usually have several geldings not currently listed. $20,000 and up. Let us help you find the horse of your dreams! Click here for details on purchasing a WHR gelding.

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