Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saturday Night at Home on the Range

We spent last evening with old (but younger than us) friends at their ranch.  Barn built in 1908 and still fully functional, the flats out front a former ranchers' polo pitch, the ranch house full of (real) western culture - you get the picture.  Our very gracious hosts brought us up to date on the state of the industry, under attack from a variety of factors including environmentalists, government bureaucracy, BSE, world trade problems, and wolves.  This is obviously not an industry for the faint-hearted or dull-witted.  It was great to see how western tradition is kept alive and blended with the modernization necessary (at great expense) to make a living out there.  These folks depend on the environment and know it.  They treasure the native grass on the place, the river nearby, and the importance of weather.  With all the pressures these folks face it's hard to imagine ranching as they practise it being around in a hundred years, but we sure hope it is.  As far as I'm concerned the ranching culture of the West represents the very best of what people around the world today call our western culture.