A timely find

How is everyone doing out there?  Is Coronavirus affecting your life?

The big news today, of course, is President Trump’s announcement that the federal government is extending social distancing guidelines through April 30.  Montana is reporting 161 confirmed cases as well as 2 deaths from COVID-19.  My sister, an MD in Miles City, says there are no cases (yet, fingers crossed) in our neck of the woods.  Because life goes on, she continues to deliver babies into this strange new world of ours.  The biggest change for her family is that the two teenagers — Nephew Nate and Niece Tay — are at home and learning how to learn online.  Traveling volleyball has been canceled, and prom, and track season, and more.

We’re thinking, too, of our 93-year-old Grandma Peg, who’s locked tight inside the nursing home the family moved her into a few short months ago.

Beau received word today that the PV’s corporate office in Bozeman — the management hub for the dozen or so ranches which, like the PV, fall under the Kroenke Ranches umbrella — will be closed for the next month, with office employees working from home.  By email Beau received paperwork to be carried in ranch vehicles releasing employees to be out and about performing their “essential” jobs.  Also by email:  a note from the HR and health insurance departments, urging all employees to heed their own mental health situation and seek help as needed during these unprecedented times.

Beau took all four kids with him this afternoon so I could have some quiet office time in the house.  (While they were gone they scattered lick tubs for the cows in the pasture we call 5 Sections; the kids came back home with at least five ticks between them.)  I was hunkered down at my desk making ranch rodeo plans.  We’ve hosted a ranch rodeo every June for the past 13 years, and in a normal year it’s past time to start working on our 2020 event.  But I’m wondering what life will be like when June gets here.  And what should I say in my letter requesting this year’s sponsorships?  “So far as we know the ranch rodeo will proceed as usual in June, but if we do end up delaying the event a month or two, rest assured your money will be in good hands until life gets back to normal”?

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Seven-year-old Emi made an antique discovery this weekend that is amazingly appropriate right now.  She was snooping around in the attic of the barn here at headquarters, and in a dark and dusty corner, in a box that has been up there for who-knows-how-long and was put there by we’ll-never-know, she found a little booklet:

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front of the booklet
2020-03-29_221602
back of the booklet

It’s a little cookbook, really, full of recipes and tips and tricks for frugality — and, most refreshingly, the sort of national pride that abounded during World War II.  Inside there are recipes for “Meat Pie” and “Jellied Meat Loaf,” “Veal, Celery and Apple Salad” and “Glorified Baked Hash.”  There are tips:  “How to Make Good, Rich Soup Stock” and “What to do with food left over” and “How to make better use of what you have.”  These are the sorts of lessons our country just might need to learn all over again.

Emi’s little book is a treasure.  She really wants to claim it as her own and take it into her bedroom, but I know she’ll stash it under her bed or stuff it in a backpack if I let her.  She’s not old enough to appreciate what she has here, right?  I think I’d better keep it safe for her for a few years.

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Today’s Weather:  High of 62.  Low of 34.  Mostly sunny.

What’s Inspiring Me:  A favorite quote from Dan Aadland’s Sketches from the Ranch.  “When one works on a ranch, he never lives a day without interacting with those people of the past who worked the land before him.  There is not a day when I do not touch the things they touched, when I do not see the rise and fall of the ground made by the furrows of their plows, when I do not look over my shoulder for their approval of the job I am doing and either rejoice in having lived up to the task or despair because I haven’t.  The hills and the rocks and the woods on this ranch outlived [them], and they will outlive me.  And my story… is equally their story.”

Picture of the Day:  Mim’s Pretty Quick Gumbo has become our Saturday night tradition, and grits with breakfast sausage has become our Sunday morning tradition.  (I like mine with a little cheese sprinkled on top, but Beau is a purist.)  To him, grits are home.  And 17 years into this Alabama-Montana meld, I kinda like ’em too.

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© Tami Blake

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