Slice of life writing is what I like to do best. My life has many important facets (well, important to me). This ranch is nearly all-consuming with the time and energy that's needed.
For those who don't really know me (and the first five blogs in this series just barely touch on the me part), I'm an old fart (only old though when I look into the mirror), nearly 60 years old. I started blogging on MySpace, tentatively putting my feet into the water of writing nearly 6 years ago. 600 blogs later, MySpace sort of collapsed and most of my friends on MySpace emigrated to Facebook. I hated Facebook and in some ways still do. One of the things I disliked most is that it didn't give us a true outlet for exercising our creativity--either in page design or writing (other than "Notes" but that is most unsatisfactory). It did however allow me to find many, many people I've lost through the years--former students, co-workers, girl friends, best friends, foster children and so on. That is for me its biggest strength. I wasn't able to blog though and I just plain stopped writing.
Our ranch is in Oregon in a tiny hamlet called Powell Butte. We have around 45 acres with about 35 acres of irrigation water. That last is a big deal. This is the high desert and without water not a whole lot grows other than sage, rabbit brush and juniper trees. Our ranch has a nearly 20 acre hay field, more than ten acres of grass pasture, a small but inspiring juniper forest and then about five acres of fenced paddocks and runs for our horses. We live in the middle of a triangle of three cities, indeed the major cities in Central Oregon. Shopping for us is easily accessible with a ten mile drive to two of those cities.
|Our place in Powell Butte|
On the ranch, we raise horses. We have something like seventy of them with the majority being either miniature horses and ponies. Miniature horses have been my wife's and my passion for twenty years now. Sometimes our daughter, Brianna (14 years old), shares that passion since she grew up on the ranch ( Actually, she just admitted to me the other day that she knows she lives a girl's fantasy---growing up surrounded by ponies. So, just maybe there's hope.). Over the years we have had many, many miniature horse and pony babies--a fact that anyone who reads this regularly will see come spring, I love talking about and showing off our babies! Our youngsters, most either children or grandchildren of major names in the miniature horse and pony industry with parents who are champions themselves, are all over the United States now and in other countries, many being shown successfully.
|Some of our herd (top) and Bri and foal many years ago (bottom)|
I work with an organization called Sunriver Nature Center and Observatory which is a non-profit educational facility about 45 miles away from here. I've been with them in varying capacities over the last fourteen years--mostly as a volunteer at evening astronomy programs or in remote locations selling astronomy supplies at what are called Star Parties. I'm also the editor of their two quarterly newsletters--one of which I'm the principal writer for as well. It is largely because of Sunriver Observatory that a long dormant interest in astronomy was awakened to become a passion.
|Sunriver Observatory Dome one night we had a comet|
My wife, Maryann (who I will call often MA--not Maw but M.A.) and I have been married for 33 years As in any marriage we've had our tumultuous times (mostly my fault, of course) but generally, we are best friends, still in love and are a team. We built our ranch from a dream which hasn't yet been realized totally.
|Larry and Maryann|
We have one daughter at home, Brianna, but we also have 19 foster children (some of whom we claim as our REAL children) none official. We were a "safe house" for young people and of course, in the latter years there were the horses who were therapy as well as amusement. We had kids show up at our door asking us for a place to stay when things were tough for various reasons in their real families. We still welcome young folks in our home through Brianna and we're often called their 2nd (or 3rd) Mom and Dad by them--which is great. Of course, we now have grandchildren through some of those foster kids as well.
|Bri on her gelding, Beau|
|Bri showing her rabbit, Lily, in August 2011|
|The grandkids, Ashley, Brendon and Hannah|
I have worked as a teacher, a writer, a horse transporter, a landscaper, in retail, as a salesman and a sailing instructor. My biggest achievements in the working world all occurred as a teacher and not just in the formal sense of teaching which I did love indeed. I teach now in most of what I do, whether it be astronomy, the horses, the ranch, the family and when I reach out to people. That is when I am happiest.
So, after this altogether too long introduction, I'll just say thanks for reading. Hopefully you like what you see here and if you do please comment. If you don't, please comment as well.