I haven’t updated the 100th Meridian for quite a while.
I’ve been kind of busy. I know, we’re all busy… Let me define busy in my world.
From the end of April last year until January 3rd of this year over 500 people passed through our yard and ate at least one meal with us. This is what happens when you receive nominations for two major conservation awards and end up getting both. We were very honored to receive both the 2014 Aldo Leopold Conservation Award for South Dakota and the NCBA Region 7 Environmental Stewardship Award. Getting that kind of recognition means people want to come look, take pictures, write articles and make videos. 2015 winners, consider yourselves warned!
The yearly parade of friends and relatives was even bigger this year because we celebrated Grandma Vivian’s 80 over the 4th of July. Let me break it down the numbers for you:
Four tour groups: 369 people
Friends and family, who stayed anywhere from one night to 5 weeks: a minimum of 45 (I come up with more everytime I count.)
An engagement supper for Lyle’s sister Valerie and fiancé, Steve Scott: around 90 people
Garth Gatson, this year’s summer intern, was with us from mid-May-mid-August. Some days he was the only one doing any actual ranch work!
Michael Cotter, our adopted itinerant hired hand and Renaissance man, always shows up when we need him most. He helped hold things together from the end of September until mid-November.
Grand total: a minimum of 541 people that all ate at least one meal at Rock Hills Ranch.
I planned, shopped, and/ or cooked for every one of those meals, plus many more. Add to that two film crews, several journalists, one high-risk pregnancy and the consequential birth of twin grandsons, Micah and Noah to Luke and Naomi on October 3. That’s the Rock Hills Ranchwife definition of busy.
2014 was a wild ride, but I wouldn’t trade our time with any of those people. When you live where the population density is .2 people per square mile, new faces are a treat, and conservation minded people are really quality folks! I will, however, admit to asking the Good Lord for the strength to endure my blessings on several occasions.
Last week Lyle and Luke went to the Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio as the Region 7 ESAP representatives. We were all really shocked when Rock Hills Ranch was announced as the National ESAP winner. The other 6 regional ESAP winners are doing really great things on the land and promoting beef in interesting and unique ways. I strongly urge you to check out their videos and stories at www.environmentalstewardship.org.
January is an R&R month for us. Imagine, no one wants to come see us in the dead of a South Dakota winter! Now, vacation time is over. The phone’s been ringing and that means people will be showing up. I’m not expecting 541 people busy, but I’d better get all my projects done and work on garden and menu plans so I can enjoy this year’s ride.