Our Ranch is a 74-acre spread set in the "Out West" sagebrush steppe canyons and river valley in the Okanogan Valley of Washington. Surrounded by alfalfa fields, orchards, and State lands, It has a timeless peace about it that comes from land whose husbands labored with love and gratitude for its bounty.
At age 50, I bought the land that became The ranch. It was a decommissioned orchard and had been "rode hard and put away wet." With my 70 year old friend, Betsy, we began to create from the rubble an oasis of health. We are in the fifth year of transformation and now boast of producing hay, grass-fed beef, pork, chicken and rabbit; all are raised on pasture. As we plant our hay fields and food crops, we will do so as organically pure as possible; however, we have no plans to jump the hoops required to label our products "organic".
We are against the ingestion of foods laced with herbicides, pesticides, hormones or antibiotic additives. We mindfully avoid Genetically Modified Frankenfoods. We prefer to grow our own food-- for our people, horses, mules, ponies, steers, pigs rabbits and dogs.
Between 2010 and 2011, We have hosted well over a dozen farm volunteers and with their help, we accomplished oh-so-much. Our hats are off to these fine people.
As always, we're looking forward to meeting new volunteers. Their chemistry and energy is just so invigorating.
Type of workOther,
Help with Eco project,
Cooking / shopping,
The plans for the Ranch this year include the typical tasks that include: weeding, changing irritation lines (as simple as turning on and off valves), putting up hay and other crops, and selling produce at the local farmer's market.
IF we have a crew of ambitious and strong people we will attempt one or more of the following projects: 1. build a cold storage bunker (similar to the Taj Ma Hog Pig Palace; 2. build 1-3 "African Keyhole" gardens; 3. Renovate the long house cabin (or part of it); 4. Paint buildings.
The other ongoing project is to educate our young mules who will replace our senior horses in farm work. I orchestrate training through a variety of strategies that include the fundamentals of Natural Horsemanship (most people recognize these as the methods prescribed and taught by trainers such as Buck Brannaman, Pat Parelli, Mark Rashid, Clinton Anderson and GaWaNi Pony Boy; yet I strive to integrate non-coercive methods such as the liberty work taught by Brandy Woorley and clicker-training as described by Alexandra Kurland. Volunteers are encouraged to "adopt a project horse" for the duration of their stay here. Their project horse will be the horse they learn horsemanship skills with. It is not a "given" that we will ride. The senior horses here are getting too old to do the mountains around the ranch and the young'uns are too green for beginner riders or riders who are unaccustomed to riding green horses.
We have several cabins in which our volunteers stay. These are rustic, yet comfortable. They are fully outfitted with beds and bedding, chairs, wood stoves (not needed in summer) and have electricity. A composting toilet is available in an "outhouse" setting. Showers and meals are taken in the farmhouse. Volunteers are asked to help with meal preparation and clean up.
What else ...
The ranch is situated in a location 10 miles north of Tonasket, WA, 7 miles south of Oroville, and 15 miles south of the Canadian border (Oroville crossing). There is very minimal public transportation. Volunteers who need a frequent "town fix" or "culture fix" will probably not be content here.
This is a working ranch that depends on people to complete work started, take care of tools and animals. We have a lot to accomplish and your energy and work is very, very appreciated. We're a ways from "turn-key" so every ounce of energy Betsy and our other "SASS" volunteers ("Septuagenarian Anti-Sedentary Society"), foreman, volunteers and I put into this operation needs to be calculated and effective. Still, for those who desire-- and have the time to see them out-- there is room for people to design their own projects and see them into fruition.
We are not a vegetarian establishment; we do eat wholesome, real food-- which includes the crops and animals we raise. Sometimes we can accommodate vegetarians and other special diets. But please ask first, because sometimes it just isn't possible to make these accommodations.
We sometimes can accommodate pets, but ONLY if they are not a threat or pain for our other animals.
We cannot accommodate families with children.
We canNOT accept people who are not US Citizens UNLESS they have a Temporary Work Visa. Accepting a foreigner who lacks proper documentation puts us at risks for being imprisoned and can lead to the forfeiture of our land and all assets to Immigration Authorities. Very bad. Not good. No fun. Those dudes lost their sense of humor after 9-11.
If you are interested in volunteering at our ranch, please visit our web site. There you will get a good feeling for who we are, what our past volunteers have done, how we view agriculture and sustainable efforts and even our political points of view. By spending some time perusing the site, you can better assess the match of our ranch to your aspirations and your goals.