A Magical Place

by Tammy Strobel on June 4, 2012

I spent a lot of time outside this weekend taking pictures and hanging out with my family. There were so many small moments from the weekend that I captured with my camera and behind each photograph there is a story. I want to share each of those moments with you, but that would be a little too much for one article. Instead, I’ll share a few highlights from the weekend.

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My sweet husband, Logan, grew up on a cattle ranch about twenty miles outside of Yreka, CA. The ranch is nestled in a small valley called Little Shasta and it’s one of my favorite places on the planet because it’s so beautiful. This weekend was the annual Smith family cattle-drive and we arrived at the ranch on Friday afternoon. Every year Logan’s family, along with a lot of help from their cowgirl and cowboy friends, move the cows east from the Little Shasta valley up to the mountains, so that the cows can munch on summer grass.

Typically, the drive starts at day-break on Saturday morning and ends on Sunday afternoon. On Saturday night the crew and the cows rest and eat, near Tennant, CA. The Saturday evening barbecue is my favorite part of the cattle-drive. This year there were about 65 friends and family from around the valley at the barbecue. We ate tri-tip steak, shrimp-salad, garlic bread, beans and so many other wonderful potluck style treats. In addition to all the good food, we celebrated a lot of birthdays; Logan’s Grandfather turned 90, my niece turned 3, and my mom turned 64 on Sunday.

I didn’t move any cows on the cattle-drive, but I got a chance to hang out with my mom and explore Mt. Shasta and McCloud. It was a wonderful opportunity for my mom to be able to come up for a weekend getaway and celebrate her birthday too. We wandered around downtown Mt. Shasta and went on a tiny hike near the McCloud river. We also engaged in what my father in-law calls “rural meditations” — shorthand for napping.

The ranch, and the surrounding area, is a magical place. For example, when I woke up on Saturday morning the air smelled sweet like freshly cut grass, the birds were singing, and Mt. Shasta was clearly visible. I walked around the yard with a cup of coffee in one hand and my camera in the other thinking, “Maybe we should move here at the end of September? You can’t beat the view.” The timing for a move to the ranch isn’t right, but it’s one of our long-term goals. Plus, we’ll have more time to spend at this magical place since we’ll be back in Northern California soon.

When we arrived on Friday night I made an offhand comment. I said, “Since we’re going to stop here, on the way to Chico in August, maybe we should stay for a few weeks?” Later in the evening, Logan told me that was a great idea. If he doesn’t have a new job by late August, I think we’ll stay at the ranch for a few weeks and head to Chico in mid-September. Logan’s Grandparents 70th wedding anniversary party will be held during the first week of September and we’re hoping to help his parents prepare for the big party.

We’re looking at our transition back to California as a big adventure and trying to be open to where life takes us. I believe that being open to new opportunities is where the magic of life happens.

Did you have any fun weekend adventures? Share your story in the comments section.

1 Cynthia June 4, 2012

This looks so wonderful. I love horses and would love to take part in a cattle drive some day! I also love photography; what camera do you use?

2 Tammy Strobel June 4, 2012

Thanks Cynthia. All the photos in the collage were taken with my iPhone. I also take pic’s with my Nikon D5000 too.

3 Cynthia June 4, 2012

You take fabulous photos no matter the camera! Thanks for sharing :)

4 Terri Yellowhammer June 4, 2012

Tammy, it was so cool to read your narrative before seeing your photos — rarely do the photos improve on what I see in my mind’s eye, but in your case, they did! I’m glad that you are able to find the beauty in the beautiful (busy lives tend to obscure our vision of what is right in front of us), in the every day, and to take a break from the hard slogging through life that happens to all of us. Peace,
Terri

5 amanda June 4, 2012

I didn’t have any weekend adventures, but mid-week I went to Memphis and photographed a friend swimming across the Mississippi River. I have part one of a post up about it. It was pretty amazing and I’m looking forward to editing my photos from her swim to share with people. Everyone in Memphis thought she was crazy, but she did it! Also heard some great blues and had some incredible creole food.

6 Victoria June 4, 2012

Such a lovely weekend! I’m very excited for you and your new adventure! We’re starting a new adventure, too – this weekend we’ve been moving into a 40-acre farm. So excited about our new life.

Cheers -

7 Katie June 4, 2012

I love your personal style of storytelling and how you two are open to where life takes you. Life is definitely an adventure, if you let it be! :)

8 Brooke Smith June 4, 2012

I grew up kind of near Mt Shasta too [in Klamath Falls, Oregon]!! :)

9 Mary June 4, 2012

Thanks for sharing your weekend with us Tammy…it sounds like a lovely weekend and I love the pics. You look so much like your mom and she is beautiful!!! I know that she is going thru a tough time but her smile is beautiful and I’m glad she was able to get away with you for a few days and rest and recharge.

10 Aiyana June 4, 2012

Tammy, I live outside Ashland, Oregon, and would love to meet you one one of your trips through southern Oregon. I’m sure you have readers all over the country, but please let me know if I can join you for coffee or a tiny house tour sometime. Happy travels!

11 Tammy Strobel June 4, 2012

@Aiyana – That would be lovely. I’m taking the train back to Portland, so we’ll have to coordinate a meet-up on my next trip. I hope it works out. :)

12 Hari June 5, 2012

I love this post, Tammy. I enjoy your writing style. You take us on a journey and thereby encourage us to LIVE! Life is grand, isn’t it? Thank you.

13 rebekah June 5, 2012

70 years of marriage! Amazing!

14 Janis Meredith June 5, 2012

Was just cruising around Twitter world and I saw you mention Mt. Shasta, so I had to look you up. We just moved back to FL from Redding, where we lived for 14 years. Yreka, Mt. Shasta…beautiful!

15 Rose Byrd June 5, 2012

Tammy, I am still gasping at the idea of Logan’s grandparents looking towards their 70th (SEVENTIETH!!!!!!) wedding anniversary. You really married into a great family, you lucky girl! Wonderful scenery here. I had a great weekend of helping friends from another country with their local business and then participating in three events at my church on Sunday, the last being a huge party to celebrate eight years with our minister and his wife. Wonderful food and fellowship and wonderful sunset views and birdsong all around the back of the fellowship hall. Happy, happy birthday to your very young mom! (1.5 years younger than myself!)

16 Jenn June 5, 2012

Wow! Those photos are inspiring. Why don’t I (underline) live in California? I didn’t go on any adventures this weekend, but I am right now (in my mind) while looking at your pictures. This weekend I spent 10 hours with a random orbital sander and then 2 with a vacuum.

17 Caroline McGraw / A Wish Come Clear June 5, 2012

As usual, I love your photos and thank you for sharing your story. And happy birthday to your mom – it’s great that you two were able to spend time together last weekend! My husband and I are moving from DC to a small town in Alabama in 18 days (!!!) and so it’s encouraging to read your accounts of the upcoming transition from Portland to Chico. Here’s to being open to new opportunities and inviting in some magic. :)

18 mark owen-ward June 6, 2012

I love these photos Tammy and particularly the quote. That and the concept of hitting the “reset” button were part of my decision to close my child and baby photography business. Making photographs “in my mind” first, is absolutely not possible when photographing someone else’s child when you’ve never met them before. It sort of explains why doing this almost totally killed photography for me. Letting this business go will, I hope, let me pick up the camera again with a different mindset and freedom – I had to try photography as a business but doing it in a way that kills the art of it was deathly for me. I know there are many fantastic child photographers out there – and my hats off to them. But being able to say “no more please” has been a wonderful relief and I thank you for your part it helping me let go.

19 Nichole June 6, 2012

Beautiful moments. I too am opening myself up to opportunity and transition. I have an idea of what I want in life – creativity, engagement, presence – but my actions as of late have been blocking me from those elements. I’ve made some major changes, but the movement towards that realized vision is still a far way off, and it scares me because we generally fear the unknown.

It helps for me read blogs like yours, to see other people live and write and explore and inspire. Thank you for posting.

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