Ashley LodatoBy Ashley Lodato

The Belsby sisters had a week filled with birth, death, bottle-feeding, coyote attacks, four-wheelers, twins, escaped horses, hail, and grafting, says their mom, Sarah Berns. Eight-year-old Ayla and 5-year-old Maeve spent most of last week south of Cheney on their grandpa’s ranch, helping with calving. Bottle-feeding wobbly little newborn calves was particularly appealing, and the girls got to experience the bittersweet process of grafting — skinning a dead calf and then strapping the hide onto a live calf and (re)introducing the cow with the hope that she lets the orphan calf nurse and adopts him as her own.

Before the trip Sarah half expected to be bringing home a calf in the back of her car, but as far as I know the girls didn’t add to their menagerie.

Saturday’s sold-out Bite of the Methow seemed to be the best-organized one yet, with the Kiwanis members having devised several new strategies for accommodating the hundreds of guests who show up at the annual fundraiser. For example, instead of waiting in a long line to have access to the valley’s restaurants’ offerings, guests were able to browse the laden silent-auction tables while waiting for their numbers to be called to pass through the food line. Presumably this resulted in more bidding on the silent auction items, which will, in turn, result in more funding for projects to benefit kids in the months to come.

The warm weather has families going outside in droves, spending quality time together. On Friday afternoon I saw several families engaged in the bonding task of attempting to clear out frozen culverts together, or diverting the rushing mini-streams that were rapidly eroding their driveways, while still others created lasting memories by picking up newly exposed trash from their property lines. I’m waiting for our flooded woodshed to drain a little before enjoying some meaningful mother-daughter time dealing with the sodden bottom layer of firewood. It is joyful springtime work like this that really forms the building blocks of intimacy.

The Methow is in national news again. The same publication that featured sensitive New Age mountain climbing dudes Larry Goldie and Matt Walker last month, now contains a blurb from Karen West addressing the Ride to Rendezvous. Better get your wagon reserved now, before the urban masses all try to get themselves on the ride.

Calving and covered wagons — are we a Western valley or what?

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