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Impressions of a Volunteer at Long Hollow

Hi, I’m Josy, 23, from Switzerland and I was a volunteer at Long Hollow Ranch in May 2016. I spent four weeks in the pre-season of this Dude Ranch and B&B. Long Hollow Ranch is placed in beautiful nature between green fields and dry desert. You see mountains and the great vastness of America. This place has a freedom and is very peaceful. But it’s also very quiet, far away from town and kind of isolated. So if you want to have a lot of entertainment, meet a lot of new young people having an exciting active time here - don’t come! But if you want to spend time with very kind, lovely and sweet people, have time to think about your life and yourself, doing fantastic horseback rides on beautiful trails; if you want to help people wherever they need you, then being here and seeing this place is a must. Honestly, I expected more work as a volunteer at Long Hollow, but it was the pre-season and that’s probably why… I had a great time helping in the B&B cleaning rooms, helping in the kitchen, ironing bedsheets, gardening and serving food. What I really liked was meeting very different guests, hearing their stories and sharing meals with them. The group who live and work here are two older couples and a funny guy who made my stay so valuable. We had so many interesting and deep conversations, and I laughed every day with them. At this ranch you have to be flexible. You might make plans for the day, but don’t be disappointed if they change every hour. This was something I had to learn! But you get used to it and it [...]

Going International

One of the most interesting aspects of the dude ranch business is the exposure to international culture and custom. At Long Hollow Ranch here in little ol’ Sisters, Oregon, we have actually hosted guests from fifty-five countries around the world! There have been as many as three or four countries represented around the dinner table at one time. Now that is a lot of fun! This Christmas there were people from western Oregon, southern California, and India at the table. These were our first guests from India, a couple that were in Oregon to visit their daughter who has been working in Portland for ten years. During their visit they were taking a mini-tour of the state. All the folks at the table were active and well-educated so there was lively conversation. It was a great experience for all of us. I can’t help thinking that if more people could experience this, there may well be a better understanding leading to less strife in our world. The first year we were open I was at the main guest house cleaning and preparing for a wedding that was to take place that Saturday. The ceremony was to be held on the front lawn and all rooms were rented for the weekend for the wedding guests. I had made it clear that we should take no more reservations for the week because I wanted to keep things in a state of readiness. Around four o’clock on Tuesday the phone rang and the local Chamber of Commerce informed me that they had someone in the office who desperately needed rooms for the next few nights. I told her I hadn’t been planning to take more guests, but she [...]

Christmas at the Ranch

Winter came in with a bang this year, and earlier than usual. In mid-November it snowed for two and a half days and we ended up with about two feet of snow that stayed for over a week. By Thanksgiving things were more normal with sunny days, some rain, some wind – pretty typical fall weather. By the time Christmas rolled around it was wintery, but snow didn’t come again till several days later. Before Christmas Katie made sure the guest quarters were clean and that there was a beautiful tree decorated in the living room. She also strung lights around the verandah and the Cottage porch, making everything look really festive. Christmas was quite jolly at Long Hollow Ranch. Bruce and Sally came in to help with the big meals, and we had fun fixing lots of yummy food. We had as many as twelve guests one day, all of them very nice people. A family with four young children stayed in the Cottage, but had breakfasts in the dining room as well as dinner on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Dinners were very enjoyable with plenty of good food and pleasant conversation. After dinner we gathered around the piano in the living room and sang Christmas carols. Even the young children enjoyed that while sitting on comfortable laps. In the morning when Bruce and Sally went out to feed the horses, the guests rode along on the feed truck. Sally reported that the horses behaved themselves unusually well and the guests had fun getting acquainted with them. The last guests to arrive were from India, just taking a tour through Oregon. That made India the fifty-fifth country to be represented at Long Hollow [...]

Springtime at Long Hollow Ranch

Wow! Spring has arrived and there is a whole lot going on at Long Hollow Ranch. We’ve seen sun, rain, wind, heat and cold – you name it; typical spring weather in central Oregon. The cattle have been moved to the summer range pasture, the fieldwork is done and the new crop seeding’s are coming up. The greenhouse is prepped for planting and the seedlings are up. Dead trees have been removed, the lawn is green and growing, and flowers have burst into bright colorful blooms in the gardens. Everyone here is working hard. Katie and Awbrey are busy tuning the horses, riding and moving cattle and cleaning the flower beds in front of the barn. Bruce is busy making everything work properly after the winter lay-off. Sally is cleaning and reorganizing the kitchen whenever she has a free moment after meal prep and cooking the delicious meals. The dinner cook, Karen, has been on vacation, but will be back next week, ready to work her magic in the kitchen. Dentzie has been cleaning and sprucing up the guest rooms several times a week. Dick answers inquiries each day and Shirley is busy trying to get the garden going. The ranch is a beehive of activity and looking real nice if I say so myself. For the past ten days Ed, a young man from Bath, England, and “Workaway Volunteer”, has been here working with Bruce on projects. He did a fine job and we really enjoyed his company. Yesterday Long Hollow Ranch hosted a potluck dinner for a group of fifty folks from our local church and Saturday six of our most recent guests left for home and we welcomed seven new ones. Today [...]

You asked, we answered! February’s FAQ

When people begin to consider visiting a Dude Ranch, they start thinking of questions about what to wear and what other items might be good to bring along. Will the food be good? What will there be to do besides ride horses? Do I really have to wear cowboy boots and a cowboy hat? And so on. We thought we’d use this opportunity to tackle your FAQ. Most Dude Ranch vacations take place in the summer when the sun shines bright each day and the air is warm and dry. Though it may seem the wrong time to be wearing long pants, big boots and a huge hat, these items of clothing can really make your riding experience much more comfortable. Rides usually last an hour or more, depending on the route taken. Horsehair can be coarse and bristly against bare skin, which is why it is recommended that you need long pants. The sun is bright and sometimes a bit intense so it’s good to have a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Western boots may look funny with their higher than usual heels and pointed toes, but there are good reasons for them. The high (about one-inch) heel keeps the boot from sliding through the stirrup, and the smooth sole of the boot helps it to move easily into and out of the stirrup when mounting or dismounting your horse. Also, the high-cut boot protects your legs from bushes and branches that you may get close to. At Long Hollow Ranch we keep a large supply of “loaner” boots in all sizes. If it is impractical for you to bring boots, we just may have a pair in your size! Of course, sunscreen is a [...]