Winter on the ranchSummer and Autumn have come and gone here at Long Hollow Ranch. It is definitely winter now. The pace is much slower now than it was just a few weeks ago. About eight inches of snow fell last week and the temperature dips well below freezing every night. The local deer have made many winding trails through the snow across the yard on their way to and from the hay piles. They seem to be very happy with the wintery scene. I don’t blame them; it is very beautiful when the sun is shining brightly.

Thanksgiving weekend is over. We had guests for turkey dinner on Friday. Ron and Lisa, who are regulars now, came bringing pies and veggies for the dinner. They also have been helping with cooking, cleaning and even chores outside. I told them they will be put on steady if they keep that up! They make me thankful for good friends. There were other guests too –first-timers who said they will be back next season. We’ll be happy to see them. The thing I enjoy most about this business is all the nice people we meet.

Speaking of nice people, 2015 has brought us so many lovely guests from all over the world. This year we counted sixty different countries of origin for guests who have come over the last fifteen years. As I have mentioned before, one of the purposes of the dude ranch business is to help people develop relationships. I also have learned that relationship-building is high on the list of wants when people go on vacation.

A dude ranch is the perfect place to do just that. Here at Long Hollow the groups are small enough that everyone can meet all the other guests. There is plenty of time for people to get acquainted, whether around the table at mealtime, or on the trail, or on the porch with a lemonade in hand. This weekend, for instance, Ron and Lisa chatted with a couple new to the ranch about their mutual love of horses and trail riding. I’m sure they will be in communication and may very well meet again right here.

Winter preparationFor those of us who call Long Hollow home, it is now time to make sure that things are prepared for the cold winter months ahead, and inquiries for stays next year have already begun. So while we work a little more slowly we have plenty of time to communicate with potential guests for 2016. We have already made some improvements around the ranch and plan on many more in anticipation of another great season. For instance, I am planning to expand the vegetable garden significantly so there will be plenty of the good stuff for Karen to transform into wonderful lunch and dinner dishes. And, oh joy, the seed catalogs are already arriving!

So life continues at our beautiful Central Oregon location, just in different ways. It is satisfying in a wistful sort of way to wind down the old year as we prepare for the new year. With that we want to thank all of you who made this year so fulfilling for us, and to wish you a joy-filled and blessed Christmas season. May you all experience peace and love in your hearts as you celebrate and as you go forward into the new season.