Lava Lake Ranch

11 Aug

After spending a day at the rodeo in Shoshone we all got the feeling of the lively cowboy spirit in Idaho. Visiting a ‘real ranch’ as a next stop in our trip made all of us even more excited. Liz was talking about her dreams of learning how to throw a lasso and Josefine about how she wanted to ride a horse. We found the ‘Lava Lake Lamb Ranch’ in a desert landscape filled with sage bushes and surrounded by lava craters at the foot of the mountains.


Two beautiful women and a playful dog welcomed us. Kathleen and her sister in law, Erin served us tea outside their yurt and told us the story of how Kathleen and her husband became Sheep ranchers.


Kathleen and her husband are from San Francisco. They are academic environmentalists and have lived more or less their whole life in the city. At some point they decided to realize their dream of creating environmental change through more sustainable grazing methodes. They bought a ranch in Idaho with a big piece of land, which gave them the possibility of leasing even more land. In that way they suddenly had the possibility of making a big impact on the development of the local environment. The only thing missing to their ‘ranch revolution’ was the practical knowledge of how to actually operate a sheep ranch. Kathleen told us that she and her husband found themselves on a rather challenging path with a lot of bumps in the road. However, visiting the now well established Lava Lake Lamb Ranch -with a big herd of sheeps grazing far away in the mountains behind us- it was hard to tell that Kathleen and her husband were still fairly unexperienced in this field.



We spent the afternoon touring the land in the back of a truck, petting every horse or sheep dog on the way, taking turns throwing the lasso, acting out strangled calves. checking out the cool cowboy boot collection and cooked a delicious meal of grilled vegetables and homemade organic lamb burgers and rosemary garlic lamb sausages.



We ended the wonderful day with an interesting discussion while drinking wine in the yurt that served as their house on the ranch. We all felt really inspired by the courage it takes to jump into unknown fields, believing in your dreams. Kathleens way of living; partly in the center San Francisco and partly in the rural countryside of Idaho, was an answer to our common inner conflict of being as much attracted to living in the dynamic big city as in the quiet countryside. Seeing someone living in the best of both worlds showed us that this is a possibility if you commit to your dream.


Even though Kathleen and Erin where getting up at four in the morning to mark the sheeps in the mountains as real cowgirls do, it was clear that they were still San Franciscans by heart as they couldn’t help themselves petting the enormous wolf fighting guard dogs that wandered around the land of Lava Lake Lamb Ranch.


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