A Good Day Mowing at the Lazy M Ranch
by Lynn R. Miller of Singing Horse Ranch
These days, Central Oregon is growing faster than a new born Belgian colt. The population has shot up 400% in twenty years. We’ve seen the landscape permanently altered by residential and commercial development. But there still are pockets of agrarian tranquility remaining right in the midst of all that clamor. The Lazy M Ranch, just below Terrebonne, is one such place. It is home to the McIntosh and Kezele families and their herds of horses and cattle. And for we Millers it has, over the years, become a favorite place to go to work …for fun. Early this summer Mike McIntosh phoned me an invite to come over for a day and help to mow. He was anxious to give two of his children, Janelle and Jacob, safe time to mow. He figured if I came to mow he could attend to them. And his wife Joanna would be providing a mowing bee lunch. Impossible to refuse such a party.
All five of the mowers were set up with six foot bars. The ten horses were all geldings from the McIntosh/ Kezele Belgian hitch.
There were two irrigated fields, adjacent to one another, and totally 25 to 30 acres. With only a couple of minor mechanical adjustments we mowed pretty much uninterrupted (except for water breaks and photo ops) and finished the job in under 3 hours. (For those of you who are interested in the applied math: These outfits can cover 9 to 10 acres each in one day. Using 9 as an average that means these 5 mowers can drop 135 acres of hay in three days.) Mike told me that when the hay was ready Nick would spend a six hour day with forecart and rake just ahead of the baler.
The weather was perfect, in the 70s, and there were no bugs to speak of. With nary a gopher mound and all the rattlers in hiding it was a darn near perfect day. Especially when you consider the outstanding lunch which followed.
The ranch is home to three related families: Grandparents “Mac” and Rachel McIntosh, Mike and Joanna McIntosh and their kids, and Nick, Gayle and Josh Kezele. Gayle and Mike are brother and sister.
Besides a tour of parades, fairs, and draft horse shows, the McIntosh/Kezele Belgians contribute a critical performance each year at the Dufur (Oregon) Threshing Bee in mid- August. Mike runs the tricky “header” with four abreast. For the last three years, two weeks after Dufur, the Lazy M Ranch does its own Threshing Bee.
Though our ranches are separated by at least twenty miles of bad road, we fortunate Millers consider the McIntosh/ Kezele clan to be our neighbors as well as our dear, true friends. It just adds to the fact that this was a good day mowing.