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A Good Day Mowing at the Lazy M Ranch
A Good Day Mowing at the Lazy M Ranch

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.

A Good Day Mowing at the Lazy M Ranch

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.

A Good Day Mowing at the Lazy M Ranch

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.

A Good Day Mowing at the Lazy M Ranch

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.

A Good Day Mowing at the Lazy M Ranch
Nick Kezele, paralyzed from the waist down by an accident, has his mower specially equipped with a high back seat and seat belts. He designed a stick to clear obstructions from the cutter bar.
A Good Day Mowing at the Lazy M Ranch
Janelle McIntosh.
A Good Day Mowing at the Lazy M Ranch
Josh Kezele and his cousin Jacob McIntosh (making the turn).
A Good Day Mowing at the Lazy M Ranch
Lynn Miller with Mark and Dan.
A Good Day Mowing at the Lazy M Ranch
The patriarch of the clan, “Mac” McIntosh.
A Good Day Mowing at the Lazy M Ranch
Lynn Miller, packing most of his own ballast, is hauling a modest water bottle under the mower seat while…
A Good Day Mowing at the Lazy M Ranch
…little ‘light-as-a-feather’ Janelle has to tie on a big old water jug just to keep her seat level.
A Good Day Mowing at the Lazy M Ranch
Josh Kezele, an old hand at driving draft horses, makes mowing look like a buggy ride in the park. Shortly after this session Josh left for West Point. In the background you can barely make out young Jacob.
A Good Day Mowing at the Lazy M Ranch
“Mac” McIntosh is a real life living legend. Besides working as a circuit-riding preacher for folks all round Central Oregon, he spends many long days riding for big cattle outfits in the Post and Paulina country.
A Good Day Mowing at the Lazy M Ranch
Left to right; Mac McIntosh, Josh Kezele, Lynn Miller, Janelle McIntosh, and Nick Kezele all pose after finishing the mowing. Mike is off camera, jumping up and down and making silly to try to get sleeping Dan’s attention.
A Good Day Mowing at the Lazy M Ranch
Then they turn around and head for the barn and lunch.