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Back of Beyond Farm is a small, family run operation in Rist Canyon, Colorado. We work closely with natural rhythms to create wellness teas from indigenous and naturalized plants. 2013 marks our 4th year of supporting our community through tasty teas. In the year ahead, we hope to continue our work of not only producing healthful teas, but also exploring the edges of what it means to farm and be a part of a place.

Friday, December 6, 2013

First Seasons: Home

For our kids, North Dakota looms like some mythical valhalla....a land of story, legend, fable. The setting of their parent's childhood escapades, falling in love and getting married. Their grandparents and great aunts and uncles, second cousins and more still live on the prairie. Going to North Dakota ranks higher than any other destination on their list. (I know many of you are cringing as I write this, feeling sorry for these poor, weak minded children!)

When we landed it was -3, 9:30pm at night and the forecast was for double-digit below zero temps by morning. At 7:45am we were standing outside my cousin Ron's farm office and the thermometer read -12.  Time to go pheasant hunting. 

For three days we walked tree rows, blocks of grass, sloughs filled with cattails, cut corn and creek bottoms. We saw hundreds of pheasants - most launching just ahead of us, some flying into the winter-low sun and confusing us as to whether they were roosters (legal) or hens (illegal). We hit SOME and we missed lots. Enough made it into our game bags to keep us hunting and not to lose heart. 

Makabe was a trooper - he made all the walks - shot as poorly as the next. He fought through bundles of clothes, wind-chill delayed response, thick gloves that wouldn't work the safety and covered miles of his North Dakota rootland. And he did it with his Grandpa. They've hunted together before, but never with Makabe carrying his shotgun. For me, to have these two together in the field, was the highlight of the trip (rivaled only by the single sharp-tailed grouse I was able to harvest - my favorite prairie bird).

At 71 and 10 they make quite the pair. Kids connect with grandparents in all sorts of ways. I am thankful that they connect this way - on the land - in the elements - making a meal out of memories.

When it was all said and done, I was the best of the shots. Not something to brag on and not an indication of a full larder, but enough birds to hold and feed us trough the Winter. Shared communion between me and my homeland, between Makabe and his roots, between all of us, across the miles.