Turkeys, llamas, bacon?

Posted by Renee Magyar on November 25, 2013

Appreciations for Thanksgiving

Freda Turkey thoughtfully eyes the camera. Photo by Katia Roth Steckly.

Last week I had the good fortune to spend a few days at my friends' ranch near Antelope, Oregon. It's a wonderful place where I can take long walks and enjoy the vast, open land and big sky. It's where the sound of silence rings in your ear - until a cow moos or a rooster goes cock-a-doodle-doo and then you can't help but break out into a smile. Life feels good.

This time on my visit I had a special treat. I met a recent addition to the menagerie of animals on the ranch: a pet turkey named Freda T. She was timid and tentative at first. Hyper-sensitive to her sense of "Stranger Danger!" she'd squawk and sputter in distress every time I approached her. Eventually I earned her trust and the right to pet her like a dog. It was marvelous.  

Freda T.'s coquettish calls for attention and affection saved her from becoming Thanksgiving dinner last year. I succumbed to her charms, never having experienced such fondness for an avian before. I entertained the idea of having my own pet bird. I'd call her Tina Turkey.

I love and appreciate many things about the ranch: the grasses that sway in the breeze, Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson rising in the distance, the ground that's peppered with agate and jasper rocks (on a lucky day, you can find arrowheads). I love gathering and splitting firewood, then building and enjoying the fire. Life is elemental here. One is glad to be alive.

I always want to bring that sense of appreciation back to the city. Now, with Thanksgiving coming up, it's especially appropriate. This year, I am especially grateful to our board of directors at Sustainable Northwest. Their enlightened leadership took us through a thoughtful, inclusive, and transparent executive search process that brought in a great result: our new fearless leader, John Audley. Thank you, board, thank you staff.  

Here' what other Sustainable Northwest staff are saying:

John: I'm grateful to my friend Michael for telling me about the job at Sustainable Northwest and urging me to apply, and to Kara Teising for getting me to take this opportunity seriously.

Mike: I am thankful that people trust us to help care for their place, even though we are not of their place. I am also thankful for science, because some day my dream of gluten- and fluoride-infused bacon will become a reality.

Lara: I am grateful for the people who live in small places under big skies - the people who grow our food, keep our drinking water clean, and our forests healthy.

Patrick: I appreciate the fact that the Malheur Lumber Company has remained open, and that the 70 people who work there are able to be really thankful this Thanksgiving.

Dylan: I am grateful to work in places like Hayfork, CA where the only traffic on the road is the town llama crossing Highway 3.

Lee: I am grateful for the opportunity to work with such fun, bright and interesting colleagues and partners.

Alaina: I am thankful to be part of an organization that is comfortable with complexity, that believes that the triple-bottom line is not only possible, but an imperative.  I am grateful to work with partners and colleagues who are deeply committed AND know how to laugh and have fun.

Alice: I am thankful to work with people who value community, and bring thoughtfulness, curiosity and fortitude to the work we do every day. Also, I'm thankful that our fridge always has beer in it and that we're getting a new coffee maker for Christmas.

Paul: I love this place and am thankful to be doing such meaningful work with a great and effective team.

We are grateful for all things big and small. Thank you to our friends, donors, partners - and to you, dear reader - for your interest in and support for what we do. From all of us at Sustainable Northwest, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Dimitra Giannakoulias is Operations and Communications Associate at Sustainable Northwest.