Yamsi The Year in the Life of a Wilderness Ranch, by author Dayton O. Hyde 288 pages 5 1/2x 8 1/2 Paperback with photographs by Dayton O. Hyde Ages 10 and up (Call for availability)
Hyde's exuberant record of a year on his cattle ranch where hard work and hardships co-exist with a dedication to the principles of conservation and sound ecology.
"I am a Spring man not a Winter man. In Spring a man is filled with dreams and new hopes. When you live on a cattle ranch as I do winter life is reality, it is the drudgery of routine, the bone ache of cold weather, the death of a fine young cow in the snow, a stack of precious hay, that scares you when it gets smaller with every wagon load you subtract from it." – Dayton Hyde
Yamsi, a six thousand acre working cattle ranch at the headwaters of the Williamson River in Oregon's Klamath Basin, is the setting for Dayton Hyde's lively meditation on what it means to be a rancher in the West in the late twentieth century. In Yamsi, Hyde records a year on the ranch as the seasons change and the ranch work changes with them. Informed by a sense of responsibility toward those who lived and worked on the land before him – including the Klamath Indians who first called the land home – and those who might one day follow, Hyde struggles to run a family-owned cattle business in an age of corporate agriculture. Hard work and hardships at Yamsi coexist with a dedication to principles of conservation and sound ecology. Hyde describes his efforts to preserve the pine forests and marshes on his privately owned land – and to protect the owl, osprey, eagle, kingfisher, and sandhill crane that these environments support.
For Hyde, extensive road building, timber harvests, and fire suppression on the public lands that surround his ranch demonstrate the increasingly important role of private agricultural land to conservation and wildlife. Ranch foreclosures and attacks on the environment have not disappeared in the years since Yamsi was first published. Hyde's book was ahead of its time then; today its message is even more important.
"Nowadays, I think, all of us in the West should be listening to Dayton Hyde....In Yamsi we see a man driven by our fundamental and commonly human impulse to take care. Our best future lies with constantly, in all our dealings, honoring that impulse. All of us in the West, particularly our lawmakers, should pay serious attention to this book. Dayton Hyde is telling us things we need to hear, through his example showing us the way. We need to take heed. This is indeed a fine book and its time is here." – William Kittredge