YAMSI RULES // gerda & co.

It was an amazing feeling walking onto Yamsi Ranch in Klamath Falls a few weeks ago. I was on assignment to shoot a portrait of the family who brings country natural beef to Burgerville's tasty meals, but this was unlike any other family, location, or assignment that I've had before. Imagine miles and miles of gorgeous trees, grazing cows, sleek riverbeds, playing dogs, galloping horses, and swallows dipping in and out of the huge, rustic barn- an actual wildlife sanctuary. Gerda, the 80 year old matriarch of the family, couldn't be more excited about Yamsi Ranch's 100th birthday next year and was gracious enough to give us a tour of their ranch and home. It would be an understatement to say that Yamsi Ranch is a family affair, as the majority of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren live on or near the ranch and are involved in it somehow.

The main house feels like a tribute to Gerda and her life on the ranch... photos and paintings of her hang everywhere, a sweet reminder of of how much everyone loves and respects her. We saw stacks of National Geographics dating back to the 20s, a dining room with vines crawling all over the ceiling, and a sweet plaque that lists all of the Yamsi Rules, all of them hilarious. Just as we were leaving the ranch, we found a small dog on the side of the road and brought it back to the ranch, only to learn that dogs are often left stranded by their owners in the forest, left to fend for themselves. The little guy looked like some sort of rat terrier mix, and could not have been sweeter or better behaved. As we drove away, I had the feeling they would adopt him into their pack of adorable mutts. I named him Yamsi. They named him Kelty. :)

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