Child of Steens Mountain

Child of Steens Mountain

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by Eileen O'Keeffe McVicker
     
 

For Eileen O'Keeffe McVicker, born in 1927 to an Irish immigrant sheep rancher and a school teacher, growing up on a homestead in the West made for "a hard, happy life with layers of riches." McVicker's memoir of a childhood spent on the southern slope of Steens Mountain offers a real-life, personal account of eastern Oregon history.An "outdoor child" all her life,…  See more details below

Overview

For Eileen O'Keeffe McVicker, born in 1927 to an Irish immigrant sheep rancher and a school teacher, growing up on a homestead in the West made for "a hard, happy life with layers of riches." McVicker's memoir of a childhood spent on the southern slope of Steens Mountain offers a real-life, personal account of eastern Oregon history.An "outdoor child" all her life, McVicker tells stories that revolve around life on the ranch-tending sheep, picking wildflowers, doing chores-and describes everyday adventures: a rabid coyote threatens the family; a wild mustang stallion tries to kill her father; a Merino buck sheep leaps through the schoolhouse window. Images of Steens country-wild sagebrush and juniper country, with rugged vistas in every direction-are woven throughout her recollections, which share the profound sense of place found in the best Western memoirs. While vividly describing ranch life, Child of Steens Mountain also explores universal issues of parenting, making a living, and growing up. The homesteading life built a child's character and confidence, and as she reaches adulthood, McVicker, raised to be independent and responsible, ultimately defies her parents to follow her own path.McVicker's neighbor and friend, Barbara J. Scot, edited and organized the narration while preserving the author's distinctive voice. In an afterword, Scot reflects on McVicker's experiences and describes the collaborative process-including a visit to the old homestead site-that led to this book. Historian Richard Etulain, whose own childhood was spent on a sheep ranch in the West, provides an overview of sheep ranching and homesteading in Steens country in his foreword.Whether intrigued byOregon history, the high desert country, or memoirs of homesteading life, readers will be unable to resist these appealing stories of growing up amid the natural beauty of Steens country.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780870712975
Publisher:
Oregon State University Press
Publication date:
10/15/2008
Pages:
139
Sales rank:
1,184,131
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Barbara J. Scot, a public school teacher for twenty-five years, began to write after a tour with the Peace Corps in Nepal in 1991. She has published three books: The Violet Shyness of Their Eyes: Notes from Nepal (winner of the PNBA Book Award); Prairie Reunion (New York Times Notable Book of the Year); and The Stations of Still Creek. An avid fan of the outdoors, she has spent much of her life climbing mountains, backpacking, running, and bird watching. She and her husband live in a houseboat on the Willamette River, near Portland, Oregon.

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