Life at the End of the Oregon Trail

Life at the End of the Oregon Trail

Follow the Oregon Trail far enough and you will reach a place teeming with industry, a Mecca for makers, with abounding natural resources and unending fertility. The indigenous population found refuge in the towering Sequoias, the lanky firs and groves of redwood, where immediate access to the Pacific and its epic offerings of salmon provided for sustainable populations of many peoples for a very long time.

It's difficult not to be impressed upon by Oregon's bounty, its relentless precipitation, and the constant cycle of growth and change. Many industries have been built around the many niches created by the landscape of the Pacific Northwest, being home to Pendleton and its wool manufacturing, to the countless Salmon canneries of Astoria, and especially the incredible sustainable timber industry, which proudly proclaims its place as #1 in the country, while simultaneously restoring forests to numbers greater than 100 years ago.

It is here that Cody of Willamette Valley Lamb and longtime friend of Truman, makes his living. It is in the gorgeous hills of the Coastal Range, in the verdant pastures north of Eugene and in the rolling seaside paddocks near Langlois that Cody herds his sheep and cattle. Like Vince, Cody has long shared a passion for animal husbandry and has spent the last decade honing that passion, studying abroad as far away as New Zealand, rooting out nuggets of wisdom.

Cody's work is grit-laden. There's a raw physicality to animal husbandry, and a prerequisite strength, in body and character. With a preternatural understanding of animal movement, and a symbiotic relationship with his collies, he conducts an orchestra of wool across the paddocks, shifting and sorting the ewes and lambs, this time for tail docking.

While working, his sly smile relays a dry humor that cracks desert bones. With their lives rooted in the land and animals, it is clear the dedication Vince and Cody share: a dedication to the shifting balance between man, land and animal, with no element of that triumvirate benefiting more than the other. It is in this setting and with this perspective that Truman now finds itself building boots, inspired by this awesome industriousness and the conviction to maintain the stability of land and animal.

Cody wears Java Waxed Flesh Trumans, built years ago in Pennsylvania, available here.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published