Rye Fields

“Before we took the cattle to range in the spring, Dad and Claude (Gracie’s older brother) would plant the two rye fields…Depending on what the ground was like, we would run the plow to cut the soil up. Then we would disk it, harrow it (break up clods and level the ground by dragging disks with spiny teeth through the soil), plant the seed (throwing it from a tub in the back of a wagon), cover it up, and wait and pray for rain…The crop would be ready in the latter part of July, if I remember correctly…(Dad) took the mower pulled by the team of horses and cut the rye. Then Claude would come along with the rake, also pulled by horses, and get the rye into shocks along rows that were far enough apart to bring the hay wagon alongside…Dad would pitch it into the wagon. Claude would pile it onto the slings that would later lift the hay into the barn. It would take about an hour to get one load of hay…Claude would unhitch the horses and take them around to the back of the barn and hitch them to the pull-up ropes. Dad would attach the ropes to the slings of hay in the wagon, and then Claude would have the team pull the load up and into the barn…The whole job of getting the crop in took about two to three weeks…We made homemade root beer in the summer, and I would bring that to them in the afternoon.” (from “Home on the Vandevert Ranch” by Gracie Vandevert McNellis, page 46. Used by permission.)

Vandevert School

The one-room schoolhouse was originally called the Harper School and was north of where South Century Drive intersects Harper Bridge Road (turns into Spring River Road west of the Deschutes).  It was moved to the northeast corner of Vandevert Ranch in 1929. The single land dirt road that ran along the north border of the ranch went past the schoolhouse but there was only a pedestrian gate into the schoolyard. To bring a horse or wagon up to the school required taking down the rails in the fence. The school closed in about 1936 but reopened again in 1946.  Vandevert School finally stopped operating ten years later but is used from time to time for ranch functions.  The ranch has opened the schoolhouse and other historic sites for "Pioneer Day" visits from the third graders at Three Rivers School for many years


Skating Slough

“We also skated both on the river and on the sloughs across the river. The sloughs froze best, and we would go over there and spend a couple hours. Claude would always put my “clamp-on” skates on my boots and away we would go! The river could be skated on too, but you had to be a little more cautious due to the current of the river! Some places were safe- others were not! Dad and Mom could also skate but I barely remember them doing so. …When I was quite young, I managed to fall through the ice by the bridge. The folks had company in the living room, and so I decided to bring water from the river. I had a little pail with a handle, went down the steps on the riverbank to the hole in the ice that was kept open, and reached down to get the water. Well, I slipped in, and all I can remember is that I popped back up though the hole and grabbed something on the riverbank and pulled myself out. When I got back to the house, they said the top of my head was wet and knew I had gone clear under. Dad said the river was rising at the time that buoyed me back up through that hole. Betty Daly told me she was there that day and remembers it all. I don’t know if I got spanked or not!” (from “Home on the Vandevert Ranch” by Gracie Vandevert McNellis, page 38. Used by permission.)

Return to Ranch Map circa 1935

Continue to Points of Interest Page 6

Black and white photographs are the property of Grace Vandevert McNellis and are used by permission.
Text quoted from her book is copyright 1999 by Grace McNellis. All other copy and art is
copyright 2005-2010 by T. Haynes & G.V. McNellis. Neither the The Vandevert Ranch Association nor its members guarantees the accuracy or completeness of information or representations on this Web Site.  Buyers should obtain
definitive information from their real estate agent.