No Cow Day

A Party with Heart

Story and Photos by Amy Story

The October sky was clear blue on No Cow Day as I wound my way up Cartwright Road through the Boise foothills toward Ourada Ranch, southwest of the iconic Stack Rock, at four thousand feet in the Boise National Forest.

The leaves were turning glorious colors, which made me wonder at the genius of nature in its contrast of cool tones against warm to make both look more vibrant. As I drove farther uphill on Ourada Road, I became nervous when the engine on my car started to smell overheated. Strong souls and strong engines are what it takes to dwell in these parts. 

I rolled under an archway that announced the century-old ranch and parked with others in a clearing. We crunched our way up the gravel road to the main house, which already hummed with visitors. Rope swings hung in trees in a cozy corner of the yard. 

I made my way past faces that were only vaguely familiar, as it had been years since I attended a No Cow Day. I climbed the stairs and passed the entryway into the bustling kitchen, which was wall-to-wall with folks and food. 

I’m a foodie, and my eyes widened at the kitchen island laden with scrumptious-looking dishes. They opened even wider when I spied the dessert table, filled to capacity. 

When our hostess Pat and her daughter Lori spotted me, they made a beeline to exchange greetings and hugs. They instantly began telling others, “This is the artist,” or, “This is the writer I told you about,” which made me feel deeply welcomed. 

Back around 2010, when Larson was my last name before a divorce, my then-new friend Kitty Fleischman asked, “Are you related to Pat Larson?”

I soon learned that with Kitty, such a question is always followed by a story. She told me about the Ourada Ranch in the hills above Boise, run by Earl Ourada and his partner Pat Larson, and of their annual event with a funny name. 

“If you ever get an invite to go to No Cow Day, you should go. There are lots of old timers up there with the best stories,” she said.

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Amy Story

About Amy Story

Amy Story is a food and adventure writer, artist, and art instructor. She makes her way through the state looking for good recipes and new friends, often found simultaneously.

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