WWOOFer Ambasador


I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Miss Darcy Sexton from wwoofusa.org today. It was very encouraging all the help she could give me to help make Lifewater Ranch all it can be.

Thank you Darcy!

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Our Digital Music Workstation

Special Note:  On August 9th at the Kooskia Library at 1 pm I will be demonstrating this system to the community.  Audience participation will be a highlight and we may have a special guest artist show up to do a short song recording for all.  

This is a very unusual feature of Lifewater Ranch that few if any guests have taken advantage of.DSC_2676

It has actually taken me about 30 years to finally get to a system that I can really compose on with relative ease.  I started trying to do MIDI music back in the 80s and it was just one bug after another with hardware problems and technical issues constantly. The DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) has finally come of age and I have a decent one – admittedly it took about 11 versions of cakewalk before it finally began to work well for me.  It doesn’t look like much, just a computer, an amp, some speakers, a fancy MIDI/Audio interface and a synth keyboard to control it along with a microphone.  Yet this workstation can do just about any kind of music or sounds you can imagine.

You can hear many of the compositions I have done with this system on my SoundCloud page.

Although the system is easy to use once you know how to use it, it is not simple.  This is something a geeky teen or mature technically minded adult would use.  It is however easy to just set up the synth to play live through the speakers and hear cool sounds that even little kids can enjoy.  Kids love it when I record their voices and then pitch-shift it up and down or add cool reverb effects to it.  It’s not something you can let a little kid play with without supervision – but I think it has immense value as an experience that will give children the imagination to see what is possible that could inspire them to any of a number of very fun and profitable vocations or hobbies.

Back when I was a kid my mother made me take piano lessons.  Once it got to two hands at the same time I just could not perform like a machine and play anything I liked.  I dropped it completely.  Later I tried trumpet but never practiced.  But MIDI music lets me play what I feel and then fix it up to where it sounds like a pro played it (I love to quantize!).  With the cool sounds you can choose from and a drummer in a box to play for you, it’s very possible to make music you love with very little musicianship skills.  I think this is the way to teach music to kids – let them enjoy it first – then, if they really want to master it, it will be easy because they will be inspired to play and improve their skills so they can play the wonderful tunes in their hearts and minds.  Adults could do with turning the standard music teaching on its head as well I think.

Here are the components I use most:

DAW: Cakewalk Sonar X2 Essentials – the paired down version of one of the latest version of Cakewalk.  This is what is known as a MIDI sequencer and hosts VSTs which are virtual instruments in software.  Understanding this tool takes a bit of time but I have videos and the manual on the PC for guests to use.  Once you are done with your composition you can export it to an MP3 file to publish or take with you.

Synth/Controller: Alesis QS6.1 – this synth has a nice array of sounds it can make itself or you can use it just as a controller for the DAW and VSTs.

OmniSphere VST: Probably the most powerful soft-synth on the market.  25k preset sounds and massive ability to control and alter them.  They say it takes a lifetime to learn this product.  The manual is 1600 pages but it really doesn’t take long to get this thing to do simple stuff.  I have developed my own way of using its 8 separate channeled sounds and it’s not too hard to use for me.

Studio Instruments:  I used this array of 4 VSTs mostly for the drum VST which has a nice set of pre-canned sequences to quickly get a good drumbeat to work from.

A decent microphone lets you add voices.

This is all I used to make all of my songs on SoundCloud.

I would be happy to run any guest through my song-writing process and help them to create their first song.

Lifewater Ranch’s beauty provides ample inspiration for wonderful works of music to create and take home with you – or listen to in the hot tub!

So do some reading up on these products and come ready to have some musical fun!

NO I am not a keyboard player and I don’t read music very well.  I just play what I feel and then use these tools to fix what I have played and turn it into something I like.  You don’t need to be a musician anymore to make beautiful music! – it does help to have a good ear though.

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Guest Article: 7 Tips for your first fishing trip with the kids


Digging for worms

A Lifewater Ranch visiting family digging for worms in our garden to fish with.

Lifewater Ranch features a bunch of ponds, many of which have fish in them.  Our Class 1 stream also has small fish that get through the hatchery downstream of us and they have been caught by people even without using bait!

Patrick Morrow is a freelance writer that has offered to team up with Lifewater Ranch in authoring some articles like this one:

Fishing is one of the few activities that can be enjoyed by people of all ages – including young children. Even kids as young as 4 or 5 are often perfectly capable of wielding a rod safely and dutifully watching their bobber bounce on the surface. Just prepare yourself for the unbridled joy that will follow, when they reel in their first fish.

And be sure you have your camera ready – you’ll want to remember that moment.

While your first fishing trip with the kids doesn’t require a whole lot of planning, you’ll want to keep the following suggestions in mind before setting out for the water.

1. Use very simple gear.

The fewer things that complicate the fishing process, the better, especially when accompanied by anglers who’ve yet to reach their 10th birthday (give or take). This means providing your child with a spin-casting or spinning rod combo, which has been scaled down to suit your youngster’s size. In fact, a cane pole is the pinnacle of simplicity, as it removes the need for your child to cast or reel – they simply drop the bait in the water and lift the hooked fish right out.

2. Target easy-to-catch fish.

Your kids probably won’t catch many walleye, trout or largemouth bass on their first couple of outings. Accordingly, you’ll want to target the bountiful and bold catfish and bluegill inhabiting the pond instead. Don’t worry – these fish are just as exciting to catch as any other fish, especially for youngsters who are just getting started.

3. Fish in an easily accessed area.

You may enjoy hiking halfway around a brush-lined pond to get to the perfect fishing spot, but your children are unlikely to see bushwhacking through thorns and bugs as a fun way to spend the day. Instead, you’ll want to head on down to a dock or pier, if available, or find some other easily accessed, yet promising location.

4. Fish in the early morning or late afternoon.

Most families vacation in the summer, but the mid-day sun will make fishing both miserable and unproductive. Instead, plan your outing so that you can get to the water right after dawn or about an hour before dusk. At these times, when the sun is close to the horizon, the temperatures will be far more tolerable and the fish far more aggressive. Just be sure to keep safety in mind: Bring a flashlight or two if the fishing hole doesn’t have street lights.

5. Select the locations with bathrooms and other amenities.

You may be able to hold it for an extra hour or so to give you a few more chances to catch a big one, but most young children won’t have the same level of resolve. They’ll forget to go before hitting the water, and nature will call as soon as you get everybody set up and ready to fish. Accordingly, you’ll want to take your first few fishing trips to places with bathrooms and other mainstays of civilization. Picnic tables, sun shades, and trashcans are also a few amenities that can make a fishing trip with kids proceed a little more smoothly.

6. Use a bait the kids won’t mind touching.

Worms and crickets are some of the most productive baits you can use, but many children will find these things too gross to touch. Instead, consider using things like corn or hotdog slices as bait. This way, your kids can learn how to rebait their hook when those blasted bait thieves strike.

7. After hooking a fish yourself, pass the rod to your kid.

You’ll certainly want to fish alongside your children, if for no other reason than you are more likely to hook a fish than they are. But instead, you should always take the opportunity to pass a hooked fish to your kids so that they can reel it in themselves. This is easily the most exciting part of the process, so you’ll want them to enjoy the feeling as much as is possible.

Taking your child fishing for the first time needn’t be complicated or difficult; in fact, it shouldn’t be anything but fun. Just keep things simple, follow the tips listed above and you should have a great time. You may even spark a lifelong love of fishing in your youngster.



Patrick Morrow is an outdoor freelancer writer. He started fishing for bream in his small home lake at four years old and the childhood fun has turned into a lifelong passion and an enjoyable writing career.

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Our First Wedding!


We had quite a gang of visitors and guests yesterday as we celebrated the wedding of Cassity Norris and Russ Golightly.  I was honored that Lifewater Ranch could host this joyous occasion!


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Lifewater Ranch GoFundMe Campaign

Today we started a GoFundMe campaign for Lifewater Ranch.

I have to be honest, we are in danger of losing this place.  Investments have not gone well and cash flow is not where it needs to be.  We are pursuing logging operations and subdividing the property should we have to sell off parts of this amazing place.

The reason for this critical situation are mainly due to forced debt/Mortgage to keep myself out of jail to comply with a support agreement I signed with my separated wife in good faith at a time when I had plenty of money to support her.  She has turned what was meant to be temporary support into a permanent pension and my attempts to create more cash flow via several investments have all gone very far south.

The two ways you can best help us is by:

  1. Staying at Lifewater Ranch!  Make a reservation TODAY!
  2. Contribute to our GoFundMe Campaign to help me get out of debt so cash flow problems are solved.
  3. Become a WWOOFER and visit Lifewater Ranch on the cheap!
  4. Sign up for our Newsletter and send us your best wishes, thoughts and prayers.

We are currently working on:

  • Burning up hundreds of burn piles created by a fire mitigation project done by the county which gives us in a much safer fire hazard situation and more open areas which increase beauty and a park-like feel on our borders.
  • Developing a Frisbee Golf Course which I hope to extend all over the ranch with over 100 holes!  If you’re an enthusiast, come visit us as a wwoofer and help me plan and build this potentially world class course.
  • Developing hiking trails throughout the property.
  • Adding Signs, benches and tables for guest use.
  • Adding Log Cabins as able to provide more guest and WWOOFER housing.
  • Promoting weddings, corporate retreats, hunting and fishing and Frisbee Golf lodging.
  • Trying to figure out a way to maintain the new open areas free of thistle, rose bushes, and berry bushes without using chemicals.  (Thinking goats – but that is a lot of work!)

Upcoming goals and projects:

  • Create mountain bike trails to attract those kinds of guests.
  • Mill our trees into Log Cabin kits and build Log cabins on the property.
  • Add 3 zip lines to the property.
  • Add a tarzan swing cable system to Island Pond.
  • Add some simple roof structures for hay storage, parking and firewood storage.
  • Procure a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber for supporting health challenged guests.
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See this article…

An Article by Chris Claunch about his and Ben Greenfield’s visit last month at Lifewater Ranch.


Most of the article is about health and food from Chris’s perspective.  Several great recipes here.  I saw this cool video there which I personally witnessed as I went to join them on one of their best fishing outings:

There is a shot in the article of the pool and Ben preparing to chill out.  In May, especially this year, the pool is usually still shut-down for the winter.  For these wonderful guests I quickly got it cleaned up before their arrival but of course there just isn’t enough sun to heat the pool in May so the temperature was a brisk 60 degrees!

Of course from my perspective, this was the best part:

And one last thing, because Ben promised me I could throw in a shameless plug for a place he wound up really liking and plans to come back to himself. If you’re looking for a super cool retreat in the woods of Idaho with as much to do as you can imagine, then contact Sandy Staab at Lifewater Ranch and mention me and this article, or the podcast Ben and I recorded straight from the ranch. Who knows? If all the stars line up, maybe I’ll come and cook for you, and at the least, Sandy will cut you a deal as a friend of Ben’s and mine. Simply mention “Ben Greenfield” when you reserve your spot at Lifewater ranch in 2017 you will be entitled to a 5% discount.

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Newsletter #4

We have few guests in Springtime.  Probably because kids are still in school or maybe its the somewhat unpredictability of the weather.  By May, the ranch is usually looking like this video.  It’s one of the best times to be here so here’s a simple reminder – we are leaving the light on just for you!

Check our availability and make a reservation any time.  Ernie says hi.


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