Midnite Sun Reindeer Ranch
In the late 1960’s, Larry Davis traveled by snow machine from Nome to the northern side of the Seward Peninsula, returning with 200 reindeer; a herd that would mature to over 8,000 in the 1990’s, thus establishing the Midnite Sun Reindeer Ranch. The majority of the herd strayed with wild caribou migrations and the herd dwindled back down to near 200. In 2010, the ranch was passed down to Bruce Davis, former BP employee of 34 years and Multop Financial client since 2015. Bruce and his wife, Ann, along with their daughters, family and friends, have been revitalizing the reindeer herd and ranch since then. Through much time and effort, Bruce and Ann are bringing the herd back to a sustainable number for food security and invigorating the local economy.
“My dad and mom gave the ranch its name, and to make it different they made the spelling ‘midnite’ instead of ‘midnight.’ We live in the land of the Midnight Sun with daylight in the summer as much as 18-24 hours,” explains Bruce Davis. Nearly one-third of Alaska lies above the Arctic Circle, but all parts of the state enjoy long daylight hours in the summer. Given fair weather, during the days accompanying the summer solstice (usually June 21st), the sun is visible for the full 24 hours and appears to not set for up to four days; thus creating “midnight sun.”
Since retirement in April of 2015, Bruce has enjoyed his days immensely. His favorite aspect of retirement has been spending time with his wife and family. The two week on/two week off schedule at the BP Prudhoe Bay Refinery kept Bruce away from home half the time for 34 years, and Bruce admitted to have felt that his life was put on hold while at work; not having his wife, kids, and pup, Link, around. Now he is able to spend his days with family, and out on the range with the reindeer; something that he truly loves.
Bruce and Ann greatly credit their success to lifestyle commitments made by all members of their family. One of the many challenges they face is the change in climate affecting access to their range and management of the herd. Ice and snow, with the use of snowmobiles, help the Davis’ move the reindeer around the range. The last few winters, however, the drop in temperature that causes lakes and rivers to freeze has come as late as January, rising again as early as February/March; thawing the earth and making it extremely dangerous to move the reindeer cross-country.
Despite the repetitious labor and obligation behind the reindeer ranch, Bruce and Ann have continued to find great joy in every aspect of what they do. “The most rewarding part of reindeer ranching for us is working with the youth in the region,” the Davis’ explained, “the educational aspect is exciting!” Bruce and Ann support the local 4H: Future Reindeer Herders of Alaska club, you can find their page on Facebook. They have also completed the certification for High Latitude Range Management through the Northwest Campus of University of Fairbank, Alaska and continue to work with the current HLRM students in providing The Midnite Sun Reindeer Ranch as a model for future reindeer herders.
Bruce and Ann are currently connected emotionally with one particular reindeer named Brownie. She showed up near the completion of the ranch’s High Latitude Range Management classes and quickly became a symbol of their accomplishment; everything they gleaned from the last two years of reindeer studies. She lived in a large box in the Davis’ living room for the first six weeks on the ranch. Bruce and Ann explained that Brownie needed a lot of attention when they first brought her in from the range. Much like having a newborn in the house, Brownie needed to be fed every three hours and did not hesitate to “honk” when it was feeding time. She then gradually increased food intake while introducing forage from the tundra to gain her strength. Today, Brownie is two years old and flourishing at the ranch.
“The beauty of the land, the freshness of the air, and the opportunities to see wildlife and plants are amazing,” explained Bruce. If you catch him around the ranch, he will tell you that they got into ranching reindeer because it is something that he grew up with, and when the opportunity presented itself, they took it. Ann, on the other hand, will proudly admit that the real reason is that, “WE LOVE REINDEER!”
Bruce and Ann are thrilled at the interest and support for growing a sustainable business that incorporates not just red meat production, but integrates other opportunities including tanning reindeer hides and fish skin, crafts, and ecotourism activities, all at the Midnite Sun Reindeer Ranch. They are currently fundraising to purchase two winter insulated mobile slaughtering units. With these, they could slaughter and process reindeer meat year round and obtain a USDA license, broadening the scope of their sales. Currently they are only permitted to slaughter on frozen ground and sell to other processors and local people. “Providing USDA approved reindeer meat is still a work in progress,” Bruce explained. “But there are many hurdles to overcome.” To learn more about Bruce, Ann, Brownie, and the ongoing efforts and activities at the Midnite Sun Reindeer Ranch feel free to visit their Facebook page, or click here.
At Multop Financial we praise Bruce and Ann Davis’ continued efforts and are honored to contribute to their success during retirement.
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Multop Financial Team Focus
Cynthia Egbert grew up in Bow, Washington and received her diploma from Burlington-Edison High School, going on to obtain her Associates of Arts Degree from Skagit Valley College in 2009. As our bookkeeper, Cindy works alongside the CPA’s of Multop & Associates to assist clients with payroll, quarterlies and annual reports. Her background in clerical work and customer relations makes her an ideal candidate for our bookkeeping department, and her can-do attitude makes her a valuable asset to the Multop team.
Outside of the workplace, Cindy enjoys spending time outdoors crabbing, fishing or camping with family and her Pomeranian/Dachshund puppy, Duke. She also enjoys hands-on projects and is very mechanically minded; she has experience working on farm equipment and does the majority of the required maintenance on her car.
Having been raised on a farm, Cindy has been around horses all of her life. One of her favorite summer past-times is giving horseback riding lessons to local children between the ages of three and thirteen. “There is nothing comparable to watching a child’s eyes light up the first time they sit on a horse,” Cindy explained. “With Bow being a more rural community, it was nice being able to provide an extra-curricular activity for the younger teens.”
Cindy’s down-to-earth demeanor and willingness to efficiently assist others has made her a delight to have in the workplace. We look forward to the many contributions Cindy has yet to make at Multop Financial.
As we shift back into the season of picnics and barbeques, we find ourselves looking for light and simple recipes that feature seasonal ingredients to enjoy with friends and family. Lettie Vigoren, Marketing and Client Development, nostalgically shared one her of favorite summer recipes; a dish that was gobbled down quickly by her and her siblings in their youth. Cowboy Caviar is so tasty; packed with colorful, fresh ingredients with a complex flavor profile, that you’ll almost forget it’s healthy!
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
Salt & Pepper
3 cloves Garlic
2 large Tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 can (15 ounce) Black-Eyed Peas
1 can (15 ounce) Black Beans
1 can (11 ounce) White Shoepeg Corn
1 cup Chopped Cilantro
In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, chili powder, diced garlic, salt and pepper.
Drain and rinse the black-eyed peas, black beans, and white shoepeg corn. Add the peas, beans, corn, tomatoes, and avocado to the olive oil mixture and stir thoroughly.
Stir in cilantro. Top with Green onions and squeeze lime for just a hint of citrus. Cover and chill at least 1 hour to blend flavors. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Enjoy!
*Note: If you are preparing this dish in advance, wait to dice your avocado until you’re ready to serve so it doesn’t brown in the meantime.
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For those of you who have visited our office, you know that we take great care and pride in presenting a beautiful space to make every guest feel welcome. Our walls feature the Multop’s unique collection of artwork, most of which is in support of local Bellingham and Whatcom County artists. Our new office tour video features our Barkley location, and is designed to give our out-of-town clients and colleagues a glimpse into our home-away-from-home. We hope you have a chance to stop by, get a cup of coffee, and look around.
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Upcoming Events - Bellingham
Multop Financial is holding several retirement planning meetings locally and in Alaska over the next few months. Contact us or email us at [email protected] for dates and locations.