See, when I was a kid, my parents nearly bought a ranch outside John Day, Oregon. For financial reasons that were way beyond the comprehension of a kid of 6 or 7, we didn't manage to buy the place, but for years afterward my dad, a red-dirt Missouri farmer, would wistfully recall the ranch in eastern Oregon's high desert. "Not a big place, just a hay operation, but it was a turnkey deal," he would say with a touch of regret in his voice, usually when we were repairing a tractor or a fence on our scruffy farm. "Handsome country out there. You coulda grown up in the sagebrush and the pines."