The Mighty Columbia River Gorge Of Oregon…Round Two!

As  side note…if you click on my photos they will enlarge so you can see them better if you choose.

Last weekend we attended our niece’s wedding in the small town of Carson, WA.

This was our view out the window in our very classy hotel room…we loved seeing the green trees and the mountains cloaked with weather…and hey…there is the Columbia River!

We stayed at Skamania Lodge…in Stevenson, WA. I highly recommend it…they have spa services and excellent restaurants for small snacks, as well as nice dinners or maybe just a relaxing sandwich at noon…we missed out on their Sunday Brunch which is famous for the food and atmosphere…next time WB. They offer a golf course, swimming and lots of great trails to hike that are mapped out from easy to difficult.

When we walked into our suite and saw the view…we instantly relaxed:)

Looking back across the Columbia River towards Cascade Locks, OR. The bridge you see is called “The Bridge Of The Gods”…it is one of the many bridges that crosses the Columbia River into either Oregon or Washington.

Looking East towards home for us…the Columbia River is a river that you respect as it is wide, deep and fast-moving. We have boated on it lots as our ranch is only about 30 miles from it…being able to make a quick drive to the river during the hot summers always appeals to you…I love boating, as long as the boat is big enough to ride out the waves with a V-Hull!

It was truly beautiful to see our niece look so very happy…you know without a doubt they are soul mates…like WB and me:)

Before we knew it, time passed quickly and it was time to head home. We decided to travel home on the Washington side of the river until The Dalles, where we crossed another bridge to reach the I-84 freeway…seeing the river from both sides is worth it, as the views on each side are vastly different.

We had quite a bit of wind on the way home and look who is out on the river…the windsurfers…they pray for windy days like this!

They fly across the river with the wind…they are true athletes and fun to watch…often we see 100’s of them on our trips down the Gorge to Portland.

I am enjoying the view but, I would not care to be on the water with the white caps…as you can see the wind is blowing pretty good…and about perfect for the windsurfers!

I was standing down there on the concrete deck when WB took my picture.

Looking West…pretty view huh?

One more view of the Gorge Wind and my flaming red hair!!! What a great hair styling job…ala natural…which I love anyway:)

Another stop for photos…we are getting closer to The Dalles and home…

The closer we travel to our neck of the woods…the Columbia Basin of Eastern Oregon…Cowboy Country…Let Er’ Buck…Yee-Haw…the less trees and green. Western Oregon receives several inches of rain a year, where we usually have around 9-10″ a year…we are on the dry side of Oregon.

Crossing back over the Columbia at The Dalles Damn…tried to grab a quick shot of the spillway…could not talk WB into stopping in the middle of the bridge so I could take pictures…geesh…he said something about cops and mumble mumble…hmmm?

And then we drove on another 100 miles into Eastern Oregon…to our home…to the North Country of Juniper Canyon…into wheat country:)

As far as you can see wheat fields…that are almost ready for the harvest of 2012!

Once we were home we had lots of petting and loves for all our animals, as they missed us…our dogs are so protective of us but so sweet to us too:)

And our horses came over to see us as soon as we pulled in the driveway…it is funny that they know the car…

And the real “Boss!” I know she missed us….right?

“Minnie….I missed you!”

Minnie said back to me “Oh sure…what am I chopped liver? Going to see the dogs first…hurumph!”

And then she took pity on me as I love her very much…”Well ok…just this once I will forgive you about the dang dogs!”

“But do not let it happen again Mom…”

“Ok already Mom….I am so glad you are home:)”  Me too Kitty Girl…my Min-Min Kitty Angel:)

We had only been home for a short time when the incredible clouds rolled in for a rock and roll thunder storm…

The summer of 2012 has gone down in history with different weather and clouds such as these…

Reminds me of Wyoming weather and not Eastern Oregon where for the most part we have mild weather…with four seasons.

It keeps it interesting and keeps me grabbing my camera trying to capture the strange weather…how about you…is your weather odd this year too or is it just here that it is a bit crazy?

Hope you have a great week! Enjoy your summer with warm days and magical nights! Find time to relax and take it all in as summer will be gone before we know it!

My New Favorite Day!

Good Morning To My New Favorite Day!

Grab your coffee and read on:)

I recently had a chance to meet Shannon Pruitt, of My New Favorite Day…here is a link to her blog http://mynewfavoriteday.com/.

Shannon is an incredible wife, mom, daughter and friend….she brings good into life with a beautiful attitude and she is one awesome lady! She lives in CA. with her husband and their children. Here is Shannon’s introduction of herself from her blog.

“My name is Shannon Pruitt and I am a childhood surviving, divorced, now happily married, IVF success story, working mother of 2 amazing babies who were born 12 weeks premature. While my children are now 2 years old, my son, Q, has thrived while our daughter, E, has had a much more difficult journey.  She is considered special needs with a tentative diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy, and so as she grows, so do we as individuals and as family. How to help her, how to celebrate our differences while allowing ourselves to cope with the challenges that we never knew to expect.  So while much of this blog is based on our experiences (good and not-so-good), it is also based on how we must not let ourselves become victims of our circumstances but rather advocate in our own lives.”

“After being in a bit of a self-imposed emotional isolation for about 18 months, 6 months ago an ordinary moment in our living room became extra-ordinary and I thought perhaps sharing these stories of hope and inspiration can help and motivate others going through similar circumstances.  So that night, with my nerves on fire, I created my first post for ‘mynewfavoriteday,’ and what I found out from so many of you was that these emotions and feelings were not unique to us or our circumstances, but rather permeated all of your personal experiences through your relationships and situations with parents, conception, siblings, IVF, prematurity, parenting, children, special needs, terminal illness, and everyday stress.  It became very clear that we are all united by common emotions of love, fear, hope, faith, sadness, happiness, strength, and joy and most importantly, we are all doing the best we can, how we can.  We all need one another and if we can remember to find the little nuggets of inspiration and motivation we can try to make each day ‘ournewfavoriteday’.”

A very good friend of mine who lives in Central Oregon sent me a link to Shannon’s blog site last winter as she knew Shannon’s best ever friend who lived down the street from her. I clicked on the link and the friendship with Shannon began developing that night. She grew up in Ashland , Oregon and has been to my neck of the woods in Eastern Oregon…and has attended the Pendleton Round Up.

I felt a connection to Shannon immediately as we share a lot in common with life and an artists heart.

So today July 17th Shannon interviewed me on her blog and if you go to her web/blog site you can see the interview:)

http://mynewfavoriteday.com

I am humbled that she wanted to interview me…my life is truly just like yours with both good and bad times…we just keep a going and find something each day to be thankful for and grateful for…then we look for a really good belly laugh to get some of those feel good cells moving:)

And there you have a pearl of wisdom from Hot Rod Cowgirl…and Melody:)

Shannon calls her blog “My New Favorite Day”, as it is her choice each day to find something amazing in her life that day and that one day becomes her new favorite day!

What an awesome way to look at each day as we roll out of bed…no matter if we have something fun to wake to or something hard to wake to, each day “CAN” be our new favorite day if we want it to…

We just have to make that one choice and decision…

At times with serious determination…we can choose to be upset or we can smile even when life seems to hit us hard…there is always a way to find hope…the choice is ours…

To either let it ruin your day or your life or choose instead to carry on and find a way to survive it with grace and a can do attitude with heart.

We can survive the whatever it is with the belief that things will get better and life will go on…and we can survive with strength and joy.

Hot Rod Cowgirl and her dogs choose to find a good belly laugh each day:)

Along with my horses…

And Minnie too:)

And my hubby Wild Bill:)

Be sure to check out My New Favorite Day at http://mynewfavoriteday.com

Ok this 4:00 am stuff is not bad usually but I have been up for 24 hours…I gotta go take a nap…yawn…we have had terrible lightning storms nightly and various other things like wind, hail, more thunder and last night was four hours solid of every kind of lightning there is over the top of our house from 10:00 pm-2:30 am…kind of scary when you think about it.

We have an abundance of dry fuel with dried out cheat grass and mustard…the right combination for a raging fire…and an 80 plus bushel wheat crop waiting to be harvested…which was postponed again due to heavy rain and flooding last night…pins and needles for the farmers around us as well as for us too.

Our small town is under water tonight…this was early yesterday morning…once the water recedes then the clean up of mud begins…it has been a long week here…and harvest is on hold. This is a place where we have a choice of giving into the negative or we can choose to have a brand new day become our favorite day…I am gonna choose a brand new day:) How bout you?

Harvest Traditions and Family Heritage In Juniper Canyon

The smell of the wheat is in the air tonight…that smell speaks to my heart and soul:) It is a smell you never forget…much like a cattle truck pulling up to the barn or corrals to load out cattle or deliver cattle…I can hear the trucks as I write…familiar sounds…smells…memories that bring comfort as…

Times past speak softly to me of heritage and family…traditions and hard work.

My heart can hear the sounds of my families history…the sounds of the horses pulling the combine…with the men it took to run it…dry dusty hot days for man and animal alike.

Before the farmer had a truck to haul the wheat into the elevator he had men who would sew the sacks of wheat shut…can you imagine harvesting thousands of acres and having to put the kernels into gunny sacks and then sew them shut…then you loaded your wagon and went to the elevator to unload the sacks of wheat…often driving your team of horses with the wagon several miles to reach the elevator.

My Dad remembered having to take the wagon loaded with sacks of wheat to Vansycle Elevator which is 8 miles away…16 miles round trip…he said it would take the day to take one wagon and the horses or mules would be exhausted when you reached home…all of Grandpa’s horses and mules were very well cared for and loved…they had to do their job but they were cared for. Dad used to come here to the barn (our barn is older than our house) and ride some of the work horses bareback…he spoke often of the various ones he remembered…Grandpa kept around 80 head.

Today we have semi trucks with double trailers hauling wheat out of Juniper Canyon…night and day.

Heading on down the road to the Columbia River…

Where the kernels of Juniper Wheat are loaded onto a barge…and they begin the journey to feed the world:)

Self leveling combines…hillside machines…can you see how the combine is leaning a bit…it is leveling itself.

This photo is better so that you can see how the combine keeps itself level rather than leaning…I heard that most farmers do not buy the combines with the automatic levelers anymore due to the price…

Wild Bill is showing how the leveler works as he is touching the spout. I could not imagine not having the machine level as we have some really steep hillsides!

Here is an older picture of the land when we farmed it…sorry this is a scanned image before digital…the house complex is our home and the green fields are the wheat crop of that year…see the road over in the dirt?

That is WB’s air strip for his plane…looks cool sitting in the wheat…actually it is on the strip.

Tucker is hiding in the grass…she follows me everywhere keeping an eye on me:)

Soon farm families will once again put in long days to bring the wheat crop in…as has been done for over a 150 years.

150 years of country strong…we dig deep when it comes to toughing it out.

And if the going gets tough…the tough get tougher:)

No matter how hard!

Harvest is a time of hard-working families working together for the same reason…the goal to get the crop in…harvest is like gathering cattle with my Dad in the mountains…we shared our work effort together to round-up the cows and that is what makes memories and heritage!

It is the working together and sacrificing…and harvest time is a sacrifice…husbands leave the house before sun up and come home when it is dark…often putting in 18 plus hour days in the heat of harvest.

I grew up driving wheat truck through my high school years with my other cousins…then after WB and I married, my Mom taught me (no this picture is not of Mom and me…more like my Grandma and Great Grandmother) the tradition of cooking a large lunch for our men and the crew. While it was a lot of work to cook a huge meal by 1:00 each day it was my family…I came to enjoy hearing about what had happened in the field and then all the joking and funny times too…I felt very much part of the harvest crew and was always sad when they finished the fields around our ranch moving on to the fields around my Aunt and Uncles homes.

Food was in abundance when the crew came in for their hour lunch break…we had home cooked meals with meat, potatoes, gravy, salad, vegetables and desert…and home made ice tea…no not sun tea or tea made by a tea maker…real deal tea!

Here is the recipe:

Get a small sauce pan and fill with cold water…buy Lipton Black Tea…loose leaves….put 2-3 heaping tablespoons in the pan and boil…then cool it and strain out the leaves…dump the tea water into a gallon jug and fill with ice-cold water and ice and you have real ice tea…all the good caffeine and antioxidents…and so refreshing!

Harvest skies and harvest heritage…have a good night wherever you are! HRC has her eye on the land…will post new pictures as soon as harvest begins….stay tuned…I keep hearing the song Country Strong going through my head…in fact I am going to go listen to it now!

Country Strong

I know you see me, like some wide-eyed dreamer
That just rolled in, off a dusty Midwest bus
Yeah on the outside, Hallowed fragile
But on the inside something you can’t crush

I’m Country Strong, hard to break
Like the ground, I grew upon
You may fool me, and I’ll fall 
But I won’t stay down long 
‘cause I’m Country Strong

I have weathered, colder winters
And longer summers, without a drop of rain 
Push me in a corner and I’ll come out fightin’
I may lose but I’ll always keep my face

‘Cause I’m Country Strong, hard to break
Like the ground, I grew upon,
You may fool me, and I’ll fall 
But I won’t stay down long, 
‘cause I’m Country Strong

America The Beautiful!

America The Beautiful

By Hot Rod Cowgirl July 4, 2011
I am re-blogging this post from a year ago off of http://www.holtonsecretlab.com
Happy 4th Of July America!

Sing With Me…America The Beautiful

O Beautiful For Spacious Skies

For Amber Waves Of Grain

For Purple Mountain Majesties

Above The Fruited Plain

America America!

God Shed His Grace On Thee

And Crown Thy Good With Brotherhood

From Sea To Shining Sea

God Bless America

Hot Rod Cowgirl Wishes You A Happy 4th Of July

So Does Annie

And Kiah Too

We Pledge Allegiance To The Flag Of The United States Of America And To The Republic For Which It Stands…One Nation Under God, Indivisible With Liberty And Justice for All.

God Bless America!

The Mighty Columbia River Gorge Of Oregon!

Today I thought for fun I would do a post about the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon. If you ever get the chance to drive through the Gorge I highly recommend it!

Whenever we make a trip to Portland, Oregon we travel down the I-84 freeway, which runs along side the Columbia River most of the 200 miles to Portland.

The Gorge has some of the most scenic and beautiful views you will ever see…

And it can be hell on earth if the weather hits it just right in the winter with ice or snow or both.

The Gorge has its own weather systems during the fall and winter….

And when it feels like being nice it can be beautiful!

The West end of the Columbia River Gorge has several water falls…this is Multnomah Falls… a 611-foot-tall roaring, awe-inspiring cascade of icy water, lets you experience the power and beauty of nature up close.

Looking down from Crown Point…on the old highway, before the freeway….you find amazing views.

This is Vista House on Crown Point…it is worth it to travel the old road…stopping in at Vista House to learn more about the history etc.

The mountains and the ever flowing Columbia River that flows along side of the freeway make your trip interesting…never boring…I have traveled the 200 miles to and from Portland all my life at least twice a year to shop…

And I have never grown tired of the incredible river view.

The Columbia River Gorge is a spectacular river canyon cutting the only sea-level route through the Cascade Mountain Range. It’s 80 miles long and up to 4,000 feet deep with the north canyon walls in Washington State and the south canyon walls in Oregon State.

Coming home from Portland traveling back East you experience the beauty of the water falls and trees until you hit The Dalles.

This photo shows the dramatic difference in the environment. Each mile east you travel in the Columbia River Gorge, you find less and less annual rainfall.  You can see the spring green hillsides I’m standing on, Interstate 84 heading off towards Idaho, on the southern side of the gorge, and the arid hills in the more easterly portion of the gorge.

It changes quickly…all of a sudden…you are without trees and moss…as you travel home to Eastern Oregon…the dry side of Oregon.

Becoming more barren…yet still pretty:)

The Columbia River is a huge river that  is wide and deep. Looking across the Columbia to the Washington side….getting closer to home….

On down the freeway we go…we are on the home stretch now!

Heading down the last hill into Pendleton…

Welcome to Eastern Oregon!

Can you see the mountain in the sunset? You will have to click the picture and enlarge it to see the mountain that is Mt. Hood which is close to Portland, 200 miles away…I took this photo last fall on top of the hill behind our house.

Looking towards the Blue Mountains. We still have the wild west going on in Eastern Oregon…drier, isolated country and down home country folk!

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