Code Of The West

Code Of The West

By James P. Owen

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Cowboys are known for being a symbol of American culture and values. They live by the Code of the West.

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The West is a place where the fence is always tight but the gate is always open to friends and neighbors.

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A cowboy gets his strength from knowing what is right and what is wrong. A cowboy is true to his beliefs. The Code of the West is not carved in stone, in fact, it is not even written down on paper. Yet, while not every cowboy abided by the Code, every cowboy knew what it was.

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Today’s cowboy may not use this specific term, but it remains his inner integrity for making daily decisions.

What follows are several principles that capture the Code of the West.

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Sit tall in your saddle

Take pride in your work.

I Corinthians 14:40 / I Corinthians 9:24 / Psalm 37: 23-24

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Put in a good days work

Always finish what you start

Romans 8:28 / Jeremiah 29:11 / II Theologians 3:10

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Tend to your herd

Take good care of your animals

Proverbs 27:23 / Proverbs 12:10 / Mathew 12:11-12

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Be a top hand

Live everyday with courage

Joshua 1:9 / Psalm 27:14 / Psalm 121:2

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Mean what you say and do what you mean

When you make a promise, keep it

Mathew 5:37 / Luke 16:12 / Proverbs 10:9

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Cowboy UP!

Do what has to be done

Proverbs 16:3 / Proverbs 10:4 /  Proverbs 6:10-11

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Draw a line in the sand

Know where to draw the line

Ephesians 6:13 / Proverbs 12:9 / Proverbs 12:11

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Be a straight shooter

Be tough, but fair

Psalm 112:5 / Proverbs 11:3 / Proverbs 16:11

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Ride for the brand

Be a good steward of your land and your ranch

James 1:22 / Psalm 37: 3-4 / Mathew 6:33

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Careful or you’ll have to eat your words

Talk less and say more

Ephesians 4:29 / Proverbs 18:21 / Proverbs 15:2

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Remember that some things aren’t for sale

Don’t compromise

Proverbs 22:1 / Acts 8:17-20 / Proverbs 4:7-9

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Lord willing and the creek don’t rise

Don’t worry, Be happy

I Peter 5:7 / Philippians 4:6 / Mathew 6:25-34

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Be neighborly

Give a helping hand

Mathew 7:12 / Mathew 5:16 / Mathew 5:41-42

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Be thankful every day as you praise God for your life

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Praise the LORD! Give thanks to the LORD!

Psalm 150:6 / Psalm 118:24 / Colossians 3:17

This Memorial Day weekend we will remember those who went before us…

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God Bless You Mom and Dad…I miss you and I love you!

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We will remember those who went to war for the United States of America…to protect our lives and our country.

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Wherever you are, let the sunshine warm your heart, your face and your words…as summer is almost here!

HRCG is over and out but not for long…..

You Know You Live In The Middle Of Nowhere When…Part Two

You know you live in the middle of nowhere when…begins part two of my memories of the isolated life we lived on large ranches in both Wyoming and Oregon…

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Beautiful isn’t it? Hard to not look at the Wind Rivers all day…the incredible continental divide…with the amazing ever changing views. This was Wyoming and I loved it!

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A typical scene of the Green River Drift…I rode it several times with the ranchers and cowboys either gathering cattle from close to Yellowstone in the fall months driving our cattle home on the drift or in the early spring months, when we gathered our cattle and moved them out for a few months to the high desert on the other side of Pinedale.

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The photo above was taken in the early spring months right after we were hired to manage the ranch in Wyoming. The house to the far left became our home, but first they had to remodel our house and also the owners house which was the log home more in the center, it was a 100 year old log hone. All summer as we chased flood irrigation water, I watched the ever changing Winds, it was like watching a movie that had different scenes all day long:) The tallest peak in Wyoming is Gannet Peak at 13,809′ and I had the daily privilege of this view out my windows. We lived at 7500’…the mountains were incredible as they gave me a beautiful ever changing photo, that I hung on my heart…and yes it’s still there:) Wyoming was…mesmerizing!

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Pinedale was an awesome little town…and here we go…part two.

15 – It’s normal to pack a gun or a pistol as you go about your day…

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In Oregon, we had two kinds of rattlesnakes to contend with…down close to the hay fields you have the standard large rattler…often 6′ long ones lying around the hay fields and anywhere else…you had to always watch where you stepped. We also had to contend with timber rattlers in the higher elevation where we had cattle pasture. Timber rattlesnakes like to curl around the tree branches to blend in and then scare the heck out of you! The first time I saw one curled around a tree branch hanging I wanted to scream oh my GOSH!!! I think I did but not exactly those words:) And yeah the Sig Sauer Muddy Girl is mine:) I also have a Sig pistol and I have a 9mm pistol…and  shotgun…so be warned!

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In Wyoming, we had bears, wolves, bobcats and other critters to worry about…but thank goodness, no rattlesnakes or pack rats! Our elevation at 7500′ was too high for them:)

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And currently where we live, life has changed in the last 15 years…we have a neighborhood watch and we are armed, ready to defend ourselves if need be. I grew up out here during winter months and we used to not lock our doors…now we have security systems on our house, shop and barn along with several high-end cameras. In today’s world, there are people who love to steal things to make meth…farm and ranch country gets hit lots due to the farm chemicals we use on our crops and weeds etc. They steal chemicals to make their meth. If you do not have chemicals, then they steal fuel and copper or steel. It is a crazy world we live in and we are on full alert…laser light and night vision scope…life has changed out here. Don’t bug us!

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16 – You know you live in the middle of nowhere when you begin to visit more with the cows and horses than you do with people as there are no people around…and as time goes on, you begin to hear the cows and horses talking back to you…sharing the moment and shooting the breeze!

17 – The very first time I rode up in the higher elevations in Central Oregon, to gather cattle, I thought I would be safe from rattlesnakes…I mean, come on, everyone would think that at 5500′ elevation, rattlesnakes would not like it right? I had yet to hear a true rattlesnake rattle at me nor had I seen any rattlesnakes…WB told me they were around down low close to where we lived. Little did I know!

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Once we finished with gathering cattle, Steve, one of our cowboys, was leading us off the mountain…he was in front of me and stopped to look at the incredible scenery we could see…

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He turned to tell me something, and his face went white…he yelled at me to move NOW! Lucky for me that my mare, Lottie, knew nothing about snakes either so she did not spook…the rattlesnake was directly under her and was coiling…we moved fast enough to escape! Mike, the horse trainer for the ranch, had been behind me with a four-year old gelding…while I was moving quickly away from the snake, Mike had taken his horse over to the cattle pond to get a drink…it had lots of mud around the edge that you could get stuck in and with all the commotion around Lottie and I, Mike’s horse tried to spook, but was stuck in the mud and almost pitched Mike into the pond…it was a true Charlie Russel painting! Luckily no one was hurt and we all made it safely off the mountain! My eyes were as big as saucers from then on as I was on full alert everywhere I went…

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“Hank the Cow Dog,” was about 10 months old in this photo…he is the 6 month puppy that rode out the massive flood on a piece of a wood and was washed up against the house in a corner…we were so happy when we found him!

18 – In Wyoming, we could feel eyes watching us late at night through the curtains on the large living room windows…its -35 below so who would be standing out there watching you anyway…as you look, you scream, as pressed to the glass is 4 sets of eyes with huge heads and bodies attached to them…MOOSE!

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Did you know that moose have two moods? Curious and MAD! You hurriedly pull the curtains back together….and the moose bumps into the window….you turn off the lights…and the moose bumps up against the window again with a devious moose grunt….you quietly scream again and run to your bedroom hiding under your bed…hoping they will go away…HA!

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The next morning all four moose are curled up on our deck waiting for us! “Good morning Miss Moose…why are you kissing the hand rail on my porch? Miss Mouse gave me a look and grunt and I shut up…Miss Moose can do anything she wants! Sorry for the blur, but she would not hold still for my camera! I loved Wyoming…even the cold weather with curiously mad moose and every adventurous part!

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19 – You can ride and gather cattle for miles without seeing another person or any sign of civilization…you almost feel like you are the only person left on earth. It is an amazing view to see…no power lines, no smog, no busy highways, no people…almost like unsettled land. This photo shows the Wind River Mountains or the Continental Divide, close to South Pass on the Oregon Trail. The objects you see on the hill are the water tanks…we turned the cattle out on the high desert during the late spring months and watered them via windmills…we had several to maintain.

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Often the desert had quick squalls that would drop in fast with thunder and lightening…the sky would grow black in the middle of the day…but the storms left as quickly as they came. The high desert was vast and huge…when it was time to gather up 1000 head of cows on our 15,000 acre pasture, it took us one morning to do it. I could not believe how fast it went. Growing up on my folks cattle ranch, it took us a few months to gather 800 mother cows and calves on the summer range in the Blue Mountains. And even though you think the desert is flat, it is not as it has more small hills than you can see.

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I wondered what it looked like to the men and women who made it over South Pass? The wagon trains crossed the desert right through the acreage we ran cattle on…what did they think once they got over the divide and saw the vast desert…and the Wyoming Mountains ahead of them? Who may have lived here, was it a family or maybe a fur trapper?

20 – You know the sounds of a cattle truck as it tops the hill that drops into the ranch in the early dawn light…

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First the cab lights crest the hill and disappear as the they drop down the last hill only to pop out in time for the next cattle truck lights to top the hill…15 trucks in all…choreographed to drop into the ranch all in a row…like clock work!

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You can hear the sounds in your head and in your heart…the sounds of aluminum truck gates opening, cattle hooves on metal in the loading shoot…you see the breath of both men, horses, cattle and dogs…as the cattle are quietly loaded like clockwork…like they all knew it was time to head for the mountains for the summer range.

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As one truck is loaded you hear the rev of the semi as it pulls away from the loading dock and the next truck pulls in…you hear a few jokes as your brand inspector signs off on the cattle as you know him like family…and as the last truck leaves shifting gears gaining speed to climb that first hill…and it dips outta sight only to bob up one more time into the bright sunshine of daybreak…it tweaks your heart a bit…another winter is gone.

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The trucks have 200 miles round trip to go so it will be a few hours before they return for more cows…800 head mother cows, along with calves, yearlings and etc. took around 25-30 trucks to haul…the day began in the early morning darkness and would end in the middle of the night or the early morning hours up on the mountain ranch.

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21 – You know the sounds of cattle in the corrals settling down and in the meadow pastures close to you in a new place as the first new day begins for them on the summer range…you shiver as you climb out of your warm sleeping bag wearing your long underwear and shoving on your jeans…boot socks and wild rag as you head out to help feed and do whatever is needed to help…counting cows and calves, moving cattle or settling cows. Later that morning, you head back down to the winter ranch to close things up now that all the cattle had been shipped as well as horses and dogs too. As you crest the hill and see the ranch, it takes your breath away as it is now standing quietly still…the life of both man and animal that was there yesterday is now gone. You pull up to the loading chute and take a few minutes as…

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Your mind plays back over the last few weeks of gathering and the finality that happens each June 1st…as time seems to stand still until cattle and man return in late fall.

Note: The description I used above is based on my memories of growing up on my folks cattle ranch in Oregon where the cattle truck sounds and memories began at an early age.

22 – There is one grocery store in Pinedale to shop in and the prices are through the roof as the next closest grocery store is over 100 miles one way on two lane country roads, either South to Rock Springs or Northwest to Jackson Hole.

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Note all the pick ups…yep cowboy country!

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Once you go into the grocery store to shop, you note that there are LOTS of wildlife mounts looking at you as you shop down the aisles. In the frozen food aisle I looked at Fox, Bobcat or Mountain Lion. On other aisles we saw Mountain Goats, Bears, Antelope, Coyotes, while the bigger animals had a head mount, such as an Elk, Moose, Deer…Buffalo…and even fish! It was quite an experience as the store had all the food we needed except fresh fruit in the summers. It also had hunting and fishing supplies, guns, knifes etc. everything you can imagine under the sun…for the husband as you shopped.

23 – As the day ends, you go to sleep happy and content…your body feels good as it got worked…

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And you accomplished good things in your life on a remote cattle ranch…the incredible isolation and the hard work at hand, can be overwhelming to some, but for me it was always a great joy…one that I grew up in and one that I will never forget. I knew I lived out in the middle of nowhere…the boondocks…the hinterlands…and I loved every part of it!

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It is my life and who I am…I’m thankful I have stories yet to tell…filled with memories of a cowgirl’s life lived in the middle of nowhere…I would not trade it for anything different!

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Have a great evening and a fun week and weekend!

Spring Photography With HRCG!

Spring photography with HRCG is fun! No I have not run away from blogging…just slowed down a bit…running the office for our business keeps my nose to the grindstone except when I run out the door with my camera and happily snap away:)

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Ok Ellie…lets go!

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Climbing the hill behind the house, we climb into a different world…a peaceful world full of beauty.

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Ellie is smiling at me trudging behind her…Ms. Smart Alec with the puppy energy:)

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We often have crazy spring weather as…

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Dark clouds roll in with a bit of wind and rain and

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Two hours later a beautiful sunset appears!

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Tucker relaxing, while wondering where that little black tornado Ellie is?

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Melody doesn’t care…she is happy to be loosing her winter coat…she loves seeing green stuff:) She truly has a coat of many colors…during winter she is a dark brown bay…in early spring she begins to turn white while her legs, head and tail remain dark…she is striking and so pretty…as she eventually sheds the white and becomes a lighter bay roan with a bit of grulia…and she is all heart:)

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Rainbows above, incredible skies, full of beautiful views and vistas!

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Beautiful kitty girl…love you Minnie…she is very fastidious about keeping her stripes in order:)

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One of my favorite photos…

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Melody and Buck sharing a horsey moment…

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Skies and clouds dancing for my camera…

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As crops full of color grow beneath them…

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And rainbows above bring delight and another mad dash for my camera:)

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Wherever you are in the world, may you be blessed by the season of Spring…may you find joy and laughter as warmer days come once again…filled with new life and full of amazing beauty.

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HRCG over and out for now but stay tuned…Part Two of Living in the Middle of Nowhere is next!

You Know You Live In The Middle Of Nowhere When…Part One

You know you live in the middle of nowhere…the boondocks…the hinterlands…the isolation of country life when…you have no electricity, no water or plumbing, no land line telephone or cell phone…are you kidding? TV and radio are a non-existence item…no news of the world and no local news…you have no clue what is happening in the outside world. No Wi-Fi…DSL or Internet. You are cut off from civilization. Hello? Hello can you hear me now?

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It’s you and mother nature…usually a few hundred cows and several horses along with a few dogs and my cat!

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I thought it would be fun to compile my list of recognizing when you are living in the remote solitude of nowhere, finding yourself in the boondocks of the twilight zone…so here we go, hang on!

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You know when you live in the middle of nowhere when…

1-You do not see another person besides your husband and your son for weeks at a time…we lived in our camp trailer while our house was being remodeled, with Kalamazoo, our black Manx kitty who was 14 years old and our son who was almost 18…oh fun-fun!

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Incredibly, we managed to live for almost six months in our camp trailer together…our gooseneck horse trailer was my pantry as it held my freezer and refrigerator plugged into an extension cord that ran to the house. I was awfully glad to move into the ranch house at the end of the six months of trailer living, but we found silly things to laugh about and we learned what was truly important in life…which is the greatest lesson of all!

2-You can tell which neighbor is driving by in their pick up by the sounds their pick up makes…be it exhaust or the type of engine or maybe it just makes a sound all its own…and you know who it is!

3-You only go to town for groceries and supplies once a month…and it takes a couple of hours to get to town on windy country roads and curvy two lane highways….

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Incredible scenery though:)

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4-You live in the least populated county in the least populated state in the United States…and sing “Oh Give Me A Home Where The Buffalo Roam…” and the song comes true!

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5-You can see a million stars as well as the satellites that pass overhead…you can often see the Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis with the incredible colors. William Shakespeare once said,”My Soul Is The Sky”…he was right as the endless sky and solar system truly feed my spirit with a sense of awe! The night sky is huge out in the middle of nowhere and especially in Wyoming with the altitude, we felt much closer and saw much more than ever before…no pollution…just crisp clear sky that went on forever and ever whether at night or during the daytime…it was and still is incredible to live in the boondocks!

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6-You missed the first Gulf War due to lack of TV reception, lack of radio reception and no newspapers to be found…we had no idea what was happening in Kuwait or Iraq…it was bizarre!

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7-Due to country-itous, you resort to silly games…such as when you talk to your spouse, you pick up a piece of wire from a bale of hay and look them in the eye saying, “I feel really wired this morning from my coffee.” And the humor and country games begin!

8-You literally have to mail order everything from a tube of lip gloss to a much needed tractor part…thank goodness for the mail as it was my salvation!

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9-You catch one of your employees playing “Catch the Live Rattlesnake “with your 15-year-old son on a warm summer evening in your yard no doubt, around your house, where they have the snake on a leash of bailing twine saying “Here Mr. Sneaky Snake…Come On…Come See Me!”

10-The above employee Brian, kills the snake, forgets to tell you that he put the meat etc. into one of your baggies in your back porch refrigerator…then leaves as he forgot to take it when he left…and you get up in the middle of the night for a cold drink of water or ice tea that you keep in the back porch refrigerator….you do not have your contacts in and you see this baggie with sort of dark reddish stuff in it…and you wonder what in the world…you squint your eyes real good and then you see the diamond back skin in the dark red blood…and now you scream obscenities…stomping up the stairs to your bedroom…waking up the husband who hears you swearing and saying some very choice names…and he thinks uh-oh saying “Yes dear, yes dear, I agree!”

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11-Brian hears that you found his snake guts…and he stays away and hides from you for a good two weeks.

In Central Oregon, in one summer we killed 36 rattlesnakes just at the ranch complex where we lived…they were everywhere we went. The hay fields were full of them and often they would get baled into a bale of hay so when you get the job of walking and rolling the bales over…you roll and watch carefully. WB had one bite the fork on the bale wagon and it hung on so hard, it tipped the hay bale over that it was trapped in…their bite is evil and their mouths are so strong!

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12-A night at the movies consists of an evening drive up on that mountain for fun…as you grab your camera and your music, taking your guns just in case you see a snake or a bear or a critter!

13-In Wyoming, you see more skunks than people! We had a black Manx kitty who accidentally got out of the house at dusk…I pulled on my boots…I was pretty stylish with my boots and my nightgown…I grabbed a flashlight and begin to hunt for him…oh there he is you think…What? NO IT IS NOT…it’s a skunk that you have the light on calling here kitty kitty…make another note…always, ALWAYS wear your glasses!

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14-A few weeks later a skunk gets under your house about 3:00am and sprays right under your bedroom….OH MY GOSH! Instant coughing and pungent fumes wake you up as you come gagging out of your bedroom…eyes watering as the smell somehow becomes a taste in your mouth! Our son goes to school the next day and while in home room one of the students and the teacher ask, who got sprayed by a skunk? Your son dies of embarrassment as he is the newest student in a very small school…that night he goes out and shoots a couple skunks for revenge! I could not believe how many skunks there were in Wyoming…they were everywhere!

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And with that said…this ends part one…it’s beautiful out today with clear sunny skies and currently 76 degrees! Have a wonderful week!

Part Two is next…stay tuned:)

 

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Waiting on dinner…staring intently…a few impatient paws in the snow.

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Melody is like a clock, when its time for food, its time for food…she nickers for us to get our rears in gear!

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Yummy nummy for my tummy…munch munch munching…mmmmm…”Mommm, my hair is a mess so don’t take my picture now!!!”

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I met these guys at the Round Up…they were curious about what I was up to?

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They were doing some serious munching on their lunching:)

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Sharing a fun picture of my Leo mare Lottie with her new filly, Lilly who was only a few days old…Lottie was a special one…I keep looking for another Leo bred horse like her but Leo is not common anymore. I had to watch Lottie as she was an easy keeper and could gain weight by just looking at grass or hay.

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Little Toot was waiting on din-din too…I still have the cookie jar  that you see on the counter, its white with colored cookies on it…I also have the old cupboard painted green as it was the original cupboard when the house was built. I stripped the paint off down to the original wood and it came out beautiful! And I still have my red hair with no gray at all in it…yee-ha:)

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What About Bob?…and why is he in this post? He goes where he wants, he does what he wants and he does not care about you! I tried one time to shoo him away from my two horses who were in the corral next to the barn as they were worrying and wondering what he was…he just looked at me not budging an inch, instead he pawed the ground while making grouchy grumpy bull sounds…fences could not keep him in…he always got out and went visiting the neighbors cattle…great!

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This was across from our house in the mid 1940’s…the pit you see to the right of the picture was where they slow roasted b-q beef all night to feed everyone…they always had a great turn out.

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A picture of history, the way life used to be when we had time to make a connection with others face to face instead of fabricating life on social media sites.

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My Dad and one of his close friends came up with the idea of having a local country rodeo…they called it the Juniper Joust.

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Wishing you all a happy….fun….and relaxing weekend! HRCG and Minnie are over and out for now! And where did Bob go?

Camera Times With HRCG!

Camera times with  HRCG can be both a bit country girl crazy, rather adventurous and never a dull moment fun!

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I looked out my window on a winter’s day to see incredible light and the sky a blaze in varied colors…I grabbed my camera and out the door I went.

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 Capturing the sky colors with the surreal light above…with a happy smile of delight on my face.

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As I caught the reflection from above in the puddle at my feet:)

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Rainbow colors pursued me above…click click click…the light and the colors were etherial as they pulled me into a photo shoot…

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Ending with one more of life’s beautiful reflections…in a mud puddle no doubt at my feet:) There is a lesson in that!

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And here we go..hang on!

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A beauty in a field of dreams…

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Doing what I know…

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Cowboy son Curt knows too…he’s talking to Annie!

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As we learn to communicate with our horses, we can join them in the dance of respect and grace.

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Horses have two basic forms of communication–vocal and body language. The more sophisticated of the two by far is body language. With a mere look, a flick of the ears, or a turn of the head, horses can communicate to each other and to us, if we learn to understand their body language.

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Annie began to trust her human…she took the first step of the dance. Annie looks at Curt with trust…she submits as she now knows he will not hurt her or harm her…he is now her leader:)

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Did I say hang on…I’m shifting gears through the corner and getting it on!

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Wild weather and clouds are a daily occurrence here anymore…kind of weird but kinda cool for my camera!

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A beautiful field of yellow Canola! When you use Canola Oil next time…think of the close up and personal shot you saw of Canola growing.

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Minnie!

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Ellie!

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A sort of annoyed Minnie:)

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Cone Doggie and not too happy! I don’t blame her..my poor Ellie! She was spayed on Wednesday and she has to wear this cone thing to protect her incision from her licking it to death…and she is not happy!

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Lola:) My Lola!

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Have A Happy Happy Happening Wild Weekend! HRCG Over And Out For Now…But Never For Long:)

Solitude On The Land Is My Solace Of Fall

Solitude on the land is my solace of fall….

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Every year this time I find myself reflecting on the harvest of summer as the seasons change and once again, silence falls like a veil of dignity on the land as it rests..

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I love it as I love the quiet…the solitude of silence. I love walking out into God’s beautiful world. The land sleeps and yet when I walk it I can hear the stories of summer…stories of harvest and the history of family.

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I grew up in a world of silence a third of the year, living on a remote cattle ranch in the mountains, without electricity, telephone, TV or even radio…the hectic life of the world disappeared and a new world of solitude became my life on the ranch. My world and daily life was my parents, our horses, the cattle and our cow dogs.

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Life was simple. Get up. Go catch the horses, saddle up horses with Dad while Mom packed lunches into the saddle bags for us…follow Dad out of cow camp into the frosty meadow and head up Coleman Ridge…which was a mountain with a mountainous trail that we rode up…about half way up Coleman the trail disappeared. We had to pick a way to get to the top so we just zigzagged up the ridge breaking over into either the direction of Bear Creek or head off in the direction of Young Camp depending on which pastures we planned to gather and check.

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If Dad chose for us to go towards Young Camp and on towards Jordan Creek,  we rode a few more miles to get to Young Camp and then we rode over another ridge from Young Camp that dropped us into the Upper Jordan area. Riding down the ridge of Upper Jordan Creek, you got off your horse leading the way down the ridge to the bottom as it was steep with heavy under brush, loose rocks, rock walls and logs…you took it slow and easy zigzagging your way over logs and brush. If you ran into cattle, you shooed the cows out of the brush and pushed them along in front of you trying to get to the bottom. Once you hit the bottom, you stopped for them to get a drink, while keeping an eye on them in case one decided to make a mad dash, as usually there was always one that did. As soon as you could you drove them on up another ridge into Whiskey Creek or if you steered them a bit different into Brown Miller and Elk Mountain country.

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After we got them settled for the night, we turned back towards home, cow camp, where Mom kept the home fires burning…we would get in just about dark and in time for dinner. Dad would say “We rode about 35 miles today Marcy, you did a good job with the cows, taking it slow.” After dinner and a couple of card games of double solitaire with Mom, I usually hit the hay as I knew we would be up early, saddling horses and heading out once again to check on more cattle to be sure they had plenty of water and good feed. Never a dull moment on a cattle ranch as each day was a new adventure filled with good memories:)

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Life was simple. It was quiet and peaceful…solitude…I learned to survive being alone…doing without worldly stuff and things…one depended more on God and the incredible beauty of His sky…His land…His weather…His animals…and you expected less. Life was good. I miss it….I miss it a lot.

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Stay tuned as I am working on my next Pendleton Round Up post:)

Happily Ever After Fairy Tales In A Cowgirls Life…

Happily ever after fairy tales and innocence…a time when life was full of story book dreams, that could become a true realty in my imagination, as Mom read to me almost every night before I went to sleep…I would lay my head back on my pillow, closing my eyes as she read, describing the creative visual images of make believe.

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Mom had a beautiful set of fairy tale books she often read out of, the books had been given to her as a child so she grew up with them…all the pages had golden edges and the books were bound in real leather, with beautiful illustrations…

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Knowing she grew up reading them and then reading them to me, made the books a special blessing to my heart. Mom read the stories like she knew them all by heart; stories of Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Cinderella, which stirred my imagination, as I hung on every magical word she read.

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With Mom’s encouragement, she taught me to read from a young age and to believe in my dreams…she knew about survival in the country and how to live without others and in the silence. We read the Bobbsey Twins books before school and eventually the Nancy Drew books together…and we read the classics together as I grew older, everything from Wuthering Heights to Jane Eyre to Emma and David Copperfield. Though years have passed and life grew into realities…I still remember that special time of innocence in my life growing up.

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My world was full of magical nights. Prince, my horse, was my fearless white steed when we were fighting against the evil in Camelot and I was Sleeping Beauty. He was my mighty warrior horse and protector when the Indians were after us and I was Annie Oakley. I have always had an active and very vivid imagination…good for story writing too:) And did I tell you that I can multitask…so hang on, we are switching gears! You never know with me!

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Moving on to today’s world out here on the ranch, we had a drop in visitor a few weeks ago…and I mean drop in from the sky visitor…Sky King! Well sort of, as we call him Sky King Bob…he was Wild Bill’s High School football coach. Bob, (not Sky King), is retired now, so he flies friends and people where they need to go and he flew in the head honcho supervisor for the Helix School remodel. We live 8 miles from the little country school and we are the only ones who have an actual air strip out here.

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Buck was leisurely eating his breakfast when he heard something above! “What the heck was that…Superhorse or maybe Sky Horse???”

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It’s Sky King Buck, taking off from our dirt runway in our field behind us…he has now cleared the power lines and is banking hard to the right to get turned around to head to Southern Oregon…the building you see is our barn.

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Here is a better picture…this is directly across from my front porch…where I was standing to take the photos. And yes I fly with WB and I actually prefer landing and taking off on our dirt strip, it is way better than flying into the big air space and ports…they made me very nervous. “Hello, stupid little plane, get out of the way of Airforce One or Boeing 747.” The very first plane we bought, was from Sky King, WB remembered riding in the plane while growing up in Vale.

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And there they go over the canyon wall and hill beside us heading South.

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Our plane Charlie, at the end of our dirt strip in the field…I have an oh sh** handle in there for when we take off as I used to drive wheat truck down the same hill…and when we take off you lift over the power lines above the main road. I got used to it eventually, because my hubby is an excellent pilot…he is a born natural. I struggle with heights and looking down…do not care for that part but the rest is not so bad and it is cool to see where you live from the air and to fly over it…you can see how the land lays…and that is lots of fun and I enjoy seeing how much WB loves flying:)

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So where am I going with this? “Hmmmm”…”Minnie, what do you think? What? You think I am a ding-dong? Well I am sorta but I’m your Mama too…and you are such a sweet kitty girl…now quit giving me the cat look that equates ding-dong:)”

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Now where was I before Sky King landed? Dreams and fairy tales right? I wish sometimes we could turn the clock back to the good ol’ days as life has changed and the world we now live in is much different from when WB and I grew up. Dreams and fairy tales it seems, take longer to come true today. Sometimes our timing is not God’s timing, so we have to believe even when life looks impossible, that God will prevail on our behalf, as we stand firm in our faith. Life may have changed over the last 20 to 30 years…but life is still good and God is a God of Faith and Hope!

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And yet, I know that life can stink sometimes, but we can get through it! The road of life can be interesting with a few major curves, lots of bumps and a few detours here and there, but it keeps it interesting. Good or bad, we can choose how we will deal with life in a positive way…and enjoy the ride. I may have to dig deeper than ever before but I can do this thing whatever it is and God is with me every step of the way. And dang it, no we do not have a bed of roses to sleep on, maybe a Tempurpedic, but not a magical bed of roses.

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I learned to hold on to my dreams even when life looks dismal, and that I can do anything I put my mind to if I want to. I was taught to have a good work ethic and to work hard to get what I wanted, a summer job was a must. My parents could have given me the money and anything I wanted but, it was more important for me to learn to work hard to earn my money, to save some and also buy what I wanted. Growing up we worked 24/7 as cows do not take the day off and there was always ranch work to do. I’m glad that they set that in motion as even today all these years later both WB and I work hard for our income and I understand working long hard hours.

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Mom was also an only child and she told me that her Dad would not pay for her wedding pictures…he told her that she could do that. He could afford them, but he wanted her to learn the value of working hard for what you want. This photo is the only one Mom could afford as she had gone to summer school at the U of O that summer to graduate. She lost her mother in the spring and had taken a leave of absence from college to be with her Mom so she had to make her classes up that summer. They had originally planned to marry in the spring but had postponed their wedding until fall.

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My parents did not do the rescue the kid scenario either and that was important for me to learn, that my choices or decisions affected me, and it was my own fault if I chose the wrong one, and to not blame my misfortune on others, my mistake was my mistake.  Mom used to always say “You made your bed, now you can lie in it.” I learned to always hold on to my faith and hope in life circumstances, while never ever giving up!

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And when things look their darkest, morning comes!

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My classic Mom, who was always so poised looking sophisticated…she taught me this too but she had to work on me as when I was herding cows with Dad or doing ranch work, I was a tom boy. Often I had to walk around the house balancing books on my head and to stand up straight and tall, shoulders back, tummy in and smile. I was in between 4th and 5th grade in this photo and not looking too together yet…it took a few more years for that to sink in:) We were on our way to California to visit relatives and we stopped in Boise at my Aunt’s house for the night…notice the big white bandage on my knee? I was a klutz then and still am today! I was learning to ride my bike off the paved road into the gravel up to our front walk…the gravel won most of the time! Mom was a nurse and a saint as she always doctored Dad and I up really good with bandages! I think she enjoyed practicing all that she had learned:)

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And we are off for another adventure! “Now where did I leave that fairy tale book? ” “Hi Ho Silver!!!”

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Minnie says “Meow-zers this is the last week of June…can you believe it? Summer is disappearing fast and quit snickering over my tummy…it’s cute:)”

Have a Wild & Whacky Wonderful Wednesday!!!!!

Ranch Lessons 102…Mud…Cows…Pooey!

Ranch Lessons 102…”Muddy Muck & Yuck” is now in session:) Today for fun I am sharing a secret cattle ranch factoid called when “The Ground Quivers With Mud & Cow-A-Pooey…Watch Your Step!”

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 Having grown up on a large cattle ranch, I learned early on about cow’s pooping in all the mud puddles creating…”Cow-A-Pooey Muddy Muck”. I have accidentally stepped into the quagmire of “Cow-A-Pooey” before and the sludge would literally suck my boot off my foot! I would hop on my other foot that was still in my other boot, trying not to fall down, as I grabbed hold of my yucky boot…which had sank deeper into the boggy mire of muddy poop and give it a hard yank…while trying to not put my foot with only the sock on, into the mud for balance but…as you can imagine, that was just about impossible!

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This muddy mix is with horse poop, so even though it is still not fun to walk into, it is different as it has a horse poop smell and since it has something to do with a horse, it’s not so bad:)

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Right Annie? Cow manure mixed into mud is worse! It never fails the night before, after you have gathered up your herd, you get an inch of rain in the corrals where you plan to work the cattle…at least it settles the dust, but now you get to deal with slippery, muddy cow pooey/sludge, as they have pooped all day and night

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I have heard them “snicker-snort-moo-snort snicker” as we walk by…they smirk with gurgles and rather interesting noises to let you know that they have more to conjure up…and I promise, you will slip and slide or get your boot stuck into their mixture of “Cow-A-Pooey Muddy Muck.” It is at that moment, the “cowgirl life” loses a bit of the glamour and glory, when you have to work the cows and the gates on foot instead of horseback in the mud…in the sludge and in the poop!

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Both WB and I remember working gates in muddy puddles, when the cow ran by you at warp speed giving you the gift of “Cow-A-Pooey Splatter Shower”, covering you from top to bottom!!! You learned early on to keep your mouth shut as they ran by! I liked having my hat on, hair tucked into it, wildrag covering my mouth and nose if needed, with my sunglasses on even if it was cloudy! Ahhh the good old days:)

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Looking out one of the barn doors down on the arena presently…hey WB, look at how nice my round corral stays with the sand, compared to the arena where the water stands on top of the dirt and takes forever to drain off…hint-hint, more sand…more sand:)

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Barn Lion Jack, did not like my camera flash…he looks kind of grumpy huh?

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Brother Pat is not quite as grumpy and he was sort of interested in the camera…but just a little bit.

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Back to “Muck Pooey”…this particular mud is clay dirt with older cow poop and fresher horse poop mixed into it and it is slowly draining the standing water into the ground. Note: It is always good to tuck your jeans into your boots…preferably higher top boots with galoshes over your boots.

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Nummie nummie munch munch…I love the sound of horses eating their hay:) Annie is so patient with my camera…she lets me take pictures anytime.

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And back to that round corral with the sand…a beautiful design in the sand in an interesting odd way. My round corral always makes me think of the song called “Barn Cat” by Mary Ann Kennedy. It is great, in fact all of her songs are great…Barn Cat was on her first album called “The Trail Less Traveled.”

“Barn Cat” by Mary Ann Kennedy

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I’m a barn cat, not an alley cat or a house cat, I don’t sit on laps

I got a real job…I catch mice…It’s a tough life…I’m a barn cat

Meow, this is my territory…Bow wows…look out…I got sharp claws

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And a king size bed made out of straw…I’m so glad I’m a barn cat

I got a feed room, and a tack room…And 4 stalls…I stalk em all

Don’t need a litter box, I got a round pen…60 foot of sand…I’m a barn cat!

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Meow, this is my territory…Bow wows…look out…I got sharp claws

And a king size bed made out of straw…I’m so glad I’m a barn cat!

Be sure to check out Mary Ann Kennedy as I love her music:)

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Tucker waiting patiently for me…thinking something like this “Mom, can we go yet…all this talk about muddy poopy corrals makes me very glad that we do not have a zillion cows anymore…I would not like getting all my fur muddy and stinking like a cow patty either….ewwwww!” I love how her colors blend in with the rocks…didn’t have it planned but Tuck is very photogenic with her color and sweet eyes.

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Okay Tucker let’s get out of this “not so bad mud” and head for the house…we’ll go see what Minnie Mouse is up to.

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Ms. Minnie says “Meowsy Hi All!” She looks pretty with her markings as they blend into the Navajo rug in this image. She loves her Navajos and prefers sleeping on wool blankets…she has sensitive fur and the wool must have an interesting tactile feel to it that she likes.

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She told me that the “Barn Cat” song is fine but she would like to have a song called “House Cat”, as she prefers her house and is a very lady like kitty angel:)

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And this concludes Ranch Lessons 102…”Cow-A-Pooey Muddy Muck” from the Juniper T, for now…wishing you a super-duper weekend where ever you may be! HRCG and crew over and out:)

Morning Chores On The Juniper T With Fresh Snow And Artic Cold!

Last Sunday, on a typical Juniper Canyon morning the end of  December, we had fresh snow, loverly foggy views and crispy, cold, frigid temps!

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I was out and about doing the usual feeding chores for our dogs, cats and horse’s morning breakfast buffet, while loving on each one of them:) It’s really not a chore, more of a love fest for all my animal kids:)

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As I went out the garage door first, feeding our doggies was top on my list….Ms. Kiah got to eat her breakfast in the garage as she has so much energy she has no fat so she needs lots of calories to keep her weight on. Ms. Tuck and Mr. Dasher Masher both have to watch their figures…so they eat outside.

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Ok guys I’m a coming…hang tight…love you Ms. Mel and Mr. Buck:)

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But first I have to go through the hubbies massive shop and into the century old barn that I love…

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Then upstairs to check on Pat and Jack, our monster orange Lion Cats….and to get Annie’s hay for her breakfast…

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“Did someone say hay?”

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Annie’s horse condo…auto water set up….and hay feeder….cushy rubber mats….nice lights to see and safe…I need more sawdust on the next trip to town….she likes her stall and so does Pat the cat sitting behind the trough…and often Melody stays in the stall across from Annie. You can’t see it but we have a hay chute that feeds her hay from upstairs into her feeder….nice and clean.

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My winter round corral….resting and waiting.

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Annie is waiting too:)

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And, I’m sure she can hardly wait!

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Coming back through “Wild Bill’s” shop…this is one of our latest projects…very cool huh? Every time I see this pick up I hear “ZZ Top” playing “Sharp Dressed Man.”

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Tuck is waiting patiently for me to come out of the shop…

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So is Ms. Melody. She really likes her food…she enjoys every morsel:)

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And Buckaroo Buck looks rather dapper this morning…I’m hurrying guys…trying to not fall on my hind end as it is super slippery today!

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“Ahhhhh…finally…munch munch munch…I love my yummy nummies”. “Life is good again!”  “Wait, Mom, put that camera down…don’t take my picture when I am eating….geez…Buck will think I am being a piggy or something!!!”

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It is dang cold and dang foggy too…the fog can get on your nerves if it hangs for several days and every once in a while that happens as the fog drifts up Juniper Canyon from The Columbia River which is about 20 miles or less from us.

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“Wild Bill I hope you have the coffee on and ready….Good Morning Sunshine:)”

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Last Sunday in a freak accident, we lost our beloved Kiah. She ran to greet me when I was across the road yet feeding horses and she did not see the slow-moving vehicle in the fog. I will share more of her wonderful photos and life in a post soon…right now I have too many tears. She was so gallant, so brave and so loved.

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“I miss you Ms. Kiah…I will carry you forever in my heart. I will like you forever and love you for always. God Bless You My Kiah…My Yippee Ki Yi Yay.”

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