The Heart Of A Writer…

The heart of a writer can grow very quiet…

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With many thoughts, but no words…I have been stuck!

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My heart has been peacefully quiet and yet…the writer in me keeps trying to write…but what do I write?

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I should be out in cow camp right now where I only have my horse and cows to talk to and silence.

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I’m not sure what I am feeling in words…not sure if they made the words I have felt the last few weeks.

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Life can be incredibly interesting…and no, not ever complacent or the same ol stuff…life is to be lived with the ever changing adventures we all experience.

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My life has never ever been quiet or boring or mundane…

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Nope never a dull moment…

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I think I am back…at least the words are flowing again…maybe…yeah, maybe:)

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In the mean time…Yee-Haw!!! Whoop Yip-Yahhh-Ah!

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.

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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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!

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!

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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 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?

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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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.

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.

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:)

 

Sounds Of Silence On A Moonlit Night In South Juniper Canyon…

Sounds of silence on a moonlit night in South Juniper Canyon changes throughout the year…my favorite season of sounds is from now through summer into fall. During the day time hours I listen to the turtle doves, which I love…the occasional hawk flying overhead…early mornings and late evenings we hear our owls…and the coyotes.

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My favorite sound happens each night; it is incredible to hear the return of the crickets each spring across the road in our little creek.

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Tonight as I opened our window a rush of spring air came in along with our country symphony. I LOVE falling to sleep with our country crickets serenading me into sweet country girl dreams. Dreams of playing in the creek when I was little, catching tadpoles and bringing them in a jar with some creek water and moss to my Mom….

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I was so proud of myself as I caught these cute little fish things that we could add to my fish bowl…and Mom said “Now wait a minute honey, these are very special fish and they deserve their own container. She dumped them into a large glass jar she had gotten from the Dairy Queen in town, she usually used it to make ice tea, but it was all she had…she wanted to make her little girl happy and keep the tadpoles alive.

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As I write…the symphony stops…silence…the crickets who are the watchman must have heard something and they signaled danger…

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When they do that, silence falls on a dark country night until they feel safe again…once they feel safe, they begin to sing…knowing there is danger but for now all is well…lets party and sing!

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 I begin to fall to sleep with good memories…never figured out that tadpoles were baby frogs until I was a young adult…Mom did not want to tell me…and when I found out I said…really? Yuk…Gross!

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I made a pact with the crickets and frogs to leave them alone from then on.

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Instead we try to protect them with safe waters in trade for their nightly symphonies for us to enjoy…on a quiet moonlit night in South Juniper Canyon.

Hit And Miss Photography With HRCG…

Hit and miss photography with HRCG is just that…you are along for the ride…so hang on…and here we go!!!

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Annie has her radar finely tuned in!

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Aussies on alert..where’s the food and who do we get to bite?

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Horses make my heart feel good:)

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My model kitty, Minnie…she loves to pose…and I love her stripes and her colors…Minnie Mouse is the Queenie of my House! She’s the cat…who knows where its at…just ask her:)

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Melody gave me her heart with her huge brown eyes, as they melted into my heart, when I first met her…

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Incredible weather this Spring here in Juniper…on the wow scale it is a 99% wowzer!

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We can have crazy weather and crazy times in our life and yet…God gives us a double rainbow! Dreams do come true! Do not ever give up your dreams, no matter how hard life is…hang on to your dreams as God gave them to you!

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“Meowsises…Mom hangs on to her hope and her faith…and me:)”

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Ms. Ellie…is so cute and a very smart girl…I love Aussies!

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“Mom, what did you say?” “Huhrummph, dogs are silly!”

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Juniper Canyon Gold….

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God Bless America!

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God Bless The Red, White And Blue!

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Home Of The Free…Home Of The Brave!

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I love nice Quarter Horse butts…

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What’s a quarter horse butt? And a cattle ranch? Don’t you mean “Minnie’s Kitty Ranch”?

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