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”?

Life With Ms. Ellie, Horse Nuggets And Me!

Life with Ms. Ellie has been one of the greatest blessings and events of our life this summer.

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Here she is at six weeks of age…before we brought her home. She is adorable and then some with her sweet eyes and fun disposition.

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She is so smart and attentive to life around her.

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Do you remember Kiah? She is the one in front in this photo from last summer. She is a half-sister to Ellie. They both have the same father. Kiah was super smart…hard to explain but she was smarter than Tucker and Dash…and they are smart. Kiah and Ellie are much more connected to you in relationship and they discern events before they happen…very intuitively smart…good watch dogs…and very protective.

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And here is Ms. Ellie the day we brought her home, meeting Tucker, she was 9 weeks and very cute:) She snuggled in my lap the 6-7 hours it took to get home and never got sick…she immediately fit into our hearts:)

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Sweet Little Ellie Bell!

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And what is she doing but crawling under the fence to snag a horse nugget!

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“Honest Mom…I’m only eating two-horse nuggets!”

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 “Mom I saw Ellie eat three nuggets!”

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“Uh-uh no I only ate two really…look at my eyes, I love you Mom.”

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And she was soooooo excited after the terrible storm we had that appeared to be some kind of funnel cloud that swept up millions of horse nuggets, depositing them in her yard just for her to have for snacking!

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I love the way Ellie lays in the yard…her usual pose as she likes the feel of the cool grass under her…she is so cute:) Can you tell I’m a push over with my girl?

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Ellie and I walk together for exercise and to burn off some of the puppy energy she has. Ellie is 15 weeks old now, you can see the maturity coming in her eyes.

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And yet as we are heading out for our walk, passing by the arena, I feel a tug behind me on the leash…what? “Ellie, what are you doing….oh geez, more horse nugget snacks sidetracked her!” What is it about horse poop that cow dogs are drawn to? By the way notice her copper bottom is in the shape of a steer head…her little steer head bottom makes me smile no matter what! I loves her lots and lots! We are making many good memories together that I will carry in my heart forever.

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Like the first time I took her to our vet for her next vaccination, she was about 11 weeks old. Wild Bill could not go with us that day, darn it! I could not drive and hold her on my lap to comfort her from the intimidating feeling of the Suburban. I had lots of rags just in case she got sick etc. Well about half way to town I smelled it…oh my gosh!!! She had pooped a very smelly one in the back of the Burb! She was so scared that it scared it out of her…I felt so sorry for her. I pulled over to clean it up but I did not have any paper towels or napkins…typical! I figured out a way to hold her in my lap and drove the rest of the way to town one-handed, as I worried for her being scared and was afraid she would walk in it! As soon as we got to the vet’s they had stuff for me to use to clean it up! Ahhhhh yes puppy love! Nothing like picking up smelly gooshy puppy poop with a thin paper napkin….eeeeew!

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Minnie decided Ellie is ok…they give each other respect for being different, which is good. Ellie would love to play with Minnie, but I told her, NO, not until Minnie is ready…Minnie has to know you better. Yet Ellie will protect Minnie if she ever needs it as she looks at her as part of her family. That is the true heart of an Aussie…they love and protect their family.

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Kiah would have loved Ms. Ellie too…she would approve. We miss you and love you forever Ms. Kiah:)

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“Come on Mom, let’s go explore some more!” Ellie loves our walks as do I! And as I bring this post to a close, Minnie is in her chair with her heat pad on, all snuggled down on one side of me and Ellie is asleep on my feet as I type on the other side of me:) I love our animal babies….each and every one of them:) May you be blessed tonight, knowing that your animals love you and need you…have a wonderful tomorrow!

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HRCG, her critters and camera are over and out for now…but not for long!

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“I love those horse nuggets! Mom doesn’t know what she is missing!”

The Pendleton Round Up…Round Two!

The Pendleton Round Up…Round Two…Here We Go!

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As you pass through the gates into the rodeo grounds, you immediately find yourself next to the South Grandstand, and as you look up towards the top of it, about half way down, you will see the Winner’s Plague. These cowboys and cowgirls were the winners in their events at the Round Up in 2012…the large plague proudly displays their names next to their events. Winning Pendleton is an honor as the rodeo is one of the top three rodeos along with Calgary and Cheyenne.

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What sets the Pendleton Round-Up apart from the other great rodeos in America is its aesthetic. That word implies art, but also history and culture.

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The first Pendleton Round-Up was to be “a frontier exhibition of picturesque pastimes, Indian and military spectacles, cowboy racing and bronco busting for the championship of the Northwest.” It turned out to be that and more. For the initial show, all stores closed. “The largest crowd in Pendleton’s history,” 7,000 strong, showed up for the first show on September 29, 1910, a newspaper writer reported. “The words ‘Pendleton’ and Round-Up’ are on the lips of thousands and will continue to be for months and years to come…The Round-Up is a whirlwind success.” Souvenir program from The 1913 Round-Up said the rodeo was growing. And grow it did.

Two decades later, patrons showed up from 36 states and eight foreign countries. The following two years the Round Up was not held, because of World War II, once the war was over, the attendance climbed again, eventually reaching 50,000 or more for the four-day show. “Success bred success and the Round Up stayed in high gear,” says the book “Let ‘er Buck! A brief history of the Pendleton Round Up.”

The key to the success of the rodeo and its many attendant activities is community participation – volunteers. Indian participation has been a strong attraction, too, in the Round-Up arena, at Happy Canyon, in the Indian Village and in the Westward Ho! Parade. Long before women’s lib, the fairer sex got into the act at the Round-Up – cowgirls in the early days of the Round-Up could be as tough as men. In 1914 Bertha Blanchette, wife of cowboy Del Blanchette, came within 12 points of winning the all-around title.

Midway through the Round Up’s colorful history, a Eugene newspaper summed it up with a characterization that remains applicable today: “In good times and bad, Pendleton has gone on with the Round Up. People over on the Umatilla have always been willing to take a chance. Maybe that’s the real cowboy spirit. Maybe it’s a little bit tougher brand of civic spirit. Anyhow, in Pendleton, the show goes on.”

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Having volunteers who want to make a difference, while helping make the rodeo a success, makes Pendleton very unique It has often been said by the directors of both Happy Canyon and The Pendleton Round Up that the volunteers are the glue, as they strive to give their time to make the Round-Up the greatest rodeo on earth. Through the year the volunteers clean up the rodeo grounds and the barns, adding a fresh coat of paint where it is needed, and fix anything and everything that needs to be fixed.

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And so it begins with slack on Monday of Round Up week. This year there did not appear to be as many contestants, as slack often will begin on Saturday or Sunday…by Monday morning it is in full-swing. This year it did not begin until Monday afternoon.

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I enjoy going to slack in some ways more than the actual rodeo as you see true life…the last minute details coming together. Whether you are a contestant or on the Round Up board of directors or working on the arena crew, you work hard…making sure that everything goes off in sync, without a hitch.

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The bucking chute crew is on stand by…but I bet they’re ready to go at the drop of a hat!

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The chutes look a bit different on rodeo day!

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Family and friends watching slack runs in the shade to escape the heat. This year Round Up week was hot, the usual breeze did not stir through the stands, so you watched the rodeo, fanning yourself with the program, while feeling beads of sweat rolling down your back or face!

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Contestants also waiting in the shade, talking to old friends, trying to relax as they wait for their number to be called.

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More cowboys are arriving…saddling up horses…and will soon be ready to go!

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From a rather quiet slack day to a rock and roll rodeo day! Cowboys warming up in the confines of a much smaller space in the arena before their event.

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I will have one more post on The Round Up…so stay tuned!

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In the mean time…Let ‘er Buck!!!

Life Is Moving At Warp Speed!

Life is moving at warp speed…and I’m hanging on tight!

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I have no idea where the last month went? Minnie slept and had kitty dreams…I took lots of pictures…and helped launch the new web page for our business…the web page took lots of time and energy as I fretted over it. The day it went live, the heavy burden I had carried for the last two years, rolled off my shoulders! I love how our graphic designer caught the vision of our business…the uniqueness of what we do…along with the where and why…he did a great job! I still have lots of updating yet to do with Awards, Shows, Press and several vehicles to add to Portfolio.  Check it out at this link http://www.holtonsecretlab.com/

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Harvest came and went…

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Trucks rolled by day and night hauling wheat out of the Juniper elevator.

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While bank out wagons and combines loaded semi’s right in the field…

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The semi’s either hauled the crop directly to the river from the farmer’s fields or to the elevator.

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Smoky fires in Central Oregon brought beautiful skies during sunrise and sundown.

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Annie and I felt badly for the firefighters and the people who had to evacuate from their homes. That would be incredibly hard to do.

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I had the opportunity to meet some of my Norwegian family, as Anne Marie and her husband were visiting America. I was thrilled that they stopped in to visit and meet us. I looked frumpy as I had no make up on and my hair was not done. I was in the office that day and planned later to clean up….never fails right? They loved the house and Anne Marie was deeply touched knowing her Dad visited the house when my Great Grandmother Anne Marie lived here…and yes she was named after my Great Grandmother. As Anne Marie gazed out the front windows, she was very blessed and thankful as she knew her Dad had seen the same view out the same window. Heritage and family…is there anything more important!

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Our new puppy Ellie, is almost 13 weeks old now and oh so very cute! She snuck over to the corral and grabbed some horse poop to chew on…why I don’t know, but cattle dogs usually like it! Look at her cute eyes…she is so sweet…does not whine or bark for no reason…she is very smart and just a good good girl:)

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We LOVE her lots…she is my sweetheart!

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While Minnie is tolerating her…she finds Ellie interesting to watch from a distance. Ellie is our first house dog…right now she and Minnie are about the same size.

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Minnie is thinking “I’m the Queen of the house! Maybe I can pounce on her and squish her…hu-rumph!” Ellie thinks of Minnie as family since she is in the house with us…so Ellie will protect Minnie.

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Ellie is so smart and understands what you are asking, she is doing great with house breaking and learning a few commands such as sit, lay, stay, down. She loves to lay on her belly in the yard with her back legs spread out too!

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For some odd reason the writing bug has been elusive and I do not know why…it is frustrating! I am going with it and instead taking a ton of pictures to share…and yet I am trying to find the me that writes.

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Have a wonderful late summer evening …may God Bless You where ever you are:)

Sharing The Memories Of Our Hearts Becomes A Golden Tapestry Of Our Life…

Sharing the memories of our hearts becomes a golden tapestry of our life, as we wrap ourselves in the heritage of life that makes us who we are.

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Often I wonder why I have this writing bug and why it took me so long to discover my intense love of photography as to me the images that I capture and the words that follow, tell a story of a very simple life. Although I have to say at times, my life is not that simple…it has been pretty exciting in certain seasons and also difficult during various circumstances.

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What I have learned is that hard times and difficulties bring out more of your character while deepening your resolve and strength…building your gratitude for getting through them and over them, as you go on with your life…while never looking back at what was or could have been, but looking forward to whats ahead.

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It’s not how you ride through the mountain top moments, but how you climb out of the valleys of hard times that count.

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When I am hit with the desire to write, I grab my pen and write with my heart, letting the words tumble out of my pen onto a simple tablet of paper…I go with it, as writing is part of what makes me, me.

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It is the same with my photography, I don’t know all the ins and outs of aperture and ISO or all the terminology yet, but I will. In the meantime I grab my camera and happily click away with that creative spirit full of heart, only this time, the story I write is through my eyes…

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I love capturing the exact moment when you know that, “Yeah baby I got it!!!”

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Writing is often like life, as we write and write only to find out that it totally stinks so we trash the hours and pages into the shredder and we move on. As a writer, no matter how many revisions you go through…no matter how much criticism you get…you can not stop…you write and write and write. Determined to write the darn best story you can write!

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It’s the same with taking pictures, no matter how many I take, it is never enough!

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Everyday when I get up and look out my kitchen window I am doing what my Mom did for the 42 years she lived in the house and I am doing what my Great Grandmother did for the 18 years she lived here…I can feel what they felt and hear the words they may have spoken, with the views of country life and the circumstances that come out of country living.

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When we pulled up the carpet on the main floor of the house, it was the first time I saw the wood floors, as Mom kept them covered. I had no clue there were solid wood floors on the main level of the house. I was overcome with emotion as I could see the foot traffic worn into the old floors, where my ancestors walked. I walked in their literal footsteps in my bare feet, feeling the solid wood and hearing the same creaks and squeaks under my feet while hearing the echos of a time long ago. 

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Mom keeping the floors covered was perfect in preserving them. When we got down to the last layer of linoleum in the kitchen we found that it had burlap on the back side of it…I had never seen flooring like that and thankfully the burlap kept the floors in good condition.

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The old house was revealing its glory! The floors turned out beautiful…and each day that I walk on them, is like stepping back in heritage and time. History and heritage are important as we are the only ones who know the memories and emotions of the generation before…writing down their memories, their histories and the heritage they passed on to us is so very important.

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Switching gears…we have a new baby and she is keeping us busy…isn’t she cute!!! That’s why I have not posted for a few weeks…life has been fast and furious!

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I was wondering if anyone knows where the summer went to? I can not believe that fall is in the air!

A Day In The Life Of Hot Rod Cowgirl For Oregon Dayshoot 2013!

A day in the life of Hot Rod Cowgirl begins in the dark dawn of July 15th for the Oregon Dayshoot 2013! The Dayshoot first began 30 years ago in 1983 to depict life in Oregon on any given day of everyday life. It’s a way to record Oregon history and what our lives were like in 2013 compared to the first Oregon Dayshoot in 1983.

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It’s 4:30 in the morning on July 15th and I am excited to be a part of Dayshoot 2013! I’m ready with my camera…a nice clean card, along with a spare one and extra batteries too. And its time to begin as I step out to capture the sunrise…it was well worth it but I wish the stars had shown up in the photo too!

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Yard sprinklers were doing their thing…I lightened this photo up so you can see the drops of water! A fun time of day to be up and taking pictures of life in Juniper Canyon!

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Here comes the sun…I do truly love this time of day anymore…used to not be crazy about it but then I got into photography and I love the sunrise and the sunset…the two enchanted times of light and capturing images with hues of color that knock your socks off!

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Yard Bath or Showers! We have had the sprinklers only 1 year and I love them. It is so much easier to water the yard with a switch instead of dragging around hoses all over. WB said too he thinks all our gophers have left due to the water!!! Yeah!!!

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Finally daybreak…I am the only one up and I need coffee soon…it is now 5:30 in the morning! And its going to be a beautiful day! I love it as it is so quiet and speaks deep to my heart of God’s beauty all around us if we will look and observe.

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 Annie was up and wanting her hay breakfast…”Morning Mom, dayshoot or is it dayhoot-cares…I’m hungry and yeah yeah about taking pictures…just gimme my hay and I will pose for you later ok.”

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And here’s Pat and Jack putting in their two cents since Annie got to. “Well really Mom, you need to sit down here and pet us, rub and love us and feed us treats!” I miss Jack so much as he was beautiful inside and out!”

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“No way Mom….what are you doing outside at this time of day….get in here and I need treats too and lots of pets and kitty loves!” “And who cares about this dayhottenany or whatever it is called!” “Humph!”

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As the day slowly wore on, it was over a 100 degrees and too darn hot to be out very long. After lunch I figured I would go check out the shop…WB said to come down and grab some photos of the guys working for fun! So here I am in Wild Bill’s shop wondering if I can catch some sneaky action photos of the guys working on cool cars:) And I LOVE Corvette’s!

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Here’s Bryan working away but I think he is hiding…Hey Bryan…quit hiding and smile!

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Come on Clay, look up and smile at the camera…geez! Clay is working on a very cool 1935 Ford Pick Up…it is going to be very classy when it rolls out of the “Lab!”

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“Ahhh HA! I caught you Wild Bill! Smile for me and what are you doing now? Hmmm, well I am having trouble getting the guys to smile like they are having fun with all these super cool cars to work on!!! At least you will smile at me if I try to capture you working on one of the cars right?”

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Apparently not…and hmmmph…hey WB come on and look up!!!! He gets all obsessed over Corvettes too like I do! This is a 1976 Corvette…hey WB LOOK UP Dang It!

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I know maybe Nathan will look up and smile….by the way this is a 1958 Metro…cute huh? Nathan likes to draw and he drew the smiley face on the Metro and at least it is smiling, and looking at the camera!

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I know what they are saying….”Here she comes again, so look like we are discussing something very serious” “Ok Terry and WB come on and look at me you ding-dong guys!!!”

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And one last picture of Bryan working on a 1949 Chev. Pick Up…

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Guess I will head back outside to see what is going on….Hey heres Jagged, our 1928 Dodge Coupe! WB likes louvers can you tell?

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The landscape view in bright light of day! This is the view of the sunrise photos I was taking at dawn…looks way different huh?

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Typical scene outside the shop…lots of kooool custom cars in front of our old-fashioned service station!

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And the day is winding down…horses doing the nuzzle after their dinner

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Hey Dash what do you think? Hmmm…he not looking at my camera either….geesh!!!

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Enjoy the summer as soon…it will be gone…and big fat WAH! I LOVE nice warm 80 degree days and the sunshine! Have a wonderful weekend and peaceful night wherever you are and a Simply Sunshiny Sunday! Smile and…click click click!

Split Seconds Between Life And Death…

“Split Seconds Between Life And Death” is the introduction of surviving a devastating flash flood in a blink…of a split second.

Double-click the photos and newspaper article to enlarge them for reading the small print and seeing the details…most of the pictures were taken before I had a digital camera.

The morning of August 5th seemed like a typical summer morning as we rolled out of bed at the crack of dawn, stumbling to the kitchen for our first pot of very strong coffee to get the cobwebs out of our heads to plan the day.

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We sipped the dark caffeine as we watched the sun rise into a clear, beautiful blue sky morning…promising to be another warm sunny day in the hay fields.

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Due to the isolation of the ranch we managed on the Crooked River and the location of a mountain full of iron that was close to the house…we could not pick up radio signals or television to hear the news and the weather forecast. Unknown to us, there were several weather warnings for August 5th…and the possibility for severe storms on top of the mountains behind us. The summer day seemed perfect that morning…who could imagine that a massive wall of water would be building and rolling toward our home and our lives, later that afternoon, traveling at 15 mph or more with certain death, if caught in it. This is my story and account of what I saw and felt that fateful summer day, when we had a few split seconds between life and death…with our life being turned upside down in a matter of minutes, by the end of the day.

And so it begins…

After lunch we were sitting out on our deck when, Wild Bill mentioned to his hay crew to keep an eye on the sky. He noted that clouds had been building the last few hours on top of the mountains behind us…they looked ominous and were spinning in an odd way, like they were coming from different directions running into each other.

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Heading out the door, back to the hay fields, WB said “If you see lightning or the weather changes, park the equipment and come into the headquarters,” which was our home. I was headed to Prineville, 35 miles away, for a doctor appointment, as I had been kicked a few days earlier in my lower abdomen by a young three-year old horse that packed a hard powerful punch that ripped my jeans where she kicked and it had not gotten any better…instead it turned into a combination of several colors, much like the clouds in the photo below. I looked four months pregnant from the swelling, and could not zip up my wranglers all the way and it hurt to move or walk fast.

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As the afternoon wore on, I watched as more clouds were developing behind us in the Maury Mountains…my gut intuition told me to not go and to stay home so I made different arrangements for my doctor appointment. I heard thunder far away towards the mountains, and as time passed, I could tell it was coming our way…

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And soon the thunder was on top of us…with lightening all around…and then drops of rain began to fall. I began to worry about Wild Bill and our two sons who were also part of the hay crew. Time began to speed up and before I knew what was happening, in a split second our life was spinning out of control  between life and death.

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Tick-tock…fractured moments…tick-tock…life and DEATH…tick…RUN…tock…wall of  WATER…no time…RUN…your LIFE…NO TIME…move…NOW…GET OUT OF THE HOUSE…RUN!

Split seconds in a heartbeat, become moments in your life that you will never forget…and on that warm humid summer day, I did not know what I was escaping from, when my husband yelled and I ran out of the house in my socks, despite the wet ground from the rain we were now getting…carrying my boots…with Wild Bill frantically yelling “MOVE…HURRY…NOW” as I jumped into a moving pick up that was already backing up in reverse…and then…I saw the wall of water coming directly towards us and our house. Once we were safe on higher ground, we watched in stunned silence as the roar of raging flood waters hit the ranch.

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In a matter of seconds, our focus was on a 200′ wide by 7′ deep river of flood water moving at 15 mph or more, engulfing our lives…our house, our horses, our vehicles, the equipment and buildings…we saw the entire ranch move as we stood helplessly by. Witnessing a D5 Caterpillar tractor with the blade parked down in the gravel, walking itself out of the quickly deteriorating equipment shed that was attached to the shop…the tractor was bobbing, floating, bouncing and dancing with the energy of the flood waters like it was a toy.

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At daybreak, the following morning after the flood, Wild Bill and I walked through the war zone of what was left of the ranch where the battle was fought…showing the power and might of the water. The lone stock truck ended its journey through the flood waters settling into the mud, where the 50′ by 50′ barn “used” to stand, before it disintegrated with the forceful blast of  flood water…it happened so fast, none of us saw it collapse…and yet the smaller barn survived and was left standing alone…it became the “Miracle Barn.” Every building on the ranch either disintegrated upon impact or if left standing, leaned in a different way or moved with the jarring force of the flood water when it slammed into the complex, rolling over anything or anyone in its path.

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Loosing the life of the young cowboy, who was passing through on his way home, trying to save his horses, was the hardest and most difficult part of our grief…fractured moments of a human life, painful memories we will never forget. The State Of Oregon did numerous studies of the massive flood for several years. How could this happen and why…could it happen again…the environmental conditions that played a part…the odd weather and the rain storm that caused the flood…on a warm summer day in August, as we were baling and putting up hay…a typical ranch life one second and a nightmare the next.

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 Surviving the flood with God’s protection was evidenced by Wild Bill being aware of the clouds looking ominous at lunch…he kept watching them through out the afternoon as the weather was changing quickly…and thankfully he came home into the headquarters as it had barely begun to sprinkle with rain, along with lightning and thunder…and then, he saw the wall of water coming at us in time to escape…that was God’s provision.

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Our horses lived through the flood…they were close to where we were safe, but I could not reach them which was awful!  Thankfully God heard my prayers and spared them from death but not from the fear they felt.

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I’ll be sharing a few more chapters on the flood in the coming weeks…the many memories and the miracles…I hope my story of survival will give you strength and hope…knowing that life can at times be unexpected and incredibly tough but we can do it…we just have to keep on a going, no matter what!

Stay tuned for Chapter 1 of the “Historic 100 Year Flood”…HRCG over and out for now but not for long!

What Gives Writers And Artists Their Fire?

What gives writers and artists their fire? I take it for granted that we all think about words and photos the way I do but we don’t. I have known all of my life, that God blessed me with the desire and passion to become a writer of words and life. I am drawn to writing words that create visual pictures…words that become alive and draw you into the story or maybe the memories of your life. Writing is my heart, as the words explain the me that I am and the whys of my life…words of feelings…words of emotions…words of heritage and memories…and the words of a country cowgirl…words upon words upon words. Writers write to share what they feel and see in the moments of tender memories filled with times of faith…times of hope…times of life. I think they are born with a desire to tell the story as the seed has been planted in their hearts to write the words.

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Writers are different as we see and feel the actual word…we see emotions and feel life differently. Quietly our soul takes in all the words we hear and the pictures of life we see…the writer in us takes both the seeing and feeling emotions, weaving them into a story to share. Our words are poured out onto the golden pages of a book full of stories and memories, both real and fiction. If we are really good we can make you guess what is real and what is fiction. I think my writing and the ability to feel the words and to see the story in a quick snapshot blink of life is partly because I grew up by myself, with just my parents and our ranching life in the mountains and here at home.

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I never knew any different way of living, I thought everyone moved to the mountains to summer on a cattle ranch…now that I know differently, I feel very blessed that I had the opportunity. I carry the memories of almost 40 years, working first with my parents on the ranch and then with Wild Bill. My world has been full of horses, cows, kitty cats and dogs, and various critters…the sky and clouds…the elements of weather…hard days and good days…life was all of that and in my mind it was a novel of golden days…the days of my life. The one soap opera I watched for a couple of years, was of all things called “Days Of Our Lives”…go figure, I was doing what I knew as I actually do see the days of my life.

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I began to shoot pictures of my life and the life moments around me during the last two years…I bought a quality camera and once it was in my hands I hung on to it and slept with it if I had to! It was the missing piece to my life of words…it was the part that fit with the creative visions and the words I had inside my head and in my heart. If done correctly, one picture can tell the story from beginning to end…one photo can do that if you are good and that is what I strive for. I want to be that good with my camera…so I take 1000’s of photos every week…keeping some and trashing the others…I love learning:) When I read the story and saw the photos of Vivian Maier a few years ago, I was in awe and in photography heaven…she was incredible and had such an eye for the right moment and the perfect timing to capture the life of her subjects and the life of America. I would love to see her work in person! Here is the link to the web site of her images…enjoy.  http://www.vivianmaier.com/  She was truly a very gifted artist of life.

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It is the same with words…you have to write and I write a zillion words each week both on paper and in my head in order to develop what is already there inside me, writing your thoughts and words, keeps you fresh and wide awake! I write stories and heart filled memories of life, mine and also of other lives that I have seen and been part of. It is crazy how I can feel another persons heart and their thoughts…their emotions and feel what they are not saying as easily as what they are saying. No it is not some woo woo thing or a new age technique. I am blessed that God made me with the passion and ability to write, feeling the words of the story I see in a blink second of another persons life or the scenes of life that travel through my world. I love it and will never grow tired of words and images.

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Switching gears, I want to thank you for wondering where I have been and if all is well. I am here and we are doing fine. I hope to post my first of many award nominations that I have been given to share soon:) Somehow my “life went into hyper-warp speed and lately I have felt like I am Lieutenant Uhura on the U.S.S. Enterprise on Captain Kirk’s bridge traveling at warp speed to do battle with the Klingons in some new galaxy!” I think I need to write more and get outside with my camera…my imagination is getting a bit weird! No I’m not a Trekkie but I did like Star Trek in the 60’s.

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As I sign off for now I will leave you with a couple of verses from “Alabama” with their song called “I’m In A Hurry,” as it fits:)

“I’m in a hurry to get things done…Oh, I rush and rush until life’s no fun…All I really got to do is live and die…But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why”
“Don’t know why I have to drive so fast…My car has nothing to prove…It’s not new, but it’ll do 0 to 60 in 5.2″
“I’m in a hurry to get things done…Oh, I rush and rush until life’s no fun…All I really got to do is live and die…But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why”

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Right Tucker? “Rrrruff-righto Mom.”

I wish you the best of days or nights where ever you may be. “May God Bless You With A Totally Terrific Thursday or Fantastic Funny Friday!”

Blessings That Fill Your Heart With Gratitude

Blessings that fill your heart with gratitude are little miracles in themselves, bringing sunlight and glory to our days here on earth.

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Sometimes you have to look around to see the blessings in your life and other times they can be right in front of you!

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I thank God daily for my life as I watch the sunrise on a brand new day, full of God’s plans for my day and His breath of love on each one of us, for we are all His kids:)

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And at the end of each day I am always blessed with each beautiful sunset, filled with God’s golden glory…with a renewed hope for tomorrow.

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Growing up Mom had a newspaper clipping on our refrigerator for many years held by a magnet. The clipping stood on the truth of its words.

“Oh Lord, You have given me so much,

Give me one more thing, a grateful heart.”

Gratitude…remembering the incredible things we have been given. I still have the clipping in my bible…and had it on my refrigerator for several years until we bought a stainless steel refrigerator…then my magnet would not work, so it is tucked away in a safe place.

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I am thankful and more than grateful for the many blessings in my life. When things get bumpy on the road of my life, I try to focus on the good and positive blessings that God has given to me…so I often make a gratitude list to add to as life is ever changing…below is my current gratitude list…if I were to write them all…I would have a book to share with you:)

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1. I am thankful that I have the freedom to worship God.

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After traveling to the Middle East in the mid-90’s, I experienced many different ways of life and many diverse cultures. I loved seeing where Jesus walked..it was profoundly holy and spiritual to walk in His footsteps. I loved the Old City and seeing the diversity of people. Israel was beautiful to see…I was blessed to have had three weeks to travel, as there were so many historical sites to visit and experience. However, when my plane touched down at JFK, I made a beeline to a Burger King for an all American hamburger with the works! The next morning was surreal to wake up here in Juniper Canyon…the farmers were in full swing of wheat harvest. I remember thanking God that He decided I was to live here in America, it was so peaceful and quiet. We do not know how blessed we are to live in the USA!

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Jordan was ancient in the scenery and beautiful. I loved seeing the desert and Petra was my favorite.

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 Petra was incredible in how they carved it and designed it…it was one of those places that all you can do is take pictures and stand in awe. I also enjoyed having dinner with the Bedouins one evening in their tents. Kind and wonderful people to meet. Everyone I met on the tour was very nice. We began our tour in Damascus, Syria and I loved seeing Palmyra too….we did a day trip into Turkey and then on to Jordan and finally Israel…loved the Sea of Galilee, so peaceful and yes you do float on the Dead Sea and Masada was incredible too. I did ride a camel which was both fun and funny:)

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2. Thank you God for my hubby Wild Bill…my soul mate and my forever. We actually do fit together like a jigsaw puzzle made by God. He is the most thankful part of my life on earth and the best part is that we will be with each other forever into eternity and beyond:)

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3. I am grateful everyday that I am alive and living with good health! Having gone through a serious diagnosis puts a new spin on your life and you truly do see life in a different way….with a thankful heart:)

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4. I am grateful for my parents….who loved me and kept me forever. I know I will see them again. Both WB and I were lucky that we lived next door to them for 20 years, as we were able to help them and do things for them before they became ill….and when they did become ill, we were there 24/7  for them. We were able to support them, finding things to laugh about, long talks into the night, helping them through medical tests and the pain, taking them places and helping them maintain their dignity. I loved my Mom and Dad more than I can say.

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5. I know I am one of the most blessed women to live with always owning a horse….growing up on a large cattle ranch helped…so did having a Dad who was as horse crazy as I was! We always had horses….and we still do. I love the smell of horses, the sound of horses and the relationship one can have with horses and everything about them…they represent a part of life that is my history and heritage. God loves horses too!

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6. Minnie Mouse our kitty girl…almost 18 years old and so much a part of my heart and my life….our life. She has been with through losing three of our parents, cancer and various tough times, and she always gave us her love and lots of funny antics to make us laugh…she has been with us longer than any of our kids and she loves us…we love her and she is our kitty angel:) Blessed by God:)

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7. Living in the very house that I grew up in with my Mom and Dad….that my Grandpa who I never got to meet, built for his mother, my great-grandmother who I never got to meet.

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Living here in a 100 year old family house though, I feel that I do know them and carry the same beliefs and family heritage they passed on to us. A house full of memories, honor and gratitude.

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8. I am grateful that I have always lived in the country, away from the hustle and bustle. I love the quiet and peaceful life of country living here, but I miss the solitude that I grew up in when we summered at the mountain cattle ranch without telephones, electricity, water and no TV let alone radio signal. It was pure bliss to live in such a beautiful place in the Blue Mountains, riding my horse everyday moving cattle or checking cows with my Dad. Life was simpler and the world was different then. I am grateful for all the memories I have of that period in my life growing up.

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9. I am more than blessed to own my “Little Red Car”…WB surprised me as he said “For my redhead and my love, this is your car”. And we do belong to the “Little Red Car Club”.

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10. And for my forever horses, that I will never forget…as they are forever with you:)

Mostly what I want to give to you is this…

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Sometimes when we look out the window of life…we see life that is gray and stormy. It can be depressing, discouraging and tough to see the storms of life we are facing…that is when we plug into our gratitude list, that is filled with determined faith, full of both small and large blessings and the tough times we survived before…as we can’t give up or in, we gotta keep on a going.

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And as we “stand strong on our faith and hope”, life will get better again. The good in life, continues to battle it out, with the evil during our lives…as life will never be perfect until we get to heaven.

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And God has already won for us! No matter how dark it can look in our lives, never ever give up:)

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Wild Bill and I are celebrating the day we met 37 years ago on Valentines Day…February 14, 1976! The picture above was taken two years ago when WB and I were interviewed here in our shop Holton Secret Lab on TV. Notice who is cracking a joke at the end…I am sure we were all nervous and making a funny joke was all I could think of doing…I love to laugh:)

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Happy Valentines Day! My hubby surprised me with the beautiful red roses this morning:)  I wish you all a very special day or night where ever you are!

As a footnote: I am working on the many awards I have been given the last few months. I am terribly slow this time and I hope that all the award givers will not give up on me:) I so appreciate you thinking of me and this blog. Wild Bill had a second surgery December 26th on his shoulder that has taken a longer recovery…he is getting better and still has to take things slow for a few more weeks but he is doing well…he began PT this week:) That is part of the reason for being slow to post new awards and blog the last few months…but I am here and working on getting those awards passed on soon:) Hugs and Blessings:)

Kiah Sweet Kiah, Yippee Ki Yi Yay…God Bless You And Keep You Always!

Every once in a while when you grow up living on a ranch…you will own a special dog, a once in a lifetime dog, a dog filled with heart and love for you…and your heart fills with love for them and they become your forever friend…the best dog you have ever had. When we lost Kiah December 30, 2012, we lost one of the best…she truly was our heart, our girl, our silly Ki Yippee Yi and we loved her so much.

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Many of you who have followed my blog have been introduced to Kiah…looking at her face, you can see her heart in her eyes…she was so smart and intuitive as she seemed to know what you were thinking!

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Kiah came to live with us in June 2011…turning a year old in September 2011. A good friend of ours mentioned to us that he knew the breeders were looking for a new home for Kiah and he told them about us. I called them and drove a 400 mile round trip to bring her home:)

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Is she not beautiful? I fell in love with her the second I saw her…her cute face and her beautiful coat of colors. When we got home and she got out of the pick up behind me…my hubby, Wild Bill fell in love with her too. I knew God blessed us with Kiah as we needed her and she needed us:)

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Kiah was immediately part of our hearts…she was full of love and so full of spirit. Our other three Aussie’s loved her too…Auz, the oldest in front just grunted at her and that was it. Dash liked playing with her and she loved to playfully grab his ears in her dog game version of “Speed Runs By Dasher To Grab Ears Hee-Hee.” Tucker in the back was not a huge fan at first as she had been the only girl for several years.

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But Ki loved Tuck anyway and Tucker eventually loved Kiah too but, she was a bit jealous of this new cute doggie girl, who liked to take her toy or stick of the moment away, see it between them? Tuck is daring Kiah to try it. And if Ki managed to get it away from Tucker she would bounce around the yard with the stick doing the dog style of “Neener Neener”…while Tucker would try to keep up barking at her the whole time…it was funny and quite cute to watch as eventually Ki would drop it and let Tucker have it back:)

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Kiah was very very human…she knew what you were contemplating and she understood your emotions in a very uncanny way. I don’t know how to explain it other than to say God made her different. She was a part of you and you immediately connected with her and she with you. She loved to crawl up into WB’s lap as she loved to cuddle…she was a large part of life here, our Kiah girl.

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“Don’t forget us Barn Lions!”  “We loved to watch her torment both Tucker and Dasher with “The Neener Neener Game!” “We just meow-laughed with hee-haw meowsy chuckles…plus we had a good view!”

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I loved her silly smiles and grins when she bared her teeth…and I loved her eyes when she squinted them into little slit eyes that were so cute!

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“Mom…I can squint my eyes and smile showing my teeth too!” I know Minnie and you are my baby too…my kitty angel that I love very much.

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And I know you loved Kiah and she loved you…she sniffed your nose through the window and would smile at you…at first you were sort of like Tucker but then you warmed up to her too.

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“Uh what?” “I didn’t kill the bird Mom really!”

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How can you be mad at a face like this? Kiah had so many expressions, and she was so cute:)

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But she could look mean too…she loved her family as all protective dogs love their family. I just miss her. Everyday I find myself looking for her as she would go hang out in the shop for a while to be sure WB was ok and then she would run up to the house and peek into the windows to be sure I was ok and all was well…then once she knew both WB and I were ok.

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She would do a speeding bullet run up the hill to survey the ranch below circling back down to make sure the horses were ok too.

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My Yippee Ki Yi Yay…

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Who loved sleeping in my dirt flower pots like a curled up colorful doggie flower…ahhhh…make that muddy doggie flower:)

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The day we buried Ms. Kiah…it was getting close to twilight time and I noticed out my kitchen window that the light looked sort of an odd color of gold on the hills…so I grabbed my camera and headed out the door in my socks no less as the light was changing quickly and I wanted to capture a few shots.

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After a few landscape shots I looked up and saw the most incredible golden skies above. None of the following pictures have been photo shopped or light roomed or manipulated…just my eye and my camera took the shots capturing it well…I love my camera:)

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Clouds with all kinds of layers and odd shapes…filled with golden swirls and colors of ember golden light.

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I felt that Ms. Kiah was sending us a message from heaven saying she was well and happy…playing in God’s glory and all was well:) That she would see us again someday when we get to heaven and she plans to be in the greeting party with our parents and family members, along with various horses, kitty cats, and dogs.

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I shot 44 pictures of this amazing sky…the layers of clouds with the incredible light and colors were truly not normal for this area…like Kiah who was unique and full of beauty.

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God is good and I do believe He said something like this…”Ms. Kiah, welcome to heaven you cute little girl:)”

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“Now come over and let Me have a look at you…oh you are so sweet and cute…we are going to send your Mom and Dad a message and you get to pick the colors as you are a colorful little girl…and I made you too:)”

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I could keep going as I have so many more special moments to share with you but, I know having a ton of photos can be boring to your readers at times and I need to learn better how to pick and choose. With Kiah, I wanted to share her heart with you all, as she was so special, and we were so blessed. I hope you have enjoyed seeing parts of her very much loved life with us.

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However, I do have to show you one more short set of a true “Kiah Moment”…a photography sequence that will make you smile…she was good at posing and looking adorable:)

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“What?”

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“Huh?”

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“Oh, yeah I totally agree Mom.”

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Our sweet Kiah may you rest in God’s arms and heaven’s peace…we LOVE you and hold you tightly in our hearts forever.

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We will never forget you…we miss your sweet spirit everyday and night.

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Our Sweet Kiah, We Love You Forever And We Like You For Always. Forever You Will Always Be Our Kiah Girl:)

Psalm 36:6 NIV

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