Days Of Summer…Old Time Memories And Country Life

Days of summer…old time memories and country life…summertime is one of my favorite seasons here in Juniper Canyon. In early June the fields of wheat are lush green…we hope for a few June showers to water the crops and before we know it July takes over…usually with hot temps, today it’s 95 degrees, with a hot breeze blowing that dries the crops out as they go from green to an amber golden color. This is exactly where we are right now with harvest coming up soon.

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Tonight, as the golden twilight falls, long ago memories drift gently through my heart…I can hear the sounds of little girl giggles and make believe imagination as I rode my white horse Prince around the ranch…or ran through the sprinklers…and if I was lucky a couple of cousins would be visiting!

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The air is warm and ever so still…our canyon breeze seems to have settled for the night and in its place…country silence. I can hear a hawk occasionally making his twilight hunting sounds along with the owls up on the hill behind us…as coyotes howl across the horse pasture while in the near distance their relatives answer back…setting off our dogs. A typical warm summer night in Juniper Canyon…and life as I know it.

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Harvest is in the air and on everyone’s mind…old memories of growing up here, takes me back to the sounds of harvest and also the sounds of the cattle ranch in the mountains. My cousins experienced more of harvest than I did, as my uncles did the farming here while my Dad managed the cattle in the mountains…however Dad kept me busy riding for cows and helping him on the cattle ranch through the summers…

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Until I was old enough to join my cousins in harvest and drive wheat truck. Harvest was a family effort…one that made you proud and glad that you were a part of bringing the crops in. We made lots of great family memories along with many hysterically funny stories to tell on each other at lunch!

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Harvest will always be about the common bond of family that stretches over a 100 years…in my heart I can see and feel the sacrifices my Norwegian Grandparents made to give us a future and a hope. They worked hard for every kernel of wheat to support their families well into the future with a legacy of hard work and family honor. Family heritage is who we are today and where we came from.

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It is fitting that old memories are flooding my heart as this weekend we had a large family wedding to attend. It was a beautiful ceremony full of love, friendship and a forever and ever love. My cousin’s daughter was the beautiful bride…she married into a family full of heritage and family honor, much like our large family. They will have a lifetime of happiness!

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The thing about good family memories, family history and family heritage, is that those heartfelt memories are the foundation, we as a large family have built our lives on…both in good times and bad times. Our Norwegian grandparents built the good stuff into their children who became our parents and in turn they built the family honor and heritage into us.

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I was blessed to grow up with my cousins by the dozens, and my aunts and uncles who always welcomed me into their homes if my parents were going to be out of town etc.

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Family meant the world to all of us…as we were old-fashioned close…celebrating family birthdays and holidays together…both young and old enjoyed the connection and the relationship.

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I’m not sure how my uncles and my Dad put up with us, but when we worked for them in harvest or on the cattle ranch, we knew it was serious business and we better pay attention! We would try hard to do that but we were kids…and we would laugh out loud about how so and so got their truck stuck or how so and so got in trouble for spilling a bit of wheat but the uncles were not laughing…nor was my Dad when I managed to loose my herd of cows some where up Chimney Creek! Oh the good old days…we still believed in fairy tales and happy endings.

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And this last weekend…we were part of a beautiful love story filled with fairy tales and a beautiful happy ending. Dreams do come true!

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…..

Life Decades…Life Dreams…Life Goes On.

Life decades…life dreams…life…life goes on.

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I suppose wisdom is good with age…I like the wisdom but not thrilled about the age.

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I miss the old days of life…sitting a saddle everyday on a horse, looking and gathering cattle…doing what I know, that is as natural as breathing to me.

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Feeling mother nature on my face as she bathes me with her skies, and the beauty all around me…full of God’s glory.

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And the smell of a horse under you…together we are a team…hearts are joined.

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A quick summer shower that was enough to cool you off and the warmth of the sun above on my face…

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And the cattle…mooing…snapping brush and twigs as they try to out maneuver you…softly mooing for their babies as the dogs nip a few heels…the herd bellows a bit while moving out with you and your horse.

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I miss cowgirling… I miss the long days in the saddle and the short nights before you got up and did it all over again.

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I miss the mountain smells of pines, different grasses that drifts in the breeze…the smell of horses and cows…the sound of the creek gurgling on a hot afternoon…and the smell of mud as mountain mud is different…I loved the mountains…I loved the smells and the sounds of living on a cattle ranch.

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I loved the isolation…the hard work we did together…the incredible scenery…and cowboying with my hubby…we were hauling water to cows on a warm summer night in this photo.

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Never a dull moment as each day brought new adventures…

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You never knew from day-to-day what you would see and experience!

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At day’s end, once you tucked yourself into bed snug as a bug, drifting off to sleep,

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Snapshots of life would roam through your head as you dreamed of tomorrow’s life on a cattle ranch.

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Wishing You A Fun Funny Friday Full Of Fantastically Fabulous Follies!

Days Of Old Drift Back To Me

Days of old drift back to me on wings of golden memories, taking me back to old times, happy times and family times, as the love of family runs deep in my veins and deeper in my heart…

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Treasured memories of childhood hold fast and true, as the sounds of innocence play softly in my mind…sounds of silly giggling and little legs running to hide on a warm country night, as we played hide and go seek…”Olly Olly Oxen Free.”

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Growing up I had cousins by the dozens and lots of Aunts and Uncles….the above photo was taken on my 3rd birthday here at the house. My Grandma is sitting on the red sofa next to my Uncle Ron and Uncle Rich is sitting in the red chair that was my Dad’s…and to the right of the photo you can see the skirts of my aunts…you can’t see me as I’m surrounded by cousins…I have the short hair with the striped dress sitting on the floor.

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Dad had six brothers counting him and three sisters making Dad’s immediate family a family of 11 and they all lived in this area. As a family tradition, we got together for Thanksgiving and again for Christmas Eve, it was always a very large gathering of around 60 plus family members, with Aunts, Uncles and their spouses and lots of cousins. It was an incredible gift to be part of a huge family as I grew up…as family was very important. Being an only child I was on cloud nine each time we got together for the holidays or for my cousins birthdays…those were the best years of our lives!

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My Dad is standing on the left side with the cowboy hat on and his five brothers…two nephews sitting in the middle in front and two young nephews standing with their Dad on the right side of the photo taken here about 1960.

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When I began grade school in our very small town, 8 miles from our house, there was one of my cousins in each grade from 1-12.  I loved it as my older cousins were plowing the path for us to follow along! It was incredible to experience that…if one of us got hurt or upset we could run to find one of our cousins for childhood support!  Our school was lucky to have a 100 kids enrolled in 12 grades. Most classes were under 10 kids. FYI, I was thrilled when Mom finally told me I could grow my hair out if I took care of it and I did and still do:)

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As we cousins grew up, went to college and got married, we began a new chapter that was very foreign to us. In the last few years, we have buried our parents together. It’s hard at times to fathom that we are now the older family members and yet…we still feel like that same group of cousins, laughing and calling out “Olly Olly Oxen Free”…young at heart…life was good…we had each other and we had our parents and we had lots of Uncles and Aunts to tease us and keep us in line. The picture above is only half of my cousins!

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The last week has been bittersweet as we lost a family member who was very much loved. He was my oldest cousin, but because of the age difference, we called him our Uncle Gerald. He was always in a good mood and had a smile for everyone…if you showed up in his shop he would offer you a meal and something to drink…he loved his family and he worked hard his entire life. He was always there with a smile and a wave as he drove by…I will miss him.

The picture above is at cow camp in the old log cabin. My Mom always cooked up a storm…using a wood cook stove, with no running water and no electricity…she was amazing!  Gerald is sitting with his back to the picture, my Dad is pouring us lemonade and Gerald’s son Jerry is sitting next to my Dad and cousin Matt is sitting next to me and yes…that is me with the dorky glasses and pixie haircut!.

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In remembrance of my Uncle Gerald…the picture above says it all…he was a good husband, a good father and a super grandfather and friend to many…and the best Uncle/Cousin you could have. He will be remembered for the caring love he had for his family and for others…and the great sense of fun he had in life…he lived his life fully with honor and with the simple love of family.

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Time passes by and before you know it those whom you love are gone. Wherever you are…reach out to your family and to those that you love…as time gets shorter each year and before you know it, time passes by…Kathy Mattea sang the song below…it is one of my favorites and so very true.

Dreams drift away like leaves on the water
They roll down the river and slip out of sight
Too many times we do what we ought
Put off ’til tomorrow what we’d really rather do tonight
And later realize

Time passes by, people pass on
At the drop of a tear, they’re gone
Let’s do what we dare, do what we like
And love while we’re here before time passes by

Thoughts are like pennies we keep in our pockets
They’re never worth nothing ’til we give them away
But love’s like a promise in an un-opened letter
Where nights full of pleasure seldom see the light of day
When life gets in the way

Time passes by, people pass on
At the drop of a tear, they’re gone
Let’s do what we dare, do what we like
And love while we’re here before time passes by

Time passes by, people pass on
At the drop of a tear, they’re gone
Let’s do what we dare, do what we like
And love while we’re here before time passes by

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Have a wonderful week with a bit of whacky….as the whacky will keep life interesting! HRCG over and out for now but not for long!

A Throw Away Nation Verses A Cowgirl Heritage Keeper!

A throw away nation verses a cowgirl heritage keeper…Me!

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In today’s modern world if I want it…I can find it. And if I break something, I can run to Wal-Mart and replace it…and if I get tired of something, well I can throw it out and get a new one…furniture, computers, phones, cars…marriages are easy come easy go if it does not work out…and the American Family that God created, is gone. I remember reading long ago in the bible that in the end of days brother would be against brother and children would be against their parents…at the time I could not fathom that…but today I can. We have it in our own family and we see it in families around us.

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But…what about heritage and family history? Easy come…easy go you say…what? No that is not the way it is to be…family honor and people are important. Heritage sometimes takes hard work and sometimes it is not easy but in the end it is so very worth it!

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I took this photo of Minnie on New Years morning while she was waiting for her bacon…

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And Miss Ellie was waiting for her bacon too…she is my shadow now and Minnie is my master…I’m in good hands, I mean paws:)

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After breakfast…I downloaded my photos and noticed how interesting this photo turned out with the intense colors in the morning light. I love the varied deep red colors full of artistic patterns that pulls the design together with the old wood floor and the old dry sink. I began to hear the stories of life and the history in each piece…which made my heart smile.

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The red leather sofa you see is full of family history, young love, lots of heritage with a great story to tell. In the early 1940’s, my Mom and Dad were preparing for family to come visit the ranch. Mom was cleaning house so she sent my Dad to town by himself to purchase a bedroom set for the guest room…why I don’t know? The road to town was 20 miles of dirt and gravel, with ruts and various other things to drive over and through…maybe that’s why she sent him? Dad was gone all day and when he came home, he had gotten a good deal on the bedroom set, so he bought a red leather sofa and chair set to surprise Mom, for their living room.

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Mom was surprised and more than a little! Mom did not like the color red or leather furniture! She told me she instantly saw red when Dad got home with it!

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Dad was shocked as he thought she would “Love the rich brown leather sofa and chair“…but Dad was color blind and red looked like brown!

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Mom was a trooper as they used the red sofa for many years…and she kept it, she did not throw it away. In their 60 years of marriage, they only purchased 3 sofa’s…you see the world was different then…you appreciated things given to you or things that you bought. Society had a better value on the things we saved our money for…and hardly anyone used a credit card. Mom always told me to “Spend wisely and be sure you will be happy with what you choose, as you will have it a long time…you don’t need top of the line but medium is about right as you want it to last.” And “If you choose wrongly and are not happy with it, you have to live with it and make the best of it.” I had good parents…if I made wrong choices, they made me learn from my mistakes. In today’s world, we see kids make wrong choices and their parents either rescue them or do not make them pay the price to learn from their mistake…its sad to see as part of learning about life and being responsible for yourself, is learned through our mistakes.

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Dad loved his sofa and so do I as it’s long and we are tall. I will keep it forever…it has never been recovered, they made things to last in the 1940’s! I love the wear of life that shows on the old leather! Mostly though, I love the story.

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The Navajo blanket has a chapter to share too. Dad took a trip with a buddy to Texas to buy a young horse named Red that had good bloodlines etc. It was not a quick trip on freeways like we have today.

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Dad was on a mission to find the perfect gift for Mom, hoping to win a few brownie points for his being gone and buying another horse. He found a beautiful Navajo Blanket and proudly brought it home thinking Mom would love it. Notice the red again…whoops…darn color blindness! It was not fun to be with Dad in a large city either…red lights, HA!

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Mom kept the Navajo with the red sofa and chair for a few years in the living room, after all they matched. When Mom told me the story, she he told me “its the thought that counts and not the gift”…so very true. Eventually, the Navajo hung with honor on the wall of the den with the red sofa under it when I grew up…I love it and so does Minnie Mouse!

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Red turned out to be a great horse that Dad had for many years, and he eventually became my second horse, that’s Red with me above.

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In closing I wanted to share this photo of Mr. Rooster. He was showing off for me on the log fence…he hung around the pasture close to the house when I went through breast cancer a few years ago…each morning he appeared promptly about 8:00 to visit me out my window, as if he was checking on me. I’m coming up on my 8th Anniversary and was thinking about him…truly he was a gift of Majesty!

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As I sit with my feet up enjoying the view of family history…I realize we grew up in a different world than today’s world. Oh sure sometimes I love technology, or going to the big city to shop for clothes and I appreciate a good running vehicle…but nothing can replace family heritage, family honor, cherished memories, truth, dignity and respect…my parents saw to it that I learned these valuable lessons for living life…as our traditions tell the story of family history and that is the basis and foundation of our lives.

Life is too short and precious to throw it away.

Wishing you a peaceful night…and a wonderful Happy New Week!

Amber Waves of Grain By Sharla Shults…

Hot Rod Cowgirl:

http://catnipoflife.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/amber-waves-of-grain/

http://awakenings2012.blogspot.com/2013/11/amber-waves-of-grain.html

For some odd reason this posted below Sharla’s blog…this is my second re-blog, and I hope I am doing this right! Sorry for the edits! I want to introduce you to Sharla Shults who is a gifted writer and published author of poetry that comes from her heart with beautiful words and thoughts. She writes to tell the story of American History…which is our story, our history and our heritage. We each have a story to tell and share of our families history of coming to a new land called America. It was their strength and gritty determination that brought us the life we live today…giving us heritage that runs deep and history that makes America truly America. I am honored that Sharla chose to showcase my photography with her beautiful poetry, on both her blogs, go take a look…at both Awakenings and Catnipoflife. Thank you Sharla!

Originally posted on catnipoflife:

MarcyAwakenings featured Marcy @Hot Rod Cowgirl who is Riding Through Life One Horse At A Time…Courage Is Being Scared To Death But Saddling Up Anyway! Marcy is a true American who captures America the beautiful not only with her poignant words but also her awesome photography.

You are encouraged to visit Hot Rod Cowgirl where Marcy and Wild Bill are both riding through life one horse at a time! Giddy-up! AND Whoa! only when there is no other place to go! 

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GO to Awakeningsand join Marcy…

Somewhere Along the Highway

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New Beginnings And Speedy Lickety-Split Endings

New beginnings and speedy lickety-split endings are part of life here as time passes by on planet earth…we have seasons of life much like the earth has weather seasons. There’s a time for everything…a time for hello and a time to say goodbye…a time to seed and plant the crops and a time to harvest in July…a brand new day begins each dawn and the end of day comes as the sun sets each evening. The last few weeks with the end of summer and the beginning of fall, beginnings and endings have been on my mind a lot, as time passes by so quickly…we get busy and forget to focus on the important people in our lives or the important blessings we have, until one day they are gone.

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As I dwell on this simple truth, Ecclesiastes: Chapter 3: Verse:1-8, comes to mind as God spoke of a time for everything. I began to see how every part of our life has seasons or beginnings and endings. It’s how God designed life and yet, a new beginning comes and before we know it the ending sneaks up on us…from loosing those we love, to coming home after a week’s vacation, to giving birth, you blink and the baby is grown up with babies of their own…sometimes the ending comes with great pain and grief, while other times it comes with celebration upon college graduation with your diploma in hand…well deserved with true happiness!

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I believe that life has a rhythm in all parts of it…a constant beat full of heart and passion with the joyful energy of our soul. Maybe because I love music and love to dance, counting double time or half time with ease, it makes sense to me that God would give rhythm to His earth and to our lives…two steps forward, one step back. The dance of life can be one of incredible joys, contrasted by times of great difficulties. Milestone moments in life can take our breath away, as we either accomplished our dreams or we lost someone or something very dear to our heart. It’s up to us how we choose to live our life and how we maneuver the times of highs and lows…as we keep dancing with all we’ve got.

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I try to see the positive in life…the glass is half full and not half empty. I believe anything is possible when we put our mind to it…I laugh as I have said under my breath since I was in grade school “Where there’s a Marcy, there’s a way!” Even when things look their darkest, I hang on to my faith as I know but I know that somehow, someway, things will work out. Going through breast cancer 7 years ago was scary at times, but God told me I would survive and I knew if God said it, He meant it, and I believe it and that is that. We have many areas in our life today that we can not count on…but I know I can count on God with all my soul and all my heart.

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This time of year for me is bittersweet as I lost my Dad in October and lost my Mom a year later in December. It doesn’t seem that long ago and yet it has been 16 years…the painful memories are softer now…but every year beginning in September, I begin to reflect on my life and the life around me, as I ponder the last year of our life here. Being a writer and a deep thinker, I process life circumstances deeply in my heart as I ask the hard questions and seek the truth of life events and how those events have effected me. After I ponder the last year in the innermost part of me, only then after I have come to some conclusion will my thoughts fall onto paper with sincere and sometimes crazy writers abandon. I ask lots of questions in order to wrap my understanding around whatever it is…but yeah…I seek the answers to life’s deepest, greatest and toughest questions. I know I will never know all the answers until I get to heaven someday, but I feel life deeply and think on things a long time…before I can give the answer to those questions.

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As I am writing this afternoon, the light outside my window is full of golden softness as my world is filled with an amber glow, fall has truly fallen on Juniper Canyon. When I write I often look out on the land, watching the shadows of the clouds above, play on the landscape, making new odd shapes…and I remember old times, simple times and good memories. This week as I reflect more on memories of my parents, I can hear Dad’s voice in my head. One of the first times he was deathly ill, we called 911 for help…it was scary for all of us. I was very thankful we were not living in Wyoming, and instead lived next door allowing us to get there in a hurry if we were needed. Once Dad was stable and loaded into the ambulance on that clear blue sky morning, I sat with Dad while Mom and Bill got her jacket etc. for the ride to the hospital.

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I noticed Dad was looking out and up the hill, and then he said “Have you and Bill decided if this ranch is home and is this where you will put down roots and grow old?” I was taken back with his direct question as my thoughts were not on Wild Bill and me…my thoughts were on Dad and Mom. I stuttered and stammered saying something like “Dad, I know this is home and yes we will put down our roots and build our life here.” He kept pondering his life and the landscape and said ” I sure hope I come back home again, as I will surely miss this place.” I hugged his neck and said to him “You will Dad, you will.” And he did many times, from several near death emergencies, over the next four years…his doctor told us “Your Dad is one tough cowboy.”

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The crazy thing about our lives is that often we do not recognize the beginning of something great in our lives until the end of it. Growing up I lived on a vast cattle ranch, I did not understand that living on private land was a gift and a privilege of life. I thought everyone had a cattle ranch in the mountains and that we all owned land somewhere. I also thought everyone had a horse and lived the same life I lived! I had an active imagination growing up as I was taught that everything was possible if we believe…and today I still believe in the impossibilities of life:)

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Learning to look at the glass half full instead of almost empty, was one of the simple truths of life my parents taught me…having a positive attitude instead of a bitter one has carried me through some tough times and still carries me today in my life, as I still have tough issues to deal with in our lives here.

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Our lives are a gift to live with love, joy, hope and faith that tomorrow will come as it will. When one door closes and the season is over…you may feel a pang of sadness, but you know there is always hope for a new beginning and we will find it if we seek it out…as we will never give up! Beginnings and endings…sunrise and sunset…summer began and summer ended, as fall began. I felt a moment of grief for the warm days of harvest and the magical summers we live here and yet as soon as the moment passed, I saw the beauty of fall and I was at peace knowing this was the beginning of a new season that would be filled with wonder and home spun days of gold:)

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I leave you with one of my favorite bible verses…it is so true as it is the heart of life!

A Time for Everything

 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

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May You Have A Fantastic Fall Weekend And A Fabulous Frivolous Friday!

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:)

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:)

HAPPY 4th OF JULY AMERICA!!! HOLY COW!!! WE HAVE HAD RECORD HOT TEMPS!!!

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Happy 4th of July America…and to all of you!!!

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God Bless America!

I use the top photo often as it is by far my favorite flag picture…seeing our flag flying full, proud and free, on a horse that is flying proud and free, always takes my breath away!!! Happy 4th of July America…I hope you are celebrating with your families and with America today as we stop once again to wish our glorious country Happy Birthday! Now where is that cake? I want the frosting….

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Holy Cow!  We have had record hot temps with abnormally hotter than hot summer days and nights the last few weeks, it was 85 degrees outside at 11:30 at night. We climbed into the 108-110 degree range daily, for over a week and the humidity was incredibly stellar…we usually do not get much humidity here as we are in a dry climate area…however, this last week day or night it was humid. It was hard to breathe as the air was so heavy and hot. We have had a dry furnace breeze blowing since last Saturday all day long until sundown hits and then it quits and the hot humid air just hangs…suffocating and nasty hot.

I love saying “Holy Cow” as it reminds me of my Dad, who said it often and taught me the same:)

Last Tuesday and Wednesday night our bedroom was 90 degrees with 90% humidity…no air was moving outside, not even a fresh Juniper Canyon breeze blowing up the canyon drifting over us, cooling off our bedroom so we could sleep…it was dead calm and weirdly quiet outside. The crickets were not crickiting…is that a word? All I would occasionally hear was the annoying bull frog and he was not doing his usual hyped up over himself 8 second ribbits.  Most nights it would finally cool down to 75 degrees about 3:00 am, which is still very hot for us and for the nocturnal coyotes, owls and our deer, and all the various animals outside.

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With the hot temps the wheat is drying out and turning a golden amber color with a touch of burnt red. It is one of my favorite colors and I use it through out my house. Our landscape has turned from green grasses and weeds into dry fuel that would burn easy with a lightning strike. Both our barn cats have moved down from the hay loft to the cement aisle floors as it is cooler down there yet and close to their cold automatic water trough.

Two weeks ago it was 55-60 degrees…cloudy…windy…rainy…chilly! That was kind of weird for here too but we needed the rain so while I complained that I was tired of gray skies and tired of being chilly…the rain was welcome. We try to be tough and sleep in our bedroom every summer but I have an idea that we will be getting that new A/C unit installed this year specifically for our bedroom. We used to not mind the heat up here but the last years we have gotten spoiled by the air on the main floor and our basement floor.

Farmers utilize a team of 14 draft animals to harvest wheat.

As I mentally turn back the clock to the 1920’s through the 1990’s when we did not have air conditioning anywhere in the house….we survived and managed. My great-grandmother Anne Marie would probably tsk tsk me for being too hot and tell me to be a big girl now. It fits with the society we live in now…we feel we have to have all the conveniences to comfort us…but I know we can survive grumpily without them:) However…hmmm…when it is 85 degrees at night and a 110 during the day…we need lots of nice cool air to cool us off to sleep at night!

My hubby is from the southeast corner of the state…so was my Mom. We read in the paper today how the ranchers and farmers are struggling with drought conditions caused by not receiving adequate rain for several years. In turn this has caused the reservoirs to dry up. For the cattle rancher who depends on the water for the health of his livestock, and for their survival out on the high desert, many of the century old ranches have only one choice left and that is to sell off their herd or a large part of it. The price of hay will be prohibitive, if they can find it, and the cattle have to have water. I have ridden horseback out to gather cattle on the high desert between Jordan Valley and the base of the Steens and there is not much feed out there under normal circumstances. Today, I would imagine it looks pretty barren and very dry as far as the eye can see. The BLM is hauling water to the various animals of the high desert, the wild mustangs, the pronghorn antelope and etc.

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The green-gold irrigation that has fed the farmers ever since the irrigation was developed and run by the BLM is running out of water too.  If the farmer runs out of water to irrigate his crops, he can not grow his crops, including the hay crops to sell to the cattle ranchers to feed their cattle. The massive Owyhee Reservoir that we have boated on for years, will drop to a third full by August…the lowest it has been on record since it was created in the early 1930’s. That is incredible as this damn is 55 miles long and 450′ deep at the Glory Hole. Hearing of the Owyhee Reservoir being low, means dire circumstances, as the farmers and ranchers have relied on growing several crops per year to support their families and the world.

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They can not grow their crops without water, and if the ranchers can not water their cattle or feed them, then they have no choice but to sell their livestock, which puts their lifestyle at risk. When the family ranch is passed on to you by the generations before you, and during your watch, a historic drought happens that may cause you to sell off your cattle and your land with all the heritage that was passed on to you, you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. When your blood is flowing in the land down deep and you can touch the very earth that was homesteaded for you, you can feel the heritage that runs through your veins…it never goes away. I saw this first hand on some of the huge ranches we managed for the new owners…it was heartbreaking to watch the previous owners pack up their heritage and history. In my own way, I felt their pain and I understood. When I ride my horse out into the fields around us here, and I sit quietly, closing my eyes, I can hear the distant teams of horses plowing the dirt that I am currently standing on,  I can hear the long ago voices of the past and I know it is my Grandfather and his brothers…the echos of my heritage come to life in my heart for a few moments in a brief time warp……

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This last week there are fires on the Owyhee that have burned 44,000 since a lightning storm moved through the area on July 2. The BLM reports as I write this, the fire is 50% contained and under control.

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Due to the dry conditions during the summer of 2012, a million acres or 1500 square miles, burned in Malheur and Harney Country, from dry fuel and dry lightning. This year 33 square miles have already burned from dry fuel and lightning. And new fires broke out Sunday night in a very remote rugged area. The drought has brought the Treasure Valley to a halt, which is unheard of as the irrigated farms around the valley were prosperous and raised incredible crops. We have miles and miles of dry land wheat acres here to support our farms…learning about irrigation from WB, as he grew up with it and knows it well, shook this dry Eastern Oregon Cowgirl up a bit as I had no idea that a mere farm of a 100 acres could do better than we could with 1000’s of acres! The drought of 2013 has placed both the farmers and ranchers in a precarious place, they need assistance, rain after rain storm and they need grazing land to feed their cattle, such as CRP, while the farmer need water to grow their crops.

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My heart goes out to them…and to the desperation they must feel. The ranching and farming families that work the land depend on God and the weather, are a tough bunch, they have lots of strength and moxie and I am praying that God gives them even more strength and moxie right now to hang on and keep going…remember them in your prayers. It is not an easy life to live, this cowboying, cattle ranching life we have lived…it’s a rough and tough life. It’s not an easy life for the farmers either, who break up the soil, planting a tiny little seed in the dirt, while praying and trusting hard for the right amount of rain and good weather to bring it to fruition. Working long hours from sun up to well after dark, farm families work together to bring in the crop, and often the farm wife is serving up a late harvest meal at 10:00 at night, due to a break down right at quitting time. Tired or not the repair had to be figured out and fixed, so harvest would not be delayed the next morning, before heading home for dinner. I remember doing dishes by hand, drying them and putting them back into the cupboard at midnight, before I went to bed, so I would be organized to cook an early breakfast four hours later for my family.

As I write this, our temp today is 90 degrees and has cooled off some, but the air conditioner is still on. Our cool weather will last over the weekend but not for long as we are to have another high pressure system move in by Sunday and hotter than normal temps will return…and where is the phone number for the air conditioner business who can install air for our room? I am not sure why the weather is changing so much…but it is. The patterns we are in currently, are not what I remember as a kid here and certainly not what WB remembers in Vale where he grew up. It will affect all of us one way or another as our food supply will drop and the price of groceries will rise due to lack of produce…and no the price does not go to the farmer.  The drought will destroy some of the family farms and ranches which to me, is very sad as these agricultural based families have been growing food to feed the nation for over a 100 years and now their land is drying up, their cattle can not survive, the irrigated row crops will begin to dwindle, if they haven’t already. Their lives and livelihood are at stake and times are tough, but if anyone can get through this, it is the American Farmer and the American Livestock Rancher. We do know how to dig deep…and carry on with determination and courage…and I applaud them!

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Tonight as we celebrate our great nation’s birthday, remember our military and their families…and pray for America! Enjoy the fireworks…we do not do that part as we have to be careful of fire here. Eat lots of good food, we do that part:) Enjoy the company of your family and friends! Together we stand one nation under God with liberty and justice for all! God Bless The United States of America!

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