Remembering Our Loved Ones….

As the golden river of life gently flows on…

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Family history is a living breathing life that is passed on one generation to another…often filled with colorful memories and traditions of family heritage.

America The Beautiful!

Memorial Weekend is a time of gratitude for those who fought to protect our freedom and to protect our American life.

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It’s a time of reflection…a time to honor those who went before us, who made our life better with hard work and sacrifice.

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The last few years I began sorting boxes and memories of almost a hundred years stored in our home…each box took me back, like a historical time machine.

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When I was 34, Mom gave me a big box of letters written by her parents when they were courting in the late 1890’s. Writing was the only way they had to stay in touch and that is what they did. Their letters and love notes are full of young love, sweet tender words that speak to your heart…priceless. I hope to put them into a book someday, as they tell of a time in America we could not imagine…and they share a sweet story of love.

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Our house was built by my Norwegian Grandfather for his mother, my Great Grandmother Anne Marie, who was still living in Norway. The house is what I call a typical craftsman farm house built in 1920 and a mansion then,  as it has about 3800′.

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I have always loved living here…the old house to me is a peaceful sanctuary…it speaks deeply to my heart of family honor and love. I have been asked many times what is it like to live in the house you grew up in?

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For one thing, after WB and I were married and living here, I knew exactly where to put things:) I can predict the weather and tell you what the sky means…I know the neighbors by their exhaust…and I cherish every memory that I carry from growing up here with my parents…and moving here with my husband WB…and we are yet making “our” memories:)

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When we pulled the carpet up off the old wood floors, there was worn stenciling on the floors…the foot paths were very evident and I could see and feel where my ancestors walked!

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 I spent a few weeks on my hind end scooting along the floors, pulling the carpet nails out before we refinished it, with a box of kleenex and lots of tears. It was profound to know that your family, walked right there!

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This is home to me…a small place on this vast earth where I walk in the footprints of those who went before me…this is home.

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I give thanks to God for my family and especially my Great Grandmother, my Grandparents and my parents…my family and my heritage.

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May you be blessed with good memories and good stuff this Memorial Day!

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HRCG is over and out with Ellie and WB!

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!

Misty Memories Of Mom

Misty memories of my Mom came to me this late afternoon.

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I had been in the office all day and as I walked into the kitchen, the view outside my window was full of magic time and late afternoon fog drifting, eddying around the sagebrush across the road towards the creek…and it hit me…all of a sudden I was a young girl getting home from school on the school bus…climbing down the stairs of the bus, I turned and said “Have a good evening Red”…yes my bus driver had red hair and he was called Red by all the locals.

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As I looked towards the house, I could see a golden glow of warmth emanating from within. I knew Mom was cooking something special for dinner and she probably had something good for an after school treat!

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Mom loved to cook and always had snacks, and good stuff…I hurried up the steps as Mom opened the front door saying “Oh Honey, let me help you with that school bag”…she often had a dress on with her apron and a welcoming hug and smile.

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I could smell something sweet and divine…homemade chocolate cake for dinner desert and warm chocolate chip cookies for my snack…all made with Mom’s love:)  She usually had our beef in the oven…my favorite was her roast beef with potatoes, gravy and fruit salad! Mom was a loving wife and always a very classy lady. This photo was taken in town at my Grandma’s house on Easter…we had to do photo ops and I wanted to go hunt Easter eggs with my cousins by the dang dozen! I was being a stinker too…and I remember a swift swat on the patoot!

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Mom’s life was Dad and me…along with a few cattle dogs, lots of cows and several horses…she taught me so much about marriage by example and living life in a small community. In this photo we had been busy with the photographer all day taking photos of us as my Dad was President of the Pendleton Round Up…he was very deserving and truly the “Cowboy’s President” and we were excited for him and his recognition…but we were all tired!

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Once I had explained all the details of my day at school including the bus trip home, I settled in front of the TV and ate my cookies while watching Flicka or Fury or Sky King…now it is my camera that settles me…I love grabbing shots to share:)

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And all was well in a simple country girl’s life growing up:)

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Have a Wonderfully Wild Weird Wednesday! HRCG Over And Out But…I’m On A Roll With My Camera…I Might Catch Ya! Click Click Click!

The First Breathe Of Spring

The first breath of Spring is elusive here in Juniper and yet, can it be?

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 Is it Spring? I felt her brush my cheek tonight as I stood outside taking pictures without a coat or shoes…I saw magic time colors…grabbed my camera and out the door I went…lucky we have a nice patio that accommodates feet with or without socks!

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When we went to bed Saturday night, the snow was beginning to drift and blow…

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And when we woke up Sunday morning,

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We had drifts blocking various roads and doors…and fun photography shots!

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However, some of us were getting a bit perturbed…ok darn right cranky!

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Bitchy, Grumpy and Sweet Melody…aw my Mel, you are so sweet!

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By the time we went to bed Sunday night…the great thaw had begun!

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Spring is coming…hang on…tell Groundhog Phil he needs a new gig!

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Over and out from HRCG and Minnie, the cat who knows where it’s at!

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!

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:)

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