Birthday daze of 2014 has proved once again to never be boring:)
And this says it all to me!
Riding Through Life One Horse At A Time…Courage Is Being Scared To Death But Saddling Up Anyway!
04 Sep 2014 15 Comments
Birthday daze of 2014 has proved once again to never be boring:)
And this says it all to me!
19 Aug 2014 39 Comments
August introspection is slowly settling into my heart once again as summer is winding down…soon it will be going going gone…summer this year disappeared too fast!
It reminds me how quickly the years fly by…how life passes on faster than we want…which means we either grab on or hang on.
I will grab on and ride on!
August is my birthday month…a time of gratitude and a time of thanksgiving for the life that God has given me.
Each birthday brings me to a place of self examining…how can I improve myself…what do I need to change? We will never know it all and we will never be perfect people…I am not perfect at all, I am more of a klutz with a good heart! I love to learn new things to improve myself…and I love to write and to capture lifetime photos:)
August weather can be unpredictable…you never know what is brewing…such as today’s forecast for severe thunderstorms and lightning and…
I will be watching and grabbing images of the storm to share with you all:)
Usually August will bring summer’s last hurrah…a week of 100 degree days with very warm nights.
And you’ll find me clicking away as much as I can, trying to grab the remaining summer we have left. Late August brings many enchanted evenings outside…
Perfect for photos that bring much delight! And as I look up to the heavens, I stare in wonder at the magical colors displayed above me.
I love living here…never a dull moment…always something that brings life to your heart:)
I wanted to share this interesting photo with you as I have never seen anything like these clouds…you may need to click on the image to bring it up so you can see the ethereal but enchanting clouds…they look a bit transparent and yet they look like lace in the sky or voile…beautifully odd but very interesting!
And as I swing through life…I trust Him who holds the ropes to my life…I look up and laugh for He has me in His hands:)
Minnie Mouse (above), Ellie Belle and I wish you all a great week!
Life is good…Life is beautiful!
A year ago today our Ellie girl came to live with us…
She is so cute, so smart and a great protector!
And HRCG…Minnie Mouse…and Ellie Belle are over and out for now…but not for long:)
04 Aug 2014 26 Comments
Calling Sky Pilot…Weather Alert…Weather Alert…Calling Sky Pilot…Come In Please?
This post is about weather and clouds as we have had very unusual weather here the last few years and some of it has been extreme. This is for my cloud loving subscribers…enjoy and enjoy…as these are only the tip of the iceberg!
The photo above of the clouds was going over the house and my head…I stepped off the patio to shoot it. Kind of a WOWSERS to look up and see this or any of the storms!
This storm showed up around 1:00pm on an afternoon in June with several individual storms….some were dropping…some were rotating and most were quite ominous!
And then there is this…amazing to see thunder heads and clouds of this size with all the varied colors…odd beauty on camera!
I have to include my twist and shout clouds too!
And the rumple bumple clouds…
Uh…welllll…this formation was interesting?
And God came in with His paint brush and fluffed…then stroked the clouds a bit
With Kingdom light and a lot of might!
And with that said God Night…remember He always has the night shift:)
Yee-Ha! Today is the 3rd Anniversary for HRCG!
Thank you to my subscribers and followers….from the ever present writer and newbie photographer who sends you much thankfulness and appreciation for your support!
28 Jul 2014 32 Comments
Summertime…oh sweet summertime! How I love thee, let me count the ways.
My number one love of summer is being outside and enjoying the season. Every evening we are on the patio watching the colors change…drinking in the beautiful summer nights…breathing in the country air while making new memories to add to the days of old.
I love summertime and all that comes with it, hot temps, harvest, dust, lemonade, flowers, and always horses…mix it all together and you have a perfect summer!
Ms. Melody is enjoying the evening out on her pasture for a few hours…I love seeing our horses free and grazing the pasture in their natural state. My Dad had over 25 horses on the cattle ranch that I grew up on…they were working horses as by the week’s end we had each ridden several of them gathering cattle, traveling over 20 to 30 miles in mountainous country so we did not have to worry so much about grass…I worry about my horses today as they do not get the same use and exercise…with horses you always have to be thinking about their health and keeping them safe. We check them everyday making sure all is well…
There is so much natural beauty outside during summertime…but honestly, each season has its own beauty and I enjoy them all!
Beginning with spring, we often have puffy clouds drifting lazily overhead casting shadows on the landscape, while a sapphire blue sky peaks out…click goes my camera!
A summer blessing appeared this year as Dad’s trees are blooming once again:) A few years ago during a record drought, they were dying from lack of rain, while this year they bloomed, bringing back the wonderful sweet smell of the blossoms…they smell absolutely heavenly!
They have become a part of the ranch and have been a constant in my life since I was small…Dad planted them on top of the hill gradually bringing them down to the end of the arena where I practiced barrels and pole bending…and where my Dad would stand patiently timing me and saying “Come on go, hurry, go go go…yah you did it!”
Dad used to team rope and calf rope when I was smaller and I would run the 12 and under barrel races at whatever small rodeo we went to. Mom was long suffering as she was our cheerleader and support! When Dad built the arena, he built it for roping, it was set up and ready to go for calf roping and team roping with friends. Dad’s trees have stood silently by through years of both good and bad times, having weathered life well…while passing the test of time this year, with a re-birthing of new life in their branches:)
Ellie girl is loving summer too as this is her first grown up summer and she is ready for new adventures “Come on Mom, lets go”…she loves exploring on our walks as I look for new photos to capture…she looks for new places to dig holes and explore.
She gave me a perfect Ellie shot…she is so cute how she always has her head down and bottom up when exploring…I love my Ellie girl:)
The last few years we have had odd weather…it has been great for me to capture pictures as I love the ever changing weather for photo ops. In this shot, can you see the eyes or the Zorro mask?
Ominous storm clouds rolling into the canyon, drifting over us…
No make that scary clouds! Hang on Toto as we must be in Kansas!
After the storms, we usually have an awesome rainbow…I love trying to capture the colors as they are full of natural beauty. Our God is an amazing God…He gives us a beautiful world to live in filled with miraculous scenes if we look for them!
And then there is Minnie…our 19 year-old kitty who is exploring summertime green grass…she loves summer too and will sit in the window day and night sleeping against the screen so she can smell the smells, hear the sounds and feel the cool air. This summer I have taken her outside each evening that we are outside so that she can taste the grass, taste the air and breathe deeply all the smells that kitties love.
After 19 years as an inside kitty, she has earned the time to explore the yard…smell the smells and feel the grass under her paws:) I stay close to her and watch over her…once we go back into the house, she sleeps like a very happy and contented kitty girl:) She is precious and all heart, as she lost her vision and hearing a few months ago…yet she is determined to live her life as fully as she always has!
“Mom…what is Minnie doing outside and she’s eating the grass!”
“Mom, tell Tucker to mind her own business…this grass is darn good!”
Surreal light of “magic time” transforms the sky and the landscape with an array of softer, yet vivid, ethereal colors, creating a feel good afterglow…and a peaceful night.
“Mom…seriously, where is the grass? “
To be continued…with a grass-eating kitty and a few horses who wonder where that grass is!
“Did she say grass?”
I’m back after taking some time off…I have missed you all! Thank you for your support and encouragement on this road called photography, writing the story and blogging!
Have A Happy Brand New Week!
06 Jul 2014 26 Comments
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.
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!
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.
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…
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
14 May 2014 36 Comments
in Cattle Ranch, Hot Rod Cowgirl, Photography, Ranch Life Tags: Cattle Ranch, Cowboys, Heritage, Horses, Hot Rod Cowgirl, Landscape, Lifestyles, Oregon, Photography, Western Lifestyle, Wild Bill, Wyoming
You know you live in the middle of nowhere when…begins part two of my memories of the isolated life we lived on large ranches in both Wyoming and Oregon…
Beautiful isn’t it? Hard to not look at the Wind Rivers all day…the incredible continental divide…with the amazing ever changing views. This was Wyoming and I loved it!
A typical scene of the Green River Drift…I rode it several times with the ranchers and cowboys either gathering cattle from close to Yellowstone in the fall months driving our cattle home on the drift or in the early spring months, when we gathered our cattle and moved them out for a few months to the high desert on the other side of Pinedale.
The photo above was taken in the early spring months right after we were hired to manage the ranch in Wyoming. The house to the far left became our home, but first they had to remodel our house and also the owners house which was the log home more in the center, it was a 100 year old log hone. All summer as we chased flood irrigation water, I watched the ever changing Winds, it was like watching a movie that had different scenes all day long:) The tallest peak in Wyoming is Gannet Peak at 13,809′ and I had the daily privilege of this view out my windows. We lived at 7500’…the mountains were incredible as they gave me a beautiful ever changing photo, that I hung on my heart…and yes it’s still there:) Wyoming was…mesmerizing!
Pinedale was an awesome little town…and here we go…part two.
It’s normal to pack a gun or a pistol as you go about your day…
In Oregon, we had two kinds of rattlesnakes to contend with…down close to the hay fields you have the standard large rattler…often 6′ long ones lying around the hay fields and anywhere else…you had to always watch where you stepped. We also had to contend with timber rattlers in the higher elevation where we had cattle pasture. Timber rattlesnakes like to curl around the tree branches to blend in and then scare the heck out of you! The first time I saw one curled around a tree branch hanging I wanted to scream oh my GOSH!!! I think I did but not exactly those words:) And yeah the Sig Sauer Muddy Girl is mine:) I also have a Sig pistol and I have a 9mm pistol…and shotgun…so be warned!
In Wyoming, we had bears, wolves, bobcats and other critters to worry about…but thank goodness, no rattlesnakes or pack rats! Our elevation at 7500′ was too high for them:)
And currently where we live, life has changed in the last 15 years…we have a neighborhood watch and we are armed, ready to defend ourselves if need be. I grew up out here during winter months and we used to not lock our doors…now we have security systems on our house, shop and barn along with several high-end cameras. In today’s world, there are people who love to steal things to make meth…farm and ranch country gets hit lots due to the farm chemicals we use on our crops and weeds etc. They steal chemicals to make their meth. If you do not have chemicals, then they steal fuel and copper or steel. It is a crazy world we live in and we are on full alert…laser light and night vision scope…life has changed out here. Don’t bug us!
You know you live in the middle of nowhere when you begin to visit more with the cows and horses than you do with people as there are no people around…and as time goes on, you begin to hear the cows and horses talking back to you…sharing the moment and shooting the breeze!
The very first time I rode up in the higher elevations in Central Oregon, to gather cattle, I thought I would be safe from rattlesnakes…I mean, come on, everyone would think that at 5500′ elevation, rattlesnakes would not like it right? I had yet to hear a true rattlesnake rattle at me nor had I seen any rattlesnakes…WB told me they were around down low close to where we lived. Little did I know!
Once we finished with gathering cattle, Steve, one of our cowboys, was leading us off the mountain…he was in front of me and stopped to look at the incredible scenery we could see…
He turned to tell me something, and his face went white…he yelled at me to move NOW! Lucky for me that my mare, Lottie, knew nothing about snakes either so she did not spook…the rattlesnake was directly under her and was coiling…we moved fast enough to escape! Mike, the horse trainer for the ranch, had been behind me with a four-year old gelding…while I was moving quickly away from the snake, Mike had taken his horse over to the cattle pond to get a drink…it had lots of mud around the edge that you could get stuck in and with all the commotion around Lottie and I, Mike’s horse tried to spook, but was stuck in the mud and almost pitched Mike into the pond…it was a true Charlie Russel painting! Luckily no one was hurt and we all made it safely off the mountain! My eyes were as big as saucers from then on as I was on full alert everywhere I went…
“Hank the Cow Dog,” was about 10 months old in this photo…he is the 6 month puppy that rode out the massive flood on a piece of a wood and was washed up against the house in a corner…we were so happy when we found him!
In Wyoming, we could feel eyes watching us late at night through the curtains on the large living room windows…its -35 below so who would be standing out there watching you anyway…as you look, you scream, as pressed to the glass is 4 sets of eyes with huge heads and bodies attached to them…MOOSE!
Did you know that moose have two moods? Curious and MAD! You hurriedly pull the curtains back together….and the moose bumps into the window….you turn off the lights…and the moose bumps up against the window again with a devious moose grunt….you quietly scream again and run to your bedroom hiding under your bed…hoping they will go away…HA!
The next morning all four moose are curled up on our deck waiting for us! “Good morning Miss Moose…why are you kissing the hand rail on my porch? Miss Mouse gave me a look and grunt and I shut up…Miss Moose can do anything she wants! Sorry for the blur, but she would not hold still for my camera! I loved Wyoming…even the cold weather with curiously mad moose and every adventurous part!
You can ride and gather cattle for miles without seeing another person or any sign of civilization…you almost feel like you are the only person left on earth. It is an amazing view to see…no power lines, no smog, no busy highways, no people…almost like unsettled land. This photo shows the Wind River Mountains or the Continental Divide, close to South Pass on the Oregon Trail. The objects you see on the hill are the water tanks…we turned the cattle out on the high desert during the late spring months and watered them via windmills…we had several to maintain.
Often the desert had quick squalls that would drop in fast with thunder and lightening…the sky would grow black in the middle of the day…but the storms left as quickly as they came. The high desert was vast and huge…when it was time to gather up 1000 head of cows on our 15,000 acre pasture, it took us one morning to do it. I could not believe how fast it went. Growing up on my folks cattle ranch, it took us a few months to gather 800 mother cows and calves on the summer range in the Blue Mountains. And even though you think the desert is flat, it is not as it has more small hills than you can see.
I wondered what it looked like to the men and women who made it over South Pass? The wagon trains crossed the desert right through the acreage we ran cattle on…what did they think once they got over the divide and saw the vast desert…and the Wyoming Mountains ahead of them? Who may have lived here, was it a family or maybe a fur trapper?
You know the sounds of a cattle truck as it tops the hill that drops into the ranch in the early dawn light…
First the cab lights crest the hill and disappear as the they drop down the last hill only to pop out in time for the next cattle truck lights to top the hill…15 trucks in all…choreographed to drop into the ranch all in a row…like clock work!
You can hear the sounds in your head and in your heart…the sounds of aluminum truck gates opening, cattle hooves on metal in the loading shoot…you see the breath of both men, horses, cattle and dogs…as the cattle are quietly loaded like clockwork…like they all knew it was time to head for the mountains for the summer range.
As one truck is loaded you hear the rev of the semi as it pulls away from the loading dock and the next truck pulls in…you hear a few jokes as your brand inspector signs off on the cattle as you know him like family…and as the last truck leaves shifting gears gaining speed to climb that first hill…and it dips outta sight only to bob up one more time into the bright sunshine of daybreak…it tweaks your heart a bit…another winter is gone.
The trucks have 200 miles round trip to go so it will be a few hours before they return for more cows…800 head mother cows, along with calves, yearlings and etc. took around 25-30 trucks to haul…the day began in the early morning darkness and would end in the middle of the night or the early morning hours up on the mountain ranch.
You know the sounds of cattle in the corrals settling down and in the meadow pastures close to you in a new place as the first new day begins for them on the summer range…you shiver as you climb out of your warm sleeping bag wearing your long underwear and shoving on your jeans…boot socks and wild rag as you head out to help feed and do whatever is needed to help…counting cows and calves, moving cattle or settling cows. Later that morning, you head back down to the winter ranch to close things up now that all the cattle had been shipped as well as horses and dogs too. As you crest the hill and see the ranch, it takes your breath away as it is now standing quietly still…the life of both man and animal that was there yesterday is now gone. You pull up to the loading chute and take a few minutes as…
Your mind plays back over the last few weeks of gathering and the finality that happens each June 1st…as time seems to stand still until cattle and man return in late fall.
Note: The description I used above is based on my memories of growing up on my folks cattle ranch in Oregon where the cattle truck sounds and memories began at an early age.
There is one grocery store in Pinedale to shop in and the prices are through the roof as the next closest grocery store is over 100 miles one way on two lane country roads, either South to Rock Springs or Northwest to Jackson Hole.
Note all the pick ups…yep cowboy country!
Once you go into the grocery store to shop, you note that there are LOTS of wildlife mounts looking at you as you shop down the aisles. In the frozen food aisle I looked at Fox, Bobcat or Mountain Lion. On other aisles we saw Mountain Goats, Bears, Antelope, Coyotes, while the bigger animals had a head mount, such as an Elk, Moose, Deer…Buffalo…and even fish! It was quite an experience as the store had all the food we needed except fresh fruit in the summers. It also had hunting and fishing supplies, guns, knifes etc. everything you can imagine under the sun…for the husband as you shopped.
As the day ends, you go to sleep happy and content…your body feels good as it got worked…
And you accomplished good things in your life on a remote cattle ranch…the incredible isolation and the hard work at hand, can be overwhelming to some, but for me it was always a great joy…one that I grew up in and one that I will never forget. I knew I lived out in the middle of nowhere…the boondocks…the hinterlands…and I loved every part of it!
It is my life and who I am…I’m thankful I have stories yet to tell…filled with memories of a cowgirl’s life lived in the middle of nowhere…I would not trade it for anything different!
Have a great evening and a fun week and weekend!
07 May 2014 35 Comments
Spring photography with HRCG is fun! No I have not run away from blogging…just slowed down a bit…running the office for our business keeps my nose to the grindstone except when I run out the door with my camera and happily snap away:)
Ok Ellie…lets go!
Climbing the hill behind the house, we climb into a different world…a peaceful world full of beauty.
Ellie is smiling at me trudging behind her…Ms. Smart Alec with the puppy energy:)
We often have crazy spring weather as…
Dark clouds roll in with a bit of wind and rain and
Two hours later a beautiful sunset appears!
Tucker relaxing, while wondering where that little black tornado Ellie is?
Melody doesn’t care…she is happy to be loosing her winter coat…she loves seeing green stuff:) She truly has a coat of many colors…during winter she is a dark brown bay…in early spring she begins to turn white while her legs, head and tail remain dark…she is striking and so pretty…as she eventually sheds the white and becomes a lighter bay roan with a bit of grulia…and she is all heart:)
Rainbows above, incredible skies, full of beautiful views and vistas!
Beautiful kitty girl…love you Minnie…she is very fastidious about keeping her stripes in order:)
One of my favorite photos…
Melody and Buck sharing a horsey moment…
Skies and clouds dancing for my camera…
As crops full of color grow beneath them…
And rainbows above bring delight and another mad dash for my camera:)
Wherever you are in the world, may you be blessed by the season of Spring…may you find joy and laughter as warmer days come once again…filled with new life and full of amazing beauty.
HRCG over and out for now but stay tuned…Part Two of Living in the Middle of Nowhere is next!