Camera Times With HRCG!

Camera times with  HRCG can be both a bit country girl crazy, rather adventurous and never a dull moment fun!

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I looked out my window on a winter’s day to see incredible light and the sky a blaze in varied colors…I grabbed my camera and out the door I went.

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 Capturing the sky colors with the surreal light above…with a happy smile of delight on my face.

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As I caught the reflection from above in the puddle at my feet:)

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Rainbow colors pursued me above…click click click…the light and the colors were etherial as they pulled me into a photo shoot…

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Ending with one more of life’s beautiful reflections…in a mud puddle no doubt at my feet:) There is a lesson in that!

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And here we go..hang on!

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A beauty in a field of dreams…

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Doing what I know…

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Cowboy son Curt knows too…he’s talking to Annie!

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As we learn to communicate with our horses, we can join them in the dance of respect and grace.

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Horses have two basic forms of communication–vocal and body language. The more sophisticated of the two by far is body language. With a mere look, a flick of the ears, or a turn of the head, horses can communicate to each other and to us, if we learn to understand their body language.

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Annie began to trust her human…she took the first step of the dance. Annie looks at Curt with trust…she submits as she now knows he will not hurt her or harm her…he is now her leader:)

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Did I say hang on…I’m shifting gears through the corner and getting it on!

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Wild weather and clouds are a daily occurrence here anymore…kind of weird but kinda cool for my camera!

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A beautiful field of yellow Canola! When you use Canola Oil next time…think of the close up and personal shot you saw of Canola growing.

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Minnie!

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Ellie!

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A sort of annoyed Minnie:)

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Cone Doggie and not too happy! I don’t blame her..my poor Ellie! She was spayed on Wednesday and she has to wear this cone thing to protect her incision from her licking it to death…and she is not happy!

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Lola:) My Lola!

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Have A Happy Happy Happening Wild Weekend! HRCG Over And Out For Now…But Never For Long:)

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!

God Of Wonder…God Of Light…God’s World Is My Delight!

God of wonder…God of light…God’s world is my delight.

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I love capturing weather shots…and the last few years we have had interesting weird weather to photograph!

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Last night as I looked up to the heavens, I saw a million stars above my head with no end in sight…it takes my breath away, no matter how many times I have looked up. I wish I could have captured what I saw with my camera…instead I captured this moon shot a few months ago and I thought you would enjoy it. I love the power lines as they frame the moon…giving Mr. Harvest Moon an interesting look.

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We have a few more inches of snow today and now we are under a Winter Storm Alert for more snow with below zero temperatures. It is seriously cold out…it is 17 degrees this afternoon with a minus 2 due to windchill.

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Mr. Buck says “Where are my Apple Asses…and I need more hay too”…hang on Buckaroo…here it comes…just for you!

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Winter is finally making her appearance and she’s on a roll…hang on!!!!!

Wyo Why Wyoming Oh My Wyoming!

Wyo Why Wyoming Oh My Wyoming…became our song as we prepared to move to Wyoming to manage a vast cattle ranch of 100,000 acres. As I progress along with different Wyoming stories, I’ll show you my first look at where we were to live on the ranch…thankfully the Continental Divide was right behind the house and that is what I looked at…WB knew the mountains out my door would capture me…and it did for several months as we waited to move into our home.

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The photos above and below were taken of my mare Shez Alotta Leo, “Lottie” with “my daily take my breath away view”. Behind her are the Wind River mountains, or the Continental Divide, and Gannett Peak. I could also see the Wyoming Range in front of Lottie and the Sawtooth Range behind the ranch as well…mountains surrounded us with the stunning raw beauty of the landscape wherever we went.

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I loved Wyoming…it was a cowgirl’s dream. I never grew tired or bored with watching the mountains and the ever changing scenery of the awe-inspiring Continental Divide. We chased flood irrigation on the meadow that first summer, and could not stop staring at this view…it was incredibly surreal to be so close to such rugged beauty that you often wondered if it was a giant painting…guess now that I think of it, it was a giant painting, designed and painted by God above! Gannett was the highest peak in Wyoming and depending on the light of day it was both majestic and mysterious…what a view we had to look at!

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Whether I was washing the dishes looking out my window at the Rockies or on horseback moving cows in various Wyoming weather, the views always took my breath away…I lived with a permanent jaw dropping, breathless “Wow” look on my face.

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We lived at 7500′ elevation with beautiful clear skies that were a different color and depth of blue during the daytime, while the nighttime sky was filled with stars and different galaxies and more stars, it was spectacular. Due to the higher elevation of where we lived, we did not have air and dust pollution so the skies day and night were clean, clear and pristine. And Lottie is still coming to see me…her white blaze gives her away!

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The small community we lived close to was like going back to the good old days where a man could trust in a handshake as truth and a man’s word was a man’s word. From day one we were welcomed into the community and felt like we had lived there a long time…it was a good fit. The closest movie theatre was 40 miles from us in a huge quonset hut building called “The Flick”…the movies you wanted to see usually arrived about a year after they were hits at the box office.

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If Lottie could talk, she would be saying “Where the heck are we and why?” The year before we managed a ranch in Central Oregon and Lottie and I had to worry about rattlesnakes…and from rattlesnake hell we arrived in Wyoming skunk country! We had a crabby black Manx named Kalamazoo who was around 14 years old and he got out one evening at dusk…I was outside for an hour with a flashlight calling for him…and then I saw him under the house they were remodeling and went closer and all of a sudden I realized it was black like Kalamazoo but…it had a bit of white on him too with a big bushy tail! I took faster than a speeding bullet steps…running back to the house where Zoo had showed up anyway…he did pretty good for being an older kitty and moving all over with us.

Storms in Wyoming, were incredible as they moved in quickly to storm and then they moved out as quickly…there were no cloudy, overcast, gray days. Yes we had wind chills of -40 degrees and wind that usually began around noon with plenty of snow and lots of snow drifts.

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This is walking out of our house onto the front porch…typical winter morning…blowing snow, making drifts…and -30 degrees or more.

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WB’s heading out to blow the snow off the road in the early morning. I often rode with him on the tractor to see what type of drifts the night or day had conjured up. I wish I had the digital camera that I have now…this was back before digital but close…these photos would likely be our old Cannon…I still have it:)

Our driveway into the ranch was about a mile long with barrow pit ditches on either side of it…often we had white outs from the wind and blowing snow…you could not tell where the road was! After getting stuck a few times trying to find it, we put up stakes painted with orange paint on top.

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I took this photo when we were caught half way down our driveway home by a sudden winter storm, it came in fast with wind as well as a blizzard…typical Wyoming weather. WB had blown the driveway out earlier that morning and by 10:30am it had blown shut.

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And here we ended up…WB was driving this time and once you get a tiny bit into a rut or in this case, snow that was drifting, its impossible to pull out of it…luckily we were almost home, but with the wind and wind chill factor and the white out conditions you had to be very careful…WB bundled up with everything we had with us, and I was a Nervous Nellie until I saw him coming back in the tractor blowing a trail to pull out our pick up “Red”…remember we name ALL our vehicles:)

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Every morning during the winter snow months, WB had to blow open our road coming into the ranch as we had serious overnight snowdrifts that were deep and once again in the late afternoon so our son could get home from school in his Willy’s Jeep. Everyday the son would try to plow through the drifts in 4 wheel drive and get stuck so WB would blow the road open to where he was stuck, chain the Jeep to his tractor, pull the son out of the drift and continue to blow the road open, getting both son and Jeep home while blowing a trail home.

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No matter what we had to deal with in Wyoming, it was all good to both WB and me…everyday was an amazing adventure:)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dawn Comes Early In Farm Country

Dawn comes early in farm country during the summer months…

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Partly due to the busy times before harvest, getting all the equipment ready etc. and then once harvest begins, it is from sun up to sundown.

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I have two reasons for being up in the middle of the night…the first one is due to the “Queen of Birds” as she feels it is her nagging bird duty to wake us all up. She begins about 3:05 every morning in the dark…she chirps and chatters periodically for about 15 minutes and slowly one by one all the other birds finally jump in on the chattering part…by 3:30 it is bird central outside our bedroom windows. I usually get up and shut them hoping we can go back to sleep a few more hours but by 3:30 to 4:00 I am up and wide awake…which is good for my second reason:)

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Which is this view…watching the miracle of a brand new day begin with each beautiful sunrise! It is one of God’s greatest gifts to us as we can watch one of His daily miracles unfold before us…as only God could arrange how the earth maneuvers in relationship to the sun and the moon. I don’t want to miss a second of our summer months while summer is here with my camera…there is so much to photograph and to experience!

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There is something holy about watching the sunrise…maybe it is due to it being a brand new day with renewed hope and a clean slate or maybe it is one of those incredible God moments that you can not explain. For me, watching the sunrise and the sunset in summer gives me beauty filled with miracles that inspires me with a sense of awe and wonderment…and even in the early darkness of dawn, it is usually barefoot nice outside…I love the warm nights as the rest of the year, I am cold.

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And this particular sunrise was well worth being up for!

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The camera caught the rays of light…which I love seeing as it is what I saw…beautiful huh?

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And with each passing second, the light and colors change! I love this time of year here…the magical ever changing light, the colors that knock your socks off and the solitude that brings peace to your soul…it all comes together…feeding your heart with creativity…old memories, good times and new adventures…and the ever presence of heaven on earth for a few short months here in Juniper Canyon.

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Wheat harvest is in full swing this week…and once the sun is barely up, the semi trucks that haul the wheat are back to hauling wheat, while the farmers are headed back out to the fields with their crew, and another day of harvest begins…

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The semi trucks can run around the clock, hauling wheat day and night to keep the elevators empty for each new day of crop to come into their bins.

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The wheat is headed to the Columbia River about 35 miles from here, where it will be loaded onto barges that will make the 200 mile trip down the Columbia River to Portland, Oregon, where it will be shipped overseas.

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One last glorious sunrise photo…this one was on a different day…incredible colors and light!

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In the early morning hours as I rise from slumbers sweet
I search the dark and black horizon
Longing for my eyes to meet,
The morning with its subtle dawning, the colors stretching as they wake
Greeting me with glorious splendor, bidding me my prayers to make

Oh my precious Lord and Master, How I wonder at your plan
Who am I to share this beauty? Who am I, but mortal man?
Such a gift you’ve given freely, colors bursting from the sky
Wonders of your vast creation,
How can man your love deny?

There is hope within each sunrise
Hope to face the brand new day
Gone are yesterday’s demises
Hope replaces my dismay

Like the promise of the rainbow that you hung across the sky,
Sunrise stirs the love within me,
Thinking how you bled and died,
Thinking how you suffered for me,
Passed through hell so I could live,

Live to see each morning’s sunrise
And your hope to others give

(Not sure who wrote this, but I found it this week and thought it fit)

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And just for you…one sunset picture too! The mountain (click on the picture) you see in the picture is Mt. Hood, 200 miles away from us. In the summer months, I ride my horse out into the fields around our house…we climb the steepest hill in the back of the field to watch the sunset…most nights it is clear like this and you often can see three mountains in your view…all of them are over 200 miles away from us!

Wellll, it’s a deep subject:) Hee-hee…one of WB’s silly lines…and because its Marvelous Monday, I had to say it:)  Wishing you a wonderful week wherever you are! HRC over and out for now:)

Warm Summer Nights Are Truly Heaven’s Delight…

Warm summer nights are truly heaven’s delight…

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Basking in the soft glow of harvest colors reflected on the land, we remember the memories of old…tough years that taught us to dig deep…and the good years full of family times and grace. We remember…and we give thanks for our heritage and the traditions passed on to us that we hold close to our heart.

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 Wheat fields immersed in golden amber light, surround us with vivid hues of auburn red delight…that makes this cowgirl farm girl stop and stare…as I marvel at the beauty of the coming crop…that began with one small kernel of faith.

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Magical times of twilight and early morning light…always brings summer delight to your heart and a smile to your face. And in the reverence of a quiet country night…wait? What was that???

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With the earth-shaking…”Jagged”, rolled up the driveway with the beat of a heavy-duty cam and a healthy ba-boom-ba-boom sound.  “Jagged” is our 1928 Dodge Coupe that WB is building by hand, as he has to build the modifications and literally make the parts due to the limited availability of parts for a 1928 Coupe. Can you believe that he put a V-12 Jag motor in it with nitrous??? Stay tuned as there will be more on that in a later post. And this is a good picture of why I am called “Hot Rod Cowgirl?” Horses in the background and a Hot Rod in the foreground:)

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Tuck Girl is in agreement, taking it all in…looking relaxed and happy…wondering where she left her ear plugs?

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As the night air shifts, a cool canyon breeze whispers softly that soon, life in the canyon will pick up the tempo from a slow country waltz, to a do-si-do down home harvest swing!

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Slowly the day ends, with the last ray of magical light setting softly behind the hill, while overhead the sky is a blaze with glory…and another golden day rolls into a warm summer night…truly heaven’s delight.

Happily Ever After Fairy Tales In A Cowgirls Life…

Happily ever after fairy tales and innocence…a time when life was full of story book dreams, that could become a true realty in my imagination, as Mom read to me almost every night before I went to sleep…I would lay my head back on my pillow, closing my eyes as she read, describing the creative visual images of make believe.

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Mom had a beautiful set of fairy tale books she often read out of, the books had been given to her as a child so she grew up with them…all the pages had golden edges and the books were bound in real leather, with beautiful illustrations…

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Knowing she grew up reading them and then reading them to me, made the books a special blessing to my heart. Mom read the stories like she knew them all by heart; stories of Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Cinderella, which stirred my imagination, as I hung on every magical word she read.

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With Mom’s encouragement, she taught me to read from a young age and to believe in my dreams…she knew about survival in the country and how to live without others and in the silence. We read the Bobbsey Twins books before school and eventually the Nancy Drew books together…and we read the classics together as I grew older, everything from Wuthering Heights to Jane Eyre to Emma and David Copperfield. Though years have passed and life grew into realities…I still remember that special time of innocence in my life growing up.

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My world was full of magical nights. Prince, my horse, was my fearless white steed when we were fighting against the evil in Camelot and I was Sleeping Beauty. He was my mighty warrior horse and protector when the Indians were after us and I was Annie Oakley. I have always had an active and very vivid imagination…good for story writing too:) And did I tell you that I can multitask…so hang on, we are switching gears! You never know with me!

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Moving on to today’s world out here on the ranch, we had a drop in visitor a few weeks ago…and I mean drop in from the sky visitor…Sky King! Well sort of, as we call him Sky King Bob…he was Wild Bill’s High School football coach. Bob, (not Sky King), is retired now, so he flies friends and people where they need to go and he flew in the head honcho supervisor for the Helix School remodel. We live 8 miles from the little country school and we are the only ones who have an actual air strip out here.

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Buck was leisurely eating his breakfast when he heard something above! “What the heck was that…Superhorse or maybe Sky Horse???”

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It’s Sky King Buck, taking off from our dirt runway in our field behind us…he has now cleared the power lines and is banking hard to the right to get turned around to head to Southern Oregon…the building you see is our barn.

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Here is a better picture…this is directly across from my front porch…where I was standing to take the photos. And yes I fly with WB and I actually prefer landing and taking off on our dirt strip, it is way better than flying into the big air space and ports…they made me very nervous. “Hello, stupid little plane, get out of the way of Airforce One or Boeing 747.” The very first plane we bought, was from Sky King, WB remembered riding in the plane while growing up in Vale.

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And there they go over the canyon wall and hill beside us heading South.

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Our plane Charlie, at the end of our dirt strip in the field…I have an oh sh** handle in there for when we take off as I used to drive wheat truck down the same hill…and when we take off you lift over the power lines above the main road. I got used to it eventually, because my hubby is an excellent pilot…he is a born natural. I struggle with heights and looking down…do not care for that part but the rest is not so bad and it is cool to see where you live from the air and to fly over it…you can see how the land lays…and that is lots of fun and I enjoy seeing how much WB loves flying:)

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So where am I going with this? “Hmmmm”…”Minnie, what do you think? What? You think I am a ding-dong? Well I am sorta but I’m your Mama too…and you are such a sweet kitty girl…now quit giving me the cat look that equates ding-dong:)”

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Now where was I before Sky King landed? Dreams and fairy tales right? I wish sometimes we could turn the clock back to the good ol’ days as life has changed and the world we now live in is much different from when WB and I grew up. Dreams and fairy tales it seems, take longer to come true today. Sometimes our timing is not God’s timing, so we have to believe even when life looks impossible, that God will prevail on our behalf, as we stand firm in our faith. Life may have changed over the last 20 to 30 years…but life is still good and God is a God of Faith and Hope!

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And yet, I know that life can stink sometimes, but we can get through it! The road of life can be interesting with a few major curves, lots of bumps and a few detours here and there, but it keeps it interesting. Good or bad, we can choose how we will deal with life in a positive way…and enjoy the ride. I may have to dig deeper than ever before but I can do this thing whatever it is and God is with me every step of the way. And dang it, no we do not have a bed of roses to sleep on, maybe a Tempurpedic, but not a magical bed of roses.

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I learned to hold on to my dreams even when life looks dismal, and that I can do anything I put my mind to if I want to. I was taught to have a good work ethic and to work hard to get what I wanted, a summer job was a must. My parents could have given me the money and anything I wanted but, it was more important for me to learn to work hard to earn my money, to save some and also buy what I wanted. Growing up we worked 24/7 as cows do not take the day off and there was always ranch work to do. I’m glad that they set that in motion as even today all these years later both WB and I work hard for our income and I understand working long hard hours.

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Mom was also an only child and she told me that her Dad would not pay for her wedding pictures…he told her that she could do that. He could afford them, but he wanted her to learn the value of working hard for what you want. This photo is the only one Mom could afford as she had gone to summer school at the U of O that summer to graduate. She lost her mother in the spring and had taken a leave of absence from college to be with her Mom so she had to make her classes up that summer. They had originally planned to marry in the spring but had postponed their wedding until fall.

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My parents did not do the rescue the kid scenario either and that was important for me to learn, that my choices or decisions affected me, and it was my own fault if I chose the wrong one, and to not blame my misfortune on others, my mistake was my mistake.  Mom used to always say “You made your bed, now you can lie in it.” I learned to always hold on to my faith and hope in life circumstances, while never ever giving up!

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And when things look their darkest, morning comes!

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My classic Mom, who was always so poised looking sophisticated…she taught me this too but she had to work on me as when I was herding cows with Dad or doing ranch work, I was a tom boy. Often I had to walk around the house balancing books on my head and to stand up straight and tall, shoulders back, tummy in and smile. I was in between 4th and 5th grade in this photo and not looking too together yet…it took a few more years for that to sink in:) We were on our way to California to visit relatives and we stopped in Boise at my Aunt’s house for the night…notice the big white bandage on my knee? I was a klutz then and still am today! I was learning to ride my bike off the paved road into the gravel up to our front walk…the gravel won most of the time! Mom was a nurse and a saint as she always doctored Dad and I up really good with bandages! I think she enjoyed practicing all that she had learned:)

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And we are off for another adventure! “Now where did I leave that fairy tale book? ” “Hi Ho Silver!!!”

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Minnie says “Meow-zers this is the last week of June…can you believe it? Summer is disappearing fast and quit snickering over my tummy…it’s cute:)”

Have a Wild & Whacky Wonderful Wednesday!!!!!

Days Of Our Lives Drifting Through My Mind…

Days of our lives drifting through my mind…life is forever…right? Our lives were running out of time with only seconds left…run…run from what? Wait…what? RUN NOW!

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Looking back now, the images seem almost surreal. Everything that happened to us, happened in a matter of seconds. We were all players, fulfilling our roles in this real life and death drama…only it was our life and death drama and it was very real. We survived the unusual flash flood, the timing of us all being together was a blessing from above. The flood went down in history due to the massive amount of water and debris, calling it a historic 100 year flash flood.

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This post is a bit different as it picks up where the last one left off but I have added more photos of the flood’s destruction. I will tell part of the story and add a picture, describing what the picture is…hopefully you will be able to follow along as I pick up the story where we left off.

As soon as son Greg went out to see what Mike was talking to Wild Bill about, Travis and I began searching for the fuse box as our power was surging, and we worried about our computer and the microwave. We located it in the center of the house, at the base of the stairs, and we were discussing which was the main switch, when we heard Wild Bill yelling at us, something about “Get out of the house NOW!” For maybe half a second we looked at each other and Travis asked me if I knew what Dad said? I said no but whatever Dad said it is serious and we have to get out of the house as fast as we can!

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As we ran back through the house to the mud room, we grabbed our boots and ran down the long hallway into the garage, finally making it outside, running in our socks which were now wet and muddy. The above photo is the flood damage to the back of the garage we ran out of…as the flood hit the garage less than 15 seconds after we ran out…blowing the back out. Wild Bill was frantic as he yelled for us to “HURRY UP”, the pick up with WB, Mike and Greg was about 50′ away from Travis and I. Mike was in the driver’s seat of the pick up with it in reverse, Greg was on the flatbed of the pick up and WB was at the passenger door waving his arms and yelling for us to run! The moment was total chaos.

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Wild Bill had seen a wall of water, coming directly towards us…150 yards from the house…he figured we had seconds to escape sudden death. The only reason that our RV Trailer and my pick up Della did not float away was an abandoned satellite pole that wedged them up against the garage. You can see the same hole in the back of the garage…seconds mattered for all of us to survive. The amount of debris in the flood waters was as deadly as the water was.

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I remember running and feeling the pain in my stomach and the rocks under my wet and muddy feet, with Travis running beside me and the panic we felt. I saw the fear in Wild Bill and Mike…I still had no idea what was wrong. I just knew it was a life and death situation. Finally we made it to the truck, which was parked about where the red three-wheeler is in the picture above. Mike already had the truck in reverse and was moving it as we reached them, Bill was yelling at Mike to not leave us. Travis bailed on the back of the truck with Greg, and I bailed into the front seat between Mike and WB. In the split second that I bailed into the truck, I saw what we were all running from. It was the most horrible sight I had ever seen! A wall of water rolling towards us that was huge, muddy and very wide, in a blink of a second it was now bearing down on us…hitting the front of the pick up as we were backing up and out of the way. In one more frantic effort, Wild Bill tried to reach for our puppy Hank. He was right by the door of the pick up…Bill missed and I figured I would never see Hank again as I choked back tears.

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In the above picture, the ranch had a full set of working corrals, built to last using railroad posts set in concrete to anchor them into the ground…the power of the water not only took the railroad posts but also the concrete. There was a concrete runway poured and built for the cattle to go through and it was gone too…all the concrete was scrubbed off the face of the earth and only deep muddy mud and debris was left.

Mike kept backing the pick up until we were up above the water in the hay stack area, just above the road. He slammed on the brakes and we all just sat there watching this massive wall of water engulf everything on the ranch before our eyes. I don’t know how long we sat there in silence…we eventually got out of the pick up and stood there watching the horror of it all. I remember trying to pull on my boots over wet socks…I was in a panic. There are two kinds of panic…one is the panic that you react and do something…but this was a panic that you felt frozen in, unable to do anything.

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In the above picture you can see our white four horse trailer, the red and yellow bale wagon, our flatbed trailer with my horse walker on it…WB’s welding trailers…balers and lots of expensive equipment. None of it was parked out there when the flood hit…all the equipment was parked at either the shop or the house about a 1/2 to 1/4 mile away.

The raging water looked as wide as the Columbia River. It was a torrent of water, that bubbled and boiled over everything in its path. It was deep and was moving very swift. The sound was a deafening roar…and it kept coming and coming. It appeared to be about 200′ feet wide and 8-12′ feet deep. We saw the D-5 Caterpillar tractor with the blade parked down into the gravel, come bobbing out of the equipment shed, floating along with all the other equipment…bale wagons, balers, pick ups, horsetrailers, welders, welders on trailers, and trucks, the water kept coming and sweeping everything away in front of us. The Caterpillar floated/bobbed along about 20 yards…with the water going underneath it…moving it and then dropping it. I saw the horses behind the equipment shed go under the water as the water went over the top of the shop roof…I saw the five yearlings next to our house get tossed away with the powder river steel panels…they were gone along with several other young horses in the corrals behind the yearlings. When the water hit them, it hit so hard that it swept the horses upstream…up the Crooked River.

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The house would be to the left of this photo…where you see the green grass with the yellow tin etc. next to it is where we set up the individual horse stalls with our steel panels, for the 5 yearlings that I was working with. When the force of the flood hit…the yearlings in the 5 paneled stalls, and the other horses in the corrals behind them vanished…I did not know if they would swim out or if they would be lost.

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Then we noticed the big 50′ by 50′ barn was gone, none of us saw it go down…it was completely disintegrated. All the vehicles were floating, our crew cab flatbed one ton pick up was floating and our crew cab one ton dually was floating with it….our four horse horsetrailer was gone already and on the way to the Crooked River. The water washed one of the Freightliner semi trucks some 200 yards and it took the bale wagon, flatbed trailers, welding trailers, balers, tractors, the huge cattle trailer…everything on that ranch either moved or disintegrated. Three 500 gallon barrels filled with fuel were tossed about like they were empty….

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The entire corral system was gone…cement foundation and all. The two chutes that were set in concrete…were gone like it had never been there before. The force of the water wrapped the powder river steel panels around the harrow bed…if you are not familiar with powder river or noble steel panels, these are heavy-duty steel panels and gates made out of steel, the water was so powerful, the force of it bent the panels around various things like toothpicks. We watched as the ranch owner’s 12′ by 24′ tack room, that was built on skids, float away….finally coming to rest on the banks of the Crooked River…a good half mile from its original place.

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I was worried that the house would go anytime. It was a 100 year old house that was not built on a foundation. It was now surrounded by swirling, deep, muddy raging water. If the house goes we loose everything….all our family heritage…our life of photos and special things that made us a family and made us who we are. And our kitty cats Zoo and Morris and puppy Hank…they were part of us too.

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By now every horse I was taking care of was unaccounted for, about 16 horses, except the two we owned. They were in the pasture next to the house and the road was between us…I could not reach them as the road was on lower ground and under water…they kept moving closer to us as they were belly deep in the water now. They were looking and searching out of instinct for higher ground but it was nowhere to be found. It was so very hard to be so close to them and yet so far away. My mare Lottie just kind of took it in stride as to what was happening but Bill’s horse Odie was younger and was trying to fight the water…he kept spinning around in it until finally he settled down with my mare and they found a high corner close to us that gave them higher ground with more security and comfort being closer to us.

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None of us said to much…the water was making a roar and was hard to talk over. I was crying quietly, as it seemed like the end of the world had come and we were all alone, nothing made any sense. With as much water that we were seeing, we thought that one of our water reservoirs had broken up-country above the main ranch…as we had not received much rain. The fear we were all feeling now was that if the reservoir had broken, the young family that worked on the ranch lived right below it, and would be in grave trouble, as they had two small children. And the young couple breaking the polo horses staying above us at the Red House…all we knew at that point was that we had alot of deep water hit us and there were people above us that likely had been hit with it too. At that time the water over the main road was over 3′ deep and we could not get up-country to check on them yet.

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I don’t know how long we stood there trying to figure out what to do. After about an hour or so, the water receded enough that Bill and Mike decided to go back over to the house to check on things. I was not in favor of them going because the water was still mid-thigh deep. I don’t know why they went, I think it was because they had to do something and not just stand by. The boys and I waited, I don’t think we said much as there were no words to say.

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By now there were many neighbors and people gathered out on the main highway watching, I knew they wanted to help us but they couldn’t get up to where we were because the road was still covered with water. I remember how I wished I could get a message to them to get someone up in a plane to fly up-country to check on the people up there. I felt numb and cold, afraid and in shock, panicked and so deeply mortified by what I had seen. I realized then that we were very lucky to have gotten out of harms way. Things were crazy around me but for that one small moment, I was very thankful that my family was safe and we were alive.

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This is the D5 Caterpillar we saw bobbing in the flood waters bouncing and dancing out of the shop, when it was parked with the blade down in the gravel. This tractor is huge and gives you an idea of how forceful the flood waters were.

WB and Mile came back after a few minutes. They said the house appeared to be alright, but the water had blown a hole through the cement wall in the garage…the garage and mud room were under water and mud…and the front porch was full of mud. The only thing that saved the house from going down was the various pieces of equipment that had washed up against it…balers, tractors, shop equipment, trailers…and lots of shrubs.

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The large stock trailer hooked on to the red semi, to the left of the picture, had been carried with the flood water into the front of the house where it wedged itself and diverted the water splitting in two directions instead of the water hitting the house full on, as with no foundation the water hitting the house with full on force would have brought it down.

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Bill found Hank, our puppy, who was floating on a pile of debris scared to death…but safe! Kalamazoo was okay and so was Greg’s cat Morris! This picture was taken about three months after the flood…both pick ups were back on the road and good as new…thankfully we had insurance and WB knew how to clean them up and replace what needed to be replaced.

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The deck at the back of the house…can you see those tiny marigolds in my old Hitachi pot that was my Mom’s…despite the destruction…horror and grief…those flowers survived…they had not moved either as that was where I placed them the day before the flood. Seeing the flowers in the chaos gave me strength and hope that even though our lives were in chaos we would get through this flood just like those beautiful flowers.

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We found some of our steel panels…many we never saw again and some were beyond saving as they were twisted into an unrecognizable object. As you can see we had mud and debris to clean up for months…and then rebuild the ranch…fences, barns, corrals, irrigation lines etc. and bring new life into the painful memories of a 100 year flash flood.

The only loss of life was the young man who was passing through with his fiance’ for a few days of rest and also training on some polo horses from S. California. Like us, he was caught off guard when the water hit and he tied himself to a pole fence with his rope in order to swim/walk out in the water to reach three of the horses trapped on an island in the middle of the raging flood water. He was able to reach the three horses on the island and had got on one of them when the fence broke due to the force of the water and that was the last he and his horse were seen. The other two horses swam out and were okay. It was very hard on all of us but especially his fiance’ and his family…he gave his life in the true cowboy way by thinking of his horses before himself…he did not know the power of the water and tried his best and gave his all.

To be continued with the final chapter…

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