Summertime…Oh Sweet Summertime…..

Summertime…oh sweet summertime! How I love thee, let me count the ways.

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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.

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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!

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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…

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There is so much natural beauty outside during summertime…but honestly, each season has its own beauty and I enjoy them all!

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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!

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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!

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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!”

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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:)

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 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.

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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:)

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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?

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Ominous storm clouds rolling into the canyon, drifting over us…

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No make that scary clouds! Hang on Toto as we must be in Kansas!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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“Mom…what is Minnie doing outside and she’s eating the grass!”

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“Mom, tell Tucker to mind her own business…this grass is darn good!”

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SONY DSCAs the day slowly fades and sunshine turns into twilight, intense colors appear painting the sky above with a jaw dropping sundown as the

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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.

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“Mom…seriously, where is the grass? “

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To be continued…with a grass-eating kitty and a few horses who wonder where that grass is!

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“Did she say grass?”

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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!

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Have A Happy Brand New Week!

In The Blink Of An Eye…

In the blink of an eye…life can forever change.

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Life seconds and blink moments can knock us off our feet, with either good or bad surprises…I usually blink a few times while digging my heels in to either celebrate the good or to fight the bad…we can never give up! As I often heard growing up, “Go catch up your horse, saddle up and be ready to ride hard!”

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June 12th was a warm summer day and Ellie our Aussie pup (she is looking at me with her sweet Ellie look) was going to have her first birthday! We were so excited for her and wanted to help her celebrate with lots of love and fun Ellie style!

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However, we had an appointment to go to in the big metropolis that we live close to…and we also needed to do some much needed shopping…we would be home later that day to celebrate operation EB!  (EB is short for Ellie Belle:)

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We left early that morning heading to the city…Costco had been sending out telepathic message waves to me to come shop the new stuff…as well as various stores we like to shop…like Ranch and Home…Home Depot…the Mall…Yippppeeee!

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After months of doing without…it is very serious and labor intensive for the country cowgirl to shop ALL the stores she wants to shop in a couple of hours! I keep telling WB we need to spend a night when we do this…he replies with a grrrunt!

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It was a sunny and warm day with lots of promise for fun…we laughed and talked about what we needed to do as far as shopping.

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We knew we had to find our Ellie girl some awesome new chew toys for her first birthday. We shopped some here and there, ate lunch and ended up with Sadie Suburban packed brim full after Costco…and the day was gone!

Sharp_80inchTV_35029961_08_540x405WB wanted to prove a new record by stuffing a new 80″ TV into the Burb as “He and Ellie would love it for her birthday and it was such a good buy.” But…I said NO not this time unless you want to ride on the roof…geesh!

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It was after 6:00pm when we had the Costco groceries loaded…would have loved staying for dinner but we had a birthday to celebrate! Our little country cowgirl was waiting and she depended on us to bring her home a few fun toys, with lots of love and lots of fun treats!

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Did you know that Schwan’s Ice Cream has Doggie Sundaes as in ice cream flavored like meat? Well they do and Ms. Ellie had hers for her birthday celebration! She loved it!

OK back to driving home.

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By the time we pulled onto the freeway the winds were blowing and picking up to 30 to 40 mph, we had heard on the news that morning that late in the afternoon we would have heavy winds. I mentioned to WB that wind and dust storms often delivered conditions just right for wrecks on this freeway. Thankfully the dust was not blowing yet as we could see quite a ways and it was still light.

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Less than 5 minutes later we went by an exit that had several trucks and cars merging into our part of the freeway….we were in the left passing lane as the traffic was merging into the freeway in the right lane…and then…like a nightmare, a Honda Minivan was jetting across the lanes trying to avoid being behind the semi-truck we were passing in the left lane…

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The driver was trying to cut into our lane but there was no room between us and the semi and yet, he kept coming towards us like he was trying to push us off the road, by merging into us.

Precious Life Seconds Passed…

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WB kept his cool and kept steady on the wheel…I braced for the wreck as the van came so very close…close enough that our mirrors almost hit!

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I was certain he was going to hit us full force into the side of the Suburban in front of my door…WB laid on the horn and by the grace of God we were spared. It was very serious and very close…the worst close call that I have ever been in as far as close wrecks.

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I thank God for my husband as he kept a cool head…he has always been a good driver. If the van had hit us we would have spun out…ending up between the van and the semi along with many cars behind us or rolling.

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Neither of us said a thing or emitted a sound during those eternal seconds of life…we both knew how close we came!

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Thankfully God made a way for us to survive. I hope the van driver learned a lesson on driving and how life can change quickly with impatient hot-headed driving!

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Meanwhile, Ellie Belle had a Happy 1st Birthday!

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She is so very cute…she is our kid and we love her lots!

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And I leave you with this as I love it…it is so very true…amen!

Spring Photography With HRCG!

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:)

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Ok Ellie…lets go!

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Climbing the hill behind the house, we climb into a different world…a peaceful world full of beauty.

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Ellie is smiling at me trudging behind her…Ms. Smart Alec with the puppy energy:)

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We often have crazy spring weather as…

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Dark clouds roll in with a bit of wind and rain and

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Two hours later a beautiful sunset appears!

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Tucker relaxing, while wondering where that little black tornado Ellie is?

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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:)

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Rainbows above, incredible skies, full of beautiful views and vistas!

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Beautiful kitty girl…love you Minnie…she is very fastidious about keeping her stripes in order:)

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One of my favorite photos…

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Melody and Buck sharing a horsey moment…

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Skies and clouds dancing for my camera…

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As crops full of color grow beneath them…

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And rainbows above bring delight and another mad dash for my camera:)

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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.

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HRCG over and out for now but stay tuned…Part Two of Living in the Middle of Nowhere is next!

Hit And Miss Photography With HRCG…

Hit and miss photography with HRCG is just that…you are along for the ride…so hang on…and here we go!!!

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Annie has her radar finely tuned in!

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Aussies on alert..where’s the food and who do we get to bite?

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Horses make my heart feel good:)

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My model kitty, Minnie…she loves to pose…and I love her stripes and her colors…Minnie Mouse is the Queenie of my House! She’s the cat…who knows where its at…just ask her:)

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Melody gave me her heart with her huge brown eyes, as they melted into my heart, when I first met her…

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Incredible weather this Spring here in Juniper…on the wow scale it is a 99% wowzer!

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We can have crazy weather and crazy times in our life and yet…God gives us a double rainbow! Dreams do come true! Do not ever give up your dreams, no matter how hard life is…hang on to your dreams as God gave them to you!

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“Meowsises…Mom hangs on to her hope and her faith…and me:)”

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Ms. Ellie…is so cute and a very smart girl…I love Aussies!

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“Mom, what did you say?” “Huhrummph, dogs are silly!”

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Juniper Canyon Gold….

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God Bless America!

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God Bless The Red, White And Blue!

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Home Of The Free…Home Of The Brave!

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I love nice Quarter Horse butts…

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What’s a quarter horse butt? And a cattle ranch? Don’t you mean “Minnie’s Kitty Ranch”?

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Waiting on dinner…staring intently…a few impatient paws in the snow.

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Melody is like a clock, when its time for food, its time for food…she nickers for us to get our rears in gear!

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Yummy nummy for my tummy…munch munch munching…mmmmm…”Mommm, my hair is a mess so don’t take my picture now!!!”

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I met these guys at the Round Up…they were curious about what I was up to?

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They were doing some serious munching on their lunching:)

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Sharing a fun picture of my Leo mare Lottie with her new filly, Lilly who was only a few days old…Lottie was a special one…I keep looking for another Leo bred horse like her but Leo is not common anymore. I had to watch Lottie as she was an easy keeper and could gain weight by just looking at grass or hay.

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Little Toot was waiting on din-din too…I still have the cookie jar  that you see on the counter, its white with colored cookies on it…I also have the old cupboard painted green as it was the original cupboard when the house was built. I stripped the paint off down to the original wood and it came out beautiful! And I still have my red hair with no gray at all in it…yee-ha:)

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What About Bob?…and why is he in this post? He goes where he wants, he does what he wants and he does not care about you! I tried one time to shoo him away from my two horses who were in the corral next to the barn as they were worrying and wondering what he was…he just looked at me not budging an inch, instead he pawed the ground while making grouchy grumpy bull sounds…fences could not keep him in…he always got out and went visiting the neighbors cattle…great!

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This was across from our house in the mid 1940’s…the pit you see to the right of the picture was where they slow roasted b-q beef all night to feed everyone…they always had a great turn out.

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A picture of history, the way life used to be when we had time to make a connection with others face to face instead of fabricating life on social media sites.

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My Dad and one of his close friends came up with the idea of having a local country rodeo…they called it the Juniper Joust.

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Wishing you all a happy….fun….and relaxing weekend! HRCG and Minnie are over and out for now! And where did Bob go?

The Sounds Of Country Silence

The sounds of country silence are…profoundly silent…incredibly quiet…and filled with a very still solitude.

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Living in country silence is my daily world. Sometimes it is more than hard to take as I love being around people while going, doing, and seeing life but my life has always been country quiet.

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Silence so still that some nights you can hear a train 10 miles away…silence so still you can hear your neighbor’s telephone ring on a summer night and they live a mile away over a hill!

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You learn to value the tick-tock of the clock for company and if you listen closer you can hear the hands move a bit with each tick…and if Minnie is close to me and she always is, I can hear her snore ever so softly or her stretching from her nap making a squeaky sound…I often listen to the refrigerator running and the ice maker filling…I recognize my neighbors pick ups as they drive by and always know the cattle trucks hauling cattle out of Juniper to the mountains…I know who it is before I see them.

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These are only a few of the sounds of my days…the old house creaking last night and today in the windstorm…the owls at night…hawks overhead…coyotes howling…the sounds and presence of our outside dogs…and the same with Ellie who is my inside dog…the sounds of nothing…the sounds of silence…the sounds of my life.

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My day begins with Minnie Mouse waking me with her wake up call “Yeowly Meow and Good Morning:)” Then WB gets up, I try to snuggle back down but one of the dogs outside barks and I wonder if it is a neighbor? I can hear the horses and the sound of their hooves running back and forth, waiting for their breakfast and I’m up.

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Making my way to the kitchen, I can smell the coffee brewing…WB is already out the door headed to feed horses and check water…then off to the shop…now it’s me and Minnie and Ellie. I get out my cup while looking out the same kitchen window I have looked out of forever, as I listen to the morning sounds…the tick-tock of the wall clock, the howling winds outside and the coffee pot hissing a bit.

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Today the wind is blowing out of a different direction as it howls and moans against the house, giving me different house creaks and groans to listen to. I love the sound of rain on the roof which is soothing to my soul…when it rains at night, it lulls me to sleep with rain drops falling ever so softly on our lives here, bathing the house and watering the crops, it’s always a beautiful sound to my ears.

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Some days I talk to myself just to hear a voice…and I write, talking the words on to a sheet of paper or to my blog which helps me feel connected to the world.

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It is the quiet life I know and love…and I will never take for granted. I know how blessed I am to experience life as I know it!

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The song, Sounds Of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel, was going through my head as I was writing….go to iTunes if you don’t have it as it was a great song.

“Hello darkness my old friend…I’ve come to talk with you again,

Because a vision softly creeping…Left its seeds while I was sleeping,

And the vision that was planted in my brain,

Still remains…Within the sound of silence.”

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Wishing you a Fabulous Fantastic Fun Friday and a wonderful weekend wherever you may be!  Spring is coming…my camera is ready and waiting to go:) HRCG over and out for now but not for long!

Wild West Weather And Crazy Storms

Wild west weather and crazy storms have made this year interesting for this photographer, but the one we had Sunday night was down right scary weird!

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Living in Eastern Oregon, our weather is pretty low-key, we do not have tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, or really bad thunder and lightning storms. However the last few years, we have had weird and crazy weather. I have never been in a tornado or an earthquake…I have endured horrendous thunder and lightning storms in Wyoming along with ferocious blizzards and one hurricane in Portland, Oregon called The Columbus Day Storm.

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In Wyoming, I went through a violent thunder storm at 9500′ elevation the end of July, as we moved cattle to a higher grazing allotment…the higher we went the more intense the storm was and we ended up in a cloud blizzard at the same time it was thundering and lightening. I just pulled my hat down over my eyes and let my solid and steady mare Lottie, lead us out of the storm…it was something else!

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This summer, the sunsets and sunrises have been full of vivid colors…which is great to capture! Such as this sunset with the intense contrast of sky, clouds and colors…magic time colors with dark gray clouds drifting into the golden red mix, bringing in the needed contrast for a beautiful enchanted sunset, like God was painting it for me in the sky above my head.

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Sunday was a day of doing this and that in getting ready for fall weather…the morning dawned with clear skies and brilliant sunshine, the forecast was for a warm humid 100 degree day. We usually do not have much humidity here as we are a dry climate compared to Portland, Oregon on the Western side of the state.

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However, our humidity has been terrible here this summer and Sunday was no exception…it was horribly muggy all day with a breeze blowing that felt like a hotter than heck wet blow torch…it definitely did not cool you down! Minnie has the right idea, stay in the nice air-conditioned house!

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We had accomplished a lot of chores that day around the ranch and it was time to enjoy that nice air-conditioned house with Minnie. I noticed some funky clouds out the West window and grabbed my camera…telling WB I would be right back.

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Once outside I looked up expecting to see a few interesting clouds…and instead I saw dark ominous clouds coming from both the West and the East, joining in the middle. The towering clouds were lazily drifting over the top of the canyon wall behind us…eerily silent and dead calm…can you see the funny bands in front of them, what does that mean…hello Toto…help!

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The clouds towered above me and were morphing into something that looked evil and scary.

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Another odd band? I was in awe with what I was seeing as I had never seen anything like this…but my gut was telling me all heck was about to break loose!

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I should have been a photo journalist as I love taking pictures and writing about what I saw! Our house is directly in the middle of the two trees, right below where the cloud is changing into a giant pot of boiling terror.

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Hey Wild Bill…where are you? Things are getting bad…and very weird.

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The air was still dead calm…not a wiggle of a breeze. The birds were quiet…no wind yet…just eerie silence.

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And then I saw what appeared to be a well-formed funnel cloud very close to us…the air began moving and the wind began to blow…we ran to the house as fast as we could. We couldn’t make it to the basement so we went to the center of the house which is a hallway with no windows and we stood together with puppy Ellie and kitty angel Minnie. The winds began to roar sounding like a freight train overhead…we could hear stuff hitting the house on both sides…it went from a funny colored daylight, the color you see in the funnel cloud, to the blackest of black nights outside…it was pitch black.

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We noticed night lights coming on outside, but all you could see was a faint glow in the blackness, eventually it was so black out, it was total darkness and then it stopped…it was quietly calm again…as I peeked around the corner to look out the window, it was still black and very quiet. Then we had a cloud burst of rain and the dust/dirt began to settle going from black to yellow brown…soon the winds began again along with thunder and lightning that lasted most of the night.

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When we got up the next morning…this is what we found.

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On both sides of our house we had a downed tree and lots of branches from other trees blown all over…we found holes in the screens on the windows from things puncturing them.

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It was amazing to see the havoc that one storm caused…most of the damage was at the back of the house, which is against the canyon wall, where you would expect more protection…however if it was a tornado I suppose it could go where it wanted right?

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And the horse poop from the pasture was swept up and thrown into the yard, the patio and the road…crazy weird…but a good way to fertilize the yard and clean the pasture:)

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Despite the huge mess we have to clean up, we and all our animals are okay and the house is intact…we have a heart of gratitude and feel blessed that we survived it. I hope we never have to go through that again. That is as close as I want to get to crazy weird weather!

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I have to ask my readers that have experienced tornado’s…was this funnel cloud we saw a small tornado or? Having never been in a tornado we have no idea? The only thing we know for sure is that we have never seen clouds like this or experienced a storm like this before….and hopefully never again!

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God’s incredible world is never boring, His beauty is all around us if we look up and out! I love seeing every part of God’s kingdom here on earth…even the scary ones I think…ah well maybe not! Have a safe, blessed night wherever you are! HRCG over and out!

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