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!

Crimson Skies Of Amber Bring Golden Days Of Fall!

Crimson skies of amber bring golden days of fall,

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As God paints the celestial heavens above me with glorious light and vivid colors.

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I love watching the magic in the skies just before dawn and just before sunset.

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The heavens are full of glorious colors and ever changing magical light…

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Clouds shimmering with layers of gold as they drift by over my head…

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I grab my camera, hoping to capture what I am seeing, to share with you!

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I am drawn into God’s creation outdoors but also in the animals I am blessed to love and care for…

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My camera clicks away taking hundreds of pictures in order to capture that one incredible shot!

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I can not put my camera down any better than I can put my pen down.

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Seasons comes and seasons go but God’s beautiful world remains a constant, every day and every night, in my life here.

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It is ever changing with different scenery…

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Full of incredible moments that take your breath away, as you pause to take it all in!

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May you have a blessed Fall as you enjoy the seasons of life and God’s amazing creation!

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!

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:)

Sky Pilot Painting The Skies!

It’s that time of year again when I find my camera glued to my hand…

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As the landscape outside my window is constantly changing with the various light and weather. Often WB and I may be in mid sentence when I say “Wait, hold on, I’ll be right back, I have to grab that shot with my camera”…thankfully he is very understanding:)

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From the beginning of day…just as the sun is coming up…I zip out and click click click!

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Until the end of day when I look for a night time shot.

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With lots of life and HRCG shots in between:)

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“Ah, hey you with the camera…over here Mom…let me give you my Queen of the House Look and Pose”. Miss Minnie Mouse…you are definitely the Queen of Our House!

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I was driving to our small town for groceries, when I had to stop and pull over to grab this shot. I loved the pattern of the field against the foothills of the mountains and the clouds that day were perfect. When the clouds are huge and puffy with lots of shadows on the landscape, and my camera eye and imagination are one…then the creative part really kicks in!

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One of Wild Bill’s latest restorations of a 1957 MGA for a customer…classic and beautiful! I enjoy doing the photo shoots of the finished restoration for the customer…often the vehicles we do for them are true desires of their hearts.

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I heard a sweet knicker and a sigh, it’s my girl Ms. Melody, “Mom, who needs that kind of horsepower…we horses have true horsepower!” I know Melody, you are much faster and have lots of torque…and you can spin around faster and quicker than any car!

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And with this incredible Juniper sunset that I was excited to capture last week…wherever you are, may you be blessed with a wonderful Sunday, day or night. HRCG over and out for now…but never for long…click click click:)

I’m Gonna Climb That Mountain High…I’m Gonna See What’s On The Other Side!

Climbing that mountain high took a few months of packing our lives up for the move of a lifetime! Moving from our home here to a new home 300 miles away was a huge undertaking…not only did I pack my entire life…I also packed memories and dealt with many mixed emotions. Never living far from home before, created a traumatic journey at times and yet…it was a wild at heart chapter of pure adrenaline in our spirits! Relocating our life by moving to an area, rich in cowboy culture and steeped in buckaroo tradition, was an exciting opportunity, as we would be managing a large 35,000 acre cattle ranch, doing something we both loved and knew how to do. We had many new adventures planned ahead…while some adventures were unexpected beyond belief.

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Parts of this post may be a bit repetitive from my Split Seconds introduction post a few weeks ago…please bear with me as I felt there were some blanks that needed to be filled in on our life before the flash flood and specifically the day of the flash flood.

Moving day dawns…and the epic day of moving my lifetime begins!

“I’m Gonna Climb That Mountain High” was blaring from my stereo, as I pulled up to the familiar stop sign, at the junction of Highway 37 in my truck “Della” (we name our vehicles around here), pulling my horsetrailer just as dawn was breaking into a brilliant red sunrise as I sang along with Reba…

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“Red Sun A Rising….Oooover That Hill” “I’ve Had Enough Of This Desert To Last From Now Until”….”This Could Be The Day I’ll Finally Find My Way Out!”

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Tears ran down my cheeks as I sang in a quivery voice…I had just hugged Mom and Dad as I left the house…I wiped my tears and blew my nose…telling myself “It’s time to put my Big Girl panties on!” My parents would be fine…but I missed them already, and I was only 10 miles down the road…but they would come to visit! “Now darn it MJ, be a Big Girl!”

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Giving “Della” the gas, I pulled onto Highway 37, and continued singing with Reba..while my kitty “Kalamazoo” laid beside me on his comfy blanket on the front seat..he was 11 that year…solid black, with just a bit of white on his tummy, he was my green-eyed Manx kitty with no tail of course and he had quite the “Cattitude”…he was my baby, Zippy or Zoo (as we called him) and he was given a tranquilizer shot from our vet early that morning before he left for the trip with me as he hated riding in the car…he equated it with going to the vet and he hated going to the vet!

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My trailer was loaded with our much loved horses, my 10 year old red sorrel mare Lottie…oh how she loved to cut cattle and work them! She could dance and boogie down anytime and I hung on! She was beautiful and I do still look for Leo bred horses as she was a triple bred Leo mare…incredibly smart and when you did not need her fire, she was laid back…and always was a joy to ride…she trusted me and I trusted her. In later years when my Dad was ill and in a wheelchair we would go outside during the magic hour on a summer evening so he could watch Lottie herd a small bunch of cattle to a corner and then stand and wait to see which one would try to break away and she would go to work cutting them off and herding them back…Dad laughed and got such a kick out her…I miss her and I miss her…someday I know I will see her again.

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(We had matching red hair and temperament too!)

And Odie, who was WB’s 6 year old black gelding…he was beautiful with his big eyes, very refined for a gelding and such a sweetheart! We raised him out of one of our best AQHA mares, Sally, who was a beautiful colored Grulla. Odie was a character much like Wild Bill! He set his own rules as he was due in early May and instead he was born July 9th! Both Sally and Odie had me up every night checking on them for months! His birth was normal and all was well with both mom and foal…we called him Odie for Overdue:)

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My trip to our new home took about 9 hours driving, as I had a heavy load pulling my horsetrailer and I drive slow and easy when I have my horses behind me. I stopped along the way to let them out to stretch while offering water to them and Zippy…walking them around a bit to keep them balanced and happy. I started out the trip on a two lane country road leaving here…traveled about 80 miles of freeway before climbing up out of the Columbia River Gorge to Highway 97 which was two lane all the way to the ranch…but I made it and got the horses out who had big eyes and then Zippy who had even bigger eyes…and then we began to unload more boxes. Oh my gosh, I even brought 20 years of The Quarter Horse Journal…which is a heavy, monthly, horseman’s bible…when we moved the next time, away from the ranch, I donated them all to the AV ranch!

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Moving into the historic white two-story 100 year old house above in the picture was an interesting ordeal as furniture now a days compared to 1900 furniture was a bit bigger…the house had lots of character and charm which I loved. Close to the house was a large 50′ by 50′ barn that you can see to the right with the pitch to the roof line and it also had the ranch tack room in it, where we kept several of our saddles and all of our horse tack…the smaller barn, was closer to the house and was called the Milk Barn, and we had lots of various corrals, the loading chute and a few smaller buildings, along with a small 100 year old ice house that we used to keep our vet medicines in. The historic ice house had thick walls and was without windows since its original purpose was to store and keep ice. All the corrals, barns and buildings were built on and around a dry creek bottom, called Newsom Creek.

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As you turned into the ranch complex and crossed the cattle guard, the ranch house was to the left, with a small pasture next to the house and yard, where I kept our two horses Lottie and Odie…and to the right of the turn in was the equipment shed, with the shop joining on to it and straight ahead was where the barns and corral complex sat. In front of our house was an irrigated hay field and pasture that eventually led to the Crooked River. The ranch house and headquarters complex sat back about a 1/2 mile from the main highway, where you crossed the large bridge over the Crooked River to reach the ranch.

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 The above picture was taken in 1915 of the AV Ranch, at the time it was owned by Wallace and Ida Post…whom Post, Oregon was named after. The large two story house you see in the picture is the house we lived in…and looked pretty much the same except the balcony was gone. By the way, if you get an Oregon map out, draw an X from corner to corner, Post, Oregon is right in the very center of Oregon…and it was a small post office combined with a small grocery store, when we lived there.

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 It’s taken me several years to write about the flash flood, and even today I find it hard to talk about. It was a life changing event to me, as it was the most fearful experience I had ever felt. There was nothing that I could do…there was nothing anyone could do. It was overwhelming to witness the power of the water and the course of natural events caused by it. We barely escaped with our lives…one young man wasn’t as fortunate…loosing him and his horse was very difficult for his fiancé and his family…for us and our 15 yer old son, who found him a day later. The power of the water carried his body 8 miles and took his horse 16 miles…for many months there was a cloud of heaviness over the ranch and grief in all our hearts.

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The deadly flash flood began 20 miles above us, on top of the Murray Mountains. During the afternoon the clouds continued to build and collide,  producing a cloudburst of water and energy, it was estimated that 6″ of rain fell in 20 minutes on top of the mountains behind us…which began the run off of the water down the dry canyons. And instead of absorbing the water into the dry dirt, the water ran on top of the dry earth, taking juniper brush and logs with it, along with boulders and rocks, building the deadly energy of the water into a roaring wall of water and debris that was headed down canyons that converged into Newsom Creek, about 8 miles above us. Down at the ranch headquarters where we lived, we had very little rain. By the time the deadly wall of water hit Newsom Creek it took everything and anyone in its path…there were no warnings and it caught both man and animal off guard. We had no idea waking up that warm summer morning, that all hell would break loose that afternoon and by nightfall, our lives would forever be changed.

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August 5, 1991 dawned like any other day that summer. It was hot with humidity and was hazy from the mixture of heat and dust. The summer had been unusual for us…as we were still settling in after moving our life to the ranch…I had spent the last two months unpacking, which was a huge task for me as it took time to figure out where to put things. By the 5th of August I was finally feeling like the end was in sight and the ranch was beginning to feel like home to me. I was able to look around and see our things here and there…I felt content as now I could concentrate on living the life of the ranch, helping my husband and getting to know the vast land we were on. I felt a new hope and anticipation for a new life with Wild Bill. I was finally back on a ranch doing what came natural…I loved waking up to cows and horses each day…it was pure heaven!

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We were busy getting in the last of our hay crop for the coming winter months of feeding cattle. Wild Bill was running the bale wagon in one of the hay fields, which means he drove it and it picked up the hay bales loading it, then he drove it carrying the load of hay back to the haystack yard where he unloaded it into the stack. Youngest son, was swathing or cutting hay in another field and our oldest son Travis was bailing hay into hay bales in another field. We had one more issue to contend with…rattle snakes! They often would be wrapped up in the bales with their heads sticking out of the bale still alive and they could bite…so you had to be careful.  The fields were spread out along the Crooked River for several miles and that day, Bill and the boys were all in different fields. In 1991, we did not have cell phones or two-way radios as we lived where we could not get a radio signal due to an iron mountain that was close to the house, so we had no way of communication on the ranch.

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After everyone got up and got going that morning, I decided it was time to  clean the house, doing my regular dusting and vacuuming, washing clothes and in general spiffing up the place. I was in and out of the house moving the water in the yard, watching for snakes as well, as the yard was a nice cool place for them to be! I had our two horses in a pasture next to the house, which I loved and they enjoyed the big trees to stand under for shade and being able to visit me. I often took turns on the horses, riding each of them out to find where Bill and his crew was for the day or the afternoon.

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The ranch owner had several horses that summer that needed work and training so I was working with the very young ones getting them ready for the horse trainer who lived at the ranch for the summer. I had five weanlings in five separate steel paneled pens that Bill and Mike had set up for me the week before next to the house and close to the big barn. I also had an assortment of yearlings and two and three-year olds in the corrals next to the barn and was taking care of two aged mares of the owners in the pasture behind the equipment shop/shed. I was in horse heaven delight! My only complaint was a sore tummy from a horse kick a few days before but it was a long ways from my heart…an old saying that I heard growing up.

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Bill and the boys came into the house at noon for lunch…I fixed them some sandwiches and we ate outside on the deck because it was a hot humid day and we had just bought a patio table and chairs a few days before. It was our first patio set and we all enjoyed sitting on the deck looking at the mountains, our horses and the cows…mostly we enjoyed the peaceful scenery and the quiet. As the guys were getting ready to go back out at 1:00, Bill said “You boys better pay attention to the sky this afternoon, it looks like we’ll see some lights in those clouds coming in. If you see any lightning, come into the house…don’t stay in the field. I remember thinking that Bill was right…I also thought that the clouds looked odd and appeared to be a different kind of cloud. They were moving in a swirl of sorts in a funny rotation. It looked like we were getting clouds from two different directions, and weather systems were colliding over head from the South and the Northeast. After Bill and the boys left I got busy again cleaning up the kitchen. It wasn’t long before I heard the wind picking up…never failed that after I cleaned we would have a dust storm…we lived on a gravel road as well, with lots of log trucks and traffic, as the road was a short cut over the mountains to Brother’s, Oregon.

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About 2:30 a car drove up to the house, it was my neighbor from over the mountain. She had tried to go up the road down farther from us and ran into a bit of flooding ten miles up-country above us. She called her home to let her husband know that she would be taking a different route home. I asked her if we should be alarmed about the flooding…she said “No, the storm would pass…that it was just a little run off…nothing that doesn’t happen every once in a while.” I offered her a cup of coffee and we sat at my kitchen table talking about my great view of the meadows and made our acquaintances We had never met before and meeting other ranch wives was so important as you needed each other so I was happy to have made a connection to her. She left about 3:00 for her home and by then the wind was picking up with severe lightning and I was beginning to worry about Bill and the boys. I went outside to see what was happening…it was pitch black overhead and not because of dust. I sensed something very wrong about this storm…the clouds were almost a vortex of sorts and there was a funny feeling in the air…it had a strange color to the skies above and felt eerie…by now I was really worried. I remember praying for my neighbor to make it home safe and sound with her little girl.

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Just as I was about to take the pick up out to look for my family, Travis, came in from the baler. We were standing in the mud/laundry room talking about the storm, he said it looked really bad up-country in the mountains behind us as they had been shrouded in black clouds all afternoon. I told him about our neighbor stopping in and taking a different road home due to the flooding on her usual road. We were starting to get a few sprinkles of rain by then but not much, except a nasty lightning and thunder storm. I was now feeling more panic as to where Bill and Greg were, so was Travis. It was roaring outside as the wind picked up blowing in bursts along with the thunder…it was black as coal out like it was 8:00 at night instead of  3:30. Greg came blasting through the door about then, looking frightened and said he saw the bale wagon sitting by the shop and figured Bill was with us.

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We were all feeling on edge by now and didn’t know where to look for Bill. We finally decided to make a run for the shop and the barns to see where he was and what he was doing. No sooner had we decided that…then Bill burst in through the door. He had been hiding out in the little building we called the Ice House or vet medicine room. It was a 100 year old ice house that we converted to a vet/medicine room out in the corrals where we worked the cattle. He had been waiting for a break in the storm to make a run for the house. Luckily, he came in…as that little building was the first one to disintegrate when the wall of water hit…it had no windows, so Bill wouldn’t have been able to see the water in time to escape with his life.

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Mike, the horse trainer, pulled up in the driveway about 3:45 getting out of the pick up with a serious concerned look, so Bill went out to see what was up. The boys and I were still standing in the mud room…when the lightning hit our phone on the wall with a loud popping sound and the phone was smoking…Greg started to walk over to it and I said “Don’t touch it”. He decided to go out and tell Bill and Mike about the phone. In a split second our power was surging…Travis and I decided we had better find the fuse box fast before the surging hurt our computer and blew our microwave as it was beeping away. Looking back I think it was warning us that all hell was about to break loose….

Stay tuned with me as we travel back to moments between life and death, with the rest of the story…to be continued.

Seasons Of Weather On The Land And Spring Fun!

Seasons of weather on the land and the hints of spring fun are coming! I love this time of year, as over the years of living my life on the land, I have gained the understanding of faith, hard work and the importance of being a good steward of the land.

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I notice the seasons more vividly as you depend on them for the health of the land and often you are outside in the elements of weather everyday. Maybe it’s driving to your job 30 miles away in town or maybe you are blessed instead to be out on top of the hills gathering cattle…or farming round and round on a tractor.

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Being in the middle of nature’s elements, you feel the weather on your face with each passing storm, while watching the seasons slowly change.

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From long winter days cloaked in gray fog as you wait and hope for a good wheat crop, growing under the obscure ashen gloom that covers the land from your sight.

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Finally the first breath of spring air comes, blowing off winter’s gray coat, revealing your hard work…your faith has been rewarded, with a beautiful green wheat crop underneath…

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The miracle of life, with that one tiny seed of grain the farmer plants in faith, months before…has grown into a harvest bushel full of wheat.

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Which also means with the changing seasons I will be doing the part that makes me Hot Rod

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Cowgirl…and yes I love the cool cars my hubby WB builds:)

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But, I will always be a cowgirl through and through that loves my horses and the life of a cowgirl…I do admit it is fun to drive the ba-bump-a-boom sounding cars WB builds, with the deep throaty sound of horsepower and a healthy cam:)

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Seasons are a changing…March can be crazy and wild!

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Minnie will be putting away her “Cat Operas” for the year as she will instead be watching out the windows and smelling smells through the screens of spring and then summer…already we have the nightly serenade sounds of crickets in the creek close to the house and lots of robins, doves, quail and various colored birds are flying about to her enjoyment:)

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Hang on…as soon…

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Faster than a speeding bullet…

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Blasting off like a rocket! No silly…not the jet above…

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“Its Lola!” She’s out of winter hibernation and on the road again:):):)

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Lola’s my speeding bullet…”Lola’s my baby:)”

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“Classic…Fast…Built From Days Of Old…” When they still knew how to build real cars…out of steel and real leather interiors and actual horsepower:)

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Beautiful skies above and our little red car below…

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Lola! La La La Lola…Love you Lola!

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Springs a coming….sooooon:)

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Hang on here we go!

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As reported from “The Life Of Hot Rod Cowgirl living in the Wild West!!!”

Blessings That Fill Your Heart With Gratitude

Blessings that fill your heart with gratitude are little miracles in themselves, bringing sunlight and glory to our days here on earth.

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Sometimes you have to look around to see the blessings in your life and other times they can be right in front of you!

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I thank God daily for my life as I watch the sunrise on a brand new day, full of God’s plans for my day and His breath of love on each one of us, for we are all His kids:)

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And at the end of each day I am always blessed with each beautiful sunset, filled with God’s golden glory…with a renewed hope for tomorrow.

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Growing up Mom had a newspaper clipping on our refrigerator for many years held by a magnet. The clipping stood on the truth of its words.

“Oh Lord, You have given me so much,

Give me one more thing, a grateful heart.”

Gratitude…remembering the incredible things we have been given. I still have the clipping in my bible…and had it on my refrigerator for several years until we bought a stainless steel refrigerator…then my magnet would not work, so it is tucked away in a safe place.

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I am thankful and more than grateful for the many blessings in my life. When things get bumpy on the road of my life, I try to focus on the good and positive blessings that God has given to me…so I often make a gratitude list to add to as life is ever changing…below is my current gratitude list…if I were to write them all…I would have a book to share with you:)

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1. I am thankful that I have the freedom to worship God.

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After traveling to the Middle East in the mid-90′s, I experienced many different ways of life and many diverse cultures. I loved seeing where Jesus walked..it was profoundly holy and spiritual to walk in His footsteps. I loved the Old City and seeing the diversity of people. Israel was beautiful to see…I was blessed to have had three weeks to travel, as there were so many historical sites to visit and experience. However, when my plane touched down at JFK, I made a beeline to a Burger King for an all American hamburger with the works! The next morning was surreal to wake up here in Juniper Canyon…the farmers were in full swing of wheat harvest. I remember thanking God that He decided I was to live here in America, it was so peaceful and quiet. We do not know how blessed we are to live in the USA!

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Jordan was ancient in the scenery and beautiful. I loved seeing the desert and Petra was my favorite.

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 Petra was incredible in how they carved it and designed it…it was one of those places that all you can do is take pictures and stand in awe. I also enjoyed having dinner with the Bedouins one evening in their tents. Kind and wonderful people to meet. Everyone I met on the tour was very nice. We began our tour in Damascus, Syria and I loved seeing Palmyra too….we did a day trip into Turkey and then on to Jordan and finally Israel…loved the Sea of Galilee, so peaceful and yes you do float on the Dead Sea and Masada was incredible too. I did ride a camel which was both fun and funny:)

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2. Thank you God for my hubby Wild Bill…my soul mate and my forever. We actually do fit together like a jigsaw puzzle made by God. He is the most thankful part of my life on earth and the best part is that we will be with each other forever into eternity and beyond:)

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3. I am grateful everyday that I am alive and living with good health! Having gone through a serious diagnosis puts a new spin on your life and you truly do see life in a different way….with a thankful heart:)

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4. I am grateful for my parents….who loved me and kept me forever. I know I will see them again. Both WB and I were lucky that we lived next door to them for 20 years, as we were able to help them and do things for them before they became ill….and when they did become ill, we were there 24/7  for them. We were able to support them, finding things to laugh about, long talks into the night, helping them through medical tests and the pain, taking them places and helping them maintain their dignity. I loved my Mom and Dad more than I can say.

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5. I know I am one of the most blessed women to live with always owning a horse….growing up on a large cattle ranch helped…so did having a Dad who was as horse crazy as I was! We always had horses….and we still do. I love the smell of horses, the sound of horses and the relationship one can have with horses and everything about them…they represent a part of life that is my history and heritage. God loves horses too!

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6. Minnie Mouse our kitty girl…almost 18 years old and so much a part of my heart and my life….our life. She has been with through losing three of our parents, cancer and various tough times, and she always gave us her love and lots of funny antics to make us laugh…she has been with us longer than any of our kids and she loves us…we love her and she is our kitty angel:) Blessed by God:)

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7. Living in the very house that I grew up in with my Mom and Dad….that my Grandpa who I never got to meet, built for his mother, my great-grandmother who I never got to meet.

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Living here in a 100 year old family house though, I feel that I do know them and carry the same beliefs and family heritage they passed on to us. A house full of memories, honor and gratitude.

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8. I am grateful that I have always lived in the country, away from the hustle and bustle. I love the quiet and peaceful life of country living here, but I miss the solitude that I grew up in when we summered at the mountain cattle ranch without telephones, electricity, water and no TV let alone radio signal. It was pure bliss to live in such a beautiful place in the Blue Mountains, riding my horse everyday moving cattle or checking cows with my Dad. Life was simpler and the world was different then. I am grateful for all the memories I have of that period in my life growing up.

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9. I am more than blessed to own my “Little Red Car”…WB surprised me as he said “For my redhead and my love, this is your car”. And we do belong to the “Little Red Car Club”.

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10. And for my forever horses, that I will never forget…as they are forever with you:)

Mostly what I want to give to you is this…

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Sometimes when we look out the window of life…we see life that is gray and stormy. It can be depressing, discouraging and tough to see the storms of life we are facing…that is when we plug into our gratitude list, that is filled with determined faith, full of both small and large blessings and the tough times we survived before…as we can’t give up or in, we gotta keep on a going.

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And as we “stand strong on our faith and hope”, life will get better again. The good in life, continues to battle it out, with the evil during our lives…as life will never be perfect until we get to heaven.

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And God has already won for us! No matter how dark it can look in our lives, never ever give up:)

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Wild Bill and I are celebrating the day we met 37 years ago on Valentines Day…February 14, 1976! The picture above was taken two years ago when WB and I were interviewed here in our shop Holton Secret Lab on TV. Notice who is cracking a joke at the end…I am sure we were all nervous and making a funny joke was all I could think of doing…I love to laugh:)

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Happy Valentines Day! My hubby surprised me with the beautiful red roses this morning:)  I wish you all a very special day or night where ever you are!

As a footnote: I am working on the many awards I have been given the last few months. I am terribly slow this time and I hope that all the award givers will not give up on me:) I so appreciate you thinking of me and this blog. Wild Bill had a second surgery December 26th on his shoulder that has taken a longer recovery…he is getting better and still has to take things slow for a few more weeks but he is doing well…he began PT this week:) That is part of the reason for being slow to post new awards and blog the last few months…but I am here and working on getting those awards passed on soon:) Hugs and Blessings:)

Surviving Storms Of Winter As Life Flows On.

Life flows on like a river, as winter takes hold of our lives in Juniper Canyon.

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Surviving the storms of winter can be tough if you are caught without warning…

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Life can change in the blink of an eye.

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And yet if we persevere with hope…our faith is strengthened in a deeper, stronger way.

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2012 ended with the physical pain of WB’s surgery and the emotional pain of loosing Kiah. Dealing with pain itself can be a life storm…a war that you fight for healing and the return to your normal life.

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Loosing our animal family members is equally hard, as truly our animals are part of us, part of our hearts and part of our humanity. I grab hold of my camera every second I can to capture the ever changing life around me…now if I can find the words to express my heart.

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I do know that we live life everyday, never knowing what each new day will bring…having “faith” to believe that no matter what it brings we will survive.

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God never planned for us to have a perfect life as He wants us to depend on Him.

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Each day the road is before us as we keep our focus and walk on. Life is full of adventure…hard times…exciting times…sad times…learning times, but mostly good times.

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Where ever you are I hope that tomorrow or today or tonight is blessed with perseverance that develops your hope which will deepen your faith…no matter your circumstances.

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