As Dawn Breaks…..

As Dawn Breaks…A New Day Begins In Juniper.

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Rays of light sparkle and dance on my window…calling me out of bed to capture the first blush of dawn.

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Wiping sleep from my eyes, I throw on some warm clothes and grab my camera hurrying out the door!

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Daybreak will soon be exploding into heavenly colors full of majestic beauty.

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“God’s Glory” shines with heavenly delight above me as,

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Sky colors dance across my lens, filling my heart with strength of heart and a renewed hope!

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Hey Min-Min? Psssst…wake up…its almost daybreak:)

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Magic time light surrounds me as the silly struggles of life softly fade away…

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It’s a brand new day to write a page or two on a clean slate!

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Deep gratitude fills my heart with joy…today will be full of good things!

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Minnie’s awake…my beautiful green-eyed kitty girl…so very precious to my heart and she is almost 20 years old:)

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And its coffee time…Java Java Jing Jing Jing! (My parents sang that tune way back in the early 1960’s)

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Coffee? Who needs doffee, I’m wide awake and still on the night shift. Hey Minnie, quit yawning…you silly kitty girl:)

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Welllll…Tucker I’m not silly!!! I had the night shift too and Dad snored…kept me and Mom awake all night! Mom, tell Tucker to quit staring at me!

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Lets join in and sing Barry Manilow’s song “Daybreak”…I love that song as it puts you in a happy mood! And its Daybreak…ain’t no time to grieve…its Daybreak, if only you’ll believe and let it Shine Shine Shine all around the world…so lets Sing Sing Sing it to the world…and let it Shine Shine Shine, all around the world! Keep singing Barry!

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Mom…seriously, look into my green eyes…do I look happy? Tell Tucker to buzz off! Now where is my caffee?

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HRCG and her gang are over and out for now…but we will be back:) Now hush all of you guys…we all have to get along:)

Days Of Summer…Old Time Memories And Country Life

Days of summer…old time memories and country life…summertime is one of my favorite seasons here in Juniper Canyon. In early June the fields of wheat are lush green…we hope for a few June showers to water the crops and before we know it July takes over…usually with hot temps, today it’s 95 degrees, with a hot breeze blowing that dries the crops out as they go from green to an amber golden color. This is exactly where we are right now with harvest coming up soon.

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Tonight, as the golden twilight falls, long ago memories drift gently through my heart…I can hear the sounds of little girl giggles and make believe imagination as I rode my white horse Prince around the ranch…or ran through the sprinklers…and if I was lucky a couple of cousins would be visiting!

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The air is warm and ever so still…our canyon breeze seems to have settled for the night and in its place…country silence. I can hear a hawk occasionally making his twilight hunting sounds along with the owls up on the hill behind us…as coyotes howl across the horse pasture while in the near distance their relatives answer back…setting off our dogs. A typical warm summer night in Juniper Canyon…and life as I know it.

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Harvest is in the air and on everyone’s mind…old memories of growing up here, takes me back to the sounds of harvest and also the sounds of the cattle ranch in the mountains. My cousins experienced more of harvest than I did, as my uncles did the farming here while my Dad managed the cattle in the mountains…however Dad kept me busy riding for cows and helping him on the cattle ranch through the summers…

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Until I was old enough to join my cousins in harvest and drive wheat truck. Harvest was a family effort…one that made you proud and glad that you were a part of bringing the crops in. We made lots of great family memories along with many hysterically funny stories to tell on each other at lunch!

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Harvest will always be about the common bond of family that stretches over a 100 years…in my heart I can see and feel the sacrifices my Norwegian Grandparents made to give us a future and a hope. They worked hard for every kernel of wheat to support their families well into the future with a legacy of hard work and family honor. Family heritage is who we are today and where we came from.

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It is fitting that old memories are flooding my heart as this weekend we had a large family wedding to attend. It was a beautiful ceremony full of love, friendship and a forever and ever love. My cousin’s daughter was the beautiful bride…she married into a family full of heritage and family honor, much like our large family. They will have a lifetime of happiness!

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The thing about good family memories, family history and family heritage, is that those heartfelt memories are the foundation, we as a large family have built our lives on…both in good times and bad times. Our Norwegian grandparents built the good stuff into their children who became our parents and in turn they built the family honor and heritage into us.

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I was blessed to grow up with my cousins by the dozens, and my aunts and uncles who always welcomed me into their homes if my parents were going to be out of town etc.

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Family meant the world to all of us…as we were old-fashioned close…celebrating family birthdays and holidays together…both young and old enjoyed the connection and the relationship.

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I’m not sure how my uncles and my Dad put up with us, but when we worked for them in harvest or on the cattle ranch, we knew it was serious business and we better pay attention! We would try hard to do that but we were kids…and we would laugh out loud about how so and so got their truck stuck or how so and so got in trouble for spilling a bit of wheat but the uncles were not laughing…nor was my Dad when I managed to loose my herd of cows some where up Chimney Creek! Oh the good old days…we still believed in fairy tales and happy endings.

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And this last weekend…we were part of a beautiful love story filled with fairy tales and a beautiful happy ending. Dreams do come true!

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!

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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!

You Know You Live In The Middle Of Nowhere When…Part One

You know you live in the middle of nowhere…the boondocks…the hinterlands…the isolation of country life when…you have no electricity, no water or plumbing, no land line telephone or cell phone…are you kidding? TV and radio are a non-existence item…no news of the world and no local news…you have no clue what is happening in the outside world. No Wi-Fi…DSL or Internet. You are cut off from civilization. Hello? Hello can you hear me now?

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It’s you and mother nature…usually a few hundred cows and several horses along with a few dogs and my cat!

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I thought it would be fun to compile my list of recognizing when you are living in the remote solitude of nowhere, finding yourself in the boondocks of the twilight zone…so here we go, hang on!

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You know when you live in the middle of nowhere when…

1-You do not see another person besides your husband and your son for weeks at a time…we lived in our camp trailer while our house was being remodeled, with Kalamazoo, our black Manx kitty who was 14 years old and our son who was almost 18…oh fun-fun!

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Incredibly, we managed to live for almost six months in our camp trailer together…our gooseneck horse trailer was my pantry as it held my freezer and refrigerator plugged into an extension cord that ran to the house. I was awfully glad to move into the ranch house at the end of the six months of trailer living, but we found silly things to laugh about and we learned what was truly important in life…which is the greatest lesson of all!

2-You can tell which neighbor is driving by in their pick up by the sounds their pick up makes…be it exhaust or the type of engine or maybe it just makes a sound all its own…and you know who it is!

3-You only go to town for groceries and supplies once a month…and it takes a couple of hours to get to town on windy country roads and curvy two lane highways….

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Incredible scenery though:)

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4-You live in the least populated county in the least populated state in the United States…and sing “Oh Give Me A Home Where The Buffalo Roam…” and the song comes true!

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5-You can see a million stars as well as the satellites that pass overhead…you can often see the Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis with the incredible colors. William Shakespeare once said,”My Soul Is The Sky”…he was right as the endless sky and solar system truly feed my spirit with a sense of awe! The night sky is huge out in the middle of nowhere and especially in Wyoming with the altitude, we felt much closer and saw much more than ever before…no pollution…just crisp clear sky that went on forever and ever whether at night or during the daytime…it was and still is incredible to live in the boondocks!

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6-You missed the first Gulf War due to lack of TV reception, lack of radio reception and no newspapers to be found…we had no idea what was happening in Kuwait or Iraq…it was bizarre!

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7-Due to country-itous, you resort to silly games…such as when you talk to your spouse, you pick up a piece of wire from a bale of hay and look them in the eye saying, “I feel really wired this morning from my coffee.” And the humor and country games begin!

8-You literally have to mail order everything from a tube of lip gloss to a much needed tractor part…thank goodness for the mail as it was my salvation!

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9-You catch one of your employees playing “Catch the Live Rattlesnake “with your 15-year-old son on a warm summer evening in your yard no doubt, around your house, where they have the snake on a leash of bailing twine saying “Here Mr. Sneaky Snake…Come On…Come See Me!”

10-The above employee Brian, kills the snake, forgets to tell you that he put the meat etc. into one of your baggies in your back porch refrigerator…then leaves as he forgot to take it when he left…and you get up in the middle of the night for a cold drink of water or ice tea that you keep in the back porch refrigerator….you do not have your contacts in and you see this baggie with sort of dark reddish stuff in it…and you wonder what in the world…you squint your eyes real good and then you see the diamond back skin in the dark red blood…and now you scream obscenities…stomping up the stairs to your bedroom…waking up the husband who hears you swearing and saying some very choice names…and he thinks uh-oh saying “Yes dear, yes dear, I agree!”

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11-Brian hears that you found his snake guts…and he stays away and hides from you for a good two weeks.

In Central Oregon, in one summer we killed 36 rattlesnakes just at the ranch complex where we lived…they were everywhere we went. The hay fields were full of them and often they would get baled into a bale of hay so when you get the job of walking and rolling the bales over…you roll and watch carefully. WB had one bite the fork on the bale wagon and it hung on so hard, it tipped the hay bale over that it was trapped in…their bite is evil and their mouths are so strong!

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12-A night at the movies consists of an evening drive up on that mountain for fun…as you grab your camera and your music, taking your guns just in case you see a snake or a bear or a critter!

13-In Wyoming, you see more skunks than people! We had a black Manx kitty who accidentally got out of the house at dusk…I pulled on my boots…I was pretty stylish with my boots and my nightgown…I grabbed a flashlight and begin to hunt for him…oh there he is you think…What? NO IT IS NOT…it’s a skunk that you have the light on calling here kitty kitty…make another note…always, ALWAYS wear your glasses!

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14-A few weeks later a skunk gets under your house about 3:00am and sprays right under your bedroom….OH MY GOSH! Instant coughing and pungent fumes wake you up as you come gagging out of your bedroom…eyes watering as the smell somehow becomes a taste in your mouth! Our son goes to school the next day and while in home room one of the students and the teacher ask, who got sprayed by a skunk? Your son dies of embarrassment as he is the newest student in a very small school…that night he goes out and shoots a couple skunks for revenge! I could not believe how many skunks there were in Wyoming…they were everywhere!

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And with that said…this ends part one…it’s beautiful out today with clear sunny skies and currently 76 degrees! Have a wonderful week!

Part Two is next…stay tuned:)

 

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!

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