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!

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.

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