Summertime…Oh Sweet Summertime…..

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

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My number one love of summer is being outside and enjoying the season. Every evening we are on the patio watching the colors change…drinking in the beautiful summer nights…breathing in the country air while making new memories to add to the days of old.

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I love summertime and all that comes with it, hot temps, harvest, dust, lemonade, flowers, and always horses…mix it all together and you have a perfect summer!

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Ms. Melody is enjoying the evening out on her pasture for a few hours…I love seeing our horses free and grazing the pasture in their natural state. My Dad had over 25 horses on the cattle ranch that I grew up on…they were working horses as by the week’s end we had each ridden several of them gathering cattle, traveling over 20 to 30 miles in mountainous country so we did not have to worry so much about grass…I worry about my horses today as they do not get the same use and exercise…with horses you always have to be thinking about their health and keeping them safe. We check them everyday making sure all is well…

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

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Beginning with spring, we often have puffy clouds drifting lazily overhead casting shadows on the landscape, while a sapphire blue sky peaks out…click goes my camera!

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A summer blessing appeared this year as Dad’s trees are blooming once again:) A few years ago during a record drought, they were dying from lack of rain, while this year they bloomed, bringing back the wonderful sweet smell of the blossoms…they smell absolutely heavenly!

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They have become a part of the ranch and have been a constant in my life since I was small…Dad planted them on top of the hill gradually bringing them down to the end of the arena where I practiced barrels and pole bending…and where my Dad would stand patiently timing me and saying “Come on go, hurry, go go go…yah you did it!”

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Dad used to team rope and calf rope when I was smaller and I would run the 12 and under barrel races at whatever small rodeo we went to. Mom was long suffering as she was our cheerleader and support! When Dad built the arena, he built it for roping, it was set up and ready to go for calf roping and team roping with friends. Dad’s trees have stood silently by through years of both good and bad times, having weathered life well…while passing the test of time this year, with a re-birthing of new life in their branches:)

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 Ellie girl is loving summer too as this is her first grown up summer and she is ready for new adventures “Come on Mom, lets go”…she loves exploring on our walks as I look for new photos to capture…she looks for new places to dig holes and explore.

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She gave me a perfect Ellie shot…she is so cute how she always has her head down and bottom up when exploring…I love my Ellie girl:)

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The last few years we have had odd weather…it has been great for me to capture pictures as I love the ever changing weather for photo ops. In this shot, can you see the eyes or the Zorro mask?

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

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

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After the storms, we usually have an awesome rainbow…I love trying to capture the colors as they are full of natural beauty. Our God is an amazing God…He gives us a beautiful world to live in filled with miraculous scenes if we look for them!

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And then there is Minnie…our 19 year-old kitty who is exploring summertime green grass…she loves summer too and will sit in the window day and night sleeping against the screen so she can smell the smells, hear the sounds and feel the cool air. This summer I have taken her outside each evening that we are outside so that she can taste the grass, taste the air and breathe deeply all the smells that kitties love.

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After 19 years as an inside kitty, she has earned the time to explore the yard…smell the smells and feel the grass under her paws:) I stay close to her and watch over her…once we go back into the house, she sleeps like a very happy and contented kitty girl:) She is precious and all heart, as she lost her vision and hearing a few months ago…yet she is determined to live her life as fully as she always has!

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

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

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

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Surreal light of “magic time” transforms the sky and the landscape with an array of softer, yet vivid, ethereal colors, creating a feel good afterglow…and a peaceful night.

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“Mom…seriously, where is the grass? “

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

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“Did she say grass?”

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I’m back after taking some time off…I have missed you all! Thank you for your support and encouragement on this road called photography, writing the story and blogging!

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Have A Happy Brand New Week!

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!

Spring Photography With HRCG!

Spring photography with HRCG is fun! No I have not run away from blogging…just slowed down a bit…running the office for our business keeps my nose to the grindstone except when I run out the door with my camera and happily snap away:)

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Ok Ellie…lets go!

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

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

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We often have crazy spring weather as…

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

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Two hours later a beautiful sunset appears!

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

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Melody doesn’t care…she is happy to be loosing her winter coat…she loves seeing green stuff:) She truly has a coat of many colors…during winter she is a dark brown bay…in early spring she begins to turn white while her legs, head and tail remain dark…she is striking and so pretty…as she eventually sheds the white and becomes a lighter bay roan with a bit of grulia…and she is all heart:)

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

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

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One of my favorite photos…

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Melody and Buck sharing a horsey moment…

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Skies and clouds dancing for my camera…

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As crops full of color grow beneath them…

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

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Wherever you are in the world, may you be blessed by the season of Spring…may you find joy and laughter as warmer days come once again…filled with new life and full of amazing beauty.

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

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:)

 

Sounds Of Silence On A Moonlit Night In South Juniper Canyon…

Sounds of silence on a moonlit night in South Juniper Canyon changes throughout the year…my favorite season of sounds is from now through summer into fall. During the day time hours I listen to the turtle doves, which I love…the occasional hawk flying overhead…early mornings and late evenings we hear our owls…and the coyotes.

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My favorite sound happens each night; it is incredible to hear the return of the crickets each spring across the road in our little creek.

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Tonight as I opened our window a rush of spring air came in along with our country symphony. I LOVE falling to sleep with our country crickets serenading me into sweet country girl dreams. Dreams of playing in the creek when I was little, catching tadpoles and bringing them in a jar with some creek water and moss to my Mom….

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I was so proud of myself as I caught these cute little fish things that we could add to my fish bowl…and Mom said “Now wait a minute honey, these are very special fish and they deserve their own container. She dumped them into a large glass jar she had gotten from the Dairy Queen in town, she usually used it to make ice tea, but it was all she had…she wanted to make her little girl happy and keep the tadpoles alive.

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As I write…the symphony stops…silence…the crickets who are the watchman must have heard something and they signaled danger…

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When they do that, silence falls on a dark country night until they feel safe again…once they feel safe, they begin to sing…knowing there is danger but for now all is well…lets party and sing!

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 I begin to fall to sleep with good memories…never figured out that tadpoles were baby frogs until I was a young adult…Mom did not want to tell me…and when I found out I said…really? Yuk…Gross!

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I made a pact with the crickets and frogs to leave them alone from then on.

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Instead we try to protect them with safe waters in trade for their nightly symphonies for us to enjoy…on a quiet moonlit night in South Juniper Canyon.

Misty Memories Of Mom

Misty memories of my Mom came to me this late afternoon.

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I had been in the office all day and as I walked into the kitchen, the view outside my window was full of magic time and late afternoon fog drifting, eddying around the sagebrush across the road towards the creek…and it hit me…all of a sudden I was a young girl getting home from school on the school bus…climbing down the stairs of the bus, I turned and said “Have a good evening Red”…yes my bus driver had red hair and he was called Red by all the locals.

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As I looked towards the house, I could see a golden glow of warmth emanating from within. I knew Mom was cooking something special for dinner and she probably had something good for an after school treat!

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Mom loved to cook and always had snacks, and good stuff…I hurried up the steps as Mom opened the front door saying “Oh Honey, let me help you with that school bag”…she often had a dress on with her apron and a welcoming hug and smile.

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I could smell something sweet and divine…homemade chocolate cake for dinner desert and warm chocolate chip cookies for my snack…all made with Mom’s love:)  She usually had our beef in the oven…my favorite was her roast beef with potatoes, gravy and fruit salad! Mom was a loving wife and always a very classy lady. This photo was taken in town at my Grandma’s house on Easter…we had to do photo ops and I wanted to go hunt Easter eggs with my cousins by the dang dozen! I was being a stinker too…and I remember a swift swat on the patoot!

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Mom’s life was Dad and me…along with a few cattle dogs, lots of cows and several horses…she taught me so much about marriage by example and living life in a small community. In this photo we had been busy with the photographer all day taking photos of us as my Dad was President of the Pendleton Round Up…he was very deserving and truly the “Cowboy’s President” and we were excited for him and his recognition…but we were all tired!

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Once I had explained all the details of my day at school including the bus trip home, I settled in front of the TV and ate my cookies while watching Flicka or Fury or Sky King…now it is my camera that settles me…I love grabbing shots to share:)

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And all was well in a simple country girl’s life growing up:)

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Have a Wonderfully Wild Weird Wednesday! HRCG Over And Out But…I’m On A Roll With My Camera…I Might Catch Ya! Click Click Click!

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!

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