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!

The First Breathe Of Spring

The first breath of Spring is elusive here in Juniper and yet, can it be?

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 Is it Spring? I felt her brush my cheek tonight as I stood outside taking pictures without a coat or shoes…I saw magic time colors…grabbed my camera and out the door I went…lucky we have a nice patio that accommodates feet with or without socks!

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When we went to bed Saturday night, the snow was beginning to drift and blow…

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And when we woke up Sunday morning,

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We had drifts blocking various roads and doors…and fun photography shots!

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However, some of us were getting a bit perturbed…ok darn right cranky!

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Bitchy, Grumpy and Sweet Melody…aw my Mel, you are so sweet!

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By the time we went to bed Sunday night…the great thaw had begun!

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Spring is coming…hang on…tell Groundhog Phil he needs a new gig!

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Over and out from HRCG and Minnie, the cat who knows where it’s at!

Yee-Haw! Blah Blah Days!

Yee-Haw! Blah blah days of gray have descended once again on us in Juniper Canyon.

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Almost every winter we have a couple of weeks of blahsay gray skies with fog that drifts in and drifts out.

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“Oh Mr. Sun where are you…Hello Blue Sky? Where have the two of you gone?” I bet they hooked up and went to Hawaii…I don’t blame them but “Hey…come back puhlease!”

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And with dingy gray skies devoid of character or shadows, what do you take pictures of?

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Maybe God made foggy gray days for us to know that we will go through gray times in life but blue skies are coming…hang on and trust…as the gray will disappear!

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And then…the sun shines for a few hours…Halleluaia! I LOVE seeing blue instead of gray!

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WB heard me whimpering about no blue skies, so he gave me something to do that I enjoy:)

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WB restores customer vehicles and he just finished this 1949 Chevrolet one ton pick up…the customer’s father purchased the pick up in 1949. Note: It is very rare as it is a one ton!

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A photo shoot was just what I needed, as on gray days, photos pop and photo shoots are awesome as the camera captures the shadows, the depth, the funky fun shots, with no glare, and no fade out of color etc.

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We need rain in the Pacific Northwest…we need it bad. We are way below what is the normal crop year moisture…the mountains do not have their usual snow pack and next summer will be very dry…I’m praying for good rains, nice gentle rains and some occasional snow here with a good snow pack in the mountains!

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Summer is coming sooner than we think with beautiful skies and flowers galore that are pretty in pink…hopefully with gentle spring rains and epic summer storms! Hang on tight as soon it will be a warm summer night full of country delight!

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Life Is Good! In Fact It Rocks! 8 Years Strong!!!

How often do you capture a photo of a yellow striped kitty named Morris walking across the back of our “Cat” and he is right above Caterpillar? Perfecto! Morris is a very cool cat!!!

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Have a warm comfy night wherever you are and a Totally Terrific Thursday!

The Incredible Ever Changing View Of Life…

The incredible ever changing view of life outside my window is truly amazing…as each season brings unique gifts of the season to us, giving us the gift of seasonal colors in the skies of glory above us and all around us with the beautiful colors displayed on the landscape…and as I gaze at God’s incredible world, I know but I know that God is here:)

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 I have been a bit distracted from writing with the holidays and life, but I’m back…I didn’t leave the blogosphere planet…I’m here hanging out while taking it all in as I watch the diverse weather while enjoying the life outside my window:)

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Pretty huh? I love this amazing world we live in…

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How it can change in a minute…from foggy days to God’s glory in the sky above…

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With jaw dropping sunsets full of majesty and brilliant colors…with clouds that morph into vivid displays for my camera.

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Surprise surprise surprise…the very next morning…we had snow!

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Of course…my horse Melody chooses to stand out in the snow and wind…never mind her stall is ready and waiting for her:) I think she wanted me to capture her picture in the blizzard of 2013!

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This was New Years Day during magic time…at the end of daylight for that day. It was interesting as we had fog around us on New Years but we managed to stay in the sunshine and blue skies above without fog…and at the end of day it threatened to come in on us as you can see behind the hill but God shone a golden light from heaven on the top of the hill and made a heavenly golden crimson color…and the fog never came in that night:)

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Hey look who dropped by to see what I was doing? It’s my shadow, Miss Ellie who is growing up…and she is ever so sweet:) She wanted to say Grrrowly-Roofy-Hi! And soon I will do a post on Ellie as she has grown lots but is still a puppy:)

Hang on we are switching gears into a new dimension…here we go! Remember you can click the pictures and they will double in size.

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As the headlights on the lone car rounded the corner, they drove into a canyon…above them the skies looked ominous and it was then that they realized they had traveled into the wrong canyon…they were traveling into another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound, but also of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of the imagination…they had crossed into the….Twilight Zone…

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This is Hot Rod Cowgirl signing off from the Secret Lab Zone…hmmmm:)

Wishing You All, A Happy New Week and A Great Night!

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!

Life Is Moving At Warp Speed!

Life is moving at warp speed…and I’m hanging on tight!

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I have no idea where the last month went? Minnie slept and had kitty dreams…I took lots of pictures…and helped launch the new web page for our business…the web page took lots of time and energy as I fretted over it. The day it went live, the heavy burden I had carried for the last two years, rolled off my shoulders! I love how our graphic designer caught the vision of our business…the uniqueness of what we do…along with the where and why…he did a great job! I still have lots of updating yet to do with Awards, Shows, Press and several vehicles to add to Portfolio.  Check it out at this link http://www.holtonsecretlab.com/

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Harvest came and went…

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Trucks rolled by day and night hauling wheat out of the Juniper elevator.

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While bank out wagons and combines loaded semi’s right in the field…

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The semi’s either hauled the crop directly to the river from the farmer’s fields or to the elevator.

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Smoky fires in Central Oregon brought beautiful skies during sunrise and sundown.

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Annie and I felt badly for the firefighters and the people who had to evacuate from their homes. That would be incredibly hard to do.

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I had the opportunity to meet some of my Norwegian family, as Anne Marie and her husband were visiting America. I was thrilled that they stopped in to visit and meet us. I looked frumpy as I had no make up on and my hair was not done. I was in the office that day and planned later to clean up….never fails right? They loved the house and Anne Marie was deeply touched knowing her Dad visited the house when my Great Grandmother Anne Marie lived here…and yes she was named after my Great Grandmother. As Anne Marie gazed out the front windows, she was very blessed and thankful as she knew her Dad had seen the same view out the same window. Heritage and family…is there anything more important!

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Our new puppy Ellie, is almost 13 weeks old now and oh so very cute! She snuck over to the corral and grabbed some horse poop to chew on…why I don’t know, but cattle dogs usually like it! Look at her cute eyes…she is so sweet…does not whine or bark for no reason…she is very smart and just a good good girl:)

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We LOVE her lots…she is my sweetheart!

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While Minnie is tolerating her…she finds Ellie interesting to watch from a distance. Ellie is our first house dog…right now she and Minnie are about the same size.

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Minnie is thinking “I’m the Queen of the house! Maybe I can pounce on her and squish her…hu-rumph!” Ellie thinks of Minnie as family since she is in the house with us…so Ellie will protect Minnie.

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Ellie is so smart and understands what you are asking, she is doing great with house breaking and learning a few commands such as sit, lay, stay, down. She loves to lay on her belly in the yard with her back legs spread out too!

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For some odd reason the writing bug has been elusive and I do not know why…it is frustrating! I am going with it and instead taking a ton of pictures to share…and yet I am trying to find the me that writes.

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Have a wonderful late summer evening …may God Bless You where ever you are:)

Sharing The Memories Of Our Hearts Becomes A Golden Tapestry Of Our Life…

Sharing the memories of our hearts becomes a golden tapestry of our life, as we wrap ourselves in the heritage of life that makes us who we are.

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Often I wonder why I have this writing bug and why it took me so long to discover my intense love of photography as to me the images that I capture and the words that follow, tell a story of a very simple life. Although I have to say at times, my life is not that simple…it has been pretty exciting in certain seasons and also difficult during various circumstances.

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What I have learned is that hard times and difficulties bring out more of your character while deepening your resolve and strength…building your gratitude for getting through them and over them, as you go on with your life…while never looking back at what was or could have been, but looking forward to whats ahead.

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It’s not how you ride through the mountain top moments, but how you climb out of the valleys of hard times that count.

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When I am hit with the desire to write, I grab my pen and write with my heart, letting the words tumble out of my pen onto a simple tablet of paper…I go with it, as writing is part of what makes me, me.

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It is the same with my photography, I don’t know all the ins and outs of aperture and ISO or all the terminology yet, but I will. In the meantime I grab my camera and happily click away with that creative spirit full of heart, only this time, the story I write is through my eyes…

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I love capturing the exact moment when you know that, “Yeah baby I got it!!!”

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Writing is often like life, as we write and write only to find out that it totally stinks so we trash the hours and pages into the shredder and we move on. As a writer, no matter how many revisions you go through…no matter how much criticism you get…you can not stop…you write and write and write. Determined to write the darn best story you can write!

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It’s the same with taking pictures, no matter how many I take, it is never enough!

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Everyday when I get up and look out my kitchen window I am doing what my Mom did for the 42 years she lived in the house and I am doing what my Great Grandmother did for the 18 years she lived here…I can feel what they felt and hear the words they may have spoken, with the views of country life and the circumstances that come out of country living.

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When we pulled up the carpet on the main floor of the house, it was the first time I saw the wood floors, as Mom kept them covered. I had no clue there were solid wood floors on the main level of the house. I was overcome with emotion as I could see the foot traffic worn into the old floors, where my ancestors walked. I walked in their literal footsteps in my bare feet, feeling the solid wood and hearing the same creaks and squeaks under my feet while hearing the echos of a time long ago. 

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Mom keeping the floors covered was perfect in preserving them. When we got down to the last layer of linoleum in the kitchen we found that it had burlap on the back side of it…I had never seen flooring like that and thankfully the burlap kept the floors in good condition.

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The old house was revealing its glory! The floors turned out beautiful…and each day that I walk on them, is like stepping back in heritage and time. History and heritage are important as we are the only ones who know the memories and emotions of the generation before…writing down their memories, their histories and the heritage they passed on to us is so very important.

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Switching gears…we have a new baby and she is keeping us busy…isn’t she cute!!! That’s why I have not posted for a few weeks…life has been fast and furious!

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I was wondering if anyone knows where the summer went to? I can not believe that fall is in the air!

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