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!

HAPPY 4th OF JULY AMERICA!!! HOLY COW!!! WE HAVE HAD RECORD HOT TEMPS!!!

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Happy 4th of July America…and to all of you!!!

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God Bless America!

I use the top photo often as it is by far my favorite flag picture…seeing our flag flying full, proud and free, on a horse that is flying proud and free, always takes my breath away!!! Happy 4th of July America…I hope you are celebrating with your families and with America today as we stop once again to wish our glorious country Happy Birthday! Now where is that cake? I want the frosting….

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Holy Cow!  We have had record hot temps with abnormally hotter than hot summer days and nights the last few weeks, it was 85 degrees outside at 11:30 at night. We climbed into the 108-110 degree range daily, for over a week and the humidity was incredibly stellar…we usually do not get much humidity here as we are in a dry climate area…however, this last week day or night it was humid. It was hard to breathe as the air was so heavy and hot. We have had a dry furnace breeze blowing since last Saturday all day long until sundown hits and then it quits and the hot humid air just hangs…suffocating and nasty hot.

I love saying “Holy Cow” as it reminds me of my Dad, who said it often and taught me the same:)

Last Tuesday and Wednesday night our bedroom was 90 degrees with 90% humidity…no air was moving outside, not even a fresh Juniper Canyon breeze blowing up the canyon drifting over us, cooling off our bedroom so we could sleep…it was dead calm and weirdly quiet outside. The crickets were not crickiting…is that a word? All I would occasionally hear was the annoying bull frog and he was not doing his usual hyped up over himself 8 second ribbits.  Most nights it would finally cool down to 75 degrees about 3:00 am, which is still very hot for us and for the nocturnal coyotes, owls and our deer, and all the various animals outside.

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With the hot temps the wheat is drying out and turning a golden amber color with a touch of burnt red. It is one of my favorite colors and I use it through out my house. Our landscape has turned from green grasses and weeds into dry fuel that would burn easy with a lightning strike. Both our barn cats have moved down from the hay loft to the cement aisle floors as it is cooler down there yet and close to their cold automatic water trough.

Two weeks ago it was 55-60 degrees…cloudy…windy…rainy…chilly! That was kind of weird for here too but we needed the rain so while I complained that I was tired of gray skies and tired of being chilly…the rain was welcome. We try to be tough and sleep in our bedroom every summer but I have an idea that we will be getting that new A/C unit installed this year specifically for our bedroom. We used to not mind the heat up here but the last years we have gotten spoiled by the air on the main floor and our basement floor.

Farmers utilize a team of 14 draft animals to harvest wheat.

As I mentally turn back the clock to the 1920′s through the 1990′s when we did not have air conditioning anywhere in the house….we survived and managed. My great-grandmother Anne Marie would probably tsk tsk me for being too hot and tell me to be a big girl now. It fits with the society we live in now…we feel we have to have all the conveniences to comfort us…but I know we can survive grumpily without them:) However…hmmm…when it is 85 degrees at night and a 110 during the day…we need lots of nice cool air to cool us off to sleep at night!

My hubby is from the southeast corner of the state…so was my Mom. We read in the paper today how the ranchers and farmers are struggling with drought conditions caused by not receiving adequate rain for several years. In turn this has caused the reservoirs to dry up. For the cattle rancher who depends on the water for the health of his livestock, and for their survival out on the high desert, many of the century old ranches have only one choice left and that is to sell off their herd or a large part of it. The price of hay will be prohibitive, if they can find it, and the cattle have to have water. I have ridden horseback out to gather cattle on the high desert between Jordan Valley and the base of the Steens and there is not much feed out there under normal circumstances. Today, I would imagine it looks pretty barren and very dry as far as the eye can see. The BLM is hauling water to the various animals of the high desert, the wild mustangs, the pronghorn antelope and etc.

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The green-gold irrigation that has fed the farmers ever since the irrigation was developed and run by the BLM is running out of water too.  If the farmer runs out of water to irrigate his crops, he can not grow his crops, including the hay crops to sell to the cattle ranchers to feed their cattle. The massive Owyhee Reservoir that we have boated on for years, will drop to a third full by August…the lowest it has been on record since it was created in the early 1930′s. That is incredible as this damn is 55 miles long and 450′ deep at the Glory Hole. Hearing of the Owyhee Reservoir being low, means dire circumstances, as the farmers and ranchers have relied on growing several crops per year to support their families and the world.

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They can not grow their crops without water, and if the ranchers can not water their cattle or feed them, then they have no choice but to sell their livestock, which puts their lifestyle at risk. When the family ranch is passed on to you by the generations before you, and during your watch, a historic drought happens that may cause you to sell off your cattle and your land with all the heritage that was passed on to you, you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. When your blood is flowing in the land down deep and you can touch the very earth that was homesteaded for you, you can feel the heritage that runs through your veins…it never goes away. I saw this first hand on some of the huge ranches we managed for the new owners…it was heartbreaking to watch the previous owners pack up their heritage and history. In my own way, I felt their pain and I understood. When I ride my horse out into the fields around us here, and I sit quietly, closing my eyes, I can hear the distant teams of horses plowing the dirt that I am currently standing on,  I can hear the long ago voices of the past and I know it is my Grandfather and his brothers…the echos of my heritage come to life in my heart for a few moments in a brief time warp……

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This last week there are fires on the Owyhee that have burned 44,000 since a lightning storm moved through the area on July 2. The BLM reports as I write this, the fire is 50% contained and under control.

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Due to the dry conditions during the summer of 2012, a million acres or 1500 square miles, burned in Malheur and Harney Country, from dry fuel and dry lightning. This year 33 square miles have already burned from dry fuel and lightning. And new fires broke out Sunday night in a very remote rugged area. The drought has brought the Treasure Valley to a halt, which is unheard of as the irrigated farms around the valley were prosperous and raised incredible crops. We have miles and miles of dry land wheat acres here to support our farms…learning about irrigation from WB, as he grew up with it and knows it well, shook this dry Eastern Oregon Cowgirl up a bit as I had no idea that a mere farm of a 100 acres could do better than we could with 1000′s of acres! The drought of 2013 has placed both the farmers and ranchers in a precarious place, they need assistance, rain after rain storm and they need grazing land to feed their cattle, such as CRP, while the farmer need water to grow their crops.

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My heart goes out to them…and to the desperation they must feel. The ranching and farming families that work the land depend on God and the weather, are a tough bunch, they have lots of strength and moxie and I am praying that God gives them even more strength and moxie right now to hang on and keep going…remember them in your prayers. It is not an easy life to live, this cowboying, cattle ranching life we have lived…it’s a rough and tough life. It’s not an easy life for the farmers either, who break up the soil, planting a tiny little seed in the dirt, while praying and trusting hard for the right amount of rain and good weather to bring it to fruition. Working long hours from sun up to well after dark, farm families work together to bring in the crop, and often the farm wife is serving up a late harvest meal at 10:00 at night, due to a break down right at quitting time. Tired or not the repair had to be figured out and fixed, so harvest would not be delayed the next morning, before heading home for dinner. I remember doing dishes by hand, drying them and putting them back into the cupboard at midnight, before I went to bed, so I would be organized to cook an early breakfast four hours later for my family.

As I write this, our temp today is 90 degrees and has cooled off some, but the air conditioner is still on. Our cool weather will last over the weekend but not for long as we are to have another high pressure system move in by Sunday and hotter than normal temps will return…and where is the phone number for the air conditioner business who can install air for our room? I am not sure why the weather is changing so much…but it is. The patterns we are in currently, are not what I remember as a kid here and certainly not what WB remembers in Vale where he grew up. It will affect all of us one way or another as our food supply will drop and the price of groceries will rise due to lack of produce…and no the price does not go to the farmer.  The drought will destroy some of the family farms and ranches which to me, is very sad as these agricultural based families have been growing food to feed the nation for over a 100 years and now their land is drying up, their cattle can not survive, the irrigated row crops will begin to dwindle, if they haven’t already. Their lives and livelihood are at stake and times are tough, but if anyone can get through this, it is the American Farmer and the American Livestock Rancher. We do know how to dig deep…and carry on with determination and courage…and I applaud them!

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Tonight as we celebrate our great nation’s birthday, remember our military and their families…and pray for America! Enjoy the fireworks…we do not do that part as we have to be careful of fire here. Eat lots of good food, we do that part:) Enjoy the company of your family and friends! Together we stand one nation under God with liberty and justice for all! God Bless The United States of America!

Days Of Our Lives Drifting Through My Mind…

Days of our lives drifting through my mind…life is forever…right? Our lives were running out of time with only seconds left…run…run from what? Wait…what? RUN NOW!

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Looking back now, the images seem almost surreal. Everything that happened to us, happened in a matter of seconds. We were all players, fulfilling our roles in this real life and death drama…only it was our life and death drama and it was very real. We survived the unusual flash flood, the timing of us all being together was a blessing from above. The flood went down in history due to the massive amount of water and debris, calling it a historic 100 year flash flood.

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This post is a bit different as it picks up where the last one left off but I have added more photos of the flood’s destruction. I will tell part of the story and add a picture, describing what the picture is…hopefully you will be able to follow along as I pick up the story where we left off.

As soon as son Greg went out to see what Mike was talking to Wild Bill about, Travis and I began searching for the fuse box as our power was surging, and we worried about our computer and the microwave. We located it in the center of the house, at the base of the stairs, and we were discussing which was the main switch, when we heard Wild Bill yelling at us, something about “Get out of the house NOW!” For maybe half a second we looked at each other and Travis asked me if I knew what Dad said? I said no but whatever Dad said it is serious and we have to get out of the house as fast as we can!

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As we ran back through the house to the mud room, we grabbed our boots and ran down the long hallway into the garage, finally making it outside, running in our socks which were now wet and muddy. The above photo is the flood damage to the back of the garage we ran out of…as the flood hit the garage less than 15 seconds after we ran out…blowing the back out. Wild Bill was frantic as he yelled for us to “HURRY UP”, the pick up with WB, Mike and Greg was about 50′ away from Travis and I. Mike was in the driver’s seat of the pick up with it in reverse, Greg was on the flatbed of the pick up and WB was at the passenger door waving his arms and yelling for us to run! The moment was total chaos.

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Wild Bill had seen a wall of water, coming directly towards us…150 yards from the house…he figured we had seconds to escape sudden death. The only reason that our RV Trailer and my pick up Della did not float away was an abandoned satellite pole that wedged them up against the garage. You can see the same hole in the back of the garage…seconds mattered for all of us to survive. The amount of debris in the flood waters was as deadly as the water was.

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I remember running and feeling the pain in my stomach and the rocks under my wet and muddy feet, with Travis running beside me and the panic we felt. I saw the fear in Wild Bill and Mike…I still had no idea what was wrong. I just knew it was a life and death situation. Finally we made it to the truck, which was parked about where the red three-wheeler is in the picture above. Mike already had the truck in reverse and was moving it as we reached them, Bill was yelling at Mike to not leave us. Travis bailed on the back of the truck with Greg, and I bailed into the front seat between Mike and WB. In the split second that I bailed into the truck, I saw what we were all running from. It was the most horrible sight I had ever seen! A wall of water rolling towards us that was huge, muddy and very wide, in a blink of a second it was now bearing down on us…hitting the front of the pick up as we were backing up and out of the way. In one more frantic effort, Wild Bill tried to reach for our puppy Hank. He was right by the door of the pick up…Bill missed and I figured I would never see Hank again as I choked back tears.

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In the above picture, the ranch had a full set of working corrals, built to last using railroad posts set in concrete to anchor them into the ground…the power of the water not only took the railroad posts but also the concrete. There was a concrete runway poured and built for the cattle to go through and it was gone too…all the concrete was scrubbed off the face of the earth and only deep muddy mud and debris was left.

Mike kept backing the pick up until we were up above the water in the hay stack area, just above the road. He slammed on the brakes and we all just sat there watching this massive wall of water engulf everything on the ranch before our eyes. I don’t know how long we sat there in silence…we eventually got out of the pick up and stood there watching the horror of it all. I remember trying to pull on my boots over wet socks…I was in a panic. There are two kinds of panic…one is the panic that you react and do something…but this was a panic that you felt frozen in, unable to do anything.

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In the above picture you can see our white four horse trailer, the red and yellow bale wagon, our flatbed trailer with my horse walker on it…WB’s welding trailers…balers and lots of expensive equipment. None of it was parked out there when the flood hit…all the equipment was parked at either the shop or the house about a 1/2 to 1/4 mile away.

The raging water looked as wide as the Columbia River. It was a torrent of water, that bubbled and boiled over everything in its path. It was deep and was moving very swift. The sound was a deafening roar…and it kept coming and coming. It appeared to be about 200′ feet wide and 8-12′ feet deep. We saw the D-5 Caterpillar tractor with the blade parked down into the gravel, come bobbing out of the equipment shed, floating along with all the other equipment…bale wagons, balers, pick ups, horsetrailers, welders, welders on trailers, and trucks, the water kept coming and sweeping everything away in front of us. The Caterpillar floated/bobbed along about 20 yards…with the water going underneath it…moving it and then dropping it. I saw the horses behind the equipment shed go under the water as the water went over the top of the shop roof…I saw the five yearlings next to our house get tossed away with the powder river steel panels…they were gone along with several other young horses in the corrals behind the yearlings. When the water hit them, it hit so hard that it swept the horses upstream…up the Crooked River.

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The house would be to the left of this photo…where you see the green grass with the yellow tin etc. next to it is where we set up the individual horse stalls with our steel panels, for the 5 yearlings that I was working with. When the force of the flood hit…the yearlings in the 5 paneled stalls, and the other horses in the corrals behind them vanished…I did not know if they would swim out or if they would be lost.

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Then we noticed the big 50′ by 50′ barn was gone, none of us saw it go down…it was completely disintegrated. All the vehicles were floating, our crew cab flatbed one ton pick up was floating and our crew cab one ton dually was floating with it….our four horse horsetrailer was gone already and on the way to the Crooked River. The water washed one of the Freightliner semi trucks some 200 yards and it took the bale wagon, flatbed trailers, welding trailers, balers, tractors, the huge cattle trailer…everything on that ranch either moved or disintegrated. Three 500 gallon barrels filled with fuel were tossed about like they were empty….

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The entire corral system was gone…cement foundation and all. The two chutes that were set in concrete…were gone like it had never been there before. The force of the water wrapped the powder river steel panels around the harrow bed…if you are not familiar with powder river or noble steel panels, these are heavy-duty steel panels and gates made out of steel, the water was so powerful, the force of it bent the panels around various things like toothpicks. We watched as the ranch owner’s 12′ by 24′ tack room, that was built on skids, float away….finally coming to rest on the banks of the Crooked River…a good half mile from its original place.

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I was worried that the house would go anytime. It was a 100 year old house that was not built on a foundation. It was now surrounded by swirling, deep, muddy raging water. If the house goes we loose everything….all our family heritage…our life of photos and special things that made us a family and made us who we are. And our kitty cats Zoo and Morris and puppy Hank…they were part of us too.

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By now every horse I was taking care of was unaccounted for, about 16 horses, except the two we owned. They were in the pasture next to the house and the road was between us…I could not reach them as the road was on lower ground and under water…they kept moving closer to us as they were belly deep in the water now. They were looking and searching out of instinct for higher ground but it was nowhere to be found. It was so very hard to be so close to them and yet so far away. My mare Lottie just kind of took it in stride as to what was happening but Bill’s horse Odie was younger and was trying to fight the water…he kept spinning around in it until finally he settled down with my mare and they found a high corner close to us that gave them higher ground with more security and comfort being closer to us.

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None of us said to much…the water was making a roar and was hard to talk over. I was crying quietly, as it seemed like the end of the world had come and we were all alone, nothing made any sense. With as much water that we were seeing, we thought that one of our water reservoirs had broken up-country above the main ranch…as we had not received much rain. The fear we were all feeling now was that if the reservoir had broken, the young family that worked on the ranch lived right below it, and would be in grave trouble, as they had two small children. And the young couple breaking the polo horses staying above us at the Red House…all we knew at that point was that we had alot of deep water hit us and there were people above us that likely had been hit with it too. At that time the water over the main road was over 3′ deep and we could not get up-country to check on them yet.

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I don’t know how long we stood there trying to figure out what to do. After about an hour or so, the water receded enough that Bill and Mike decided to go back over to the house to check on things. I was not in favor of them going because the water was still mid-thigh deep. I don’t know why they went, I think it was because they had to do something and not just stand by. The boys and I waited, I don’t think we said much as there were no words to say.

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By now there were many neighbors and people gathered out on the main highway watching, I knew they wanted to help us but they couldn’t get up to where we were because the road was still covered with water. I remember how I wished I could get a message to them to get someone up in a plane to fly up-country to check on the people up there. I felt numb and cold, afraid and in shock, panicked and so deeply mortified by what I had seen. I realized then that we were very lucky to have gotten out of harms way. Things were crazy around me but for that one small moment, I was very thankful that my family was safe and we were alive.

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This is the D5 Caterpillar we saw bobbing in the flood waters bouncing and dancing out of the shop, when it was parked with the blade down in the gravel. This tractor is huge and gives you an idea of how forceful the flood waters were.

WB and Mile came back after a few minutes. They said the house appeared to be alright, but the water had blown a hole through the cement wall in the garage…the garage and mud room were under water and mud…and the front porch was full of mud. The only thing that saved the house from going down was the various pieces of equipment that had washed up against it…balers, tractors, shop equipment, trailers…and lots of shrubs.

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The large stock trailer hooked on to the red semi, to the left of the picture, had been carried with the flood water into the front of the house where it wedged itself and diverted the water splitting in two directions instead of the water hitting the house full on, as with no foundation the water hitting the house with full on force would have brought it down.

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Bill found Hank, our puppy, who was floating on a pile of debris scared to death…but safe! Kalamazoo was okay and so was Greg’s cat Morris! This picture was taken about three months after the flood…both pick ups were back on the road and good as new…thankfully we had insurance and WB knew how to clean them up and replace what needed to be replaced.

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The deck at the back of the house…can you see those tiny marigolds in my old Hitachi pot that was my Mom’s…despite the destruction…horror and grief…those flowers survived…they had not moved either as that was where I placed them the day before the flood. Seeing the flowers in the chaos gave me strength and hope that even though our lives were in chaos we would get through this flood just like those beautiful flowers.

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We found some of our steel panels…many we never saw again and some were beyond saving as they were twisted into an unrecognizable object. As you can see we had mud and debris to clean up for months…and then rebuild the ranch…fences, barns, corrals, irrigation lines etc. and bring new life into the painful memories of a 100 year flash flood.

The only loss of life was the young man who was passing through with his fiance’ for a few days of rest and also training on some polo horses from S. California. Like us, he was caught off guard when the water hit and he tied himself to a pole fence with his rope in order to swim/walk out in the water to reach three of the horses trapped on an island in the middle of the raging flood water. He was able to reach the three horses on the island and had got on one of them when the fence broke due to the force of the water and that was the last he and his horse were seen. The other two horses swam out and were okay. It was very hard on all of us but especially his fiance’ and his family…he gave his life in the true cowboy way by thinking of his horses before himself…he did not know the power of the water and tried his best and gave his all.

To be continued with the final chapter…

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.

Split Seconds Between Life And Death…

“Split Seconds Between Life And Death” is the introduction of surviving a devastating flash flood in a blink…of a split second.

Double-click the photos and newspaper article to enlarge them for reading the small print and seeing the details…most of the pictures were taken before I had a digital camera.

The morning of August 5th seemed like a typical summer morning as we rolled out of bed at the crack of dawn, stumbling to the kitchen for our first pot of very strong coffee to get the cobwebs out of our heads to plan the day.

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We sipped the dark caffeine as we watched the sun rise into a clear, beautiful blue sky morning…promising to be another warm sunny day in the hay fields.

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Due to the isolation of the ranch we managed on the Crooked River and the location of a mountain full of iron that was close to the house…we could not pick up radio signals or television to hear the news and the weather forecast. Unknown to us, there were several weather warnings for August 5th…and the possibility for severe storms on top of the mountains behind us. The summer day seemed perfect that morning…who could imagine that a massive wall of water would be building and rolling toward our home and our lives, later that afternoon, traveling at 15 mph or more with certain death, if caught in it. This is my story and account of what I saw and felt that fateful summer day, when we had a few split seconds between life and death…with our life being turned upside down in a matter of minutes, by the end of the day.

And so it begins…

After lunch we were sitting out on our deck when, Wild Bill mentioned to his hay crew to keep an eye on the sky. He noted that clouds had been building the last few hours on top of the mountains behind us…they looked ominous and were spinning in an odd way, like they were coming from different directions running into each other.

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Heading out the door, back to the hay fields, WB said “If you see lightning or the weather changes, park the equipment and come into the headquarters,” which was our home. I was headed to Prineville, 35 miles away, for a doctor appointment, as I had been kicked a few days earlier in my lower abdomen by a young three-year old horse that packed a hard powerful punch that ripped my jeans where she kicked and it had not gotten any better…instead it turned into a combination of several colors, much like the clouds in the photo below. I looked four months pregnant from the swelling, and could not zip up my wranglers all the way and it hurt to move or walk fast.

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As the afternoon wore on, I watched as more clouds were developing behind us in the Maury Mountains…my gut intuition told me to not go and to stay home so I made different arrangements for my doctor appointment. I heard thunder far away towards the mountains, and as time passed, I could tell it was coming our way…

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And soon the thunder was on top of us…with lightening all around…and then drops of rain began to fall. I began to worry about Wild Bill and our two sons who were also part of the hay crew. Time began to speed up and before I knew what was happening, in a split second our life was spinning out of control  between life and death.

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Tick-tock…fractured moments…tick-tock…life and DEATH…tick…RUN…tock…wall of  WATER…no time…RUN…your LIFE…NO TIME…move…NOW…GET OUT OF THE HOUSE…RUN!

Split seconds in a heartbeat, become moments in your life that you will never forget…and on that warm humid summer day, I did not know what I was escaping from, when my husband yelled and I ran out of the house in my socks, despite the wet ground from the rain we were now getting…carrying my boots…with Wild Bill frantically yelling “MOVE…HURRY…NOW” as I jumped into a moving pick up that was already backing up in reverse…and then…I saw the wall of water coming directly towards us and our house. Once we were safe on higher ground, we watched in stunned silence as the roar of raging flood waters hit the ranch.

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In a matter of seconds, our focus was on a 200′ wide by 7′ deep river of flood water moving at 15 mph or more, engulfing our lives…our house, our horses, our vehicles, the equipment and buildings…we saw the entire ranch move as we stood helplessly by. Witnessing a D5 Caterpillar tractor with the blade parked down in the gravel, walking itself out of the quickly deteriorating equipment shed that was attached to the shop…the tractor was bobbing, floating, bouncing and dancing with the energy of the flood waters like it was a toy.

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At daybreak, the following morning after the flood, Wild Bill and I walked through the war zone of what was left of the ranch where the battle was fought…showing the power and might of the water. The lone stock truck ended its journey through the flood waters settling into the mud, where the 50′ by 50′ barn “used” to stand, before it disintegrated with the forceful blast of  flood water…it happened so fast, none of us saw it collapse…and yet the smaller barn survived and was left standing alone…it became the “Miracle Barn.” Every building on the ranch either disintegrated upon impact or if left standing, leaned in a different way or moved with the jarring force of the flood water when it slammed into the complex, rolling over anything or anyone in its path.

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Loosing the life of the young cowboy, who was passing through on his way home, trying to save his horses, was the hardest and most difficult part of our grief…fractured moments of a human life, painful memories we will never forget. The State Of Oregon did numerous studies of the massive flood for several years. How could this happen and why…could it happen again…the environmental conditions that played a part…the odd weather and the rain storm that caused the flood…on a warm summer day in August, as we were baling and putting up hay…a typical ranch life one second and a nightmare the next.

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 Surviving the flood with God’s protection was evidenced by Wild Bill being aware of the clouds looking ominous at lunch…he kept watching them through out the afternoon as the weather was changing quickly…and thankfully he came home into the headquarters as it had barely begun to sprinkle with rain, along with lightning and thunder…and then, he saw the wall of water coming at us in time to escape…that was God’s provision.

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Our horses lived through the flood…they were close to where we were safe, but I could not reach them which was awful!  Thankfully God heard my prayers and spared them from death but not from the fear they felt.

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I’ll be sharing a few more chapters on the flood in the coming weeks…the many memories and the miracles…I hope my story of survival will give you strength and hope…knowing that life can at times be unexpected and incredibly tough but we can do it…we just have to keep on a going, no matter what!

Stay tuned for Chapter 1 of the “Historic 100 Year Flood”…HRCG over and out for now but not for long!

Surviving Storms Of Winter As Life Flows On.

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

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

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Life can change in the blink of an eye.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings Of Grace And Unwavering Faith…Full Of Heartfelt Gratitude And Thankfulness.

Blessings of grace and unwavering faith, full of heartfelt gratitude and thankfulness.

Some of these photos are older and have been used before….my main computer and back up drive are at the doctor’s office right now…my back up drive has all my newer photography:( I will be taking new images this next week to share with all of you…in mean the time…I hope your turkey day was perfect:)

The Thanksgiving holiday is when we stop our busy lives to enjoy our families, our heritage and our traditions…food prepared with love and old family recipes by the many hands who made it special, the way that Grandma did. I love traditional holidays with all the wonderful trimmings.

Having gone through various hard things in life I began to understand that everyday we have is a day of gratitude and thankfulness…my life is full of many blessings that I do not take for granted. I thank God each day for seeing the sunrise and the sunset…for living here in America…for our heritage and history…for our business and for our ranch…for my husband and for my adopted sister, her family and also our families on both sides as well as our neighbors, and all our forever life friends.

I am thankful for Minnie Mouse, who is the Queenie of My House:)

And for our horses Melody, Annie and Buck:)

And for our protective dogs…we have three wonderful, loving Aussie’s.

I thank God for my parents and for the incredible life we lived together…for our relationship and memories.

To be the little girl who grew up into the daughter and woman they raised me to be.

I am thankful for our long talks in the middle of the night and the silly fun times we had with goofing off…those are the tender memories that hold me now when I wish I could go next door for a good cup of coffee and visit with Mom…or riding out of cow camp with Dad, just as the sunlight barely broke over the mountains on early summer mornings, heading out for the day to move and check cattle…cherished memories of the soul and nourishment for the heart…I will carry them forever.

Wild Bill and I have so much to be thankful for…36 years of marriage and our health…most of all our faith and depth of relationship with each other…we have lived through lots of life…floods, cancer, the death of my parents and of WB’s Dad…sad times, mad times and good times..and we keep on a going and love each other more today that when we married.

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.”    By W.T. Purkiser

That is the truth of our lives…being real with our life and being an example of God’s blessings in our life, as an act of our faith and gratitude. It seems that every good thing or our tough times can help others with encouragement that they too will make it through life.

Caring about our fellow-man, ready to help with our presence, as that is what life is about…as they are on the path of their lives that brought them into your life…and being loved with a big hug is the very best that we can give to others as we have much to be thankful for:)

Happy Thanksgiving from Hot Rod Cowgirl and Wild Bill!

Hot Rod Cowgirl Is Still Blogging!

As you know WB had neck surgery a few weeks ago…and my blogging ability has slowed down a bit…but…please keep hanging with me. WB has always said I have at least 10,000 words each day to say and if I were to stop writing…he would go deaf and I would feel awful!!! Don’t give up on HRCG’s slower posts:)

WB and I are survivors and this is October, the one month a year that is all about PINK.  

This is the last day of October so I think I will have to carry this on one more month:)

I am way late with this mention….with WB’s surgery I do not know where the last month went??? Hot Rod Cowgirl Ding A Ling:)

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I am a SURVIVOR, so is my Wild Bill…he went through every biopsy…8 of them being diagnosed high risk in 5 years…and then he went through the big one….20 hours of surgery the first 48 hours…believe me he too is a survivor:)

I am modeling for the Pendleton Woolen Mills http://www.pendleton-usa.com/ in the above and below pictures for a local fund-raiser for all kinds of cancer.

I am standing at the end of the fashion show with other cancer survivors and we are one tough bunch!!!

Check out our YouTube Video as our cars modeled for The Pendleton Woolen Mills 100th Fall and Spring Catalog Homecoming Celebration…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCidRC7ySAc&list=UUwUpsbWihKx7ukx3EN1_Piw&index=8&feature=plcp

WB says that I am doing the MJ smile:)

Happy Terrific Thursday…Wishing You A Fantastic Weekend:)

I am praying for all of you on the East Coast of the US. God Bless You and Keep You….know I hold you all tightly in my prayers…I can not imagine what you are going through. Hugs and huge prayers for you.

Love, HRCG

Juniper T Ranch Quietly Changes Scenery As The Seasons Of Life Continue On…

Juniper T Ranch quietly changes scenery as the seasons of life continue on with Autumn’s golden light on the landscape…where did summer go?

Life has been a bit crazy and I have not been able to blog as often as I usually do…I love to write and write and write…I love to photograph tons of various pictures to share with you and I like to yak a lot:)

I have missed reading your blogs…which makes me sad, as I enjoy hearing about your lives and seeing your photography…seeing a glimpse of your world.

A week ago Thursday my hubby Wild Bill had surgery on his neck. He was pulling hard on a wrench under a vehicle on the hoist last July and all of a sudden he heard a snap and loud pop sound in his right shoulder…instant pain…but “Mr. Tough Guy” did not say anything to me until about 5 days later…”Oh, uhhhhh MJ…can you call in and get me a doctor appointment, as I did something to my shoulder a few days ago and it hurts like heck.”

I have NEVER heard those words uttered out of his mouth before in 36 years of marriage…so I knew he was in pain. I was able to get him in right away so on July 25th he had the first MRI and our family Dr. sent him to see a shoulder specialist. At first they thought it was either a rotator cuff tear or that he tore his bicep muscle.

We had to wait until later in August to see the shoulder specialist. He ordered more tests and we saw the MRA’s and the MRI’s and you could see his bicep was still intact but had several frayed tears…and the rotator cuff was ok thank goodness! The Dr. was going to set up bicep surgery and Wild Bill was saying how much the back of his arm hurt too as well as he had two numb fingers on his right hand.

The Dr.’s eye brows went up and he said ok that is indicative of a neck issue. I want to send you to a nerve Dr. to do a nerve study…sure enough we heard his nerves screaming in agony in his neck on the nerve study and the next stop was the spine Dr….we saw him in early September.

Note: The above picture of WB was taken before his injury…and he was having fun!

Bill injured his neck July 20th…that is a very long time to live with the kind of nerve pain he was living with…but he did and we saw the Dr. who did another MRI on his neck and you could see the two vertebrae under the two that were fused 6 years ago, and a very distinct nerve under the bottom vertebrae looking pinched…surgery was scheduled for September 27th.

In the mean time I teased the heck out of him:) Imagine that! I have found that humor always helps:)

It was tough to have to wait as he was suffering intense pain..I have gone through a lot of surgeries but nothing like what WB went through. Nerve and bone pain is the worst pain you can have. I had lots of nerves involved in my surgeries but not bone…and yah nerve pain hurts and once it heals it is annoying…I get an itch and scratch but can not feel it….LOL:)

While we waited WB sat out on the patio with me in the evenings…we have not watched TV since last March…once the  time change happens with Spring Forward, I want to enjoy each hour of daylight. Winter is coming and it will be dark again at 4:00. During this time of the year I want to be in the middle of the glorious light and experience the clouds and feel the warmth. I love the evening light, the beauty all around us…seeing the wildlife, watching my horses, petting the dogs, counting the stars, hearing the crickets and frogs and just taking in all the wonderful country smells of summer and fall:)

 I love the colors of the sky during the magic hour each evening as the sun slowly sinks down to its bed for a good rest while the moon takes its place.

And if we’re lucky it will be a harvest moon that slowly peeks out at you.

And slowly rises over the hill across the road.

A shot of the log fence with our 10-12′ sagebrush that you see across the road in the background along Juniper Creek. We love our sagebrush and it is amazing when you stand in it as it truly is that tall. When I was growing up I spent hours over in the creek catching tadpoles and pretending various scenarios that always revolved around my horse and I…we played Annie Oakley or I was tracking buffalo or elk or cowboys and looking for the Native Americans:)

As September 27th drew closer we both became nervous. WB has only had two surgeries in his adult life…when they took him to surgery in 2006…I cried and could not stop. I took his clothes out to the car in the parking garage and was still trying to stuff my tears and emotions…and then I heard this beautiful music coming from somewhere or someones car. I looked around and did not see anyone…the music was a song I knew from church about God… how He loves us and will always watch over us…I knew then that WB was going to be ok and he was:)

This time when they took him to surgery I began to choke up and tear up trying to not let him see me doing that…it is so hard to see your loved one go to surgery as you feel helpless, worried and scared. Just as they began to take him through the swinging doors I noticed there was someone walking towards us down the hall…it was two of our best forever friends John and Tara…with big smiles. I grabbed the arm of the nurse to stop Bill’s gurney for just a minute so he could see them too. What a blessing it was for us that they came to be with us:) Having Tara spend the day with me was answer to prayer…she is a sister to me. And John, who is our family too, stayed to visit and encourage me before he left to join his wife for the day. John has been with us through lots of life stuff…God is very good:)

The surgery went well…as the Dr. lifted the bone off the nerve that was pinched, he said that even though WB was sleeping he let out a sigh of relief. Later when WB woke up in his room he said “Wow, my shoulder does not hurt anymore.” The Dr. also repaired the vertebrae using new bone and once they were done they attached a steel plate to the vertebrae with steel screws. The surgery was about three hours with almost two in recovery.

It is not an easy surgery or recovery. In 2006 they went in through the back of his neck and this time they went in from the front of his neck which involved moving the esophagus over to be able to get to the vertebrae. WB’s pain has been pretty intense the last week…he has three months to go before he is able to resume all his normal activities.

In the picture above right across from our house…see the joys of country living…dust gently hanging in the night air…drifting closer and feeling welcome enough to come into my house! It does add to the picture but darn it as I just dusted the house!

The first month of recovery is the toughest…the most he can lift is 5 pounds and he can not reach up over his head or reach to the sides or reach towards the floor etc. We have been home a week now…in fact they allowed us to go home that night about 9:00…I was Nervous Nurse Nellie…but it was good for him to be home and to sleep in our bed. And I have gotten into the role of being Nurse Nellie which means I give him his meds every 4-6 hours 24/7…and give him the stink eye when I see him doing something he should not do!

“Don’t worry WB, you will be perfectly fine…it just takes a bit of time to heal”. I love his smile:) Besides the surgical pain the hardest part right now is that he felt he would be further along after a week…this recovery stuff is all new to him yet…so I watch him like a hawk as he wants to do more but NOT now WB. I feel like a nag but he forgets and will start to bend over to reach for something and I say “No…Wild Bill, quit that”…then he looks at me like a little boy who was caught…it is hard for him to just rest and rest and rest and not feel guilty for resting. I remind him that yes I know…I had to be very good for six months after my year of surgeries…and it took me a good year to regain all my strength and energy back but I did and WB will too if I can keep him under house arrest:)

Melody says it will be ok WB…and do you happen to have one of those awesome Apple Berry Treats for me?

And Kiah loves you and says all will be fine Dad…now can I finish getting into your lap?

I have not fallen off the planet or quit blogging…just taking care of my hubby to get him well and healed back up:) Whenever I get the chance I head outside to capture pictures to share with you….which is a vacation for my mind and heart…I love the artistic part of me that gets fired up:) And I want to develop it more and more and more:)

I hope you have a wonderful Fall evening and weekend wherever you are…look around at the beauty that is all around you and smile:)

HRCG over and out for now!

My New Favorite Day!

Good Morning To My New Favorite Day!

Grab your coffee and read on:)

I recently had a chance to meet Shannon Pruitt, of My New Favorite Day…here is a link to her blog http://mynewfavoriteday.com/.

Shannon is an incredible wife, mom, daughter and friend….she brings good into life with a beautiful attitude and she is one awesome lady! She lives in CA. with her husband and their children. Here is Shannon’s introduction of herself from her blog.

“My name is Shannon Pruitt and I am a childhood surviving, divorced, now happily married, IVF success story, working mother of 2 amazing babies who were born 12 weeks premature. While my children are now 2 years old, my son, Q, has thrived while our daughter, E, has had a much more difficult journey.  She is considered special needs with a tentative diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy, and so as she grows, so do we as individuals and as family. How to help her, how to celebrate our differences while allowing ourselves to cope with the challenges that we never knew to expect.  So while much of this blog is based on our experiences (good and not-so-good), it is also based on how we must not let ourselves become victims of our circumstances but rather advocate in our own lives.”

“After being in a bit of a self-imposed emotional isolation for about 18 months, 6 months ago an ordinary moment in our living room became extra-ordinary and I thought perhaps sharing these stories of hope and inspiration can help and motivate others going through similar circumstances.  So that night, with my nerves on fire, I created my first post for ‘mynewfavoriteday,’ and what I found out from so many of you was that these emotions and feelings were not unique to us or our circumstances, but rather permeated all of your personal experiences through your relationships and situations with parents, conception, siblings, IVF, prematurity, parenting, children, special needs, terminal illness, and everyday stress.  It became very clear that we are all united by common emotions of love, fear, hope, faith, sadness, happiness, strength, and joy and most importantly, we are all doing the best we can, how we can.  We all need one another and if we can remember to find the little nuggets of inspiration and motivation we can try to make each day ‘ournewfavoriteday’.”

A very good friend of mine who lives in Central Oregon sent me a link to Shannon’s blog site last winter as she knew Shannon’s best ever friend who lived down the street from her. I clicked on the link and the friendship with Shannon began developing that night. She grew up in Ashland , Oregon and has been to my neck of the woods in Eastern Oregon…and has attended the Pendleton Round Up.

I felt a connection to Shannon immediately as we share a lot in common with life and an artists heart.

So today July 17th Shannon interviewed me on her blog and if you go to her web/blog site you can see the interview:)

http://mynewfavoriteday.com

I am humbled that she wanted to interview me…my life is truly just like yours with both good and bad times…we just keep a going and find something each day to be thankful for and grateful for…then we look for a really good belly laugh to get some of those feel good cells moving:)

And there you have a pearl of wisdom from Hot Rod Cowgirl…and Melody:)

Shannon calls her blog “My New Favorite Day”, as it is her choice each day to find something amazing in her life that day and that one day becomes her new favorite day!

What an awesome way to look at each day as we roll out of bed…no matter if we have something fun to wake to or something hard to wake to, each day “CAN” be our new favorite day if we want it to…

We just have to make that one choice and decision…

At times with serious determination…we can choose to be upset or we can smile even when life seems to hit us hard…there is always a way to find hope…the choice is ours…

To either let it ruin your day or your life or choose instead to carry on and find a way to survive it with grace and a can do attitude with heart.

We can survive the whatever it is with the belief that things will get better and life will go on…and we can survive with strength and joy.

Hot Rod Cowgirl and her dogs choose to find a good belly laugh each day:)

Along with my horses…

And Minnie too:)

And my hubby Wild Bill:)

Be sure to check out My New Favorite Day at http://mynewfavoriteday.com

Ok this 4:00 am stuff is not bad usually but I have been up for 24 hours…I gotta go take a nap…yawn…we have had terrible lightning storms nightly and various other things like wind, hail, more thunder and last night was four hours solid of every kind of lightning there is over the top of our house from 10:00 pm-2:30 am…kind of scary when you think about it.

We have an abundance of dry fuel with dried out cheat grass and mustard…the right combination for a raging fire…and an 80 plus bushel wheat crop waiting to be harvested…which was postponed again due to heavy rain and flooding last night…pins and needles for the farmers around us as well as for us too.

Our small town is under water tonight…this was early yesterday morning…once the water recedes then the clean up of mud begins…it has been a long week here…and harvest is on hold. This is a place where we have a choice of giving into the negative or we can choose to have a brand new day become our favorite day…I am gonna choose a brand new day:) How bout you?

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