Our Barn Cats Pat And Jack…Are The Lions Of Our Barn And Hearts!

Our barn cats Pat and Jack…are the lions of our barn and of our hearts!

Bobtail Jack was born with a bobtail…while Pat came with a tail option…yet 100% brothers.  Fluffy golden balls of ferocious kit cat…rock solid under their fluffy hair as they work out to” Bob and Jillian’s” work out routine!

With top of the line cat condos upstairs in the barn and heated automatic waterers downstairs…a continuous supply of kitty food and love…this is premium first class ta-ta living kit cat style of the Rich and Famous Cats!

 Both NTO (No Tail Option) and TOI (Tail Option Included)  have managed to kill the mouse community in the huge old barn…thank goodness! I hate seeing something dark and moving quickly in a corner or under my feet…Eeewwwwwww…with a shriek on the end…Fanny Annie agrees.

Can you see the small cut out hole in the door frame on the right…WB cut kitty doors into the outside doors so they can come and go through the outside and the inside doors. No coyote or dog can venture into the barn unless they want to die and go to heaven.

Both cats used to get into fights with each other as they had not been altered yet and often it sounded like the barn was possessed!!! They would scream at each other and growl LOUDLY. It would be hysterically funny if you were outside talking to someone who did not know they were in the barn and the screaming escalated…the person talking to you would stop and look at the barn and ask you what is going on in there? WB and I would get a huge snicker out of that…we country folks is weird when it comes to playing jokes on each other or someone else:)

Jack is the shy one and the biggest one by a smidgen.

Pat is taking time to give me a kitty pose. They both have pretty green eyes…go ahead and make their day!

I leave you with “Mary Ann Kennedy’s” song “Barn Cats”…I love her music…true heart of the western spirit…look her up…I have all of her CD’s:)

“Barn Cats By Mary Ann Kennedy”

I”m a barn cat, not an alley cat

Or a house cat, I don’t sit on laps

I got a real job…I catch mice

It’s a tough life…I”m a barn cat

Meow this is my territory

Bow wows…look out

I got sharp claws

And a king size bed made out of straw

I’m so glad, I’m a barn cat

I got a feed room, and a tack room

And 4 stalls I stalk em all

Don’t need a litter box, I got a round pen

60′ of sand…I’m a barn cat

Have a great Wednesday!

A Wild West Wednesday Windstorm!

 A “Wild West” Wednesday  windstorm made its appearance with lots of gusto…dust with dusto…tumbling tumbleweeds and brisk cold winds out of the west!

An unusual storm for this time of year here in Juniper.

With damaging winds that gusted over 65-70 mph as well as dust thick like fog in some places…it was a heck of a storm!  Fortunately with the canyon wall behind our house we had some protection from the winds and our CRP thankfully kept the dust down for us.

Late Tuesday afternoon it began with a sudden gust of wicked westerly wind, with dark clouds waiting for their cue to drift in with a hu-rrrummmph…threatening attitude!

Horses are not fond of wind as they are prey animals and keep aware of their surroundings in case they have to flee for their life. When the wind blows the normal usual things they see everyday that are “safe” become unknown shapes…that is when they jump or spook. WB’s horse Buck was on guard…watching closely as the winds were whipping it up pretty good moving sagebrush and bushes that are in his pasture.

And then…while I was setting my camera….”Close Encounters Of The Third Kind” showed up to visit me from 1977.

 Threatening clouds were drifting in from the west, seeming to hang in place…almost like it was the preview before the movie…I was never good with scary stuff so quit IT and no it is not really a spaceship hidden in the cloud…with aliens…..

By early Wednesday morning tumbleweeds were rolling and blowing…it was incredible to see so many roll by my window. Where is my long lens WB…and are those dang weeds ours? The roar of the wind told me that it was only a matter of time before the dust would blow.

And blow it did…between the dust and the gusts it was a wild winter weather day in Juniper Canyon.

For unknown reasons the county road department decided it was a good day to blow the dirt off the roads out here…are you kidding?

Annie is not sure about this and wonders what is brush the dirt off the road day anyway?

The flashing lights and equipment were enough to scare her! The wind already had her scared and now in her mind the Big Boogie Man with flashing eyes was coming down the road after her!

Annie ran into her stall while Ms. Melody Calm Heart ran out of her stall to see what was happening. Melody will look and maybe snort…maybe jump once…she is so very trustworthy in her world, she knows that her human (me) is keeping her safe and she is ok…I love love love this girl…I have had lots of horses but never one like her. I hope to get Annie feeling solid like Melody…part of this years training plan in round corral 101.

It blew and blew and blew…all day long…and then finally.

The light began to change and the darkness turned to beautiful skies as all things work together for good…even dust and gusts. We can find the good in every part of our life, if we look:) The sunset was beautiful and simply incredible with the dust particles in the sky that evening,

Golden clouds touched by God Himself…

As I post this today on Saturday, we are under another severe weather watch as the winds are gusting upwards to 60 mph again…we had quite a bit of rain last night but as of this afternoon we are back to seeing dust in the distance again…ugh.

In case you have never seen a tumbleweed…this is a tumbleweed…they have stickers all over them. They grow green with the stickers and when they dry out they break off and the wind carries them away as they tumble off and  roll. They can block a road and they can pile up against a wire fence…a few yeas ago I spent a month pulling them out of our New Zealand fences and then burning them in a pile. Songs have been written about them…new swear words were created because of them and they have been used to decorate with twinkle lights in them…I prefer to burn them:)

Leaving you with a smile…hum or sing with me the old cowboy song Tumbling Tumbleweeds…do you know the song?

” The Tumbling Tumbleweeds” by The Sons of the Pioneers

I’m a roaming cowboy riding all day long,
Tumbleweeds around me sing their lonely song.
Nights underneath the prairie moon,
I ride along and sing this tune.

See them tumbling down
Pledging their love to the ground
Lonely but free I’ll be found
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.

Cares of the past are behind
Nowhere to go but I’ll find
Just where the trail will wind
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.

I know when night has gone
That a new world’s born at dawn.

I’ll keep rolling along
Deep in my heart is a song
Here on the range I belong
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.

Sure brings back good memories as I can hear my Dad whistling along to this as we rode together gathering cattle in the mountains…we did not have tumbleweeds there but we had nettles!

Enjoy your weekend where ever you are! Let the end of Winter roar itself out…hang on tight…Spring will be here before we know it!

The Portal Of Time That Takes Me Back To Golden Days Of Old

A Typical Terrific Tuesday on a Fantastic February Day! I am ready for spring to come when everything turns green again and the earth seems to re-birth itself with hope, as new life really does spring forth. The wheat will be growing from the tiny seeds of faith planted by the farmer last fall in the fields that will bring forth another record bounty of grain in July. After the long dark winter comes a life-giving spring as the earth slowly turns from cold and dark to warm and light. I will not let this blah, dreary, lingering winter weather take my joy away! Now where is my camera!

Yesterday morning I woke to a gray overcast day with snow falling and in record time, Monday went from Magnificent Monday to Moody Mundane Monday:( You know the kind of “woe is me and I am pulling the covers back over my head day”…so today no matter if it is gray or not…actually the winds are howling…no make that screaming at times…I made a solid decision…no ho hum moping around!

I began thinking of my Grandparents and treasured memories staring out my portal of time window feeling the golden days of old pulling on my imagination, wondering and thinking what it must have looked like here a hundred years ago…when my Grandpa first came to this area in the 1880’s. What was it like coming to America, traveling so far across oceans and continents? How he never looked back as he knew his future was looking forward towards the opportunity of building a new life and living in a new land.

I love hearing stories of American History and it is even better when it is my family history…so lets step away to a different time and place…just close your eyes and imagine that tonight on a family evening here in my house, my Grandpa is going to tell us about coming to America…being ship wrecked when he was 13 years old in The Azores…alone on his first attempt to come to America…how he somehow made it to Ellis Island a few months later and then worked his way across the United States in the 1880’s. The different things he would have seen and the life he lived…the adventures he lived! And then my Great Grandmother would interrupt and say “Vell now Terje let me tell of my adventure of crossing the Atlantic and coming through Ellis Island in 1920….yah I was 76 years old…that is old to leave everything behind…yah I did not know the language or understand vhat this people vanted from me…and you vere late to meet me…America is such a big country, oh my…it vas such a long trip to make for me but now I am home vith all my family.”

Can you imagine what she felt and saw? Once through customs she would have crossed the United States to her new home here in Juniper…in the middle of no where…she may have called it another name or two…as it would have been different from her home in Norway…but the incredible skies and views in a new place that was filled with her family and life…her children…her grandkids and a future here in America.

When we refinished the old original floors I realized that I walk in my ancestors footsteps not just on the land but also literally in the house. It was really interesting when we pulled up the carpet to see the foot traffic and the worn spots…if you look close you can tell the floor had a stenciled by hand design on it…I do not know what it was called but imagine doing that in 1920 on your knees stenciling about 1600′ of wood floor. If I could have restored the areas where the stencil was worn off I would have as it was unique. I was told that it was a Scandinavian custom…has anyone else heard of it?

Today when I hear a creaky board I think of my family who lived here before me…my Mom walking the floor with me as a baby and Anne Marie walking the floor looking at her new home and new life in America. I love how the old floors came out…so does Minnie:)

Anne Marie would have seen this view often in the summers…looking out my forever window. I would have loved all the horses…my Dad told me that when he was young Grandpa had over a 100 head of horses to farm with…the barn here holds a 100 ton of hay and it was set up to accommodate several horses.

During harvest their were always large meals served to the hungry crews…I am sure that Anne Marie helped cook lots of good food…harvest in the 1920’s lasted for several weeks…imagine the stories you would hear when you gathered around the table? When I drove wheat truck during harvest in high school, as we gathered for our noon meal there was always family talk…both serious and fun…with my uncles there was always lots of jokes and teasing going on:) No matter the difficulties and hardships…coming to America for Annie Marie meant that she would be with her family once again with hopes and dreams of a new life in a new country!

A view of our home in the early 1950’s…the house is in the middle of the trees…the white 100 plus year old barn is at the bottom with the corrals and roping arena. It has changed a bit as now we have a large shop between the house and the barn…and I have a round corral to train my horses in behind the barn.

My house was built before the Great Depression…World Was II…The Korean War…Kennedy’s Assassination…First Man On The Moon…Martin Luther King…Bobby Kennedy…Kent State…Vietnam…The Right To Vote…Abortions…Watergate. Our world has changed significantly the last 100 years!

But we remain the same. We are still about faith and hard work…heritage with honor while living the code that was passed down to us.

We are still of the old country…the old ways of love of family and life well lived.

Living daily in a 100 year old farm house reminds you to keep the old traditions alive.

As I look out my portal of time kitchen window capturing the same views of old…I whisper prayers of gratitude for the family that went before me leaving me with heritage and life…and prayers whispered for today and the future ahead.

 I often think of Neal Diamond’s song “America” when I am thinking of my ancestors…it is such an inspiring song and speaks deeply of the American spirit!

To a new and a shiny place
Make our bed and we’ll say our grace
Freedom’s light burning warm
Freedom’s light burning warm

Everywhere around the world
They’re coming to America
Ev’ry time that flag’s unfurled
They’re coming to America

Got a dream to take them there
They’re coming to America
Got a dream they’ve come to share
They’re coming to America

They’re coming to America
They’re coming to America
They’re coming to America
They’re coming to America
Today, Today,
Today, Today, Today

My country ’tis of thee (today)
Sweet land of liberty (today)
Of thee I sing (today)
Of thee I sing
Today, Today, Today
Today, today, today……

Versatile Bloggers Award…Wowie Zowie!

Versatile Bloggers Award…Wowie Zowie!

Yesterday afternoon as I was putting together my secret family spaghetti sauce…I had a humbling surprise. Creative Noshing  sent a note saying that she had nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award!

I was so excited to be nominated that Minnie and I did the happy dance:) Well ok she watched as I did a quick disco move or two…

Then she rolled back over and went back to her afternoon nap!

When I first started this blog last summer, I was not sure what tags were or categories or really what was Word Press and how did it work? I have learned that this is a community of fellow bloggers with stories to tell and pictures to share. I have read beautiful inspiring words that reach down deep to touch your heart and occasionally even my toes…very gifted writers that have the ability to tell the story in one word. Photo images that are simply breathtaking…gifted photography that pulls you into the story that is being told through that one image. The creative and artistic element that involves so many artists on Word Press is helping me to grow and learn…thank you for sharing your wisdom, knowledge and artistic ability

Thank you to Creative Noshing  for nominating me. You have given me encouragement and determination to write better and shoot more pictures:)

Now I am to share seven interesting things about myself and nominate seven other blogs.

A picture of WB and I visiting with a fellow survivor and friend…we are on the right. Tough Enough To Wear Pink Day or TETWP happens every Thursday of the Pendleton Round Up Rodeo…cowboys, contestants and everyone in the crowd comes to the rodeo that day wearing pink. It is a day of hope and celebration for survivors…I was in charge of the arena presentation for the survivors…which included their family members…as those who are in our family are very much survivors with us. TETWP raises money and awareness each year for local cancer survivors with support to help with their healing physically and emotionally. TETWP is a national organization that has spread to every rodeo whether large or small…check it out in your area:)

Seven random things about me….

 1: The end of July 1993 at about 9500′ elevation behind Yellowstone Park I was gathering and moving cattle with several neighbors. We had about 500 head gathered as we moved them up Pinion Ridge, which is a dividing ridge for the Columbia River, The Green River and The Mississippi River. As we started up this massive ridge a Wyoming thunderstorm had begun…the lightning struck all around us, starting small fires that the snow would put out…yes we were in a blizzard of snow too as we climbed…it was so bad near the top that the only thing I could do was pull my hat down lower and allow my horse to follow the one black cow we could see…I had no idea where I was and where my neighbors were. We were all in a storm cloud that boomed with thunder and flashed with lightning that was brilliantly white in the snow. Finally we came into a clearing…the storm faded away and the sun came out…the herd was together on the grassy meadow with all my neighbors. I sat in the sun soaking it up and was visiting with a neighbor when he said “Oh look Doc is trying to chase a Buffalo out of the herd…it looks to be 3-4 years old…lets go”…no one will believe this….and Toto we are not in Kansas anymore….a buffalo in the herd…what?

2. I love to write….as evidenced above! I have written as far back as I can remember…being an only child it gave me something to do with my imagination.

3. I love photography…I am self-taught and still learning…I get truly excited when I walk into a camera store to look at new equipment. Photography and writing go hand in hand…they feed my heart and spirit and I love doing both.

4. My office is in my parents old bedroom…I spent many nights in there due to the boogie man or the wind blowing or the house creaking…mostly the boogie man.

5. I am a tall person and a short person in one….my leg inseam is 36 as I am mostly legs and that is the tall person part…my arms are long too and I can bend them in weird ways…the upper part of me is little….when I sit down I sit short but when I stand up I am tall.

6. My husband “Wild Bill” builds custom cars…we own and operate Holton Secret Lab LLC…www.holtonsecretlab.com This  is a 1928 Dodge Coupe that WB customized and built with various details….such as a V-12 Jag engine….WB had to custom build the engine compartment to make the V-12 fit…the name of the car is “Jagged” and he is still working to finish it…the above picture was taken in our shop in May 2011.

7. I went to a small school 8 miles from the house…in the four-year high school there was between 35-45 students. When our youngest son began 1st grade in the same school he had two kids in his class….himself and a girl.

8. One more thing….see I told you I like to write….I am living in a house that I was born into on our century farm….my Grandfather Gunder built the house for my Great Grandmother Anne Marie in 1920…my parents moved into it in 1939 and WB and I moved into it in 1980.

My choices for the seven blogs:

The Simple Life Of A Country Mans Life

Real Ranch Wife

Veeder Ranch

My New Favorite Day

Brian Gaynor Photography

Sotardalen Nokota Horses

1001 Scribbles

If the above mentioned nominees feel moved to play the game, here are the rules:

  1. In a post on your blog, nominate 7 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award.
  2. In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award.
  3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.
  4. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
  5. In the same post, include this set of rules.
  6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.

It was hard to pick only seven as every person on Word Press is very good!

Congrats from HR Cowgirl!

Ding Dong Hot Rod Cowgirl!

I am a complete ding-dong today! I am sorry to all my subscribers and fellow bloggers…I did not know until this afternoon that last night when I turned off the blog I accidentally hit publish instead of save draft…I was nowhere near finished with the new blog post…at all. I threw some words on the paper and was just playing around with ideas….so please delete the silly mistake blog post that you received early this morning from me, as it was not meant to be posted!

Wild Bill has always said I was a klutz at times and this was one of them:) I either put my foot in my mouth or I trip over my own feet…it can be so annoying!  Here is proof that I have been a ding-dong forever…I was walking across the floor barefooted and somehow rolled my little toe and broke it…they put me on crutches so that it would heal properly. That is my Mom cutting up some meat I think…we are in the old house that we live in now….yes that is my kitchen window that I blog about. Mom remodeled the kitchen and installed a steel GE pink kitchen with brown trim…

When we moved in Wild Bill painted it blue for me as I was tired of the pink…and in 2007 we remodeled the kitchen back to original red fir cabinetry. It was funny as my Mom wanted to make the house look new and we are making the house look old by putting it back in its original condition:)

Minnie knows I can be a klutz too as well as a ding-dong but she loves me anyway:) She is my sweet kitty girl:)

I have learned my lesson to not close down the blog in a hurry when it is late and I am tired…next time I will be sure that I hit the right button. In the mean time I am working on the Versatile Bloggers Award Nomination Post  that I received from  http://creativenoshing.wordpress.com/

Thank you again Creative Noshing for nominating me:) Over and out from Ding Dong HR Cowgirl:)

Driving Home From Town On A Magical Country Night…

Driving home from town on a magical country night was perfect for shooting pictures with the ever changing light! After running errands with Wild Bill most of the afternoon we headed for home just as the light was switching. The early evening was crisp and clear and you could see for miles. Thankfully I pack and travel with my camera…I had extra batteries and I was ready to go 🙂

This is the view that I see when I climb out of Juniper, the canyon that I live in…the Blue Mountains…incredible huh? No houses or people to be seen! A view like no other as most people look at people and houses and cities…out here…we look at a whole lot of nothing. Instead we enjoy viewing the rich landscape views and the interesting weather .

The 20 miles of country road that we travel to Safeway…the bank…and my hair dresser is over to the right of the photo…can you see the black top with the up and down rolling hills? The views of the Blue Mountains are always part of the reward for living this far out of town…we get to see them and enjoy them as we drive.

A beautiful incredible February evening…more like early April.

We are about a mile from my house…the view is looking West towards Mt. Hood about 200 miles from here.

Can you see Mt. Hood? It’s that little pointed blip in the photo. Next summer when I ride my horse at the magic time I will shoot some pictures that include Mt. Hood…St. Helens…Mt Adams and Mt. Ranier if I am  blessed with the perfect shot…and I know I will be:)

Why we call them “The Blue Mountains”…with the light they always look blue.

Rolling hills very close to my house…the golden fields that you see are last summer’s wheat fields…once the wheat is thrashed the combine leaves this…we call it stubble…it rests for a year before it is planted for wheat or barley…each field is harvested every other year…the dark soil you see in the fields is fallow ground….it is ready to plant again in the Fall or the Spring for Spring wheat.

We have our land in the Conservation Reserve Protection or (CRP ) program that pays the farmer to not work their land or grow wheat for 10-15 years…it is geared towards laying the ground off as it has been farmed and worked for over a 100 years.

We liked that idea when we had the chance to sign the land up so that it could rest…so that is what we did.

The light…the colors of the landscape and the sky pop…and I am clicking away with my camera with a big smile on my face:)

We were blessed with a beautiful sunset on a magical country night…the last shot as the sun sinks lower and lower.

Have a great day today…hoping you will get a gift like this…sunsets and sunrises are magical and I love shooting them 🙂

Happy 36th Valentines Day Wild Bill!

Happy Valentines Day Wild Bill! I know this is past due but we were business busy yesterday:)

“It’s amazing how you can speak right to my heart
Without saying a word, you can light up the dark
Try as I may, I could never explain
What I hear when you don’t say a thing”

“The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
There’s a truth in your eyes sayin’ you’ll never leave me
The touch of your hand says you’ll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all”

“When You Say Nothing At All” By Alison Krauss

The day we met was the beginning of a life long love affair…36 years ago today!

In front of the kitchen window…summer 1980…married four years:)

We raised three kid between us…the boys and I doing Thanksgiving dishes about 1984 in the old kitchen of this house and looking out the same kitchen window.

Now we have several grandkids…we started having kids when we were 10 years old…or maybe this year we will celebrate our 75th birthday….either way we were young!

This picture was taken in 1964 up at the mountain cattle ranch and this is what my parents gave to me…the commitment of marriage and love…respect and honor. Mom was a city girl raised in a good life…Dad was rough and tough…he also was raised in a good life here…he was a cowboy and had survived some serious health issues…and he loved my Mom with every breath he took and she him. I thought of my parents as “John Wayne and The Lady.”

I remember writing stories about my parents before I was in school…I was an only child and for some reason writing was natural to me. I am rusty now…I gave up writing after loosing both my parents within a year of each other…I felt like I was 80 years old…the innocense of life disappeared…I have not written since 1998 until now this year…lucky you:)

I asked my Mom once in High School how she could stand my Dad as at times he was not a fun person to be with…don’t get me wrong…he was a great Dad and husband…but he was human. She smiled and told me this gem of wisdom…she said and I quote, “MJ, you make two lists…one has the bad points and one has the good points…as long as the good out weighs the bad, then things are ok…nothing is ever perfect but if you have more good than bad all is ok…”

Hot Rod Cowgirl in 1970 on her colt Stormy…waiting to meet Wild Bill.

I love how you love me Wild Bill!

No matter how tough…

Or rough….

I am with you always WB with lots of love and faith.

We will laugh and goof every day I promise…as much as we can!

Even when we are on TV:)

And when our Hot Rod over heats…we will tensely smile.

I will be quiet for a minute or two…then I will nervously laugh and smile:)

Or when we are providing vehicles for a catalog fashion shoot…a rather famous one.

I will smile because I am with you WB:)

I love you WB…I love our life together:)

Happy 36th Valentines Day!

Yep it’s true he is a Hot Rod Cowboy and I am a Hot Rod Cowgirl…we were made for each other:)

I love you forever WB…I will stand with you and always find a way to smile…cuz I love you:)

Happy Forever Day…36 years to the day that we met:)

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