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 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…

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

Ocean Waves…Sandy Beaches…A Bit Of Heaven On Earth!

Ocean waves…sandy beaches…a bit of heaven on earth…and with each wild wave of the ocean…the peace of rest washes over your weary soul.

Seeing my hubby doing this last week blessed my heart. WB is a very strong man, but his neck fusion surgery has been very painful and difficult, so we went to the most peaceful God place we could go to so he could rest…and that was the Oregon coast.

There is something about the ocean that is very spiritual and healing to your heart and soul…it is the peace that passes understanding to me:)

Maybe it is the wild at heart feeling of the power of the water and the waves…

Or maybe it is the power of the ocean that only God can control…whatever it is…it is balm to your soul.

The roar of the waves we could hear from just about every room in the townhouse, brought deep relaxation during the daytime and lulled us to sleep during the night.

I loved the beauty of the Twin Rocks…two silent partners that have stood the test of time in a timeless world.

Filled with varied light and muted colors that invoke life’s mysteries…and for some reason our spirit connects deeply with the beauty that our heart sees, as life is like that at times….sometimes the muted colors of our life or the memories that have faded are yet the most beautiful and impacting parts of our lives here on this earth.

Incredible views framed with the intensity of life’s blues from the living room balcony.

And with a flick of a moment of life…the views change and are framed with an ethereal glimpse of another world and another time.

The ocean is always changing…maybe that is why I like it…it reminds me of the Rocky Mountains…weather can change in seconds there…views that literally take your breath away…life is ever changing and you move with it…much like you do with the incredible ocean.

And then the sun would slowly begin to set…each night with different colors and light.

Incredible ocean vistas…

Full of glorious sunset beauty…

The last glimpse of the sun and the end of another beautiful day.

I have never grown tired of the ocean…

 Walking forever on the beach…sand between your toes.

A constant calm filled with…

Incredible God given beauty.

Indescribably fun for camera nuts:)

I love the ocean and Wild Bill…

“Thank You Lord for creating such a Wild At Heart and Beautiful Sanctuary of Your Glory for us to go to…and a bit of Heaven on earth:)”

I hope you all have a happy weekend filled with good stuff and know HRCG and WB are thinking of you:)

Gathering Time….Cattle Drives….Heading For Home

During the fall months, mainly in September and October…old memories flood back to my mind when I first wake up…I want to grab my long johns…(under armour with the nice slick material had not been invented yet)…instead we had the thick long johns which were never long enough for me…next I put on my heavy socks, then my wrangler jeans that I had to struggle with to get on over the heavy long johns…without the long john legs riding up my leg…which added to my mood of grrrr. I added a layer or two of tee-shirts on top with either a flannel shirt or sweatshirt or both with the finishing touch of one of my brightly colored wild rags to keep my neck warm and mouth/nose if needed…shoved my boots on with the heavy socks, grabbed my chaps, heavy coat and gloves and I was good to go…all depending on the weather as you never knew if you were going out in an early snow storm or rain or frigid temperatures. My knee jerk reaction in the fall is to be gathering cows on the mountain…after living it and doing it for over 40 years…old memories remain. I should be horseback in the mountains looking for cows…gathering and herding them towards camp…where we sorted and organized them for the long 90 mile cattle drive home to the winter grounds.

After gathering a large bunch of cattle, we pushed them back to the headquarters at Beaver Creek…somehow they seemed to know it was time to leave their summer home and go home to lower winter pastures where they had better grass and open lands. It is amazing to me how animals can sense the seasons changing…or an approaching storm…they have a sixth sense of life around them as well as what we are feeling with the sense of our emotions that they pick up from us.

It took many long days and several weeks to find and gather 1860 head off 25,000 mountainous acres…lots of ground to cover and many miles…and as Dad always told me “Now push them slow Marcy, we want to keep the weight on them and not work them too hard.” I can still hear him telling me this in my dreams…I already knew this fact from years of riding with him, as keeping the weight on them was what we wanted…but he would diplomatically tell me this in front of town friends who did not know. I would get the lecture of sorts…privately I had to roll my eyes and often I was embarrassed as everyone would look at me…”Dad, I know”..and no I never said that to him…I knew I was the fall guy.

We began to ride various pastures from the middle of August on to push herds closer to our headquarters at the main ranch on Beaver Creek where we had corrals and the set up to sort cattle and load them out into cattle trucks. We had 800 Black Angus mama cows to gather along with their calves…200 head of replacement heifers and 60 head of bulls…so that was 1860 head of cattle to round-up and account for…and every year we would find that we were short 20 to 30 head…thanks to the work of cattle rustlers.

One of our cowboys taking a bath in the Grande Ronde River…it took time to find each and every cow…and sometimes the cows would get confused and try to run away from you as their natural instinct was fear or flight…they did not understand what to do…especially if one got separated like this one.

The first two years Dad tried to run both Herefords and Angus…and then went to 100% Black Angus  and Black Bawly Cross as they surpassed the Herefords in weight gain, endurance and did much better overall in the high country.

Dad on horse Bucky with dog Blue…holding herd. One of my favorite pictures of my Dad as I can see his life and humanity…he loved what he did…cattle…horses…mountains…family. It was his life. When he was so very ill I often whispered the good old memories and times riding with him gathering cattle in the high country…and how God rides in the high country too and He is with us and with you Dad…and so am I…and someday I will ride with you again in the high country of God’s mountains:)

Another of my favorite pictures as this picture truly shows my Mom and Dad…you can see their committment and love. Mom grew up in the city with a cook and cleaning lady….then she fell in love with a cowboy and here she is with a smile on her face…she learned how to cook and run a ranch beside her man.  I learned about love and true committment from my parents…I was so very blessed to have them as examples:)  You can see why I called my parents “John Wayne and His Lady”. One of  my favorite John Wayne movies is McClintock with Maureen O’Hara.

Working cows in the corrals, sorting off the calves etc…in the background you can see the cattle trucks waiting for their loads. In the fall we sold the calves at the sale in Baker…the bulls were trucked down to the winter ranch and the mama cows would make the cattle drive to the winter pastures. In the spring we trucked the entire herd up, mama cows and their babies and the bulls…we tried to drive them up a few time in the early years but it was not do-able as the cows wanted to turn back and after several stampedes it was decided to truck them up June 1st.

The Juniper T cattle drive historically began October 15th and would last 10-14 days depending on weather and also how well the cattle moved. I have the cattle drive pictures matted and framed…this is early morning on October 15, the cows are leaving Beaver Creek heading for the low lands…they are crossing the Grande Ronde River at Starkey.

Heading out the second day from Four Corners…towards Indian Lake…two days ahead of us…cold with snow. In the early years the cattle did not know the way but in later years the older ones knew and would lead out pretty well.

Cows milling around close to Indian Lake…we are about half way through the drive.

From the air the herd is stretched out…

Cattle reaching the stock driveway…smelling home getting closer.

Taking a coffee break at the chuck wagon bus (WB wants to restore the bus as it is a Diamond Reo). Dad on the far left with the dark cowboy hat on and his brothers…and hired man “Big John”.

I am sure this was our friend and cattle buyer’s plane’s shadow, doing a fly over to see where the herd was at. He taught me how to play Gin Rummy and dang…I was good at it…I loved playing it with him and miss him. When we lived in Wyoming we called it Wyoming Rummy and when Oregon friends and family visited we challenged them to Wyoming Rummy verses Oregon Rummy:)

This in the Birch Creek crossing in Pilot Rock…we have about 2 to 3 days left before we hit winter pastures…as you see it is quite a bunch of cows! Going through Pilot Rock at daybreak was always interesting to me as I saw so many women out with hair curlers in their bathrobes ready to attack any dang cow who wondered into their yard to grab a bite or two of flowers or grass or shrubs…they had brooms ready to swat any wayward cow! We tried hard to not let that happen but it was tough to keep every cow out of yards….once we got over Birch creek we got on a road that became a stock driveway all the way to Butter Creek and the winter ground and headquarters for the Juniper T.

Today WB and his HRCG are celebrating our 36th Anniversary…can you believe we got married on October 15th…the first day of the cattle drive!!!! Long story for another time….

Stay tuned the story will be continued:) and I have some new photos to upload towards the end of the week hopefully if the weather co-operates with me:)

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!

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