HOLY COWZ! HOT N CRAZY DAZE!

Holy Cowz!

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Hot N Crazy Daze Have Descended Upon Juniper Canyon!

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Along with dust storms without wind. Its eyrie when the dust begins to rise without the wind!

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Creepy unusual clouds above my head…

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Almost makes you feel like you are in the Outer Limits or the Twilight Zone!

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Kaaaa-Boom the thunder and lightning began. I was over feeding Melody and saw the strike hit…

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The first fire of the season was born with winds blowing in our direction…we live about 10 miles from here if we drive the road but across country it is only 5-6 miles with lots of wheat fields in between.

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Our neighbors and community jumped into action and thankfully no one was hurt, no homes were lost and the fire was out! Sadly they lost several hundred acres of wheat.

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Scary times here as we have been declared a drought county…

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Last night it was 73 degrees at 11:30…that is hot for us this time of year…

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We have hit above 100 degrees most of the month of June…with a week straight of 110 plus degrees!

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Stay tuned with Ellie and I on the dusty trail of life:)

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Tonight as I close we are under another fire weather warning…

Fire Weather Warning
Statement as of 1:55 PM PDT on July 09, 2015
... Red flag warning remains in effect this evening
for thunderstorms producing abundant lightning and gusty outflow
winds for Oregon fire weather zone 641... 

* affected area... fire weather zone or 641... lower Columbia Basin 
  of Oregon. 

* Timing... most of the lightning activity will occur between 3 PM
  and 8 PM.

* Lightning activity... 3... possibly 4.

* Precipitation... some storms will bring heavy rain with 
  amounts up to one half of an inch possible. 

* Impacts... any fires that develop will have the potential to 
  spread rapidly.

Precautionary/preparedness actions... 

A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions
are either occurring now... or will shortly. A combination of
strong winds... low relative humidity... and warm temperatures can
contribute to extreme fire behavior.

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I came across this a long time ago and it hits the nail on the head for people who blame their problems and mistakes on their family or on their parents or on the man in the moon. They blame every problem they have on someone else, unfortunately until they quit telling lies and using manipulations, until they admit their wrongs and look only to themselves, they are a lost cause. I know people that are very good at lying, really good and they roll along sucking people into their lies. They believe their lies so much they create a false truth and will defend their lies at any cost to you or anyone else.  I agree with this poster…Hallelujah and Amen!

Days Of Summer…Old Time Memories And Country Life

Days of summer…old time memories and country life…summertime is one of my favorite seasons here in Juniper Canyon. In early June the fields of wheat are lush green…we hope for a few June showers to water the crops and before we know it July takes over…usually with hot temps, today it’s 95 degrees, with a hot breeze blowing that dries the crops out as they go from green to an amber golden color. This is exactly where we are right now with harvest coming up soon.

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Tonight, as the golden twilight falls, long ago memories drift gently through my heart…I can hear the sounds of little girl giggles and make believe imagination as I rode my white horse Prince around the ranch…or ran through the sprinklers…and if I was lucky a couple of cousins would be visiting!

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The air is warm and ever so still…our canyon breeze seems to have settled for the night and in its place…country silence. I can hear a hawk occasionally making his twilight hunting sounds along with the owls up on the hill behind us…as coyotes howl across the horse pasture while in the near distance their relatives answer back…setting off our dogs. A typical warm summer night in Juniper Canyon…and life as I know it.

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Harvest is in the air and on everyone’s mind…old memories of growing up here, takes me back to the sounds of harvest and also the sounds of the cattle ranch in the mountains. My cousins experienced more of harvest than I did, as my uncles did the farming here while my Dad managed the cattle in the mountains…however Dad kept me busy riding for cows and helping him on the cattle ranch through the summers…

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Until I was old enough to join my cousins in harvest and drive wheat truck. Harvest was a family effort…one that made you proud and glad that you were a part of bringing the crops in. We made lots of great family memories along with many hysterically funny stories to tell on each other at lunch!

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Harvest will always be about the common bond of family that stretches over a 100 years…in my heart I can see and feel the sacrifices my Norwegian Grandparents made to give us a future and a hope. They worked hard for every kernel of wheat to support their families well into the future with a legacy of hard work and family honor. Family heritage is who we are today and where we came from.

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It is fitting that old memories are flooding my heart as this weekend we had a large family wedding to attend. It was a beautiful ceremony full of love, friendship and a forever and ever love. My cousin’s daughter was the beautiful bride…she married into a family full of heritage and family honor, much like our large family. They will have a lifetime of happiness!

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The thing about good family memories, family history and family heritage, is that those heartfelt memories are the foundation, we as a large family have built our lives on…both in good times and bad times. Our Norwegian grandparents built the good stuff into their children who became our parents and in turn they built the family honor and heritage into us.

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I was blessed to grow up with my cousins by the dozens, and my aunts and uncles who always welcomed me into their homes if my parents were going to be out of town etc.

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Family meant the world to all of us…as we were old-fashioned close…celebrating family birthdays and holidays together…both young and old enjoyed the connection and the relationship.

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I’m not sure how my uncles and my Dad put up with us, but when we worked for them in harvest or on the cattle ranch, we knew it was serious business and we better pay attention! We would try hard to do that but we were kids…and we would laugh out loud about how so and so got their truck stuck or how so and so got in trouble for spilling a bit of wheat but the uncles were not laughing…nor was my Dad when I managed to loose my herd of cows some where up Chimney Creek! Oh the good old days…we still believed in fairy tales and happy endings.

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And this last weekend…we were part of a beautiful love story filled with fairy tales and a beautiful happy ending. Dreams do come true!

Dawn Comes Early In Farm Country

Dawn comes early in farm country during the summer months…

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Partly due to the busy times before harvest, getting all the equipment ready etc. and then once harvest begins, it is from sun up to sundown.

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I have two reasons for being up in the middle of the night…the first one is due to the “Queen of Birds” as she feels it is her nagging bird duty to wake us all up. She begins about 3:05 every morning in the dark…she chirps and chatters periodically for about 15 minutes and slowly one by one all the other birds finally jump in on the chattering part…by 3:30 it is bird central outside our bedroom windows. I usually get up and shut them hoping we can go back to sleep a few more hours but by 3:30 to 4:00 I am up and wide awake…which is good for my second reason:)

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Which is this view…watching the miracle of a brand new day begin with each beautiful sunrise! It is one of God’s greatest gifts to us as we can watch one of His daily miracles unfold before us…as only God could arrange how the earth maneuvers in relationship to the sun and the moon. I don’t want to miss a second of our summer months while summer is here with my camera…there is so much to photograph and to experience!

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There is something holy about watching the sunrise…maybe it is due to it being a brand new day with renewed hope and a clean slate or maybe it is one of those incredible God moments that you can not explain. For me, watching the sunrise and the sunset in summer gives me beauty filled with miracles that inspires me with a sense of awe and wonderment…and even in the early darkness of dawn, it is usually barefoot nice outside…I love the warm nights as the rest of the year, I am cold.

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And this particular sunrise was well worth being up for!

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The camera caught the rays of light…which I love seeing as it is what I saw…beautiful huh?

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And with each passing second, the light and colors change! I love this time of year here…the magical ever changing light, the colors that knock your socks off and the solitude that brings peace to your soul…it all comes together…feeding your heart with creativity…old memories, good times and new adventures…and the ever presence of heaven on earth for a few short months here in Juniper Canyon.

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Wheat harvest is in full swing this week…and once the sun is barely up, the semi trucks that haul the wheat are back to hauling wheat, while the farmers are headed back out to the fields with their crew, and another day of harvest begins…

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The semi trucks can run around the clock, hauling wheat day and night to keep the elevators empty for each new day of crop to come into their bins.

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The wheat is headed to the Columbia River about 35 miles from here, where it will be loaded onto barges that will make the 200 mile trip down the Columbia River to Portland, Oregon, where it will be shipped overseas.

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One last glorious sunrise photo…this one was on a different day…incredible colors and light!

Sunrise

In the early morning hours as I rise from slumbers sweet
I search the dark and black horizon
Longing for my eyes to meet,
The morning with its subtle dawning, the colors stretching as they wake
Greeting me with glorious splendor, bidding me my prayers to make

Oh my precious Lord and Master, How I wonder at your plan
Who am I to share this beauty? Who am I, but mortal man?
Such a gift you’ve given freely, colors bursting from the sky
Wonders of your vast creation,
How can man your love deny?

There is hope within each sunrise
Hope to face the brand new day
Gone are yesterday’s demises
Hope replaces my dismay

Like the promise of the rainbow that you hung across the sky,
Sunrise stirs the love within me,
Thinking how you bled and died,
Thinking how you suffered for me,
Passed through hell so I could live,

Live to see each morning’s sunrise
And your hope to others give

(Not sure who wrote this, but I found it this week and thought it fit)

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And just for you…one sunset picture too! The mountain (click on the picture) you see in the picture is Mt. Hood, 200 miles away from us. In the summer months, I ride my horse out into the fields around our house…we climb the steepest hill in the back of the field to watch the sunset…most nights it is clear like this and you often can see three mountains in your view…all of them are over 200 miles away from us!

Wellll, it’s a deep subject:) Hee-hee…one of WB’s silly lines…and because its Marvelous Monday, I had to say it:)  Wishing you a wonderful week wherever you are! HRC over and out for now:)

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!

Harvest Traditions and Family Heritage In Juniper Canyon

The smell of the wheat is in the air tonight…that smell speaks to my heart and soul:) It is a smell you never forget…much like a cattle truck pulling up to the barn or corrals to load out cattle or deliver cattle…I can hear the trucks as I write…familiar sounds…smells…memories that bring comfort as…

Times past speak softly to me of heritage and family…traditions and hard work.

My heart can hear the sounds of my families history…the sounds of the horses pulling the combine…with the men it took to run it…dry dusty hot days for man and animal alike.

Before the farmer had a truck to haul the wheat into the elevator he had men who would sew the sacks of wheat shut…can you imagine harvesting thousands of acres and having to put the kernels into gunny sacks and then sew them shut…then you loaded your wagon and went to the elevator to unload the sacks of wheat…often driving your team of horses with the wagon several miles to reach the elevator.

My Dad remembered having to take the wagon loaded with sacks of wheat to Vansycle Elevator which is 8 miles away…16 miles round trip…he said it would take the day to take one wagon and the horses or mules would be exhausted when you reached home…all of Grandpa’s horses and mules were very well cared for and loved…they had to do their job but they were cared for. Dad used to come here to the barn (our barn is older than our house) and ride some of the work horses bareback…he spoke often of the various ones he remembered…Grandpa kept around 80 head.

Today we have semi trucks with double trailers hauling wheat out of Juniper Canyon…night and day.

Heading on down the road to the Columbia River…

Where the kernels of Juniper Wheat are loaded onto a barge…and they begin the journey to feed the world:)

Self leveling combines…hillside machines…can you see how the combine is leaning a bit…it is leveling itself.

This photo is better so that you can see how the combine keeps itself level rather than leaning…I heard that most farmers do not buy the combines with the automatic levelers anymore due to the price…

Wild Bill is showing how the leveler works as he is touching the spout. I could not imagine not having the machine level as we have some really steep hillsides!

Here is an older picture of the land when we farmed it…sorry this is a scanned image before digital…the house complex is our home and the green fields are the wheat crop of that year…see the road over in the dirt?

That is WB’s air strip for his plane…looks cool sitting in the wheat…actually it is on the strip.

Tucker is hiding in the grass…she follows me everywhere keeping an eye on me:)

Soon farm families will once again put in long days to bring the wheat crop in…as has been done for over a 150 years.

150 years of country strong…we dig deep when it comes to toughing it out.

And if the going gets tough…the tough get tougher:)

No matter how hard!

Harvest is a time of hard-working families working together for the same reason…the goal to get the crop in…harvest is like gathering cattle with my Dad in the mountains…we shared our work effort together to round-up the cows and that is what makes memories and heritage!

It is the working together and sacrificing…and harvest time is a sacrifice…husbands leave the house before sun up and come home when it is dark…often putting in 18 plus hour days in the heat of harvest.

I grew up driving wheat truck through my high school years with my other cousins…then after WB and I married, my Mom taught me (no this picture is not of Mom and me…more like my Grandma and Great Grandmother) the tradition of cooking a large lunch for our men and the crew. While it was a lot of work to cook a huge meal by 1:00 each day it was my family…I came to enjoy hearing about what had happened in the field and then all the joking and funny times too…I felt very much part of the harvest crew and was always sad when they finished the fields around our ranch moving on to the fields around my Aunt and Uncles homes.

Food was in abundance when the crew came in for their hour lunch break…we had home cooked meals with meat, potatoes, gravy, salad, vegetables and desert…and home made ice tea…no not sun tea or tea made by a tea maker…real deal tea!

Here is the recipe:

Get a small sauce pan and fill with cold water…buy Lipton Black Tea…loose leaves….put 2-3 heaping tablespoons in the pan and boil…then cool it and strain out the leaves…dump the tea water into a gallon jug and fill with ice-cold water and ice and you have real ice tea…all the good caffeine and antioxidents…and so refreshing!

Harvest skies and harvest heritage…have a good night wherever you are! HRC has her eye on the land…will post new pictures as soon as harvest begins….stay tuned…I keep hearing the song Country Strong going through my head…in fact I am going to go listen to it now!

Country Strong

I know you see me, like some wide-eyed dreamer
That just rolled in, off a dusty Midwest bus
Yeah on the outside, Hallowed fragile
But on the inside something you can’t crush

I’m Country Strong, hard to break
Like the ground, I grew upon
You may fool me, and I’ll fall 
But I won’t stay down long 
‘cause I’m Country Strong

I have weathered, colder winters
And longer summers, without a drop of rain 
Push me in a corner and I’ll come out fightin’
I may lose but I’ll always keep my face

‘Cause I’m Country Strong, hard to break
Like the ground, I grew upon,
You may fool me, and I’ll fall 
But I won’t stay down long, 
‘cause I’m Country Strong

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