Hot Time Summer In The City…

Hot time summer in the city…back of my neck, getting dirty and gritty…

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Hot time summer in the country…back of my neck, getting dirty, gritty and sweaty!

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Come on, Come on, dance all night, despite the heat it will be alright…right?

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Last spring, our county was declared a drought disaster due to the dry winters with little snow pack in the mountains…the lack of fall and spring rains…and the hot temperatures we have had. In other words we have been in a drought situation for the last three years…this year the lack of moisture has become critical.

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Several Oregon rivers have been closed to fishing by the Fish and Game, due to the heat and high water temps…the Columbia River waters are a record breaking 71 degrees…causing salmon and large 5′ to 8′ sturgeon to die…threatening our native fish.

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We hit a 100 to 110 degrees most of June and July with almost daily fire weather watches due to low humidity, high temps with dry winds and heavy dry fuel that would ignite quickly between the wheat fields and the dry weeds…its a world I have not seen here in my lifetime. We have had dry times and crop failures before but this summer is different…worldwide I might add.

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My cousin and I were driving wheat truck one summer…waiting on combines by sight and sound (back in the days before CB radios or cell phones) we were half asleep, reading our books, when all of a sudden we heard our uncle yell and jump off the combine! Smoke was billowing out from under it…my uncle got the fire out under the machine but the fire took off quickly and in a split second we were learning to fight fire. Luckily we got it out before we lost our field!

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Tonight as I write it is 74 degrees on my outside thermometer…our humidity is currently 18% with wind speeds of 18 mph with 31 mph gusts…at 10:00pm.

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Melody’s pasture looks green as we water it with the big irrigation guns to keep her cooler, plus she has a great shade tree in her paddock area that helps too.

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And no she does not get to go out on the lush green stuff as she would bloat and get too fat…as you see she is NOT impressed!

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100 degree weather is normal each summer but this year it feels much hotter due to the dry soil lacking any moisture down deep…instead it feels like hot hot desert heat!

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For reasons unknown to me, our county road department decided it was time to resurface our roads two weeks ago…with a chip seal effect leaving loose rock…the above picture looks like a gravel road but that is our paved road in front of the house covered in gravel….

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Several farmers were heavy into wheat harvest in Juniper Canyon, with semi wheat trucks hauling wheat directly from the harvested fields to the grain terminal on the Columbia River, about 80 miles round trip.

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We had 10 to 20 double trailer semis per hour driving by our house…throwing loose gravel with major dust for that gravel road effect:)

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And we had a photo shoot schedule here for “Oregon 1859.” Not sure when our article will come out but here is the link… https://www.1859oregonmagazine.com/

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Last Friday morning, I was scrambling trying to figure out how we could do the shoot with the dust and gravel…emails were zipping and zapping back and forth with the photographer and the editor! Saturday evening we decided to go for it and give it a try Sunday evening:)

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God smiled giving us a quiet no traffic day…no semis trucks and only one car during the shoot…it was awesome!

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Mom used to always say “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”…so we made lemonade, the shoot went off perfectly…we had silly fun and made new friends with a bq dinner in the middle of it!

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Wherever you may be in your life…dusty roads or hot hot temps or lush jungles with beautiful waterfalls or rocky craggy peaks that are steep and tough to climb. Always keep a going with smiles and laugh out loud moments that tickle your funny bone, while making lemonade…the memories will carry you through the ups and downs we all experience at times in life.

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HRCG, Wild Bill, Ellie and of course Melody wish you all a cool night or a moderate day where ever you may be…

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!

The Views Of Life Off My Patio……

The views of life off my patio,

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Are ever changing year round…and never boring!

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“Hello Houston, we have a problem!!!”

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Memorial Day weekend…the fields were green and beautiful!

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Ten days later, we were cooking on a 108 degree afternoon…the wheat turned golden in a few days, looks like harvest on June 8th…and whoa!

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Normally you would see the wheat turn slowly through the month of June…with harvest beginning sometime in July.

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I have never seen the wheat head out in mid May or my flowers bloom in early March…nor did I have to mow the yard for the first time the beginning of March!

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Crazy if you ask me…is it global warming or a season of drought?

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In the local paper today, and I quote “Wheat yields are projected to take such a hit this summer that some Eastern Oregon growers may not even harvest their crop. Sparse rainfall and diminished snow pack have impacted producers all across the West, but an unseasonable heat wave in late May and early June hit developing wheat plants at exactly the wrong time. The heat wave came as wheat plants were in the stage of filing out their grain kernels. Foreign countries, Japan and Korea, that buy the soft white wheat from the Pacific Northwest will not want what we offer this year….as the protein levels will be too high for what they require to bake their breads, crackers and etc.”

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It has been an odd year…from the crazy weather to the incredible love of my animals! I love my girl above…Melody is the melody of my heart:)

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Oh my Minnie Girl…I miss you so…sometimes I think I see you out of the corner of my eye…and when I am sitting on the sofa, I’m sure you are on the back of the sofa, where you observed the world and me…I miss your sweetness and those big green eyes, always filled with mischievous love…this time of year was your favorite time.

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How you loved the smells, the sounds of crickets and the sounds of birds tweeting to you all day long! Its ok sweet kitty girl, someday I will see you again and we will snuggle with lots of nose kisses, head bumps, tummy rubs and lots of purring….my sweet Min Mouse…my forever kitty girl.

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And then there is Ellie, she loves me…she loves when I brush her each day from top to bottom, she loves the sense of being rubbed…I think it is due to a sense of being licked by her mama…and I am her mama…it brings us both comfort.

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She is incredibly smart and intuitive…a very protective girl. She is a blessing from God and my Minnie, in her beautiful Australian fur.

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Droughts, life lived and life lost, being loved and the pain that comes from loving too much…I would rather have the pain from loving too much as to me that is a life well lived. We love naturally and we live courageously….loving our loved ones and the life we have…is a very simple life.

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HRCG over and out for now…but never for long:)

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Have a simply wonderful week wherever you are!

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!

Amber Waves of Grain By Sharla Shults…

http://catnipoflife.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/amber-waves-of-grain/

http://awakenings2012.blogspot.com/2013/11/amber-waves-of-grain.html

For some odd reason this posted below Sharla’s blog…this is my second re-blog, and I hope I am doing this right! Sorry for the edits! I want to introduce you to Sharla Shults who is a gifted writer and published author of poetry that comes from her heart with beautiful words and thoughts. She writes to tell the story of American History…which is our story, our history and our heritage. We each have a story to tell and share of our families history of coming to a new land called America. It was their strength and gritty determination that brought us the life we live today…giving us heritage that runs deep and history that makes America truly America. I am honored that Sharla chose to showcase my photography with her beautiful poetry, on both her blogs, go take a look…at both Awakenings and Catnipoflife. Thank you Sharla!

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MarcyAwakenings featured Marcy @Hot Rod Cowgirl who is Riding Through Life One Horse At A Time…Courage Is Being Scared To Death But Saddling Up Anyway! Marcy is a true American who captures America the beautiful not only with her poignant words but also her awesome photography.

You are encouraged to visit Hot Rod Cowgirl where Marcy and Wild Bill are both riding through life one horse at a time! Giddy-up! AND Whoa! only when there is no other place to go! 

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GO to Awakeningsand join Marcy…

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Life Is Moving At Warp Speed!

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

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

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Harvest came and went…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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We LOVE her lots…she is my sweetheart!

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

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

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

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

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

A Day In The Life Of Hot Rod Cowgirl For Oregon Dayshoot 2013!

A day in the life of Hot Rod Cowgirl begins in the dark dawn of July 15th for the Oregon Dayshoot 2013! The Dayshoot first began 30 years ago in 1983 to depict life in Oregon on any given day of everyday life. It’s a way to record Oregon history and what our lives were like in 2013 compared to the first Oregon Dayshoot in 1983.

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It’s 4:30 in the morning on July 15th and I am excited to be a part of Dayshoot 2013! I’m ready with my camera…a nice clean card, along with a spare one and extra batteries too. And its time to begin as I step out to capture the sunrise…it was well worth it but I wish the stars had shown up in the photo too!

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Yard sprinklers were doing their thing…I lightened this photo up so you can see the drops of water! A fun time of day to be up and taking pictures of life in Juniper Canyon!

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Here comes the sun…I do truly love this time of day anymore…used to not be crazy about it but then I got into photography and I love the sunrise and the sunset…the two enchanted times of light and capturing images with hues of color that knock your socks off!

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Yard Bath or Showers! We have had the sprinklers only 1 year and I love them. It is so much easier to water the yard with a switch instead of dragging around hoses all over. WB said too he thinks all our gophers have left due to the water!!! Yeah!!!

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Finally daybreak…I am the only one up and I need coffee soon…it is now 5:30 in the morning! And its going to be a beautiful day! I love it as it is so quiet and speaks deep to my heart of God’s beauty all around us if we will look and observe.

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 Annie was up and wanting her hay breakfast…”Morning Mom, dayshoot or is it dayhoot-cares…I’m hungry and yeah yeah about taking pictures…just gimme my hay and I will pose for you later ok.”

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And here’s Pat and Jack putting in their two cents since Annie got to. “Well really Mom, you need to sit down here and pet us, rub and love us and feed us treats!” I miss Jack so much as he was beautiful inside and out!”

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“No way Mom….what are you doing outside at this time of day….get in here and I need treats too and lots of pets and kitty loves!” “And who cares about this dayhottenany or whatever it is called!” “Humph!”

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As the day slowly wore on, it was over a 100 degrees and too darn hot to be out very long. After lunch I figured I would go check out the shop…WB said to come down and grab some photos of the guys working for fun! So here I am in Wild Bill’s shop wondering if I can catch some sneaky action photos of the guys working on cool cars:) And I LOVE Corvette’s!

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Here’s Bryan working away but I think he is hiding…Hey Bryan…quit hiding and smile!

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Come on Clay, look up and smile at the camera…geez! Clay is working on a very cool 1935 Ford Pick Up…it is going to be very classy when it rolls out of the “Lab!”

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“Ahhh HA! I caught you Wild Bill! Smile for me and what are you doing now? Hmmm, well I am having trouble getting the guys to smile like they are having fun with all these super cool cars to work on!!! At least you will smile at me if I try to capture you working on one of the cars right?”

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Apparently not…and hmmmph…hey WB come on and look up!!!! He gets all obsessed over Corvettes too like I do! This is a 1976 Corvette…hey WB LOOK UP Dang It!

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I know maybe Nathan will look up and smile….by the way this is a 1958 Metro…cute huh? Nathan likes to draw and he drew the smiley face on the Metro and at least it is smiling, and looking at the camera!

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I know what they are saying….”Here she comes again, so look like we are discussing something very serious” “Ok Terry and WB come on and look at me you ding-dong guys!!!”

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And one last picture of Bryan working on a 1949 Chev. Pick Up…

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Guess I will head back outside to see what is going on….Hey heres Jagged, our 1928 Dodge Coupe! WB likes louvers can you tell?

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The landscape view in bright light of day! This is the view of the sunrise photos I was taking at dawn…looks way different huh?

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Typical scene outside the shop…lots of kooool custom cars in front of our old-fashioned service station!

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And the day is winding down…horses doing the nuzzle after their dinner

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Hey Dash what do you think? Hmmm…he not looking at my camera either….geesh!!!

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Enjoy the summer as soon…it will be gone…and big fat WAH! I LOVE nice warm 80 degree days and the sunshine! Have a wonderful weekend and peaceful night wherever you are and a Simply Sunshiny Sunday! Smile and…click click click!

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!

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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:)

Warm Summer Nights Are Truly Heaven’s Delight…

Warm summer nights are truly heaven’s delight…

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Basking in the soft glow of harvest colors reflected on the land, we remember the memories of old…tough years that taught us to dig deep…and the good years full of family times and grace. We remember…and we give thanks for our heritage and the traditions passed on to us that we hold close to our heart.

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 Wheat fields immersed in golden amber light, surround us with vivid hues of auburn red delight…that makes this cowgirl farm girl stop and stare…as I marvel at the beauty of the coming crop…that began with one small kernel of faith.

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Magical times of twilight and early morning light…always brings summer delight to your heart and a smile to your face. And in the reverence of a quiet country night…wait? What was that???

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With the earth-shaking…”Jagged”, rolled up the driveway with the beat of a heavy-duty cam and a healthy ba-boom-ba-boom sound.  “Jagged” is our 1928 Dodge Coupe that WB is building by hand, as he has to build the modifications and literally make the parts due to the limited availability of parts for a 1928 Coupe. Can you believe that he put a V-12 Jag motor in it with nitrous??? Stay tuned as there will be more on that in a later post. And this is a good picture of why I am called “Hot Rod Cowgirl?” Horses in the background and a Hot Rod in the foreground:)

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Tuck Girl is in agreement, taking it all in…looking relaxed and happy…wondering where she left her ear plugs?

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As the night air shifts, a cool canyon breeze whispers softly that soon, life in the canyon will pick up the tempo from a slow country waltz, to a do-si-do down home harvest swing!

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Slowly the day ends, with the last ray of magical light setting softly behind the hill, while overhead the sky is a blaze with glory…and another golden day rolls into a warm summer night…truly heaven’s delight.

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!

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