Spaghetti Sauce And Life!

Spaghetti sauce and life!

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What a weird combination for a blog entry…but it is so me!

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I was adding a dab of this and a dab of that as I made our families secret spaghetti sauce…and I had one of those flash bulb epiphanies about life.

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How we choose to live our individual life with a few dabs of this and a few dabs of that, makes us unique individuals…that is how my spaghetti sauce is made…full of dabs of this and dabs of that!

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How we live our life…and we do what works best. And in my case…horses…cats…dogs…cooking…our business….my photography and writing etc. as it will work with our love and our forever commitment.

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I learned to cook from my Mom who was a ranchers wife and always lived out in the middle of nowhere…and me too…I have never had the experience of living in a city…my grocery store has always been 20 miles away and a few times 40 to a 100 miles away…all of them one way…so you make do and you add a bit of this and a bit of that…and pray hard that it turns out ok:)

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Isn’t that life? We do life and we fail and we try harder and we stumble, we get back up and shake off the dust…and focus and on we go.

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Is there a set pattern we can give to others? I hope so as I have been very open with my “not perfect life”

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Each of us has been designed and made by God and here is another epiphany…God does not make mistakes.

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If we live our life differently, in our own unique way, like my spaghetti sauce, we will learn what works and what doesn’t.

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My life is in the country making do with what I have on hand as town is too far away…and my spaghetti sauce turns out perfecta!

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May you be blessed this new week in February…as a month from now we will be closer to Spring:)

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Yee-Haw, Spring is coming! Over and Out from HRCG

Days Of Old Drift Back To Me

Days of old drift back to me on wings of golden memories, taking me back to old times, happy times and family times, as the love of family runs deep in my veins and deeper in my heart…

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Treasured memories of childhood hold fast and true, as the sounds of innocence play softly in my mind…sounds of silly giggling and little legs running to hide on a warm country night, as we played hide and go seek…”Olly Olly Oxen Free.”

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Growing up I had cousins by the dozens and lots of Aunts and Uncles….the above photo was taken on my 3rd birthday here at the house. My Grandma is sitting on the red sofa next to my Uncle Ron and Uncle Rich is sitting in the red chair that was my Dad’s…and to the right of the photo you can see the skirts of my aunts…you can’t see me as I’m surrounded by cousins…I have the short hair with the striped dress sitting on the floor.

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Dad had six brothers counting him and three sisters making Dad’s immediate family a family of 11 and they all lived in this area. As a family tradition, we got together for Thanksgiving and again for Christmas Eve, it was always a very large gathering of around 60 plus family members, with Aunts, Uncles and their spouses and lots of cousins. It was an incredible gift to be part of a huge family as I grew up…as family was very important. Being an only child I was on cloud nine each time we got together for the holidays or for my cousins birthdays…those were the best years of our lives!

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My Dad is standing on the left side with the cowboy hat on and his five brothers…two nephews sitting in the middle in front and two young nephews standing with their Dad on the right side of the photo taken here about 1960.

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When I began grade school in our very small town, 8 miles from our house, there was one of my cousins in each grade from 1-12.  I loved it as my older cousins were plowing the path for us to follow along! It was incredible to experience that…if one of us got hurt or upset we could run to find one of our cousins for childhood support!  Our school was lucky to have a 100 kids enrolled in 12 grades. Most classes were under 10 kids. FYI, I was thrilled when Mom finally told me I could grow my hair out if I took care of it and I did and still do:)

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As we cousins grew up, went to college and got married, we began a new chapter that was very foreign to us. In the last few years, we have buried our parents together. It’s hard at times to fathom that we are now the older family members and yet…we still feel like that same group of cousins, laughing and calling out “Olly Olly Oxen Free”…young at heart…life was good…we had each other and we had our parents and we had lots of Uncles and Aunts to tease us and keep us in line. The picture above is only half of my cousins!

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The last week has been bittersweet as we lost a family member who was very much loved. He was my oldest cousin, but because of the age difference, we called him our Uncle Gerald. He was always in a good mood and had a smile for everyone…if you showed up in his shop he would offer you a meal and something to drink…he loved his family and he worked hard his entire life. He was always there with a smile and a wave as he drove by…I will miss him.

The picture above is at cow camp in the old log cabin. My Mom always cooked up a storm…using a wood cook stove, with no running water and no electricity…she was amazing!  Gerald is sitting with his back to the picture, my Dad is pouring us lemonade and Gerald’s son Jerry is sitting next to my Dad and cousin Matt is sitting next to me and yes…that is me with the dorky glasses and pixie haircut!.

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In remembrance of my Uncle Gerald…the picture above says it all…he was a good husband, a good father and a super grandfather and friend to many…and the best Uncle/Cousin you could have. He will be remembered for the caring love he had for his family and for others…and the great sense of fun he had in life…he lived his life fully with honor and with the simple love of family.

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Time passes by and before you know it those whom you love are gone. Wherever you are…reach out to your family and to those that you love…as time gets shorter each year and before you know it, time passes by…Kathy Mattea sang the song below…it is one of my favorites and so very true.

Dreams drift away like leaves on the water
They roll down the river and slip out of sight
Too many times we do what we ought
Put off ’til tomorrow what we’d really rather do tonight
And later realize

Time passes by, people pass on
At the drop of a tear, they’re gone
Let’s do what we dare, do what we like
And love while we’re here before time passes by

Thoughts are like pennies we keep in our pockets
They’re never worth nothing ’til we give them away
But love’s like a promise in an un-opened letter
Where nights full of pleasure seldom see the light of day
When life gets in the way

Time passes by, people pass on
At the drop of a tear, they’re gone
Let’s do what we dare, do what we like
And love while we’re here before time passes by

Time passes by, people pass on
At the drop of a tear, they’re gone
Let’s do what we dare, do what we like
And love while we’re here before time passes by

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Have a wonderful week with a bit of whacky….as the whacky will keep life interesting! HRCG over and out for now but not for long!

The Incredible Ever Changing View Of Life…

The incredible ever changing view of life outside my window is truly amazing…as each season brings unique gifts of the season to us, giving us the gift of seasonal colors in the skies of glory above us and all around us with the beautiful colors displayed on the landscape…and as I gaze at God’s incredible world, I know but I know that God is here:)

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 I have been a bit distracted from writing with the holidays and life, but I’m back…I didn’t leave the blogosphere planet…I’m here hanging out while taking it all in as I watch the diverse weather while enjoying the life outside my window:)

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Pretty huh? I love this amazing world we live in…

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How it can change in a minute…from foggy days to God’s glory in the sky above…

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With jaw dropping sunsets full of majesty and brilliant colors…with clouds that morph into vivid displays for my camera.

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Surprise surprise surprise…the very next morning…we had snow!

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Of course…my horse Melody chooses to stand out in the snow and wind…never mind her stall is ready and waiting for her:) I think she wanted me to capture her picture in the blizzard of 2013!

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This was New Years Day during magic time…at the end of daylight for that day. It was interesting as we had fog around us on New Years but we managed to stay in the sunshine and blue skies above without fog…and at the end of day it threatened to come in on us as you can see behind the hill but God shone a golden light from heaven on the top of the hill and made a heavenly golden crimson color…and the fog never came in that night:)

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Hey look who dropped by to see what I was doing? It’s my shadow, Miss Ellie who is growing up…and she is ever so sweet:) She wanted to say Grrrowly-Roofy-Hi! And soon I will do a post on Ellie as she has grown lots but is still a puppy:)

Hang on we are switching gears into a new dimension…here we go! Remember you can click the pictures and they will double in size.

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As the headlights on the lone car rounded the corner, they drove into a canyon…above them the skies looked ominous and it was then that they realized they had traveled into the wrong canyon…they were traveling into another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound, but also of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of the imagination…they had crossed into the….Twilight Zone…

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This is Hot Rod Cowgirl signing off from the Secret Lab Zone…hmmmm:)

Wishing You All, A Happy New Week and A Great Night!

Dreams Call Softly…

Dreams call softly to my heart as autumn slowly slips by…

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I love the colors and the beauty of the land in my simple world! My imagination runs away as I can see and hear two young boys, my Dad and his older brother, riding horses bareback out here…galloping along playing Cowboys and Indians teasing one another back and forth…simple dreams and imaginations of two young boys playing in God’s country.

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Often our sunsets are full of fire with licks of flame in the clouds above, double-click on the picture and you will see the flames, and maybe Puff the Magic Dragon…incredible beauty on a typical autumn night.

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Dreams are so much a part of us…as children we believe anything is possible, I’m Annie Oakley in this photo:) And yet as we grow up, we often loose the ability to dream as we have been told to grow up and work to earn a living. But we long for our dreams and no I am not talking about a bigger house or a new car, I’m talking about life dreams…the dreams of who we want to be or what we want to do with our life.

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Often we can feel the dream but do not know what to do with it…sometimes its right in front of you but you can’t see it or can you? I struggle with that at times as I have many dreams for my life and for my life with WB.

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Instead of pursuing our dreams we go with the flow of the life we live, eventually our dreams get pushed to the back of our life…we have too much to do and not enough time to get everything done as it is…so we put off our dreams for a few more months that turn into a few years as time passes by…

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What are my dreams? I have several but the biggest dream I have is to write a book of my life and the various chapters I have crammed into a few years time. Mainly I want to write and develop my skill more and just write. I also want to shoot photos and learn how to take the best shots, with the eye and ability to do it automatically…and it’s game on:) I tend to do that now every time I pick up my camera as it fits my hand like a glove:)

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My dreams of writing are not to be famous…I want to help others by sharing the wisdom I have learned in my life. I have lived through a zillion circumstances…both hard times and good times with some great stories to tell. I became a family counselor in 1995 and the last few years since I heard of EAGALA, I have been interested in using horses to counsel people, which would meld my love of horses to helping others heal their hearts and would be very cool:) Those are just a few of my dreams…and I have had them for a long time:)

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Hang on to your dreams, don’t let life and work crowd in causing you to loose them, keep your dream in your heart and believe that someday it will come true:) I do believe our dreams are God given to give us hope as hope develops perseverance which develops our faith in the things we can not see. The greatest gift we can give to ourselves is to dream, believe and to never give up our hope that yes we can develop those God given dreams, they can come true:)

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What is your hope and your dream…no matter how outside of the box?

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As I take off for now….I leave you with a verse that has played through my head all day…see if you can figure out what song it goes to?

All the leaves are brown,

And the sky is gray,

I’ve been for a walk,

On a winter’s day.

I’d be safe and warm…

New Beginnings And Speedy Lickety-Split Endings

New beginnings and speedy lickety-split endings are part of life here as time passes by on planet earth…we have seasons of life much like the earth has weather seasons. There’s a time for everything…a time for hello and a time to say goodbye…a time to seed and plant the crops and a time to harvest in July…a brand new day begins each dawn and the end of day comes as the sun sets each evening. The last few weeks with the end of summer and the beginning of fall, beginnings and endings have been on my mind a lot, as time passes by so quickly…we get busy and forget to focus on the important people in our lives or the important blessings we have, until one day they are gone.

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As I dwell on this simple truth, Ecclesiastes: Chapter 3: Verse:1-8, comes to mind as God spoke of a time for everything. I began to see how every part of our life has seasons or beginnings and endings. It’s how God designed life and yet, a new beginning comes and before we know it the ending sneaks up on us…from loosing those we love, to coming home after a week’s vacation, to giving birth, you blink and the baby is grown up with babies of their own…sometimes the ending comes with great pain and grief, while other times it comes with celebration upon college graduation with your diploma in hand…well deserved with true happiness!

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I believe that life has a rhythm in all parts of it…a constant beat full of heart and passion with the joyful energy of our soul. Maybe because I love music and love to dance, counting double time or half time with ease, it makes sense to me that God would give rhythm to His earth and to our lives…two steps forward, one step back. The dance of life can be one of incredible joys, contrasted by times of great difficulties. Milestone moments in life can take our breath away, as we either accomplished our dreams or we lost someone or something very dear to our heart. It’s up to us how we choose to live our life and how we maneuver the times of highs and lows…as we keep dancing with all we’ve got.

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I try to see the positive in life…the glass is half full and not half empty. I believe anything is possible when we put our mind to it…I laugh as I have said under my breath since I was in grade school “Where there’s a Marcy, there’s a way!” Even when things look their darkest, I hang on to my faith as I know but I know that somehow, someway, things will work out. Going through breast cancer 7 years ago was scary at times, but God told me I would survive and I knew if God said it, He meant it, and I believe it and that is that. We have many areas in our life today that we can not count on…but I know I can count on God with all my soul and all my heart.

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This time of year for me is bittersweet as I lost my Dad in October and lost my Mom a year later in December. It doesn’t seem that long ago and yet it has been 16 years…the painful memories are softer now…but every year beginning in September, I begin to reflect on my life and the life around me, as I ponder the last year of our life here. Being a writer and a deep thinker, I process life circumstances deeply in my heart as I ask the hard questions and seek the truth of life events and how those events have effected me. After I ponder the last year in the innermost part of me, only then after I have come to some conclusion will my thoughts fall onto paper with sincere and sometimes crazy writers abandon. I ask lots of questions in order to wrap my understanding around whatever it is…but yeah…I seek the answers to life’s deepest, greatest and toughest questions. I know I will never know all the answers until I get to heaven someday, but I feel life deeply and think on things a long time…before I can give the answer to those questions.

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As I am writing this afternoon, the light outside my window is full of golden softness as my world is filled with an amber glow, fall has truly fallen on Juniper Canyon. When I write I often look out on the land, watching the shadows of the clouds above, play on the landscape, making new odd shapes…and I remember old times, simple times and good memories. This week as I reflect more on memories of my parents, I can hear Dad’s voice in my head. One of the first times he was deathly ill, we called 911 for help…it was scary for all of us. I was very thankful we were not living in Wyoming, and instead lived next door allowing us to get there in a hurry if we were needed. Once Dad was stable and loaded into the ambulance on that clear blue sky morning, I sat with Dad while Mom and Bill got her jacket etc. for the ride to the hospital.

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I noticed Dad was looking out and up the hill, and then he said “Have you and Bill decided if this ranch is home and is this where you will put down roots and grow old?” I was taken back with his direct question as my thoughts were not on Wild Bill and me…my thoughts were on Dad and Mom. I stuttered and stammered saying something like “Dad, I know this is home and yes we will put down our roots and build our life here.” He kept pondering his life and the landscape and said ” I sure hope I come back home again, as I will surely miss this place.” I hugged his neck and said to him “You will Dad, you will.” And he did many times, from several near death emergencies, over the next four years…his doctor told us “Your Dad is one tough cowboy.”

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The crazy thing about our lives is that often we do not recognize the beginning of something great in our lives until the end of it. Growing up I lived on a vast cattle ranch, I did not understand that living on private land was a gift and a privilege of life. I thought everyone had a cattle ranch in the mountains and that we all owned land somewhere. I also thought everyone had a horse and lived the same life I lived! I had an active imagination growing up as I was taught that everything was possible if we believe…and today I still believe in the impossibilities of life:)

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Learning to look at the glass half full instead of almost empty, was one of the simple truths of life my parents taught me…having a positive attitude instead of a bitter one has carried me through some tough times and still carries me today in my life, as I still have tough issues to deal with in our lives here.

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Our lives are a gift to live with love, joy, hope and faith that tomorrow will come as it will. When one door closes and the season is over…you may feel a pang of sadness, but you know there is always hope for a new beginning and we will find it if we seek it out…as we will never give up! Beginnings and endings…sunrise and sunset…summer began and summer ended, as fall began. I felt a moment of grief for the warm days of harvest and the magical summers we live here and yet as soon as the moment passed, I saw the beauty of fall and I was at peace knowing this was the beginning of a new season that would be filled with wonder and home spun days of gold:)

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I leave you with one of my favorite bible verses…it is so true as it is the heart of life!

A Time for Everything

 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

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May You Have A Fantastic Fall Weekend And A Fabulous Frivolous Friday!

Solitude On The Land Is My Solace Of Fall

Solitude on the land is my solace of fall….

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Every year this time I find myself reflecting on the harvest of summer as the seasons change and once again, silence falls like a veil of dignity on the land as it rests..

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I love it as I love the quiet…the solitude of silence. I love walking out into God’s beautiful world. The land sleeps and yet when I walk it I can hear the stories of summer…stories of harvest and the history of family.

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I grew up in a world of silence a third of the year, living on a remote cattle ranch in the mountains, without electricity, telephone, TV or even radio…the hectic life of the world disappeared and a new world of solitude became my life on the ranch. My world and daily life was my parents, our horses, the cattle and our cow dogs.

Dad and I Herding Cattle

Life was simple. Get up. Go catch the horses, saddle up horses with Dad while Mom packed lunches into the saddle bags for us…follow Dad out of cow camp into the frosty meadow and head up Coleman Ridge…which was a mountain with a mountainous trail that we rode up…about half way up Coleman the trail disappeared. We had to pick a way to get to the top so we just zigzagged up the ridge breaking over into either the direction of Bear Creek or head off in the direction of Young Camp depending on which pastures we planned to gather and check.

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If Dad chose for us to go towards Young Camp and on towards Jordan Creek,  we rode a few more miles to get to Young Camp and then we rode over another ridge from Young Camp that dropped us into the Upper Jordan area. Riding down the ridge of Upper Jordan Creek, you got off your horse leading the way down the ridge to the bottom as it was steep with heavy under brush, loose rocks, rock walls and logs…you took it slow and easy zigzagging your way over logs and brush. If you ran into cattle, you shooed the cows out of the brush and pushed them along in front of you trying to get to the bottom. Once you hit the bottom, you stopped for them to get a drink, while keeping an eye on them in case one decided to make a mad dash, as usually there was always one that did. As soon as you could you drove them on up another ridge into Whiskey Creek or if you steered them a bit different into Brown Miller and Elk Mountain country.

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After we got them settled for the night, we turned back towards home, cow camp, where Mom kept the home fires burning…we would get in just about dark and in time for dinner. Dad would say “We rode about 35 miles today Marcy, you did a good job with the cows, taking it slow.” After dinner and a couple of card games of double solitaire with Mom, I usually hit the hay as I knew we would be up early, saddling horses and heading out once again to check on more cattle to be sure they had plenty of water and good feed. Never a dull moment on a cattle ranch as each day was a new adventure filled with good memories:)

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Life was simple. It was quiet and peaceful…solitude…I learned to survive being alone…doing without worldly stuff and things…one depended more on God and the incredible beauty of His sky…His land…His weather…His animals…and you expected less. Life was good. I miss it….I miss it a lot.

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Stay tuned as I am working on my next Pendleton Round Up post:)

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!

Happily Ever After Fairy Tales In A Cowgirls Life…

Happily ever after fairy tales and innocence…a time when life was full of story book dreams, that could become a true realty in my imagination, as Mom read to me almost every night before I went to sleep…I would lay my head back on my pillow, closing my eyes as she read, describing the creative visual images of make believe.

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Mom had a beautiful set of fairy tale books she often read out of, the books had been given to her as a child so she grew up with them…all the pages had golden edges and the books were bound in real leather, with beautiful illustrations…

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Knowing she grew up reading them and then reading them to me, made the books a special blessing to my heart. Mom read the stories like she knew them all by heart; stories of Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Cinderella, which stirred my imagination, as I hung on every magical word she read.

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With Mom’s encouragement, she taught me to read from a young age and to believe in my dreams…she knew about survival in the country and how to live without others and in the silence. We read the Bobbsey Twins books before school and eventually the Nancy Drew books together…and we read the classics together as I grew older, everything from Wuthering Heights to Jane Eyre to Emma and David Copperfield. Though years have passed and life grew into realities…I still remember that special time of innocence in my life growing up.

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My world was full of magical nights. Prince, my horse, was my fearless white steed when we were fighting against the evil in Camelot and I was Sleeping Beauty. He was my mighty warrior horse and protector when the Indians were after us and I was Annie Oakley. I have always had an active and very vivid imagination…good for story writing too:) And did I tell you that I can multitask…so hang on, we are switching gears! You never know with me!

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Moving on to today’s world out here on the ranch, we had a drop in visitor a few weeks ago…and I mean drop in from the sky visitor…Sky King! Well sort of, as we call him Sky King Bob…he was Wild Bill’s High School football coach. Bob, (not Sky King), is retired now, so he flies friends and people where they need to go and he flew in the head honcho supervisor for the Helix School remodel. We live 8 miles from the little country school and we are the only ones who have an actual air strip out here.

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Buck was leisurely eating his breakfast when he heard something above! “What the heck was that…Superhorse or maybe Sky Horse???”

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It’s Sky King Buck, taking off from our dirt runway in our field behind us…he has now cleared the power lines and is banking hard to the right to get turned around to head to Southern Oregon…the building you see is our barn.

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Here is a better picture…this is directly across from my front porch…where I was standing to take the photos. And yes I fly with WB and I actually prefer landing and taking off on our dirt strip, it is way better than flying into the big air space and ports…they made me very nervous. “Hello, stupid little plane, get out of the way of Airforce One or Boeing 747.” The very first plane we bought, was from Sky King, WB remembered riding in the plane while growing up in Vale.

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And there they go over the canyon wall and hill beside us heading South.

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Our plane Charlie, at the end of our dirt strip in the field…I have an oh sh** handle in there for when we take off as I used to drive wheat truck down the same hill…and when we take off you lift over the power lines above the main road. I got used to it eventually, because my hubby is an excellent pilot…he is a born natural. I struggle with heights and looking down…do not care for that part but the rest is not so bad and it is cool to see where you live from the air and to fly over it…you can see how the land lays…and that is lots of fun and I enjoy seeing how much WB loves flying:)

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So where am I going with this? “Hmmmm”…”Minnie, what do you think? What? You think I am a ding-dong? Well I am sorta but I’m your Mama too…and you are such a sweet kitty girl…now quit giving me the cat look that equates ding-dong:)”

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Now where was I before Sky King landed? Dreams and fairy tales right? I wish sometimes we could turn the clock back to the good ol’ days as life has changed and the world we now live in is much different from when WB and I grew up. Dreams and fairy tales it seems, take longer to come true today. Sometimes our timing is not God’s timing, so we have to believe even when life looks impossible, that God will prevail on our behalf, as we stand firm in our faith. Life may have changed over the last 20 to 30 years…but life is still good and God is a God of Faith and Hope!

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And yet, I know that life can stink sometimes, but we can get through it! The road of life can be interesting with a few major curves, lots of bumps and a few detours here and there, but it keeps it interesting. Good or bad, we can choose how we will deal with life in a positive way…and enjoy the ride. I may have to dig deeper than ever before but I can do this thing whatever it is and God is with me every step of the way. And dang it, no we do not have a bed of roses to sleep on, maybe a Tempurpedic, but not a magical bed of roses.

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I learned to hold on to my dreams even when life looks dismal, and that I can do anything I put my mind to if I want to. I was taught to have a good work ethic and to work hard to get what I wanted, a summer job was a must. My parents could have given me the money and anything I wanted but, it was more important for me to learn to work hard to earn my money, to save some and also buy what I wanted. Growing up we worked 24/7 as cows do not take the day off and there was always ranch work to do. I’m glad that they set that in motion as even today all these years later both WB and I work hard for our income and I understand working long hard hours.

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Mom was also an only child and she told me that her Dad would not pay for her wedding pictures…he told her that she could do that. He could afford them, but he wanted her to learn the value of working hard for what you want. This photo is the only one Mom could afford as she had gone to summer school at the U of O that summer to graduate. She lost her mother in the spring and had taken a leave of absence from college to be with her Mom so she had to make her classes up that summer. They had originally planned to marry in the spring but had postponed their wedding until fall.

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My parents did not do the rescue the kid scenario either and that was important for me to learn, that my choices or decisions affected me, and it was my own fault if I chose the wrong one, and to not blame my misfortune on others, my mistake was my mistake.  Mom used to always say “You made your bed, now you can lie in it.” I learned to always hold on to my faith and hope in life circumstances, while never ever giving up!

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And when things look their darkest, morning comes!

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My classic Mom, who was always so poised looking sophisticated…she taught me this too but she had to work on me as when I was herding cows with Dad or doing ranch work, I was a tom boy. Often I had to walk around the house balancing books on my head and to stand up straight and tall, shoulders back, tummy in and smile. I was in between 4th and 5th grade in this photo and not looking too together yet…it took a few more years for that to sink in:) We were on our way to California to visit relatives and we stopped in Boise at my Aunt’s house for the night…notice the big white bandage on my knee? I was a klutz then and still am today! I was learning to ride my bike off the paved road into the gravel up to our front walk…the gravel won most of the time! Mom was a nurse and a saint as she always doctored Dad and I up really good with bandages! I think she enjoyed practicing all that she had learned:)

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And we are off for another adventure! “Now where did I leave that fairy tale book? ” “Hi Ho Silver!!!”

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Minnie says “Meow-zers this is the last week of June…can you believe it? Summer is disappearing fast and quit snickering over my tummy…it’s cute:)”

Have a Wild & Whacky Wonderful Wednesday!!!!!

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Song of summer where have you been? Song of summer please come again…I remember you, I do and I hope that you will return to my soul and heart soon as “Song of Summer” I miss you…

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Time is moving faster…whoa slow down clock…take a breath and breathe…tick-tock shut up clock!

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Loosing a very good friend and neighbor the end of May, took my breath away… it was a shock for all of us who live in the area as it was not expected. With grief comes that sort of void in your spirit, where you just exist. My song of summer has been silenced the last few weeks…I am looking for it again as I know my friend would say “now get your buns in gear, go on and live your life to the fullest”…so here I am.

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Like all losses, it takes time to sort through your emotions, feelings and figuring out how to live without the one that you grieve for. My friend was an incredible lady to know, as she had that infectious positive can do attitude and loved living life with gusto…all the way to the very top of her bucket list! She was a beautiful person with a good heart…a true gift to know and I miss seeing her big smile, the almost daily silly funny emails she sent to me for laughs and the times we giggled over absolutely nothing…we loved finding the funny in various life situations we participated in!

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With a heavy heart, I know that life can change quickly…in a nano second. Each day is a precious gift and we need to be aware of that. I remember a song from years ago called “The End Of Innocence” by Don Henley…it was true to me then and it is again today as I write. When I first heard this song I thought of myself as that little girl growing up here where I live today…we have a hill behind our house where my Dad planted trees when I was maybe 3-4 years old…I would take him ice water on my trusty steed Prince…growing up I would climb the hill to look down on our ranch or look off down the canyon or towards the mountains…taking in the incredible, always changing view, while dreaming and thinking.

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And I still do, as it is peaceful and so beautiful up there…one of many beautiful views of the moon rising last fall from the hill. Growing up here, life in America was filled with a simple innocence…lots of happy endings to fairy tales in America then…I would climb the hill and lay my head back down on the ground, watching clouds drift by all day long…it was summer in my soul all year long. Looking back, America has changed so much since I was in High School in the late 60’s and early 70’s…in hearing Don Henley’s song in the late 1980’s, a chord was hit in my heart as I knew…life was changing quickly and our innocence would be lost if society did not reverse itself back to days of old…when life was good and a word of honor with a handshake was all you needed for a man’s word.

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Song of summers past…memories of different times…the innocence of true heart…song of summers past, come back again…song of summer we all need you…bring back your innocence to the land of the brave.

_MG_5796God Bless America…For Which It Stands…One Nation Under God With Freedom, Liberty And Justice For All.

As I hop off this post…I leave you with “The End Of Innocence” and also my version of “God Bless America.”

      “The End Of Innocence”  By Don Henley

Remember when the days were long
And rolled beneath a deep blue sky
Didn’t have a care in the world
With mommy and daddy standing by
But “happily ever after” fails
And we’ve been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers dwell on small details
Since daddy had to fly

But I know a place where we can go
That’s still untouched by men
We’ll sit and watch the clouds roll by
And the tall grass wave in the wind
You can lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair fall all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence

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O’ beautiful, for spacious skies
But now those skies are threatening
They’re beating plowshares into swords
For this tired old man that we elected king
Armchair warriors often fail
And we’ve been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers clean up all details
Since daddy had to lie

But I know a place where we can go
And wash away this sin
We’ll sit and watch the clouds toll by
And the tall grass wave in the wind
Just lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair spill all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence

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Who knows how long this will last
Now we’ve come so far, so fast
But, somewhere back there in the dust
That same small town in each of us
I need to remember this
So baby give me just one kiss
And let me take a long last look
Before we say goodbye

Just lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair fall all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence

Flag-and-horseGod Bless America!  (Edited by HRCG)

While the storm clouds gather
Far across the land of America
Let us swear allegiance
To a land that’s free
Let us all be grateful
For a land so fair
Let us raise our voices
In a solemn prayer

God bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her,
Through the night with the light from above.

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From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam,
God bless America,
My home sweet home.
God bless America,
My home sweet home.

From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam,
God bless America,
My home sweet home.

God bless America,
My home sweet home.

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