I got a request from a friend in the comments on The Cycle of Snowfall post to show what today’s forecast looks like. So here you go Kenny, 30 below through the window.
Patrick hayed the cows on top of the hill and now they are trailing down to the river for water.
Been getting dressed in layer after layer for an hour now so I can go out comfortably. It’s been snowing since just after midnight and is still falling. I will go out, maybe not for long, but I will capture more of Wyoming’s 30 below winter bliss. Stay tuned…
I was talking with a friend in Georgia yesterday and she asked how I was coping with the weather, this being my first full winter out here.
It’s an interesting cycle I tell her. The snow falls soft and sweetly and turns the ranch into a winter wonderland. It lays quietly like this for a day or so.
Then the fan is turned on high and it blows like you wouldn’t believe.
I have a client that I am shooting for and the project is to photograph his property in all of the seasons for his new cabin decor. I went over recently to get some gorgeous snow images with blue sky. I could barely stand up or even steady my camera.
And once it finally stops blowing, all of the beautiful fluffy snow from yesterday is gone and all that’s left is dead grass and frozen cow patties.
But where you will find that missing snow is in the drifts packed in as hard as a rock blocking the driveway.
Then, days later, it starts all over again.
So my answer to her question? I’m coping… with anvils in my over-sized wool coat pockets.
Some days a girl just needs a flower. Today is that day for me.
It’s beautiful outside with blue sunshiny skies. But the wind is blowing so hard and fast it hurts my eyes and ears. No wandering about the ranch today so I shall share a flower from the archives.
One creature out here that I hope to get really close to one day is the big horn sheep.
Patrick spotted these guys on our drive through the canyon.
That’s a young ram(male) at the top and a ewe(female) at the bottom of the image above.
They were staring me down, taunting me to climb up there to them. I do hope to get up close someday.
But they are sheep and are most of the time too high up on the side of a mountain for my taste. I was just fortunate to have them in the sunlight here.
We love our long drives through the Sybille Creek Canyon and are always on the lookout for wildlife. Sometimes all we see is a big buck in the distance, the occasional coyote, or crows and vultures. The Game and Fish is along the road and they are home to a few buffalo. I’ve never stopped for them before but this day I was feeling it. I jumped out of the truck into ankle deep snow and was able to capture this image with the first click.
Then the biggest guy wasn’t thrilled with me being there and he approached me with a deep growl. He started rubbing and throwing himself into the fence that was separating us. Thank goodness for that fence.
And so I moved on.
With every photo shoot, there is always a blooper. Whether they blinked or looked away suddenly.
This guy hoped to pick a winner.
Even with the large amount of cattle grazing the meadows (and in our front yard I might add), the deer still have plenty to chew on.
And they love it. Just look at the sweet delight on this yearlings face while chewing his cud.
I was spotted by one but Blinkie continued with his meal.
It is no different for the bucks, they love passing through and grabbing a bite too.
The deer seek refuge here from the mountain lions in the hills. They feel safe and so far we haven’t had problems with them hanging around. BUT, I haven’t started my garden and I have a feeling I will be investing in a lot of netting and have a dog housed near the veggies.
I am over the moon excited, thrilled, and honored to be featured on Freshly Pressed yesterday.
I’ve been photo blogging for about a year and have enjoyed it thoroughly. Thank you WordPress. Thank you to everyone who is visiting, commenting and subscribing. I am overwhelmed.
Once again, straight out of the camera with only a couple steps in photoshop, I see potential for HDR. But again, it isn’t the case. Just beautiful light and gorgeous sky.
We got word that more water will be released from the reservoir so we checked on the river surrounding the ranch to see if there will be any trouble.
We spotted an ice jam. The river has been iced over for a week. But with the past couple of days with warm and heavy winds, it has broken up and is now creating a dam.
We’re not thinking there will be much trouble for us, but maybe some folks along the river down below may have a different experience though nothing dangerous or damaging.
It makes for interesting photos though. Notice the violet clouds above that Vickie referred to in her message I posted about yesterday.
I know what you are going to ask. You photoshopped the heck out of these didn’t you? Well the answer is unbelievably, No. I’m shocked too.
This is not HDR (high dynamic range) although I think it’s got the potential. I only did my basic adjustments of auto contrast and lightened shadows. The sky really was this blue and wild.
A rain storm was on the way and it was like this for a couple of hours. Absolutely breathtaking.
I got a great message from my friend Vickie that said, “Are you outside? If not, go out there and check out the clouds. They are amazing. Some are a little violet in color.”
I was already outside and I shot these on my way to help Patrick move cattle.
Afterward, we checked the river because more water has been released from the reservoir and we stumbled on an ice jam. I’ll share those images with you tomorrow. I do not want to overwhelm your photographic sensors.
It’s quiet out here except for the howling winds and the snow crunching under my boots. Not much cowboy’ing happens in the winter, just gathering cattle here and there and haying when the snow is high. We’re getting prepared for calving and if all goes as planned, we should start sometime in March. But bulls can be pretty sly and if any of them jumped the fence before the planned conception, we’ll be starting earlier. In the meantime, I plan to meditate with the peaceful sunsets over snow capped mountains because soon, our days and nights will filled with ups and downs, mooing and bawling.
Peace & Love, Leah
Meanwhile, back at the bluffs. The girls think they’re still hungry.
While Patrick visited with the neighbors, the cattle surrounded the tractor and just stared me down. Look at the drool on #41. The stares from # 80 made me shiver. She followed me around expecting a hand out.
Even the neighbor’s Corgi stared me down waiting for instructions to start herding.
We finally got going and they couldn’t get to it fast enough.
It was like we rolled out the red carpet or something. They walked all over it thinking the next layer will be better than the last.
They finally stopped. And pigged out, as usual.
We have now returned to our regularly scheduled program. Yep, it’s still winter. Zero degrees and below to be exact.
The deer are lounging in sunflower fields soaking up the rays.
The horses are running. They don’t really seem to be going anywhere in particular, just running from the wind and cold.
The trees are covered with ice and snow.
In the Laramie River sits little islands of snow, mini icebergs.
When we work our way up the drive, we’re never sure if there will be a drift too deep to drive through right around the next corner. So far so good. Stay warm folks, it’s cold all over!
We had another “spring break” day last week and that meant time outside for a wander.
The river rushed in between and around the rocks and ice.
This buck was scratching his nose on the leafless branches.
This little guy was repairing his nest in a log by the river.
I don’t know how these ducks tolerate the freezing water.
But they did soak in the sun while paddling around.
And on my walk back to the house, ole Crop Ear and her baby stopped at the top of the hill for a hello.
This image was captured a couple mornings before the end of 2010. It was a warm day, a break between two snowfalls. But you can see the snow clouds hanging over, just waiting to drop.
Then on new years eve, the blizzard hit and the wind hasn’t stopped it’s 60mph romp since. I printed this image and hung it in front of the tightly closed curtains behind my computer screens. It’s a peaceful reminder of the rare winter stillness while the howling winds are ripping through the trees outside of my office window.
Always hanging on to the car door,
This is a Charolais cow. Pronounced Shar-lay.
They belong to the neighbors.
As with any creature on earth, sometimes the grass looks greener on the other side. And on this particular New Years day, our hay stack was looking really tasty to these cows.
So tasty that we saw this girl jump into the stack and got herself stuck.
And I mean stuck…trapped. With the 3 feet of snow surrounding and in between the stacks, the pig couldn’t get out.
Patrick called the rancher in charge of these cows and he said he’d be right over with the Backhoe. “Whats he gonna do with the backhoe” I ask. “I guess he’ll scoop her outta there, I dunno” Patrick answers back with the same curiosity in his voice. It’s getting darker by the minute. Pretty soon we see the headlights in the distance and sure enough as we were herding the cattle with the pickup, here comes Brian sliding the corners with the backhoe. He was hauling butt. I didn’t think a machine like that could go so fast.
She did eventually jump, scoot, and roll her way out of the hay stack to join the others.
They both discussed the plan of attack in the 10 degree evening.
Of course, I’m shooting out of the truck window. It’s too cold to be out there in the cold and windy mountain air!
An we’re off…. with Backhoe Brian in the lead. Once reinforcements arrived, they got the ladies where they are supposed to be.
The guys discuss the fences and how they are in good shape…can’t figure out how they keep getting in. But I’ve seen them jump so high, they clear the fence when we’re trying to herd them through the gate. Shoot, she jumped into the haystack. But nobody asked for my opinion. Oh the life of a ranchers “wife”. Sheesh.
Happy New Year everyone! I would like to Thank YOU for a successful first year of blogging. The loyal viewership, you my friends, has been outstanding. I just hope I’m able to hold your interest for years to come.
And if 2011 is anything like the cow story I will share with you tomorrow, I think you’ll want to stick around.
Love ya’ll! ♥ Leah