I had a wonderful time down south but it sure is good to be home. Even if the sunflowers are gone and the leaves have blown away. It’s been snowing off an on since I’ve been back and I’ve finally cooled off from the warm temps of the southeast. It’s 5 below zero out there this morning.
I still have some recaps of Georgia to share with you but never fear, I’ll get back to our regular program soon. In the meantime, click here for the before shot back in August of almost the same scene above.
So glad to be back. See you soon!
Need I say more?
Ohhh, but I will tell you more.
These little precious fluffballs of cuteness are Australian Shepard pups. They are 4 weeks old and Patrick and I spent some time with them and their owners on Sunday.
Don’t look into those eyes, they will steal your heart!
They climbed all over us and we more than happy to be the jungle gym.
Pony and I sat on the ground and welcomed the puppy love.
My leg became a pillow for napping after 5 minutes of playing.
This one fell asleep standing up. It’s tiring being so darn cute ya know.
After a while they would climb back into their house, barely able to get in from the high step. But when Steve would whistle, all 9 of them would come rushing out tumbling over each other, stepping on heads and tummies.
This guy is the biggest. He is chunky and they tell us that after he eats, he immediately lays down for a nap. He’s not the most active and he’s so sweet. They are all very loving and there is not a timid one in the bunch.
These little ones are here for the taking. A few already have homes but there are several more up for adoption. If you are in Wyoming or are willing to travel and take a precious pup home, email me or let me know in the comments. Click here for more pictures of the absolute cuteness if you can stand it.
I’m so glad to be home. We went for an evening hike on Sunday and finally, spring is making an appearance. When I left 2 weeks ago, it was 31 degrees. Now the afternoons are getting close to 80.
Green leaves are popping out of the bare branches.
Little tiny flowers are peeking up through rocks.
And sand lilies are sprouting, becoming ground cover for the mountainous terrain.
I got back to the beautiful Wyoming grasslands yesterday after being back east for a week and a half and was immediately tossed into a branding for a neighbor. Ahhh the smell of burning hair….home.
After the branding and once the chores were done and a new calf got his earring at the South Ranch, we finally made the trek home.
Upon driving down the dirt road less than a mile away from the house, we saw this happy family toddling across the pasture. I’ve seen this couple often and had no idea they were expecting!
What a treat to come home to. And what a sweet and fuzzy treat for this mother.
Hope all of you wonderful Mothers have a Happy Day.
You are beautiful. Your wide open spaces, your mountains of rock full of wildlife, your gorgeous landscapes…. my camera and I could just eat you up. “Slop you up with a biscuit” as we say in the south.
But do you think that maybe, just maybe, you could stop snowing?! You woke me up at 5am this morning with big wet blobs of snow falling from the sky. I’m thankful that it’s warmer than January but it’s April now. And I’m ready to take off my snowboots and slip on my groovy flipflops. Let me know your thoughts ASAP.
This week marks the one year anniversary of starting my new life here in big sky country. What can I say, I met a cowboy, fell in love with him and the land, and decided that my heart needed a change from the recent sadness I was experiencing in my hometown. Losing my mother to cancer 5 years ago left me with a crushed heart and a great deal of sadness. Life was gray and smiles were hard to come by. My photography lacked spunk and creativity as we just went through the motions together. Two years ago this summer, I came out here for an assignment with a great friend and writer, Jessica W. She was way more cowgirl than me and this type of assignment was right up her ally. Me, not so much. I had no clue what being a cowgirl was all about. But when I stepped out onto the dirt drive of the spacious ranch, the crisp, dry air carried the aroma of sage and manure straight to my head and ignited my senses. A smile appeared on my face for the first time in almost 3 years. The wide open spaces filled my eyes and immediately my camera and I became one again. When I met eyes with the ranch manager, I felt my heart actually skip a beat. Something inside me was brewing.
Jessica and I spent only a few days here documenting life on this working cattle ranch. Herding and branding cattle, cooking meals over an open fire pit, riding horseback and my favorite- a four wheeler ride through the Laramie Plains with Patrick. We woke up to ravishing sunrises and relaxed at the end of the day with the calming beauty of the sun setting over the mountains. I didn’t want to leave. And when I was finally home, I wanted to go back. So a month later I did. And then the next month, and the next. I was fortunate enough to sell my home quickly in the historic district of beautiful downtown Macon, Georgia, and on my 32nd birthday, packed it all up and started my journey across the country. My dad, Matilda and I squeezed into the over loaded 2 door civic and drove 3 days to my new home. I had no doubt that this was what I wanted to do. And I could not have pulled this off without the loving support of family and friends. Not to mention the support of the fabulous clients that became friends in my 6 years of being a freelance photographer for Macon and surrounding counties and cities.
Before mom passed away, she told me that if a great opportunity comes up, different than the relationship that I had in my life at that time, don’t pass it up. Grab hold and don’t look back. Embrace change. Embrace life. And don’t ever quit what makes you happy. Time here is too short to wonder “what if”. Even though she isn’t physically here, her words have guided me to where I am now and I know she would be proud.
PS: Patrick is to thank for the title of this blog entry. It’s just one of the many cowboy sayings I’ve learned while out here. This one was a favorite among my girlfriends that sat through the recap of our first adventure in the wild west. It seemed like a fitting title for this entry.
I woke up at sunrise to this beautiful sky. What a gorgeous start to the day.
After admiring the beauty and singing “Morning has broken, like the first morning”, I went to the barn to sit by and watch the heifer (first time mother) that gave birth under this morning sky. It was obvious she didn’t understand what was going on and what she was supposed to do. All she knows is she had a belly ache and then this thing that looks like a dog is laying on the ground. I spent an hour with her and watched as she licked and simulated the baby. At this point, the calf is smarter than mom because he knows what he needs and will not give up trying to get into “the pocket”. He finally did. Phew!
Then I came in for chocolate chip pancakes. More on the heifer and calf later.
“When it’s fifty below, the mercury bottoms out and jiggles there as if laughing at those of us still above ground.”- Gretel Ehrlich, The Solace of Open Spaces.
I stepped out to take a walk with Shadow and see whats happening around this icy wonderland. The cattle have gathered around the house.
They are covered in snow and ice staring at me like I’ve got the solution..or hay or cake… a blanket maybe?
But I continue on, hoping to get a little exercise and a few scenic images. I hear a lot of crunching snow behind me and I turn around and see about 100 cows following us.
They really do think I’ve got an answer for them but I got nothin. I’ve only been out 10 minutes and I’m shivering, getting covered in snow and ice myself. But I’m not wrapped in leather like they are.
Shadow and I only made it to the first cattle guard before we had to turn around.
And there they are, followed me all the way to the cattle guard. They’ve got once heck of a coat on and are very healthy. “You’ll be alright” I assure them.
But this girl seems really mad. Look at the evil eye I’m getting. And I don’t know if it’s because she’s covered in ice and snow or if it’s because her bangs are frozen in the early nineties claw.
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…
We are bracing for a winter storm, not unlike what the northeast is experiencing right now. Well, maybe not that bad but we are expecting below zero temps with the wind chill.
I wish I had a winter woolly coat like these gals.
I know what they are thinking. “Good luck lady, you’re going to be cold!”
While I was walking away they were whispering and I felt them laughing at me.
Well ladies, at least I get to hang out by the wood burning stove.
But really, I would love to huddle up with them when the wind starts to blow.
My favorite walking buddy around the ranch is our border collie, Shadow. He works here on the ranch herding cattle and lots of times he herds us when we take him and the hound dogs for walks. But when it’s just me and him, we walk side by side. And during these cold winter days, it is so hard to entice him out of his insulated dog house and straw bed.
After begging, milk bone bribing and a little tugging on his collar, he eventually joins me on a ramble.
He patiently sits and waits for me to get my photograph of the landscape I’ve framed up or a portrait of the horse I’m visiting with. His big brown eyes stare a hole straight through to my heart.
Then he does a little dance and hams it up for the camera when it’s time to move on to the next scene. Shadow is definitely a loyal friend and fun subject.
The high pitch whinny of the colt that Patrick is weaning has subsided. Deer silently step through the snow looking for grass peeking through the frozen ground. The serenity of winter has set in.
And on my evening walk yesterday down this quiet road,
I came across an abandoned birds nest on the ground.
I wonder if she will recycle it next spring.
Made a quick trip to Georgia last week for Thanksgiving. It was a great visit and I am so thankful for my family and friends and all of you for being loyal viewers of my blog.
One of the best parts about traveling is coming home to this place. This time I saw deer in the rut. This buck was holding his doe in the meadow at the ranch entrance.
And while crossing the Bridge to Paradise, I noticed the Laramie River was iced over.
Once again, a gorgeous sunset welcomed me home.
Then today was just another adventure of chasing elk off the pivot at the South Ranch.
And one of my favorite scenes when leaving the South Ranch is this one on Sybille Creek Road.
Even though it is twenty degrees outside ( if that), I feel right at home. Hello Wyoming, so nice to breathe you in.
We were cooped up in the house all weekend because the influenza got us down. It was a rainy Saturday and a windy Sunday so we weren’t too anxious to get out and about. But we took a walk to enjoy the humidity after the rain and the smell of sweet sage crept into our clogged nasal passages. The wet leaves colored with autumn popped against the cloudy sky.
We fed the hounds and put out hay for the few calves and cows we’ve kept on the main ranch to wean.
I haven’t been out on this path yet to see if the leaves have blown away from Sunday’s 40mph winds. I’m glad I captured these on Saturday because winter is slowly blowing in!
It’s still warm here but that will change in an instant. And this Georgia girl isn’t afraid to admit she’s a little nervous about her first Wyoming winter. That’s why I was grateful when I walked into the shop and Patrick was sharpening the blade on the chainsaw.
Twas 90 degrees outside and the effort seemed futile but better to do it now while we can still feel our fingers and toes. Patrick, the heat stroke you suffered will all be worth it, right? I can’t thank you enough.