Happy Hump Day my friends!
We’ve been in Nevada for a few days for the high school graduation of Patrick’s nephew Kaleb. It was a windy yet beautiful drive through Wyoming. Salty, humid and hilly through Utah. Dry desert through Nevada. A 10 hour drive and I loved every minute.
Kaleb graduated 3rd in his class. Such a smart and kind young man. I enjoyed meeting him and his friends.
Our drive home was great until we got back into Wyoming. Storms were brewing all around us.
Sheets of rain were blanketing the meadows and farmlands.
We drove as hard as we could but were not successful at outrunning the storm.
And WAM! Suddenly we were caught in a massive hail storm on highway 34. Have you ever been inside a car when hail is pounding so hard you can’t hear what the person next to you is saying? If you have, you know what I’m talking about. Frightening.
We made it home safely just before it started pouring down at the ranch. We slept so good to the sound of rain I barely remember my head hitting the pillow.
We were invited to a couple of brandings in early May. Yes, you’ll see a lot of Patrick on horseback, you know I can’t resist. But if you were wearing a cowboy hat, you were also focused on closely.
The weather, as I’ve stated before, is so unpredictable out here. I got sunburned at Tom’s on the 5th and we froze our fannies off at the Smalls’ on the 7th. Go figure.
Click the images below to view the gallery of each of these 2 brandings.
To those brave women and men who serve, shed blood, and have died for our freedom, We Salute You.
This evening Patrick called on his way home from the South Ranch wanting me to make his favorite snack, “a shiver” he says. “You mean a smoothie sweetheart”?
So tonight we made Very Berry Patriotic Smoothies.
The weatherman said we were going to be riding out thunderstorms and high wind today. Boy was he wrong. It has been a gorgeous day. I had a lovely morning walk, baked a macaroon pie, and for a little while stood and watched these golden beauties frolic all over the yard. They would fly from tree to fence to grass and then soar over the roof of the house. They even got close enough for a portrait or 3.
Yes folks, this day in May the wind howled and snow fell. Patrick grabbed my camera and took a couple shots of the mountains behind the house.
We worked all day Sunday. The weather was much better yesterday than today. We got 43 mommas and their babies paired up to be trucked to the Laramie Plains today for more grazing.
John’s cow dog, Dixie, did a great job. She perched at the top of the hill until John told her to come. She’s very obedient and works hard.
Dixie and I sat at the top of the hill and watched the cowboys work.
Once in the main corral, we had to make sure the babies were paired up with momma and then put them in separate corrals for the big delivery. They are going to love the Plains. The grass is getting greener by the day.
We needed to get a few more pairs from the meadows. I was told to get behind the fence and DON’T BE SEEN!
-but the cowboy has to do it.
We’ll be taking the cows to the Laramie Plains soon so getting the windmills pumping water is part of the preparation.
Patrick gets belted up and climbs 40 feet to add oil and start the blades rotating.
Dang that’s high. It’s scary up there he says.
And we have water!
The land is so flat and you can see storms miles away. Sheets of rain and dangerous lightning makes me very nervous but it never came near us thankfully.
It’s so wild to see this violent storm in the distance while we sit and watch all nice and dry.
The storm arrived later that night on the ranch. The roads turned into lakes and the night sky was lit up with lightning. But we welcome the rain. We should have some fat cows by the end of the summer.
I made it back home yesterday evening. It was a great week of visiting family and friends. I had several shoots while there, thank you to Mercer and Ginger and Avery! Here are some shots of springtime in Georgia.
Last year, I found some old seed packets of my mothers that dated back to the seventies. Miraculously I lucked out with one sunflower.
Me and a tiny honey bee just loved this flower. He’s burrowed in the seeds of the flower.
This little guy would visit me often. He deserved a good portrait.
It rained a good bit here in Wheatland last week. When I drove into the ranch, the meadows were green and the trees were blooming. I’ll have local updates soon. xo
My how the years go by. This young lady has been a beautiful subject of my lens for 4 years now. We did her portraits in a friends yard and by the neighborhood lake earlier this week. We had great weather and little Avery was a trooper. Tears streamed once and only for a short amount of time. Otherwise we played and smiled.
She wanted to pet the ducks but they weren’t having any of that. We looked for fish in the lake instead.
This was her birth announcement portrait. I still cannot believe it’s been 4 years.
See you next year Avery!
Watching the stages of the cancer take the life right out of her, fighting it with all her might, made us angry. Sad. Tired. We wanted her pain to go away. And when she took her last breath, there was relief on her beautiful face. She didn’t have to fight anymore. She was finally free. It’s been 3 1/2 years since she’s been gone but it feels just like yesterday. I feel her with me everyday, and I’ve found peace while spending time in the hills of southeastern Wyoming.
It’s amazing how life goes on after losing someone so special. Everyday feels like that dream you have when you just can’t run fast enough. You’re moving in slow-motion and you just want to give up. And then someone comes along a year later to perk up your dad and breath new life into him and the family. A kind and loving woman named Debbie. She’s such a blessing.
I hope we all took time on Sunday to reflect on how important our mothers are to us whether they gave us life and whether they entered later in life. We should let them know our appreciation for them more than just on Mother’s Day.
Thank you Debbie.
Thank you Mom- miss you.
Branding. It’s exhausting. Not only for the cows but for the cowboys and girls too. We branded at Uncle Tom’s yesterday and Friday we’ll be at Kenny’s.
I’ll have more images up soon but for now, the only shots I’m concentrating on are the vaccines for the babies to keep them well.
After a restless night of the power going off and on continuously, I awoke this morning after dreaming of the ocean. I heard the sound of waves crashing and the sun was warming my face. But lo I was in my bed, the sun was rising and the wind was whipping at 78 mph. Today, here in the hills of Wheatland, we hear the sounds of the beach. Except there isn’t any salty moisture in the air or any bright colored swimsuits being worn. Shoot, I can’t even keep a hat on.
I have to laugh at my eager attempt at a morning walk. It just can’t be done today.
Guess I’ll play wii sports for my daily workout. Big thanks to my Georgia friends who got me a wii specifically for days like this.
This morning it was time to gather the cattle to move them to a new meadow. I took the lead in the Rhino and Patrick and Shadow, the cow dog, brought up the rear on foot. I had cake in the back so they were more than happy to follow me.
It was a beautiful morning with blue skies, lots of sunshine and very low winds.
We got them across the river and into the meadow and it was time for cake. When Patrick isn’t looking, I’m spoiling them.
OOPS! He spotted me and grabbed the camera.
Their tongues and rougher than kitty tongues. But they are gentle when they eat from my fingers.
The last of the calves are entering the meadow. We’ll check tomorrow for any stragglers that didn’t run with the herd.
Next it was time to repair the fences in this meadow. You can spot the Ranch back there with the green roof.
We fenced for a couple of hours, turned around and could no longer see the Ranch. Only a storm coming our way. We high-tailed it back to the house.
I spotted these tiny flowers along the way. If you know what this is, will you let me know?
We got home covered in snow. It only lasted a few minutes before the sun came back out and continued to be a beautiful day.
Oh my gosh. John and Debbie at the South Ranch have the cutest little Border Collie puppies and a few of them are there for the purchasing. I think a couple are spoken for but there’s plenty to go around. They are sweet and cuddly and if I was a dog person, I’d take them home for myself in a heartbeat. But we have enough animals to feed so the answer is a unanimous “no”!
They will sniff you ’til the cows come home.
I know you want to bring one home. Don’t forget, Mother’s Day is right around the corner and I’m sure she’d love a cuddly wuddly puppy. Leave me a comment with your email if you’re interested.
Raging winds whipped through Wheatland all day yesterday. On my way home from a shoot yesterday evening I watched the clouds change as fast as I turned the corners. I had to stop and capture this one.
When I pulled into our drive, I got out of my cozy car with Bob Dylan blaring “Hurricane” , to place panels over the cattle guard that keeps the cows where they need to be. The wind pushed me right into the panels and into the dirt and manure. I recovered quickly, no biggie, and parked my car in the drive. I gathered my equipment in one arm load and our dinner for the night, a large veggie pizza from Pizza Hut, in the other hand. Patrick was holding the door open with a big smile welcoming me home when a huge gust of wind ripped the pizza right out of my hand and into the dirt and manure. It laid there face down, like me a few minutes prior, while tears started to stream down my face. This was the icing on top of a very long day. I have obviously not adjusted to dealing with the wind, but I’m not discouraged. I’m still learning.
There was a little snow today but it didn’t stick. It’s hard to say when the last snow falls around here, it varies from year to year. Usually it doesn’t fall this late but you never know. It was chilly and windy so I stayed inside and watched movies. At sundown I joined Patrick in the shop to help clean up and take out the trash. It was a nice and mostly uneventful day.
There has been a steady rainfall here since Wednesday. The cows are wet and grumpy.
I’m not so grumpy because when the sun finally comes out, there will be some beautiful green landscapes to photograph.
Patrick has to watch over the irrigation ditches and create dams in the river so we don’t have a flood.
The water is high and the Laramie River is rushing. It is beautiful.
The wind is howling tonight and snow is in the forecast. Looking forward to what Saturday has in store.
Yesterday we branded 68 calves. We did most at the South Ranch and a few of the wilder ones at the main ranch. It’s always tough to watch the babies be split away from their mommas for their shots and the 5C but it’s only for a short amount of time. When they are released back into the meadow, the mommas are able to find the babies quickly. They mother up and get as far away from the corral as possible.
Remember Munchkin? I finally spotted him yesterday and he’s doing great! He’s too small to be branded yet but he’s nice and healthy.
His momma doesn’t let him out of her sight. She’s taking great care of him. Unfortunately that can’t be said for all the cows out here.
On our way home from the South Ranch we saw lightning in the distance. It was a nasty storm over Glendo and it was headed our way.
We got home just in time before the sky fell. And I mean it poured, thundered, and hailed like I’ve never seen before.
While looking over the grounds today to make sure there was no damage from the storm (there was none thankfully), we came across this horn. Deer lose their horns in December and start sprouting new ones almost as soon as they lose the old ones.
I think this is just the beginning of a stormy spring.