I tagged along on a trip to the Laramie Plains to check cattle. Finally, I saw a Sage Grouse.
In the tall grass was a group of hens and their chicks.
They spotted me but continued to graze on sagebrush and insects.
Sagebrush, I learned, is approximately 60% of their total food intake.
Off they went without me getting too close. I hope to see more soon. Apparently the males strut like turkeys during mating season and have two yellowish sacs on the neck, kind of like a pelican, and are inflated during courtship. They make the neatest sounds, people say the sagebrush sings during mating season.
I hope you all on the east coast are safe and recovering from the battering of Irene. We had a fairly uneventful weekend, except we did get rain yesterday. A lot of it. Some areas got a pounding, some got a trickle. Not sure what Squaw Mountain got but she sure could have used it last weekend. She’s a little smokey here and there but the worst of it is over. I hope to get up there to survey the aftermath one of these days.
On my walk through a sunflower patch yesterday evening, I had to watch out for stinging ants on their stems and leaves. And then I saw a ladybug, settling in for the night.
Onward and upward my friends, hope you are having a great start to your week!
I attended the 3rd Annual Wheatland Green Harvest Festival Master Gardens Tour last week. I was so happy to go with my friends Clark and Lynette to discover these hidden gems.
Nancy Munier’s garden was quaint and ever so lovely. She walked us through her minty ground cover, around her pot and container gardens and through a trellis into a small veggie garden.
Next we went to the garden of LeRoy Jons. He has installed a moveable tunnel greenhouse with berries and veggies planted inside. He also has a field of many types of berries and various vegetables. He was kind enough to let us taste the berries. MMM MMM.
Our third stop was the High Tunnel Greenhouse near the fairgrounds Their main objective is to demonstrate the benefits of extending the growing season for vegetable production here in Wyoming. They are having quite the success. The peppers and eggplant are unbelievable.
Taylor Bush is a junior in high school who started his garden 3 years ago. He says it beats having a “real job” so he can have time for school sports. He sells from his home as well as at the Farmers Market every Saturday in downtown Wheatland.
I could have stayed in this oasis all day! Lee and Ellen really do have paradise in their backyard. We loved viewing her overgrown yet lovely greenhouse, fragrant herb garden, and the pond filled with lily pads.
As the sun was going down, we puled into the driveway of Sally Sanchez, owner of the Sybille Canyon Vineyard. I was surprised to learn there is a vineyard in Wheatland. She has approximately 400 plants and is having great success. She says she is selling grapes by the “bucket” to local winemakers.
Click on any of these images to view more images captured from these marvelous gardens. It was very inspiring and who knows, I may try one next year.
Have a great weekend my friends. See you at the market!
I’ve updated the image gallery of the fire. (click the picture above for the gallery) It moved to the other side and threatened the highway but is now mostly contained.
I just got word from the Wyoming State Forestry Division so for those of you that are local and those that are wondering, here is a portion of the letter I just received.
Squaw Mountain Fire at a Glance
Size: 14,460 acres, 80% contained
Structures: 1 seasonal cabin and out building
Date Reported: Sunday, August 21 2011
Locations: 15 miles SW of Wheatland
You can read the full report on my Facebook page.
Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and comments. Photographing this monster and reporting to you has helped me cope with the devastation. We are not in the clear just yet. We still have wind. And we will be on edge for the next couple of months until the wet stuff starts falling from the sky. August and September are the hottest and driest months out here so we will be on our toes especially when there is a lightning storm. The binoculars are still sitting by the window.
Tomorrow I hope to return the blog to its regular scheduled programming. 🙂
Love to you all,
Plans have changed…..there is a fire.
I wanted to bring you images and commentary on the Master Garden Tour that took place early last week but as we all know, life happens. Yesterday, Patrick spotted smoke on Squaw Mountain and made a frantic call to the fire chief. He geared up and headed over. It was contained after about an hour, then suddenly a tree went up in flames and fell to the ground. With the August dry conditions out here, there was no time to prevent it from spreading. As of noon yesterday, Squaw Mountain is burning from a lightning strike the night before. We have an amazing volunteer fire department and trucks from all around have come to help. Today, the big guns have arrived and it is still a continuous battle. It has spread throughout the mountain and has destroyed cabins, pastures, and a lot of timber. No one lives in the cabins and no one has been hurt. Except out hearts ache when we look at this beautiful land screaming with smoke and red flames. I’ve started a website of images with descriptions and times. Click the image above to view them and I will continue to update this image site daily, God willing. You will notice the quick progression of this thing as I have put times in most of the captions. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.
PS: We are not in the path of this thing nor are any residences, as far as I know.
Found a heart shaped rock while admiring this sunset during an evening hike.
Not sure what funny shape my hand is making in this shot. A dolphin? Some weird square headed deep blue sea kind of creature? I don’t know. Just goes to show you that hands are the hardest things to position for a photograph.
I love the color mixture and the reflection of the sky in the stream. The yellows and green, pinks and purples.
Ahhhh it all makes for a peaceful sunset.
Happy Friday everyone! I’ll have one more sunset image for you tomorrow and then next week, I can’t wait to show you images from a local garden tour I ventured on this week. It was a Master Garden Tour and you wouldn’t believe the hidden treasures I’ve stumbled upon in this small town. I’m not talking just a bunch of pretty flowers. I’m talking herbs, veggies, fruit, and even a vineyard! Who’d a thunk a vineyard would be right here, just around the corner.
And a few minutes later, it changed to this. Intense, eh? Like I said, a Wyoming sunset changes minute by minute. The colors are enough to take your breath away aren’t they? Just be sure not to suck in a bug when you gasp at the beauty like I did while sitting on top of this hill.
This image was captured a couple of weeks ago. After a nasty storm, Patrick noticed the sun shining through the clouds and suggested we go for a ride. We trekked up to the highest point overlooking the ranch to sit and enjoy the changing light from left to right. Then suddenly, over the Cooney Hills, a rainbow appeared through the pink and blue clouds. The ugly storm turned into a beautiful painted sky.
Happy Friday everyone!
Well, County Fair week is over and we topped it off Saturday with a parade, a yummy Birthday cake, roping competitions, livestock from the 4H club, and even stick horse racing.
Golf carts, fire trucks, folks on horseback, all were throwing candy to the kids (and some of the adults joined in to the candy grabbing as well).
These guys were great on the drums. Er, um, they used trash cans, tin cans and buckets actually. Very talented.
Then we went to the Laramie Peak Museum for birthday cake. Platte County, my home now for a year and a half, turns 100 years old this year. The parade bussed in Platte County citizens that were 90 and older and we joined them for birthday cake and lemonade after the parade. This young lady pictured above turns 100 in February.
After lunch we went to the fairgrounds for roping competitions.
The 4H students raise livestock all year to compete for the biggest and the best. Then there is an auction at the end of the week to sell their animals to the highest bidder. They raised milk cows, goats, roosters, hogs, and steers.
I love the goats!
The stick horse racing was the cutest!
To see all of the images taken this past weekend, please go to the photo gallery on my website here http://www.leahyetter.com/110806plattecountyfair2011/index.htm . Hope you enjoy them!
Happy Birthday Platte County! Thank you for welcoming me into your fair town.
Welcome to fire season.
Whenever lightning strikes, I like to say that God is taking our picture. Well, the heavens became the paparazzi Saturday night on our way home from town. The sky was lit up all around us and it was frightening. We met up with the Sheriff and a couple volunteer firefighters on the road and they told us a fire had been spotted in the hills. We drove all around and couldn’t ever find one. Yesterday morning we got a call that a tree had been struck and there was a small grass fire. And it was in one of our meadows. Yikes! Patrick dressed in his gear and went out and helped put it out. It wasn’t very big and was easily controlled. A little later, we got another call about smoke spotted in the hills. We took a drive looking and sniffing for smoke but never spotted anything.
The thing about these storms is that they happen in the sky. The rain doesn’t reach the ground, it dries up before reaching us. But the lightning hits the ground creating the fire danger.
We have a little more than a month of the hot and dry temps. So here’s hoping for some cool and wet storms.
I’m in town today working at the gallery and I’ve got the doors open to let the cool Wyoming breeze through. Diesel trucks are growling and honking as they pass by on their way to the Platte County Fair. There is a lot going on in town this weekend and I hope we have some gallery visitors.
Have a great weekend folks!
Definition for Conga Line: snake dance; a group progression in a single-file serpentine path.
Do not worry, this is not a gruesome tale.(as the title may make it sound)
Yesterday I showed you where the deer and the antelope play. Today I will show you baby turkeys! While I was focused on the deer, I heard quiet clucking. I looked in the patch of tall grass ahead of me and saw several hens.
Occasionally I would see little heads peek up and run to momma. The grass was too tall to get a good view of them but I patiently waited to see where they were going to step to next.
Then one came out in a small clearing.
I looked out onto the road and saw another hen with her 2 babies.
I looked back to the clearing in the tall grass and saw a couple more little ones. This time showing off for the camera and they were starting to file into a single line. They haven’t quite grown into their feathers have they!
This is probably my favorite shot of the baby turkeys by far. I love the conga line across the road. “Look at me Mom!”
I counted 7 baby turkeys in all. Lately, I’ve only spotted them in smaller groups so I was happy to see this many at one time.
In the freshly cut meadow, the wildlife can’t hide as well.
While driving into the ranch a couple evenings ago I came upon deer, antelope, and turkeys all grazing in the meadow together.
It was a beautiful sight and I noticed a lot of them hanging out near the sprinkler probably to keep cool. We’re watering it for the second cutting for horse hay.
Does and bucks were all together with antelope grazing without a care in the world.
But the mommas were on the lookout and very cautious. They stayed close to the brush for a quick hop to their hiding place if need be.
I braved the heat and went for a short hike this weekend to hunt for turkey feathers.
Instead I found and abundance of dragonflies.
They are everywhere! We have blue dragonflies.
And red dragonflies.
He’s getting ready to take off in this shot, notice the busy wings. The red ones seem to be the most skittish of all the dragonflies. I tried to shoot them last summer but could never get one to sit still.
But this summer there seems to be a lot more red ones than in the past and they followed me all around the meadows.
And last but not least, the very patient and ham for the camera, the golden dragonfly.