I guess that if you need rain in your part of the world, invite me over. It seems almost everywhere I have traveled to for this project, I have been challenged by the weather. Fortunately there have been small windows of perfect light for my shots and the wild skies have provided some pretty intense scenes while I drive the winding roads of Wyoming.
It’s been a whole week since I last spoke with you all. My excuse is that I came down with a major head cold that stopped me in my tracks. My ears are still echoing but I’m through the worst of it I hope. It happened when we went from warm sunny days to immediate overcast and rain showers. And this day of weaning our calves on the mountain probably didn’t help much.
I was in the pickup so I didn’t get too wet during the gather. But with assistance from some cowboys and cake (mineral snacks for the cows), we had a successful gather.
It was just a cool mist during the first hour of the gather but as soon as we got to the corrals, it was really raining.
The cowboys separated the cow mommas from the grown calves.
Mommas peered through the fence while I guarded the gate.
Calves called out for momma….
…and momma called out for baby.
This is my least favorite part of ranch life but it’s part of it. The calves are physically ready to leave momma but not emotionally. They never are. Neither am I.
As we left with the trailer load of calves, the rain was really coming down. Then it rained for the entire week. This was two weeks ago and we weren’t able to bring the cow mommas off the mountain until this past weekend. The roads were muddy and washed out and the trailer wouldn’t have made it.
As of this weekend, we are all home and are gearing up for winter. The cows are successfully bred and they’ll have their new babies in the spring. Looking forward to our first winter on our new ranch.
Two storms came through yesterday afternoon and dumped a bunch of the wet stuff on the thirsty ground. The sagebrush is very fragrant after showers like this, it’s so soothing. Reminds me of just one of the reasons I fell in love with Wyoming.
Tis the season where Wyoming cannot decide what she wants to do. Yesterday she rained with a little snow mixed in. She blew, she stood still, she grew warm and then she howled for most of the night.
Now the weatherman says she will dump about 10 inches of snow on us tonight through tomorrow. But I’ll believe it when I see it. All winter we’ve been teased by the weatherman that we would get some great moisture from storms and all she does is sprinkle on us… and sometimes not even that. At least my camera and I get to capture the confusion in her skies and bring them right to you.
The title may sound like names of pets but really I’m describing the month of March in Wyoming.
This might be the most unpredictable month for weather in Wyoming.
Wednesday was the first official day of spring and we started out with a sparkly layer of frost on the deck.
The sky dramatically changed midday and stayed deep blue until sunset.
We never got any moisture from all of those storm clouds. So very disappointing.
But the river is always a beautiful view any time of the year. Drought or no drought.
February has entered with a bang!
I won’t bore you with the details of the numerous lemons life has served us that we are struggling to make lemonade with, but I will show you the progression of stormy skies that welcomed this second month of 2013. It was a wild party in the sky most of the day with only gray and overcast during the morning . The real show began after noon.
On my way to care for a neighbors farmily, I noticed the gray skies hovering over the Cooney Hills and blue skies with snow over Squaw (not pictured).
Back at home the sky went from gray to blueish purple with high winds and wet snow squalls for a couple of hours.
We went to town to take care of some ranch business and looked back toward the hills. That’s Squaw Mountain back covered with snow from the afternoon squalls. That cloud separation in the middle is pretty wild eh?
Coming back home, the sun was starting to set behind the hills.
The space there between the hilltops and the upper clouds is dead air, calm and cool. Wind is sweeping off the hills and whipping into the lower clouds just above the road.
Once back home, the sun went down behind the mountains. The clouds cleared out overnight and Saturday was cool and clear.
Phew! What a way to start off the month.
We’ve had short squalls of rain and snow come through over the past couple of days and it has been chilly! Several came through this weekend but there hasn’t been any accumulation of the wet stuff. I like watching them pass over and swallow the mountains like in the image above. Then, after a moment, the sky would turn blue and the sun would shine as if nothing happened. A few minutes later, it would start all over again.
We’ve been enjoying wet weather for the past 36 hours or so. A soft rain started falling two evenings ago and a thick fog hung over us all day yesterday and still lingers this morning. We welcome the cool air and I bet the ground is enjoying a drink.
I photographed this quiet scene a day after the cowboys worked cattle from sun up to sun down. I wasn’t there but I heard about it. And that’s all I have to say about that.
Hope your Thursday is cool and tranquil. Friday is almost here folks. 🙂
Who needs to see the northern lights when you can have a Wyoming sunset.
After every thunder and lightning storm (with very little rain mind you) we drive to the ranch entryway and glass the hills looking for smoke. We can’t even enjoy a light rainfall without being nervous about a fire.
But it’s always a great opportunity to capture a colorful sky.
A pink rainbow appeared twice last week, this one came last Thursday .
I was going to post this last Friday with the title “Who needs Aurora when you’ve got Wyoming?” (or something to that effect, titles are always the hardest). But when I woke up to the news of the senseless events in Aurora Colorado, I along with everyone else in the nation, sat stunned and disgusted. My title was then obviously inappropriate. In fact I couldn’t bring myself to write anything. To take the words from my friend Seasweetie, “there really are no words.”
A week later still, I’m speechless.
For the victims, deceased and living, their families and their heroes, I send you all pink rainbows and pray you will find peace and resolution in the days and years to come.
With Sincerest Love,
After Patrick spent 6 days and nights on the Arapaho fire, he came home the evening of the 4th and said that the southeast side of the fire (our immediate threat) was out. The next day we went to the Laramie Plains to check the cattle and repair a gate that the elk tore down. On our way home we saw black skies, and it wasn’t from smoke. The closer we got we could see sheets of rain falling on and around the fire. There was flash flooding and a lot of the crew still out there took cover and waited it out. And now, because the last few days have been cool and wet, the fire is 70% contained. But not before it grew to over 98,000 acres. Dryer and warmer temps are on the way but the crews will continue direct attacks on the hottest spots.
No one lost their lives and only minor injuries were reported. My heart goes out to those who lost their homes, their pasture, and their livestock. But we are so thankful that relief from above has arrived and we hope it only gets even better from here.
Thank you for all of your kind comments and prayers. We appreciate each and every one of you.
I was driving home from town after picking up some groceries and had my eye on the sky. It was dark and spooky and I just figured it was from the mountain fire burning near Laramie Peak. I thought maybe we’d get a sprinkle or two and that was it. Patrick left town after me and was about 6 or 7 miles behind. As I went through the entryway of the ranch, Patrick called and asked where I was. I told him “at the entryway” and he said go to the main house and take cover in the basement, there is a tornado on the Mule Shoe Ranch Flats. I looked to my right and saw this:
He said he was turning around to go back to that ranch and take cover in their barn. I kept driving, pushing my little Honda hard on the rocky road. Scared, breathless and full of anxiety, I stopped for another shot.
The wind started to blow harder and I could hear the roar of this funnel in the distance. Even though this was a couple miles away, the sound of it was clear and was kind of like a constant thunder roll.
I stopped for another shot and then pushed the pedal to the floor and ran inside our house to get my kitty cat.
I put Matilda in her carrier and went to the main house and watched to see if it was getting close to us. It didn’t make it to the ranch. This was the first time when shooting an event that I’m glad I didn’t get a close up.
Once I knew we were safe, I took Matilda back home and watched the storm move all around us.
It was a spooky hour in the afternoon, we are all okay and I’m so glad no one was killed. There was some structural damage closer to town and one injury but not a serious one. I heard this morning that a cow as killed. It could have been worse and I’m thankful that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
We had these storms in Georgia but I was fortunate enough to always sleep through them. I’ve never been this close to actually see the funnel. And out here, as a friend of mine pointed out, you can see a storm miles away and have time to take cover. Some towns aren’t so lucky.
If you were in or around Wheatland yesterday and want to share your tornado experience, please do so in the comments. Or any of you out there, if you have a storm story, share it. I’d love to hear from you all.
Godspeed Wheatland. Thinking of you who were closely affected.
So, I’ve talked about windy Wyoming before but yesterday was for the record books.
We drove around the southeast on ranch business with the pedal to the floor at 100mph but ground speed was only about 60. On highway 30, dirt was being blown 20 to 30 ft in the air. Patrick and I had to yell just to hear one another because the road noise was so loud. The truck doors and windows rattled and I swear the windshield cracked a little more.
Once we were on the interstate heading home, we saw a wall of weather straight ahead and we weren’t sure what was in there. Snow or rain?
As we got closer, my palms got sweaty.
At least to my right, I saw blue sky. How bad could it be? (Excuse the dirty window. If I rolled it down to shoot, I would have been sucked out and blown across the prairie. And I wasn’t up for that risk.)
The digital highway signs we telling us that winds were 65+mph. I just knew we were going into a hurricane.
Turns out, we were experiencing a Chinook wind. But it was kind of a letdown, or a relief depending on how you look at it. Once we got into that weather wall of rain, sleet, and snow, the wind died down and it got eerily quiet. Not much really happened.
-After doing my research, I’ve learned that a Chinook wind is a Foehn wind. A rain shadow wind that has dropped it’s moisture and these turbulent winds have created warmer temperatures.
Thank you Wikipedia.
We got to the ranch where the wind had finally let up and it was peaceful until about midnight. All night and today the winds are back to howling and beating up the grass and trees. Any remaining snow has melted away.
In the high country of Colorado, there were wind speeds up to 102 mph. Can you believe that? We aren’t the only ones experiencing the high winds and we are thankful that the temperature remains in the 50’s. That’s good for the livestock.
We’re not sure what to expect for New Years Eve but snow is in the forecast. We’ve had several invites for various activities but we just might sit this one inside by the fire watching it on TV. Needless to say, we’re not too anxious to get back on the road after the slick pavement over Christmas and the wild winds of yesterday.
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.
We took a drive through the hills around us to check on our cattle, the neighbors cattle and fences and got caught in another rainstorm. I shot this just before we got soaked to the bone and I sang “Purple Rain” all the way home. With the red glow of the setting sun against the blue sky and rain clouds above , it looked like sheets of purple rain.
We had a great afternoon at the Gilchrist Gallery reception yesterday. I met some wonderful hometown folks I hadn’t met yet here in Wheatland and I’ve set up a Facebook page with my few shots there. I visited with gallery members and guests and was too distracted to take too many pictures. It was a fun afternoon!
We are looking forward to a great rest of the summer for the gallery with fairs and festivals that are coming up. And I heard a little rumor that the Farmers Market is picking back up in Pocket Park tomorrow and every Saturday through September. Downtown should be full of folks browsing and shopping and enjoying the beautiful weather we are having. Minus the purple rainstorms.
Have a great weekend and see you soon!
I think it was Friday night, I laid in bed watching a lightening storm about 30 miles away from us. It was a such a performance, I had to put on some Led Zepplin.
Seems like every evening lately a storm has passed through or over us here in the hills. Yesterday evening was no different. Storms were to the west and wind was blowing in from the north. It never hit us but the sun shining through the layer of clouds over the meadow was breathtaking.
In these wide open spaces, you can see a storm forming several miles away.
With these thick clouds, you’d think a funnel would form at any minute.
Fortunately on this day, we only saw sheets of rain in the distance.
The girls have already accepted the fact that they will get soaked.
Some areas get pounded by rain and hail and then it’s dry as can be elsewhere, and sometimes that all happens in the same meadow.
And almost always, as soon as the storm passes, the sun comes out and graces us with a beautiful rainbow.
I want to thank you for your kind words in the comments about Shadow. I’m starting to snap out of the blues while keeping busy with photo shoots and print orders.
Quite fittingly for my mood however, storms crept up on us several times last week and during the weekend. While out spraying weeds and looking over one of the pastures, a storm came upon us so fast we barely had time to react. We raced back to the house as fast as the mule (ATV) would go while being pelted with hail and cold, hard rain. We were soaked and shivering and only made it as far as the shop.
I shot these purple clouds right before we took off thinking it was farther away than it really was.
The weatherman says it will be sunny the rest of the week. I sure hope so, we need it.
The pain rolled in like the storm clouds of Wyoming creating a thick haze in her day. My dear friend, I wish I could hold you. Tell you it will be okay. We could throw your sorrow into the ocean and pray he keeps still. Silent. I've known you for so long, longer than him. I know you gave him your love and kindness, your diamond heart. But he can't take your grace, your sparkle. I laid in bed the morning after I heard, hating that he chose to never share another sunrise to sunset. He doesn't realize what he's done. It will never be the same but your heart shall have no fear. You have family to hold you. And the threads of gold between us will never break. I wish him peace. Love & Light to you my friend. For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. (II Timothy 1:7)
Yesterday, it rained.
This newborn arrived during the downpour. She’s healthy and her momma kept her warm all day and night. I hear she’s doing good today so she got her earring to match her mom’s.
The roads were muddy and a heavy fog hung over the snow capped mountains.
The corrals were slushy so we decided not to move any cattle as previously planned.
The perk of the day came when Crop Ear made a visit. We haven’t seen her in a while and I was worried she fell prey to a coyote or lion. I was glad to see her munching on some green grass in the meadows by the house.
Today the wind is howling and we’ll be dried out in time for snow to fall tonight.
After a fog and snow filled day yesterday, the sun came out late evening to melt it all away
The Cooney Hills were in the spotlight for a little while before clouds moved in again and it quickly grew dark.
One thing that I am enjoying about these little spurts of snow is when it all melts away, the grass is beaming with delight. And today it’s is shining bright and the air is still. I’ll be outside if you need me. Have a great weekend my friends!