Uprooted Magnolia

Sunlit Hills

Posted in Nature, Photography, Stormy Skies by leahyetter on April 15, 2011

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!

The Cycle of Snowfall

Posted in Nature, Photography, Stormy Skies, Wind, Winter by leahyetter on January 28, 2011

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.

Ice Jam

Posted in Photography, Stormy Skies by leahyetter on January 19, 2011

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.

Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

Posted in Photography, Stormy Skies by leahyetter on January 18, 2011

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.

Rare Winter Stillness

Posted in Photography, Stormy Skies, The Ranch, Winter by leahyetter on January 5, 2011

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,

Winter Huddle

Posted in cuddly, Photography, Stormy Skies, Winter by leahyetter on December 29, 2010

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.

Got My Mittens

Posted in Stormy Skies, The Ranch by leahyetter on November 9, 2010

We watched the sun rise this morning. The sky started with a yellow glow then turned to pink then purple. It eventually went gray and started raining. An hour later large snowflakes were falling.

Snow showered us all day and it is beautiful.

I drove the rhino over to the neighbors to help them out with some household tasks. One of those tasks was to feed Lucky with a syringe. This teeny feline was separated from his momma and almost froze to death. C & L rescued him and he can’t be more than 3 weeks old. He fits in the palm of my hand.

More on Lucky in another post. Just couldn’t wait for you to meet him.

First Flurries

Posted in Stormy Skies by leahyetter on October 26, 2010

The wind was wild yesterday. We could see snow in the clouds in the morning when we drove into town and I wondered if it would fall.

Sure enough, later in the evening Patrick walked in covered in snow with an armload of firewood.

Of course the flurries didn’t stick. Today the wind is still blowing strong and I see blue sky peeking through the clouds.


Fire on the Horizon

Posted in Nature, Stormy Skies by leahyetter on October 22, 2010

The unpredictable weather on the Laramie Plains can make for scary situations and beautiful photo-ops. In our truck before leaving the ranch for the Plains, I like to make sure we have a winter coat, rain coat, mud boots, snow boots, scarves, spare tires, water, granola bars and of course camera. You  just never know what you’re going to get.

On this autumn evening, there was huge ball of fire on the horizon.

The sun was setting in a purple sky amid sheets of rain and lightning several miles away.

Mother Nature is a wild and fierce woman. Fortunately she kept us dry on this run.

The Inconvenience of Much Needed Rainfall

Posted in Ranching, Stormy Skies by leahyetter on October 12, 2010

It hadn’t really rained here in Wheatland in 52 days(who’s counting?). But on the first scheduled day to gather cattle off the Laramie Plains for shipping, it poured. And I don’t mean a few raindrops here and there this past Sunday,  huge drops were coming down and blowing sideways.

Even still, we left the ranch at 5am with horses in tow and made the trek to the Plains in total darkness. But alas, mud puddles were forming and our tires were spinning on the dirt roads. There was no way the semi trucks were getting in there.

So we went into town, had breakfast and were home by 8am.

I took a nap and watched the rain come and go all day long. During the breaks, I did what I do best in times of ranching frustration. I went out to document this phenomenon.

Monday was a bright and sunny day on the ranch so they gathered cattle at the home place with hopes it would dry out on the Laramie Plains. Today, Tuesday, the cowboys left at 5am but once again because of overnight rainfall, the roads were too hazardous for the trucks. Needless to say, we’ve got some frustrated cowboys and I’ve decided to stay out of it and write to you guys. I’ll let you know if we ever get our cattle out of there.


Saturday Evening Rainbows

Posted in Home, Stormy Skies by leahyetter on July 10, 2010

I raced inside before the storm clobbered the house. Patrick was driving a tractor over from the South Ranch and made it in a little over an hour. It was still sprinkling so I went out to meet him at the shop and drive him home when I gasped, probably swallowed a bug or something.  But there it was, a beautiful and vibrant rainbow. Then I realized it was a double rainbow. The further I drove, I could see it from one end to the other.

I sped past him and the shop yelling,” look at the rainbows! I’ll be right back!”

I didn’t go looking for a pot of gold or anything. It was a treasure in itself to sit and watch the clouds move out and the rainbow fade away. This was my kind of Saturday evening.

The Five Points Ranch

Posted in Nature, Stormy Skies, Travel, Wildlife by leahyetter on July 8, 2010

We  took a quick drive to Nebraska for a barbecue on July 4th.  We weren’t there long but we had enough time to fish and hunt elk. By fish I mean with a fly-rod. Patrick taught me how to fly-fish. I caught a few too! And by hunt elk of course I mean with my camera. I have never been this close to elk unless it’s hanging on someone’s wall. Out in the hills around the ranch where we live, I will see them way off in the distance and usually it’s just their rear-end getting the heck away from us. But on this trip, we located them at sunset and sunrise.  They posed for us and it was incredible.

Click this image for some close-ups of elk in the velvet.

Elk silhouette at sunrise

Click this image to see the area and insects that hopped and fluttered around us while we fished in the ponds that were FULL of bass. We spent time with Patrick’s Uncle Rich and his lovely gal and her two kids. Storms would creep up on us and quickly move along which created great conditions for the fish to bite.

the beautiful calm before the storm

Needless to say we had a great time.  Thanks Uncle Rich!

The Laramie Rages

Posted in Home, Stormy Skies by leahyetter on June 14, 2010

Wyoming has had a large amount of rain and spring runoff this year so far. That said, the rivers are so full that the water management has released water from the reservoir in the small town of Bosler. Yesterday they released 900 cubic ft and today they plan on releasing another 2,000.

We went out in our mud boots to check on things yesterday evening. These are views from the bridge leading into the ranch.

The water is only about a foot or 2 from reaching the bridge. We’ll check this evening but we’re nervous about losing it. There is already one road closed because of flooding.

This is the river behind the house where we cross the cows to graze more meadows.

Usually this river is a peaceful little stream lazily flowing over the rocks and around the bends. Now we have crashing waves and buried willows and trees.

This is pretty common back east but out here, we’re used to a dry climate.  Fortunately, it’s nothing like the flash floods that are going through in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.

Fast Times at Spring Creek High

Posted in Family, Stormy Skies, Travel by leahyetter on June 8, 2010

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.

Windmills in Wyoming

Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah

Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah

Train crossing the Flats

Kaleb graduated 3rd in his class. Such a smart and kind young man. I enjoyed meeting him and his friends.

Yay Kaleb!

Congratulations Kaleb and the 2010 Spring Creek High School Graduates!

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.

May 24th, Snow in the High Country

Posted in Cattle Roundup, Stormy Skies by leahyetter on May 24, 2010

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.

Squaw Mountain. Image by Patrick McGuire.

The Lawrence. Image by Patrick McGuire.


Gathering Pairs

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, down.

Dixie and I sat at the top of the hill and watched the cowboys work.

They're all down the hill thankfully.

They all crossed the creek by golly!

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.

Cowboy Cutting

We needed to get a few more pairs from the meadows. I was told to get behind the fence and DON’T BE SEEN!

Watching through the knot hole. I'm hiding, Patrick!

Through the knot hole: Ron and Patrick work their magic.

It’s a dangerous job-

Posted in Cowboy, Stormy Skies by leahyetter on May 20, 2010

-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.

Branding Day, the storm before the storm.

Posted in Branding, Calving, Cattle Roundup, Ranching, Stormy Skies, The Ranch by leahyetter on April 21, 2010

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.

Here, mommas are bawling for their baby.

Smoke fills the air while they get their 5C.

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.

Munchkin, aka # 6000

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.

Munchkin and momma.

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.

This is our front deck covered in hail.

The yard this morning was covered in hail.

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.

Deer Antler

April snow capped mountains across a green meadow on Rabbit Creek.

The calm after the storm.

I think this is just the beginning of a stormy spring.