We’re in it. Knee deep.
We are in the middle of a winter storm that is almost debilitating.
To feed the cattle this morning, Patrick had to drag the bale to flatten the snow to have somewhat of a lane to roll the bale and spread cake.
The cake still went down into the snow but a good bulk of the cattle worked at it to get a few mouthfuls.
The hay was fluffy enough to sit on top of the snow so I’m sure they are getting enough. And it will give the calf a little something to lay on, off of the snow.
It’s up to my knees in some places and up to my waist or higher in the drifted spots. This one is a doozy, folks. I just really want the snow to stop coming down. We’ve got enough. Uncle! I haven’t seen this much snow since we moved off the ranch in the hills in April of 2013. Maybe more than that. C’mon summer! 🙂
We had a heck of a snow storm roll in last week. But first, I woke up to a solid sheet of ice out here at our place. A friend and I were to travel that morning and the snow wasn’t predicted until later in the day. The ice should have been our clue to stay home but this trip was a must for my friend for a dental appointment. By the time we hit the road heading south at 0:dark thirty that morning, the snow started to fall. But the further south we got, it cleared up. On the way home, heading north, it was a different story. Our vehicle hit black ice and we lost control. We fishtailed, crossed the median and twirled around finally landing in the southbound lane. Fortunately we weren’t hurt and there was only one vehicle on the road. He was able to avoid us because he was, thankfully, paying attention. Later that evening when heading out to do chores, I took a spill on the ice and landed on tailbone, further aggravating an injury that happened years ago. I’ll tellya, it was so good to get chores done, get inside the house, load up the wood stove and go to bed. That day just needed to end. I’m still stiff and sitting on a donut a week later.
I told my Dad about that mess of a day and he said “and after all of that, you still aren’t convinced to move back to Georgia?”
Not a chance, Dad. Not a chance.
We’ve got calves getting ready to drop in less than a month. ♥
Spotted these grazers out of the dining room window. Not sure if that’s a standoff or just a pause while chewing. 🙂
We’ve had a break from the snowfall. If there isn’t snow, there’s wind, which has thankfully warmed us up. But it’s overcast with the wet stuff in the clouds and it’s definitely on the way. We’re getting close to calving season too. With a storm on the horizon, I better get ready!
These gals let me sit and watch them for a bit. She paws at the snow to get a bite then moves to the next spot to do the same. They definitely have to work hard for a meal. Grazing is an all day affair. Glad to see they have a healthy winter coat.
As I reflect on our last storm, just last week, big snow flakes are falling outside my window.
The wind had been howling for days, moving the six inches of snow into drifts and rivers and packed the roads with ice. So of course Patrick said, “let’s take a drive to the hills”. I bundled up, we buckled up and took a drive in the comfort of the truck. No ATV this time for me.
This is what’s called a blizzard. A ground blizzard. It doesn’t have to be actively snowing to be a blizzard. The wind was blowing 25 to 30 mph with gusts up to 60 mph.
As soon as the truck made a track, it drifted back in.
We came out of the hills and had a great view of the blowing snow on and below Squaw Mountain.
Closer to home, the snow was whipping around hay bales.
I find it spooky yet fascinating when the snow blows. It dances in swirls all over the road creating a scene from a scary movie or a disco. It’s dangerous if you aren’t careful navigating through it, but pretty groovy to watch.
We busted through a couple of drifts to get down to the meadow to feed the cows. But that isn’t blowing snow you see surrounding the cattle. The snow and fog you see around them is a result of their hot breath and a wide open run straight for us.
When the wind comes up, it warms us up. It took a couple of days but we warmed right up into the 40’s and most of the snow melted. It finally stopped blowing some time in the early morning this morning and then, the snow started to fall. And so the cycle continues.
Keep toasty, y’all!
We are in full on winter mode. It is serious. We’ve had temperatures and wind chills well below zero. Like 20 and 30 degrees below zero.
It makes the horse frisky. He throws his head up and down while running alongside the truck.
And the cattle have become cowscicles. But just look at those round bellies. They are weathering the storm beautifully. We cake them daily and they get a fresh bale every other day.
At times, we can’t even see the mountains.
The deer are sporting their full winter coats.
At sunset a couple nights ago, when temperatures barely made it to zero during the warmest part of the day, the river looked like a hot spring with steam billowing out of it. Patrick said he’d be glad to watch me take a dip if I’d like to.
How ’bout that Supermoon last month?
It rose over the meadow during a family photoshoot and we were all pretty excited. We grabbed a few family photos with the moon before it got dark on us.
The clouds rolled in but not before I snapped a few in the complete darkness.
I know it’s cliché to say but I don’t care. October is my favorite color. 🙂
Here is a shot toward Laramie Peak at sunset to prove it. The wind has taken a lot of our leaves which means winter is coming. But I will hold on to this feeling for a while. It’s been a couple of really great months out here in the wild west.
I have had a lot of client work lately and haven’t been here blogging as much as I’d like. I’m so thankful for the work and it’s been a great few months. Not to rub it in but I did get to spend the weekend with the Tetons to photograph a wedding on Friday. We were concerned about the fires going on in that dry part of the state but on Thursday, the day we arrived, it rained! It hadn’t rained there in a couple months and we had rain showers throughout the entire weekend. The next morning was clear and we spent time at the ranch while the bride got ready and had a first look with her groom. So romantic! We took a drive, walked across a beaver dam and stood with the Tetons as their backdrop while they said their vows. Everything went off without a hitch and we enjoyed every minute of it. The people we met, dare I say new friends, were a delight.
But the weekend wasn’t over. With a day off in between, I had the good fortune to photograph a newly engaged couple that came out to our gorgeous state from Illinois. He found me on the web, wanted a photographer for engagement portraits in that part of the state and I just so happened to be there that same weekend. We met on Sunday morning and had such a fun session. The clouds capped the mountains for the first hour and after a quick rain, it cleared off and we finished with a great view of the Tetons.
I’m now back at home and feverishly editing and processing. I do have more to share here…it just may be a little while. It’s cooling off and the leaves are starting to change. Yay for autumn! xo
Did that get your attention? Well, it wasn’t snowing the cold and wet stuff. It was snowing cotton.
We took a drive down to the meadows one evening to check the irrigation ditch and the water level of the river. We had already taken the cattle up to summer pasture so all was quiet except the summer wind blowing through the cottonwood trees.
Cotton was on everything. The barbed wire fence, tree limbs and blades of grass were covered. The scenes were out of a fairy tale.
This image is my favorite.
I ran around chasing the sun while trying to outrun the deer flies. We don’t frequent the meadows in summer because the bugs are bad. But wow. I’m so glad I went down there this particular evening.
Needless to say, it was an amazing adventure in the northwest section of Wyoming. Yellowstone and Tetons are both a sight to see.
Pelicans and geese float the lake. A clear sign that the fishing is probably pretty good!
A western meadowlark grabbed up some yummy breakfast!
Moulton Barn on Mormon Row. One of the most photographed scenes in the world. I put my own spin on it with a delicate spiderweb in the foreground. I’m sure I’m not the first but hey, here it is.
Bison in a field of dandelions. We stayed here a moment and looked through our tour guide’s spotting scope. We saw a brand new bison calf getting used to it’s long legs. So cute!
If the mosquitoes weren’t so bad, I could have watched this swan until dark.
This pond is in Jackson not far from the elk refuge.
We took this trip in late May, early June. I will be heading back to Jackson in September to photograph a wedding with the Tetons as the backdrop. I am excited to see how it looks as autumn begins.
We saw a lot of Pronghorn Antelope. Or Speed Goats. Whatever you wanna call ’em.
Lupine grows in the meadows all around the Tetons. It is a flowering plant in the legume family.
In the Tetons, we saw some amazing species of water fowl at Schwabachers Landing. Schwabachers Landing is a boat landing located a few miles south of Snake River Overlook, along the east shore of the Snake River.
We also saw a lot of little baby ground squirrels. They were everywhere and weren’t all that shy.
I wish I knew the official names of the water fowl that we saw but I don’t recall. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable but I didn’t retain the names of them. Dad may have written notes on them so I’ll check with him. If you know, feel free to name them in the comments!
Thanks to a comment from a friend yesterday, I learned that baby bison are called red dogs.
I had never heard that term before and she said she’s only heard that in Yellowstone.
Her comment also reminded me that I hadn’t shared the couple of shots I got of the babies. It looks like it was a good calving season because we saw a lot of the little furry babies on the ground.
I love the little nubs on their heads. They are much cuter than their mothers that’s for sure!
As I’ve already said, we had a wonderful time in Yellowstone and I feel confident in saying that we left it just as we found it.
The only things we brought home were a couple souvenirs, maps, memories, and lots of photographs.
I don’t have the high speed equipment to get a good photograph of a black bear AND stay safe so I kept my distance when we came across this fella. I’m fine with that.
We saw beautiful waterfalls and at this spot, we met a nice gentleman with his camera on a tripod shooting in the opposite direction of this waterfall.
He pointed out a baby osprey atop a pillar of rock in the canyon waiting for it’s mom.
There is a wolf den somewhere up in those hills but we never saw a wolf up close. Obviously.
This Bison crossed the stream nervously, looking back again and again. Not sure what was after her but she seemed quite nervous. She joined the herd after this.
One of our last stops was at the Grand Prismatic Springs…along with the rest of the tourists.
This is the largest hot spring in the United States and the third largest in the world.
It’s colors match the rainbow dispersion of white light by an optical prism: red, orange, yellow, green, and blue.
A great experience was had by the three of us. I’ll admit that I had a little separation anxiety when leaving Yellowstone. We just grew to love it so much and wanted to see more. Fortunately our next stop was Grand Teton National Park. So with butterflies in our bellies, we continued on for the adventures ahead of us!
We stayed in Gardiner Montana, just near the north entrance of the park. Located about 5 miles from the entrance is the Mammoth Hot Springs, our first stop in Yellowstone.
Mammoth Hot Springs is a large complex of hot springs on a hill of travertine, a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs.
“It was created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate (over two tons flow into Mammoth each day in a solution). Because of the huge amount of geothermal vents, travertine flourishes. Although these springs lie outside the caldera boundary, their energy has been attributed to the same magmatic system that fuels other Yellowstone geothermal areas”- Thank you, Wikipedia
It was a cool morning but the steam coming from the springs warmed us right up.
Detail shots of mineral build up.
It’s quite a hike touring these hot springs and fortunately there is a boardwalk to steer us in the right direction.
Just look at those two. ♥
We sat for a bit to take it all in then took to the road to make our way to Old Faithful, one of the most predictable geographical features on earth. It erupts every 35 to 120 minutes. Our plan was to have lunch at the Old Faithful Lodge and sit out and watch this geyser shoot boiling water up to 185 ft in the air .
But it’s so hard not to stop at every turnout to admire the great scenery.
Here, we stopped at Roaring Mountain. Roaring Mountain is full of microscopic organisms wearing away at the mountain amid the sulfur rich gases. It is inhospitable to humans but is the perfect home for heat-loving microbes.
We loaded back into the van and headed south. We came upon a long line of cars about 10 miles or so from the Old Faithful Historic District. We sat for a while and waited. And waited. You expect long lines and a lot of traffic through the park but we felt something bigger was going on. Plus, at the time of year that we were there, the crowds hadn’t made it to the park yet. Surprisingly so far, the crowds were not that big. So we flagged down a driver coming the other direction and in her thick and kind British accent, she told us that a large herd of Bison had parked themselves in the road and weren’t going anywhere, anytime soon. So, we turned around and made a different plan. We found lunch and happened upon some wildlife along the way and finished out the day admiring the gorgeous landscapes. More on that tomorrow. 🙂
It’s still a little damp out there and a light fog hung above the meadows this morning. I sipped my coffee and counted the cattle from the dining room window. I love the contrast of last years grass turned golden and the new, green grass that is coming up. And just look at all those baby calves scattered about. Some grazing like mom, others waiting for their next sip of milk. But one of these is not like the other. There’s the old gray horse grazing with the cows but anxiously awaiting his bucket of afternoon oats. Ahhh spring… 🙂
With the passing of a few hours after this shot, the snow finally stopped and began to melt. The sun came out and it’s shining brightly today. This moisture sure is making the grass green and buds form on the cottonwoods. #9 had her calf just after the storm and when I checked on them this morning, it was running and bucking and loving life. I guess the cold didn’t bother the little booger that much.
Oh, no worries. It’s just another Winter storm happening in Spring. It’s called Sprinter.
Now, if only I can find the cattle.
…we’re back to dry meadows and snow covered hills.
Cow #10 had her calf a couple days after the storm last week so she timed the birth well, thankfully. They say we are in for another storm later today and tomorrow. We’ll see how many calves that brings us tonight.
Happy Tuesday, y’all! 🙂