Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thoughts on 2016 and the arrival of Winter

I just spent over a week in the Denver area.  I took a friend down to the Anschutz Medical center for some medical testing which lasted for a week.

The complex is huge but well planned and we found where we needed to go quite easily.
Here is an aerial photo of the complex I found on the internet.  We were in the building on the far left on the 7th floor.

For the first time ever I tried Airbnb and was well pleased with the experience.  Much cheaper than a hotel/motel for sure.  I had to switch mid-way in the week because of the Thanksgiving holiday.  It was a nice switch as I went from a shared bathroom with the hosts to a private bath!  Both places were clean and pleasant and I will definitely use Airbnb again!

I also discovered (much to my surprise) that I can drive in this.........

Who would have ever thought a country girl who thinks it's a busy highway if she meets 3 cars in 10 miles could navigate in this kind of traffic?  I actually found the freeway almost easier than Colfax Avenue (where the medical complex is located).  Trying to read street signs to navigate a left turn is difficult so I'd slow down and then they would honk.  FYI - that was slowing down to 30 mph!!!
But I got better, started knowing my turns so they quit honking.

One of the Airbnb places was located near this corner.  Dayton and Colfax and it sure looks a lot easier in 1921 than now!!!  I think the building that says Drugs/Soda on it is the Mexican restaurant that is there now.

I had the occasion to go out and shop several times.  Once to Hobby Lobby down past Alameda and discovered it looked just the same and was the same size as the one I shop at in Central Wyoming.  Well it made finding the knitting stuff easy.  I did some boot cuffs and a set of SOCKS!! (first time and one of my knitting goals) plus started a scarf to pass the time.

Then a Dollar General store that was absolutely the dirtiest, messiest store I've ever been in.  Empty shelves with aisles lined with cardboard boxes waiting to be restocked to the shelves.  I felt like I was shopping in some third world country.  
Add about a dozen large cardboard boxes sitting in front of these shelves and you pretty much get the idea. A homeless person begging in front of the exit door was the coup de'etat. The Kmart I later went to wasn't much better but it was a little cleaner. Notably most of the shoppers at the last 2 stores were hispanic.   
Cold and some snow has now arrived at North of Nowhere.  Our lovely warm extended fall is a thing of the past.  I'm just glad I did not have to drive home from Denver in a raging blizzard.  Although we did hit some snow around the midway point.

I have become quite creative at using ground beef recipes.  Why?  Because Hubby had missed a testicle on the butcher steer when he banded him.  Then when I went to take him to the butcher's I found out he had gone out of business although the phone was still working.  So by that time it was end of the season with the butcher shops only taking wild game.  By the time I found a new butcher place, this thing was 20 months old and a bull.   So I hamburgered all of him (and a few roasts which you HAVE to crockpot or you will be chewing that roast into the next month!).  But boy is that hamburger good!  Grass fat, antibiotic free beef is the BEST.  

Compared with grain fed beef from a feedlot (which is almost all of your grocery store beef) meat from a grass fed animal has health benefits.  There is less total fat, saturated fat, calories and cholestrol in the meat.  It also has more beta-carotene, vitamins E and C, more omega 3 fatty acies and conjugated linoleic acid.

Course there is a certain downfall to having known your meal while it was living but this guy was a relief to drop off at the butcher's.  He was becoming an agressive butt head!  Did not mind saying good-bye to him at all.

I finally found a solid broke driving mare and picked her up late September.   She is Amish broke and a registered Morgan of course.   I got her from a friend in North Dakota, and she had gotten her through a Morgan rescue.  We had just gotten a harness fitted to her from parts of 3 harnesses we own but hadn't driven her yet when I decided I needed to get ready for winter and started on some yard/mtn property work.   I do have a cute sled so hopefully we can get to driving her in the next few weeks.  Her name is Brandy and she is a real sweetheart.
JBS Brandywine with the trainer, Jenna, before we picked her up.  We will probably not ride her a lot but they said she was good with kids so maybe the grandkids will ride her some.  I am hoping to just drive her!

Off to do some sewing for gifts!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Special Cowboy Visits

When we shipped our calves (we don't have many) #2 Son came out to help and brought along our #1 Grandson.  It was so fun to have them.   You could tell Grandson was excited to be included and he had a brand new cowboy hat.
Getting Saddled up.

#2 Son and Grandson

Enough with the Pictures Nana!!!

The 3 of them with Bob the dog.

Grandpa and Grandson talking over things.

Fizzy is a pretty big horse for a cowboy!

He was the fifth generation of our family to ride on our little place!  I had the photo of him and Grandpa printed on metal and it turned out really nice.  I had it done at AdoramaPix.  I recommend them.

This is his daddy at the same age.  I really wish I could resurrect that old Appaloosa horse. He was the best kids horse we've ever had.  A real babysitter.  They were dressed up for a local parade.

A running joke between Grandpa and Granson is Grandpa will say 'Your Uncle is a two-bit cowboy.' and Grandson always responds, 'No YOU are!!!'  He never ever says his uncle is a two bit cowboy  HA HA.

Grandson said his butt was getting a little sore after a couple of hours but he rode to the end!  And after they were done the calves loaded they all came in and Nana fed them all ribs and potato salad.

It was a fun fun day and one we will remember for a long time.  And I hope Grandson does also.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Time Lapse of Fall

Here's the series of photos I took of one tree on the mountain this fall.
September 18th - just a hint of color at the top and one branch midway.  Other trees were showing more color on this date; but this one has just started.

September 21st - the color is starting to 'pop' now and you can see it progressing on the trees behind it also.

September 25th - the whole tree is colored now, only a slight hint of green shows.  Almost at it's peak color.

First of October and it has hit the peak of it's color.   How beautiful.

By the 10th of October, most of the leaves have blown off.

And it's threatening to snow.

Which it did.   In fact it started snowing so heavy we thought it best to go down the mountain!

By the 29th of October not a leaf remains.  The tree is dormant awaiting winter.

So from the time the color started it was a mere week and a half to the peak and only another 10 days till the tree was mostly bare.   Short time indeed even in good weather conditions.  No wonder I've always thought Fall was a quick season in Wyoming.

I had my niece with me the day it snowed and before it started snowing heavy we took an excursion down Strube Loop since it was apparent the weather was not going to cooperate with us for our painting plans.

It's at a slightly lower elevation and on the other side of the mountain.  Strube Loop still had some color and it was nice drive of about 2 miles around the Loop.   We enjoyed it.

I took a ton of pictures of the Aspen this year.  Both of these are from the Peak of the color.  Quaking Aspen are interesting trees that spread from their roots.   You are actually looking at ONE tree in each photo.   A healthy Aspen grove cannot be looked through as there are many new shoots coming up.  I think our activity has supressed that in our Aspens so they are not reproducing as they should.           

Next up - a special day  for  Grandpa and our grandson on the ranch.

Happy Fall Y'ALL

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

It's Fall Y'all in Wyoming

The warm weather in Wyoming continues, with highs in the 70's or 60's.   That is unusual for us.  By now it's normal for us to have felt at least some of the teeth of winter.  Not this year.

Fall on the mountain has been especially delightful this year.  The colors lasted for a long time rather than the usual spit of color to be ruined by very cold temps and snow.
Looking down the hill on our lot.  The fence is our back line.

Note the aspens laying down around this tree.  Snow pushed them over several years ago.

The tree right behind our trailer. 

Looking up through the tops.

It takes hot days and cool nights to produce the extra tannin in the leaves required for the orange colors.

I really cannot describe the sheer delight and peace I find sitting on the mountain and listening to these leaves quake in the slight breeze.

Course, we were really up there to winterize the trailer and get everything drained, tucked away, or hauled off the mountain.

While Hubby was draining the water tanks and blowing out the lines on the trailer, I painted the picnic table.  I decided I wanted it red rather than the redwood color it had been.   I believe I acheived that.   Maybe next year it will go back to 'redwood' which is more normal picnic table color.  I hadn't realized what a RED color would like I think.

We prop the table up against the tree every year so the snow doesn't sit on it.  I ran out of paint several years ago and never finished the underside.  You can see traces of the redwood color.  The dogs, Bob and Baxter are inspecting our work.   

It must have met Baxter's approval as he is off to find some of the pesky voles and dig them out!

Next time -- I will post a series of the pictures I took of one tree on our lot showing the progression of the color and the end of it.  It's interesting at least to me!

Grouse Herding, Tar Weed Control or What I Did all Summer

I have been missing for most of the summer on this blog.  So now is the time to catch up!

Since I'm now retired I decided I need to do more to help out on the ol' homestead.   I first attacked the tar weed this fall.  It's a noxious weed that grows here and the buds and flowers are covered in a sticky sap.  It gets in the forelocks, fetlocks in the horses and covers our dogs at times.  I HATE it.

So I spent a lot of my time pushing the DR mower/trimmer.  I must say it was great exercise but I did get  most of it cut this fall.
Tar weed
I mowed it anywhere I found it growing on the pasture around the house and then moved back about three feet along the lane to the highway on each side.   I feel like I mowed 3 acres of this stuff!

While I got it cut this fall, it comes back quickly.  I think this stuff could survive a direct hit from a nuclear bomb.  So come spring, I need to put weed killer on it.   After mowing I know where it lives!
The stems are really wire like and I had to frequently change the string in the mower as it would just obliterate it in a short time!   Tough stuff I tell you.

The really great thing that happened this summer was the sage grouse came back!  They used to raise a brood of chicks on our place every summer.  In fact I used to have to stop the car on the way out to the highway and chase the chicks off the road sometimes so I could get to work!  They have not done that now for many years disappearing shortly after West Nile hit Wyoming.   I think it decimated their numbers.
Sage Grouse Hens
The species here is the Greater Sage Grouse.  There are several sub-species and grouse is found all throughout the Rocky Mountain West to the Sierra Nevadas.

We discovered a hen and several chicks on the highway coming home one evening.  So Hubby did some grouse herding and got them OFF that highway fearing they would get hit.
Hubby grouse herding!

The hen and several of the chicks headed off the highway towards the back of the pasture!

They must have gotten the message as they did not go back to the highway again and stayed back near the barns all summer.   One day towards fall, Hubby was working in his shop area and heard a male 'booming' which meant it was breeding season for them.  They use the same area for generations and the areas are called 'leks'.  Since they are an endangered species, the government and State of Wyoming controls these areas and allows no disturbances by mining activites around the leks.  We never knew we had one near us.  Hubby did not disturb and we saw them only a few more times in the summer after herding them off the highway.

Photo of an active Lek with male birds 'booming' their chests to attract females.

We did have an active hawk that prowled around after they arrived and one day a Bald Eagle was obviously hunting/swooping the area.  I hope they found good cover and not too many of the chicks were lost.  They were pretty good size when they arrived so hopefully they all survived.   We hope they return again next summer!

I did some container gardening using an old 350 gallon leaky stock tank, five gallon buckets, and two old cattle mineral tubs which are about 30 gallons.  It was a learning curve.  Next year I will do some things different in the stock tank.  All I harvested out of it was lettuce and swiss chard which I had planted wayyyy too close.  The tomatoes in the five gallon buckets did okay but I need to get them out earlier.  The mineral tubs - strawberries did fine in one.  We will see if they survive the winter.  Cucumbers did not like theirs too well.  I think it needs more potting soil to bring the level of the dirt up to the rim so they are not shaded.  Some successes and some failures.   I now have apple seeds in the five gallon buckets to see if they come up after the required stratification over the winter.

I'll post more in a few days...............

Hope your summer went well also.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Some Gave All Continued

In my prior post on this blog I told the story of Orin Snyder from Salt Creek who lost his life in France during World War I.

Orin wasn't the only soldier from Salt Creek who lost his life.   The Rotary flagpole in the park actually has three names listed.  Orin was the only one who had been raised in Salt Creek.  The other two had come to the area for work in the oil fields.  88 men from the Salt Creek enlisted during World War I and these three never returned.
Orin Snyder
Wm McClafin
John M Speckbacher

The flagpole had originally been placed in the old park on the bluff overlooking today's football field in Midwest, Wyoming.  It was moved when the new park was built in the 1980's and the old park abandoned.

Arbie William McClaflin is listed on the census records for Clark, Wisconsin as a child and was still there as late as 1910.  He was born in 1901 making him the youngest of the three.  He had a twin brother, Merill Mahlon.  He was only 17 when he was wounded in battle, passing away two days later.  I was unable to find out much about him or his family.  I don't know if he was in the Salt Creek area by himself working or if his entire family moved with him. claims this is a picture of him as a young child. The placque in Midwest has his name wrong.  William was his middle name and the first name was Arbie. Perhaps he went by his middle name?

He is the only one of the three buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D. C.  His last name is misspelled, omitting an L.

Arbie W McClafin
116 Ammo Tn
41 DIV
Jan 23, 1918


The third soldier, John M. Speckbacher, was from Buffalo, Wyoming and his draft card states he was working in Salt Creek as a pumper for Midwest Refining and was unmarried.  It also shows he had been in the infantry for the state of Wyoming for six years and had attained the rank of corporal.

 Born in 1887, Max (his middle name was Maximillan) was the oldest of the three when he died in 1918 at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. He was born in the Big Horn Basin near Spring Creek (Ten Sleep).  *Spring Creek is also the site for the infamous Spring Creek Raid which killed three shepherds in 1909 for bring sheep onto cattle range crossing the deadline.

John M Speckbacher
Pvt Med Dept
September 17, 1918

He had re-enlisted on July 23, 1918 and had only been in the service again for 2 months when he was killed.   His obituary appeared in the Buffalo Bulletin and he is interred in Willow Grove Cemetery, Buffalo, Wyoming.   The American Legion applied for his military headstone in 1937.

From the Buffalo Bulletin dated 9/26/1918:
Max Speckbacher, another Johnson County boy, died at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, and the remains were brought to Buffalo for interment, the funeral services being held in City Hall Tuesday afternoon, and were conducted by the Odd Fellows, of which organization he was a member.  He was in the United States service and was stationed at Fort Des Moines.  Deceased was born on Spring Creek in the basin country and has lived his entire life in this county.  He was a young man of good habits, industrious and conscientious and had friends by the score in Buffalo where he was known.  He the stepson of August Linder and a brother of Tony Speckbacher of Casper, both of whom survive him.  Besides these members of the family he leaves a half brother and half sister, John and Pauline Linder.  Moxie was one of the boys. It was always a pleasure to meet and in his death we lose a good citizen and the government a good soldier.

In two short years, we will be acknowledging the 100th anniversay of the end of World War I.   May the horrors of war never visit again.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

He Gave All for Eternity

This Memorial Day, after visiting the graves of family members, Hubby and I set off to find a special grave in the cemetery.

I first became aware of Orin Snyder when I was browsing through some old historical 'company' magazines called The Midwest Review published by Midwest Refining Company in the early 20th century. There was a photo of him riding a bronc and he was mentioned in several Review's as having been a great cowboy.  It also said he was killed in action during World War I.

Through the years I have gathered small tidbits about him.  He was born in 1897 in Lost Cabin, Wyoming (Fremont County).  The family originally worked on the J. B. Okie ranch but later homesteaded a small place near Badwater.  Apparently one of the neighbors took exception with the location of their homestead and the father, Ora, pulled a gun on him in an altercation, which was reported in the Natrona County newspapers at the time.  It appears the contentious co-existence continued for several years.

Eventually, the family moved to a place on Castle Creek near Midwest, Wyoming.   There are numerous references to Orin and he was a popular young man.  He is mentioned as visiting in Arminto, and also back in Badwater.  Today there is a reservoir on what I assume is their old homestead known as Snyder Reservoir.  There was also a town called Snyder that the father started in approximately 1923.  It never had a post office and was never a going concern so faded from existence.  Interesting in 1923, the BLM awared Orin's father the homestead he had filed on before leaving for France.  Was that where the town Snyder was?

This is the photo from the Natrona paper that announced his death in 1918:

The accompany article stated:
Casper Daily Tribune no. 310
October 18, 1918
Front Page

He Gave the Boche Hell While He Lasted and His Pal Took Machine-Gun That Sent Him West

Less than an hour before he "went west" while assisting in operations against a machine-gun nest near Croix Rouge Farm late in July, Private Orin Snyder, son of Mr. and Mrs. O. E. Snyder of Salt Creek, epitomized the spirit of the American soldier when he scribbled a last note to his family saying:

"We are on a mighty lively front. Don't know whether we will get out of it or not. Will give them hell as long as I last."

Private Harry H. Brown of Company C, 167th Infantry, also of Salt Creek and a close friend of Snyder's, received a letter of commendation for extraordinary bravery in leading a charge against and capturing the machine gun which claimed the life of his pal.

Memorial services for Orin Snyder, held at Salt Creek on Sunday last, speak in eloquent appreciation of his service and sympathy in his loss. As the Rev. R. H. Moorman spoke of his sacrifice, he was "An American Indeed." 

Orin was the first boy from the Salt Creek area out of 88 who went, to be killed in action.  There were numerous memorials for him around the area.   At first he was buried in France and then in 1921, his body and that of Guy C. Burson, the first killed from Casper, were brought back to the area for burial. Both were buried in Highland Cemetery, Casper, Wyoming, with full military honors.

Several articles are found about the memorials and in 1918,  his dad says Orin asked for his opinion if he should go or not.   His dad advised him, "Son, I won't stand in your way.  Your Dad has no coyote blood and I know his son hasn't."

Orin I. Snyder
167th INF, 42nd DIV
August 30, 1897
July 26, 1918
He gave All for Eternity

Note that this headstone is NOT a military headstone but a private headstone.  The other soldier buried at the same time with full military honors, Guy C Burson, also has a private headstone.  I suspect the George Vroman American Legion Post purchased both headstones.

It is distressing that after almost one hundred years, Orin's is almost illegible.   It took Hubby and I quite a while to read the last line. I am going to locate the Burson headstone and note it's condition and then see what can be done to restore them.

Orin perished from machine gun fire during the Croix Rouge Farm battle.  There is a memorial on site in France and a lot of information on the battle.  It states: "
July 26, 1918
“…the 167th Alabama assisted by the left flank of the 168th Iowa had stormed and captured the Croix Rouge Farm in a manner which for its gallantry I do not believe has been surpassed in military history. It was one of the few occasions on which the bayonet was decisively used.”
– Douglas MacArthur

Sounds pretty awful doesn't it?   Orin's unit was attached to the 167th Alabama which was known as the "Rainbow Division" because it had men from 43 States in it, most of which were state units.

The website for information on the battle is HERE.  There is a very poignant statue on the site.

As we are only two years away from the WWI Centennial, finding Orin's gravesite made it a memorable Memorial Day for me.  I left a small spray of poppies which joined the red/white/blue arrangement and Flag left by the local American Legion who decorates the graves of Veterans.

RIP Pvt. Snyder.   All gave some and some gave All.