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.