Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The BIG Picture

Snow on the Big Horn Mountains in the distance from near our place. 
 All Photos were taken May 19 2017.

One of the things I notice when I travel back East, is once I cross the Missouri River and cross into timber/treed country, I miss my wide open skies from Wyoming.  It's almost a claustrophobic feeling like I need to peel back all that greenery and SEE what the land looks like.  I LIKE Kansas and Nebraska.

I also dislike driving to town for anything!  Intensely dislike it.  I think I burned myself out driving a 120 mile round trip commute for too many years.   After a snow on May 18th of this year, instead of driving the 120 miles, I opted for a quick trip of 76 miles round trip to a small rural grocery store.  (We had a later snow around the 24th also this year)

I took pictures of the drive and I'm sure you will see why I miss my 'vistas' when I'm in other states.

Pine Ridge from just after the Powder River crossing near Sussex.

This is Chalk Buttes near Sussex, Wyoming.
On the other side of the buttes the flat plain continues for quite some distance.  That was the location of one of the roundups in the open range days.  I sure would have like to have seen it then with over 100 roundup wagons and cowboys and who knows how many cows!!

In the distance is the North Pumpkin Buttes with snow on them.  Interestingly, Pumpkin Buttes were formed by water and wind eroding the soil around them, with the Buttes being protected by a rock cap.  I wonder how many millions of years that took!

The South Butte of Pumpkin Buttes with snow on it also.  

Road to home leading up to Pine Ridge.  Still snow on them at 3 pm in the afternoon!

Close up the snow on Pine Ridge.  Home is on the extreme left behind the ridge.

And that was my trip home from the grocery store on that snowy May Day.  It was a cold spring this year!  Snow till the end of May almost.  Now it's sunny, warm, and the grass is tall and green.

I took all the photos on my little LG Phone (not a smart one apparently) and discovered to my horror that you cannot download them with a USB cable.  It won't recognize the folder structures so I had to order a mini storage card, insert it into my phone, and then transfer all my photos to the mass storage card.  Then they would download.  Well wasn't that easy? NOT.  But I got er done!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Sunday Drive

When I was a little girl, we almost always went for a Sunday drive in the afternoon.  Always to some place close and scenic.

Hubby was laid up most of the week with a kidney stone (very painful!) but by Sunday, although it hadn't passed, it must have been stuck as the pain eased and he felt much better and was off the pain meds.

He was also antsy from being cooped up for FIVE whole days (can you imagine!).  So to ease the claustrophobia/outdoor withdrawal we took a drive to the RED WALL County west of Kaycee, Wyoming.  This is also the area where the notorious Hole-in-the-Wall is located.  The occasional home and hideout of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

So ride with us on a glorious warm sunny Wyoming Day to the Red Wall Country.................................

For those interested in the geology, I believe these are the Amsden formation from the Permian era. Not entirely sure as I'm not a geologist although I worked for some over the years.

Gorgeous country isn't it.  Makes me homesick for my hometown of Ten Sleep which is also Red Walls and just over the other side of the Big Horn Mountains.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

You Know its Spring in Wyoming when the snow is up past your knees!

Boy oh boy has it been snowy this spring.

I took this one the beginning of April 

And the one below today, April 25th.   This is the old leaky stock tank I use for container gardening.  Won't be doing any of that for a while!  We seem to have a few warm days and then rain or snow for a few days, which means a good grass year hopefully.  Much better than drought although I think I prefer for the moisture to not be white!

We've had some nice warm sunny days to be sure.   Even a few in the 70's but the nights remain cold so the grass hasn't really taken off yet, although it is green and the cows have NO interest in the round bales of hay anymore.

So what do I do on these snowy days?   Knit of course.   Socks right now.     I ordered the Mary Maxim surprise sock yarn box and was very pleased.  Enough yarn for 3 pairs!
I made these for my oldest son and daughter-in-law.   All the yarns were smart wool (washable but not machine dry!) in fingering weight.  These were the first I've made in fingering weight and the yarn is like knitting with string.  You just knit and knit and knit, and you've got an inch done!  Ha.

This is the final pair from my surprise box.  Obviously, with the pink, they will be a ladies pair of socks.   I am doing a two at a time, cuff down, on circular needles.   I have two balls of yarn in the 'yarn' bowl behind them in the picture.   The trick is to keep turning them fro and then back to not tangle up the 2 balls.  It's relatively simple and I LOVE my addi circular needles.  Size 2 and 40" long. The two at a time is nice so far and then I won't have a sock with an unknitted mate!  I like to knit socks but I also like sweaters and mittens.  Hats are okay but not my favourite.

This is our new Schnoodle, Lucy.   We got her from a rescue in Torrington and love her to pieces.  She is very well mannered and so loving.   Baxter, (below) has introduced her to rabbit running and wrestling, his two favourite activities.   A Schnoodle is a miniature schnauzer/miniature poodle cross.

Baxter is OBSESSED with rabbits and a total character.   He keeps us AMUSED. He lives to hunt those rabbits.   Yesterday before it snowed and it was still pretty warm, the dogs went with Tony to feed the bull in the corral.   Baxter spied a rabbit across the pond and as soon as he spied it, he took OFF, Leapt into the air and came down into the pond with a huge splash and took off swimming to the other side.   Climbed out of the water and took after that rabbit.   Hubby said he looked like the retrievers in the dog food commercials the way he took to that water.   Lucy, however, decided prudence was more in order and ran AROUND the pond keeping herself dry.  Sadly, for Baxter, and happily for the rabbit, they did not catch him.  But it sure wasn't for a lack of Trying!

Took a trip to Belfry, Montana and picked up four head of new cows   Our herdlet is getting aged so these are young replacements.   The trip was beautiful and the people we bought them from were so very nice.  I had packed a lunch/snacks for us but Hubby kept buying jerky sticks when we would stop for gas or bathroom breaks.  He came to regret his choice of snack food that evening........................

Like the guy in the Indiana Jones movie said, "Choose Wisely."

Monday, March 13, 2017

Snow Dogs

We've had several good snowstorms this past month and half.  Enough that Hubby had to fire up Ol' Smokey, our 93 Ford diesel truck with a snow plow.  Trust me, we call it Ol' Smokey for a reason, both of us are amazed it's still running.
Ol' Smokey, plow is behing the porch railing

And don't ask me why, but EVERY dog who has ever ridden in Ol' Smokey becomes OBSESSED with plowing snow.  They love it and will ride gleefully for hours.  And each dog has a 'spot' in the seats which never changes.  When my oldest sons dogs were here over their vacations, there were six dogs which rode the plow.  Each one always had a spot which never changed.  Now only one of those dogs is still alive all these years later, and Bob always sits in the same darn spot even though none of the other dogs  are there.  It's in the back seat one dog over from the driver's side.  

You cannot see him but Bob's back there.  He's a black n white Australian Sheperd so he's invisible.  Baxter, the schnoodle, is on the passenger side front seat.   Missy, the other schnoodle, is on hubby's lap.   And if Hubby plows without them?  OH MY.   Those schnoodles are great at throwing a fit.

And a-wayyyy we go!

The other day as I went north on the highway, the sun was shining, the air was warm, and it felt like spring.   So I stopped and took a picture of the Big Horn Mountains.

You can just barely see the snow capped peaks above the pine ridge in the middle of the photo.
We can see these peaks from our place also, the whim to photograph didn't hit me till I was on the road.

Wyoming Amateur Wrestling has begun for this year; and Hubby and myself find ourselves going to our 15th year of attending tournaments.   #2 Son wrestled with the WAWA from the time he was six till he was 18.   #1 Son was seven years older and he wrestled 3 or 4 seasons with WAWA before he decided it wasn't really his thing.

Now grandson is wrestling, and I've assumed my unofficial duty as 'videographer of each match'.  I tell you though, getting off that gym floor was a lot easier twenty years ago than now!  I just hope if I get stuck, they will come and get me before they leave the tournament.

Waiting, a thing you get good at, if you wrestle.

#2 son with Grandson, he is coaching him.  Good father/son time.

Happy Wrestler taking off his shoes at end of tournament.  He got second place.

I was surprised when one of the other grandmothers told me it made her so 'nervous' to watch her grandson wrestle she almost couldn't watch.  She asked me if I felt the same.  Nope, not at all.  I think maybe we have two different definitions of 'nervous'.

Knowing a rattlesnake just bit my 2 year old son; now THAT made me nervous/anxious.   Watching a gray mare my son is breaking rear up and come over backwards on him, made me nervous. (Thank god, he was agile enough and quick enough to bail out of there so he wasn't injured.)  Knowing the bull is behind me and starting to paw and bellow, gives me a quite nervous feeling also. (said bull is gone).  Watching a rotating thunderstorm cloud go over our place gives me a certain nervous feeling.

But sports?  Nope, never.   I hadn't realized how much I had missed those bleachers till Grandson and Granddaughters started sports.

Spring is almost here at North of nowhere.  First calves are on the ground and we have green grass starting as of March 11th.  Boy that is EARLY for grass in our neck of the woods.  Now just for the snow/rain to continue so it can drink and grow.

Now where did I put that seed catalog?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Update on the Fox!

For a while I thought perhaps we had lost 'our' fox as the stock dog, Bob, drug in a pretty dessicated fox carcass about 3 weeks ago.  I had not seen the fox hunting in front of the house in quite a while so I thought........................

Then about a week ago, the dogs started having an evening ruckus every night about 9 pm.  Oh, I thought, the fox is back.

And sure nuff, he was as I saw him yesterday sitting by his apparently favorite prairie dog hole, patiently waiting for said varmit to pop up and become a meal.  I really don't know how many he has caught.

I was glad to see him!  I suppose the carcass the dog drug in was probably a relative, perhaps one of his kits.

Red foxes range throughout North America.  They are a fairly common sight here on our place.  I can absolutely guarantee you the cutest thing you will EVER see is one of these:
Red Fox kit
Kits are very playful and we have watched quite a few litters being raised on our place.  It's really fun to watch them wrestle and play with their siblings.   One time while riding we came across two kits who had obviously strayed from their mom.   Tony was scolding them and they would cock their ears and heads as though trying to grasp what he was saying.  TOO cute!

In Wyoming, you are allowed to capture and keep red foxes as pets.  I cringe whenever I see one as it was certainly captured as a young kit.   They never become very domesticated and most eventually escape to the wild.   Hunting is a skill that is learned from their parents.  So that escaped fox probably is doomed to a horrible death by starvation.   I wish the game and fish would end the practice of allowing them to be kept as pets.

Foxes have been the subject of literature in the US for a long time.  Who can forget Uncle Remus and his Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit tales from 1881?

We've really had no other wildlife visits this winter other than our resident 'Brer Fox' and the usual troupes of deer and antelope.   We've not seen the elk for quite some time so they must be somewhere else this winter.

The phrase "Wyoming Wildlife - Worth the Watching" is certainly true!  One of the great perks of living in the country.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Wyoming Winter Visitor

The cold continues at 60 miles North of Nowhere.  A whopping ZERO this morning at 8 a.m.  But at least this morning the wind has abated.  Instead of 40 mph it's only 9 mph which seems like nothing.  Last night when I went to bed the wind was clipping along indicating a new front was moving in.  I guess the cold was the new front as the wind is out of the north instead of the usual southwest.

I've read accounts of how the wind would drive people insane in frontier Wyoming.  I believe it.  It's darn near had me there a time or two.

One of the perks of living here is the wildlife and now we have somewhat of a mystery on our hands.

I first became aware of our winter visitor when Bob, the stock dog, began throwing barking fits in the morning.  When I went to investigate, I found this:

Can you spot the visitor in this photo?

Oh here he is!

A fox! He was sitting intently watching for prairie dogs to devour. Hey Bud,
 I wish you great success. Eat all you can.

I think he is a red fox as he is unusually large for a fox. Isn't he beautiful!!!
We also have swift foxes in Wyoming but they are smaller and because he 
is larger and red, I believe he is a red fox (Vulpes vulpes). It took me a
couple of tries to get a photo of him. I had to be sneaky because as soon as
 I stepped outside, he would look over his shoulder at me and move into the 
drainage ditch behind him in the photos. 

He didn't seem very afraid though. The dog did not bother him at all.
Maybe just camera shy? He visited quite regularly for a couple of
weeks but now seems to have moved on to better hunting grounds.

Several years ago, one of the stock dogs, Brookie, would play regularly 
with a young fox. She would chase it, then it would chase her. This
went on for the course of a summer. Since the dog does not bother
this guy, we are wondering if this is the fox who used to play with
the dogs? A mystery we probably will never solve.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Wyoming Winter Hints for the Woefully Under Informed

We are deep into a cold snap which seems to have lasted since well before Thanksgiving.  Christmas Day at Sixty Miles North of Nowhere arrived with snow and temps of 24 below zero.  A nice white cool day....

I feel compelled that perhaps I should explain a few things about Wyoming Winter to you:
My car after a few flakes of snow.........

1.  The term 'breezy' in the local weather report.   This means you will have category 1 hurricane force winds.  Be prepared to experience this from October 15th through April 24th.  Every day will be 'breezy' with sustained winds of 75 mph.

2.  Gusts - here again the weatherman will refer to breezy with gusts.  Gusts are a short burst of wind that will blow you, the dog, and your car into the next state east.  Usually Nebraska.  Sometimes South Dakota depending on your locale.

3.  Chilly - anything below zero degrees farenheit is 'chilly'.  Minus 24?  Your nose instantly froze shut and your lungs won't work? Chilly.

4.  Wind Chill - you multiply chilly with either breezy or gusts to get a minus degree temperature 'feels like' that is somewhere way south of the lowest point your thermometer reaches which is usually minus 50 degrees.  If you bought a wimpy outdoor thermometer.
2 below zero

5. Dress Appropriately - You look like the michlen tire man from wearing so much cold weather gear. Only look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy dressed for a Christmas Caroling?  Put more on, you are woefully under dressed for the 'chilly' weather.

6.  Pacs -  Term used for snow boots with felt liners and worn universally by men, women, children, and Yeti's in Wyolming.You don't need to go to the gym because you get plenty of aerobic just walking with 20 lbs of PAC boots on each foot.

7.  Block Heater - A handy device which attaches to your engine block on one end and your electrical outdoor outlet on the other.  It will warm the engine block enough in 'chilly' conditions to let it turn over and start.  It also warms the heart and pocketbook of the local electrical electrical company.  You make sure your engine heater is plugged in till the 4th of July. AND the horse who 'will unplug it in the middle of the night' is IN THE BARN.

8.  Christmas list - Your Christmas wish list included a new set of tire chains. What, Santa did not bring you tire chains.  Sorry, you are screwed.  Most certainly you will spend the winter 'high-centered'.

9.  High Centered -  Stuck, like up past your vehicle frame in snow.  Never to be 'unstuck' until mid-summer. Proper useage in a sentence: "((&#(&#@!! I'm high Centered!! (*&#@*#@!!!"

10. Gurneys - A gardening catalog every Wyoming household received about October. The Gurney people know ALL ABOUT impluse buying in the winter.  You are obsessessed with the Gurneys catalog beginning in January knowing they don't sell anything neat for a zone 3 climate zone. But you will order the zone 4's ever hopeful......................

11. Goals  - You don't dream about anything other than moving South, anywhere south as long as it's at least 2 climate zones.

12,  Native - Someone born in Wyoming who never achieve their goal of moving 'south' as they are still froze to the ground.  Here's my native when I snagged him 45 years ago.  It was both 'chilly' and 'breezy' when this picture was taken.  We are still frozen to this spot even though I'm not 'native.'

And that's my handy tips and definitions for the Woefully Under Informed about our Wonderful Wyoming Winters!  Hope you enjoyed.