A little color

I did it.  I walked out to the mailbox and back, a total of two whole miles!  But I didn’t hit a wall… I made my destination and back!  Five weeks after numerous blood clots in my lungs, I can breathe enough and have enough energy to do what before was a quick hike for me.  Today was slow and steady, with more than a few stops for photographs.  The dogs were ecstatic.  I was tentative to say the least, not wanting to overdo it, but yearning to feel “right”.  I can tell these five weeks of little activity have taken its toll, my calves and hips are sore, but I’ll take that over hitting that WALL!
I also lit one of our brush piles on fire and I am a pyro!  I love to build fires when we camp.  I love cooking over a fire as opposed to cooking over a stove!  I’d be happy to go out and throw a ‘gypsy dinner’ in the coals right now!  I can build you a keyhole fire or a tipi fire or a log cabin.  I can get them going in the rain.  I love to steal a fire rock and wrap it up for the bottom of my sleeping bag.  My ultimate judgement of character of people is based on whether or not I’d like to sit around a campfire with them!
Looking for that special photo to share with you today, I finally found it. These rose hips buried in the depths of willows.  The little glimpse of bright color among the grey stems.  Seemed like a good analogy to me.  My life’s been a little fuzzy lately, but today was a bright achievement.  It will be followed perhaps by more grey, but ultimately, beyond, there is the gorgeous blue sky that lies ahead.  I’m thrilled to be beyond grey and bright red for today!  I know I can manage more grey if I just focus on the blue!
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Ooohhh… Wyoming Wind

Tucked away as we are, sheltered from traffic and people and other disturbances, it still comes as a shock when the infamous Wyoming Wind blows.  Now I basically grew up in Casper, Wyoming (since I was 12), and it is famous for its wind.  Gusts in the 50’s and 60’s aren’t unusual. For simple fun you can enjoy the progression of signs at new businesses as they learn about the wind.  New businesses start out buying the cheaper single pole designs…eventually they come around to the 2 or 3 12″ posts that anchor an extreme weather sign!  Casper Airport’s wind sock is reportedly a heavy tow chain with a cannonball on the end!  Casperites often fall over as they emerge from their houses on non-windy days… they are used to walking bent over at a 45 degree angle.  I rarely cast my own fishing line when my Dad took me to the lake.  He had so many weights on the line and he had to heave it so hard to get it out far enough, I just couldn’t do it.  Why not drive to the other upwind side of the lake?  It was a long drive over there… another 25 miles on those round about roads.
But here, wind is not a *rare* sight, but one that you might call “an infrequent visitor”.  Vernon asks me if it makes me homesick.  Nope!  I don’t miss it at all!  I hate standing out in it working or riding a horse in it.  My shoulders hunch against the cold and before you know it, my shoulders are screaming at me to find someplace out of the &*^%$$% wind!
While pioneer women reportedly committed suicide because of it, long ago I found a love of kite flying, which puts a wonderful face on it.  That is, if you’ve bought strong enough line!  I have dragon kites and deltas and character kites (a pirate ship is a favorite) and box kites. I’d love a snowflake, but just somehow can’t bring myself to spend $200+ on a kite!  This time of year though, with the current temperature of 32 degrees, I remain inside and enjoy one of my other collections.  Flags!  They are great and gorgeous and in their full glory.  I try to buy flags from other states… I’ve always wanted one of the Seventh Cavalry because G.A.Custer was an interesting fellow… I’m on the search for one of the Choctaw Nation.  I fly the maple leaf on Canadian holidays (if I remember).  I fly the Union Jack I bought in London and kept it at halfstaff when Princess Diana died.  I fly the lone star when my sister is here from Texas, or my Oklahoma shield if my mom comes.  This is my latest flag, a gift from my boys.  Unfortunately, they didn’t look at it closely to realize it is one you fly from a wooden pole straight out from your house, not on a flag pole!  That’s OK.  It was a great thought, and if I ever get ambitious, I’ll reset some grommets and hang it correctly.  But for now, tip your head, smile, and enjoy the Wyoming Wind.
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Snow lodge

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Sigh.  Guess what.  I didn’t succeed at getting my tipi down.   So there she sets waiting for sunshine.  Which may not come for a while.  It has rained and snowed and the wind is currently howling outside.  I hope the weather improves because I don’t want to leave her out all winter.  I did that once and it aged her.  I’ll get some photos inside before I take her down, and share one of my favorite spots with you.  I sleep very soundly out here.

Green leaves and snow

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Wyoming usually has to remind us, quite early, that winter is on the way.  In October we had our first snow.  The cottonwoods hadn’t even dropped their leaves, or changed color for that matter!  In November, the biggest storm magically appears as kids are coming home for Thanksgiving break.  December brings storms in stages.  January is more about cold than snow.  February the snow piles high.  March and the start of calving season is usually a horrible mix!  April is mud with snow on top. May is never too late for a good wet storm.  I’ve trailed cows to the mountain in July and been caught in a snowstorm!  People, and the Farmer’s Almanac, are predicting a tough winter full of snow.  The Big Horns and Absarokas are white already, circling the Big Horn Basin like snowy vultures.  A storm is headed this way, with winter storm watches issued by the National Weather service.  I better get my tipi put away, or it’ll have to stay up all winter!

Introducing Jazz

My daughter recently came home to help with our cows…and to celebrate her 24th birthday.  (Wow.  I can’t be that old… )  She recently became the proud owner of one Miniature Australian Shepherd pup.  We’ve had lots of Aussies and Aussie crosses in her lifetime… and barring the fleeting love affair she had with beagles (which was contained to a calendar and other small miscellaneous items) … Victoria likes working cowdogs.  But Victoria is practical.  Living in a two bedroom apartment in a small town in Wyoming doesn’t usually result in a happy working cowdog.  But, if their legs are extra short… maybe they won’t need as much exercise, and maybe, hopefully, they might even work cattle.  Well, it was a good thought.  So I thought I’d share.  Here he is.  Jazz.

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Note the bling.  How cool is that?  Not only is Jazz super cute, he’s a Denver Broncos fan too!  He must be the perfect dog for Toria!  While he visits, he and Dally become best friends.  Elsa bites him.  Lucas ignores him.  Each time they have to get reacquainted.  First there’s this.

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“Hey, have I seen you before?”  “You look very familiar, can I smell you?”  “My mom told me to watch out for strange guys!”

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“Maybe we could play, let me smell you one more time!”  “Huh?”  Jazz is only 5 months old… he’s not really on top of things yet… then, bam!

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Niceties over, the two tri’s (ha ha, mini funny… mini!  I really make myself laugh!) get to rockin’ and rollin’ and bitin’ and being all around difficult to photograph.  It is just a blur from here on out.  Vernon wondered out loud to Toria…”What do you think you’d get if you crossed those two?”  “A mad mother!” was her quick reply.  She’s a smart girl, that Victoria!