Up at our new place… we call it the Mills place… is this sight. Roy Mills, patriarch of RM Ranch, saddled his horse to go check his cows, leaving his spurs behind on the gate post. Hours later his wife noticed the riderless horse standing next to his master. It was assumed he’d had a heart attack. Decades later his spurs still embellish a newer gatepost… and if we ever have to replace the gatepost, we’ll put his spurs back where they belong. I promise.
I wanted to share how my love affair with tipis began. That’s me, the little blondie playing in front of a tipi that my mom and dad made. Yup. They made it. Daddy went to a powwow somewhere outside of Durango, Colorado. He was so impressed with all the tipis, he came home and drew it out on paper. Mom sewed it. Pretty amazing. The top is painted sky blue and there’s a buffalo to the right of the door. It was just a great playhouse. Tell you the truth… I was 5 years old and actually, gulp, kissed a boy in there! Only once – and for a split second – but I remember that!
Today, I own this Old Girl. A friend actually gave her to me! I’ve spent plenty of time out here. She sits out in the back of what we call the orchard, not too far from my house, but enough you can feel all alone. You approach her from the back, notice my outdoor fire pit and woodpile. Sometimes you just have to have a fire. Or is that just me? Does anyone else do this??? Is it my Choctaw blood or my Girl Scout blood or am I just bloody crazy?
I should be ashamed to show her this way. One of her smoke flap poles has fallen down… she has wrinkles…and her canvas is beginning to rip on the smoke flaps. Poor girl.
Did you notice? She has a sky blue top and a buffalo to the right of the door. If my kids ever own a tipi, it better have a sky blue top and a buffalo to the right of the door. My buffalo, well, it didn’t turn out the way I wanted. I was going for a primitive x Catlin type look. and failed. sigh. Please don’t look at her wrinkles, it makes her look really really bad. Tipis are supposed to be tight as a drum. She just looks limp.
We’ve just peeked in the front door and here it is. She’s only a 14′ tipi. Small. And I’ve got just enough room on the backside for my queen sized blow up bed. You didn’t think I slept on the ground out here, did you??? Ha ha. You get your good sleeping bag out here with the buffalo robe on top and it is WARM and COZY and RELAXING. So come on over, snuggle down, and look up.
Cool, huh? Those are some colorful nylon feathers hanging there… and you can see the top of the liner ends just where the blue starts. Most people don’t know tipis have liners, but a tipi without one is smokier, colder, and not a private place! Liners force air up from outside which helps carry your smoke out the top. Liners are like another layer of insulation. Liners prevent your shadow from falling on the outside of your tipi like a shadow play. Some things your neighbors just don’t need to see!
Yes, I do have fires in here. It is close quarters and a small tipi, both of which call for small fires. Believe me, you don’t want a large fire in here anyway, it is amazing how quickly it warms up the space. And I have a chair in there. Actually I have two, just in case I have a visitor, but I keep it folded up because I RARELY have visitors. Wanna come visit?
Did I mention I have pyromaniac-al tendencies? I think I did, just the other day!
So to me, this is great stuff. Give me this place, a cold beverage (or hot depending on the temperature outside!), a good book, a dog to pet, and I’m a happy girl.
This Old Girl has shared some good times with me. But it is time to let her rest through the winter so I can repair her and get her ready for spring. See you in the spring!
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!
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.