Wordless Wednesday – Canyon Spectacular

The surprising and spectacular 500′ deep Otter Creek Canyon.
(7 photos consolidated)
This doesn’t do it justice!

Town Yard/Ranch Yard

My folks always had a gorgeous yard…
We’d edge trim (remember those hand held clippers???) and power rake and haul compost and haul sand and mow and water and weed and plant and transplant and fertilize and what ever else was deemed necessary for a fantastic yard, flower beds, and garden.
I learned an amazing amount of information that way.
My yard in the country… it’s a little different.
Downwind from a field means I’ll never ever ever get rid of the dandelions in my yard.
The fence around my yard has to withstand cattle and horses and deer and almost a moose one year… and oftentimes the fence looks a little worse for wear.
I concede.  Weeds win.  They always do.  I try though.  Every year.
The water for my lawn comes from a pump we put in the creek.  We have to wait until after high water in the spring before I can water my garden and lawn.  No walking to the faucet and just turning it on.  Oh, and don’t forget the time spent priming the pump or adjusting the pipe in the creek to suck enough water… or unplugging the impeller. I never used to know what an impeller was.
Dogs drag various disgusting parts of dead animals they find into my yard for snack time.  This winter it was a dead porcupine.  I am still finding quills in my dogs.
My lawn must be hardy enough to withstand pickups and four-wheelers and the occasional tractor being driven on it.
Uninvited guests sometimes leave hoof prints.
Sometimes they are invited guests… if we’re not done working and we can come to the house for lunch… horses get to trim my grass.
Unfortunately, I need to go out with a shovel and do some clean-up work now.
Don’t ever complain about your dogs creating yellow spots in your lawn… believe me, a horse makes a bigger impact!
P.S.  Brandon’s favorite joke when he was five: Do you know what you call a cow that eats grass?  A lawn-mooer.  In the country… that’s true!!!

Picnic Photos

Before I share more Wyoma stories, I thought I’d share a few more photos from our Father’s Day picnic yesterday.

Another of my favorite flowers is in bloom.
It is called Bitterroot.
Often associated with Montana, bitterroot was a Native American staple… and even helped feed the Lewis and Clark expedition.  It does have to be treated first or it isn’t edible… or so I’ve been told.  This is one I haven’t tried myself.
The cool thing I like about bitterroot… the leaves come up first, die back, and then the flower appears…  here’s one with a “friend”.
Here’s another view of Otter Creek Canyon… doesn’t it look like if there were Anasazi about, they’d have a few choices of home locations?
A shrub called Mountain Mahogany.  Sometimes a normal bush, sometimes a creative unusual spirit trapped in a wooden dancing form… in black and white, no less!
We often get questions on what these things are…
In the summer, we put insecticide dustbags on these racks, and cows come and dust their backs, keeping the flies and other bugs at bay.
But this photo speaks to me of the loneliness of this Big Country…
Of Man whose imprint is temporary…
Of Wind…
Of Silence…
But my favorite of the day?
Getting a drink out of the stocktank.
In Big Country.

Father’s Day – Good and Bad

The day started with news that Vernon’s Uncle J. had passed away.  He was a nice man and will be missed.
The weather today was gorgeous again.
I felt better after a bad night with a splitting headache, barking dogs, and a bedroom too warm to sleep comfortably.
We decided on a picnic to our mesa pasture to celebrate Father’s Day.
Getting ready to go, we call the dogs to get in the pickup.  Lucas doesn’t show.  Lucas IS ALWAYS here with me. We take a while and look for him but decide to continue with our plans and I try to hide the silent tears of worry that slide down my face.
The mesa is gorgeous.
Daniel spots elk antlers by the side of the road… the find of the day!
Our hotdogs are quickly cooked over a campfire… my second one fell in the fire *twice*… guess I didn’t need seconds anyway!
I wander about with my camera and dogs as everyone else naps… photographing the canyon needs a wide angle lens… I’ll try to put them together in Photoshop…
Returning home after a couple of hours, I go in search of Lucas.  Fearing snakebite, or coyotes, or mountain lion… Vernon found him in our calving shed.  Ganted up and looking miserable.  Day before yesterday he was acting constipated… and I neglected him yesterday due to my own exhaustion from riding.  Now he was in pain and I knew the treatment he’d need.  Poor sweet thing.  He put up with it and if he’s not better by morning, we’ll visit the vet.
My kids all came through with decent gifts for their dad…
I helped Daniel work on his car… spray painting and holding bearings/pullers/troublelights/wrenches/vicegrips seems to be my forte.
I found out a friend from New Zealand will be visiting this September… my goodness, we met 30 years ago… and haven’t seen each other in person since!  That will be GREAT!!!
This was a rollercoaster day.
Daddy, if you’re listening… I think of you often… and how my kids would have loved your stories… and how I’d have asked your opinion on remodeling the Mills house… and how you would loved to come fish our creek… and… 27 years later… I still miss you terribly.

A Story from Wyoma

I introduced you to Wyoma yesterday.
I thought I’d share her story of coming to Ten Sleep and meeting her husband first.
She was a cracker!
See if you can get a feel for her character in this story… all spellings and writing style are hers…
“During the summer of 1928, our friends from Ten Sleep came to our house in Casper.  I and Mom had them in and they stayed over night.  Grace invited me to go to Ten Sleep with them and away I went and Hester and I packed a few clothes for me to take along as I was only going to be gone two weeks which ended up as a month.  Hester was 16 and I almost 26.  We stopped at the rodeo in Kaycee and Harry only had to pay for two grownups and two kids.  When we got to Ten Sleep the bed space for girls was one full size bed and a cot so we rotated. That way no one had to sleep in middle or on cot two nights in a row.  I took over the cooking house work and any thing that came that way.  Grace took in washings and Harry had a filling station down town.  The gasoline was in barrels and so was the oils.  Harry bought me a pair of big overalls they were a dollar a pair.  Grace came into the house one day and said Harry is bringing in company for dinner what do we have for this meal.  I said we are having beans and corn bread.  She says he won’t eat that but then I say dinner is over for that is all there is right now.  They ate cornbread and beans and enjoyed it.  In the middle of July Grace had more company from on top mountain above Bigtrails.  We had very little to eat that time to.  I sent one girl to chicken house to see if she could get an egg, and another to garden to get a few onions, and another to get in a bucket of milk.  No refrigerator so it was on north side of house under a box to keep dogs from it.  We had a few boiled potatoes.  I fried the onions and put the potatoes in and then what bread we had and then the egg and poured some milk over it and put a lid on for it to get steamed.  Grace made some biscuits while I did any thing else to get a meal.  These folks were Dad and Jim Pyle.  Mother Pyle had died the night before.  This was the 13th of July.  Jim’s sister and her son came from New York to the funeral.  After this was over a bunch of us went up the mountain to be with each other.  Jim’s cousin Mary was one of the crew.  She had to go back to her job by a certain day.  About ten o’clock the  night before we all go in Dutches car and left for Ten Sleep.  The car had no head lights.  So Dutch and Arthur took turns at riding the running board and fender to direct the driving.  We got headlights and patching material at Ten Sleep.  We only had 7 flats that night.  The tire pump was none too good.  My hands being the smallest I got  the job of holding them around the tube while the air went into the tire.  To end this happy occasion we ran over a skunk about a mile or so before getting into Ten Sleep.  We stretched out on the lawn and went to sleep.  We ate no breakfast.  Twas after this that Jim and I started going together.  We met on July 15 and on October 13 we were engaged, and on December the 23rd we were married.”