The Boys’ Toy

Life in Wyoming has many benefits… for my boys, that would be the chance to play in the snow.  They work pretty hard during the summer, with little time for fishing or camping… but in winter there’s a little more slack time.

As little kids, I took all my children to the local ski area with Ten Sleep School.  The school used to get reduced lift tickets and take a school bus load of enthusiastic skiers up every Friday afternoon.  It was a great setup.  Volunteer parents went along to ski with or just hang out in the lodge and handle lost gloves and snap ski boots and help carry poles and take pictures.  It used to be quite the day!  So the kids all learned to ski and the boys continue to do so… well, Brandon went to the ‘dark side’ and now snowboards more than skis… but they’ve always enjoyed outdoor activities.  But sooner or later they were going to want to go faster… and Vernon has had a snowmachine throughout the years.  So it was no surprise when the boys pooled their money this fall and bought their own VERY FAST snowmachine.
I had only seen it in pictures before yesterday, when they unloaded it at the Mills Place and had to take it for a quick spin before putting it up in the shop.

You can tell it doesn’t quite fit in Brandon’s little Dodge Dakota… but good enough!  Is there a family resemblance here???
There it is in all its lime green glory.  Arctic Cat M7.  I just had to ask Daniel that this very second.  I’m mechanically challenged that way.  I had better remember though, cause I’ll probably have to buy parts for it someday.
Vernon was blessed with the first chance at driving it.  I passed up on my chance… I wasn’t dressed for a breezy ride and I didn’t want to spend the rest of the afternoon trying to raise my body temperature back up to normal.
Daniel, with cap turned backwards for wind resistance, shows his dad the proper technique for riding a FAST snowmachine.  He says it is quite a workout shifting your weight and turning.  I think I still prefer my snowshoes.
Brandon blows around the field… I have to admit, it is FAASST!  They admit to having it up to 70 mph.  70.  70!  Mothers shouldn’t have to know such things… especially when their tone of voice makes it sound like it would go much faster than 70.  We mothers pray over our boys and their toys.



As we were working at the Mills Place, Daniel peered out an open window and said, “Storm’s coming!”  And within minutes, the blizzard arrived.  I headed home for lunch and snapped this photo hoping that you could see all the wind currents swirling the snow around.  It didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped.  Within an hour there was 3 – 4 inches of snow drifting across the highway.  We went ahead and attended a basketball game in Ten Sleep plus the Skills USA/FFA dinner and auction.  It is now -5 and dropping.  Oh, how we love winter in Wyoming!  Tomorrow I’ll share the boys’ new toy… and oh, yes, MY BOYS ARE HOME for Christmas break!  YAY!

Goodbye, heifers

This morning we sold the last of our heifers.  These are the ones we didn’t choose for our replacements.  They are almost 2 years old… ready to have their first babies themselves.  In my humble opinion, they are pretty good looking heifers!  Many of them I had picked to keep, however, if they don’t make the period of time that we want them to calve, then they get rejected, no matter how good looking.  Of course, I don’t want to be calving heifers until May, either!
When I said we sold them this morning… I meant MORNING.  Early.  It was too dark to take pictures.  It was freezing.  Actually it was below freezing!  This picture looks like it, doesn’t it?
You shivering yet?  I was.  My longjohns helped, but I had wimpy gloves on… and I kept taking my right glove off to take pictures.  My ears weren’t covered either, how stupid was that??
Oh, look! That poor heifer stuck her nose to the metal pole!  Ha ha.  Not really.  That was just my imagination at work.
Step one:  Sort off however many heifers the truck driver can fit in his trailer’s little nooks and crannies and pens.  The inside of a cattle truck is really an amazing design, you should check them out if you ever get a chance!  See Vernon peeking over the chute?  He’s there to urge them on up the loading chute.
Step two:  They are supposed to walk up this chute.  You can stand up when there aren’t any heifers coming your way… Cows are prey and they don’t like things over the top of them, i.e., leaping mountain lions, diving eagles, mad cowboys… Otherwise you kind of hide behind the chute to get them started and then you can lean over and goose them if they need encouragement to go in the trailer.
About this time… I’m freezing to death!  I am staying back, taking pics, keeping Boomer from getting in the way and barking, and I’m not moving enough to keep warm.  All I can think of is my warm house tucked up under the cottonwoods.  Doesn’t it look cozy?
My dogs, faithful creatures that they are, were trying to help me.  If you look at this photo closely… that’s Dally laying on my foot, and Lucas leaning against my leg.  Those were the only two warm spots on me at that point!
Step three:  Put ’em all in!  The last heifer is finally loaded and the door comes down.  They are on their way to their new home in the southern part of Wyoming.  I shake our buyer’s hand, and walk briskly home.  The brisk part was to try and warm myself… but nothing felt as good as my house and a cup of coffee!  Goodbye, heifers, have a good life!

Two Minute Naturewalk

Many of you have written to tell me how you enjoy pictures of Wyoming, but even better are the videos I’ve shared.  The links to the videos I have on YouTube can be found on the bottom left of this page… just scroll down until you see them (they are listed as movies) and click on the link.  Lately I have discovered which lets you embed the video directly into your website.  I used it with Lucas’ Therapy Dog visit.  When/if I have time, I’ll try to embed my YouTube videos on here as well!  I seem to be slightly busy though, so it might be a while!

The comment that usually accompanies the requests for more videos is this:  “Please share more of Wyoming’s beauty with us!”  You asked for it – you got it!   Today I premier the Two Minute Naturewalk.  (Not the best title in the world, but I was rushed for time! Any other title suggestions???) For those of you who are fans of the television program “CBS Sunday Morning”  you’ll recognize this technique.  It is Nature.  No narration.  No music.  No nuthin’, but dear sweet Mother Nature.  OK… Elsa got her tail in there briefly… but that was unplanned, and hopefully it won’t happen next time!
Today’s selection was the creek behind my house.  Simple.  Quick.  I’m starting off very easy!  I hope to bring you deer, geese, elk, cattle, and maybe some of our activities around the ranch.  They will all just be 2 minutes long.  I hope they give you a respite from a whatever lifestyle you are living.  If you live in the city, you might enjoy them as a 2 minute tranquilizer.  If you live in the country, perhaps you’ll compare your scenery with mine.  Wherever you are, I hope you enjoy this first installment in Two Minute Naturewalk.


Sunshine and Ice

Today was gorgeous.  Glorious blue sky.  Glaringly brilliant white snow.  Sunshine.  It was our day in the hills.  Every four days we head out to our BLM leased land to open water tanks.  Before Wyoming hit this huge drought, we actually chopped holes in reservoirs… now we break the ice on water tanks on long long waterlines we’ve laid in past years.  I had planned to go and share that with you.  Unfortunately, I had to stay home to be here when they delivered a bull we bought a few weeks ago.

I managed to drag out some Christmas decorations while waiting.
The Dish satellite guys showed up to reconfigure our satellite television.  Thank goodness for Dish Network…  when Vernon and I first got married, we had just antenna television on which we received 2 channels.  That wasn’t so bad, but if you wanted to change channels, you had to go outside, grab an extremely large pipe wrench and twist the pole the antenna was attached to 15 feet in the air!  In the winter you had to choose… ABC or NBC… because the pole froze in the ground and you were stuck with that station all winter!
Just as I was headed over to the corral to videotape our horses for you, Vernon came in from the badlands on his four wheeler… he’d had a flat tire.  So, he was here when 20 minutes later the semi arrived with our bull.
I was in the midst of putting up more outside lights, or I would have gone over to take pictures.  If I didn’t get these lights up today, they weren’t going to get put up.  We are selling our remaining heifers over the next couple of days.  I have Lucas’ reading adventure.  I have classes.  Then this weekend it is supposed to be COLD.  I mean SINGLE DIGITS for highs…  yecch.  I much prefer days like today.