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!

Dirt

What began as an invigorating hike morphed into one of those meandering strolls, like Lucas and I experienced here.  But instead of Lucas being exhausted, it was me!  I feel so good lately, I go out and try to do activities like I did before my PE incident.  That was just a month ago but obviously not long enough!  Last night I tried clearing out my garden of cornstalks and sunflower skeletons, but that was too much too.  Sigh.  But never wanting to waste a good hike – and the dogs thought it was a GREAT hike – and since I had a lot of meandering time to spend getting back to my Durango, I started taking pics of DIRT.  Yah, good old Wyoming dirt.  I appreciate dirt.  The nice loamy feel of the hayfields, the sand and gravel bars of the creek that hide old buffalo skulls, the shale hillsides that spook me when I have to ride my horse across their avalanching surface, the red dirt that is in my soul.  Growing up with my Dad – who knew an amazing amount about dirt – and his friends who were geologists, you’d think I’d know more.  But look at this..
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This is a closeup view of the myriad (I like that word!) lichens and… and Whatevers… on top of the dirt.  Whatever they are, they protect the soft soil underneath so that it erodes only where not protected by the myriad lichens and Whatevers.  Gee, so much for an educational blog today!  But here’s the scene of the hillside.
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It reminds me in miniature of an otherworldly set from a movie.  Walk over the top, you disturb the myriad lichen, and expose the grey dirt below.  It is extremely fragile.  And cool.  Too bad the cloud moved over right then so the color is not as brilliant as it could be.
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Look at this.  I’m ten feet away from the Otherworldly Myriad Lichen.  This extends clear up the hillside.  Drastic change!  Next to it was a grey shale, then this tan, then dark maroon dirt.  Now the grey shale, if it is the same that is found in the badlands, is from ash from a volcanic explosion originating in Yellowstone millions of years ago.  You can actually find leaf fossils in the grey shale.  And I looked and looked here… resting my weary body… but spied not a single fossil.
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I just can’t resist Dragon’s Backbones like this.  It appeals to me, that sense of imagery, to think of a dragon sleeping underground with just his spine showing.  To think of the pressure and force that made these rocks stand on edge from how they were layed down is mind boggling.
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Aha! back on familiar Red Dirt.  The iron that turns this dirt the rusty red speaks of home to me.  But best of all, I can lift my head from Wyoming dirt scenes, grateful that together they compose this symphony.
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