Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mountain of Eden, Pt. 2

Here’s our last Wyoming wildflower excursion, providing I don’t go on another hike soon. Please excuse the ignorance of your tour guide, as these are specimens which she has yet to positively identify. Even so, they’re too extraordinary to be passed over!

Wax current?
Mystery tree, apple-like
Mystery flower
Some kind of vetch?

"You’re a tree replanted in Eden, bearing fresh fruit every month, never dropping a leaf, always in blossom." –PSALM 1:3 (MSG)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mountain of Eden

It occurred to me that some readers may never get to go for a springtime hike in Wyoming, so I’ll continue with the wildflower tour for another day or two. Flora-phobes will just have to bear with the rest of us!

Disclaimer: I’m not a botanist, so my wildflower identification proficiency is more than suspect. I welcome any corrections!

Star lilies (aka sand lilies)

Mountain cactus, townsendia

Tall bluebells
Trefoil (I think!) 
Alpine milkvetch

“See the marvels of God! He plants flowers and trees all over the earth.” –PSALM 46:8 (MSG)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Flowers with Coats

On last Saturday’s hike, Anna and I saw hundreds of pasque flowers. Pasque is  French for Easter, which, in many climes, is when pasque flowers usually bloom. Easter has long since come and gone, but in the high altitudes of Wyoming, winter has barely bid her farewells! (I did see one big snowdrift that had yet to melt.)

Said to be quite poisonous, the little lavender wildflowers are also called prairie crocuses, meadow anemones, or wind flowers. The pasque flowers’ bracts, stems, and leaves are so covered with fine hairs that they are positively furry! Could it be that pasque flowers are so wooly because they need to stay warm?

“…Complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love….” –2 PETER 1:5-7 (MSG)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Paintbrush Politics

According to historians, the Indian paintbrush barely made it to Wyoming state- flowerhood. When the Indian paintbrush was nominated nearly a century ago, legislators, botanists, school children, and the Daughters of the American Revolution debated the merits of the controversial wildflower.

It seems that, while undeniably lovely, Castilleja linariaefolia was  hemiparasitic (partially living off the roots of other plants) and, as such, tricky to propagate or transplant. In addition, the Indian paintbrush sported too many difficult-to-distinguish varieties and was less prevalent than its closest runner-up, the fringed gentian. The record is unclear as to which political party was pro-paintbrush and anti-gentian.

After its defeat in 1916, the fringed gentian apparently forsook Wyoming for more politically welcoming states. According to the USDA PLANTS Profile, the fringed gentian grows in many northern and eastern states, but not Wyoming!

Indian paintbrush seen on yesterday's hike

“You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers.” –PSALM 30:11 (MSG)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Welcome Back, Summer!

When I was a kid, Memorial Day weekend always meant one thing: the first camping trip of the year. Sure, it could snow up there in the mountains—and did, sometimes—but still, it was the unofficial kick-off of summer.

I haven’t been a kid for a long time, but I still had fun in the mountains today. I met up with son Zach’s girlfriend, Anna, for a snow-free hike and picnic. Due to the holiday weekend and gorgeous weather, the trail traffic was somewhat congested. I didn't count how many people and dogs we saw, but I do know that everyone looked quite happy to be there!

Zach was absent because he’s spending the summer in Yemen, of all places, participating in a college- and state-sponsored anthropology project. I e-mailed him this photo of his girlfriend and dog, just in case he isn’t homesick!

Anna and Bodie

“God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing….” –PSALM 68:6 

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Fish Whisperer

Newlyweds Josh and Rachel have been living in a rental that prohibits pets. After a tough day, Josh was sitting in his chair and talking to the Lord about how much he wished he had a dog. If I had a dog, he thought, he’d be right beside me, and I’d be petting him.

Josh’s gaze wandered over to Pishy, their pet beta. I wonder if I could pet Pishy. He stuck a finger in the water. At first, Pishy was wary, but before long he began coming up to the top of the water to be petted. Now, Pishy eagerly responds to Josh’s voice, sometimes getting so keyed up he nearly jumps out of his glass. Josh brings Pishy’s glass with him around the house so the two can be together.

In a few weeks, Rachel and Josh are moving to a new house, one with a back yard. They’ve already picked out a beautiful dog from the animal shelter. I’m excited for them, but I wonder if Pishy will be jealous.

Click on the link below to see Josh petting Pishy.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” –PSALM 23:1

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Pork Chop

Meet our newest addition, a yearling Angus bull which Hubby purchased last month at the Midland Bull Test Sale. Black Angus bulls, in my mind, are about as safe to be around as a box of dynamite. I voted for a Hereford, which are both handsome and chivalrous. Either the election was rigged or my ballot was inadvertently thrown in the trash because the bull is black.

I concede that the bull seems somewhat calm and friendly. He’s got a weird, unfunny registered name, but we’ve already named him Pork Chop (Porky for short) for his relatively short legs, long, deep body, and huge appetite.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Five years ago, son Zach planted an orchard in a corner of a pasture. Since then I’ve irrigated, mulched, fertilized, and pruned those apple, apricot, and pear trees—with only one measly apple to show for my trouble. But, lo and behold, we now have blossoms! Not very many, mind you, but definitely an enchanting sight. This fall, perhaps I'll be writing about the apple pie I just baked!

“…For he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.” –ZECHARIAH 2:8

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hotshot Award

Since the person* in charge of the Bar D Triangle New Moo Awards is something of a hayseed, and also swamped with irrigation, yard work, and a Mother’s Day visit from her son, this last award is beyond belated. All the same, we’re proud to present this year’s winner of the Hotshot Award: little Glory Moo.

Glory is the only calf that I’ve seen prance right up to a horse, shaking her head in challenge to a critter with big teeth and quick hooves who outweighs her by over half a ton! Granted, the horse was safely on the other side of the fence, but it still took a lot of audacity. She also likes to scamper past another cow or one of us, and when safely past, kick out both heels towards in a saucy statement.

These photos capture the look on Glory's face that I’ve seen dozens of times that seems to say, Watch out, everyone! I’m a force to be reckoned with!

*Yours truly

“Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!” –ISAIAH 60:1 (AMP)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Blossom Business

The snow is long gone except on the mountains, and as I write this, it’s 83°! In a matter of days, we’ve gone from white snow and silvery frost to emerald alfalfa, chartreuse cottonwood leaves, and brilliant yellow dandelions—by the zillion. The roses and flowers are weeks behind schedule, but the Nanking cherries and golden currants are putting on a good show. 

We’re watching the apple trees to see if they’ll blossom this year. I’m told that they should be old enough to start producing, but the recent cold snaps may have had something to say about that!

Cherry blossoms

Currant blossoms

“Thirsty deserts will be glad; barren lands will celebrate and blossom with flowers.” –ISAIAH 35:1 (CEV)

Friday, May 10, 2013


My favorite place to run is down the canal road. I use the term “road” loosely, as it’s really just a two-track that’s sometimes dusty, muddy, rocky, pocked with hoofprints, or cobbled with horse or cow manure. But I love the people I meet along the way.

Well, they’re not actually people per se. Some are mammals—muskrats, mink, or the occasional stray cat—but most are of avian ilk: robins, red-winged or yellow-headed blackbirds, blue herons, sandhill cranes, kingfishers, mergansers, and the pair of bald eagles and their one eaglet (is that a word?). I’m particularly fond of this western meadowlark, whom we call Mancini, who is always in the same spot singing his beautiful, joyful compositions. 

“For lo, the winter is past….The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come....” –SONG OF SOLOMON 2:11-12

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Got Milk?

Izzy does!

“God be merciful unto us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us….”                                                        –PSALM 67:1 (KJ21)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Weighty Matter

Because spring has been colder and damper than usual—with no need for irrigation just yet—we’re just now putting the gated pipe together. Hubby says that if the pipes were all assembled in one row, they would stretch just over a mile. But after we’ve lifted, carried, and hoisted the heavy, awkward, 30-foot long pipes onto the flatbed trailer; then pulled, carried, lowered, and pushed them together; it seems like 10 miles! Not that we do it all in a day. We’ve learned to have mercy on our shoulders and backs and pace ourselves—and enlist the help of our younger, stronger friend, Mario!

With her characteristic hand-lick, Sparkle introduces herself to Mario and his daughter Alexia.

   “Now I will take the load from your shoulders;
    I will free your hands from their heavy tasks.”
                                 --PSALM 81:6 (NLT)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Awards Week, Pt. 4

If there’s a wild calf party going on in the pasture, little Dazzle is probably the instigator.

If we’re bringing the cows from the pasture to the barn, Dazzle impudently marches up to a horse (with a few of the bolder calves in tow) as if to say, Who are you and what do you think you’re doing here?

If a flock of American white pelicans flies low over the herd, Dazzle incites a stampede after them. Even the lazy, staid older cows lift their tails in the air and take off after her, running over hill and dale!

Naturally, Dazzle won this year’s Ringleader Award.

“But I have trusted, leaned on, and been confident in Your mercy and loving-kindness; my heart shall rejoice and be in high spirits in Your salvation.” —PSALM 13:5 (AMP)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Awards Week, Pt. 3

The winner of the distinctive Mr. Directionality Award is, of course, little Petey. Sometime during conception and its aftermath, whilst Mother Nature was sorting Petey’s DNA and mapping out his phenotype, she may have gotten distracted and started messing with her phone’s GPS during the Legs straight ahead segment.


The recipient of the Lovable Outlaw Award is none other than Pancho, Panda’s calf. We regularly discover him running on the wrong side of the law (the fence, any fence), whether taking some pals on a sight-seeing venture, leading the other herd on a wild calf chase, or playing bust-the-piƱata (insect repellent dust bag hanging from a tree).  We have yet to get irritated, though, because he’s having so much fun, and besides, he’s the friendliest of the calves. Pancho likes to mouth our fingers and be scratched on his head—a brilliant public relations strategy!


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Awards Week, Pt. 2

A cow and her calf are the next winners of the ranch’s first annual New Moo Awards:

By virtue of his incredible will to overcome adversity, Trooper is both the inspiration for and the recipient of the Trooper Award. (Read his remarkable story in the March posts Bud and Trooper and Music to our Ears.)It’s obvious from this recent photo that Trooper is prospering!

Trooper’s mama, Blossom, a 2-year old heifer, is the next winner. During Trooper’s perilous first days, she graciously allowed us to milk her so we could feed him by stomach tube—even when he’d been in the house for hours. Once he could stand and try to nurse, she patiently stood like a rock until he figured it out. And even though Blossom isn’t a big cow, she produces such rich, power-packed milk that Trooper is bigger, stockier, and chubbier than any of the other calves. Hence, she was a shoe-in for the Dairy Queen Award!

“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” –3 JOHN 1:2 (KJ21)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Rodent Reprieve

Believe it or not, this is Smokey, our cat. Why would a Terrible Tiger be snuggled under a heavy comforter on this beautiful May morning, when he could be outdoors hunting birds and stalking mice?

This is why!

“As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish…
So is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.–ISAIAH 55:10-11 (NIV)