Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Family Picnic

It has been brought to my attention that Blueberry and Jubilee have gotten most of the press lately, so I’m highlighting Meels and family today. Meels has a lot of milk for a first-time mama, and all three kids are growing fast. Minnie, who used to be the smallest, must have an out-sized appetite because she’s now bigger than her sister Mocha. Mocha, aka Mo, is a crowd favorite on account of her beautiful coloring and cuddly qualities. Tonto is the biggest and pluckiest of the three and can often be seen rearing up and butting his Aunt Blueberry or bigger cousins.

L to R: Tonto, Mocha, Minnie 
Mocha munching on kochia

Sugar greeting Meels

 “We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people.” –I THESSALONIANS 1:4 (NLT)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Dozen Cousins

When it comes to families, mine is somewhat unusual in that I’m one of twins but have no other siblings or cousins. When I was younger, I sometimes wished for a big brother to look out for us—preferably one of linebacker proportions—but other than that, I didn’t mind being from a small family because I didn’t know what I was missing.

But this summer, I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by a dozen cousins. People-wise, there are two brother-sister combos and one brother-sister-sister combo—all cousins. Goat-wise, Blueberry’s twins are cousins to Meels’ triplets. I’ve observed that people-cousins play and spar with each other as spiritedly as do goat-cousins!

Jubilee (foreground) with two of her cousins 

L to R: Autumn, Dane, Hunter, Addie, Colton, Coy (not pictured: one-year old Katie, who is too young for riding horses)

“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.” –ROMANS 12:10 (NKJV)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Best and Worst

Yesterday was finals day at Cheyenne Frontier Days. Spectators like me got to watch the best-of-the-best prove themselves in one of the world’s most renowned rodeo arenas. We saw multi-world champion Trevor Brazile, along with his gorgeous bay gelding known as “The Hulk”, win the steer roping.

Trevor Brazile and The Hulk

In contrast to superstars in other sports, rodeo celebrities are often the worst-of-the-worst! Here’s another really good bay horse—only he’s really bad!

Bradley Harter and Biff

“When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself….Bow in prayer….Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble….The “worst” is never the worst.” –LAMENTATIONS 3:28-30 (MSG)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Green and Gold

They’re here! The huge combines rolled into eastern Wyoming early this week to harvest the winter wheat. I drove past this giant John Deere combine this morning. It was left parked in the field because last night’s rain had halted the harvest until the sun could dry the grain. Farmers pray for moisture most of the year, but at planting and harvest time, they pray for clear, sunny skies!

Paint the wheat fields golden.
    Creation was made for this!
Drench the plowed fields,
    soak the dirt clods
With rainfall as harrow and rake
    bring her to blossom and fruit.
         PSALM 65:9-10 (MSG)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Better Them than Me

Rodeo is one of my favorite sports—spectator sports, that is. Even though rodeo involves horses and cattle, I’ve never had near enough nerve or athleticism required to compete in the sport, even in my youth.

In fact, I go out of my way to avoid any semblance of rodeo. Disposition is a major consideration when purchasing stock. Mean cows and ornery bulls are sent to town (the sale barn). A frisky horse is lunged before she’s ridden to get the spunk out of her. Adrenaline junky, I’m not!

Eight long seconds, bull riding

Dicey third turn, barrel racing
Ejecting from flight deck, saddle bronc

“It is good that one should hope in and wait quietly for the salvation (the safety and ease) of the Lord.” –LAMENTATIONS 3:26 (AMP)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cirque du Jubilé

I think Jubilee wants to be a circus acrobat when she grows up!

This stunt didn't work out too well.

A frequent sight.

She jumped up and down, over and over again.

Taken a split-second after she jumped on the dog, Casper, who wasn't all that impressed with her nerve!

A Message from the high and towering God, who lives in Eternity, whose name is Holy: “I live in the high and holy places, but also with the low-spirited, the spirit-crushed, And what I do is put new spirit in them, get them up and on their feet again.”  –ISAIAH 57:15 (MSG)

Monday, July 22, 2013


Sugar and I got a new riding student today: Addie, who along with her family, is visiting from Kansas. Addie hadn’t been around horses for years and was quite afraid. Her cousin Hunter assured Addie that Sugar was calm and nice, and then she rode Sugar so Addie could see that it was true. But I could see the fear on Addie’s face and feel the tension in her legs as I adjusted the stirrups.

“It’s okay to be afraid,” I said. “But you’ve got to face your fears, or else they will control you.” I admitted that struggle with fear sometimes too.

I told her that she could just sit on Sugar and didn’t have to go anywhere. But as Addie petted Sugar and we kept chatting, she relaxed enough to want to ride her at the walk. By the time Addie got off the horse, she was grinning. When I told her how proud I was that she’d stood up to her fears, tears of joy filled her eyes—and mine.

“I sought the Lord, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.”
–PSALM 34:4 (NIV)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunflower Linings

Some consider sunflowers to be a weed, since they thrive without care and multiply exponentially in flower beds and fields. In my own gardening past, I pulled up little sunflower saplings (trust me, sunflowers grew like trees in my flower beds) by the hundreds every year. I loved their bright, cheery faces, but they threatened to overwhelm all the other flowers due to sheer numbers and size, so I weeded out all but those at the very back of the beds.

This summer, I’m missing my sunflowers almost as much as my roses. God has not left me bereft, however. Wild sunflowers line the paths where I run and the roads where I drive—by the thousands!

“You’ve got my feet on the life-path,
    with your face shining sun-joy all around.” –
ACTS 2:28 (MSG)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lickety and Split

Little Jack and Jubilee could just have well been named Lickety and Split. Or Helter and Skelter. Or Pell and Mell. Or Blue and Streak.

These days, the kids’ favorite game goes like this: Follow Mama (Blueberry) out the barn, up the hill, around the corner, and to the weeds where she browses. Take a few bites. Wheel around and retrace steps all the way back into the barn and down the aisle—at breakneck speed. Show off to the little cousins. Squeak for Mama, retrace steps, and sprint to her side as fast as possible. Repeat. Repeat again!

“The spacious, free life is from God, it’s also protected and safe….When we run to him, he saves us.”  –PSALM 37:39-40 (MSG)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fair Warning

In order to help control the flies in the goat barn, I purchased a fly trap at the farm supply store. It comes with a little vial of “attractant”, which, when added to water, lures the gullible insects to a watery death. The directions specified how to mix the attractant and hang the trap; however, they failed to mention the dangers involved.

Some of the attractant splashed on my shirt and hand. I didn’t smell anything at first, but soon I found myself thinking, What’s that smell? One of the cats must have left a dead mouse in here somewhere. Then I realized that the smell was emanating from my person! It seems that the fragrance that flies find most irresistible is eau de dead mouse—and they were all over me.

The stench so permeated my skin that after washing with three kinds of soap and a paste made from baking soda, my hand still smelled like dead mouse. I looked for a lemon to rub over my hand but settled for a lime. I sniffed. Now I smelled like a dead mouse marinated in lime juice!

In case you’re wondering: the trap works well, and hundreds of nasty flies have met their Waterloo in it. Nevertheless, the label should warn consumers of the olfactory risks!

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” –2 CORINTHIANS 2:14 (NASB)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Kids and Kids

The barn was nearly full of kids this morning—four human and five goat. It didn’t surprise me that Jubilee, the most personable and attention-seeking of the bunch, was the first to jump in the limelight and pose for a photo with one of her young guests.

To the audience’s delight, Jubilee performed one of her favorite stunts.

By virtue of their size and cuteness, Minnie, Tonto, and Mocha got a lot more attention than their mama!

“Delight yourselves in God, yes, find your joy in him at all times.” –PHILIPPIANS 4:4 (PHILLIPS)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Even Better

Even after it became apparent that Blueberry was going to survive her illness, no one who saw her right eye, which was solid white, believed that she would ever see out of it again. “I know that eye is probably toast,” I kept saying, “but I’m so thankful that she’s alive that it doesn’t bother me.”

Despite my lack of faith, the white part of Blueberry’s eye has gradually shrunk and nearly disappeared. Although we’re not qualified goat optometrists, we can tell that she can actually see out of that eye! In fact, it has healed so well that she can finally go outside.

When Jack and Jubilee discovered that the world was bigger than the barn yesterday, they were overwhelmed and scurried back indoors. But they must have decided that blue sky and green grass aren’t all that terrifying, because today they were eager to venture into the sunshine and explore.

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!” –EPHESIANS 3:20 (MSG)

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Sport of Gardening

Gardening is a diverse sport.

I know some master gardeners, cottage gardeners, and raised-bed gardeners. I am acquainted with herb gardeners, container gardeners, community gardeners, and butterfly gardeners. I have heard about victory gardeners, English gardeners, labyrinth gardeners, green wall gardeners, Zen rock gardeners, and xeriscapers.

I myself am a rose gardener, flower gardener, and basic, everyday vegetable gardener (of amateur rank, although I believe that I could grow zucchini at the professional level, if I applied myself).

One summer, I tried to be an upside-down gardener. Growing tomato plants upside down was purported to be easy and “ingenious”, but obviously I am no genius, since my endeavors proved largely fruitless!

 Striking shrub rose grown by a local master gardener

“For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers,
    and as a garden cascades with blossoms,
So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom
    and puts praise on display before the nations.” –
ISAIAH 61:11 (MSG)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fire and Ice

In Wyoming, most rose bushes are starting to lose their momentum by now. But despite the recent sweltering heat, this delightful little rose is still blooming enthusiastically.

The plant was a gift to its gardener, who doesn’t know its identity. It looks like a Pinstripe to me, but Pinstripe isn’t supposed to be hardy enough to make it through Wyoming’s Zone 4 winters. This plant has survived two thus far.

Is there a red-and-white striped miniature rose cultivar named Fire and Ice? If so, I may have a photo of it!

“…He will comfort all her waste places. And He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her….” –ISAIAH 51:3 (AMP)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Good Morning

I love to go for walks in the country. No matter how unhappy the past or uncertain the future, a walk in the country is sure to give cause to celebrate the present. This morning’s walk through Sugar’s pasture was no exception. I thoroughly enjoyed the whispy clouds that filtered the hot sun, the company of my dog and horse—both of whom were as happy for the walk as I—and a lovely patch of alfalfa and prairie coneflowers!

Bodie and Sugar

“…Lighten the eyes [of my faith to behold Your face in the pitchlike darkness]….” –PSALM 13:3 (AMP)

Friday, July 12, 2013

High Up

Jubilee has come a long way from the tiny doeling who would squeal with alarm every time she was picked up more than a few inches off the ground. Two weeks later, she can’t get high enough! Her favorite perch has been atop Blueberry, her mama, but yesterday she scrambled up my back and balanced on my shoulders long enough for me to duck my head and capture the moment digitally.

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.” –PSALM 103:11 (NASB)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hay Day

Yesterday was hay day.

Because of exercise and ranch work, my arms are strong. But bucking bales--hoisting, carrying, and stacking 70 pound hay bales--uses muscles in the forearms that free weights, water buckets, shovels, and wheelbarrows don’t touch.

Not only is bucking bales an arduous task, but it always seems to take place on one of the hottest days of summer. The job can’t wait for more pleasant weather because the bales need to get off the field as soon as possible for best regrowth of the grass or alfalfa. And since rain causes the hay to mold, there’s always a push to get the hay in the stack before an afternoon thundershower blows over.

Due to intense exertion under a blazing sun, every sweat gland works overtime. The resulting moisture cools the body but also acts as a glue to which quantities of dirt and chaff stick. We wear long-sleeved shirts and jeans for protection from the scratches and prickles, but still, little bits of hay wind up inside all undergarments!

Despite the material discomforts, I love hay days. It’s fun to work hard, especially with nice people, and so gratifying to see stacks of hay stored away in the barn to feed stock and provide great barn cat habitat!

“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” –JEREMIAH 32:17 (NIV)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Kid Cam III

This morning when I did chores, Tonto was only 38 hours old and couldn’t have weighed more than a pound or so. But he bounced around, shook his head at Meels, and butted the hay ever so fiercely!

Minnie is so tiny that sometimes, if she gets behind or under anyone, it takes a few moments to find her in the stall. So far, she’s the friendliest and most curious of the three.

Naptime! From front to back: Minnie, Mocha, Tonto.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Triple Cute

Meels is so attentive to her new kids that she barely allows herself to eat and rest, but I’m sure that she will soon settle down as well as recoup her hearty appetite. Allow me to officially introduce Meels’ three musketeers!



“For the Father Himself [tenderly] loves you because you have loved Me and have believed that I came out from the Father.” –JOHN 16:27 (AMP)

Monday, July 8, 2013


Meels finally kidded today! Blueberry had snuck her kids in to the world in privacy, but not Meels: she had five of us at the ready! Kid #3 was a tiny breech that we worried about, but she turned out to be a scrappy one.

Now that the adrenaline has worn off, I’m too sleepy to write anything coherent, so I’ll just post some photos of the blessed event. 

First on the scene.

Big guy! Second to arrive.

Littlest and last (middle), a breech birth.

Helping with clean-up.

The Kidding Dream Team!

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.” –PSALM 103:1 (NASB)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

She's Back!

My stomach churned nervously this morning as I prepared to take Blueberry’s temperature. She seemed pretty chipper, but the previous evening’s reading had been somewhat high, so I was battling fearful what-if thoughts.

Beep, beep. The thermometer stopped at 102.7! (A goat’s normal temperature generally ranges from 102-103. Blueberry had been at or over 106.5 for three consecutive days earlier in the week.) My eyes spilled over with tears of relief and gratitude.

After this evening’s chores, I sat down in her stall to cuddle with little Jubilee. For the first time since she’s been sick—which seems like forever—Blueberry came up to give kisses and chew on my shoelace. “Blueberry’s back!” I said.

In case you’re tired of goats and goat photos, I’m including these pictures of Sugar’s neighbors—two gorgeous Quarter Horse mares and their colts.

“It is through the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness.” –LAMENTATIONS 3:22-23 (KJ21)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Dare You Not to Smile

Blueberry’s temperature came down another degree today to nearly normal! It had risen a bit by evening, perhaps because today was so hot that even the cement-walled barn lost its coolness. Her appetite is better than ever, and she appears to be gaining weight.

Despite Blueberry’s illness, she’s still giving plenty of milk. The kids are growing like weeds, especially Jack, who appears to eat twice as much as Jubilee does. Jack’s all-dairy, high-butterfat (6-9%) diet gives him lots of energy. Sorry, but all my pictures of Jack are a blur.  My camera’s “Action” setting is no match for his rapid-fire bounds and bounces!

Jubilee is quick and agile too, and she loves to tap-dance on the cardboard “stage”. She’s become quite the lap pet, climbing into our lap or arms anytime that we kneel or sit. I can’t imagine any creature more endearing than Jubilee.

“Faith’s only function is to receive what grace offers.” –John Stott

Friday, July 5, 2013

Turn Around

My heartfelt thanks go out to all who are praying for Blueberry’s healing (see yesterday’s post). Her fever has begun to drop, her appetite and digestion are much improved, and her cheerful, friendly manner has returned. She’s still not out of the woods and one eye looks awful, but better is better! 

The vet expressed puzzlement this morning. He admitted that he’d thought she’d be dying or dead by now.

On my way to the ranch this morning to do chores and doctor Blueberry, I was feeling gloomy, nervous, and nearly faithless because her temperature had been so high the night before. I had to stop at a truck stop. When I went inside, I realized that they were playing Blueberry Hill, which I haven’t heard in decades. That silly old tune was a heaven-sent smile that soon found its way to my face.

May God’s grace begin to turn around your hopeless situation today!

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful….” –2 TIMOTHY 2:13

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Prayer Request

My sweet Blueberry, new mama of little Jack and Jubilee (see nearly all of this past week’s posts), is fighting a virus. The vet has not yet diagnosed her illness but thinks that it might be quite critical. Please pray for her healing as well as the welfare of her kids and all the goats on the ranch!

I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.
                                        --PSALM 27:13-14 (NIV)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

At the End of a Cow Path

Sugar’s students haven’t been able to take lessons for a few days, and my knee hurts when I ride, so the dog and I took Sugar for a walk this morning. We followed a cow path to a far corner of her pasture which, apparently, is too far from the neighbor horses for her to go by herself. She and I were delightfully surprised: she to discover lush alfalfa and grasses; I to come upon some beautiful wildflowers!

Prairie coneflowers (yellow)

Scarlet globemallow

“All the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth….” –PSALM 25:10 (NASB)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Kid Cam II

While little Jubilee is busy practicing for a future Miss Congeniality title…


…her brother Jack is either eating or looking for some kind of trouble. Today, Colton observed him attempt to climb the cement barn wall! Apparently, he gathered enough momentum to actually get high enough to flip over into a backwards somersault. Too bad we didn’t have that Kid Cam up and running!

“With your help I can advance against a troop;
    with my God I can scale a wall.” –
2 SAMUEL 22:30 (NIV)