Thursday, November 28, 2013


Today was Thanksgiving for us. Coincidentally, it was also our cows’ favorite day of the year: the day they’re turned out from the small pasture onto the large hayfields. We humans stuffed ourselves with a big spread, but I think the cows and heifers feasted even more!

I'd told Princess earlier what day it was. As usual, she either understood my English or read my mind because she was the first one out of the gate.
Not surprisingly, Dazzle paused to mug for the camera. She and her mama Cupcake seem to know how photogenic they are and almost always stop what they're doing to pose right in front of me.

 As Sundae and Bubbles jogged past, Sugar watched enviously in the background. The horses did get turned out later in the day but exhibited a great deal more exuberance. They may still be running now!

“Oh, thank God—he’s so good…All of you set free by God, tell the world!” –PSALM 107:1-2 (MSG)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Other than one rotund, orange-breasted specimen, we haven’t seen any robins for over a month, so we were delighted when a dozen or so robins suddenly appeared in our yard at lunchtime. I noticed that the robins weren’t alone. Almost 20 starlings pecked in my flower beds and rested in the branches right alongside the robins. One female starling, in particular, fed side-by-side with the robins.

I remember that the robins that resided and reproduced here last summer consorted, apparently harmoniously, with a small flock of starlings. I recall that one female starling seemed always to associate more closely with the robins than with her own kind. 

Could be the very same birds? If so, where have they been these past five weeks? I always thought bird migration to be basically longitudinal, but these feathered friends seem to be traveling in circles!

“Living as becomes you] with complete lowliness of mind (humility) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another.” –EPHESIANS 4:2 (AMP)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Nest Therapy

The Bighorn Basin, where we live, receives less than 10 inches of annual precipitation. Were it not encompassed by four distinct mountain ranges, it would surely be called the Bighorn Desert. At any rate, our arid climate typically provides ideal conditions for my solvophobic goats.

Solvophobia, the fear of dissolving in water, is latent during drought and dry spells but problematic during and after rain and snow events. The goats spent the last snowstorm in the barn, but when the sun came out, we were compelled to scrape the snow off of a sunny knoll and make a nest for them with straw and hay.

Minnie and Moey up in the nest

“Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and look well to your herds.” –PROVERBS 27:23 (AMP)

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Rubber rabbitbrush "blooming" this sub-zero morning

“He wraps you in goodness….” –PSALM 103:5 (MSG)

Friday, November 22, 2013


Cupcakes are always better with sprinkles, which is the primary reason that I have a stash of—I’m reluctant to admit this—28 containers (hey, most are very small bottles) of sprinkles in my cupboard.  Well, Cupcake must subscribe to the same theory because yesterday she played in the hay, embellishing herself with hundreds of tiny green sprinkles.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Going My Way?

Moey has flourished so much these past few months that I sometimes forget how tiny and timid she used to be. She’s almost as tall as her sister Minnie, and every bit as confident, plump, and playful. Gone are the days when she wanted to be carried everywhere instead of running, skipping, and kicking her heels—or so I thought.

The latest storm left just 3 inches of snow, but Moey thought it was 3 inches too much. The other goats were glad to get out of the barn this afternoon, but Moey detested the feel of the cold, wet powder on her feet. She parked herself in a patch of bare dirt in the lee of some tractor tires, where she loudly submitted a barrage of I-hate-snow-please-carry-me requests!

“Save Your people and bless Your heritage; nourish and shepherd them and carry them forever.” –PSALM 28:9 (AMP)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Bodie, our Border collie-blue heeler-Catahoula cross, enjoys his typical ranch duties: herding cows, trying to herd goats, putting up with cats, holding down vehicle seats, terrifying visitors, and exercising rabbits. But Bodie’s activity-of-choice is walking, hiking, or running with his family. Bodie prefers to run with son Zach, who runs faster and further than those of us who are older and more sluggish!

Zach and Bodie running to their grandparents' house

Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
–ISAIAH 40:31 (NASB)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Herding the Wind

A group of wind generators is called a wind farm, but I’ve taken the liberty of renaming this one in Shirley Basin: wind ranch.

Just look at the iconic Wyoming ranch scene below: sagebrush, gnarled cedar posts, barbed wire fence, wide expanse of grassland, distant mountain range, no trees. In my travels down the highway past this place, I’ve seen herds of cattle grazing beneath the wind gens, but I’ve never seen a single row of corn, wheat, barley, sugar beets, or any typical Wyoming crop. Looks like a ranch to me.

When I drove past yesterday, the wind was gusting hard enough to require a firm grip by both hands on the steering wheel. I didn’t see any cows and could only assume that they had blown away.

“…He was seen upon the wings of the wind.” –2 SAMUEL 22:11 (AMP)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Piled High

This looked more like a giant cow-cupcake than a haystack! A yearling steer (left) appeared to be scrounging for "crumbs" which the wind may have blown off the top.

"What a stack of blessing you have piled up

    for those who worship you." -PSALM 31:19 (MSG)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Ranch P.R.

When folks drop by our place, Bodie barks so discourteously and ferociously that some people aren’t sure whether they should get out of their vehicles. Meanwhile, the cats run and hide, at least until they are sure that the intruders didn’t bring any dogs with them. Our cows like us but are rather stand-offish with strangers. The horses and goats are more sociable, but the former can be intimidating to the non-horsey set, especially little kids; hence, the goats have assumed most public relations duties.  Their cuteness and unreserved affability serve them well in their positions as ambassadors for the ranch!

Alexia feeding crackers to Blueberry

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us….” –2 CORINTHIANS 5:20 (NASB)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bright Spots

Cold and time have begun to muddy nature’s pallet so that the only golden leaves that remain are on the calendars that hang on my walls. Life isn’t dull, however, because so much beauty and fun await me every day, if only I look expecting to find them.

Sagebrush gone to seed

The wild roses still glow russet 

The kids romp atop the flatbed trailer

“The unthankful heart…discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.” –HENRY WARD BEECHER

Monday, November 11, 2013

Great Ones

Today was sunless and cold, but my day was brightened by the sight of some wild turkeys snacking in the neighbor’s barley field. The reclusive beauties only come around a few times every November, so a glimpse of them is something of a luxury.

I suppose that the reason the turkeys are so shy of humans is simple: wild turkeys taste good, so people hunt them. They needn’t fear me, however. For one thing, I don’t hunt. Besides, my son and I were present when their ancestors, some Rio Grande turkeys transported from Oklahoma, were first released 15 miles from here in 1996. These are their great-great-great-great-great-grandturkeys!

“Whoever goes hunting for what is right and kind finds life itself—glorious life!” –PROVERBS 21:21 (MSG)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Camo Specialists

Our little town has just one small department store, so my knowledge of fashion trends is extremely limited. It appears to me, however, that camouflage is “in” this year. Our store is full of camouflage coats, hats, and clothing for men, women and children, as well as camo bedding, curtains, vehicle seat covers and floor mats, chairs, knives, notebooks, backpacks, water bottles, cell phone cases, coolers, cameras, and pet supplies. To the best of my knowledge, they don’t stock camo Christmas decorations or toothpaste—yet.

I suspect that the increase in camo-decorated merchandise can be attributed to the wildly popular TV series, Duck Dynasty, which I’ve never seen. I did see these mule deer camouflaged in their bedding grounds the other day. Actually, when I snapped the photo, I only saw two deer, but when I got closer, eight of them rose from their hiding place and ran off. If you enlarge and study the photo (sorry about its graininess—mulies are rather camera shy), you’ll see why deer are truly masters of camouflage!

“Blind eyes will be opened, deaf ears unstopped, lame men and women will leap like deer, the voiceless break into song.” –ISAIAH 35:5 (MSG)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Prisoner of (Coon) War

It was almost midnight when I woke up last night. I was worried about our cat, Smokey, who had not been seen since midmorning. It had been a nice day, weather-wise, so I wasn’t too surprised at first. But by the time the sun set and the cold set in, he still hadn’t shown up. We prayed, of course, and tried not to think about the coyotes and foxes that occasionally trespass on the place.

An image flashed across my sleep-sluggish mind: the trap that Hubby and I had seen a few days before while we were walking on a neighbor’s property. A coon trapper had set it alongside the canal and baited it with cat food.

I traded pajamas for winter clothing and trudged out into the dark, armed with a flashlight and Bodie, our cowdog-turned-search-and-rescue-dog.

Bodie heard Smokey’s plaintive meows before he saw him. Sure enough, Smokey was behind bars. I don’t know who was happier or more relieved to find and set Smokey free: me or the cat!

Smokey's prison

“I tell prisoners, ‘Come on out. You’re free!’ and those huddled in fear, ‘It’s all right. It’s safe now.’” –ISAIAH 49:9 (MSG)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Warming Trends

It’s that time of year in Wyoming: wool socks, flannel-lined jeans, vests, sweatshirts, and mittens have begun to replace lighter, more fashionable attire, especially for those of us who work outdoors.

Sugar’s winter coat isn’t much longer or thicker than her summer coat, but I recognize it because it’s darker red, almost chestnut. Winters get quite cold here, and most horses—just like cattle—grow coats that are almost an inch longer than Sugar’s. In contrast, Sugar stays warm like whales or other sea-faring mammals do: she adds layers of insulating blubber.

The mama goats aren’t particularly woolly yet, but the doelings are positively shaggy!



“…Complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love….” –2 PETER 1:5-6 (MSG)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sheep Mountain Mustangs

I’d never seen them, but I’d heard about the few wild horses that range the sagebrush desert west of Sheep Mountain and east of Highway 310, which runs northward from Greybull to Lovell. Hubby has done some work out in that country and told of seeing a stallion, mares, and colts. They differ from other bands seen at the McCullough Peaks Management Area towards Cody in that they’re mostly black and much more skittish at the sight of humans.

I’ve driven Highway 310 dozens, if not hundreds, of times without seeing those horses, so I was surprised and delighted to catch a glimpse of seven of them as they sped past us a few days ago. We had no camera, only a phone with no zoom, but were blessed to record the enchanted moment nonetheless.  

Two fillies gallop after a mare; all were black with Appaloosa markings

“I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!”2 SAMUEL 22:20 (MSG)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Of Kings and Kittens

Our cat Smokey would be the last to admit it, but he is developing some fondness for little Mercy, the new kitten. He enjoys her adoration and boundless playfulness, although she gets on his nerves when he’s tired and she relentlessly bounces up to bat him on the nose. And when Mercy snuggles close to me for her nap, in his spot on my chair, Smokey gets jealous of her and mad at me. 

Fortunately for Smokey, kittens are too small and vulnerable to be allowed outdoors, so he can recover his dignity and autonomy whenever he stalks out the front door into his “jungle”.

Smokey, king of the Mercy-free jungle

Mercy playing with her favorite toy rodent

“Bless the Lord…Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy….” –PSALM 103:2,4 (AMP)