Friday, January 31, 2014

Moving Out

Walking up the lane. Hiking down a cowpath. Jogging along the canal road. Cross-country skiing across a pasture. The gym just outside our door is a fitness center al fresco!

We’re in respectable aerobic condition, but the dog is in better—he adds “chasing the rabbits” to his exercise regimen!

The view from my skis
Bodie, hoping for a reappearing rabbit

“…For in Him we live and move and have our being….” –ACTS 17:28 (AMP)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Burglars

Liza was the first calf born last year. Her mama, Flame, was kind enough to share Liza’s milk with another calf whose mama didn’t give much. Although Liza grew out fine, she never had quite the bloom that the other heifers did.

All winter long, Liza and the youngest, Glory, have been supplementing their alfalfa pasture with hay from the goats’ bale. The two heifers seem oblivious to the electric fence and just calmly waltz through the wire as if covered with thick rubber, not skin and hair.

Hubby and I haven’t contacted the authorities about our two burglars that break and enter every day. The extra nourishment has served Liza and Glory well—they’re as big and plump as the others now—and besides, we rather enjoy their company!

Burglar #1, aka Liza

Burglar #2, aka Glory

“In God is my salvation and my glory….” –PSALM 62:7 (NKJV)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Marsh Mare

Because Wyoming has so little rainfall, only 2% of the state is wetlands, so we consider ourselves blessed to have a few acres of marshland on our property. Wetlands filter contaminants from water, help maintain healthy water tables, and provide habitat for a wide variety of critters fuzzy, scaled, slimy, and feathered.

Every now and then, our neighbors’ cattails even host a horse or two!

“You can’t find firm footing in a swamp, but life rooted in God stands firm.” –PROVERBS 12:3 (MSG)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Noise Pollution

At present, four out of five goats are bleating stridently. The three doelings are beside themselves with weaning angst. They were old enough to be weaned months ago, but I put it off until the coldest weather was (I hope!) past.

The mama goats don’t seem to mind, since they can still see the goaties, but Blueberry is in heat and blatting incessantly for a potential suitor. 

If we had any close neighbors, I’d probably be getting a visit from the sheriff today. “We’ve had a complaint,” he'd say. “Your goats are disturbing the peace!”

Minnie and Moey pause from their protests to munch on dried leaves

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” –JOHN 14:27 (NLT)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Square and Not

Call me too conventional, out-of-date, even “square”, and you’d be right—at least when it comes to tattoos. I don’t have any. But I can’t say the same for my cows.

In this area, heifers are vaccinated at a young age for brucellosis (aka bangs), a serious and highly contagious disease that causes abortion, infertility, and sick calves. Since the free-roaming elk and bison from Yellowstone National Park are infected with brucellosis, cows from Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, in particular, are not only vaccinated but also given official ear tags and tattoos to prove it.

Fashionably (not geometrically) speaking, I may be a square, but at least my cows aren’t!

Wings and Izzy sporting their new orange tags and green tattoos

“Thy hands have made me and fashioned me….” –PSALM 119:73 (KJ21)

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Beauty Shop

Ours is a small ranch-business, mostly just a hayfield populated by a small herd of Angus and Angus-cross cows. The pace of commerce is slow this time of year, as the alfalfa and grasses are dormant, and the calves won’t arrive for another month.

In the meantime, Sparkle has started up her own small venture: a beauty salon. It looks like she has at least one satisfied customer—Panda!

Panda enjoys a facial from her beautician, Sparkle

Note Panda's glossy waves

“And let the beauty and delightfulness and favor of the Lord our God be upon us….” –PSALM 90:17 (AMP)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Free Spirit

In the mornings, the goats are moved a short distance from the barn to the outside pen; before sundown, they’re returned to the safety of the barn. Sometimes they follow, but more often, they run ahead to the desired destination.

“They” can refer to all five of the goats, but in most cases, “they” equals Blueberry, Meels, Moey, and Jubilee. Minnie, on the other hand, is generally going her own way. She’s usually exploring and amusing herself (her favorite “toy” is the riding lawn mower parked in the shop) while the others have surrendered their freedom in exchange for their breakfast or supper. But I shouldn’t be surprised that Minnie is a non-conformist: hers was a breech (backwards) birth!

Soaking up some rays

“He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners.” –ISAIAH 61:2 (MSG)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Food Drive

A typical food drive:  food banks, civic organizations, local businesses and/or government agencies team up to solicit food donations for neighbors in need.

A hayseed food drive: a pickup bed filled with alfalfa to entice cows into corrals so heifers can be vaccinated. (Not as classically “cowboy”, but much more comfortable than riding horseback on a 5° morning!)

“For He satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with good.”
–PSALM 107:9 (AMP)

Monday, January 20, 2014


I don’t know why cows seldom take a direct route, even to important destinations like water troughs, salt licks, and pastures. Cowpaths casually wander here and there with nary a right angle or straight line, even when following a straight fence or road.

Bovine eye anatomy prevents them from seeing directly in front or behind; perhaps they prefer a winding path so they can better see where they’re headed. But wouldn’t it be easier to just swing their heads a bit from side to side?

Do cows feel that straight lines are too primitive, geometrical, or tedious? Do they find winding paths to be more imaginative, interesting, and amusing? Or are they just insulted by hustle and offended by bustle?

I don’t know.

“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” –PSALM 16:11 (AMP)

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Outlaws need a hideout to rest and regroup from making mayhem. Robin Hood had Sherwood Forest. Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch had Robber’s Roost. Black Jack Ketchum, Butch Cassidy, and the Sundance Kid had the Hole-in-the-Wall. Mercy "Mayhem" Mew has my sock-and-running-clothes drawer.

 “But the LORD is my refuge, and my God is the rock of my trust.” –PSALM 94:22 (JUB)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Refracted Glory

Cirrus clouds aren’t as comely as cumulus or as striking as stratus; in fact, they’re rather flimsy and unimpressive. Nevertheless, I love cirrus because they grace our winter mornings with sundogs.

I was scared to take physics and struggled in geometry, so I can’t begin to explain the wonder that is a sundog. (For the fascinating science behind them, see )

“Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace….” –2 CORINTHIANS 4:15 (MSG)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Rabbit Trails

Curiosity led me back to the woody gateway (see Enigma). I crunched and slid down the steep crusty slope and into the rubber rabbitbrush-peachtree willow “tunnel”.

The path actually split. One shrank to cat-sized but I was able to follow another deer-sized trail which soon became two. Each path through the brush divided into more and more, some big enough for me to squeeze through, some not. Droppings indicated that I was negotiating a cottontail maze, while cloven hoof prints suggested that I wasn’t the only non-rabbit intruder.

As expected, some trails led to a small pond from which ducks took wing. I was surprised to see so little ice, considering it’s the middle of winter. The spring that feeds it must be thermal. It seems that the place is something of a rabbit resort! 

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

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Going Places

Jubilee is growing up and still going up—up on whatever she can! She's also coming of age, so to speak, so has been rather restless lately. I hope she doesn't run off and join a circus! 

Up on the hay

Up in the Ranger

Up in the wheelbarrow

Up on the mig welder

“So that you, with all God’s people, will be given strength to grasp the breadth, length, height and depth of the Messiah’s love.” –EPHESIANS 3:18 (CJB)

Friday, January 10, 2014


“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.” –John Muir

We don’t have any pines on our place, but this tunnel between willows and rubber rabbitbrush serves as a doorway for a variety of four-legged folk. Who goes through it, and where does it lead?

A steep, snow-covered incline lay between me and the tunnel, and I wasn’t wearing boots, so I can’t say for sure. Maybe I’ll go back and explore, and maybe I won’t. Sometimes the mysterious is more compelling than the transparent.

“We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us.” –ROMANS 5:2 (MSG)

Thursday, January 9, 2014


I met a new duck today! Mergansers, mallards, pintails, and teal frequently patronize our place, but I can’t remember ever spotting a Common Goldeneye here.

The regulars mentioned above are flighty species which never let me and Bodie (the dog) anywhere near them, so I was surprised that this duck allowed me and Bodie to watch her while she swam and dove (for crawdads, I assume) in an open patch of water. Her composure and beauty were not“common” at all!

“Once you were nobody. Now you are God’s people….” –1 PETER 2:10 (CEV)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

More Mercy

Little Mercy is fussy about her meals—only canned food or milk will do, and then at the right temperature—but eats an inordinate amount and eats it ravenously, gobbling and gulping. She's never had to compete or scrounge for food, so her alacrity defies explanation. 

When Mercy’s not playing panther-in-training, she’s racing her tin-foil “mice” around the kitchen, skidding on the linoleum. Or she’s playing pack-rat, stealing small objects (favorites: pencils, pens, Zach’s elk tooth) and carting them away to hide in piles.

Mercy watches everyone inquisitively, studying every movement and chore, wondering why and how. One night, she watched a football game on television, then peered around, under, and behind the set, trying to figure out how those little men got in that box!

 "Some people own cats and go on to lead normal lives." - Unknown

The fearless panther taunts the giant tiger

"The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.”

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Sight to See

Hubby took this photo with his phone. The sight of a red-tailed hawk sitting atop a power pole is not unusual anywhere on this continent; however, we don’t often see a raptor wearing Ray-Bans! Perhaps they help him see better in the snow.

“If I take the wings of the morning or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.” –PSALM 139:9-10 (AMP)

Monday, January 6, 2014


Three years and nine months ago, these buffalo berries, junipers, and Nanking cherries were just a few plastic-wrapped bundles easily held in my arms. Destined to become a windbreak, it was difficult to imagine those sorry little sticks ever making a dent in any wind. But now, I'm proud to say, they’re starting to make some small snowdrifts!

Granted, the cows and deer will have to wait several more years for the trees to grow big enough to shelter them, but at least the mice, birds, and rabbits can rest leeward.

“And each one of them shall be like a hiding place from the wind and a shelter from the storm….” --ISAIAH 32:2 (AMP)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Ripple Effect

Blueberry and Meels used to eat plain oats before they had multiple kids to nurse. When they needed extra calories, I fed them “sweet feed”, a molasses-coated mixture of corn, oats, and barley. (The young doelings eat sweet feed, too, since they were raised on it.) Blueberry and Meels don’t need it now but are spoiled and won’t eat plain oats anymore.

Our sparrows are also quite fond of sweet feed. The little birds flit only a few feet away from the buckets, waiting for their chance to dig into the grain crumbs. Apparently, a spoiled herd means a spoiled flock!

Two tiny opportunists wait their turn (upper right corner)

The birds look rather chubby. Some even have double chins!

“Kind words are like honey—
    sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.PROVERBS 16:24 (NLT)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Nine Hours

The sun officially rose at 7:46 and set at 4:46 today, which computes to 9 hours of sunlight, 15 of darkness. According to the law of supply and demand, sunshine should be a valuable commodity in these latitudes, but, providentially, it’s free.

A snowy cold front is on its way, courtesy of our Canadian neighbors, so I count myself blessed that I needed to wear sunglasses today! I'm also thankful that, even though tomorrow's sun may be obscured by clouds, it will be up for 9 hours plus 1 minute!

Time for morning chores

Almost sundown and, yes, time for evening chores

“When darkness overtakes him, light will come bursting in….” –PSALM 112:4 (TLB)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Up the Road

Our morning run began with Hubby grouching about the cold (only one measly degree plus a breeze out of the west). Before long, I was crabbing at him for seeming to run faster whenever I tried to catch up. So we trotted down the road, grumbling past this pair of bald eagles without even noticing them!

How many people in this world aren’t healthy enough to run or don’t get to run in places where bald eagles perch? How could I be so ungrateful?

Mercifully, the pair was still perched in the tree when we came back up the road!

“Thou hast given so much to me. Give me one thing more—a grateful heart.” George Herbert

“Joy is a heart full and a mind purified by gratitude.” —Marietta McCarty

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Basins, Bowls, Backs

Even though we live in the Big Horn Basin, a giant geographic bowl, no bowl games are played anywhere near. Thanks to satellite television, Hubby doesn’t have to migrate to more football-friendly climes to watch the Rose, Gator, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta, and Cereal Bowls.

This morning looked rather like the Snow Bowl!

Winky would make a good linebacker, don't you think? 

“God’s blessing inside the city, God’s blessing in the country; 
God’s blessing on your children, the crops of your land, the young of your livestock, the calves of your herds, the lambs of your flocks. 
God’s blessing on your basket and bread bowl;
God’s blessing in your coming in, God’s blessing in your going out.”
                                                          --DEUTERONOMY 28:3-6 (MSG)