Friday, February 28, 2014

Baby Talk

A big snowstorm is due this weekend. Several cows look as if they could all calve in a clatter, taking up the barn space, so Hubby and I have spent the last two days building a calf shelter in the back corral for the "older" calves. Snoopy and Pearl are nestled deep into the straw already, while their mamas rest nearby along the windbreak.

I wish you could hear the sweet, low, nasally, vibrating M-mm-whoowh voice that mama cows use with their new calves. I don’t know what they’re saying, but it seems to me that they are largely ignored by their little darlings!

Blossom talks to Snoopy all the time, even when he's napping

Panda spends more time grooming Pearl than talking to her

“…Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts….” –HEBREWS 3:7-8 (AMP)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Barn Babies

Pearl getting yet another bath-and-backcomb from Panda

Snoopy, of course


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

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

You Never Know!

By appearances and by cow gestation calendars, neither Hubby nor I would have bet on Panda to calve before any of the other cows, but she did, followed shortly by Blossom. We’re keeping a close eye on Winky and Bubbles. By the looks of them, a good sneeze would expedite matters!

Panda's heifer, the first on the scene

Blossom's bull calf, moments after birth
“My times are in Your hands….” –PSALM 31:15 (AMP)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Great Wait

It’s the most exciting time of the year: the Great Wait.

“Great” refers to the size of the expectant cows as well as the anticipation of soon-coming calves. As for “wait”: we clean and straw the barn—and wait. We sort the heavy cows close to the barn—and wait. Every night, we trek out into the shivery-cold darkness three different times to check the cows—and wait. Every day, we discuss our visual assessments, trying to predict who will calve first—and wait.

Night check: nothing happening

Sparkle and Blossom eating breakfast

“Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
    all you who wait for the Lord!”
–PSALM 31:24 (ESV)

Monday, February 24, 2014


The robins, red-winged blackbirds, and sparrows are trying to sing in spring, but right now, it’s only 6°. It’s no wonder that the Eastern Shoshoni, who lived here long before us, called this month Boosêch, meaning “half spring, half winter”.

Speaking of the Shoshoni: if Solomon was their horse, they might have named him Dosa kopagant-epuí-ma’i-gwichumungku (“white-faced horse-sleeps-with-cattle”)!

Light snow + soft hay = good nap

“…You will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.” –MATTHEW 11:29 (AMP)

Saturday, February 22, 2014


I’ve loved watching the Sochi Winter Olympics. Kudos to the beautiful country of Russia!  I especially enjoy the inspiring stories of athletes who have had the gumption to persevere through hardship in order to achieve their dreams.

Sadly, the Olympics are almost over, but I have a tiny tree that has that same grit. In its three years of life, this miniscule cottonwood has survived mowing, transplanting, tromping, weed competition, and drought. More than once, I thought it had been obliterated, but, weeks or months later, it reappeared.

I’m a tree lover but have never bothered to christen one. But if ever a tree has earned a name, this one has: Olympia.

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” –ROMANS 8:37 (NKJV)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Out of Hiding

It’s been a long, cold winter—worse than usual, by most standards. Everything that was green last summer has long since turned some grayish-brown shade of drab—or so I thought. Apparently, some of the plants have been hiding their true colors!

Garrison creeping foxtail


 “He who trusts in his riches will fall,
But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.”

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Supervisor

In preparation for the impending calves, the goats have been moved to smaller quarters, and the barn is undergoing a major cleaning. I came indoors to write and rest, since my arms were aching. Is it my imagination, or does this house smell like the barn? I asked myself. Or is that me that smells?

What the job lacks in ease, glam, and remuneration, it does make up for in fringe benefits: my supervisor is really good-looking!

Smokey supervising my work from the top of a round bale

“My (Wisdom’s) gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold,
    my wages better than sterling silver!–PROVERBS 8:19 (NLT)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Polar Vortex Notwithstanding

I couldn’t believe my ears!

Said ears wore two hoods and a fleece ear warmer to protect them on my cold morning run, so I thought that perhaps they were imagining things. Maybe my huffing and puffing just sounded weird in the wind.

Conch-klr-eieh! (sic)

Could it be? No, it can’t be, I thought. It’s just the middle of February. They can’t be here yet! The groundhog, the Weather Channel, the old farmers at the gas station—they all said that there’s no chance of an early spring.

Conch-klr-eieh! Conch-klr-eieh!

Spring’s song reverberated from across the canal. Then I saw them: the red-winged blackbirds are back—early.

“The time of the singing [of birds] has come….” –SONG OF SOLOMON 2:12 (AMP)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Thaw

The nearly unimaginable has happened: a wonderful warmness has finally managed to triumph over the cold. The ensuing thaw is altogether a wet, icy, muddy, mucky mess that makes walking, driving, and housecleaning difficult. Even so, I am delighted. Just one week ago, spring seemed elusive, if not impossible!

Ponds cover fields and roads

Snowmelt bubbling over ice

A muddy Bubbles--her calving day can't be too far away!

“May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing…that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.” –ROMANS 15:13 (AMP)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Warm Reception

Last week, Hubby was working up in a high desert area called Lone Tree. The entire area was covered with snow, except for a pile of rocks called “overburden”, which had been temporarily extricated so that a layer of bentonite clay could be mined.

The dark sandstone was absorbing solar radiation, making the rockpile the toastiest spot for miles around. This white-tailed jackrabbit, a master of camouflage, risked leaving the safety of the cold snow in order to take advantage of the rockpile’s warm hospitality!

 “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory….” –PSALM 84:11 (NASB)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Out of Hibernation

The mercury shot up to a balmy 40° F yesterday. Smokey’s alter-ego, the Terrible Tiger, awoke, yawned, and emerged from hibernation (in the house). For several hours, he re-explored his territory, scratching, climbing, and stalking the sparrows. He must have been happy to be back at work because whenever he was near, I heard him purring!

The Terrible Tiger hunts again

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.” –EPHESIANS 3:20 (NASB)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Greetings

Jubilee helping me to wish you a wonderful Valentine's Day!

“I want you to know all about Christ’s love, although it is too wonderful to be measured. Then your lives will be filled with all that God is.” –EPHESIANS 3:19 (CEV)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Kitten Kitchen

Kitchen makeovers. I see the amazing before-and-after photos in the magazines and daydream about winning one of those kitchen makeover sweepstakes. I wonder, Where would I start? A bigger sink and a faucet that doesn’t drip, for sure. A tile backsplash. Painted cupboards with an old-fashioned plate rack. A distressed wood floor. Maybe even a new refrigerator.

Perhaps I should start by getting the kitten out of the drawer!

 “Let your minds and hearts be made new.” –EPHESIANS 4:23 (NLV)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Jewel in the Desert

In an area where scrawny little sagebrush shrubs outnumber trees a gazillion to one, this windbreak seen near Emblem is a lush oasis. From the highway, Hubby and I could identify golden willow, limber pine, blue spruce, birch, and apple trees.

Here in the high desert, trees just don’t grow tall and full like these. I myself am just an amateur windbreaker, but I know enough to recognize that this jewel is a product of much cultivation, consistent irrigation, and great love!

A work of art

Mule deer illustrate why windbreaks are also called shelter belts

An oasis in the desert

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

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cow-Country Skiing

Those uninitiated to the sport of cow-country skiing may not understand why it's more un-aerobic than anaerobic (see yesterday's post, Off the Pace). The photos I took on this morning's ski will better explain what slows me down....

Hoof prints mess up the tracks

Skis don't glide over cattle guards

Frozen cowpies hidden in snow provide significant resistance

Tumbleweeds can snag poles

Cute cows like Blossom offer distraction

“Fear not, O land, be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things!” –JOEL 2:21 (AMP)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Off the Pace

It’s hard to go anywhere without hearing objections towards our seemingly infinite, ever-so-cold winter. Our place is no exception. Of late, I’ve heard several I’m ready for winter to be over grumblings from Hubby and almost daily climate complaints from my goats.

Spring can’t come soon enough for me, either, although I’ve happily been taking advantage of some unusual cross-country skiing snow.

Today, I heard an Olympic cross-country commentator explain to TV listeners why distance skiers have to pace themselves. It seems that after six minutes of anaerobic activity, the body begins to shut down. I’m not worried though. My skiing is more un-aerobic than an-!

“…The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.” –ECCLESIASTES 9:11 (ESV)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Not Necessarily

Town folks probably think that country life is ever so quiet and peaceful. It’s true that we don’t have to contend with traffic noise, sirens, or loud parties; however, we do have a number of noisy neighbors that live nearby and often hang out here.

A gregarious and talkative crowd, they seem always to be involved in some spirited discussion or the other. Everyone appears to have an opinion to offer, interrupting one another frequently. If no one listens, he or she simply opines with more volume! 

A few of the hundreds that honk whenever they pass us
Canada geese chilling with Wyoming cows

“In quietness and confidence is your strength.” –ISAIAH 30:15 (NLT)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Minus Minus

The heater had seemed to run nearly all night long, so I knew that it was very, very cold. When I nervously went to check the digital thermometer around 5 a.m., that apparently shocked instrument simply read, - -

Minus minus? How bad was “minus minus”?

Well, Worland’s mercury officially bottomed out at -36° and topped out at a measly -5°. (With prayers, extra feed, and additional bedding, the livestock seemed fine; all took naps in the afternoon sunshine.) I’m grateful that tomorrow, we’re supposed to reach a relatively-balmy 23°.  Still, I long for the day when our thermometer will gush: + + !

Mercy demonstrates the best place to spend a bitter cold day: cuddled under a wool blanket with her momma! 

“…Nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love….” –ROMANS 8:38-39 (MSG)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Solomon Says

I waited until the sun was up to do chores this morning, but even that venerable entity could do little to warm the frigid air. Meteorologists forecast another bitter night and a “high” temperature of only -3° F tomorrow!

I snapped this photo of a frosty Solomon eating his oats this morning. Solly is not usually the fount of understanding that one might expect, given his name, but today his eyes spoke words of wisdom worthy of the book of Proverbs: Pray for spring!

“Good-tempered leaders invigorate lives; they’re like spring rain and sunshine.” –PROVERBS 16:15 (MSG)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Window Dressing

If you wanted to spruce up your windows, you could paint the sills and casement, install blinds or shades, or hang new curtains. If money is no object, you could replace the old windows with new ones.  Of course, you could just add some grilles, shutters, or a cute goat.

“Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar.” –MATTHEW 6:21-23 (MSG)

Monday, February 3, 2014


“You are such a character!” a friend remarked to me a few evenings ago. I laughed but didn’t ask for clarification because I truly didn’t really want to know if her comment was a compliment or not!

Speaking of characters: “our” belted kingfisher is certainly one! Of all our feathered friends, she’s got the craziest hairdo, the shortest tail, and the biggest beak-to-bird ratio. She’s the speediest, most adept diver—she flashes into the water faster than I can blink. B.K. may well be one of the most enterprising: I read that kingfishers actually burrow 6 to 8 feet into embankments to make their nest!

B.K. doesn’t sing, she rattles! (Hear a belted kingfisher’s rattle at 

B,K. strikes a regal pose on a sparkling throne

“…Those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” –ROMANS 5:17 (ESV)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Why Not Us?

Denver is the closest football franchise to Wyoming, and the majority of my friends and family are rooting for the Broncos in the Super Bowl. But I’m cheering for the Seahawks because of Russell Wilson.

Early in the season, I happened to see an interview with Wilson. Even though the Seahawks had been winning, the reporter basically asked Wilson why he had the audacity to believe that he could overcome his lack of stature and inexperience to lead his team to the Super Bowl.

Russell Wilson’s answer was: “WHY NOT ME?” He said that he had a relationship with Jesus Christ, he had God-given talent, and he worked as hard as he possibly could, always trying to learn from his mistakes and improve his game.

He reminds me of David. When David saw Goliath, the Philistine giant who was taunting and terrifying the Israelite army, he wasn’t intimidated. David knew that the Lord was with him, so it didn’t matter that he was just a scrawny teenager.  David wasn’t even strong enough to wear the armor that the king put on him. But he was confident because he knew that the Lord loved Israel and the Lord loved him.

I want to be more like David and Russell Wilson. Most of my life has been spent on the bench, so to speak. I watch others do what I want to do but don’t.  I fear that I’m not good enough, that I might fail or make a fool of myself.

The problem is that I tend to look at my own shortcomings and not at Jesus—at His goodness, strength, and wisdom. But when I realize how much He loves me, that He’s on my side, then I can have confidence. Even if I fail, He’s gracious and merciful and “mighty to save” (Zephaniah 3:17).

So when the Lord calls your name, get off the bench!

Why not you? If you’re in Christ, you have loving teammates who have your back. You have the best playbook ever written, the Bible. You have the coach of coaches, the Holy Spirit. Right over there in the grandstand is your Father God. Whether you score the winning touchdown or you fumble the ball on third down, whether you’re the hero or the goat, He’s still cheering for you. Best of all, you have the only unbeatable quarterback, Jesus Christ, right beside you!

Coincidentally, our God just happens to be the owner and general manager of the universe and the head ref. We can’t lose!

Proudly sporting my Russell Wilson number

“If God be for us, who can be against us?” –ROMANS 8:31