Thursday, October 30, 2014

Order of Business

In many places of work, jobs are assigned and priorities are established by a supervisor, manager, or some such big cheese in the upper office. One might assume that, since farmers and ranchers are self-employed, we call our own shots. 
On the contrary, we are both dependent upon and subject to seasonal changes as well as daily atmospheric conditions and precipitation amounts. Barometers rearrange itineraries and forecasts determine agendas.  

In times past, farm folk consulted the Old Farmer's Almanac, not the Weather Channel, before deciding when to do what. This year's Almanac is predicting another tough winter, but meteorologists are less committal. My favorite prognostication is that of the UPS driver, who told Hubby today that we aren't even going to have a winter this year!

The horses' daily grind includes a mid-morning, sun-soaking nap. 

"He has made everything beautiful in its time." --Ecclesiastes 3:3 (ESV)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Seasonal Overlap

A month or so ago, I would have paid it no heed. Above average moisture meant blooms everywhere. Frosts and freezes, however, have long since put an end to wildflower season. But today I was happily surprised to happen upon this tenacious little vetch, blooming like June! 

"So this is my prayer: that your love may flourish." --Philippians 1:9 (VOICE)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Crunch Day

I love riding Sugar through crisp, crunchy, crackly leaves. 

For a post-ride treat, Sugar loves to crunch on fresh-picked carrots. 

"Delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places...." --Isaiah 58:14 (KJ21)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Exhibit A

Hmm, I wonder who left tracks in the new concrete slab?

The tracks look suspiciously heifer-sized. 

It must have been Brownie or one of her counterparts. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

In Deep

We've been digging like a bunch of moles, putting in water lines and overflow drain back fields for more automatic waterers. Because winters get so cold here, the lines are buried way below the frost line. Hubby used a backhoe for much of the job, but we all have added significant mileage to our shovels!

Of course, the cows helped too, although strictly in an advisory capacity. 

"They'll turn their swords into shovels, their spears into hoes. No more will nation fight against nation...." --Isaiah 2:4 (MSG)

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Our biggest cottonwood is a favorite stomping ground for the cows and horses. Raccoons and all kinds of birds hang out there too. It's kind of a critter coffee shop, minus the coffee, plus the comfort and camaraderie. 

But our littlest cottonwoods have cages around them for protection from stomping cows and horses. Perhaps they do host the occasional mouse or bug gathering though. 

"For whoever has despised the day of small things will rejoice...." -Zechariah 4:10 (LEB)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


When Ikey first signed on with this outfit,  I had my doubts. He'd been somewhat shortchanged in the grocery department and looked more like a weanling calf than a future herd bull. 

Four-and-a-half months of good pasture later, Ikey has lost his ribs and baby face. As Hubby put it, "He even has muscles, and they're starting to ripple!" I suppose that someday we'll have to drop the y and address him more respectfully as Ike.

But, what's with the curls? 


"God selected the common and the castoff...." --1 Corinthians 1:28 VOICE

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Star Shining

One of Rainhorse Equine Services' brightest stars, Daylight, has earned the distinctive Master of Equine Therapy Award. One of Daylight's therapy partners, an adjudicated youth, bestowed the surprise honor at a recent Ranch Day activity. 

Daylight was unavailable for comment, but Rainhorse equine specialist Maria Lisa Eastman provided testimonials from youth who have worked with Daylight. 

"It feels like Daylight understands my life and it feels like she somewhat hurts for what happened to me."

•"I feel like a new person." (Stated immediately following the person's first session with Daylight.)

•"Daylight saved my life."

What's next for Daylight? Well, if I were her agent, I'd suggest a run for the title of Miss Rodeo Wyoming. She's got the looks, brains, and congeniality, and she'd be a shoe-in for the horsemanship competition. Daylight also has a special rodeo-type talent: she can do a remarkable impression of a saddle bronc!

(Photos courtesy of Maria Lisa Eastman)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Sunshine Tree

This cottonwood must have stored up six months of sunlight in its leaves! 

"Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy, no shadow of shame will darken their faces." --Psalm 34:5 (NLT)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Golden Morning

The only thing better than a beautiful golden morning is a beautiful golden morning with a beautiful horse in it!



"A new day is dawning: the Sunrise from the heavens will break through in our darkness." --Luke 1:78 (NKJV)

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Wrenching

It happens every year.  I know it's coming. I try to harden myself and vow not to get emotional. But then we wean the calves and haul the steer calves to auction. The mama cows beller, the heifer calves bawl, and I sob. I barely care if the cattle market is great and we need the money and this is what they were born for. A pasture without those sweet little guys (well, not so little anymore--they weighed from 613 to 687 lbs.) is achingly empty. 

Some of our steers, the smallest. The auctioneer said ours were the best in the sale (of over 1,000 head). I don't know if that's true, but surely they were the most loved. 

Pansy wasn't sad about being weaned. She was furious!

Marigold is heavyhearted but not so much that she can't eat!

"The God who lifts up the downcast lifted our heads and our hearts..." --2 Corinthians 7:6 (MSG)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Singin' the White Paint Blues

Why I'm not a DYI (do-it-yourself) blogger:
No primer + cheap white paint from the farm store = 3 coats needed. 

Why I'm not a design blogger:
Even if I knew how to stylishly decorate, Mercy Monster (our crazy little cat) would undo it. 

Why I'm not a fashion blogger: 
This is my favorite shirt. Enough said. 

One of the reasons I am a farm blogger:
I have cute cows. 

"Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift." --Ephesians 4:7 (MSG)

Monday, October 13, 2014

October is My Favorite Color

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." --L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Trio's Traipse

Only three of us went for our Sunday evening walk: Bodie (our dog), Sugar (my horse), and myself. We're usually more numerous, since Hubby and the five goaties generally accompany us, but they didn't care for the cold wind. 

Sugar missed the rest of her hiking herd, I suppose, because she wasn't her usual tranquil self. As soon as she discovered the green grass in the heifer pasture, however, she forgot about her angst and got real pastoral. 

"I shall ask the Father to give you someone else to stand by you, to be with you always....the Spirit of truth." --John 14:16-17 (PHILLIPS)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


A sweet, gentle and beautiful Quarter Horse mare named Daylight lives on a ranch nestled alongside Wyoming’s Nowood River. Daylight hails from a long line of working ranch and cowhorses—her pedigree includes Blue Valentine and Hancock horses—but she isn’t broke.

In the lingo of the West, “broke” refers to a horse that is generally safe to ride and doesn’t buck. Many horsemen don’t like to use the term because back in the Dark Ages of horsemanship, it was widely believed that a horse’s will and spirit had to be broken before he or she could be of use to mankind. The end justified the means, and sometimes the means were unspeakably cruel.

Back to Daylight’s story: Some years ago, Daylight was given to Maria by her husband-to-be, Skip Eastman. The wild, unhandled two-year old was to become Maria’s dream horse. “Daylight was the first horse I worked with while learning the traditions of Ray Hunt, Buck Branaman, and the Dorrances. Daylight opened my eyes to a whole new way. I thought she was magical.”

But Maria’s life got too busy to work much with Daylight. Then a series of mistakes, mishaps and mishandling by other trainers convinced the young mare that saddles and riders were frightening and intolerable. Bucking them off was a viable option; since she was strong and athletic, she was quite good at it. Trainers gave up and suggested that the Eastmans to consign her to the bucking horse sale in Miles City, Montana.

Instead, Maria brought Daylight home and spent many hours trying to regain Daylight’s trust. Still Daylight bucked. When Maria wound up in the hospital with her skull split open, she and Skip considered putting Daylight down but finally decided to give the mare a chance in Maria’s equine assisted learning and therapy program, Rainhorse.

To the Eastman’s amazement, Daylight shone (and still shines) brightly as a therapy horse, helping children and adults find self-worth, wisdom, confidence and healing. More than one youngster actually told them, “Daylight saved my life.”

One delightful autumn day, I was greatly honored to be invited to participate in Wyoming Veterans Warhorse, a Rainhorse program for military veterans (although I’m not one). Daylight volunteered to be my equine partner for the afternoon.

When we worked alone in the round pen on a “joining up” exercise, I was thrilled when Daylight followed me around without a halter or rope and even adjusted her pace to mine. Daylight’s eyes were captivating. She kept watching me, even when she was turned loose with the other horses, and when I talked to her, she looked straight into my eyes with an expression that said I know.

Somehow, Daylight knows. She may not know exactly what happened, but she knows that it did. She doesn’t know who did it, but she knows that they did. She understands that it was meant to break me and almost did. She knows the fight it's taken to remain unbroken.

I am truly sorry that Daylight suffered and that Maria’s head and heart and dreams were broken. But I am so grateful that Daylight bucked, that she refused to accept the unacceptable, that she's unbroken.

    Daylight. (Photo courtesy of Phil Eastman)

“And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it.” –John 1:5 (AMP)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Mulie Morning

  Breakfasting along the Big Horn River...

        ...she thought she was hidden...

            ...but her ears weren't!

"My sighing is not hidden from you." --Psalm 38:9 (AMP)