Wednesday, December 31, 2014


It was -29 degrees this morning. I must have bundled up in nearly 29 layers to go outside and do chores. 

Hubby soon followed, only to discover a failed heating system and frozen stock water tank. He said nothing, but the look on his face read plainly: Wyoming ranch for sale. All offers considered. Prefer trade for property adjoining Equator. 

Sugar and the rest of the stock seemed grateful for any rays of sunshine, no matter how weak. 

"Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstance you find yourself in." ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (VOICE)

Monday, December 29, 2014

West of Eden

The red cedars growing along our back fence were originally planted in a windbreak along a pasture fence. They made it through their first winter okay, but then a neighboring farmer's weed spray drifted onto our little cedars. 

Son Zach and I rescued the rather sickly survivors, transplanting them to the edge of our yard where the soil is tough but the location safer. They fought hard, and most made it, even after an onslaught of stray cattle (belonging to the same neighbor) tromped and tore their branches that fall. 

We're in the midst of a rather brutal winter, but I'm not worried about my cedars. Trees don't get any tougher than these. Besides, that particular neighbor is now farming in heaven!

"You thrill to God's Word....You're a tree replanted in Eden...." ~Psalm 1:3 (MSG)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Fur Coat Country

At six degrees south of zero, fog freezes on everything--even horses. Don't worry. Solly's winter coat is plush and toasty warm, and he has plenty of cushy insulation under that coat as well! 

"Warm me, your servant, with a smile." ~Psalm 31:16 (MSG)

Friday, December 26, 2014


Readers familiar with our cows will be heartened to see that Flame's candle-flame can't be snuffed out, even by a blizzard!

"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." ~John 1:4 (NKJV)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Making Merry

Minnie and Moey munched on corn chips, one if their favorite snacks, at their Ugly Holiday Sweater Party today. Merry Christmas, everyone! 

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" ~Luke 2:14 (NKJV)

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Nannies

In bovine society, it's not uncommon for cows to leave their calves in the custody of a few babysitters while they graze elsewhere. I've always wondered if such guardians are appointees or volunteers and if, over the course of time, everyone in the herd takes her turn at the post. Regardless, I'm impressed that cows can manage their affairs and assignments so seamlessly--without the benefit of calendars, e-mail, and leadership training!

These two Red Angus beauties were recently on nanny duty in the Downing ranch's fall calving herd in Fort Morgan, Colorado. 

"He who keeps you will not slumber." ~Psalm 121:3 (NKJV)

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Most likely, you've traversed runways, hallways, highways, freeways, byways, and driveways. You may have navigated pathways, fairways, raceways, causeways, railways, or subways. But I bet you've never been down a cowway. 

Hubby scraped the snow off a mile or so of strips so the cows would get out and graze (rather than just standing around waiting for handouts). Each is more plump than the other and could do with more exercise! 

"God's Sunrise will break in upon us, shining on those in the darkness...showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace." ~Luke 1:79 (MSG)

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Calving season is nearly four months away, but when I look at Dazzle, I can't help but envision a little calf named Razzle in Dazzle's future.  

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." ~Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Why Can't We?

If cows can do this black-and-white (and brown-red-yellow) thing so well, why can't we?

"In humility let each esteem others as better than themselves." ~Philippians 2:3 (JUB)

Monday, December 15, 2014


By virtue of their youth and cuteness, the heffies (weanling heifers) are the most coddled of our bovines. After a snow event leaves the heffies and their quarters soggy, Hubby fires up the tractor. The heffies moo in anticipation while Hubby dumps a hill or two of dry barley straw by the windbreak. 

When I open the gate, they race and buck, pawing and rooting and scattering straw all over one another. After the fun is over, the playground converts to a dry, much-appreciated napping spot for our happy, healthy heffies. 

Pearl and Brownie, playing themselves dry. 

"Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully."~1 Peter 5:7 (AMP)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

One Ear Apiece

After waking to a light snow, I determined that the timing was perfect for the horses' annual Christmas photo. Hubby dutifully moved a wreath to a strategic post. "We'll do it before we feed them," I announced. "That way, we can shake their grain can and keep their attention."


I should have been recording video instead of snapshots. Sugar (left) kept trotting up to us, then pretending to spook at the dog and tearing madly down the hill to the exact spot where, she informed us by angrily pawing the ground, she should have already been eating breakfast ten minutes ago! 

As far as capturing the horses' attention, the best we could get was one ear apiece. 

"Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles." ~Author unknown 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Wonders and Wanders

A disadvantage of living in a rural, scarcely populated area such as ours is a dearth of stores. Christmas shopping can become something of an expedition, involving planning (who will do the evening chores? which business in which town is most likely to have the best selection? what is the weather forecast?) and much driving. 

But any inconvenience is made inconsequential by the wonders seen along the way. Call me a rustic, but I'd much prefer mountains and mustangs to malls!

"Not all who wander are lost." ~J.R.R. Tolkien 

"I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." ~Psalm 27:13 (NIV)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Presenting Minnie

Of all my little goat herd, Minnie is the most overlooked. Her unassuming personality and creamy uncolor combine to make her less noticeable than her more assertive and striking herdmates.  (How many of us have felt nearly invisible at times?) But Minnie proves that presentation, pushiness and pigment aren't everything: when the sun sets, she's the only goatie that glows!

"Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight." ~Isaiah 58:10 (MSG)

Saturday, December 6, 2014


One snowy, bitterly cold day jammed with farm errands and holiday shopping, we stopped at McDonald's for lunch. Amazingly, a group of elegantly dressed high school students filed in and proceeded to sing carols so divinely that every weary face lit up. 

Today we discovered this adorable miniature horse--Tuffy by name--spreading seasonal delight in the normally ho-hum parking lot of Western Ranch Supply. 

I love it when Christmas happens where you least expect it. 

"With every sun's rising, surprise us with Your love." ~Psalm 90:14 (VOICE)

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Respite

Do you, like me, live where summer goes south for the winter, taking the gardens with it? If so, and if your eyes are starved for flowers, then pull on some old boots and follow me...

...down to the barn. Grab a bucket, turn it over, take a seat. Hold out your hand. Wait. Be patient. Like flowers, cows live in a different time zone than we do, on another planet that doesn't spin as crazy-fast.

Like her namesake, Pansy is the bold one that always comes first. If she senses that you are safe, she'll gently nuzzle your fingers. I dare you not to smile.

Marigold is more cautious. She'll study you longer, ask more questions with her eyes. If she comes up to greet you, consider it a great honor.

I hope that my flower girls brightened your winter day at least a little bit!

"...That our God should lighten our eyes, and give to us a little life in our servitude." ~Ezra 9:8 (WYC)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mine Farming

It's cold and snowy, not the kind of weather that you'd expect anyone to be sowing seed. But in high desert environments like the one where Hubby does mine reclamation, this is actually the best time for planting. 

Bentonitic, rocky, disturbed soils are quite inhospitable most seasons, but winter snows make them almost, a little bit, very nearly agreeable. In addition to moisture, many native species of forbs and shrubs also require a period of cold stratification in order to germinate. 

Hubby tells me that his mine-farming efforts have been most appreciated by the local horned lark populace who have been happily availing themselves of their sudden windfall.  

The jackrabbits don't seem to mind Hubby's intrusion into their home either, even allowing him within four feet. Perhaps they feel safer from the coyotes and eagles when men and machinery are out and about. 

"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven." ~Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)

Monday, December 1, 2014

No Gold, No Rush

SCRUNCH, SCRUNCH. Days of semi-thaws and sub-zero nights had made skiing impossible but walking or running treacherous. Out came the snowshoes. 

In my woolens, parka, and footgear, I fancied myself a character in a Jack London novel, with only a few deviations from the Klondike norm. My usually-loyal canine companion had decided instead to accompany Hubby on a more beaten path. I wasn't shadowed by wolves but by our horses, Sugar and Solly. My prescription sunglasses had fogged and frozen, leaving me nearly blind, but no matter, there was no hidden crevasse to sidestep, Yukon River to fall into, or Chilkoot Trail to lose. And, alas, my prospects for finding gold were poor indeed. 

Okay, perhaps London was a bit of a stretch. 

"God cast you in His play, wrote you into His story." ~Max Lucado