Friday, May 30, 2014

Ranch Runner Report

Today’s run was both snakeless and flowerful, and therefore more idyllic than yesterday’s!

Scarlet globemallow, just beginning to bloom. Native Americans used it to treat burns and skin conditions.

One of 140 known species of vetch. Uncommon in this area.

“So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.” –ROMANS 9:16 (NKJV)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

One Morning, Five Miles, Three Lessons

Ranch-running tip #1

Look up.

The adult (right) had just raided a blackbird nest to feed its two young.

Ranch-running tip #2

Use the time to chat with God.

No words needed!

Ranch-running tip #3

Watch your step!

My foot landed an inch from this bull snake's head before I noticed that he wasn't a branch.

The second snake was even bigger!

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.”
–PSALM 37:23 (NASB)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Desert Riches

Many of the wildflower species which thrive in arid Wyoming due so, in part, because of their ability to take advantage of any gift of precipitation. They seem to know that time is against them as well as how slim the odds that moisture will keep coming. Their rate of growth, inflorescence, and seed production is considerably faster than the much-coddled specimens in my flower beds!

The following species, among others, were observed blooming happily in the “desert” yesterday morning.

Nuttall's larkspur
Small lupine
Limestone hawksbeard
Miner's candle
Fuzzy-tongued penstemon (I think)

Creeping white prairie aster
“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” –1 TIMOTHY 6:18 (NKJV)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Less Stress

The calves were vaccinated and wormed today. I'm so thankful that it went so safely and seamlessly. No one even had to raise their voice during the herding, sorting, and doctoring. No one got kicked. It's not magic or cow whispering--it's prayer. Hubby, Cody, and I always ask for God's help and protection before we start the proceedings. Not only are the cows, calves, and horses calmer, but so are the people!

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances...." --I Thessalonians 5:16-17

Friday, May 23, 2014

Saving Gracie

It’s a good thing I was home yesterday afternoon so I heard the calf bawling. Thankfully, I found Gracie stuck upside down in a ditch before she suffocated. She’d been there a while because she was lying in a pool of urine and manure. Blood was running out her nose and panic was in her eyes, so time was running frighteningly short.

I got ropes around her thrashing legs but, of course, couldn’t budge her 1300 pounds. Mercifully, Cody, a friend who works for us on weekends, answered his phone and got here in time to help me (Hubby was three hours away) roll her out and up. Gracie is rather rotund, so we had to use the Ranger (UTV) to help defy gravity and save the cow.

Other friends, who had dropped what they were doing to rush over here to help, arrived shortly thereafter. I wanted to hug everyone but was too stinky, what with Gracie’s slime on my hands and shirt, not to mention my own sweat!

Ten minutes after the rescue, Gracie was still dazed but the blood had stopped running out her nose

Fifteen minutes later, Gracie was eating (her standard M.O.) and Gunder was nursing

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” –EPHESIANS 2:8 (ESV)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Why We Say "Good Morning!"

Our God specializes in mornings, doesn’t He?

Sunshine breaking through this morning's fog

Last night's raindrops on morning's rose

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning….” –LAMENTATIONS 3:22-23 (ESV)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Farming Up

Son Zach (right) is studying and doing anthropology research in the beautiful country of Yemen. (Sorry, I don't know the other man's name.)

Zach and two friends he works with, planting coffee and almond trees, with the help of  donkey and plow.

Farming in Yemen is not for the faint of heart!

Looking down on the birthplace of arabica!
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” –2 CORINTHIANS 9:8 (NKJV)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Glow in the Desert

In Wyoming, the majority of land is publicly owned (state, Forest Service, or Bureau of Land Management). Hikers, runners, mountain bikers, horseback riders and other trail-lovers could probably spend every day of summer trekking on Wyoming’s two-tracks and paths but never see them all.

The closest mountain trail to us is about 40 miles away, but we’re only 5 miles from a plethora of desert paths and dirt roads frequented more often by pronghorn and wild horses than by people.

I went there to run some desert hills last Saturday, but the luminescent bouquets of Wyoming Indian paintbrush (Castilleja linariifolia) glowing from the east-facing slopes kept distracting me from my intended workout. You can see why!

“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)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Speedsters and Freeloaders

One of several male ring-necked pheasants seen and heard regularly all year round. The hens are less showy and certainly much quieter. Pheasants prefer running to flying and are said to have been clocked up to 60 mph!
Brown-headed cowbirds feeding near Badger, who must have been stirring up insects. Cowbirds are called "brood parasites" because they don't nest or raise their young, but instead sneak into the nests of other species to lay their eggs. 
“I know every bird of the mountains,
and the creatures of the field are Mine.”
–PSALM 50:11

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Spring Puts on the Glitz

Spring surprised me not once, not twice today, but thrice!

Western sticktight, a cute but invasive weed that yields lots of not-so-cute stickers

The season's first rose--with stripes!

The first iris!

“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.” ~Bern Williams

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” –MATTHEW 6:27-29 (NIV)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


The chlorophyll is back!
One question: where did it go for the winter? I want to know because next winter, I may want to go too.
Calves loafing in the shade of freshly hatched cottonwood leaves

Even at 9 inches, the tiniest cottonwood, "Olympia", sports some chartreuse leaves 

“By blending water and minerals from below with sunlight and CO2 from above, green plants link the earth to the sky.” –Fritjof Capra, The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems

"In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men." --JOHN 1:4 (AMP)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Handy Dandy

The honeybees are back from their seasonal job on the West Coast where they pollinated almonds trees in the sunshine (while we shivered in our wool and fleece here). Since spring has been rather uncongenial to flower growth—this morning was a measly 23°—most of the pollen harvest is focused on dandelions.

Notice the little orange saddlebags on my tiny yellow-and-black friend. A Google search informed me that they’re actually “pollen baskets”, or corbiculae. It seems that while in flight, bees use their tongues and combs on their legs to brush the pollen off of their bodies and pack it into the depressions on their hind legs. Tiny hairs help hold the pollen in place.

I’m impressed!

“Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” –LUKE 10:2 (NKJV)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Hayseed Style

Just had to show you my new irrigation boots before they get all muddy!

        He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
           out of the mud and the mire.
        He set my feet on solid ground
           and steadied me as I walked along.
–PSALM 40:2 (NLT)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

Happy Mom’s Day greetings to my mom, Jane, to whom my sister and I owe our appreciation for reading, mountains, gardening, creativity, Christmas, healthy home cooking, baking, decorating, garage sales, and “bumming” (shopping for bargains). Thanks, Mom! There’s no one I’d rather bum around with than you.


Mom and Dad 

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” –2 PETER 1:2 (NASB)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

No Dogs

MONTANA WOMEN'S RUN--With Bodie, my running buddy, before the race.

Why Bodie wasn't allowed in the race: 5,988 entrants! The first block or so was like playing bumper cars.

My speed wasn't blazing, but my shirt was! Finished 18 of 490 in my age group; 312 overall of 5,988.

Post-race reunion with Bodie. Hubby said Bodie was beside himself wanting to run with me.
"They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." --ISAIAH 40:31 (ESV)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Simply Marvelous

All the calves are cute and adorable, each with unique qualities that set them apart from the others. 

Pansy has an endearing face. Pearl has class and muscling. Brownie can run like the wind. Samson and Snoopy are big, sweet, and handsome. Badger and Linus are always up to some mischief or another. Tigger has stripes, Wilbur has a heart, and Oscar has a cute underbite. Licorice’s other name is Pig Pen because of his affinity for dirt and mud. Gunder is the social networker, friends with all the calves and cows.

But Marigold is the apple of my eye. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s just something wonderful—simply marvelous, I tell her—about Marigold. She always seems to look at me as if to say, Of course! What’s not to love?


“I will praise Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well.” –PSALM 139:14 (AKJV)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

White Rain

Last night’s thunderstorms brought welcome rain showers. We were all set to irrigate, but lightning-enhanced rainwater has more nitrates, doesn’t wash away fertilizer like flood irrigation does, and, if there’s enough moisture, saves us a great deal of time and work.

Nighttime showers and drizzle turned to slushy snow this morning. The calves weren’t happy, but after a good supper and romp, they’re snuggled in thick, dry mattresses of straw this evening, apparently none the worse for wear—which is more than I can say for the pansies!

He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses. –PSALM 135:7 (ESV)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What They Know

I love cows. (I also love cats, but that subject is too controversial for this venue. People either adore or despise cats, but when it comes to cows, they tend to stay on the fence.)

Cows are both beautiful and serene. Unless cows are in distress because of fear, misfortune or a breakfast that’s five minutes late, their tranquility is nearly unsurpassed. If only I possessed a cow’s inherent ability to relax and enjoy life!

I’m no bovine psychologist, but I think it’s safe to say that cows have mastered the art of contentment because they forgive easily, appreciate their blessings, allow for naps, and refuse to fret about the future.

Snoopy, resting in this morning's dandelions

“He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.” –PSALM 23:2 (NASB)

Sunday, May 4, 2014


ef·flo·resce   verb   \ˌe-flə-ˈres\   1 : to burst forth: bloom

Nanking cherry blossoms

Violas aka Johnny-jump-ups


White violets (imported from my grandma's yard in Illinois)

“For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers, and as a garden cascades with blossoms, So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom and puts praise on display before the nations.” –ISAIAH 61:11 (MSG)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Making It Rain--Part 1

This is how we make it rain in the desert—the first steps, anyway.

Irrigation is a long, involved process, but the first stage is always the hardest: loading the pipe from their stacks onto the flatbed, unloading them alongside their various fields, putting them together.

The tedium was interrupted by a certain little striped presence, a heretofore resident of a pipe stack, which trotted here and there, back and forth. Fortunately, only the pickup was sprayed!

Sow for yourselves righteousness;
    reap steadfast love;
    break up your fallow ground,
for it is the time to seek the Lord,
    that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
–HOSEA 10:12 (ESV)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Rural Running

One of the reasons I love running on country roads, even if they aren’t the smoothest: I never know what kind of interesting people I'm going to meet! I saw and chatted with both of these rural citizens on this morning's jog.

Raccoons are numerous but usually not seen in daylight.

The male bald eagle allowed me and the dog to run directly under his fishing spot without flying away.

“What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every God-direction is road-tested. Everyone who runs toward him makes it.” –PSALM 18:30 (MSG)