Sunday, August 31, 2014

Tree Story

From a distance, everybody seems normal. 

But when we get closer, we may see a few dead branches.

Maybe some lop-sidedness. 

We may not see the reason. 

The giant heart holes may be hidden.   The burned up emptiness may be covered up, or filled with various enterprises and elixirs that keep leaking out.

Be kind. 

"And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you." --Ezekiel 36:26 NLT 

Friday, August 29, 2014

The View from Up Here

Sugar and I got to do some cow work this morning, as we needed to bring the cows to the barn for fly control. In truth, it was much more fun than work!

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works." --Ephesians 2:10 NKJV 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How to Grow Your Own Pie

1. Dig holes in orchard-to-be. 
2. Open skinny parcel labelled "Live Trees" ordered from catalog. Unpack scrawny rooted apple-sticks.  
3. Plant apple-sticks. Water generously and regularly. 
4. Pound posts into ground beside each apple-stick; attach tree "cages" to protect apple-sticks from greedy deer, rabbits, cows, horses. 
5. Build fence around orchard. Repair fence once or twice a year when cows damage it. 
6. Irrigate and occasionally prune apple-stick-trees for 6 years and 5 months. 
7. Pick apples and make pie!

"The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest." --Psalm 85:12 ESV

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Late Emmy Entry

Each morning, before the alarm goes off and the neighbor roosters crow in the distance, it begins: the Mercy Monster Wild West Show and Three-Ring Circus, starring Mercy Monster--in all three rings, simultaneously. 

Mercy ricochets about her giant tent, raising a loud ruckus, annoying the more dignified older pets, rattling and upending nearly everything in her path. We would get up just to watch the show, except that mostly all there is to see is a blackish blur. 

Stalking her prey....

...before springing!

Scampering so fast that her back end can't keep up with her fore!

"God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he's rich in love." --Psalm 103:6 MSG

Monday, August 25, 2014

Gainful Employment

Zach took this photo of some Yemeni coffee farmers assisted by a beautiful, hard-working cow. I might print a copy to show to my unindustrious, over-indulged ladies chewing their cud under the shade tree. They probably have no idea that there are cattle in this world that actually have jobs.

"It grace and not by achievement that you are saved." --Ephesians 2:8 PHILLIPS

Friday, August 22, 2014


A long time ago, before there were fences and Walmarts and Angus cows, huge herds of bison (aka buffalo) grazed this country. Bison supplied the Plains Indian with meat, hides for clothing and shelter, cooking utensils, and numerous other essentials. 

Over-hunting of buffalo by the white man, followed by government-decreed mass slaughter, resulted in the buffalo's near demise and the intentional starvation and ensuing surrender of the Indian--one of this nation's darker times. 

A century and a half later, the American West is primarily grazed by the more easy-going, better-marbled Angus cow. Buffalo numbers have rebounded, however. 

In northwest Wyoming, buffalo roam the historic Antlers Ranch near Meeteetse. Bison are less vulnerable to wolf and grizzly predation than their smaller, more genteel cow-cousins. And since they can paw through deep, crusty snow to find feed, they require less winter tending which saves time and money in hay, labor, fuel, and machinery.  

One of the primary reasons that more ranches don't run buffalo: buffies are rather ill-tempered. A sign on the Antlers Ranch reads: No Trespassing...Survivors Will Be Prosecuted. 

"Hot tempers start fights; a calm, cool spirit keeps the peace." --Proverbs15:18 MSG

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


The hot sun has pretty much withered the local wildflower population--wild sunflowers excepted--but the mountain flora are still putting on the ritz. 

Wild rose

Asters (purple) and wild buckwheat

Indian paintbrush


Arctic fritillary feeding on asters

"Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love."--1 Corinthians 13:13 MSG 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Cadillacs of the Trail

We met the Meeteetse game warden, Jim Olson, at the Kirwin trailhead. Although he and his family were gearing up for a pack trip in the Absarokas, Jim was kind enough to introduce us to a few of his favorite mules. These beauties are not only smart, strong, and sure-footed, but they're gaited, meaning they have a really smooth, fast running walk.  

Jamey Olson rides Zilla, their most sensible and trustworthy mule. 

Jim with BD--short for Big Dude. 

Zoe, the youngest (4 years old) and most photogenic mule. 

"But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation." --Psalm 13:5 NASB

Saturday, August 16, 2014

In the Line of Duty

Sugar enjoys herding cows...

...but her favorite job is getting Linus out of the hayfield, where she just happens to snatch a few mouthfuls of alfalfa. Funny, but she doesn't get in any hurry to push him out, either. 

"For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." --Philippians 2:13 NASB 

Thursday, August 14, 2014


After weeks of hot, dry weather, the cows lounged blissfully in the cool morning rain. 

The precip-phobic goaties, on the other hand, high-tailed it back to their shed at first sprinkle. 

"I have lived pain, and my life can tell: I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks for the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July or the song of crickets on summer humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives." --Ann Voskamp

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


No matter how early we get up, Linus "Don't Fence Me In" Moo is already out of the pasture. At first light, he can be found grazing in the hayfield, puttering about the barnyard, or lounging in the yard. 

Around 6 am or so, his mama Cupcake begins calling him to breakfast. Linus saunters up to his preferred gate--a new green one near the house--and calmly waits for one of his butlers (Hubby or me) to open it and let him in. 

This routine only varied once. Linus must have escaped in the evening, skipping his supper. Around 3 am, he and Cupcake commenced bawling loudly at the green gate until a growling Hubby woke up and let Linus back in. 

Did I mention that Cupcake is the loudest cow on the place? It sounds like she's mooing into a megaphone. 

                 Cupcake and Linus

"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

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Lexi was feeding Meels one of the latter's favorite treats: tortilla chips. Actually, Lexi was trying to distribute the chips evenly between all five goats, but Meels is the pushiest junk-food junkie and manages to crowd out most of her competitors. 

Lexi and her sisters adore the goaties and love to help take care of them when we are gone. The girls learn some farm-animal wisdom that they can't get in town, and the goats get extra attention from their pretty little goat-sitters. 

"Casting the whole of your care...on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and...watchfully." --1 Peter 5:7 AMP

Saturday, August 9, 2014


I had surprise visitor in my yard today: a monarch butterfly! Monarchs may be common elsewhere, but I've never seen them here. I hope this beauty takes notice of the scads of milkweeds growing all over our property. I'd love for our place to become a royal nursery!

"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." --1 Peter 2:9 NKJV 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Back in the Lair

Smokey, aka the Terrible Tiger, must have had a tough night shift in the jungle. After he clocking out and eating his favorite breakfast of Friskies Grillers, he fairly collapsed with exhaustion. 

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." --Isaiah 40:29 NIV

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Chick Pics

A red-tailed hawk born this spring is so used to us (dog included) jogging beneath his tree that he doesn't fly away or screech at us anymore.

My apologies for the photo quality, but these Sandhill crane parents are ultra-wary of anyone approaching their big youngster. I've been trying to get closer for weeks now. (If I'm going to become an avian paparazzi, I'll definitely need some camouflage and a big lens!)

The bald eagle nest was nearby, but I couldn't tell if this was one of this year's two eaglets or a golden eagle. This handsome fellow didn't call or screech at all during the 15 minutes I stalked him, so I'm leaning towards the latter. (Bald eagles are loud and verbose; goldens are the strong, silent type.)

"He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge." -- Psalm 91:4 NKJV

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Conformity is overrated.

"As each of you has received a gift (a particular talent, a gracious divine endowment), employ it for one another as [befits] good trustees of God's many-sided grace...." --1 Peter 4:10 AMP

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Apple Fancies

Countless philosophers, theologians, poets and artists have found great inspiration at the foot of an apple tree. 
For example:

"With an apple I will astound Paris." --Paul Cezanne (and he did)

"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." --Martin Luther

"For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired 
Of the great harvest itself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall." 
--Robert Frost, After Apple-Picking

Me? At the foot of this young apple tree, my deepest thought: Can I get two pies or three?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Within Reason

Bodie and I have been on hay-rescue duty, forking up clumps of hay that the baler missed, stacking it on the haymobile, and distributing it to the cows. 

Thus far, I've been the one at the wheel and at the pitchfork. Border collie/blue heeler cowdogs are known for their intellect, so I didn't think it was too much to ask Bodie to take over the driving. It would save me much time and trouble getting in and out of the cab over and over again. 

Bodie politely refused. It seems that when he signed on with this outfit, he actually only agreed to scare off visitors, herd cows, and protect the ranch from rabbits. A respectable cowdog has to set some limits. If he agreed to drive, what might be next? Feeding the goats? Cleaning the cat box?

Hubby made some shade for my faithful co-pilot. 

"To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night." --Psalm 92:2 NKJV