country living

Oh, Summer. Why do you hate me so? (Subtitle: Why does this Weird Stuff Always Happen to Me?)

I love summer.  LOVE it!  Warm temperatures, the perfect excuse to eat ice cream, evening drives, afternoons at the pool, flowers blooming, crops growing…it’s hard to pick the best thing about summertime.

Unfortunately, it is a one-sided love affair.  Summer does not seem to share my affections.  This year, Summer has again proved her disdain for me by sending minions in the form of the irascible deer fly to cause me grief.

Two days ago, Wyokiddo and I were walking the pheasant pens, looking at the chicks and enjoying the morning.  I felt a stinging at my ankle and looked down to see a deer fly attacking.  I swatted and killed the demon insect with my hat and went about our morning.  When we got back to the house, I swabbed the bite site with hydrogen peroxide.  Like other bites I’ve gotten this summer, it started to swell and itch.

Fast forward 36 hours to yesterday afternoon.  I had blisters at the bite site, my leg was swollen up to my knee and looked suspiciously like Vienna sausages.  After a few disapproving looks from my mother, I caved and sought some professional help.

“Wow.  That’s really weird.”

Weird is never a word you want to hear from your attending physician.  But weird, indeed, it was.  In just 24 hours, I had contracted some sort of bacterial infection (most likely strep or staph) through the deer fly bite that was causing cellulitis in my leg.  The deeper layers of my skin were infected and wreaking havoc on most of my leg.  The doctor considered sending me to the ER for intravenous antibiotics, but decided to start with a shot of antibiotics followed by a dose of oral antibiotics.

So here I sit, my foot, ankle and calf swollen to twice it’s normal size and looking very much like a Hobbit.  After doing some research on cellulitis, I realize I need to be more prompt and thorough about attending to deer fly bites.  In the future, I’ll come home, clean the area and apply a bandage to keep it clean.  After all, I’d like my feet and legs to look more elfin than Hobbit.

And I’m wondering if maybe I was too quick to criticize winter and snow yesterday.  At least my toes don’t turn into hot dogs come December…

Teresa

Wyoming Weather

Snow. You White Wench!

photo from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Facebook page

There’s an old joke about Wyoming, saying she only has two seasons – winter and the Fourth of July.  Some years, that’s not far from the truth.

This was the scene at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort today, located just outside Jackson, Wyo. (we lived about 100 miles and 1,500 feet higher from Jackson) You will note the date is July 27, 2015, and it is snowing.  To this I say…

Oh.  Hell. No.

This. This right here is reason #125 why I wanted to move to Goshen County from western Wyoming. I’m not wild about the 101 degree heat we saw here yesterday, but snow in July is…is…wrong.  I’m not ready to pack away my flip-flops.

So Jackson can keep it’s snow and pretty mountains and masses of tourists.  If anyone needs me, I’ll just be relaxing over here in farm country by my inflatable pool with Wyokiddo, our frogs and flip-flops.

Teresa

barns, photography

Still standing…

Andersons Barn 1

I’m working on some photo entries for our local county fair, and came across this photo.  Since marrying Outdoor Guy, we’ve lived in three different towns in six years.  For three years, this beautiful old barn greeted me on each trip to town.  Each winter, she’d slump a little more, and folks would speculate about when she’d just give it up entirely.  The owners have long since moved their livestock and equipment from her confines, just in case.

All their worrying has been for not.  Last time we drove through Ten Sleep Canyon, she was still standing.  And beautiful.  Certainly sagging more than before, but then again, aren’t we all…

Teresa

Uncategorized

Rhubarb Delight

DSC_0191

I spent my afternoon cutting up beautiful, tangy, glorious rhubarb.  If you’ve never ate rhubarb, you are missing out.  When you remove the leaves, it looks like celery that has gone bad.  But bake properly, it is very, very, VERY good.

I’m a relatively new disciple of this vegetable (yes, it is actually a vegetable, but most cookbooks include it in the fruit section.)  I mean, who wants to put something that looks like celery in a dessert crisp?  But then  Outdoor Guy asked me to bake him something with rhubarb as a summer treat early in our marriage.  One bite and I quickly converted.

My mom has a single rhubarb plant in her backyard.  Every year, I swear I’m going to cut some off to bake with, and every year I forgot and had to resort to tracking down rhubarb in a local farmer’s market.  But I remembered this year, and Outdoor Guy is excited to reap the benefits.  I am too.  Just looking at this pile of crisp, tart deliciousness is enough to make my mouth water.

It’s versatile.  Rhubarb works great for cobblers, crisps, pies, tarts, muffins and jams.  And it can grow just about everywhere in the country with pretty minimal effort.  Now that’s my kind of vegetable.

A word to the wise, however.  Rhubarb is an ancient plant traced back to China in 2700 BC. It was used for medical purposes as a laxative, to reduce fever and cleanse the body.  Eat a little too much of this stuff and you’ll believe the Chinese know what they are doing when it comes to medicine.

My favorite rhubarb recipe by far is called Easy Rhubarb Dessert.  It’s part cake, part cobbler and 100 percent yum.  In no way, shape or form is it healthy, but if you want to splurge on an amazingly decadent dessert, this is it!

Easy Rhubarb Dessert

Ingredients
1 yellow cake mix
5 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces (can also use a combination of rhubarb and strawberries, I’ve done it both ways.)
1 cup sugar
1 cup cream

Directions
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare the cake mix according to the directions.  Pour the prepared batter into a greased 9×13 inch baking pan.

2.  Spread the rhubarb over the cake mix in a single layer.

3.  Sprinkle the sugar over the rhubarb.

4.  Pour 1 cup cream over the rhubarb.

5.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until top is golden and the cake part is baked thoroughly.

I like to serve this with fresh whipped cream or a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Because you know, there aren’t nearly enough calories in this thing yet.

🙂  Teresa

country living, photography

Another beautiful weed

Meet the white sweetclover (Melilotus alba).  This member of the family Fabaceae (also known as legumes) was brought to North America sometime in the mid-1600s as a forage crop. It escaped it’s field confines and now thrives in waste and disturbed areas like roadsides, ditches and construction sites.

It’s beautiful to look at, but another devil weed if you’re a farmer or stockman.  White sweetclover degrades natural grassland communities by overtopping and shading native species. If the plant is harvested for hay and is not cured properly, it can contain coumarin, a substance toxic to animals. White sweetclover is visited by introduced honeybees, native solitary bees, wasps, and flies and associated with 28 plant viruses.  Each white sweetclover plant is capable of producing up to 350,000 seeds that can remain viable in the soil for up 80 years (that’s 4 scores for you Lincoln scholars).  In short, it is an unwelcome guest in Goshen County.  Unless you’re a weird photog.  Then it’s quite beautiful in the right light…

Teresa

White Sweet Clover

photography

Not terrible…

I spend most of my time photographing critters and scenery.  I do this for two reasons.  One, I like critters and beautiful scenery.  Two, these subjects aren’t critical of my photography skills.

This week, I stepped out of my comfort zone and took some photos of my niece, who will be starting her senior year of high school this fall.  In her town, all the senior girls wear the same outfit for their yearbook photos, so senior pictures aren’t as big of a thing there.  But she and her mom (my sister) both wanted some more personalized photos without breaking the bank.  So our other sister volunteered my services. (She is much less critical of my work than I am, which is endearing if not exactly unbiased.)

I have a new respect for professional photographers after my session with Ana.  We spent 2 hours at two different locations and I was mentally and physically tired afterward.  It was a challenge to find a good “urban” location with privacy and decent light at mid-morning.  When we moved to a local park, my light went all to hell and I had to scramble to get any shots that weren’t completely dull and lifeless.  And my niece’s fair skin and red hair were wreaking havoc with my color perception.

The end result are a few photos, that in my opinion, don’t completely suck.  Which as a first-time portrait shooter, is really all I could ask for.  But I think I’ll stick with frogs.

Teresa

Ana 15 Ana 17

photography

The best photos aren’t always works of art…

Little RoxyThis is Roxy.  She is my parents’ miniature dachshund.  She is 15 pounds of bad breath, licking, wiggling love.  A few weeks ago, my mom commented that she didn’t have a very good photo of Roxy.  So the next time I was in town, I broke out my camera and set about to get a “good photo.”

It won’t win any awards and isn’t a work of art.  But it captures the sassy little bugger’s personality and beautiful dapple coat.  Then my father, who has to live in a nursing home away from my mom and Roxy because of his ailing health, described it as perfect, well, that’s enough for me.

Teresa

photography, wildlife

Northern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frog 2Northern Leopard Frogs were once the most abundant and widespread frog species in North America.  They were collected for dissection (10th grade biology, anyone?) and for the food industry.  But the species has seen some massive declines since the 1970s.  You wouldn’t guess that looking in my yard – if you look close, you’ll see two dozen hopping around at any given time.  I enjoyed science class, but it’s a lot more fun to see these guys alive!

Teresa

Uncategorized

A Thistle By Any Other Name is a Weed

Musk thistle is a weed here in Goshen County.  It is native to Europe and parts of Asia, but was introduced to the United States and Canada in the early 1900s.  Musk thistle invades pasture, forest and range lands.  It is an aggressive plant that spreads rapidly by forming dense stands that crowd out native species and livestock forage.

Even so, it is still awful pretty.

Teresa

Thistle 2Thistle 3 Thistle 4 Thistle 5

Uncategorized

Bugs in (almost) biblical proportions

Outdoor Guy and I are adjusting to life at lower elevation, including all the darn bugs in this place.  Ants, millers, earwigs, flies…the list of nuisances we’ve never really had to deal with before is growing.

The funniest comment of the night belongs to my husband when he saw the horde of flying ants converging in our lawn this evening.

“Oh, great, the fifth plague,” he said. “I’ve been wondering when it would show up.”

-Teresa