nature, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife, WPC

On the Wing

This is my contribution to this week’s WP weekly photo challenge “Seasons.”

When you are married to a man who works for your state’s wildlife management agency, seasons not measured in the passing of time or the changing of weather.  Seasons become about who can hunt what and where, or what animals are around.

We are in the midst of goose season here in Eastern Wyoming.  I have enjoyed the endless skies filled with rowdy honking Canada geese.  I love driving to town and seeing stubble fields dark with their fa bodies.  My favorite moments are when the geese fly low enough to hear the methodical flapping of their wings.  After a small flock of five geese buzzed our yard, Wyokiddo found this feather in their wake.  It marks our love of the season of migration.

Canada goose feather, Yoder, Wyoming.

Goose Feather Wet

Hope your weekend takes flight!



recipe, recipes, Uncategorized

Monday Yumminess: Moms’ Hot Chocolate Mix

Hot Chocolate

Outdoor Guy and I didn’t meet until well after college.  We grew up 400 miles apart on two separate sides of the state.  But we soon found we had a lot of things in common from how we were raised.  Our moms had the same green checkered dish towels, peach flowery wallpaper and blue flowered cookware in their cupboards.  And the exact same hot chocolate mix recipe.

To this day, I don’t care for hot chocolate you can buy in packets in the store.  Starbucks comes close, but I prefer the recipe we both inherited from our mothers, independently. It’s not fancy.  It doesn’t put on airs.  It certainly isn’t organic.  But it makes a darn good cup of smooth, not-too-chocolaty hot chocolate.  Which is pretty much all I want from a mug of hot chocolate in the first place.

Moms’ Hot Chocolate Mix

16 oz. instant chocolate mix (we use Nestle Quick)
8 quarts dry instant milk
5 oz. non-dairy creamer
1 cup powdered sugar

1.  Mix thoroughly and store in a large, tightly covered container.
2.  When ready to use, add 1/3 cup mix to 1 cup hot water.

I should add Step 3.  Curse yourself because you didn’t wait long enough and now you’ve burnt the roof of your mouth.  Drat!

Outdoor Guy almost doubles the recommended amount of mix when he makes a cup.  I find 1/3 cup to be the perfect blend.

I will add that this makes a lot of hot chocolate mix.  A LOT.  So be sure to have a giant mixing bowl and storage container available.  This mix also makes a great gift to give away.  Throw some in a mason jar, dress up the jar with some ribbon and fabric and print some instructions for the mix.  Instant homemade gift!

I also know folks that use flavored creamer to change the flavor…you could try cinnamon, hazelnut or French vanilla.  I’m a purist, but suit yourselves!


Goshen County wildlife, Uncategorized, wildlife, Wildlife Management, writing


photo 2 (2)

Yesterday I was equal parts wildlife biologist and weirdo redneck, because I got out of the car and stood on the county road to look at a road-killed critter.  And take photos.  With my 3-year old daughter holding my hand.

“It looks like a great big mouse, Mama,” she told me as we stared at the inert form.

Wyokiddo and I were inspecting an opossum, which until this summer, I did not know lived in my home state of Wyoming.  This was a Virginia opossum, the only marsupial found in the United States and Canada.

It did indeed look like a big cuddly, if dead, mouse.  The poor animal had probably been following the ditch, hunting for food when it popped up on the road and got hit by a car.

Opossums aren’t common in Wyoming.  We are on the fringe of their territory, but they are common in the eastern and southern half of the country.  They can be found in Canada and Mexico, too.  There are more than 60 different species of opossum.

The curly-haired wildlife lover next to me was fascinated by the opossum’s long sharp claws and the cross-hatching on it’s hairless tail.  She stood there studying it for several minutes, proclaiming it’s fur looked soft and warm.  It’s claws were long and sharp, she informed me, but not as long as those of the badger her Daddy caught this summer.  She also thought the opossum’s teeth would probably hurt if it bit us.  I thought those were pretty good observations for a preschooler!

When we got home, Wyokiddo insisted we look up photos of living possums.  Thanks to our good friend Google, we found out that in addition to being long and sharp, the opossum’s teeth are a plenty.  Each one has 50 teeth, more than any other North American land mammal. Their tails are prehensile and are used for grasping branches, balancing and carrying nesting material.  Cartoons and drawings often show the opossum hanging from a tree by its tail, but this is apparently just a common misconception.  But they do have opposable “thumbs” on their hind feet for holding onto branches.

I also learned they have two lateral vaginas with separate uteri, as do other female marsupials.  Insert your own PMS jokes here.

I think it’s cool that we live in a place with a new-to-me species.  Hopefully, one day Wyokiddo and I will have the chance to see one live on-the-claw, instead of dead on the road.


humor, Uncategorized, wildlife

Not Quite the Tortoise and the Hare

In keeping with yesterday’s theme of amazing wildlife videos, here’s another.

For those of you that don’t know, this is a marten chasing down a rabbit.  Martens are members of the weasel family.  Martens are about two feet long from nose to bushy tail, but the tail is about 1/3 of that length.  They live in forests and wooded areas and feed on squirrels, chipmunks, mice, birds, bird eggs, insects, fish and other aquatic critters.  They are ferocious, opportunistic little buggers, as evidenced by the video.  But I had no idea martens could run like that.  I’ve watched the video several times and I’m still amazed.  Nature is brutal, but beautiful and amazing at the same time.

Slow and steady may win the race, but the quick and the relentless eat hassenfeffer for supper.


humor, Uncategorized, writing

Oh to be a crow…

Is anyone else tired of  all the political detritus and genuine nonsense littering your news feed this week? Cruz is a cheater!  Hillary is a liar!  Buy guns!  Ban guns!  I’ve stuck by Facebook because it’s a great way to keep in touch with friends and family across the land, but sometimes…just…ugh.

But tonight I found this fabulous video of a bird.  That uses tools.  To snowboard.  Just when I was about to delete my account, Facebook, you totally redeem yourself!  How can I not smile just watching this crow shredding on a roof.


Children, Kids, photography, Uncategorized, Weekly Photo Challenge

WPC: Vibrant


Painting DinosaursMy contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant

One of my goals this year for my photography was to take some more lifestyle shots.  I wanted to do a better job of capturing moments, and not necessarily faces and smiles.  Those are wonderful, but sometimes the little details are much better.

I love this photo because it is vibrant.  But it’s also tiny fingers with a cartoon bandage eagerly painting pictures of her newest obsession.  A quiet afternoon spent with just the two of us laughing and talking.  A vibrant photo of a moment in time with my vibrant little girl.