nature, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife, Wyoming

Floating Hubcap

This is how I spent my morning…crawling along an irrigation ditch, camera in hand, trying to stalk a massive snapping turtle.

I spent an hour this morning watching this snapping turtle cruise down our irrigation ditch. It was amazing to see how he’d drift along, then raise his tail to use as a rudder. We see this turtle each spring. I’m guessing he’s pretty old because he is absolutely massive. His entire carapace is probably bigger than a foot and a half across. He lifted his head out of the water once, briefly, before submerging completely and I lost sight of him.

Turtles, frogs and other things that creep and crawl might not be as majestic as a grizzly bear or regal as the wolf, but they are still fascinating creatures. I for one am glad that our state is filled with the good, the bad and the ugly. Makes life more interesting, don’t you think?

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Uncategorized

Mallory & Jay – Denver, Colorado

Two Wyomingites living south of the border.  No, not Mexico.  Colorado.  While finances and jobs led them away from our state, family and love of the outdoors keeps them connected to Wyoming.  Their love of each other, and maybe the occasional night out dancing, keeps them connected to each other.

Mallory and Jay braved the Wyoming wind, puncture vine and snakes to find a few calm spots on Mallory’s parents’ farm for some engagement shots.  In between a little rock climbing gentle teasing from Jay, Mallory shared plans for their September wedding.

I won’t give away the details, but I think the location, the Ivinson Mansion in Laramie, Wyoming, suits them.  It will be elegant but hip with just a touch of down-home country…stay tuned!

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Uncategorized

The Dirt Gene

Emily Blocks-1-2Although scientists haven’t identified it yet, I suspect that somewhere in our DNA is the dirt gene.  It is the gene that drives some of us to be outside, soaking up sunshine, playing with bugs and climbing trees.  It is the gene that feeds our need to run our hands in soft earth, squish mud between our toes or race sticks in a stream.

There actually is a name for this need to connect with natural systems and other living things.  It’s called biophilia, and it was discussed by Edward O. Wilson in the mid 1980s.  Wilson believed that all humans subconsciously seek these connections.  But even his theory isn’t new.  Aristotle put forth a similar concept that he described as “a love of life.”

While everyone may possess this dirt gene, this biophilia, some folks’ genes express themselves more firmly than others.

Wyokiddo has the dirt gene.   It’s sequenced somewhere between her gene that determines eye color and the one that gives her curly hair.

In the last few days, my child has asked to go fishing, hiking and catch bugs.  At the park, she skipped playing dolls to have a sword fight with the boys and roll around in the grass.  She climbs rocks, jumps off fallen logs, pokes sticks in holes and rubs her face against the bark of trees.

She doesn’t understand it, but feeding those dirt genes is making her healthy, happy and strong.  She’s improving her powers of concentration, stimulating creativity and developing critical thinking skills.  All this outdoor time also builds her confidence.  She’s activating her senses in a way that a screen or a book never could.

Wyokiddo just thinks its fun to play outside.

So I’ll let her feed those dirt genes.  I’ll let her bail off a 3 foot wall and roll in the grass.  I’ll give her a net to catch butterflies and haul her all over this county to explore new areas and terrain.  Because I know feeding the dirt gene is also feeding her mind, her body and her soul.

Besides, she got some of those dirt genes from me.  I like to play outside, too.

Happy Earth Day.

-Teresa

 

 

nature, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife

Springtime Messenger

Robin 2 DRWI’m participating in a 52 Week Photo Challenge. The topic this week is spring.  What to shoot, what to shoot?  Flowers, budding trees, frogs, newborn calves…all of these remind me of spring and the rebirth that the season brings.

But since I had to choose just one, it was this guy.  Nothing is sweeter music to my tired winter ears than the song of the American Robin. I shot photos that were more artistic and colorful, but as a harbringer of springtime in Wyoming, the robin can’t be beat.

Teresa

nature, Uncategorized, Wyoming

Girls Who Fish

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It’s spring break and Wyokiddo and I are out playing while Outdoor Guy tends to the birds.  Today, she requested we go fishing, so mid-morning we loaded up her Mickey Mouse fishing pole and some worms and we headed out.

The fishing was slow, so Wyokiddo had time to ponder the esoteric.

“Mama, why are there only boys out here?”

I set down my rod and contemplated how to answer her question.  Occasionally we’d see a woman fishing in a boat with her husband.  But by and large, anytime we were out in the field, it was men, or boys with their dads.  Very few little girls, and never just a mom and her daughter.

“Well, some girls haven’t ever had anyone take them fishing,” I tried to explain.  “They might live in a city where there isn’t any place to fish, or no one has ever shown them how.   And some girls don’t want to fish.  They think it’s boring or dirty or gross, or that it’s something only boys should do.  They don’t know how much fun it can be!”

Wyokiddo was quiet after that, dividing her attention between her bobber in the water and the ladybug crawling up her arm.

Several minutes later, she looked up at me and squinted against the late morning sun.

“Mama, let’s always be the kind of girls who fish.”

From her lips to God’s ears.  No matter where life takes this beautiful little soul, may she always be one of the girls who fish.

Teresa

nature, Uncategorized, wildlife, Wyoming

The Commute

Most mornings and evenings, we are treated to a show in the sky as giant flocks of geese fly over our house.  Canada geese, snow geese and the occasional Ross goose or Greater white-fronted goose.

Sometimes it’s just a few dozen.  Other nights, such as last night, the geese number in the thousands.  Tonight, thousands of them landed in the neighbors field.  I can hear them chattering back and forth, even now, at ten o’clock.  It’s not exactly sonorous, but it’s beautiful music nonetheless.

photography, Uncategorized, weddings, writing

Mr. & Mrs.

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I had the wonderful honor of photographing the wedding of one of my oldest and dearest friends yesterday.

Sara and Brad were married in Sundance, Wyoming, where the couple met.  She was a beautiful bride.  He was an adorable groom.  They were surrounded by their family and several close friends. The whole affair was simple, understated and tasteful.

I loved photographing the details of the details of the day, from Sara’s vintage inspired lace dress and gold-toned hair comb to the bouquet of spring blooms and yellow roses put together by Serendipity Floral and Gifts in Sundance.

But my favorite part of the day was seeing how Sara’s children were involved, not just the during ceremony, but in the entire event.  Her 9-year old daughter made the wedding cake and the cupcakes.  Her son gave her away.  And Brad’s vows talked about how he wanted to be a role model and positive influence in their lives.  I know the smile he wore wasn’t just for his bride, but for the entire family he was gaining in the process.

Sara and I have been friends since college.  As such, I’ve known her as many things…a cohort in crime, a gambling partner and a best friend.  I watched her become a wife and a new mom.   Life threw a few curves at her, but Sara tackled them with her usual tenacity and steadfast commitment to her values and ideals.  She created a new normal and a new life for her children as a single mom.  It was a full life, filled with love and laughter.

And now Brad joins that life, making it richer and perhaps even a little bit stronger.  I don’t know him well, but I can see how that he softens Sara.  Where she is structured, he is smooth.  Where she is by-the-book, Brad is more spontaneous.  They are not opposites so much as complements, rounding each other out and setting off the other’s personality in wonderful ways.

Life is beautiful.  It is also messy and hard.  That duality can leave some of us beaten and bitter.  It takes courage to rise up from the mess, to dare to imagine yourself as something different.

I’m so proud of my friend for believing in herself, for rising up and finding happiness again.  I am excited to see where this new partnership leads, and what new roles Sara will take on as she, Brad, Madeline and Jameson begin their new journey together as a family.

Take care of her, Brad.  She is a treasure, now and for always.

Teresa

agriculture, photography, Uncategorized, Wyoming

Ah, Sugar Sugar

sugar-factoryThis is the Western Sugar Factory here in Torrington, Wyoming.

I might not always like the way it smells, but it was an important part of the development of Torrington and this valley.

Built in 1926, this factory has been processing locally grown sugar beets, serving the agriculture industry and contributing to the local economy for almost 100 years. Today, the plant is leased by the Western Sugar Cooperative. Together, Western Sugars 5 facilities produce more than 10 million hundred weights of sugar, including white sugar, brown sugar and powdered sugar. The plant is set to close its main production line at the end of this year.

So the next time you make a cake or spoon sugar into your coffee, cheers! It’s entirely possibly you’re enjoying some sweetness grown in the Rocky Mountain region and made right here in Torrington!

Teresa

family, Kids, Uncategorized

Gifts from Little People

emily-flowers-drw

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Mama. Sorry they’re dead. But uh, it’s winter, so…”

Wyokiddo @ 4  years old.  If I’m being honest, I’ve received far less thoughtful gifts from far less cuter humans.

Happy Valentine’s Day.  Show the world how big your heart is today, and every day.

Teresa