agriculture, photography, Uncategorized

Branding

Smith Branding 2017-48

As spring winds down and summer begins, ranchers in Wyoming begin the time-tested tradition of branding their cattle.  Branding predates our state, and is still the most reliable method of marking cattle for identification.

How a cattleman organizes his branding is as unique as the actual brand itself.  Some families choose the traditional route of roping calves out of a herd with horses and cowboys.  Others choose to use a chute and table, eliminating the need for horses.  Some features are a matter of necessity, others of tradition.  Some ranch branding probably don’t look all that different than they might have 100 years ago, save for a iron heated by propane instead of a wood fire.

But some things don’t change.  No matter where you go, you’ll find neighbors helping neighbors.  Kids work side-by-side with their parents, learning how to brand, rope and even castrate the bull calves.  Socializing with friends and family.  Earthy smells.  Petty squabbles.  Cussing.  Laughter.  And food.  Lots and lots of homemade, delicious food.

Joining the Smith family and their crew is quickly becoming one of my favorite parts of the year.

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

agriculture, photography, Uncategorized, Wyoming

Broda Family – Southeast Wyoming Family Photography

It was cold and windy and not the best day for family photos.  But this is an ag family, and cold and wind is just a part of life for them in Southeastern Wyoming.  So I bundled up for a family photo session with my friend and boss on her family ranch.

Most people know John and Stacy as a elementary school principal and the Wyoming FFA State Advisor, respectively.  But when they aren’t running a school or chasing state FFA officers around, they are wrangling their two sons and working on Stacy’s family ranch.

The Child Ranch sits just east of Cheyenne, north of I-80.  The ranch has been in the family for generations, and now, four generations work this land side-by-side and call it home.  I’ve spent a few mornings with Stacy feeding cows and watching wildlife, and I never get tired of hearing stories of her ancestors and how they turned the ranch from a simple homestead into the thriving family business it is today.  This rich and beautiful history is still evident, as the family has preserved some of the more historical buildings.  And it is alive in the stories Stacy tells, stories no doubt passed down from her own father and grandfather.

My favorite part of the day by far was watching these boys just be boys.  Climbing on fences, leaping across hay bales, giving each other a hard time.  They had a lot of fun and it made for a lot of laughs.  These boys don’t understand yet what a special thing it is to be growing up the way they are…living on a cattle ranch, surrounded by three generations of family, with room to roam and the freedom to climb hay bales, throw rocks, fight, make mistakes, learn and grow.  This lifestyle, along with guidance from their amazing parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, will shape them into men I can’t wait to meet one day.

In the mean time, they are dynamic boys who make me laugh each and every time I am around them.  I was honored to take their picture, and blessed to count the Broda family as dear and cherished friends.

Teresa

agriculture, photography, Uncategorized, Wyoming

Wyoming Wino

tmv-grapes-2-cr

Wyoming is known for many things…wide open skies, mountains, grizzly bears, cowboys and cattle.  Wine is not one of those things.  But the folks at Table Mountain Vineyards in Huntley, Wyoming, are trying to change that.  They’re growing grapes, making wine, drinking wine and generally keeping life interesting.

TMV was the brain child of one of my best friends from college.  I’ve watched Patrick and his family turn a crazy idea into a thriving family business.  What started as a few acres of grapes is now a vineyard, winery and tasting room that hosts weddings.  They even offer paint-and-sip sessions where you can channel your inner Monet and and sample some wine.

I spent a few hours wandering the vineyards earlier this fall.  TMV has almost ten acres under grapes, which is about 10,000 vines.  These grapes are Wyoming tough – cold-hardy varieties specifically chosen to withstand our higher altitudes and colder climates. They have great names like Frontenac, Elviria and Marcheal Foch.  The grapes are picked and processed right at the vineyard, becoming wines with equally colorful names…S.O.B. (Son of a Berry), Cowgirl Blush and Wyoming Nectar.

The wines are full of “character.”  And no wonder – just look at these grapes.  They’ve got character in spades!

If you find yourself in Wyoming, pick up a bottle of a TMV wine and taste a little bit of my state with every sip!

Teresa

agriculture, photography, Uncategorized

Ready for Cinderella

pumpkin-1-2

Wyokiddo, Outdoor Guy and I spent our Saturday exploring a Wyoming pumpkin patch.  We found four pumpkins to haul home for Halloween, navigated the corn maze and fed some pigs.  A great day, all around.

My favorite part, though, was exploring the pumpkin patch.  Doesn’t this  pumpkin look like it’s just waiting for Fairy Godmother to come along and work her magic?

Teresa

agriculture, country life, photography, Uncategorized

Tender as She Grows

Garden Salad.jpgThis week, we were able to harvest our first produce from our garden.  Our lettuce is so prolific that I was able to send my mother-in-law home with a bag full of delicious buttercrunch leaves and a sack full of radishes.  This is quite a feat, considering I once killed a spider plant.

Teresa

agriculture, country life, photography, Uncategorized

Leaving a Mark

untitled-69

Last month, Wyokiddo and I were invited to attend another branding, this time at the Smith Ranch.  The Smiths were some of the first friends we made here in our new home.  We were quickly invited for summer barbecues and holiday dinners.  They’ve become great friends and are definitely part of our Goshen County family.

This is my favorite photo from the branding.  I love the textures and the leading lines of the fence.  I’m working to download all the images I shot that day to a disc to give to their family.  I hope they love this photo of Mr. Waldon leaving a mark on his corral fence, because their family has certainly left a mark on my family’s heart.

Teresa

 

agriculture, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife

Pure Heart

Hatch 4-45-2

In Response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Pure.

One of my daughter’s favorite activities in the spring is to visit the pheasant chicks her daddy raises.  She would sit in the barns with them for hours, despite the sweltering conditions, if only I would let her.

I love seeing the chicks, but I was more mesmerized by her interactions with them.  As soon as she sat down, the day-old chicks were checking out their new friend.  They would  hop on her and try to crawl in her boots.  They would even climb in her outstretched hand when she offered it.  Very gently, Wyokiddo would scoop up a tiny chick, hold it in her hands and whisper “I’m glad you made it!  Grow big little chick!” before releasing it back to the floor.  The innocence and pure love of those moments made my heart swell.

Soon the chicks will grow into adult pheasants and lose their cuteness.  And before I know it, my little girl will grow up as well.  My hope is that despite the toughness of this world, she will always keep her pure, sweet, beautiful heart.

Teresa