country life, Uncategorized, writing

Gratitude and Attitude

Poopy Bird Hat.jpgA pheasant pooped on my head today. I was helping my husband load pheasants onto the stocking truck when a rooster got away and flew off, pooping all over me in the process. It was on my hands, down my jeans, down my back and all over my hat.

Definitely not my best day. And it only got worse from there. The dog threw up on me, I slammed my hand in the door and I lost my photo order and had to spend another two hours recreating it.

Later, I was grumping to my daughter about my rotten day. She just laughed and said “Good thing you were wearing a hat!”

And just like that, I was given a lesson in perspective from a five-year old.

Each day, we have the choice to focus on the bad or focus on the good. We can look at what has gone wrong in our lives and bemoan the unfairness of it all. Or we can choose to see value and cherish what is good and right in every day and focus on that.
The first leads you to more negativity and anger. The second leads to gratitude and contentment.

So the next time everything is turning to poo and the proverbial blue birds of happiness drops a load on our heads, let’s choose to be grateful we have hats.

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country life, dogs, photography, Uncategorized

Canine Entertainment

This is how Wyokiddo and I entertained ourselves tonight.  Photographing the dogs while tossing them treats.

I set up some studio lights in our basement to take school photos of Wyokiddo.  I’d seen a funny series of images of dogs being thrown treats and decided to have some fun with it.  Wyokiddo and I giggled our way through two dogs and about two dozen shots.  These were the most entertaining!

Dogs Catching Treats WebDogs Catching Treats Web-2Dogs Catching Treats Web-3Dogs Catching Treats Web-4Dogs Catching Treats Web-5Dogs Catching Treats Web-6

country life, family, Uncategorized, writing

Lifetime Dogs

Emily and Roxy-3I’m reading A Good Dog by Jon Katz.  It’s a sweet story about a middle-aged New Jersey writer and his adventures with his border collie, Orson, and the other dogs in his life.

Katz says he’s owned several dogs, but Orson was his lifetime dog…that one special dog that you connect to more than any other in your lifetime.  Your canine soulmate, if you will.

I spread the ashes of my sweet lifetime dog, Hoops, yesterday.  Hoops died over a year ago, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it until yesterday.  So on a perfect Wyoming fall morning, the Roxy dog and I went for a walk and I said a final farewell to my big, fluffy buddy.  I scattered them under the big cottonwood tree in our yard.  It was his favorite place to bask in all seasons.  And the sentimental side of me likes the idea part of him watching over us from his familiar post.

We have other dogs, dogs that I love and adore.  I love the patience and sweetness of our lab mix, Roxy.  And I love watching Ziggy the border collie herd birds and chase a frisbee.  But I agree with Katz.  There are lifetime dogs, and Hoops was mine.  I miss that big fluffy bugger every day.

Wyokiddo is following in the footsteps of her parents and is already a dog person.  She especially loves Roxy.  They play dress-up and chase.  She reads Roxy stories and likes the white dog to be near when she’s sick or upset.

My daughter will likely know many more dogs over the course of her lifetime.  I hope that one day, she’ll also know her lifetime dog.

Teresa

 

country life, insects, nature, photography, Uncategorized

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Caterpillar.jpg

A few nights ago, we found this fat and sassy caterpillar happily munching on our tomatoes.  It was quickly apprehended and now lives in Wyokiddo’s bug jar.  At least for another day or two.

After some research, I discovered it is a tomato hornworm, so named because of it’s penchant for devouring tomatoes and the little horn-like appendage on it’s tail.  After it pupates, this caterpillar will turn into a Sphinx moth.  Google also told me this probably wasn’t the only caterpillar we had in our garden…where there’s one there’s probably 10 or 20.  Sure enough, on subsequent trips to the garden, we another 15 or so of the chubby green menaces.

As Wyokiddo stared at one mowing down my plants, she said “Mama, it looks just like the very hungry caterpillar in my books!”

It really did resemble the star of the Eric Carle books.  But this caterpillar won’t get a chance to eat through oranges, apples, pears, salami, cheese, pickles or an ice cream cone, and neither will his brethren.  You don’t mess with my tomatoes and live to tell the tale.

Teresa

 

country life, Uncategorized, writing, Wyoming

Snakebit

Puffy Roxy DogYesterday was a rough one for our household.  As the temperatures climbed to above 85 degrees, Wyokiddo and our dogs sought refuge in the water.  We headed to a local reservoir to play in the shallow water and enjoy the beautiful spring day.  We splashed, sang songs and even got to see our first painted turtle up close.

But when I went to unload the dogs from the covered bed of the pickup, I noticed something was wrong with Roxy, our 10-year old lab/German shepherd cross.  She didn’t want to get out of the pickup and was hanging her head to one side.  I reached for her and she snapped at me.  This is same dog who seeks out the preschooler to play dress up.

I looked her over and noticed her ear was bleeding and her face was starting to swell up.  A knot started to form in the pit of my stomach when I realized she’d likely been bitten by a rattlesnake.

Snakes are an unfortunate reality in our corner of the world.  We live with them, watch where we step and avoid the tall grass when it warms up each spring.  But in allowing the dogs to roam free as we played, I’d inadvertently put them at risk.

After a brief consultation with Outdoor Guy, Wyokiddo and I loaded back in the pickup and hauled into town to our local vet.  By the time we reached the vet 20 minutes later, the swelling had reached Roxy’s neck.   To my untrained eye, she acted as if she were in shock.

The wonderful vets at Goshen County Vet Clinic took care of us immediately.  They agreed with my snakebite assessment and took Roxy back for immediate treatment.  When the doctor told us Roxy would have to stay the weekend at the vet clinic, poor Wyokiddo welled up with tears.

Oh God.  This whole time, I’d been worrying about the dog and dealing with my fear over my dog.  I hadn’t stopped to consider all of it through 4-year old eyes.  The vet and vet tech gave us every reason to be hopeful, but warned that some dogs don’t make it.  We said goodbye to Roxy, just in case, and left the clinic in a somber mood.

I stopped at the soda shop thinking a cool treat would life our spirits.  As we waited in the drive-through, Wyokiddo asked “Mama, where is Roxy’s favorite place to be?”

“I don’t know kiddo.  I think anywhere we are is her favorite place.  Why?”

“In case she dies.  I want to put her ashes in her favorite place.”

I lost it.  Right there, in the AJ’s drive-through, tears spilling down on my waiting cash.  This poor kid has seen and processed too much death, I thought.  Her grandpa, two dogs and pet fish, all in less than 18 months.

“Please don’t let her lose this dog, too,” I prayed silently.  “This should not be how we have to say goodbye.”

So we talked some about how Roxy was in the best place she could be, being cared for by animal doctors who knew just what to do.  Wyokiddo settled into her drink.  I wiped away tears and tried to get it together for my kid.

When I laid Wyokiddo down for a nap, she asked if we could pray to God to keep Roxy safe and help her get better.  “Sometimes it helps to talk to God, Mama.  That’s what you told me.”

I stand in awe of this beautiful little soul.

Thankfully, when we called the clinic in the morning, they said our sweet old dog was up, wagging her tail and ready to come home.  Mama, Wyokiddo and even the stalwart Outdoor Guy were happy to greet her a few hours later.  Tonight, she’s resting comfortably but still a little swollen.  Wyokiddo is snuggled in next to her daddy, content and happy now that her best dog is home.  It’s a sight more beautiful than anything I could imagine.

Teresa

country life, photography, Uncategorized, Wyoming

The Theatre, The Theatre

wyo-theater-drw

…what’s happened to the theatre?”

I can’t speak for Danny Kaye, but this Goshen County photographer thinks our movie theater here is pretty alright.  Every time I drive by this grand old building at night, I am struck by it’s beauty.  Last night, I finally stopped to capture that beauty in a photograph.  The Wyoming Theater in Torrington, Wyoming.

Teresa

country life, photography, Uncategorized, Wyoming

The Blue Beast

main-street-yoder-6

I went out to shoot geese and wound up shooting this beautiful beast instead.  This old guy hangs out just off main street in our small town.  I’ve driven by him a dozen times, but he’s never looked as magnificent as he did this day, blanketed in snow.

country life, photography, Uncategorized, Wyoming

Sorensen Family – Southeast Wyoming Family Photography

sorensen-story-board

These handsome little cowboys, their smiley sister and awesome parents live just down the road from us.  We’re happy to be neighbors and friends with this beautiful family, as I was flattered when she asked me to take their family photos.

I love watching these boys in action.  Big Brother is quiet, methodical and kind.  He has an old soul.  He is so patient and sweet with Wyokiddo.  He even helps out here on the bird farm occasionally, putting men four times his age to shame with his work ethic and natural abilities around livestock.

Maddog, as little brother is affectionately known, is trouble in cowboy boots.  He’s adventurous, bold and the right blend of orneriness and sweetness that will have girls eating out of his hand here in another ten years or so.  He’s always up for a good time, and will tell anyone who will listen how brave and strong his dad is or how nice his mom is.  Wyokiddo is in awe of him and is always coming home from preschool telling me Maddog stories.  It’s no surprise, really, because that’s how I remember his dad from my days showing pigs in 4-H and FFA…as the ornery little brother who didn’t take anyone’s grief.

Little Sister is always all smiles and light.  She’s not walking yet, but given time, I have no doubt she’ll do everything her big brothers can do, just maybe in pink and pigtails.  And have daddy wrapped around her finger in the process.

Together, these kids will no doubt keep their parents on their toes.  But if anyone is up for the job of wrangling these three into respectful, hard-working and down-to-earth, it’s their parents.  I can’t wait to watch these kids grow up and get to know this awesome family better.

Teresa

*This great storyboard is the work of the Rita at http://www.thecoffeeshopblog.com/.  It’s a great resource for photographers just learning the power of Photoshop.   Check it out!

country life, family, photography, Uncategorized

Ziggy

Ziggy at 11 Weeks.jpgAbout three weeks ago, we expanded our family to include this little dude.  Meet Ziggy, the newest member of the Downar Bird Farm Management Team.  Ziggy is an 11-month old border collie, and was bred to be a lean, mean, herding machine.

He’s got some growing to do before he’ll be ready to hit the bird pens.  In the meantime, he is quite the snuggler and is entertaining himself finding little bits of food, paper and other detritus to eat on the floor.  I’m choosing not to take that as a condemnation of my housekeeping.

Look out roosters, there’s a new sheriff in town.  He’ll come after you just as soon as he’s caught his own tail.

-Teresa

country life, humor, Uncategorized, Wyoming

What’s in the Box?

pheasant-foot“What’s in box?” Brad Pitt asks Morgan Freeman’s character toward the end of the movie Se7en.

I sort of feel like that opening our freezer.  I never know what I’ll find.  I’ve never found a severed head ala Brad Pitt.  But my wildlife biologist/fish culturist/hunter/angler husband has been known to store the odd critter in the frigid depths.

Today it was a pheasant wrapped in newspaper that he plans to have mounted.  I’ve also stumbled across chicks, mice, big game capes, random fish parts and internal organs of various flavors.

I bet wives of accountants never have these problems. 🙂

Teresa