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 Sphynx 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 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

 

nature, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife

Summer Color

Owls and Pheasants finals-16.jpg

Summer is winding down in our household.  Soon, Wyokiddo will start kindergarten and I will face an empty house and open day for the first time in five years.  But aside from the stacks of school supplies in the corner of my office, I can also tell summer is coming to an end by how the pheasants look.

It’s been several weeks since I’ve been in the pens and enjoyed the birds.  I’ve been busy with my own flock.  I’ve had several photo shoots, we spent time with my family in Cheyenne and we participated in our local county fair.  So I was a little surprised at how the birds have grown.

The males are starting to color up and act like boys.  Several roosters trailed us in the pens.  They would ruffle their feathers and bluff charge us to show us their toughness.  The red eye patch is quite distinct, and many are getting their “ring-neck.”

The girls, on the other hand, generally hide in the kochia and give us a wide berth.  They use the weeds as cover to protect themselves.  It’s an important technique that will serve them when they are released.  They can use the natural cover to hide from dogs, hunters, owls and coyotes.  They’ll also use that cover to protect their clutch of eggs and chicks.

Nobody on the road,
Nobody on the beach.
I feel it in the air,
The summer’s out of reach.

Summer isn’t out of reach yet, but soon my boys of summer will be gone for another season.  In the meantime, we’ll enjoy their antics and the gentle thrum of life in rural Wyoming.

Teresa

 

 

nature, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife

Tiny Packages

Triop - DRW.jpgOur neighbor brought a gift for Wyokiddo today in the form of a jar full of tadpole shrimp, or “Triops.”  They are tiny little crustaceans with three eyes and up to 70 pairs of legs.  This one was no bigger than the tip of my pinky finger.

They don’t have a real long lifespan.  Most will die within 90 days, if their water source doesn’t die up first.  They must be tougher than they look, because some species of Triops are more than 300 years old.

Nature continually surprises and delights me!

Uncategorized, writing

Don’t Sell Your Saddle

Graphic.jpgEarlier this month, I went legit and officially created my own business, Dirt Road Wife Photography LLC.  I have an tax ID number, official looking paperwork from the Secretary of State and a business checking account.  Heck, I’ve even got business cards.

Except sometimes I don’t feel legit as a photographer.

I will encounter a new situation and don’t know exactly how to tackle it in the moment.  Or I get home, start editing my images and am crestfallen because what felt good in the moment and looked good on my LCD screen isn’t wowing me after the fact.

Sometimes, it’s other photographers who undermine my self-confidence.  Long-time pros who make snarky remarks about all the wannabe mom-tographers devaluing the industry and undermine their pricing.

“Is that what I’m doing?” I ask myself.  “Pretending to be a photographer?  Am I a joke?”

I compare my work to the work of the professionals I admire and it feels woefully inadequate.  Tara Bolgiano, Janelle Rose, Cassie Madden…real women, wonderful people and phenomenal photographers who seem to ooze beautiful images and confidence out their pores.  And I work and practice and study, but I still can’t quite get there…

Those are the days I think about selling my saddle.

It would be easy to quit.  Walk away.  I’ve had different offers for work, who’s to know I chose it over my secret goal of being a professional photographer?

I would.  I would know that I took the easy way out.  That I was afraid to grow, to risk.  And I would regret it.

So I’m going to tackle this new goal like the others I’ve set for myself.  I’m going to continue to work and study and practice.  I’m going to hustle.  Maybe I’ll get there, maybe I won’t.  But I do know I’ll never ride that horse to the finish line if I sell my saddle now.

 

Teresa

*”Don’t Sell Your Saddle” is a poem written by Don Bilup.  The above photo is mine, copyright Dirt Road Wife Photography LLC.

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

photography, sports, Uncategorized, Wyoming

Getting My Kicks

Emily

Last fall, Wyokiddo asked to play soccer.  Quite frankly, I was a bit stunned.  She isn’t a huge fan of sports and hasn’t really expressed an interest in them before.  But we signed her up.  She loved it so much, she’s playing again this spring.

I take photos at her games for a few reasons.  One, it’s good practice at some action photography shots.  And two, it keeps me from getting too intense.

Yes, I’m one of those parents.  Or I would be if I didn’t make a conscious effort to keep my nose out of her on-field business.  Every once in a while, I’ll slip and try to coach instead of encourage.  But if I put a camera in my hands, I’m paying more attention to it than worrying about the performance of my kid.  Which for this competitive mama, is a good thing.

Here’s hoping this technique lasts me for quite a while.  Lord help me if the kid is ever good enough to play varsity.

These action shots are also a great way to practice some graphic design skills.  I’m getting more experienced with Photoshop and the powers of digital design.  If only parenting were as easy as turning on or off the layers of ourselves we don’t really want.

Teresa

nature, photography, Uncategorized

Peacock!

Peacock-1.JPG

A few weeks ago, Wyokiddo and had a girls’ day out.  We stopped by the Riverside Discovery Center in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.  It’s a small zoo, but for western Nebraska, it’s a pretty cool place.

One of the highlights is always the peacocks and peahens that roam freely about.  This boy’s feathers were the perfect thing to brighten up the gray day.

Teresa

photography, Uncategorized

Mom & Me Sessions!

It’s usually Mom that takes the photos.  She takes photos of the kids, the pets, the house and the trips.  She’s usually so busy behind the camera that she’s rarely in the photos.  Let’s change that!  Give the hard-working mom in your life a Mom & Me photography session to showcase her beautiful soul and tender relationship with her family.

We’ll work together to find a beautiful location and great lighting and then just let Mom shine.  For 35 minutes, I’ll help make Mom feel beautiful and blessed as we create beautiful images of her surrounded by the people she loves most in the world.

You can book the session now or buy a gift card! Add a photo package so Mom only has to pick her favorites and I will print and ship them directly to you.  Mom & Me sessions can be customized to include the whole family. A perfect present for wives, moms and even moms-to-be! Call or text Teresa at (307) 575-0211.

Mothers Day Sessions

Teresa