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

 

Advertisements
family, Uncategorized, writing

Flyin’ Solo

Emiliy's First Day of School-3My little one fledged the nest today.

The last few weeks, when we asked Wyokiddo about starting school, all she would say is “I’m a little nervous.  It’s a lot bigger.”

So this morning, I expected some anxious moments, maybe even some tears.

Nope.

From the minute she woke up this morning, she was smiles and sunshine.  I offered yet again to drive her to school, but she insisted she would ride the bus.  When the bus came, she climbed in like she owned the thing.

Outdoor Guy and I followed behind in the car with a grocery sack of school supplies and Kleenex.  Without any fuss or fanfare, Wyokiddo listened to her teacher as she explained the morning routine.  Then it was off to recess to see her friends.  No tears, no hesitation.  Just a dismissive wave and she was gone.

It will be a bit of a transition for me.  For five years, the curly-haired dynamo has been my shotgun rider.  To town, to photoshoots, exploring around the county– she was my partner-in-crime and willing duet partner.  We’ll both have to get used to a new normal.

I was doing okay until editing some photos later this morning and “Shotgun Rider” by Tim McGraw started playing on Amazon Music.  That’s when MY tears started falling.

Roll, won’t you come roll with me slow, fast, full speed
Girl wherever sweet time takes us
Hang, with me down this old road
Only God knows where we’ll go
Don’t matter long as I’ve got your love

I am in awe of the confidence and the zeal with which my daughter attacks life.  Wyokiddo has such an amazing little spirit and sweet heart.  That coupled with a silly sense of humor and a sharp-mind makes me one blessed mama.

Being a stay-at-home mom hasn’t always been easy.  There were moments I wished for more free time to pursue a hobby, or just an uninterrupted shower.  But it’s also been the most amazing gift to see my baby girl grow, learn and change.

As she grows, she’ll need me less and less.  And that’s okay.  Because I know our days together helped prepare her for these moments of independence.  She can tackle the world, then come home and have a snack and tell me all about it.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.

No I don’t ever wanna know, 
No other shotgun rider, 
Singin’ to the radio, 
You’re my shotgun rider.

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

 

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!

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

nature, photography, Uncategorized, Wyoming

Northern Lights

Night Photos-1 drw

For years, I’ve watched nature shows about the Northern Lights and longed to see them.  I figured it would involve a trip somewhere, well…north!  But last night, Outdoor Guy saw an anomaly in our night sky as he went to check the chick hatcher one last time before bed.

“Hey, come see this,” he called.  I slid the computer off my lap, shoved my feet in shoes and walked outside to join him.

To the northwest of the property was a weird streak of light rising from the horizon into the night sky.  My first thoughts were moon dog or someone with a bonfire and the smoke and light were playing tricks on our eyes.  But the conditions weren’t right for either of those.

“I gotta get my camera,” I said and dashed into the house.

I spent the next thirty minutes playing with long exposures and light painting.  I went to bed happy with the performance of my new camera and pretty satisfied with the image I managed to build.  I woke up to others’ photos of these same lights, folks who lived hundreds of miles from my house.  The consensus was the same.

Well I’ll be damned.

Last night, standing behind our house in south eastern Wyoming, accompanied by a background soundtrack of owls and frogs, of  I witnessed the Northern Lights.  Hats off to Mother Nature, that was quite a performance.

Teresa