family, Kids, Uncategorized

Gifts from Little People


“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.


Uncategorized, writing, Wyoming

Are You Tough Enough?

Winter in Wyoming

“It’s winter in Wyoming,
And the gentle breezes blow,
Seventy miles an hour,
At twenty-five below.
Oh, how I love Wyoming,
When the snow’s up to your butt,
You take a breath of winter,
And your nose gets frozen shut.
Yes, the weather here is wonderful,
So I guess I’ll stick around,
I could never leave Wyoming,
’cause I’m frozen to the ground!”

A lot of folks tell me “Oh, I wish I could live in Wyoming.  It is so beautiful!”

And it is. Until it isn’t.  Are you tough enough?


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. 🙂


country life, family, photography, Uncategorized

Chickens are the New Chihuahuas

Emily and Chicken-5

This week in micro-fashion…

Looking for the latest in back-to-school accessories for your preschooler? Might I suggest a pocket chicken! Boas are out, bantys are in! Pink, turquoise, t-shirts, leggings, they really do go with any outfit…

Meet Erica the Bantam rooster.  Erica-the-girl named Erica-the-rooster before anyone knew he was a she (the rooster, not the girl). The rooster belongs to Wyokiddo’s papa.  The erstwhile clucker-turned-crower quickly fell under the spell of the curly-haired dynamo.  Wyokiddo would pick up Erica and pack him around under her arm while she helped her papa do chores.  If she put him down, it wasn’t long before he was back at her feet, lobbying for loves and meal worms.

My daughter, the chicken-whisperer.



nature, photography, Uncategorized, Wyoming

The Sentinel of Goshen County

Bear Mountain CR.jpgLong before I ever moved to Goshen County, Wyoming, to live on the bird farm, I traveled here to meet a friend from college and tour his farm and vineyard.  As he was explaining the area landmarks, he mentioned something about Bear Mountain.

“What mountain?” I asked.  I remembered passing some mesas, but certainly no mountains and none that I thought would be bear habitat.  This place was pretty flat, as topograpy went in the Cowboy State.

“The big plateau looking thing as you head South toward Cheyenne.  There’s a rock that juts out from it that looks like a bear.”

I contemplated the scenery on my drive home and did indeed locate “the bear.”  I called The Ferd to tell him I’d arrived safely and thank him for dinner.  I also told him the rock looked more like a prairie dog than it did a bear.

His response was prompt and vehement.

“You shut your damn dirty mouth, Terry.  That’s a bear and no one can tell us locals otherwise!”

Now that I’m a resident, “the bear” greets me each time I leave or enter our county to the South.  Even Wyokiddo likes to snap photos of the beast out her window.  He’s a fixture on our drive to see Nana and a welcome site as we head for home after a long day in the big city.

He’s my bear and I’m sticking with him.  (But I still think it looks like a prairie dog.)


country life, humor, Uncategorized, writing

Revenge of the Pheasants

I’ve been laid up sick the last few days with what the doctor confirmed is a campylobacter infection.  What is campylobacter, you ask?  Long answer is that it’s a bacteria carried by animals, including poultry and pheasants.  Humans can get the bacteria by handling the animals themselves or improperly cooking the meat.

The short answer?   As my wise-cracking father would have said, campylobacter is the shits.  I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.  Well maybe all those terrorists wreaking havoc around the world.  I would wish this on them.  It would be hard to focus on world-destruction and murder when you can’t get more than 20 feet from a bathroom at any given time.

I contracted campylobacter by handling the pheasants then inadvertently touching my face before I washed my hands.  Most people who become ill with campylobacteriosis get diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever within two to five days after exposure to the organism.  I had all of the above.  Emphasis on the former.  I even reached a new low point in my adult life when I was required to poop in a bucket to provide a stool sample.

The only levity of the situation came when I was at the doctor’s office getting checked and I handed the nursing student the “Physcian’s Alert Card” my husband had provided me.  The card alerts physicians to consider zoonotic diseases when evaluating a patient with the card, because of proximity to wildlife and/or livestock.  All the wardens, biologists, etc. carry them.  The card lists a whole host of diseases ranging from brucellosis, Avian influenza and leptospirosis to giardiasis and rabies.  The little student nurse visibly blanched when she read it and quickly scurried out of the room to “consult with the head CNP.”

I half expected her to return in a Hazmat suit.  But she came back a few minutes later with the head dude in tow and proceeded to give me a wide berth the rest of the exam.  I think she feared for the integrity of her sassy orange Sperrys.

When she asked if I was depressed or feeling sad, she didn’t appreciate my response that was along the lines of “I accidentally pooped my pants when I sneezed the other night.  So no, it’s not the best week of my life.”

Two hours and some blood tests later I was sent home with orders to get some “bowel rest” and hydrate.  The nurse also didn’t think I was funny when I said if I could get my bowels to rest I wouldn’t be in the doctor’s office to begin with.

Yes, it’s toilet humor.  But the toilet is about all I’ve had the last four days.  I work with what I’ve got.



country life, humor, Uncategorized, writing

Oh Lord, It’s (Not) Hard to be Humble

My dad used to sing me an old Mac Davis tune every now and again.

Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble
When you’re perfect in every way
I can’t wait to look in the mirror
‘Cause I get better lookin’ each day

To know me is to love me
I must be a hell of a man
Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble
But I’m doin’ the best that I can

Mac Davis never had a four-year old.

Last night, Wyokiddo and I were in the pheasant pens with Outdoor Guy.  We were helping him run the birds into their barns for the night.  Despite the blazing hot temperatures we’ve got going on here in southeastern Wyoming, it is still too cold for the youngest chicks to be left outside at night.  Our family’s after-dinner activity from May to early July is to “shoo the birds,” as Wyokiddo calls it.

Last night, I was paying more attention to someone coming down our drive than I was where I was putting my feet.  As I walked backward, I caught my foot on the edge of a covered drip pit and fell ass over teakettle, as Dad used to say.

I wasn’t hurt.  Much.  It was one of those times when I felt myself flailing, then falling, but couldn’t do much about it other than windmill my arms in the air uselessly.  I landed mostly on my ass, but my teakettle took a decent lick, too.  Wyokiddo saw the whole thing go down.

Her first question was about my health.  “Mama, are you okay?”

After assuring her I was, her next statement really took the wind out of my sails.

“You sure do fall slow.”

It is quite easy to be humble when you are a klutz and have a brutally honest preschooler around.


family, humor, Uncategorized, writing

So Not Sneaky

How do people have affairs or cheat on a significant other?  I mean aside from the fact that you are destroying the trust of the person you supposedly love most in this life, how can someone physically do that?  I don’t have the constitution.  Or the skills.  I can’t even be sneaky when the motives are benevolent.

Case in Point…Outdoor Guy celebrated his birthday last month.  I had our friend, The Warden,  craft him a gift.  The Warden made a custom leather holster for Outdoor Guy’s handgun, a Glock that he bought back when we lived in western Wyoming.  Outdoor Guy had told me about  some of the other leather work The Warden had done and I thought a new holster to replace the used one Outdoor Guy currently owned would make a great birthday gift.

When I asked The Warden about it, he asked for the model number of the gun.

Uhhhhh it’s black.  And a Glock.  That’s about all I knew.  So I had to devise a ruse to get those details from Outdoor Guy without alerting him to my true intentions.  And thus the deception began.

“What model is your Glock?” I texted Outdoor Guy, telling him my boss was thinking of getting her husband one for his birthday.  Then I had to text my boss and tell her of the little white lie, less Outdoor Guy bring it up in conversation when they talked.  Then I had to delete all the texts between me and The Warden and me and my boss concerning the illicit holster.

Fast forward a few weeks to when the holster was ready and the birthday was rapidly approaching.  I texted The Warden to see if I could meet him in town to pick it up.  He was apparently out of town and didn’t get back to me for a few days.  My phone, which normally resides on the kitchen counter so I can always find it, dinged with an incoming text notification at 11:30 on a Friday.  It was The Warden wanting to know if we could hook up during the week to do the hand off.

“Who texted you so late last night?” Outdoor Guy asked me the next morning.  I quickly blamed the college state FFA officers I often coach.  And again set about deleting the text exchange.

I finally managed to catch up with The Warden and pick up the holster on the day of Outdoor Guy’s birthday. Wyokiddo and I dropped by his house on the way home from her morning at preschool.  I soon learned that I should never involve my child in any nefarious adventures.

“We saw Mr. Rob today!”  Wyokiddo proudly told her daddy at lunch.  “We went to his house!”

“We drove by his house and he was working in the yard,” I corrected as nonchalantly as I could.  God help my soul for pulling my child into my web of deceit.

Fortunately, the gig was up that evening when Outdoor Guy opened his present.  He smiled when he hoisted the holster out of the box and turned it over in his hands.  I just breathed a big sigh of relief that the facade was over.

“Ahhhh.  I wondered.  The gun, asking about The Warden, seeing The Warden today…” he said, admiring the rich, buttery leather.  “I figured something was up but didn’t want to spoil your surprise.”

God love my husband.  The whole time, he realized I was up to something.  But he also trusted me enough to never question my actions.  And he admitted he didn’t want to ask questions or let on so as it would ruin my enjoyment of giving him a surprise.

Every time I see the holster on Outdoor Guy’s belt, I’ll think of my efforts to pull off a great birthday gift.  Really it was I who got the gift in a wonderful husband that trusts me and is sweet enough to play along with my so not sneaky shenanigans.


food, humor, Uncategorized, writing

TomatOHNO Soup

Tomato SoupI don’t like fresh tomatoes.  My husband doesn’t like fresh tomatoes.  Wyokiddo doesn’t like fresh tomatoes.  We are united as a family in that regard.  But when I saw half a dozen beautiful Roma tomatoes in my food coop pickup, I figured I could do something yummy and healthy.

It was a windy and grey afternoon, so tomato soup sounded like a good idea.  Oddly enough, while we don’t like fresh tomatoes, we all love tomato soup.  We generally eat the canned variety, but I’m always up for a culinary adventure.  I got on Pinterest, researched some recipes and got to work.

The soup looked wonderful.  The slightly orange color was positively beautiful and my kitchen emanated savory aromas from the roasted tomatoes, garlic and onions.  My mouth was literally watering as Wyokiddo and I set the table.  The whole fam eagerly tucked into the dinner table, armed with the grilled cheese sandwiches and spoons.

You know how one bite of a new recipe and you know this will become a stable in your cooking arsenal?  When all the ingredients come together in one perfect, creamy, delectable taste sensation?

This was not that recipe.

I didn’t like it.  My husband thought it was too oniony.  Is that even a word?  Wyokiddo actually gagged when we asked her to try a few additional spoonfuls.

So I’m taking suggestions for new and improved homemade tomato soup recipes.  As for Wyokiddo, she’s asked that I let daddy make the tomato soup from now on. 🙂


humor, Uncategorized, wildlife

Not Quite the Tortoise and the Hare

In keeping with yesterday’s theme of amazing wildlife videos, here’s another.

For those of you that don’t know, this is a marten chasing down a rabbit.  Martens are members of the weasel family.  Martens are about two feet long from nose to bushy tail, but the tail is about 1/3 of that length.  They live in forests and wooded areas and feed on squirrels, chipmunks, mice, birds, bird eggs, insects, fish and other aquatic critters.  They are ferocious, opportunistic little buggers, as evidenced by the video.  But I had no idea martens could run like that.  I’ve watched the video several times and I’m still amazed.  Nature is brutal, but beautiful and amazing at the same time.

Slow and steady may win the race, but the quick and the relentless eat hassenfeffer for supper.