Wednesday, September 30

baby supplies

last night i went to good ol walmart to pick up some stuff for holly's visit after i finished locking up the church, so it was between 9 and 9:30. that's one thing i like about that place. i can go whenever i want.

anyway, a few of the items she had on her list were a carseat for my pickup, diapers and wet wipes so she doesn't have to worry about traveling with those things. i had filled my cart with the things, and that's when i saw my friend bronc rider r.

my thought process: oh, i should go over there and say hello to him. *start walking toward him* oh wait. i have diapers and a car seat. he's going to think i'm incubating. i better not. *turn around and run the opposite direction*

and me and mexican martinez were joking that we should put the carseat in his pickup and see what people say. :-) esp since he offered to swap trucks with me if the carseat doesn't fit in the old-style backseat of my truck. people would really talk if i was driven his truck around with a carseat in the back.

and now my friend j just informed me there's a place here in town that might rent carseats? she's calling them for me to find out. i have such wonderful friends and i love them all so much. :-)

Tuesday, September 29

rodeo pants

“When you’re up against guys like Ryan Gray, Bobby Mote and Clint Cannon, you need to have your rodeo pants on or you’re not going to have a chance." - PRCA bareback rider Jared Keylon, on his win at the Pendleton Round-Up in Oregon mid-September

this is the time of year when all the pro rodeo cowboys are pushing hard to qualify for the national finals rodeo in vegas, held the end of november. the way they qualify is through the money earned throughout the regular rodeo season. the top 15 money-earners get to travel to the finals, and jared keylon, at 24 years old, is $1,000 behind the number 15 spot. he won
$9,069 at the round-up, bringing his season total to just over $50,000.

the rodeo cowboys have two more weeks to compete and make as much money as they possibly can. keylon's traveling to
texarkana (ark.) on wednesday, amarillo (texas) on thursday and then albuquerque (n.m.) friday and saturday. After that he's qualified for the heartland prorodeo championships in waco, texas (oct. 9-17).

excellent photos

one of the most complete sets of wedding photos i've come across. they're all gorgeous, and i love the way they changed up the points of focus and applied the vintage effects. a wonderful collection of wedding photos.

this is the link to the photographer's blog post: sloan photographers

and this is just one of the photos. seriously, go browse through them.

on another note, isn't she wearing one of the prettiest white dresses you've ever seen?

and after seeing this photo, i think throwing a bulky comforter over a couch in the winter looks like one of the most comfy house ideas yet:

Sunday, September 27

one hundred ten thousand

my truck reached a milestone yesterday....110,000 miles. it had 98,000 when i bought it...i didn't think i drove that much, but when i put almost 600 on in a weekend trip, i spose that explains it.

sept 27

september is already practically over! how'd that happen? nonetheless, we're still having mostly excellent weather here in wyoming, and yesterday even reached 80. it was a gorgeous day, and i got up at 5:30 and spent it chasing cows and branding calves for the mutton marshall as previously planned.

as soon as we got done branding the calves i left for town in mexican martinez's truck and trailer because i had to get to church to work. as soon as i was done working i headed back out to the marshall's, then martinez, friend e and myself headed into town to the beacon, where we met up with friend j and spent the rest of the night hangin out. roommate a and her bf showed up, too, and other random acquaintances, so it was fun.

me and two of my favorite people, mexican martinez and roommate a:

this is the snow that fell here last week. they were forecasting snow for town, too, but it only fell on the mountain. this week it's supposed to really cool down again and maybe snow again....

Friday, September 25

lander, laramie

been on the road since wednesday....went to lander for that one meeting, drove 2 1/2 hours back to casper, cleaned the office, saw the him, got up *early* thursday and arrived in laramie at 8:30, meeting all day yesterday, and half day today. it's the 'food safety, security and sources' consumer issues conference on campus at uw.

yesterday it gone done at a decent time so i went and checked into my hotel room and took a nap, then called iowa friend a last night and went over to his place. his same two roommates were hangin around, so we just chilled at the apt all evening.

in addition, midday yesterday the him was like, 'oh, you should get a hold of me niece t and hang out with her if you want.' she's a freshman here this year. so she ended up coming over to iowa friend a's as well and joining in the *activities* with her friend k. they were fun. :-) i seem to get along well with the whole M family.....

i get to leave laramie about one today, after lunch with iowa friend a. then this evening i'm headed out to the association for target practice, in preparation for my elk hunt in a month!! i'm pretty excited.

then tomorrow i'm going out to help mexican martinez, friend e and the mutton marshall brand the marshall's late calves.

Wednesday, September 23


today is a beautiful autumn day and i am in lander for a meeting with the wyoming brucellosis coordination team. right now i'm sitting outside the best western hotel, stealing their internet during lunch break cause i needed to catch up with roundup business.

in other news, i got a call from friend d this morning. he shared with me that bill, part-owner of the beacon, died suddenly of a heart attack while at hunting camp. he was young, healthy and active. even though i could barely call myself his acquaintance, i saw him often and it's a shock when these things happen.

Monday, September 21


'patience is the virtue of a mule, who treads beneath his burden and complains not.' ~ george granville

in this case, it wasn't a mule, but my wonderful jazz who tread beneath her burden all weekend and did just great. this is the first time i've had a pack saddle and a load on her, but she took to it naturally.

for about the first five miles she did have trouble figuring out that she had to walk a lot wider around trees than usual, and you should have seen the irritated/exasperated/confused look on her face whenever she caught a tree trunk square on her pack, throwing her completely off balance. she figured it out, though, and on the ride out yesterday morning she didn't hit a single one square, just brushed a few.


after three days roaming just a small section of the wilderness in the wind river mountains i've returned to casper, and to my office, and my computer. it was a wonderful weekend, though, and couldn't have gone more smoothly.

i drove over to boulder thursday evening and arrived about 8 p.m., sister melissa and i loaded up friday morning and hauled in to the big sandy trail head, then saddled up and off we went.

the weather was gorgeous. the sunshine a comforting warmth. the gray mountain peaks beautifully imposing. the lakes the deepest shade of blue you could imagine. the horses cooperative and sound. there were touches of fall everywhere, with grasses, trees and shrubs all turning their own shades of brown, gold, yellow and red. the best part of that was the aspens. they're breathtaking this time of year. they push thoughts of impending winter weather a little further back in the mind, if only for a moment.

this is the self-portrait we took, in an area called the sheep desert, with a few of the peaks behind us.

there's this print that i bought, in college, i think fall of my senior year when i was on a trip with the iowa state horse judging team. it's of a man on a horse, dressed in outdoor gear, leading a pack horse down a mountain drainage with a snowy mountain behind him. some people, *one in particular* could never stand that print, didn't understand it, and didn't know why i liked it so much. but it's because it represented something that i really wanted to do. i wanted to be that guy on that horse packing in the empty mountains. and now, although i still like that print, i don't necessarily need it anymore, because i have photos like this of me and my dear mares april and jazz:

i love living in wyoming where weekend trips like this are an easy drive (260 miles one-way is an *easy drive* in wyoming) away. i'm very thankful that i get to have my own truck, trailer, equipment and horses so it's possible to get out and do things like this. i don't know how i got to be so blessed. my life is perfect and i wouldn't change a thing.

side note: i really missed the him while i was gone. and he missed me. i saw him last night and he sat there, very patiently, and looked through all 312 of my photos with me. you know what's great about him? if he hadn't had to work, he woulda been right there with me and my sister and loving the horses/packing/camping/outdoors aspect of it every bit as much as i did. hmmmm..... i've talked to wise friends of mine about him, and i'm getting the green light from all of them on making something official.

side note 2: the black hat and red scarf i wore all weekend are special things he's given me, and not just because he gave them to me, but also because they're the exact things i would have chosen for myself. he has quite good taste.

side note 3: it was a year ago that i took that ill-fated trip to iowa and was proposed to by the ex-boy. oh, what a difference a year makes. two solid days on the back of a horse walking through mountains and forests leaves a lot of time for pondering, and there's no better place to be still and give some time to figuring the things out that i generally am too busy to unravel.

Wednesday, September 16

or not

sooooo.......i get a call from my lender last night after work and there's a problem with my financing because one of my *&^(*&%$#% college loans does NOT have a user-friendly website and i never know for sure when to pay or how much and it's messed up my credit score. so. maybe no house. i'll keep you posted.

if it doesn't go through, that's ok with me, because there are many other things i want to purchase, and maybe i even want them more than a house, like a gooseneck ball for my truck - $500, three-horse gooseneck horse trailer with tack room - $9,000, ranch roping saddle - $1,750, chinks - $500, spurs - $200 and all sorts of stuff for my horses/horse lifestyle - including possibly a new young ranch gelding to start - $1,000??? and the thing is, you can come by all those things on a budget, but in order to really do it right, you've got to spend the money for quality. and if you do, it'll last you the rest of your life.

and i am not opposed to living in a travel trailer, esp if i can park it at the association and keep my horses there...thinking that i could renew my apt lease for six months, enough time to find and purchase a trailer, then move out there in the spring? it could work. i already know i'm welcome.

anyway, that's the ramblings of this morning.

Tuesday, September 15

growing some food

you know one thing i'm really looking forward to about having a house of my own? a yard. how i've missed having a yard. for a dog. for flowers. for vegetables. for a grill. for mowing grass. (although, depending on how stingy i am on the water, i may not have to mow all that much. mostly just the sod in the front, which i'll water.) for eating outdoors. for just having the outdoor space. for shrubbery. for trees. i'd love to plant aspens in the yard - not sure how expensive they are. and there are many really pretty flowering shrubs that grow very well in wyoming's dry climate.

i'm also looking forward to having a garage. oh, to have storage space again!! my yard will also be big enough to put in one of those yard sheds, if i get around to buying one.

the first improvement on the yard will be a solid wood fence around the perimeter, so the dogs can go out back there (roommate a's dog, beacon, and my new dog that i'm going to get. hooray!) and for privacy. i'm going to put it in myself, which will cut down the cost considerably to just the lumber, and i have several friends with access to an auger on a small tractor to dig the holes, and we'll have to mix concrete to set the posts and then make sure everything's level for the cross braces, then just attach the vertical slats and i'll probably stain as opposed to painting it. i may not be able to get that done before the ground freezes this fall, tho, so it might be a 'next spring' project.

as far as those friends who are going to help long as i keep the beer cold, ice for the whiskey and the steaks grilling they'll be willing. ;-) i can get my grill when i go home for harvest the end of october....

i think i'd also like to get one of those small portable greenhouse affairs, because then i can get my plants, especially vegetables, started before it's actually warm enough. at over 5200 feet the nights here stay pretty cool well into june. i've also always liked the orderly look of raised beds, outlined with railroad ties. maybe i'll even have space to set up my grow light inside so i can keep my herbs going through the winter...that'd be a treat.

be forewarned: if i actually end up moving into this house my blog will become very diy-project-oriented.

Monday, September 14


'the best-dressed woman is one whose clothes wouldn't look too strange in the country.' - sir hardy amies

what does that make me?

btw - there's a long-held part of western tradition relating to girls wearing cowboys' hats....

friend e (at the beacon saturday night): i don't know where you come from, but he let you wear his hat all weekend. you know what that means?
me: yeah, i know what that means.

(friend e was very seriously explaining to me all of the him's good qualities and how he's the best guy he knows and how he won't ever be half of who the him is. to sum up his description, he said 'he's a cowboy. what a real cowboy is and stands for.' and that's quite a compliment, because friend e is a really decent kid himself, and a good hand.)

that same friend e, i hear, is jealous that the him gave me his spare saratelli hat. :-) i have yet to steam and try to re-shape it. that's why the him gave up on it. he can't get it to shape to his satisfaction, and these cowboys out here are very particular about the shape of their hat. as it's shaped right now the him says i look like a hillbilly and he'd refuse to acknowledge knowing me if i wear it like that.

cody country

it was because i knew country like this existed that i made the effort to get up to meeteetse last friday night. i really wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to ride up into it, and the hunting party was rewarded with this view of our backtrail once we reached the very top of the drainage.

it was a gorgeous sunny day until a mountain storm moved through and it got really breezy and chilly and we layered up with oilskin coats and took shelter behind one of the many clumps of trees until the hunters got back.

in other news, yesterday me and mexican martinez drove past the house i made an offer on, and it had a sold sign in the front yard, and that's where reality hit me that it could actually be mine. i told him 'it's got sold on it, and that's me!'

because it's still under construction there was no door knob on the front door and, being sunday, the place was deserted so we walked through and i showed it to him. it's all wired and drywalled and textured, but that's about it. no cabinets, fixtures, fireplace or appliances yet. today i need to print off a page to sign and fax it back to the closing agent. i guess my work with realtor melissa is all but done, and she sure was a pleasure to work with.

Tuesday, September 8


this photo = t-r-o-u-b-l-e

needless to say, i had a great labor day weekend and added a few more wyoming adventures to my experience. i'll post more photos later, but at the moment i gotta get crackin on my articles for the paper this week. that's the him, btw.

Friday, September 4

lately i've been doing a lot with photoshop, and with pioneer woman's photoshop actions she's made available for download. i love them because they give me a basic effect to start with, then i go in and adjust until the photo looks like i want it to. one of my favorites is called 'old west' and it suits most of my photos very well. i've even started getting requests for prints, so maybe i can turn my hobby into a money-maker???? we'll see about that.

this is mexican martinez chasing cows with ferris mountain to the south. independence rock, the oregon trail landmark, is just to the right of where the photo ends, and also devil's gate and split rock. the oregon and mormon trails run straight through where we were moving cattle that day. the mormons are very fond of reenacting the journey, and often you'll see little footprints and wooden wagon wheel tracks from their handcarts in the dirt road coming out from casper.

this is some effects applied to one of my favorite photos - me and my dad looking east over the wind rivers, still covered in quite a bit of snow in mid-june. they never really melted out all summer long, which is an excellent thing for wyoming's water supplies.

in other happenings, i made an offer on a fourth house last night. it's a twin home, with hardwood floors downstairs, ceramic tile in the upstairs bathrooms, three bed, two and a half bath, two-car garage and an oversized lot at over 8,000 square feet. all the woodwork is solid pine, but not the cabin-looking pine, a more dark, westerny look, which suits me just fine. a sliding glass door to the back, big windows, a fireplace and a widescreen tv already mounted on the wall. black appliances in the kitchen, and the flat-top range is situated in a island and faces the living area, which is great for cooking when guests are over. it's still under construction, but we walked through and there are photos of a finished one online. it's really classy, and in my price range. didn't really want a twin home, but it's on the very corner of the development, and has the big lot, and unobstructed views of the mountain to the south and a grassy rangeland to the north. and a walking/bike path runs right to the east of the yard. another bonus is it'd be easy to sell should i decide to move somewhere else.

Wednesday, September 2


so monday night i endeavored to make a lemon meringue pie, which is the favorite of my farrier's. he shod my horses last week two-for-one, so i was returning the favor, if only in a small way.

however, i encountered a few hitches in the plan, detailed below:

mistake #1: i was simmering and stirring away on the lemon filling, up to the point where the recipe said to add egg yolks. what'd i do? i mindlessly dumped in the egg whites. yep. no good. but, by then the whites had already cooked into the mixture and i was like - hey, that really smells like tapioca. but it was really sweet. solution? i added cocoa powder and made chocolate pudding. delicious accident! (and then i had baked extra pie crusts in ramekins, so last night i filled one of the mini crusts with chocolate pudding and dove in and it was very, very quite good.)

mistake #2: apparently i chose a meringue recipe that was more complex than it was worth. instead of granulated sugar it wanted powdered sugar, and something went very wrong, because this is what i ended up with:

so after the chocolate pudding fiasco and powdered sugar ordeal, i gave up for the night. i was tired of standing in my kitchen and went to finish my netflix dvd.

i chose a simpler recipe yesterday, both for filling and meringue, and whipped it up, including the crust, in a little over an hour and this beautiful product was the result:

and my little pie's reception from farrier rick was sufficient reward for all the pain i went through to reach the end product. he loved it and was so delighted to receive it. he always comes to church tuesday night for a bible study, so that's when i gave it to him.

and i know certain persons out there will be grossed out by this, but fresh mushrooms and ceasar dressing dip make a great dinner :-) (i ate a lot of them.....)