Romancing The Rust

Her husband looked at her like she had three heads and he asked, “What are you going to do with all that junk??”
Continue reading

  1. I love your rust, especially the license plates and the white paint on the headboard! I hope my garden can look as beautiful someday 🙂

  2. Debbie says:

    You are the Rust Queen if ever I knew one! This post brought back many memories of all the well worn and rusty things we used to find out in the hills of Northern Nevada … old bottles, wagon wheels, license plates, pieces of old wood stoves, bricks, horseshoes a plenty, old tin cans, cooking supplies, tea pots, (carried one all the way from Nevada for my garden in New England ) and the occasional abandoned water trough for roaming cows and horses out on the range.

    I’m with ya on the lust for all things old … I feel like I WIN too whenever I’m able to fashion a born again creation out of something old I have found (or has found me) and I LOVE the sayings you used to go along with yours!

    As always, your words go right to this farmgirl’s heart!

    A Creative Life is well done!

    Happy rusty lug nuts to you Shery!


  3. Brenda says:

    I am always in awe of people that can bring it all together. I keep trying to put things in places I think they work and only manage one out ten times to get it right. I love all your junk/treasures. I cannot wait to see the hen house!

  4. Tammie says:

    Too cute. Love it!

  5. Janice K. says:

    This entry had me giggling (I was born in ’54 too, wasn’t it a ‘very good year’?)and OOOOOOHing and AWWWWing. My father had fashioned a trellis out of pipe and cedar slats for a struggling clematis. I used barbwire to attach old elk antlers at the top and I use the rest to hang my TREASURES, consisting of pots and hardware and anything else that I find attractive. One of my favorite things is a collection of shoe making stuff, shaped like feet. I think that they call them shoe ‘lasts’ or something like that. They are a reminder of where to go in my life! I also hang old windows about and when folks ask my how I got that idea, I just say ‘Everyone needs a window of opportunity’. Yes, they look at me like I grew three heads, too!!! Now I am working on a new patio area next to my tool shed in order to let the creative juices flow.

  6. Nancy says:


    You are Sister-in-Rust!!

    I had just come in the cabin for a cool drink after piling up a stash of well-rusted treasures gleaned from the back roads in my rural town.

    I deeply appreciate the fresh inspiration you’ve shared with your lovely photos and stories!! Now I am re-charged to go out and find places to arrange them in my various garden beds!

    I always keep several small half-used cans of sampler paints on hand to perk up certain pieces with a welcome, plant name or special saying too!

    For the cost of a little elbow grease, it is so worth rescuing rust to give it new life! Thanks for blogging this topic Farmgirl style!!


  7. Jody L. says:

    I have been a rust collector for years. Lots of people look at it and say ‘what in the world’. I look at it and say ‘how beautiful’. I put old rusty tools in old wooden tool boxes. I play with them all the time. Changing positions and the way they are piled. I have piles all over my yard and rusty wagons, bikes,and wheel barrows used as planters. My motto is ‘in rust we trust’. Thank you for sharing. I love your pictures and can’t wait to see the coop. I live in the city and am planning to build a coop just to hold my rust. Since I can’t have real chickens, I collect all others. They will get to decorate the coop too.

  8. Grace~katmom says:

    na’r were truer words spoken’
    sister hugz
    oh & yes, ’54 was a good year! giggle giggle!

  9. Heidi says:

    Finally, a girl after my own heart! The rustier the better. I sent your blog to my friends, my husband, my kids …  you explained "me" perfectly. THANK YOU, I don’t feel so lonely when people look at me like I am crazy!! Love your ideas, you are gifted in many ways.

    When I garden with my old tools I feel like I am connected to all of the people who loved gardening before me and all is good with the world and my heart is happy, I know that sounds funny to some but I know you understand.

    I would send you some photos (how?)of the old wheel barrel I saved from the "garbage pickup", the neighbors that discarded this wonderful treasure bring their friends over to look at it and I just smile because they aren’t getting it back.

  10. Reba says:

    Recently I came across the plains returning to Georgia from Montana. I often saw old tractors, etc out for travelers to see. (Once I saw an old cook stove with the oven door hanging off of it and a saying, "open range" – it made me chuckle as I traveled.) I wondered at times where the Ranch Farmgirl lived or if I was close by your way as I traveled on I-90. I too love to collect old stuff and reuse or re-purpose. You have some neat ideas!! And as always, I enjoy the comments. Thanks for another great blog!

  11. Rebecca says:

    Loved this article. A dear friend of mine took a rusty grama-phone horn, up-side-down hung with three chains and rusty copper plate and made a bird feeder from it. The gals around here beg him for one and he takes pride in his creation. I’m still searching for just the right horn to make my own. Oh the things one can do with the "love of rust". :o)

  12. julie says:

    You have to just love Wyoming!! I do, I live in Northern Wyoming too, with clay soil and hot summers. My sister, Mom, and myself are also "junkers" and have permission to dig through some great junk piles near by, The rattlers are out in full force right now, so I think we may wait until fall to find some treasure we can work on over the long winter months. I love your "welcome" sign. That gives me inspiration. I love your blog too. Have a peaceful 4th.


  13. Debbie in Texas says:

    So inspiring, Shery! Thanks for sharing your colorful, creative ways!

  14. Raynita says:

    Wow! What a kindred spirit I feel right now with you. I just today posted on my Facebook a picture of my "Rust" and commented, "I admit it, I LOVE RUST!!! It is low maintenance and I love low maintenance." Now, a little while later I open your blog and absorb your pics and words.

    Thanks from a Rusty Kindred Spirit 🙂 Now, let’s save some more rust…lol


  15. Nella says:

    I love your blog and especially your photos. I’ve inherited 10 acres in Wisconsin but live in Chicago – so there’s quite a contrast. I feel at home in the country and am always recycling something to give it a new life–there’s so much more room to make arrangements with all the "stuff". You’re an inspiration with your wisdom and creativity!

  16. Betsy Cline says:

    Amen to everything you said. I love the pictures and realize I am not the only who likes ‘the older the better’. Think of the "lives" these items have seen and lived and now those of us who love and appreciate them can help them on with another chapter in their lives. We only hope as we get older people will appreciate us and keep having us around for what we can contribute. God bless you.

  17. carolj says:

    Say, "Yes," to reusing. So often we emphasize recycling and skip reduce and reuse. Thanks for showing so many clever and beautiful creations. And for the subtle reminder that I really need to get myself back to church.

  18. Julie W says:

    Shery—FABULOUS lessons for life and junk. The applications roll on and on. Thank you for sharing your rust and inspirations!

  19. wendy says:

    Fun to read your blog. I found you through the magazine MaryJanesFarm…which was introduced to me by someone else. Funny how these things…connections….happen.
    I have been recently transplanted from Salt Lake City to a quarter section ranch with new hubby in alberta, canada.
    I am trying to learn to become a country girl, so I find myself very interested in reading about other country girls.

  20. Nancy B says:

    Love your rust. Brought back many wonderful memories – My mother was an artist. She and my dad we into "Junk Art" long before it was in fashion. We all became "dumpster divers", Town Dump rats" and farm junkies. There wasn’t a dump, garbage site or farm dump that was safe from our browsing. My aunt had a large ranch in Washington so that was a prim place to "pick" as were the farms around her. Everyone in the area knew us and would often call if they ran across something interesting that mom would like. We never came back from a vacation without the trunk over flowing with "finds". I remember many times siting in the back set on the suitcases etc because there was no room in the truck for them. We always asked permission before we foraged. We had some interesting adventures. Once we were chased out of field by bull that we disturbed. I don’t think I have run so fast again.

  21. Teresa Davidson says:

    Hallelujiah!!! Someone like me…I’m not crazy, course my husband thinks otherwise!! I drive long distance for a company, so I hit all small towns with loads of great treasures which my husband calls junk. However, he has never complained how I decorate our yard. Recently, I fell upon some very old tung n groove wooden windows. The glass panes were pretty much gone, so I got smart and took them apart and I made American flags out of them!! Cool, Huh!! It’s so good to see someone else’s ideas, and know that I am not nutty with all these great possibilities!! Thank you for your outstanding pictures!!

  22. Your pictures are pieces of treasure for me. I LOVE all things old and worn. Nice to know there are others out there as well!

    happy day!

  23. Badger40 says:

    And I thought I was the only ranch woman who got razzed by her hubby for collecting ‘junk’.
    I love to roam all over where we live here in SW ND looking into abandoned houses for ‘junk’.
    My husband does think I’m crazy.
    Glad to know I’m not the only crazy woman out there!

  24. Jan says:

    I can only say what good taste you have and that your choices you have in "rust" are great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Transfer Of Stewardship

What does a future rancher look like? You’re lookin’ at it.
Continue reading

  1. Sheree says:

    What joy you obviously get from watching and assisting the younger generations to grow!I am currently in the midst of a life change as I am months away from retirement and heading to the mid-west for a re-creation of lifestyle, for both myself and family. I, too, will have to live to 108 to live another very fulfilling "second" life! A life more connected to the earth with garden and small collection of critters. Things my daughter was not really able to experience or appreciate will hopefully be enjoyed by raising her daughter in a more rural setting. Bye, bye surburban sprawl!

  2. Debbie says:

    Sigh…Oh Shery, You know I can’t take looking at all those horses at once! ( smile )

    You always get right to the heart of the matter in your writing. What a blessing your blog is for all who might happen upon it. To think some folks are still surprised to see a chicken in someone’s yard, much less REAL CATTLE at branding time. All I can say is what lucky children they are to be learning some of life’s most important lesson’s early in the game!

    What a wonderful and blessed life you are living. A life for the greater good! Ours!

    Thank you for sharing it here! I loved every word ( and photo ) especially all the palomino shots!

    Your middle aged, still horse sick after all these years friend!

    Deb~ ( who hears horse hooves in her dreams ) Some day by golly… I just know it…:)

  3. Paula Spencer says:

    Some of these pix are just priceless–

  4. Carol McElroy says:

    Shery, Great article, as always. Isn’t there a saying about raising your kids up right and they will find the right way? Something like that. I was watching the news about the oil spill, and how, after generations of shrimping, this generation may not be able to follow those foot steps, and a way of life is gone. Your article brought that to mind, how fortunate these kids are to be able to proudly follow this way of life.
    I really like the comment about the toddler being so dirty that it would be easier to start another one! I used to rinse my kids off with the hose before their bath!!

  5. Grace~katmom says:

    Ok, by far my favorite photo, is the one with the ‘young fellers’ on the left, cows in the middle & ‘old fellers’ on the right…what a great analogy of the old passing on the ‘reins’ to the young….
    hugz from the windy West Plain of WA., to the cool breezes of Wyoming…

  6. Ruthe says:


    I always enjoy reading your blog! It brings a comfort, much like the whole Mary Jane movement! Bless you forever!

    As I age and hopefully mature, I find it fascinating that my perspective on entering the second-half of my life has changed from one of fearing a reversal to my childhood to one of realizing that reverting back to childhood is more about returning to the wisdom and common sense of my childhood than it is ‘losing-my-mind’ ! And quite honestly, losing some of the stressful intensity of my present mind is a welcome relief! 🙂

    I plan to one day – soon – be content and happy just being content and happy! I sure know how to create a whole lot of drama in my life that, in hindsight, is rarely ever necessary or beneficial.

    Sometimes you just gotta have faith and go with the flow of life, trusting that things will indeed work out as they are intended…with or without our fussing and stewing! Farming and ranching are good growing medium for just such an attitude.

    Thanks for sharing your journey with the rest of us. You may never know the hope and peace it brings to many of us MaryJaners!!


  7. bonnie ellis says:

    Shery,  What a wonderful opportunity you give to children to become those traits they learn. And what a beautiful place you have to do it. Thank you for sharing and caring about all God’s critters. Bonnie

  8. Nancy J says:

    I always enjoy reading your blog, and dreaming about "my farm". I am a city girl, born and half raised, before moving with my parents to the country. I say country loosely, because it isn’t the country or the city ,but I love it. Anyway, just the other night my husband & I were talking about our children, all adults now, 4 boys & 1 girl. He started out by saying they all had to make their own mistakes to learn and grow. And after a few (sometimes really bad) errors, they have straightened out. We are very proud of our kids & know they will be doing a great job of raising our grandchildren. Not all of this younger generation are screw ups, and even if some have drifted off the path, maybe we "older" adults can be there to help pull them back, not kick them further away. BTW, love all the pics…;-> I’ll go back to dreaming now…

  9. Lisa says:

    I grew up in Texas, college in west TX, but haven’t seen pictures like this in years. Absolutely warms the heart- thanks so much.
    PS- being a Texan- I love that beef, keep it coming
    Lisa, CO

  10. gtyyup says:

    Truer words couldn’t be spoken…if only every citizen of the US were to grow up with the work ethic and respect for self and others as the ranch and farm kids do today; the world would be a totally different place! We’re so thankful to be a part of a community such as yours…

  11. Ann says:

    I think your message about children is so important and focusing on our responsibilities for instilling traditions and values. I am always so heartened about the state of the world when I read or observe children having fun, learning things about the world, and testing their wings. I heard one of my favorite authors speak last evening, Sharon Lovejoy, and her message was very similar to yours. We should teach our children about the world outside our door, about plants, animals, and insects and about being good stewards. How wonderful to be inspired two days in a row about this important responsibility we have as adults and know that there is indeed hope for our future. Thank you.

  12. Sharon says:

    I really love your blog. It is my favorite one from MaryJane’s Farmgirls. I feel connected to you, like we would be really good friends. Keep it up! Sharon

  13. jami says:

    Amen, I’m so blessed to have raised my boys on ranches or with work from other ranchers. A good work ethic is in their blood as I see them grown into men. Makes a mother proud to have taught hard work, being independent and responsible and to respect life and what we have been given by a loving father in Heaven. They are my blessings.
    jami in Idaho

  14. Wendy says:

    Our five year old ranch raised daughter is always very proud to know from what animal her meat comes from. She is grateful that a pig has provided her with a pork chop or bacon, a cow has given her a hamburger or her chili is made with elk. An important piece of stewardship I believe.

  15. Cindy says:

    If I could raise my daughter like this, I would in a heartbeat!! This is my dream life. All of it, the hard work, the sore muscles, the weather, the roughness of ranch life (and the beauty), all of it…..

    What a fortunate life you live!

  16. Martha Cook says:

    Wow – Shery – fabulous article and photos!!! You are so right. I grew up on a cattle ranch in Idaho – moved away at 19 or so – ranch is still in the family. Noticed that when my niece and nephew could stay on a horse and open a wire gate, about ages 8 and up, they had become economic assets to the ranch – they could move bales, feed stock, check the chickens, work the garden, and later drive tractor in the fields as the men picked up hay bales. My 10-year old nephew drove up on his four-wheeler as we were building a fence on my acreage and announced "I’m here to help!" with the quiet confidence that his help was valuable and considerable. It was.

    Wish I could share this article with everyone I know.
    You are right, farm kids grow up with skills and purposeful action that can rarely be duplicated in the city kid’s experience.

  17. Marti Bee says:

    Well said, Miss Sherry. My kids are grown and gone, but grew up here on Rock Bottom Ranch. None of them have taken up ranching as an occupation/way of life (yet), because living in the City is still a novelty and it’s fun not to have to drive 30 minutes to the nearest store. What ranch life did for my kids:

    1) They have never been unemployed. If they need a job, they get one. Ranching isn’t just about animals, it’s about getting up and working every day, whether you want to or not. Rain or shine.
    2) Nursing a happy baby is a piece of cake compared to an orphan foal.
    3) Even if you are half dead with exhaustion, you can still walk a horse with colic.
    4) 5 AM is NOT that early. 6 AM is sleeping in and by 7 AM — well, have the day is gone.
    5) They all learned to listen not only with their ears, but with their eyes. A horse can’t tell you she’s not feeling right…but you can see it. The same skill works on people…
    and on and on and on.

  18. Chelsea says:

    I’m a little late, but I just wanted to say AMEN!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

When Summer Is A Young Girl

Springtime … early summer on the High Plains will have one of two effects on you. Wyoming’s bountiful beauty may inspire words of admiration or you’ll feel quietly awed and perfectly content to remain in that state … completely surrounded by the renewal of life in every direction you look. (Above: Newborn Pronghorn Antelope)
Continue reading

  1. Rene Foust says:

    What a beautiful place to call home. I live on the east coast and I am contented here but my heart pulls for the west – I love it out there. Thanks for sharing the pictures, they are absolutely amazing!

  2. Debbie says:

    My goodness Shery!

    I am just in awe of the beauty you have shared through your photography and the soulful message along with it. They are all inspiring but I have three favorites that speak straight to my western girl heart. The Lilac spilling over the " chippy " picket fence most certainly does bring a sense of contentment. As I gaze at your western sky on fire I can feel the intense western heat seep into my bones and I can smell the sage as if I’m standing right in it. Once again through your blog, I have been teleported back to my home of 40 years in Northern Nevada.

    I can feel that ‘wide-open anything is possible’ feeling one can only really know if they have lived it. I know it well!

    It’s a blessing you found your way back home where your roots run deep. There really is No Place Like Home.

    This desert rose has been transplanted in New England for 9 years. I’ve traded in my dry, cracked hands for softer skin provided by all the moisture in the air here, and I brought along my can-do western spirit. I needed it to get myself firmly planted in a hurry. I consider myself blessed. I have traveled our great country as well, with only a handful of states left to see and have had the good fortune to live in two amazing places the West and the East. I embrace the gifts this side of the U.S. has to offer and I have found they are plentiful if I keep my eyes and heart wide open.

    I live within minutes of the Atlantic Ocean which is my western replacement for " wide open spaces ". When I feel the need to see beyond the tree-tops I can head to the beach or our summer cottage for a quick dose of awe inspiring beauty and some much needed refreshment. Salt air and an ocean breeze will clear out the cobwebs in much the same way as a ride in the wide open out west. The sunsets here are equally breath taking as those out west. I feel lucky to know them both well. I truly feel as if I have two homes.

    I’m so very grateful for your Ranch Farmgirl blog too.
    Just another outstanding post Shery. Thank you!

    I’m with ya…100% Put down some roots and bloom where you’re planted! You’ll just feel better!


    p.s. The new born antelope? A miracle to behold!
    Purple flowers thriving on a windswept rock? Now that’s persistance! It’s what we all need with a healthy dose of love and a little luck tossed our way to make a good life any where!

  3. chris says:

    WOW! Just wow….

  4. Denise says:

    Your photos and commentary made my heart sing. I live in Colorado Springs, where the Plains meet the Rockies, and I get up every morning thanking God for all I see. In the Prairie there is s sublime beauty all its own, if only people will see. Thanks so very much for sharing. You made my day!

  5. Marcia says:

    What a beautiful visit with you! It is the next best thing to actually being there!!!!!

  6. Heather H :) :) :) says:

    I loved the photos. You take beautiful pictures..and these are all from your perspective. In Oregon there are places that take my breath away, too. It’s home and I love it here. 🙂 🙂 Have a beautiful weekend 🙂 🙂 🙂

  7. Heidi says:

    I would love to live where you live, I can tell that good karma surrounds you and your family with love.

    Keep sharing and writing and taking pictures, you have a gift.

  8. bonnie ellis says:

    WOW! Those are the only words to express my delight as you share your world with me. A brand new antelope, fantastic flowers and bird’s nests. Your fantastic photography , and your beautiful horse. I love to ride and did a lot of it while in the Black Hills. I love to dream with you. Thanks, Bonnie

  9. Margaret Roh says:

    Thank you for the beautiful photos. My husband and I have gone to Wyoming for Vacation for over 40 years and only been able to live around Greybull for 3 years, then back to the Minn, Nebr, KS, Iowa strip of the Midwest. We long to retire in Wyoming and enjoy all those seasons too. Thank you again for the beauty of the clouds and flowers. I have sat many a time just feeling the Big Sky out there. For those who have never experienced it, I would recommend a road trip to wide open spaces and prairie anywhere in the Great Plains. The feeling is unbelievable. Happy Summer.

  10. Julie Wemken says:

    You are very blessed! You live in such a beautiful place. I must visit there sometime. Your pictures inspire me and I do feel a beautiful sense of wonder and joy as I look at them. Thank you so much for sharing your world with us.

  11. Beverly says:

    Shery…..Thank you for sharing your home with us. It is the simple things in life that takes my breath away. I hope to one day visit your world because that is where I truly feel I belong. Many blessing to you always……Beverly

    P.S. Please give that best darned horse in the world a hug and kiss for me! Thanks…….:-))))!

  12. Veronica says:

    Thank You Shery! I know you hear this all the time, You have a way with words and pics. I feel like I’m there, really. What you share is so much appreciated. I live in Ca. near the Delta, not far from a lot of what you hear on the news. You remind me that there is a thriving, beautiful and busy place. If I look a little closer I can find beauty and life here too.
    I have a better heart today, because of you. God Bless & Again Thanks

  13. Nikki Allen says:

    Wow! What beautiful pictures! Thank you for sharing them!

  14. Brenda says:

    I would thing looking out over your prairie would give you something of the same feeling hubs and I get when we sit on the beach looking across Lake Michigan or Lake Superior. That is where we take our breaks from our normal chores and work. Although I wish it was out my back door as yours is. Lovely pictures. Thank you for sharing!

  15. Jeannine says:

    Shery, I, too, am back East now but there is a piece of me that will always yearn for those wonderful Wyoming spaces. I visit often, but as we, and Dorothy, know so well–there’s no place like home!! Inhale the sage for me, ijs

  16. SuburbanFarmgirl says:

    Incredible! Bravo! Thank you!

  17. Mary Ann says:

    Such a beautiful homage to spring time on the Prairie. Loved the color blocks and the new born antelope. I’ll be visiting Montana, North Dakota and Utah the next couple of weeks. My camera is at the ready!

  18. Michele Hieb says:


    Wonderful pics…I can’t wait to get together with my farmgirls and caught up on what I’ve missed:)…oh and I brought a little something back for all of you from trip to IL. See you soon!

  19. Absolutely Beautiful! I so want to travel westward one day. I love my home and I too have ventured but always seem to find my may back. I get overwhelmed with the work sometimes, but then I take a moment and remember it will all get done eventually it always does. But with farming you are never really done, just going on to the next cycle with the next season.

  20. RanchFarmgirl says:

    A couple of gals wrote to me privately about good trail-riding horses for sale and about interesting places in Wyoming to see on their way to Yellowstone.

    As to the first question. I would have emailed you privately, but that needs to be included in your comment or all I get is a name with no way to contact folks. The answer at this time is No, I don’t. That kind of horse is always in demand, even in a depressed economy and in ranching circles too. They’re just not an easy item to find – as evidenced by your veterinarian’s quest.

    Ok, if you’re coming to Wyoming from the east and making your way to Yellowstone, here are stops I suggest: Devils Tower which is just inside the SD/WY border and close to I-90. It just takes half a day and then you can be on your way again. Take in Cody and Sheridan. Sheridan, WY has the largest saddle museum IN THE WORLD in the King Saddlery downtown. Sheridan is a very hip, but all western town. Chic and true to it’s roots. Cody – the Wild Bill Cody museum is a MUST. Original Remingtons! You’ll not see a finer museum of old west items anywhere in the known universe. Have lunch downtown at the old hotel.

    The rest of Wyoming is an exercise in patience for those who need to go from one little town to the next. But, for those who hunger for wide open spaces, enjoy the many hours it’ll take you to drive across this BIG state. Most folks aren’t used to UNcongested country and it can take some getting used to. Let your soul stretch out in Big, Wonderful Wyoming. It’s one of the last great places on Earth. shery

  21. Amy says:

    Hi Shery. My family and I just drove through your area Monday on our way home to Coeur d’Alene after a long, but wonderful trip to the East Coast. I was taken with the beauty of the Black Hills and grasslands right now. It was so green and full of wildflowers! It was fun seeing so many Antelope. What a great picture of the newborn…thanks for sharing.

  22. Rene' Groom says:

    Surrounded by such beauty Shery … I love the pictures. It is like taking a little mini vacation. Thanks for sharing them.

  23. Tammie says:

    No words come to mind that would capture the beauty in your photos.

  24. Le Vern says:

    The photos took my breath away…Spectacular!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *