Welcome To My World

Spring has sprung and so have I … into action, that is. We’re not dormant in the winter, but ranch activity moves into high gear beginning with calving time. Then, there are all the other activities (and fun things) we’ve been waiting to get back into when the weather permits you to once again spend as many daylight hours OUTSIDE. Finally, that time is here …

My farmgirl pal, Donna, and I have taken several road trips in the last two weeks with our mission being to visit all of our favorite greenhouses. So far, we’ve loaded up my Suburban THREE times … and she had to go back with her pickup to haul young trees home. Needless to say, we’ve been planting our fool heads off. I’ve got my garden tanks planted and just have a handful of perennials left to plant — replacements for others that didn’t survive our harsh winter weather. The word “perennial” can’t exactly be relied upon in our world as intended. Our region is zone 4 on a good day and that doesn’t involve a lengthy list of planting options – especially when the ‘4’ is an iffy 4. But, after many failed experiments, I eventually found a few things that are determined to be long lasting.

Moss Roses – LOVE them – fun little annuals that offer an explosion of color all summer long. They’re happy to be just about anywhere they can get a lot of sun and heat. Arid – no problem. Wind – no worries. I bought three flats of them and they found homes in several places. I filled an old grain drill with hot pink and cherry red moss roses. As you can see, I have an upcycle/recycle – ‘junk & rust’ theme – in and around my garden yard. We do not have a lawn. My garden yard is my GREEN parlor and soul sanctuary. I’ll show you more later when the plants have taken hold and filled in.

I’m sure the rest of you have planted your gardens also. We’ve been blessed with RAIN here in the last 2 weeks. What a Godsend. Not only have we received enough rain to get our grazing grass off to a healthy start, we now think that maybe we’ll get to put up some hay. We were gravely concerned about drought. If rain had not come when it did, we would have been looking at what many area ranchers have already done: sold ALL of their cattle. We held on to hope and prayer. I was praying earnestly for 2″ of rain. I even drove out to a high place on the ranch where I can see every pasture and I prayed there. Two days passed, then four. On the fifth day, it began to rain … and it did not stop until it measured … exactly two inches. A week later, I sit here typing this letter to you in the evening and it has been raining almost nonstop since last evening. My husband’s countenance has changed dramatically. He’s back to his smartalik self, smiling and happy to go fix fence. Why? Because of those darn cows that we get to keep. :o)

Speaking of cows, we’re into branding season now. All of our neighbors are branding. We are branding with my husband’s brother on June 2nd. We’ll brand his calves in the morning and ours in the afternoon. Then, we’ll have supper together in the evening at the ranch. There will be about 50 folks to feed (the crew, kids, families & friends). I don’t get to be a cowgirl on our branding day. I’m the cook. This year, my SIL and I are going together on the evening meal. She’s bringing steaks to BBQ and she’ll bring a few desserts. I’m making side dishes, salads and desserts.

As some of you know, those who read this blog regularly (Thank You), I lost both of my “mainstay” older mares in February. Their passing made me finally commit to my young mare, ‘Ribbon’. I confess that although I love her, my old girls were #1 and #2 in that place in my heart for horses. Ribbon was 3#. Does anyone like being 3rd choice? Well, I won’t humanize my horse’s feelings or thought process, but I do know this: I felt guilty for not nurturing a better relationship with Ribbon. I don’t treat her like a cousin now. She’s my #1 girl. I can’t change what was, but we can go from here and she really does seem to respond as if there is more to us now. I feel like I’m on a horsey honeymoon of sorts. She’s not new to me at age 6 (I bred and raised her), but we are in a new phase. Lord willing, we’ll log many miles together. This too, we’ve both been recuperating from serious leg injuries that required almost three years of healing time between the two of us. Then, we had to mentally deal with having gotten into a tangled wreck in barb wire right after we started riding again. Now, finally, I think we’re both ready to GO — and confidence in each other grows a little more with every ride.

Having lost a good chunk of confidence after knee surgery, the wire wreck and arthritis making me feel ‘less’, I have a whole new appreciation for how precious confidence is. I used to take it for granted. I had it naturally around horses – all of my life. When, for whatever reason, you lose your sense of confidence, it is not an easy road back to that comfortable place. I didn’t know that. I do now. No one can win it back for you and no amount of well meaning encouragement from others can make it magically happen within either. It is a matter of convincing yourself to “Cowgirl Up”. However, having said that, I willingly confess that while that is fun to blurt out, what worked best for me was whispering the Lord’s Prayer over & over when I was a’scared. :o)

Ok, back to branding season …

The other day, we were branding at Sheppersons (my farmgirl friend, Anita). It had been raining, so they opted to brand the calves in their large pole barn. Here are some photos …

The wrestlers were young bucks – students from our High School/FFA

What with all the rain, My Oh My, the greening of the high plains is Mag-Nif-Icent. New green is SO green. Winter eyes are dulled down after many months of the dreary gray and tan landscape. The green we’re now surrounded by looks almost as if someone needs to tone down the color a few clicks. You almost rub your eyes in disbelief because everything is so brilliantly green. Soon, when the wind kicks up, the landscape will literally appear to be in motion. The grass will dance and sway as if it was a giant sheet of green velvet … rolling in swirling waves and vast ripples.

Storm clouds appear and then gather together, creating an army of steel blue monsters … sliding in low and threatening. We’ve already had hail the size of jaw breaker candy.

The other day, I drove out to meet my husband to fix fence. Here are a few photos that I took along the backroads of northeast Wyoming.

The dots in the middle are two of our horses.

Same pasture from another side …

The wildflower I most look forward to seeing when I ride is the brilliant blue Penstemon; they’re blooming right now. Soon, the Wyoming state flower, Indian Paintbrush, will too, and the lavender Foxglove, the bright orange Mallow and many others. With all this rain, many might appear that have not done so for quite some time. It amazes me how seeds lie dormant, sometimes for several years until conditions are right for them to grow.

Remember the wounded dove I found last winter? Well, as I told you after she healed up inside my porch for a month, she returned to the wild and to her mate. I saw her many times afterward when she and her friends came to dine at my open feeders. I recognized her because she was missing a few tail feathers and when doves land or take off, their tail fans out. She was easy to spot. Now her feathers have grown in and I can’t tell her apart from the rest of the doves. I assume she is well and maybe doing what all the other busy birds are doing this time of year – raising their families.

Morning birdsong is one of many summertime joys. I can’t wait to get outside in the morning with my coffee cup in hand. No time to get dressed (good thing I live off the beaten path). I head out to grain the horses, throw some scratch to the chickens and sit for a spell in my garden yard … just me & my thoughts. Actually, listening to the morning sounds is far more pleasant than busy thoughts. The day ahead will come soon enough. I watch Cowbirds take nesting material into the pipe ends on our corrals. Ahhh, the simple and quiet joys of country life. Enjoy your happy {quiet} place wherever you are.


  1. Linda B. says:

    I’m new to your blog and must tell you how much I enjoyed this post. I live in the country surrounded by pines and oaks, and your way of life is fascinating to me. In deep southeast Texas, sometimes we have way too much rain. I wish I could send it to you. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

  2. maryjane says:

    Thanks for the vicarious high plains journey while I had MY morning cup of brew. I could almost smell the sage. It’s a smell I miss. I grew up in sage country but there isn’t any where I live now. Whenever I’m on the road and start to see sage again, I stop the car and darn near roll in it. I want my hands, my clothes, everything to smell like sage. Lucky you!

  3. Joan says:

    Ah, I so look forward to your postings!! and this one is right up there on special. Love to see your wonderful ‘rusty’s’ and how pretty you plant them. I too use all the rose moss I can get – old childhood memory. So glad you are so far along in the growing. Yea for the rain, green is great. Again thanks for sharing your space. God Bless

  4. Carol says:

    Shery … As usual, another great post. First of all, I’m so happy that you finally got some rain and have some green around you again. What a relief! Secondly, I love all the old, rusty stuff you have around. Thanks for sharing all the beautiful photos and stories about life in your part of the world. I’m also glad that you are bonding with Ribbon and beginning to feel more confident riding. Ahhh … the lessons we learn at this age! Carol from Pennsylvania

  5. Diann says:

    What a great post. I too live on some open plains but our mountains are much closer, Half Dome in Yosemite Natl. Park being part of the scenery. Alas, our green has disappeared and we are looking at another year of little rain. It isn’t the first and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Thanks again for the "refreshing" photos.

  6. Denise says:

    Shery, I love reading about your Wyoming life. We raise cattle in Missouri, but it is much different than what you experience. And I just recently regained my courage on a horse – or at least I’m working on it. I’ve had a few bad experiences and a broken elbow, and last weekend, I too used the Lord’s prayer to calm me down and get back in the groove. We were on a trail ride, and half way through I could finally feel myself calm down. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Cora Jo says:

    Ahhh! Spring! It was here…then snow, now close to 90 degrees! New Hampshire (northern NH) is very much like your weather and growing season. Short. Planted beans this morning. And zucs and cucs. Small space but God always gives me a place to plant. And, I watered the tomatoes in my jammies this morning! Thanks, Shery, I do so love reading your life here.

  8. Jan says:

    Hi Shery, Another great post and wonderful pictures. You always brighten up my day. 🙂
    I can sure identify with the confidence thing. My left knee has been bad for quite some time and now my right hip is giving me a lot of pain and making it very difficult to climb stairs and even walk some days. So working with my two horses and riding now I find myself having some confidence issues too. Thank the Lord that I have a good relationship with both of them. My mare, who is half arab with some fire, seems to knows when I am not feeling the best and becomes a really good girl. 🙂
    Looking forward to your next post.
    Happy Spring!!

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