Monday, August 31, 2009

My Lumberjack

I'm married to a man who is not only handy, but nice to look at while he's workin'. One of his favorite things while he was growing up was to go get wood with his dad and uncle. Not only did they get wood for their own families to last through the winter - it was their only source of heat - but they got wood for the widows in town as well.

Marty inherited two very LARGE chainsaws that were retired from the local logging company when it went out of business. They are industrial sized chain saws and they're so heavy that I don't like to even carry them from the tool shed to the pickup - and I'm a fairly tough girl who carries heavy horse feed everyday. I truly don't understand how he can run them for hours like he's been known to do. I guess he can because of these.....

Can you see 'em?

Pioneer Woman calls her husband "Captain Forearms", and I must admit, his forearms are pretty impressive. But I think my husband could give him a run for his money. (The massive jaw muscles aren't bad either.)

He's got even bigger biceps, but I'll have to try to catch them on another post, he's not very generous about showing off the guns. If he weren't so intent on his work, I never would have gotten these either.

He cut down two dead red cedar trees and the second - this one - fell exactly where he planned it, but the first one, well, he was a little too confident and didn't notch it the right way and it fell right toward him! I swear it took at least 7 1/2 months off my life! But luckily, he's nimble as well as strong and he managed to get away from it by the skin of his teeth. Whew!

He was more careful with this one and I used the continuous shutter on my camera to capture this nifty little sequence. Timber!......

We ended up with a big load of red cedar and oak to burn this winter - and by george, on the way home he talked about giving it away to some friends who didn't own a truck. My compassionate lumberjack/aka Captain Forearms II.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Fruits of our Labors

(And when I say "our" I really mean Marty.)

It's beginning to be that time of year - harvest time. We have a small garden that Farmer Marty has kept going (he didn't plant what I wanted, but I was too busy and unwilling to do it myself, so....). He planted carrots this year for the first time, along with beans, peas, tomatoes, cucumbers and corn. And it's all becoming ripe and ready to eat.

The carrots have been really good - crisp, sweet and kinda zingy.

We've given lots of them and the green beans away so far, which is half the fun. That and feeding carrot tops and corn stalks to the horses.

Despite our cold, wet spring, we've had a massive bumper crop of apples on our two adolescent apple trees. There are so many, we've had to prop up the branches. I've even considered learning how to make applesauce. Or, maybe not, sounds like waaaay too much work. I think I'll just throw them all to the horses and be done with it.

We also have PEACHES again this year, for only the second time ever. Last year and the year before they froze, but the one year we had them, they were truly the sweetest most delectable peaches you can imagine. I can't wait!

So far, we have only one peach that's almost ripe:

Ain't it purty?!!! We've been planning and calculating and we think tomorrow morning is the precise moment that our peach will be ready to be picked - we definitely don't want the birds to get it -- or it's 26 friends, but none of the rest of them are close to ripe yet. This peach is way more ambitious than the rest, kind of an overachiever peach.

Our garden is out behind the tack shed and is apparently not very safe from raiders. Marty came in today from picking tomatoes with a tomato that had a big bite mark in it. He actually accused the kids - - OUR kids - - of biting into it.

HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA...oh my.

That's a good one, babe.

But I digress.

There's something really cool about growing your own food. One of my favorite things lately is chicken salad with grapes in it and we now have super fantastic extra delicious tiny little seedless green grapes on our grapevines. It takes a while to pick off enough for a batch of chicken salad, but they're soooo good. And free!! (Now if only I had a chicken bush out back too.)

I've had to beg squash off our friends and neighbors and I'm going to have to buy punkins, but the rest of the stuff is still nice.

Marty laughed at me for taking photos of his produce, but when he saw them up on the screen tonight he thought they were very pretty. And I reminded him how handy I was to have around..... while I was cutting his hair.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sink Valley

We have some good friends who own a ranch up in the mountains about 30 minutes from us. It's called Sink Valley, I think because the water table was so high that there were lots of sink holes. I think.

Anyway, it's a really beautiful place, 5400 acres of pasture and timber and cows and pink cliffs. Marty took some days off this week to spend some time with the kids before they went back to school. We went to Sink Valley to get a load of firewood and have a picnic and let the kids ride through the ranch in the bed of the pickup.

Of course I took my camera, that's entertainment enough for me. It truly is a breathtaking place - a high desert forested haven - remote and unspoiled, with wildflowers, ponderosa pines and sage.

We drove across the ranch to a place called Thompson where there is an old, old cabin. Our friends have partially restored it with a new tin roof and some other improvements. It sits in a beautiful meadow with a little stream running through it.

Of course I had to take a quick portrait of Brynn in the shade of the cabin. (She's wanting to grow out her bangs again - much to my dismay - I hate this stage where they're too short to pull back and too long to leave down.)

The cabin is surrounded by a grove of aspen trees. In some of them are carved the names of the cowboys who've ranched this country over the years.

I had to take a photo of this one -

Garn Blackburn and Earl Sorensen - two legendary cowboys around these parts. Earl owned this ranch and passed it on to his son, who owns it now. Earl was a great roper and at his funeral they told stories of his roping exploits. He roped deer, jack rabbits by the ears and even a mountain lion once. Garn and Earl were some of the last of a dying breed and it was cool to see their signatures in the trees of this private little valley.

We parked in the shade of the aspens and had our picnic lunch. It was a special treat to have Pringles and Oreos with our tuna sandwiches.

On our way back, I snapped a few shots of the fantastic pink cliffs as they poked out from between the pines. Amazing!

Apparently, in this part of the country, when the farmers plow a field and plant new crops, they also end up with a bumper crop of these little yellow sunflower type deals. They only come up for one year and then the new grass crop takes over. Pretty, though.

There were also these sweet white wild flowers everywhere.

I wish I had a true macro lens, but I dont. Rats. So I had to make due. Even without a really sharp macro, this was my favorite shot of the day. Farmers and ranchers hate thistle, but I thought it was really pretty. Love that bokeh!

By the end of the day, we had a truck full of red cedar and oak and I had 361 photos. Enough for several blog posts at least.

Next time, the old house they ordered from a Sears catalog that still stands at the ranch.

County Fair Parade

All of my growing up years, we lived in a city or in the suburbs of a city, but I always knew I wasn't a city girl. I always felt like a was a small town girl at heart, even though I'd never lived in one. When I met Marty, he told me about the little community he was from, and I couldn't wait to live here. The town has about 550 people in it, but we have 3 other little towns around us that attend our schools and make up our community.

And we have an olde tyme county fair here every year. We have arts and crafts and homegrown produce and canned and baked goods. We have a livestock show and sale and two horse shows (which I have put on myself for 13 years now). We have fireworks a dance and a junior rodeo. And we also have a County Fair Parade....

This year was the biggest and best parade anyone could remember. It starts with this gentleman:

Whenever there's a town event, like the fair or the 4th of July, he mounts this big speaker on the roof of his car and drives around town (sometimes at indecent hours of the morning) and lets everyone know what's going on. He also announces for all the town parades (we have 3 during the year) and he has the voice of a baptist preacher.

Our parade is held on the main street of town, which is also the main highway running through our part of the state. The sheriff's department closes off the highway for about 20 minutes while the parade runs up to one end of town and back down to the other end. I'm sure it's very annoying to highway travelers, but I think it's really cool.

Our parade this year started out with the flag carried horseback - as always - this year by a young lady named Cheyenne, who a few weeks ago broke her neck and received several other serious injuries during a fall off a horse, and successive trampeling. She broke the same vertebrae in her neck that paralyzed Christopher Reeve, so we are all glad to see her up and about and doing so well. Go Cheye.

Her brother is leading a riderless horse who belonged to a young man from our community who recently died after being hit by a baseball during team practice. He was the oldest son of a large local ranching family, was a great kid and was much beloved by all who knew him. It brought tears to our eyes to see his riderless horse being led through the parade route by one of his best friends.

My good buddy Dennis, patriarch of the MacDonald ranch, had four wagons and horse teams in the parade this year which was very cool. Dennis owns many, many wagons, carts, coaches and buggies and I got to go to his place a while back and take a look at all of them. He has old fire engines, stage coaches, antique prairie schooners and fancy doctors buggies - about any kind of buggy you can imagine. This one is his fancy prom buggy - neat, huh.

This one is driven by his son in law. I think they call it a people hauler. :0)

And this one by Jeff, one of Marty's cousins. Another people hauler, or hay wagon, or utility wagon of some kind.

And this one is Dennis' 11 year old grandson, Stetson, a really good kid. He's been driving since he was 6.

The teams were so neat and lovely and wonderful, I couldn't help taking several pictures of them. I won't post them all, but here's a couple more, just for me.

Aren't they cool?! I think he's bought most of his teams and harness from the Amish.

Here's Dennis in his grand coach, driving the grand marshall of the parade and her family and friends.

And here's another lovely 4 legged beastie. She's the Brinkerhoff's family milk cow.

I'll bet when she woke up this morning, she never imagined she'd be marching in a parade!

Good girl, Daisy or Bessie or whoever you are.

My kids got to ride on the top of a fire truck and throw candy, which was a first for them and loads of fun. The new fire house is now at the end of our street so our kids feel a bit proprietary about our town firetrucks. And they got cute little plastic fireman hats (which I later had to sneak into the trash).

I thought we had some pretty good entries this year. Like the Hoyt family with their "California Adventures" float. Pretty good for our little parade! The theme was making memories, and this family is known for their trips to the theme parks of CA. I need to ask them where they got the teacup! Perhaps they made it, some pretty handy people in that family.

There was also the Reese family with many of their kids and grandkids onboard.

The baseball team in a gorgeous red Caddy - uh guys, it might be a good idea for a few of you to walk along side. Just my opinion.

And the funniest one - our bishop in his son's restored pick up. Anthony, his son, is on a mission in Canada and left his precious truck behind. Obviously Dad is helping himself to it.

Tee hee hee.... (click on the photo to enlarge in and read the poster.)

I know that was a lot of photos, but that was actually only a drop in the bucket compared to all the ones I took. I'm proud of this good community and feel very blessed to be a member of it.

Fair Horse Show photos to come!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Luke and the Chicken Thief

I know it's not nice to laugh at your kids when they are crying and upset. I know it's not kind to giggle when they're sad, and take pictures of their distress instead of comforting them. I know it makes me a bad mom.......

But I just couldn't help myself!

This is what happened: Our swamp cooler sits in our dining room window, which is pretty inconvenient, but it's the only place for it in the whole house. And I LOVE that dadgum swamp cooler, it absolutely saves us.

But Luke hates it. On this day he had come in from playing and needed some chicken nuggets (with ketchup, yuck!) to tide him over until dinner. He didn't want to eat them in the dining room where the swamp cooler was, so he came up with this little eating arrangement - my laundry basket and my lap desk. Kinda strange, but whatever. Anyway, he had just settled in to eat his 6 nuggets - he must always have 6, it's very important, crucial even to have six -

and then someone went and let a chicken thief into the house.

And his plate just happened to be exactly the right height for her to do a drive-by nugget swiping. And then there were 5....

And what was so funny about it to me was that he had himself trapped in this bizarre contraption and couldn't even defend himself or get away from the dastardly chicken thief.

The only option he had was to cry. Great big wretched tears. Which of course escalated when I started laughing and taking pictures. He didn't appreciate that AT ALL.

When I finally got control of myself and put my camera down, I asked him if he wanted me to turn off the cooler so he could eat at the table, like a normal human. But he didn't want to, and he didn't want 5 nuggets! Normally, I'm not very tolerant of demanding kids who want a certain cup or special fork, etc., but in this instance I was feeling a little guilty so I got him another piece of chicken.

And all was well.

But he wouldn't speak to Maddie for the rest of the day.

Now I ask you, who could stay mad at a face like this? She's so sweet and innocent! Or maybe she's just pleased with herself for pulling off a chicken heist....

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Niles Family

I met a lovely family the other day and got to take their pictures. They had two of the cutest kids ever! I think learning to take photos has increased my appreciation for the beauty of children.

Get a load of this cute kid ---

Now that's some SERIOUS cute.

And how about his sweet little sister ---

I got to play with some of my new baby containers! ---

And we got Mom and Dad in on the action:

This one is my very favorite --- I don't know what I like better, her fun expression or the choice cheeks.

Thanks Niles family for coming to see me, it was great fun! You really do have exceptionally beautiful babies.