Sunday, November 29, 2009
We drove to Casper last Monday by way of Muddy Gap. We saw many groups of antelope. These were near the highway. When we pulled over and put the window down to attempt photos, they dashed away in a rush. They can put on incredible speed for short distances.
On Friday afternoon we saw these two moose in the dense shrubbery near a creek just outside of Boulder. WY. These were taken from the open window of the car, and the standing moose began to move off as I attempted to zoom in closer, so my other photo of them was a blur.
On the road that leads from Pinedale to Cora we slowed as we saw three deer ahead in the road.
The three were at the head of a group of perhaps 9 deer. A magnificent buck was evidently herding his harem and offspring from one side of the road to the other. You can see him at far left of the photo with his "rack" poked through the fence. In the distance are the "backside" of the Wind River Mountains--the opposite side of the peaks that are fore-shortened here by our closeness to the foothills. The road heads north and the late sun laid a cloth of pure gold from the west to the high snow covered peaks of the eastern horizon.
This pretty doe stood facing us with a fawn at her side.
A few miles before we turned onto Forty Rod Road [where Howard and Heidi live] we saw these two buck and a doe. The buck on the left was the bigger of the two and he seemed to be headed with malicious intent toward the smaller male.
The two buck met and faced each other a bit menacingly. I beleive they noticed that we had stopped to watch them and maybe were distracted from a confrontation.
On Saturday morning I saw this lone bird hopping about in front of the woodpile just outside H. and H.'s window which faces the drive. Heidi informed me that it is a Purple Finch. A look through her bird book suggests that this is a variant coloring particular to the Northwest--a "grey-capped purple finch."
The Finch in silhouette on a chunk of firewood.
Driving home today, a fine, dry afternoon, J. took the Big Sandy cutoff. There are several short cuts from the main road which follow trails carved out by wagons on the Oregon Trail. Much of the way is seasonal road and not maintained during the months of snow and spring mud. There were numerous groups of deer. At this time of year their coats are a dull grey-brown and they blend with the faded sagebrush and the strewing of dark boulders. Sometimes I don't spot the deer until I see the distinctive "muley" ears against the sky. Note the deer in the top left of the photo, peering warily from behind a large hump of rock.
We saw several eagles on this trip---most either at a distance or at a point on the roadway where it wouldn't be wise to stop. We decided this was a golden eagle, then dithered, thinking it could be a vulture. Before I could adjust the camera's zoom or get out to try for a closer shot, the bird flapped off. A short distance away four ravens sat in a row on a flat-topped rock, glistening black backs turned to the slanting sun.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Pumkin Pie set out to cool. It will be served with whipped cream for dessert tomorrow.
For the past two years the younger family members next door have orchestrated the Thankgiving feast, inviting cousins and friends. I have liked that, being required only to produce a few pies and dinner rolls for the event. I could enlist grandson to carry food and extra chairs across the adjoining yard, enjoy the rather noisy company for an hour or two and then stroll back to my own quiet realm.
By Monday I began to suspect that they weren't organizing anything this year. SIL and grandson had planned to attend a sporting event, but had to cancel. Daughter G. has been at home from her teaching duties, having finally succumbed to some variety of illness making the rounds. J. and I were all day on errands in Casper on Monday, a 2 and 1/2 hour drive each way. I spotted a new Super Wal Mart just behind one of the building supply places we visited, and with a feeling of, "Errrr, someone needs to plan Thanksgiving dinner," we hurried in to purchase a frozen turkey and some yams. I did a bit of local shopping last night and announced [with a tinge of martydom] that I would produce a harvest dinner.
I enjoy traditional holiday food, I like to bake, however, the occasion seemed simply to descend on me this year while I wasn't looking!
I was out of the quilt shop early today, and hurried home to start the baking. A large tin of pumpkin has turned into the above pictured pie and a loaf of pumpkin/raisin bread---quite appealing--I just had two slices liberally spread with butter. I baked a small blueberry pie for J. who doesn't relish pumpkin, tucked a larger blueberry pie in the freezer for future reference.
Daughter has struggled from her bed and phoned to inquire in a raspy voice if they should prepare anything for the communal meal. I have it well in hand, and there is the suggestion that SIL may take over the roasting of the "bird", a task he does with finesse.
I protest the quantity of side dishes which sometimes appear at these feasts and the corresponding excess of food consumption. I like to keep it simple. The theme, after all, is meant to be thankfulness; gratitude for ample harvest--not quite as meaningful perhaps in these days of super market shopping as when the winter's food was the result of a handed down knowledge of seeds and seasons, planting and weeding, harvesting and putting by, all undertaken with hope and prayers for timely sunshine and rain.
Raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God's own temple, come,
Raise the song of harvest home.
All the world is God's own field,
Fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown
Unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.
For the Lord our God shall come,
And shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day
All offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store
In His garner evermore.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
My daughter sent me the above cartoon some years ago. It really captures the manipulative personality of the feline race. We know that they are purring blandishments...and I think they know that we know.
Mrs. Beasley washes a paw.
Standing at the dining room window after lunch, I watched dry leaves scamper before the wind, heard its' fretful voice wuthering through the bare branches of the cottonwoods. A raven labored into view, wheeled and hung, wings flapping, as it attempted to bear south west into the gale. I watched it turn eastward making a wide circle before it tried again to face the wind. Giving up, it wobbled to a high branch over the farther-most loop of irrigation ditch. As I stood there, a second raven lurched into the airspace, taking the exact route its mate had just abandoned.
Intrigued, I decided I needed to experience this wind first hand. I detest being cold and was already wearing flannel-lined jeans and two pullovers. I layered on a disreputable paint-stained vest [first owned by my son when he was sixteen] a fleece jacket and finished off the ensemble with another over-sized vest of waddy flannel. Lace up winter boots, camera in hand and I was out.
Daughter's beloved and incorrigable cat, T-Baby, was loitering around the old Dodge truck parked across the track near the cat tails. He greeted me casually, rolled about my feet, swatted at the camera strap and at my wind-frazzled hair when I bent to take his picture. When I finally succeeded in capturing his hairy face, the camera blinked and flashed a "replace low batteries" signal.
None of the batteries in the kitchen drawer responded with any vestige of life, so I plugged them into the charger and started out again with the older camera.
I crashed about in the cat tails--snakeless, I can assume, after weeks of cold weather. Many of the stalks are broken, fluff blowing on the wind, fronds that were green a short time ago, trail, limp and browned.
Here, early in the summer, cat tails and grass stood so high that the doe hid her fawn there. Walking then through the thick green growth, I literally tripped over the tiny dappled creature. I wonder where they are now.
Cattail, up close and fluffy.
Pale dry grass flattens in the wind--which was biting meanly through all my layers of clothing.
These delicate nests still swing in the thin drooping branches of the cottonwood. As I watched them sway in the wind I was reminded of J.'s oft repeated comment that it isn't exactly "bright" to stand under these trees in a gale!
Standing on the far ditch bank looking toward South Pass.
Facing eastward up an incline from the ditch.
Leaves caught in a tangle of greasewood.
Pebbles the Horse trumpeted at me as I walked around the garage. I walked down to the pasture fence, told her she was a greedy old thing, and put a pad of hay in her feed bin. Turning back, I saw this bird's feather caught in the dead grass.
One of the weathered planks which crosses the now dry irrigation ditch.
I wonder how long this hoop of wire has hung here.
The pond from below the berm.
Chester waits on the entry windowsill---the cats are very conscientious "greeters." They let me know it was time for their "tea" when I came in. It was a bit early, but its the weekend--and I was ready for tea as well.
I fed the cats and put the kettle on for my own tea. While it boiled, I stepped onto the front porch. Oddly, it wasn't as dark as it looks in this photo.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Teasel sleeps on the bed after supervising our morning activities. Teasel greatly enjoys food and I have been calling her "Teasel the Tank."
Charlie, the dad cat, looks appealingly innocent. Moments earlier his son Chester was under the rug atop the hassock with Charlie pummeling him, while Teasel jabbed a wiley paw under the rug for good measure. Charlie has led the tribe this evening in wild surges through the rooms, crashing headlong into his cardboard box under the picture window, banging his head on the same window in an ill-judged leap for the sill. The sobering moment came with a crash in here. I was taking cookies from the oven, so it was a bit later that I came in to find my ironing board upended, iron on its side with water puddling out, fabric strips in a muddle on the floor.
Charlie and Maisie's daughter, Jemima, is such a sweetie. She favors the top of this bookcase. A leap into my old wing chair and a bounce up to the top shelf, and she can keep tabs on whatever I am doing.
Pebbles the Horse is recovering from a frightening bout of laminitis brought on by injudicious consumption of grass which had been frosted. This was a danger to her health that we had to learn the hard way. She has been a month in this "starvation pasture" and none too pleased about it. She is being fed very carefully with a non-sweetened grain mixture created especially for horses who are subject to founder. She has a water tub, and hay. She is bored with her confinement to such a small area, although pleased this week that J. has been working on the side entry roof and she can watch him. If she creates a big enough fuss, chances are he will fetch her a carrot. It is a relief to see that she is once again stepping smartly.
I am always intrigued by the patterns of branches against the sky. I tend to gaze up into the heavens, fiddling with the camera's zoom feature until I am dizzy and losing my balance on uneven ground.