First-time Steller’s Jay Sighting

There are not many types of birds frequenting our little ranch house so far, but I was treated to a first-time sighting of a Steller’s Jay outside of my office window recently. My initial reaction was it was a Blue jay in shadows, but once I realized it was sitting in full sun I did a double-take to re-check what I was seeing.

So far, it has only been by the house this one time that I know of. Hopefully we will see it again. It was a beautiful painting of blue in motion to see it flit from branch to branch and then hop onto a caged feeder we had nearby. Just as soon as I realized it was there, it had flown off but I at was able to snap a quick photo or two before it departed. What a treat!

Our Only Tree

On our new property, we have just one tree on our nearly twelve acres. It is surrounded by wintering vegetation and the dried remainders of past trees that could not weather the elements. But somehow, this one tree has made it to a grand height of almost six feet and stands alone.

We are going to take very good care of this one. It has moxie.

Admin Update

Hopefully in the last 24 hrs any subscribers did not receive a number of duplicate posts from me, I’ve moved this site back to WordPress.com (more to come on that later perhaps but it’s mostly related to technical issues).

The reason you might have received some emails is that there was a technical glitch relating to the domain coming over correctly that I had to seek help on from the wonderful folks at WordPress. The result was having to re-upload several recent photos again after the move, but apologies if anyone woke up to loads of update notifications today and wondered why.

That should be it though, and the move is complete.

Morning Gratitude

There are not many daily experiences as visceral as a beautiful sunrise here on the high plans in southeastern Wyoming. This property we just moved into is in a location where I am pulled outside, even in the cold, to take photos like these before I miss the changes in the light.

Home sweet home early in the morning.

We have a LOT of projects with more coming for next spring. Interior and exterior updates are on the books too. But we are so close to winter that we are focusing on making things sturdy and sound first.

Our new ranch house has views on all sides. But for being in an elevated location to have those sights, it receives serious wind on a daily basis. The mornings are usually quiet and calm with the winds building into the afternoons. We see everything from strong gales to storm force winds (on rare occasion up into low hurricane speeds). And this little house takes it all.

This is what makes the mornings so special, though. It’s generally at this magic hour of sunrise where we don’t have those winds and it is as if anything negative from the day before has been magically erased and the new day awaits like a clean canvas.

On mornings like this one where there are no clouds or weather, the dark blue curtain begins to lift as the earth turns into the first golden light and boom – there it is: A humbling new start to feel grateful for. It is as if the universe dropped a note on your front porch to say “Here is your free pass to have a do-over today and oh, by the way, anything is possible.”

Morning sunrise overlooking part of our property facing southeast across state land.

It is usually when I’ve padded into the kitchen and started to make a cup of tea or coffee when I spy a really amazing sunrise coming up. I will grab my phone and quietly head outside to see how long I can tolerate the cold morning temperatures to snag a few shots and then dart back inside where a very impatient and hungry cat is usually waiting. It is sometimes a toss up as to how accurately cameras can reflect the true colors of the sun in a photograph, but the above and below photos were close.

Panoramic view of our front yard sunrise and the state land and ranch land to the east, south and west.

There is a lot that can sometimes be overwhelming about facing the day. Whether you are working on a fixer upper, have a big day at work, or are surviving a really crummy week. But we should take heart from what sunrises give us: The world is really beautiful, today is a new day no matter what happened yesterday and there is always something to be grateful for when the sun comes around again.

Reflections on First Snowfall of the Season

View of Table Mountain from our back deck

These are the mornings where I am going about my early-morning routine and pause to look outside, reveling in the feeling we made the right choice to move here. I do this usually while traversing between cardboard boxes and objects not located where they should be organized weeks later, still. Today was extra appreciative as we saw our first snowfall of the winter season.

A lot about this move was unusual, unplanned and did not go with the way we thought it would. But so far, the privacy and simplicity of our new home location has proven a sanctuary long awaited and worth the unusual path we took. We have connectivity via internet wireless radio transfers and it is every bit as fast as standard broadband and cable. That said, we choose to not have television for now. We don’t miss it and frankly we have been far too busy for it.

There is still so much more to do, but we are excited to be on this journey and are pacing ourselves while not forgetting to enjoy the views (literal and proverbial) as we go.

Sweeping Sunrises

There have been some gorgeous sunrises out here now that we are moved in. Some mornings they are blazing oranges, golds and auburns. Others they are horizons of bands of evolving colors with not a single cloud to break up the skyline. This one really took my breath away with its subtle hues of watercolor calm and soft gradients. Standing on our front porch, I pondered: Will there be sunrises in Heaven? I sincerely hope so. In my imagination they would look much like this one.

A Big Thing Happened

Often times when a blogger leaves their site alone for weeks at a time one of two things have happened: 1) That person has lost interest in posting and given enough time is going to give up the ghost or 2) Something big is happening in that blogger’s life and they will come back soon once things return to normal.

And such has been the second option for our family since my last post.

We moved! And the irony was we were not expecting it one bit either.

A wonderful opportunity dropped into our laps unexpectedly, if we were able to make it happen on short timelines. And we did. Somehow, by grace from above, working with good people and a lot of long nights and weekends, we pulled it off. There are still a few follow-ups in progress, but most of the hard part is done at this point and we are in our new house.

For the last month and a half, it has been utter insanity. Working by day and transitioning every evening and weekend to packing, getting show ready, being on the market, negotiations and the typical ups and downs that go along with it all.

Electricians, plumbers, installers and delivery people are still coming and going every other day here at the new house, so the dust has definitely not settled yet (literally nor proverbially). We still have a ways to go on the fixes here until we are “done” but the end is starting to be in sight while we sell our prior home.

Looking forward to sharing new updates and photos soon and finding normalcy again!

2022 Rock Garden Progress

This year’s progressive growth in our rock garden is now to the point we are working to contain and manage all the plants instead of trying to encourage them to spread. Some plants have been very slow growing while others we can rip out handfuls (eh hem, ice plants) without causing any damage.

We have quite a few ice plants in the pink and yellow varieties that bloomed quickly this year that I missed getting photos of, but the rest of the hen and chicks, stone crop and sedum varieties are still going strong.

We have a final few bare spots we have kept open to move and spread other varieties to, knowing in the past few years we would need to keep re-organizing growth around the rocks. These hen and chicks we found in the scrub parts of our yard and began to dig them up and move them to the garden. They need zero care and minimal moisture and just take off on their own.

New this year are the height of these hen and chick blooms forming. I’m honestly not sure if this is what they do normally or if they are too tightly packed and are reaching outwards for the room. We will see what is to come from these nearly two foot high arms. Examples below are of two hen and chick growths among the sedum.

Each variety brings its own blooms at different times which makes having the rock garden an interesting feature to get to enjoy each time we walk outside. All of these plants do very well in the extreme seasonal differences here in southeastern Wyoming. At this point, other than trimming back overgrowth, it requires almost no maintenance anymore.

My husband did set up a helpful drip line with water spray heads that cover roughly a foot or two in various directions. Most home improvement stores have these and we bought a system from our local Menard’s. Probably all the plants we added would have made it without watering, but it did help them get off to a stronger start.

We look forward to enjoying this patch of small wonders for some time to come. What’s not to love? Easy, heat and cold tolerant and blooms galore!

A Double Rainbow Surprise

We’ve been fortunate to receive much-needed rain in occasional storms the last few days, off and on. This weekend, I caught a part of a rainbow peeking through a patch of open sky when glancing out a window in my house. It was worth the uncomfortable barefoot trod into the dirt road to see…

We’ve been fortunate to receive much-needed rain in occasional storms the last few days, off and on. This weekend, I caught a part of a rainbow peeking through a patch of open sky when glancing out a window in my house. It was worth the uncomfortable barefoot trod into the dirt road to see the full expanse of these two rainbow with full color spectrums on display.

Isn’t it a wonderful thing, that we never quite outgrow the magic and awe of rainbows?

Firecracker Orchids

Earlier last month, my husband and I made a trip to Fort Collins, CO that occurs every so often: We drive into old town to go to his favorite restaurant, and of course because my favorite orchid greenhouse is on the way, we make a side venture there also. I would like to think he enjoys the brief stop at the greenhouse, but I am pretty certain he knows if he didn’t pull in there, I most likely would jump from the vehicle and combat roll into their parking lot. And that would be embarrassing.

Nine times out of ten we leave with some new acquisition or variety of orchid I do not have. This particular visit yielded some spectacular new plants that I am absolutely tickled pink with. I found this Stellar Hoku right off the bat.

It is difficult to walk into a small section of orchids that are mainly white, yellow or other pale tones and not see this firecracker that is at least 6-8” taller than anything else on display. “Firecracker” is the description I first thought of.

If the blooms were any more visceral, it seems they would fly right off the spike as nearly hand-sized floral explosions. It of course immediately found its way into my shopping basket for the drive back home and I have been enjoying it immensely for the last several weeks since.