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.

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.

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!

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?

Lullaby Storm

This evening brought a long and softly-rolling thunder storm to our home. A long-awaited simple pleasure, I turned off every sound-making machine, opened every window that was not rain-facing and turned off any unnecessary lighting. And then I immersed in the deep reverberation of the storm as is slowly and gently, passed through.

This evening brought a long and softly-rolling thunder storm to our home. A long-awaited simple pleasure, I turned off every sound-making machine, opened every window that was not rain-facing and turned off any unnecessary lighting. And then I immersed in the deep reverberation of the storm as is slowly and gently, passed through.
 
There is a reason every relaxation soundtrack has a thunderstorm in the soundscape list: This is nature’s lullaby telling everything near it to pause, cover and be at rest.

Storm Comin’

Yesterday brought an interesting storm front just south of our home that made for curious cloud watching from our front yard.

Yesterday brought an interesting storm front just south of our home that made for curious cloud watching from our front yard. Our location here in southeast Wyoming has the uncanny ability to see most storms break north or south of us, more often than not. That said, we do get walloped a few times each year, but we fair well with mainly just a few hail storms versus other surrounding areas, typically.

This time of year will see storms coming through more regularly until winter settles in. Until then, we will enjoy the cloud watching, remain prepared and remember that mother nature is not to be trifled with.

Winter Worries

In an earlier post, I introduced you to Winter the neighborhood stray cat. Winter has walked through our property on his or her way to adventures unknown since we moved into our home. Often just pausing a moment to stare into a window before heading on his or her daily journeys

Winter circa 2019 outside my office window.

In late 2021 we noticed Winter received some type of ailment or injury precariously close to the eye area.

Winter peeping through our window in October 2021.

Once the bitter cold Wyoming winter temperatures approached, we began to put out little snacks when Winter would come around and perch on the porches of our house. Often he or she would have to deal with a bigger bully cat nearby, but we got crafty trying to only put out the food when Winter was here and taking it back in when he or she departed.

To our dismay, the wound began to get noticeably worse. We were baffled what it could be: Injury, tumor, or something else all ran through my mind. I began to consider we may have to trap our wary visitor if humane treatment was needed, but this cat is not simply skittish; Winter is feral. This led me to consider just how traumatic and stressful for the animal a trapping experience would be.

We phoned our local vet who advised that unless the cat was in severe physical distress, it was best to let it try to recover on its own.

Winter in December 2021 served a private, back-porch snack to avoid a larger bully cat nearby.

Recently things started looking up since the above photo was taken, with the wound having decreased in overall mass. We are hoping to see it improve still more in time.

I researched online groups like Alley Cat Allies that advocate to help feral and stray cats. Interestingly, they note that many feral cats may be seen alone but likely survive as part of a group or colony. Also, feral cats are more bonded to the geography of where they live than a house or person they may visit (so while well-meaning people try to “keep” them, a feral cat will nearly always try to get back to its original territory). I found consensus from sources that unless a cat begins to warm to a person, or begins to show socialization, it will not likely end well for the cat to try to keep it. There are some ways you can help still, depending on your situation. (So glad we have organizations out there that put this kind of helpful information online for the rest of us!)

Being someone who wants to care for any hurting creature, it’s hard to see this little soul struggle with this injury and not able to welcome it into our home. (Our resident cat Fury cannot risk being with other animals due to her conditions). So we continue to put out snacks and water when its freezing or when Winter appears by the door. Once warmer temperatures arrive, our plan is to slowly reduce until we can revert our friendly visitor back to hunting on its own. Until then, we will keep a close eye on our little fur friend closely.

Winter circa early 2021 sunning on our back porch.

Missing Home

Like most who have been using smart phones and high speed shutter cameras for several years, I have the equivalent of the junk drawer of photos on my computer. Laptop after laptop, year after year, the “to sort” folder of digital photos has grown regularly. Now and then when I need something mindless to do, I’ll roll up my sleeves and begin sorting the important ones into dated folders and deleting others. There are still thousands to go, undoubtedly.

Occasionally, in doing so, a gem will be seen again that brings me a smile. This one has been on my screen most of today just because of the beautiful day when it was taken and how much I miss the people in it: My parents.

This was a day where my husband and I had flown home to visit my family and see some of the best fall photo spots around town. We had been enjoying a location known for waterfalls and were strolling down the path heading to the next viewing spot. Seeing my mom and dad walking so casually with not a care in the world is something that makes me very happy.

Like most people who live far away from home and have been separated due to travel and health concerns, we’re nearing the point soon where 2nd dose vaccinations mean confidence that coming home through multiple airports will not be quite the risk it once was.

Light is at the end of the tunnel – and it looks very much like this photo.

Thoughts of Autumn

Revisiting autumn memories in Virginia on a Wyoming winter’s day.

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I stumbled across this photograph that always warms my heart when I see it. It was an intentionally random frame of the changing leaves in the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in  Lakeside, Virginia. This treasure chest of cultivated gardens was a place I loved to visit and always returned home refreshed and peaceful.

The garden areas one could stroll quietly were a gem in the rough of daily noise of life. Here there was quiet contemplation and mutual appreciation of the solitude from any other souls found while strolling along paths or on benches.

“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.” – Stanley Horowitz

On this autumn day, I couldn’t take my gaze away from the trees and leaves. All were on full, glorious display with greens, golds, reds, bronze and every shade in between. There is something special about all the seasons in every region, but autumn back east carries something unique in the  falling leaves and the variations of transitioning seasonal colors. Something wise and very old.

This is what I find myself reflecting on today here in the Wyoming winter among the sharp winds and the cold. I remember standing still with watchful eyes on a winding brick pathway aged with moss. And I can still see in my mind, beyond this photo, the old and well-tended tree branches and woods brimming with autumn secrets and beauty. Hopefully, someday, I’ll have the chance to visit again and see this place now years well past, and enjoy the quiet embrace of this beautiful east coast season again.