My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A bun-filled Memorial Day


Our Memorial Day holiday started out foggy, cold and rainy, which made it no different than nearly every other day in May! But at least it also started out with a visit from the adorable baby bunny who lives under our front deck...

"Mmmm, grass for breakfast! Nom-nom-nom."

Inspired by our nibbling bunny friend, we got an early start planning our main meal of the day. Given the cozy weather we decided on "Snobby Joes," a recipe from Veganomicon that was brought to my grateful attention in a January post by Vegan Georgia. We love these, so BW made his signature ginormous Snobby Joe buns, and after a morning spent cleaning house we made a batch of Snobby Joe innards to stuff them with. Like Georgia, we sauté the onion and peppers in water instead of oil but otherwise make no changes to the recipe.

This is actually on a salad plate, not a dinner plate,
but the buns are prodigious so I like to do them justice
by filling them generously! (Besides, we were hungry!)

After dinner we were enjoying a break in the weather so decided to go for an evening drive around Sheridan and then take the dogs for a run on the Bradford Brinton along the still-raging Little Goose Creek. Though the trees have barely begun to leaf out up here on the face of the mountains, in Sheridan the crabapple and plum trees are all in full, colorfully blooming splendor...

A handsome trio of crabapple trees

It was very windy, resulting in the driveways
being prettily paved with pink petals
from this row of bordering trees.

I can't remember a prettier spring for flowering trees around here, so I've been taking photos of them on every trip to town. The lilacs are starting to bloom now too and look like they'll be every bit as breathtaking, so I'll be taking photos of them later this week too and will share them all in a future post. If only I could make the photos "scratch & sniff!" :-)

After oogling the eye-candy trees, we visited the Sheridan Municipal Cemetery on our way home. Always a beautiful setting, it was a particularly moving and lovely place to visit today with all the colorful flowers, briskly fluttering flags and even a rare, brief burst of sunshine as I took this photo...

This is the Elks section of the cemetery,
hence the magnificent elk statue in the center.
(Click on the photo for a bigger, better view)

This next photo isn't nearly as good, but I am including it anyway because while BW and the girls waited patiently in the car, I froze my buns off in the freezing cold and buffeting wind while I snapped a bazillion photos of this scene before I finally got one of the Wyoming state flag photogenically unfurled instead of violently whipping about in a tangled frenzy. So no way am I not posting this one. :-) Besides, it has an especially nice view of the elk statue...


The day ended much like it began, with fog and rain rolling back in. So while our day - and this post - began with a visit from the baby bunny at our front window, I'll end it with a very brief video of an adult bunny on our back steps, who was very rain-soaked and spent several minutes grooming herself (because no one likes to have a bad hare day, nyuck nyuck) before I filmed her cute departure...



(So how many bun references did you spot in this post?) :-)

Friday, May 27, 2011

"Little Geese" on steroids


I'm behind on replying to all your fun comments and intend to remedy that asap, but didn't think you'd mind if first I post these photos I took yesterday! :-)

I had to go to town again yesterday since I couldn't squeeze all my errands and appointments into Wednesday alone, so I took my camera along to document some beautiful sights of spring I'd seen the day before for an upcoming post. But my first photo op was completely spontaneous when I drove by the goose pond and saw TWO families with goslings and how big (and gray!) the goslings had gotten in just 12 days!

Goslings on steroids!

Both families took to the water when I stopped to take my photos...


So sweet!

And here's the other little goose on steroids - Little Goose Creek as it rushes down the mountains through Big Horn on its way to Sheridan, where it's been flooding some streets, parks and basements. It's normally a very pretty and tranquil little creek as it flows here through the Bradford Brinton Ranch, but it's a raging river now because of the deluge of rain we've had for days...

Those trees in the upper right & bushes on the lower right
are normally on opposite banks, not in the creek!

Here's the creek in roaring, turbulent action...


The amount of water around here has been pretty dramatic, but not nearly as dramatic as it's been just north of us in Montana. Crow Agency was cut off and I-90 north from the Wyoming border was closed for a few days, and you can see why in this photo of the I-90 exit into Crow...

I-90 flooding at Crow Agency, MT
photo by WYDOT Area Crew Foreman Rich Hall

See more of his photos of the flooding near Crow here, and an impressive aerial view of the flooded area here.

We have record snowpack in the Big Horns as well (over 200% of normal), where all this rain has been falling as more snow, so there are serious concerns about all that snowmelt coming down to the valley when the temperatures warm up enough up there, which will probably happen suddenly and soon, to melt it. (In fact, Wyoming - which rarely has anything happen that makes the national news - even made it into the headline in this news story about the flooding Missouri River, record rains and snowpack, and overflowing mountain reservoirs in MT, ID and here. It doesn't mention which three WY counties have requested help from the National Guard, but I'm betting ours is one of them. And badly flooded little Roundup, MT, whose inundated aerial photo is in this article, is where I stop for gas on my way to and from Havre.)

Today is finally sunny (but cold and very windy) after about two weeks of unrelenting rain and skies that looked like this...

The first photo I've submitted to SkyWatch Friday!
I hope to do more (I love sky pics!)


And more rain is forecast through Memorial Day weekend, a forecast no one is very happy about. Except maybe this guy...


I spotted this beautiful male Mallard serenely floating on an impromptu pond not far from the Bradford Brinton. There's not normally a pond here, just a little streamlet that trickles seasonally next to the road. But the landscape has been altered this month and ducks, frogs and other water-loving critters are taking advantage of it!

I decided to try out my duck call on Mr. Mallard by curling up my fist and blowing through it like you would a trumpet. I think it sounds a lot like a quacking duck, but based on the crusty look of contempt I was given in response...


...Mr. Mallard apparently disagrees! Not only did I get this scornful over-the-shoulder look, he also started swimming away from me. Undaunted, I continued my duck call until I unwittingly crossed some duck-etiquette line and said something really fowl (haha, get it?), because he suddenly just launched himself from the water and flew away through the woods!

Yeah well, duck you too, buddy! ;-)

I know a lot of you live in places that are dealing with bad (if not downright scary) weather, and I wish everyone clear skies and a safe and peaceful Memorial Day weekend!

BW starts a busy two weeks of vacation tomorrow and we leave for our 5-day mini-vacation in Fort Collins a week from today, but I'll be back just as soon as time permits with more photos and videos, because I've been on a bit of a photo bender lately. :-)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Goosey Goosey Gander...



So what do you do on a chilly, blustery, gray Saturday when you have to vacate your house for a showing and have already made all the trips to town you can stand? Well, if you were me last weekend, you'd go to a tranquil pond a couple miles down the road where a lovely Canada Geese couple is raising a fluffy flock of adorable fuzzballs and play paparazzi for a fun while! :-)


The devoted parents and their well-behaved children were viewing this scene...

A popular hangout! Reservations recommended.

This couple enjoys a carefree day at the local swimming hole.
Let's see them in action and eavesdrop on their friends...


They're so sweet, I didn't even mind when Mother Goose and Junior mooned me...

I love the gosling keeping a close eye on mom and sib,
and the dandelion reflections that mimic the fluffy babies!

Finally the family grew tired of posing prettily and wandered off to their next family activity...


Here Papa's very busy honking out advice, and doesn't mama look proud to have such a handsome husband (Canada Geese mate for life) and five darling children?...


I thought this scene of snow-covered mountains, spinning windmill and gliding geese made for a peaceful tableau and perfect final photo...


And final video as well...


(Bummer that the only car that went by the entire time chose that moment to do so!)
The weather has been wretchedly cold, windy and raining buckets lately, and we haven't seen the sun in nearly two weeks! It's supposed to finally clear up by Friday (we'll see, since weather forecasts are seldom to be trusted here, especially at this time of year), and we're anxious to get outside and get some much-needed projects done as soon as it's dried out enough. We're also hoping for more house-showings, and I plan to use them as opportunities for more photo ops whenever possible as the landscape grows increasingly green and blooming and populated with precious baby critters.

Have a very busy few weeks ahead, with all those projects, as well as vet, dental and haircut appointments, BW's two week vacation starting next Saturday, and our mini-vacation in Fort Collins to get ready for. So since I don't know when I'll have a chance to do another post, I wish you a safe and peaceful Memorial Day weekend if you're in the US, and a happy June and warm, gentle spring weather wherever you are!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Burros and babies and news, oh my!



OMG, it's alive! And it remembers (though just barely) how to blog! :-)

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your patience, understanding and supportive comments, though I wouldn't blame any of you if you stopped being my followers! After all, I don't seem to be going anywhere, so what's to follow? :-) But thank you for sticking with me so far anyway.

As Daphne astutely observed in her comment today, at least a brief blog blurb is better than nothing, so I will share some updates. Though I doubt it will be brief (I have too much bottled-up blogging to release!), it will be sparser in details than it could be (oh, the stories I could tell!) but extravagantly abundant in photos to make up for my month of silence.

So without further ado, here's some latest news on...

Our House:
Not our house. Bears no resemblance to our house.
Merely a facsimile of a house I hope to live in one day!

Our house went on the market three weeks ago tomorrow and has been through five showings plus a tour for several realtors in our listing agency, an MLS realtor open house, and two photography sessions. Each event required the same degree of cleaning, prepping and staging (e.g. hide the dish drain rack, laundry, toothbrush gear, toaster, ugly electric tea kettle, all evidence of our three dogs, put out the pretty hand towels, turn on all the lights, etc), and then finding somewhere for the dogs and I to go hang out for an hour or more. Plus I had to furnish treats for the realtor open house. Being a glutton for punishment, I actually baked organic cornbread (a healthier variation of Colleen's recipe in The Joy of Vegan Baking) along with furnishing fresh organic fruits and juice and some vegan store-bought goodies. At least I came home to crumbs (including on my carpet, grrr), much to BW's chagrin since he was wanting some of the cornbread himself. So I baked him a second batch. (See why I can never find time or energy to blog?)

Anyway, all five sets of potential buyers reportedly loved the property (though 80% of them came out in absolutely horrid weather, and 100% of them weren't offered cornbread), but none of them made an offer for various reasons. (Too far from town, need to sell their place, etc - and our personal favorite: there's no large, flat spot to put in a SWIMMING POOL! Oy.)


Three of them made loud noises about being very interested, wanting a second showing and planning to make an offer, only to disappear into the great Potential Buyer Black Hole. Well, except for one who hasn't officially vanished yet but we have only the dimmest hope of ever handing them our house keys at a closing. It's a roller coaster ride, and not the fun kind that makes you shriek with laughter and want to go for another turn. No, this is the kind that just makes you want to shriek with frustration and then throw up your cotton candy and popcorn.
And so we keep our house immaculate, our dishes washed, our laundry laundered, our bed made, our grass cut, our trash emptied, our windows spotless, our faces scrubbed ~ ready to just run the "hide everything that suggests someone actually LIVES here" drill and vacate the premises. It's tuckering work! Oh, and having repaired, maintained and virtually scrubbed the surface off of everything inside the house, we're now working on landscaping and other outdoor projects. Because though it's not really spring here quite yet, it's close enough. After all, our first hummingbird arrived on Saturday! YAY!

Our Vacation:

We were supposed to leave for a two-week trip to Oregon at the end of this month during BW's vacation, driving there and taking Willow with us while Robyn house and critter-sat everyone else. But for several reasons (the rising cost of gas, chaos with the house sale and realtor, blowing vacation money on new gutters and other home improvement projects), we oh-so-painfully cancelled all our carefully researched and finalized reservations. We made new ones for a five-day consolation trip in early June to Fort Collins, CO instead, where we'll spend BW's birthday. Tasty Harmony, here we come! Robyn took three workdays off so she could stay at our house and critter-sit everyone the whole time we're gone, and make the house available for any showings that might pop up. Robyn is a real trooper and a good friend, don't know what we'd do without her! Willow will be staying home, but there will still be one less mouth for Robyn to feed, which brings us to the big (and happy) news about:

Mocha...


Since we plan to move to a place in town (or onto a sailboat in which we'll sail to an isolated turquoise lagoon in the Caribbean where we'll live happily ever after, according to BW's plan), we were going to need to find a place for Mocha to live. As much as we have on our plate these days, and as much as there will be for us to do when we finally get a bonafide offer on this place, we figured now was as good a time as any to find a place to board him. Besides, Mocha is very social and really loves the company of other horses, but since our neighbor moved and took away his three horses (who shared Mocha's fenceline) last fall, Mocha's been alone and we knew he'd be much happier with some companions.


We didn't think it would be hard to find a place to keep a horse in Wyoming, but we were mistaken! After exploring several seemingly promising leads that were dead ends, we found an ideal place thanks to our vet tech Marti. Owned by a really nice woman named Audra, it's halfway between our house and Sheridan and we drive past it all the time but had no idea it was there! It's a great horse set-up, with a wonderful 30-acre pasture with a year-round warm water spring, a great barn, huge horse runs with nice loafing sheds, and good, safe fencing. And best of all, there are lots of other horses, plus burros (most were rescues from Colorado), several dogs and lots of people around all the time, as Audra teaches classes and hosts clinics throughout the summer, and has a small staff plus her daughter who just finished her first year of vet school in Fort Collins. They use the same vet we do, feed the same kind of hay, take care of worming and vaccinations, know everything there is to know about horses, and we can visit Mocha any time of any day. And to our delight, the cost is very reasonable!

We took him there on Saturday morning, and usually when Mocha sees other horses for the first time, he screams his fool head off with excitement and works himself into a lather. We thought he was going to cause a dreadful scene, but he was thunderstruck into silence by it all. The photo above is of him newly ensconced in his private run, mouth agape, watching some horses and burros stroll by (most of the time, most of the critters can come and go at will between the sheltered runs and the pasture). He'd never seen a burro before and was enthralled. Though according to Mocha, one of the passing burros was very scary for reasons none of us dim humans could figure out.

We left him happily munching alfalfa and continuing to gape at all the critters and activity, unable to comprehend his good fortune. When we returned the next day to visit him, he was in the pasture with his new buddies. Of course the wind was blowing 50-60 mph (I'm not exaggerating) and he was in the FURTHEST part of the pasture, but we gamely walked out there to take him some cookies and assure him we hadn't abandoned him. Here's Mocha and one of his new BFFs grazing contentedly at the far end of the pasture. (The pink arrow is pointing to our house!)...


Mocha (on the left) with two other new friends...


When we'd gotten close enough for him to hear me, I called to him and he (on the right in this photo) and his friends all came to us at a trot...


He ran up to us, all excited, but when I went to give him cookies and hugs he acted like a teenager at the mall with his friends. He's WAY too cool for that mushy stuff now, you know, so instead of taking a cookie and letting me pet him, he showed off, prancing around the pasture and jumping over a small irrigation ditch with far more verve and showmanship than it required. :-)

When we left and I yelled goodbye to him (because he was now off in the distance again, grazing with yet another new buddy) and that we'd be back again soon to visit, I could swear he mumbled, "Yeah, whatev, Ma. Later!" LOL

We were thrilled to see how quickly he had settled in, how many friends he'd made, and how happy and content he was. But we were feeling a little rejected (is this what Empty Nest Syndrome feels like?) :-) So we decided to go hang out with the burros for a while before we left. Well, actually they decided to hang out with BW, seeing as how he still had Mocha's cookies with him since Mocha was much too busy and über cool now to eat any...

The horse was a co-conspirator in the Burro Gang Cookie Heist

I love this photo of the two pairs of burros nuzzling.
The pair on the right are mother and child. So sweet!

Speaking of sweet mothers and children, the day we dropped dropped Mocha off there were two new foals in the barn. This little colt was the newest, just a day or two old...


He's studiously watching the new colt in the next stall who had been born less than a week earlier and had fun playing peekaboo with me from behind his mom's butt...


And I have to include a photo of Audra's dog Sydney, because she has such a darling, fuzzy face...


Though it was ridiculously hard to get good head shot of her because the second you merely look at her, she assumes this position!...


Notice her little eyes all squinched tight in blissful anticipation of the belly rub she is completely confident she is about to receive. And her confidence was totally justified, for how could I possibly resist? :-)

I'm glad I finally had some news and photos to share, and the time to share them! I have more fun photos to post next time and am hoping to get a chance to at least work on that later this week, but hopes just like them have been hoped and dashed many times before. I'll also try to do a better job of replying to your comments than I've been able to, but even when I'm a laggard please know that I do take the time to read them and they never fail to make my day! xoxo

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SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

  • INFERNO ~ Dan Brown
  • MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD & EVIL ~ John Berendt
  • MY NOTORIOUS LIFE: A NOVEL ~ Kate Manning
  • ONE SUMMER: AMERICA, 1927 ~ Bill Bryson
  • QUIET: THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT CAN'T STOP TALKING ~ Susan Cain
  • THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL ~ Daniel Stashower
  • THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY ~ Erik Larson
  • THE SHADOWS, KITH AND KIN ~ Joe R. Lansdale
  • THE TIPPING POINT ~ Malcolm Gladwell
There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"