Saturday, April 30, 2011

Quick Catch Up

We've had some kind of heinous stomach bug circling the ranch, brought home from Sunday School by J.W. and Heidi's sweet little girl... Jason, Darius and Elizabeth are the only ones who haven't had it yet, since it kicked my butt today and Chad's last night. Fun.

Anyhow, in light of how I am currently feeling, this will be a short entry. But I just couldn't let April end without one more post.

Today we made our last credit card payment! We are OUT OF CREDIT CARD DEBT!!!!!!!!!! It feels SOOOOOOOOOOO good!

We've discovered that Indy will entertain himself for hours in the greenhouse and garden (if I prop the door open) with a tennis ball. He throws it for himself and chases it. I've tried in vain to capture this spectacle on camera, but whenever he catches me trying to film him he stops. Maybe one of these days. But here's a photo his tennis ball after a nighttime snowstorm, waiting for Indy to come and play for the day. He now falls asleep at 5pm, crawls into his bed when it's time and then snoozes until morning. Yay for tennis balls!

In other Indy news, he received a package from his grandma after sending her this email. In it were a couple of new squeaky toys, including a super-size Canadian Goose whose squeaker sounds a lot like a fart. If you've ever seen enough NCIS to know that Abby has a stuffed Hippo that farts when you squeeze it, you know the sound I'm talking about. He's been running around with Super Goose, snuggling with it, licking it and squeaking it since we opened the box. Pretty Funny.

Last night, Jason and I went in to Cody to see Fast Five. I went because he wanted to so badly - the Fast and the Furious has never been my cup of tea. Well... aside from the atrocious acting, it was really fun - I enjoyed myself immensely. Apparently, the entire town of Cody came out to see that movie last night. When we exited from our movie (we saw the 6:45 showing) the lobby of the tiny theatre was jam-packed, shoulder to shoulder with folks waiting to go in for the 9pm showing. As I waited for Jason (who took a quick pit-stop), I did some great people watching. And I realized... that everyone was white. It was really strange. I know we're in Wyoming, in the Rodeo Capital of the United States. But I felt very out of place and slightly uncomfortable when I realized that everyone was white. And I myself am white. But I'm so used to a more multi-cultural world. It was very strange.

Other than that, I have some interesting posts stewing around in my head. As I work in the greenhouse I have lots of time to think and compose in my head - hopefully I get some of these ideas that are floating around in there down on paper very soon. I've been feeling inspired. :)

Then, depending on how I'm feeling in the morning, we will hopefully be headed into Yellowstone through the North Entrance tomorrow, since tomorrow is the first of May and the park is officially open! J.W. says that the drive to the North Entrance is one of the most beautiful in the entire United States. Looking forward to it, even if I'm not feeling up to it tomorrow, we'll go soon.

I hope you had a beautiful month of April, as we have (minus the sickness). Hello, May!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I mentioned in my last post that the bosses, Mitch and Alice are back on the Ranch. They're very nice people, but not the kind to give out compliments or positive reinforcement. You'll know if they're unhappy, but otherwise, no news is good news - just like many other employers. No big deal. I often forget to point out the good when I'm running a project, too!

This morning, Alice came in to check on things - and she said, "You know, this is the best the greenhouse has ever looked this early." Woo-hoo! Score 1 for Erin! (Not that I'm competing with anyone but myself.)

J.W., the ranch manager, came in and checked in on my progress as he usually does, looking for things that he can set me to work on or ask me to keep up with. As usual, I was way ahead of him. And then he said something like, "I usually have to remind our Greenhouse Gardeners to take care of the weeds - they're normally a problem. I don't even have to remind you to do that!" Mental pat on the back, and the big, imaginary scoreboard over my head tallied "2 points" for the day.

Sometimes it's nice to have positive reinforcement. :)

I spent most of the day pruning back the forest of tomatoes in the greenhouse. When I say forest, I mean forest. I've planted 22 big tomato plants in the raised beds. There are still about 35 more plants sitting on the tables in there, waiting to get planted or given away. It was my first experience pruning tomatoes, but I think I did a good job, removing excess new growth to encourage fruit production (yes... it's a FRUIT). When you prune, the plant uses it's energy in another way - either growing in the direction you want or producing fruit or flowers. Because it was delicate work at times, I chose not to wear gardening gloves so I would have better dexterity. Unfortunately this has resulted in my hands looking a lot like my dad's (he's a plumber). I've scrubbed and scrubbed and can't get them clean - they're literally stained. Eww. I'll just keep scrubbing for a few days.

The tomato forest. This is about a third of the tomatoes in the greenhouse. There are two varieties in this photo: Old German (on the left) and Brandywine (on the right).

And I've started planting the big whiskey half-barrels that will go out around the property. Since I'm a visual person, I thought I'd show you my process using my flower flashcards that we made.

Notes and Flashcards for this barrel. See if you can read my chicken scratch. If you click on the photo, it should show up larger.

The barrel, once planted. I'm sure you can't tell what plant is what... I'll have to update as this one grows it should be bursting with green and color!

Tonight? A quiet night. Chad is in town, and Alice cooked a big dinner for us. She and Mitch will enjoy their meal at their house, and Jason and I will have dinner alone. It's sort of like a date night on the ranch. :) (Although with the NFL draft starting, I doubt it will be a very exciting date night!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

More of the same

I was debating whether or not to write a blog tonight, simply because there's not a whole lot that's NEW here at the Ranch. That's not a bad thing, except for in a blog. :)

Here's what I can tell you that's new and interesting:

-There's another creature living in the greenhouse and eating my seedlings. The mousetraps came back out tonight.

-I made a killer Chicken Tortilla Soup for dinner tonight. I knew it was good because Jason said, "Babe, you can make this for me any time you want to. It's that good." And he only says that when the food is really that good. Plus it was super healthy. But I ate too much and am now stuffed to the gills and relaxing with Jason on the couch. You know that feeling when you ate so much that you just can't get uncomfortable? That's me right now.

-I had a really interesting email today. I would appreciate your thoughts and prayers as I decide what to do about it. (It was a good email, promise).

-The bosses, Mitch and Alice are back. They seem to be pretty happy with what they call my "jungle", so that's good!

-Fingers crossed, I'm going to get to ride later this week!

That's it!!! Time for the TopShot Season Finale!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter, Wyoming Style

Happy Easter!

Our Easter Sunday in Wyoming went a little something like this:

-I woke up in a bad mood. If you know me well enough, you know that when I'm really hungry I am not a nice person. Poor Jason - I woke up that way today. Grabbed a banana and checked my mood on the way into Cody.

-Our Place was not open for Easter Sunday. This was no surprise to me, as I (in my amazing mood) had predicted it. So, we went to Granny's for breakfast instead, and it was still very good.

-We headed up the North Fork, which is the road that leads into Yellowstone Park from Cody. The park doesn't open until May 1, but we went all the way up to the road closure. A few miles before the road closure, we had our first Moose sighting. It was running along the side of the road and disappeared into the woods as only a Moose can. For their size, they are very difficult to spot! Anyhow, no photos as it happened so fast, but it was really cool!

-Saw lots of fly fishermen out on the Shoshone and it made me think of my dad. Some of the best fishing in the country is happening here right now, I guess. I know because my dad has been calling the fly shops in Cody. :)

-Went for a 3 mile hike in the Shoshone National forest up on the North Fork. It was an old burn area, and it didn't really photograph well but it was really cool looking. We saw a herd of about a hundred elk running through the hills above us - very different than coming upon them grazing in the meadows. They were headed back toward Yellowstone Park - it's that time of year. Saw some fresh bear scat on the trail, and promised dad that we won't hike again until we get some bear spray. Plus, my crankiness returned - the trail was really muddy and it made me a little crazy. I've since apologized to my husband. To keep my ears warm on the trail, Jason made me an "ear band" out of the sleeve of his undershirt. Classy. But it worked.

-Short trip to Wal Mart for some bananas, $3 cheapo slippers for my feet, $5 cheapo sunglasses that Jason won't feel bad about beating to hell, and some general browsing. Jason found this little beauty. It has a bottle opener in the brim. Classy. I did not let him buy it. It was not an appropriate purchase for Easter Sunday.

-It took us almost an hour to find an open restaurant in Cody that wasn't serving Easter Brunch at almost 3 in the afternoon. We finally found a bar that was serving really good burgers and barbecue.

-Back to the ranch for blogging and visiting. Elizabeth and Darius are having a fire down by the river, so we'll probably head down there in a little bit. :)

Hope you had a great Easter!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Yesterday morning (Friday), I took some pictures of all the flowers blooming in the greenhouse. Then after lunch, Jason came in to take some photos of his own for his blog. It seems we were thinking alike. Anyhow, Jason's photos were much better than mine, so he actually says it best. Pop on over to his blog and take a look at the state of the greenhouse! (And yes, I look really unhappy in the picture he took of me... I was feeling really bad that afternoon - we figured out later that it was just low blood sugar!)

Tomorrow is Easter, and our day off. To celebrate, we're taking a drive! Check back for pictures of tomorrow's adventure!

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Indy's Letter

This is actually an old photo from January, taken at the Kelso Dunes, but I was looking for an Indy photo I haven't used on the blog yet! (I've misplaced my camera again...) Yes... I look crazy. It was really, really, really cold up there.

This is the email that Indy sent to his Grandma and Great-Grandma last night. Their responses are below. Lucky Indy!

dEeR GraNdmA -

LiFe Iz gud heaR in Why-Oh-minG. I giT twO pLaY anD Git DuRTy eVry DAy. My oNE coMplAinT iz THaT mY MOm ANd daD onlY pacKEd tWo SkWeeKY tOyz fOR mE, anD My DUcK-DUcK Iz looziNG itS FlUffee InSidES and sATisfyInG SKweekiNesS. PLEEZ sEND skwerLy, GouSy and B-RabIT. LIfE iz LoanLEe wiThOut dEM.

I MiSs U anD OuR PlAy tIme

kIssuZ ANd ScRatChuz,


From his Grandma Catherine:
My dearest Indy boy,
Please get your Mommy to send me your address and I will happily send you new squeaky toys to play with and drive your parents crazy!! Miss you and love you all bunches!!

From his Great Grandma Joyce:
Deer indy,

You are my favorite great-grand puppy. No body comes and gets in bed with me here at my house. I am looking forward to seeing you in Sept.

Love you loads,
Great G’ma

In other news, I went into town today with Elizabeth to pick up the Yukon which was in the shop getting repaired after hitting an Elk. And it's snowing again. On my shopping list for town? Jelly Beans for J.W. and Heidi's three year old son who saw HOP with his grandma this week, and has visions of pooping Jelly Beans. There were other things on the shopping list, too, but that was definitely the best. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I've written a few times about the mouse from hell in the greenhouse.

I forgot to make Jason go in and check and move the traps this morning. So of course, I walked in and... ta-da! Dead, fat mouse in mousetrap. I was horrified. You have to understand, I never choose to kill anything, and if I ever had to face my food, would probably just choose vegetarianism.

So how did I handle it? No histrionics, although I felt like having a little bit of a scream and a cry. Instead, Indy and I turned right around and headed straight for the photo studio to make Jason come and take care of it. It was a cold walk. 19 Degrees at 8am. But I was not going back into that greenhouse until Jason had handled the mouse.

Hellmouse, who had been making itself fat and happy on my peas, leeks and lettuce is now dead.

Indy still thinks it's in the greenhouse and continues to keep his eyes out for any small movement. Hopefully there isn't another one in there.

RIP, Mouse. You were very happy just before the end.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Animal Crackers my soup! (Actually that reminds me of a story that I need to write on here one of these days! It's a good one!)

But really, today was all about the animals. (And for the record, I'm still slow today, but not low. I'm definitely blaming the weather and hormones!)

Yesterday one of the cows had a calf. It's up on the north pasture, and I haven't seen it yet, but Chad says it's gangly and precious. :)

Two of the horses are expecting! We should have two new foals here at the ranch in the next two months!

Then, I got to go and observe the horseshoe-ing that was happening. No - not the game of horseshoes. It was the day for the horses to get re-shoed. In all the time I spent riding while growing up, I'd never seen a horse get shoed, so I took a break from the greenhouse today and spent some time at the barn watching and chatting. The good news? The horses are now re-shoed which means it's finally.... RIDING TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

The mouse from hell is living in the greenhouse. Indy can't catch it, and every night it eats something new. I've had to replant the peas 3 times now. And it ate the tops off a whole row of leeks. It ate half of a row of baby micro greens. It ate the peanut butter off of two mousetraps without getting itself killed. And if I don't get rid of it soon, I'm sure it'll take interest in the beets, carrots, radishes or tomatoes. It's time for the mouse to die.

J.W., the ranch manager, is a rodeo cowboy. Tomorrow he's going to pick up a couple of steer (and hopefully a goat!) to keep here near the rodeo arena. (Did you know that we have a rodeo arena?) That way he can practice his roping. (The goat is not for roping, don't worry. The goat is to keep the horses from eating bark off of trees. For some reason, it's supposed to help. I just think billy goats are funny, so I'm excited.)

And Indy got a bath over the weekend. After two days in the greenhouse, he's dirty again, but not stinky. You can't win 'em all.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Courtesy of This is our weather today. No wonder I'm slow!

After the rain all day yesterday, and no sign of the sun today (it's been snowing/slushing all day) - I've been in what I call a "low". It's not depressed, it's not sad - it's just tired and quiet and a place I go sometimes. Poor Jason has been worried about me all day, but really I'm just... slow today. It's the weather, and probably hormones (since you can really blame them for anything). And you know? It's okay to be slow sometimes.

I still got a lot accomplished.

And I got to spend some time working with Jason in the photo lab! He was helping me make a poster containing the images and names of all the flowers we have planted in the greenhouse. The company we ordered the seeds from doesn't print images on the packets. And since I can never recall offhand what Asclepias look like (if you do - good for you. They're unusual!), I needed a reference. Especially since I'm starting to put together arrangements of seedlings in the big flower pots. I don't want them to look crazy! So the poster is now up on the inside of the greenhouse door by my work station, and a second one has been cut up into handy dandy flower flash cards (they're sort of like baseball trading cards, just for 36 varieties of flowers). That way I can lay out the images of the flowers I'm thinking of putting together and make sure they'll look nice! It's sort of nerdy, but it will save me a lot of hassle when the bosses come back and want to know what everything is. :)

Hope you're warmer than we are!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

End of the Week

As Jason said in his own blog, we had the whole weekend off! Here's a photo journal of Saturday!

We got an early start. A benefit? A herd of about 100 elk on either side of the road just a few miles from the ranch. We hadn't seen the elk yet, and they were awesome.

After a great breakfast at Our Place in Cody, we headed off on our daytime adventure! First stop? Airplane graveyard in Greybull, Wyoming.

Jason and Indy did some snowshoeing at 8500 feet above sea level in the Big Horn National Forest. Did you know that they have drive-up gas pumps for snowmobiles? I'd never seen that before!

We pulled off the road and followed a Bighorn Sheep trail to get a better look at the gorge.

Well worth the short hike on the sheep trail!

This didn't really have any impact on our day, but I have been meaning to take a photo of one of the many drive-through liquor stores in Cody. You can't even buy beer or wine in the grocery store, but you can drive through at the Liquor Store!

After our very full day, we came back to the ranch and had dinner with all of the staff (and J.W. and Heidi's awesome kids!). We visited, played pool, played games and had a BIG fire in the gorgeous fireplace of the great hall.

You'll just have to use your imaginations and see us all gathered around the fireplace in here, curled up into these crazy comfy "man chairs". Jealous yet?

This morning, we woke up to rain, so we stayed in bed until 10 (what luxury!), made breakfast and curled up on the couch in the bunkhouse to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. Yep... we bought it at Wal-Mart this weekend. Since then, we've been super lazy. We checked on the greenhouse (good thing, too... some droopy tomatoes in need of water!), visited the horses, gave Indy a bath, did some laundry and are currently ensconced in the kitchen with a big pot of stew simmering away on the stove, watching The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring on the TV in the kitchen.

A really good end to a really good weekend. :)

Hope your weekend was beautiful too!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Two Weeks Later

Indy always finds a good sunny spot to bake himself in. Doesn't he look happy?

It's been two weeks - in fact, today marked the beginning of our third week of work here on the ranch!

In addition to the growth of all the plants in my greenhouse and the beautiful photos Jason's been taking, there's been some significant growth and change in all of us, too.

Here's what I've noticed:

Jason - He's relaxed and happy. He doesn't grump about work anymore. He's creatively fulfilled. He's eating much healthier (except for that one week road trip) and getting more active time outside. He's also trying to grow a goatee. Good luck with that, babe.

Indy - is becoming a lean, mean, muscled machine. He's also filthy dirty and really happy about it. He's NOT allowed off leash yet, and other than making me occasionally crazy, is very good company. Plus he gets lots of sun-bathing time.

Me - My chronic headaches are a thing of the past. I've had a total of three low grade headaches since we've been here, and haven't needed Ibuprofen at all. The tension is loosening up in my neck and shoulders - Jason will attest. I'm eating better. My circulation is improving, even with the colder temperatures (REALLY!!!!!!!). I'm active all day and exhausted and ready for bed every night. I enjoy what I'm doing all day, which is an improvement. And really, who WOULDN'T be feeling better with so much time in the sun (hello, Vitamin D!) and being surrounded by thousands of growing plants. Seriously - there are plenty of studies that show how plants can alleviate depression and enhance happiness. Go buy yourself a houseplant if you don't have one! Geraniums are hardy and have a delicious smell. And don't forget to water it!

Us - We spend a lot of time together everyday, and eat three square meals together, too! Our communication skills (while not in bad shape) are benefiting from this time together. Plus, just being away from everything has really caused us to depend on each other.

As an aside, today we had a special treat for lunch. Heidi invited us all up to have lunch together. She made some delicious (and bean-less - YAY!) chili and homemade cornbread (Gluten-Free for her daughter Tristan and I). AND there was dessert. It was awesome and delicious!

We have this whole weekend off, and are going to spend it together. Tomorrow we're headed into the Big Horn Forest and to check out this Airplane Graveyard Jason saw. Tomorrow night we're grilling with all the staff at the Ranch. Elizabeth's birthday is Saturday and Chad's is Sunday, so we're celebrating both on Saturday night. :) Sunday, weather permitting, we're going to try to go for some kind of hike. All of these things mean that Jason could have some beautiful pictures ready for us all to see soon.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I hate mud. I have always hated mud. It grosses me out.

When I was a little girl and mom would take me to the beach, I would squat above the sand, never sitting in it because I HATED sand in my bathing suit. Eww. Meanwhile, my sister would be shoveling sand into her bathing suit and begging us to bury her up to her neck. My nightmare!

During the summer, at church day camp, Friday was always the day for something fun. Mini-golf, waterpark, sliding down grass hills on ice blocks - all awesome activities, all fun. But every summer, at least once, we would end up going to mud park. Mud Park. A whole park of mud. Everyone would wear their oldest clothes. Roll in the stinky mud pits, raft across the murky mud lake, ride down the mud slide into the mud lake. It was my personal version of hell. And when the bus arrived back at the church for our parents to pick us up, I was the only kid who got off the bus looking (and smelling) sparkling clean. My sister was usually one of the dirtiest kids to get off the bus. Who's surprised?

Since all of the snow around here has (mostly) melted, we've been living in Mud City for four days. It's nasty.

Fortunately, as of today, it's dried out enough that I can get around most places I need to go while avoiding the mud.

But it's snowing again. And more snow means more mud!

I never thought I'd say this - but I'm sick of the snow. I'm ready for spring!


Today, working inside of the greenhouse, a fat little robin red-breast landed in the outdoor garden. I only knew he was there because Indy was desperate to get out and try to catch him. Indy was very disappointed. I kept Indy in and continued to watch the fat little Robin strut around. I felt like Mary in THE SECRET GARDEN (should I mention that I've read that book many, many times?), waiting for the Robin to show me how to bring the garden back to life. All I need now is someone to play Dicken. I guess that could be Indy or Jason - but neither of them is really interested in gardening. But I could pretend. :) Probably Indy, since he spends the whole day with me. He'll have to work on that rough English accent. Can you bark in an English dialect?

I sure hope the fat little Robin comes back. :) I'll try to get a picture of him if I can!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Jason got back today! I'm so happy!

Have I mentioned that I gave Jason a throwing tomahawk for his birthday?

Since he really just had the rest of the day off once he got in, he worked with me in the greenhouse and then he and Chad went scouting for a dead tree to turn into his throwing stump. He wedged it in the "V" of a tree behind the greenhouse and went to it.

Jason has never thrown a tomahawk before. This is a new skill.

Sometimes he misjudged the rotation!

After some practice, it's starting to look like this more often!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Off the Grid

Thursday, Friday and Saturday we had a snow-storm. I'm not sure exactly how many inches we got (on account of the fact that the ground is no longer frozen, so when it would stop snowing, the snow would start melting from the ground up), but I think it's somewhere in the 16-18 inch range. Not a lot, but enough to make life a little more difficult around here. The last five miles of the main road that leads to the ranch are dirt, the whole ranch has dirt roads, and the City/County/whoever only plows out until the pavement ends. ("Where the Blacktop Ends" - Isn't that a country song?)

Anyhow, sometime Saturday night, in the last fierce dregs of the storm, the power went out. I only know this because the alarm clock in our bedroom was blinking at me when I got up. Of course, my first panic was - "Please God, let the power have come back on in the Greenhouse so that the thousands of young plants in there didn't FREEZE." Once I had ascertained that everything was indeed alright in the greenhouse, I discovered that our Internet went out with the power outage and had not come back on. I hustled over to the router in the laundry room and restarted it to no avail. I had a mini-panic attack. And then I took a deep breath.

You see, Jason and I were already living "off the grid". We have no cell phone service here. I haven't used my cell phone since last Wednesday when I went into town. Now, I had no internet - no email, no blog, no facebook, no skype. And the roads were scary and snowy and unplowed under 16-something inches of snow. I was not comfortable making the one hour drive into Cody that I had planned for my day off. I was, in all effect, cut off. Truly off the grid.

Except for the DirecTV in the bunkhouse and kitchen. And the Ranch landline (which I decided to use so that Jason and my parents would know I was alive).

We just got our Internet service back up and running this morning, three days later.

I'm so glad.

And yet, somehow, life was so simple for a few days there without my cell phone or access to the Internet. I must be adapting my California ways to the Wyoming lifestyle. Slower. Easier.

I certainly spend more time just chatting than I have in years. In the morning when we all gather in the kitchen before we start work, we chat. During our hour long lunch break, Chad and I sit in the kitchen and talk about all kinds of things. Today's topic? Football. Then, when I walk up to the road to get the mail after lunch and take it to J.W. and Heidi's house - Heidi and I chat. Probably for too long since I'm supposed to be working. But being in their house with their little ones laughing and giggling and squealing and just being kids makes me smile from ear to ear. And Heidi has such a good heart - I just love to talk with her! Then, on Sunday night I sat with Elizabeth (another staff member here on the ranch, and a super talented painter) and drank tea and talked for hours - we had so much to talk about!

Sometimes it's just good to slow down and talk. I think being alone with the dog in the greenhouse makes me a chatterbox when I have another person around.

Speaking of the greenhouse - things are slowing down in there. All the seeds are started, and there is ZERO SPACE left on top of the work tables. Everything just needs to keep growing in there. After this week, I'll probably only work a few hours in there every day until it's time to work on flower boxes and prep the outdoor raised boxes for the veggies that will go in them. The rest of the time, I'll be doing odd jobs around the property - whatever they need. Most likely helping Elizabeth get the main lodge ready for guests. But who knows?

AND.... JASON COMES BACK TOMORROW! I can't wait to see him! Although, I certainly will miss the awesome nights of sleep I've been getting while he's been gone. I love you, baby! I'd rather sleep poorly than without you!

In other news - the Grizzlies are awake and around. J.W. found sets of tracks belonging to three different bears yesterday. They're not uncommon here on the ranch. They like to try to raid the dumpster during the summer, and last year Chad came out of the Bunkhouse to find one hanging out in the outdoor kitchen. Awesome. I mean, Awesome! I know that Black bears are more dangerous than brown bears (Grizzlies are called Brown Bears). And I've certainly encountered enough Black Bears during my lifetime while camping in California. My Aunt got so angry at one that had disturbed her sleep, she came roaring out of her tent and chased it up a tree! So there's really nothing to be afraid of. And they are really cool. :) The ones I should be a little worried about are the wolves and coyotes. They'd think that Indy would make a perfect snack. So we have to keep our eyes on him - he's certainly not prepared for any animal that would try to make him lunch. No signs of the wolves yet, though.

So there you have it. The three day catch-up of life here on the ranch! Jason and I are taking Saturday and Sunday off this weekend, and we're headed off to explore. Can't wait!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Easy - like a Saturday afternoon

Exactly one year ago today, Jason proposed to me. And, obviously, I said YES! It was the best decision I have ever made, and I am so proud to be married to such an incredible man. I love him more every day! I'm still missing him - he promised me a date night in Cody sometime next week to celebrate six months of marriage and a year since our engagement. :) If you'd like to read our engagement story, click HERE!

Today was a slow Saturday. Saturdays around here are for finishing up any projects and cleaning up your work areas. So that's what I did. We started late, sitting in the kitchen chatting for an hour, then I had a long lunch, finished cleaning and wrapped up an hour early. As I said, slow Saturday, leading up to a day off - Sunday. I extra watered all the hanging baskets since they dry out so fast and the cranky petunias will wilt if it gets too sunny tomorrow.

Speaking of sun - it snowed 4 more inches last night, snowed through the morning, then the sun came out at lunchtime and started turning everything to slush, it snowed some more and the sun is back out again. That's where we're at. Slush is awful. And when it all finally melts the ranch will be mud city. Eww.

Back to the greenhouse - it's good that today was "cleaning day". It looked like a soil bomb exploded in certain parts of the greenhouse. I've been transplanting and potting so much it was just inevitable. Plus, I really REALLY needed to go through all the seeds and get them organized. Herbs, Veggies, Wildflowers, Flowers. And alphabetized. Phew. I have a functioning workspace now!

Also, I forgot to write down a few more lessons yesterday!

* Greenhouse work is hard work. I will have the sexy, toned back and arms I've always wanted by June it seems.

* Snow is heavy. Hiking up hill in it when it comes up to your shins is a good work out!

So, as long as the weather cooperates, I'm headed into Cody tomorrow to enjoy myself - check out the museum, maybe see a movie, buy myself lunch. :) Looking forward to it!

Hope you're having a beautiful weekend, wherever you are!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Lessons Learned... so far.

The photo from yesterday morning is on the left. The photo from THIS morning is on the right. Just for comparison. And it's still snowing! 36 hours straight, now!

Today marked one week of work here on the ranch and in the greenhouse.

Here's what I've learned during my first week on the ranch!

* Those who work in glass houses, should wear sunscreen. Unless it's dumping snow.

* Patience is a virtue, especially when you're working with seedlings. Just like a watched pot never boils, watched seeds don't germinate. Just check their water levels and leave them alone. They're working on their own timeline!

* Don't walk on the rough wood floors in the bunkhouse without at least thick socks on.

* Snowboots are a necessity in Wyoming, even in April. Too bad mine are in California. My hiking boots are doing a good job, though!

* Being off the grid (i.e. without cell phone service) is a really good thing. It's amazing what you can see when you're not constantly glued to a cell phone!

* If you're not 100% positive that something is gluten free, ASK!

* People in Wyoming move at a much slower pace than Californians.

* Cooking dinner for one person is no longer fun now that I'm married. I can't wait for Jason to come back!

* Skype rocks.

* My husband flops around like a fish on a line while he sleeps. Even though I'm sleeping soundly without him, I'd rather be tired than lonely.

Happy Friday! And an interesting fact I just found out - this area is one of the top ice climbing areas in the United States. Apparently, Hawkeye is the place where people come for help when there's an accident climbing ice. (And no - that didn't happen today. Chad just walked in the kitchen and told me that story, so I thought I'd share.)

And for some totally unrelated food for thought, I read Donald Miller's blog this morning and was really struck by it! It's a short read. Let me know what you think!

Buddy hiding from the snow outside of the laundry/storage building.

The first bloom from a seedling started on the ranch opened up!

I trudged up to the mailbox after lunch as I do everyday. Here's the main road!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's Snowing, its Dumping, the old man is...

I'm not sure how to finish that rhyme in the title. I was trying to be cute and use, "It's Raining, It's Pouring, the old man is snoring..." But the old man has to be doing something that rhymes with dumping, and well, humping is not appropriate. Thoughts?

So, I know... I keep posting about plants and snow.

But that's what I've got going on right now, and you know, I'm not at all bored by it! (You'd think after three years of college in Michigan, that I wouldn't get so excited about snow!)

Indy isn't bored of it either. He loves the snow! Check out this short video of him from this morning before several more inches fell.

Speaking of inches of snow, we're in a winter storm. We've had about 4 inches of accumulation since this morning, and are expecting another ten or so between tonight and tomorrow. WOW!

Heidi and her two kids (ages 3 and 1 1/2) bundled up and sledded down to see Indy and I (and to help me answer the question of what color flowers had been planted in what hanging basket). Her son and daughter are too precious, and were totally bundled up in snow outfits as only young kids can be. They looked like the Michelin man!

Indy thought they were pretty cute too. :)

And Indy was pretty cute... We've had so much snow that some has even accumulated on the ceiling of the greenhouse (usually it just melts right off of the glass). It started to drop off the ceiling in great big clumps, making a booming kind of a sound which scared the crap (not literally) out of Indy. He spent the last hour or two of the day huddled under the planting table where I was working. Poor little guy.

Still missing Jason while staying warm and dry (mostly) in Wyoming!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sheep and more snow!

It kept snowing last night and finally stuck a little - at least until this afternoon. Here's what Hawkeye looked like when I got up this morning.

Then, later, as I was headed back to the ranch from the airport and more ranch errands - the H3 filled with plants, groceries and laundry detergent - I finally came upon the Bighorn Sheep that winter in the South Fork Valley. They were in one of the Hawkeye pastures - their horns aren't too big yet, but isn't the little one just too cute?

Jason left on his photo trip with Mitch this morning. Right now they're somewhere in Nebraska I think. I'll confirm when I Skype with him later. I miss him like crazy, especially now that it's dinner time and I'm going to go and rustle up something for myself. :(

Hope you had a happy hump day!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Blog Post 100!

For my ONE HUNDREDTH BLOG POST I decided to do things a little bit differently, so for tonight I made a video tour of the greenhouse... It's long, and probably only my family will watch this video all the way through. But it's there for you if you want to see it or skip around and get an idea of the space where I spend so many hours every day. :)

Today I worked my tushie off in the greenhouse. I had to replant ten of the planter boxes. They were waterlogged and not draining, so I temporarily replanted all of the flowers in them, dug out half of the soil and mixed it with some drier soil, finally replanting the geraniums, petunias, verbena and bacopa. A lot of work. And you know? I enjoyed every minute of it. Who knew?!

Jason leaves for a week early tomorrow morning. I'm going to miss him so much! I've decided that on my day off this Sunday that I'm going to town to check out the Buffalo Bill Historic Center, see a movie and have a massage if I can swing it.

And in case you were interested, it's dumping snow outside right now - big, fluffy flakes. Gorgeous!

Now for our favorite Tuesday night activity - episodes of "Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy" and "Top Shot" on the History Channel.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Headed to town

Today was, as they say in THE WIZARD OF OZ, a horse of a different color.

I needed to pick up a prescription that I had transferred from California, so it made sense that I would take Chef #2 (Mark) to the airport and run all of the ranch errands at the same time. So this morning, I spent an hour checking and watering all of the plants and starting a tray of seeds ("Irish Eyes" they're called - very pretty), and then with JW's list in hand of where to go to pick up what, headed off to Cody in the H3.

I dropped him at the very small airport and headed to Albertson's for a grocery run. You know, every time you walk into a new grocery store it takes you twice as long since you have to figure out where everything is!

Then, it was off to the Ace Hardware for spray paint, the lumber yard for finish nails and staples (where I spilled the whole box of staples on my way out the door. Awesome.) and Wal-Mart for my prescription and paper towels.

With the hour drive in, the errands in town, and the hour drive back to the ranch, I didn't get back until 3pm! Then I spent two more hours in the greenhouse.

As I was trying to hurry, California-style, through all of my errands in town, I found myself getting frustrated with how long everything took. I had to constantly remind myself that I wasn't in California anymore, and everyone was not in a rush. That in fact, I wasn't in a rush either. There was no hurry, as long as I wasn't deliberately dawdling, and I should embrace and enjoy the fact that every checkstand employee wanted to talk with me - more than the usual "How are you today?", "Fine" exchange. And that the people in line behind me were NOT frustrated because the checker and I were having a conversation!

So, as I said, a horse of a different color!

Oh... and I got glutened last night, but it was my own fault. Reminder - if you can't read the labels or you didn't make it yourself - ALWAYS ASK ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE PLANNING TO EAT BEFORE YOU EAT IT! All told, though, considering that I ate a whole chip worth of gluten, and that I haven't been more than contaminated for a year, my response was not even CLOSE to as violent as I expected. After I realized I had just willingly consumed gluten, I tried in a panic to make myself throw up. I couldn't. So I sat and dreaded the rest of "cocktail and appetizer hour" and the three course meal that was to come. Surprisingly, I ate the whole meal (mmm again!) and only had a minor stomach-ache and not the digestive fireworks that usually follow. Instead of losing my vision, it all just fuzzed out around the edges - at least I could still see. I had a low-grade headache and woke this morning with stiff and puffy finger joints (something I haven't experienced since I gave up gluten-full foods). That's not bad, actually. And I'm not being facetious!

In other news, Jason's still hard at work, too. Indy's asleep next to me. And we woke to temperatures of about 4 degrees this morning. It has been darn cold all day - the wind chill is the killer. We're expecting snow every day for the next week! What a contrast to the sunny, warm weather they've been experiencing in Southern California!

And I am the airport girl again tomorrow, as Alice will be headed home to California as well.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Worms and Snow

I love it when I'm digging in the soil and I keep finding worms. I love worms! They're an indication that something is going right in your soil. If your soil is also loamy (not sandy or muddy) it's also a very good sign that your soil is a welcome home for plant roots and worms. :) I found a lot of worms today when I was turning and preparing two more raised boxes. When I had turned and watered, turned and watered and finally got the loamy, wormy soil I was waiting for, I planted rows of 3 kinds of lettuce, dill, fennel, marjoram, chervil, oregano and mint - all from seeds. I transplanted a few hundred small flower seedlings today, too.

And while I worked in the greenhouse? First I had some beautiful morning sun, only appreciable from inside the greenhouse since it was so darn cold out this morning. We woke up to ice! Then, after lunch, the snow started - and is still going.

By the way... lunch today? So good. Mark (Chef #2) is pretty awesome, too.

And can I also mention that I married a very special man? He thinks I'm prettiest when I'm wearing work clothes, boots (not the sexy kind) and no makeup every day.

Enjoy some pictures of snow from the greenhouse!

Indy loves the snow and really wanted to go out and check it out!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Life in the Greenhouse

Before I get started - Jason and I have been married for SIX MONTHS today!

Indy and I spent the day in the greenhouse again today, and we (or I really) were super productive. We got the music going to keep me dancing and singing through my day, and we had less interruptions. While I welcome the company and like having people come by, there's a lot to do in there right now, and I'm trying to get everything figured out.

With everything I had to do (from the list I made yesterday), I was busy all day. Thanks to the NCAA Final Four, we even wrapped up about an hour early today.

Another day full of seedlings and planting. I prepped three of the nine raised beds inside of the greenhouse and planted one of them. It's an herb bed and the cilantro, parsley and basil were already going. Tomorrow I'll prep and plant a lettuce bed and another herb bed.

Here's the bed I planted today. You can barely see the last row on the left. From Left to Right you have Arugula, Basil, Chives, Parsley and Cilantro (new seeds), Parsley and two rows of Cilantro.

As far as starting seeds, I set about 240 more flowers to growing today. It's not very exciting yet, but I'll be able to show you as they start to germinate. You can see the trays below. There are 4 under the black plastic - 2 trays of Verbena (which has been persnickity so far this year, maybe I'll have better luck) and 2 trays of Lobelia. Both are cranky, slow-to-germinate seeds, so the black plastic encourages them along.

Seedling trays. Very exciting, I know.

There are lots of other little things I do in there all day - hanging flower baskets, checking and watering (which takes me about an hour at the beginning of the day and 1/2 hour at the end), plus cleaning and organizing... With all of that to do, today flew!

I had bags of potting soil delivered to me at the end of the work day today (I was out), so I'll be doing a LOT of transplanting of some root bound seedlings that really need to get moved tomorrow.

Indy had a great day today, too! He spotted a mouse in the greenhouse, and while he hasn't caught it yet, he spent the whole day hunting it. He's sound asleep at my feet right now. And before you get crazy on me about murdering a mouse... I think they're cute, too, and I certainly don't like killing ANYTHING. But let's get real. We're growing FOOD in the greenhouse. Mouse + Food = Bad News. So either way, the mouse has to go. At least Indy's getting some entertainment about it.

Chef #1, Anthony, left today and Chef #2 (who I'm told is named Mark - I haven't met him yet) arrived this afternoon and will be cooking for us tonight and tomorrow. Anthony wowed me some more with amazing meals that I could eat. Mark has some serious GF cooking to do to raise himself up to Anthony's level in my estimation.

In other news, Jason is going on a road trip with Mitch for a week, starting Wednesday. I'm pretty bummed but I'll deal. Also, because of the chef and since we've only been working two days, Jason and I are going to work tomorrow (Sunday) on our day off in exchange for a comp day that we can use later and have a WEEKEND off. :)

Hope you had a great Saturday!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hardworking Girl

Today was my first day in the greenhouse. Started at 8am, took a lunch break, and worked until 5pm.

Here's a list of all the things I accomplished today:
-Morning and evening watering (checking moisture in soil and watering if needed)
-cleaning and sterilizing seedling trays, foam starter trays and covers (this took a few hours)
-Transplanting 60 too-big seedlings to individual, four inch trays
-Starting new seedlings, once the trays were dry. I think I started 420 seeds, each individually placed today. Maybe more. Tomorrow I will do about the same amount.

In the middle of all this, the power went out in the greenhouse during lunch, meaning when I got BACK to the greenhouse just before 1 it was close to 100 degrees in there. The whole system is automated based on temperature, so if it's hotter than 65 degrees, the windows automatically open. If it's colder than 60 degrees, the heater kicks in. Very cool. Except when the power goes out.

I also had visits from just about everyone on the ranch today, including Mitch and Alice, and all had their own requests and priorities. I'm trying to make all those "priorities" work well together and make sense, making my OWN priority list.

Indy got to spend the day with me in the Greenhouse - it was a perfect sun-bathing day for him in there. This afternoon the sun finally came out and about 2pm it was really comfortable for me to walk around outside of the greenhouse in just my long sleeved shirt! Then the wind kicked up and it was jacket time again.

We had an INCREDIBLE dinner last night and lunch today, all cooked for us by the awesome, awesome guest chef Anthony. Dinner last night was a four course meal - I could eat EVERYTHING from each of the three courses, and THEN, he prepared me my own special Erin-friendly dessert. :) Lunch today was delicious again. And I think we're having some kind of pork for dinner tonight. MMMMMMMM!!!!!!

I am so exhausted, I hope I don't fall asleep in my food tonight!

Sorry for the lack of photos today. I seem to have misplaced my camera. Will find it soon. :)