Just another sundown . . . .
Words are inadequate to describe the beautiful Wyoming skies. We frequently have breathtaking sunsets, sunrises and gorgeous cloud formations in between. The backdrop of brilliant blue sky creates a startling contrast to fluffy white cloud formations.
A storm brewing . . . .
The evening light changes quickly, and often the most brilliant hues are lost before I can grab a camera. When I am successful, I can capture some stunning beauty at sundown.
Yet another glimpse of heaven . . . .
And just one more, before the sun drops below the horizon and darkness arrives.
Last light of day . . . .
Timeout for tomatoes . . . .
Six puny little Early Girl bush tomato plants, purchased and planted in the garden mid June, produced sixty-plus pounds of tomatoes! We gave them away to neighbors and family, fed them to the chickens, and were finally faced with picking the remaining ripe ones from the vines pending a cold snap. We stored them in the basement and for a couple weeks, the question of “what are we going to do with all these tomatoes?” made the rounds daily. Finally there was no turning back. We hauled them to the kitchen and declared they were not going to leave until SOMETHING had been done to them.
got peppers, got onions, got cilantro . . . .
After chopping for what seemed like an eternity, I decided making salsa would be lots more fun if some unsuspecting victims could be convinced to join in the fun. A salsa party would definitely be worth trying. Four people could cut the chopping time considerably: one to peel and chop onions; one to seed and chop jalapeno peppers; one to seed and chop anaheim peppers; and one to snip the cilantro leaves.
Tomato prep . . . . how many more pounds?
Dipping the tomatoes into boiling water and then peeling the skins is truly tedious and should require another three prep cooks plus one additional to flush out the seeds and pulp. Two more cooks can begin to assemble the remaining ingredients (one to read the recipe and one to locate the right size pan, et al). Throw it all together and begin simmering. Let’s see, we’re approaching a dozen guests if we assign two mixologists to brew up and begin serving the margaritas. Everyone else can bring on the chips and ready their instruments for the mariachi band!
A few jars for the pantry . . . .
A hot water bath preserves the jars of chunky salsa which now sit on a shelf in the basement and will be opened for another salsa party! Ole’
Tree surgery . . . .
The old Dodge truck, lower left, escaped tree tragedy one more time! We had not yet cleaned up all the downed silver leaf poplars surrounding it from a late September snow storm in 2009. And October 3, 2013 has proven to be just as disastrous. We received an inch of rain throughout the day which turned to snow at dusk, freezing the rain drops clinging to the leaves and encasing them in ice. This is a deadly combination for the trees.
“Help, I’m down and I can’t get up!” . . . .
This mature chokecherry tree hangs heavy on the ground. I attempted to shake some of the snow off, but found the branches laden with ice. This is going to take some new approach. Avalanche tactics will not work here.
We thought Feed Lot was bad news! . . . .
Poor little fruit trees have gone from steer assaults to weather extremes. What makes people think they can grow trees in Wyoming??? In autumn, buck deer scrape the bark from deciduous trees, as well as needles and branches from evergreen trees by rubbing their horns against the trunks to remove the velvet; cattle eat young saplings and strip the low hanging leaves; years of drought with inadequate rain and snow kills mature trees; freezing autumn blizzards breaks branches and limbs full of foliage; freak wind storms can rip trees from the ground; and porcupines can decimate a Ponderosa or Austrian pine in one meal. And then there are the beetles and bugs, virus and blight, worms and borers to contend with. Still want to plant a tree?
Autumn colors . . . .
The mighty cottonwoods are no match for snow and ice. Their leaves were just beginning to turn bright yellow when this storm hit–so much for autumn colors this year!
bruised and broken . . . .
Our fruit trees took a hit from a feisty longhorn steer recently. Even though we had wrapped a protective wire cage around them, it didn’t suffice. As we surveyed the damage (and muttered dark threats of dire outcomes for Abe’s destructive behavior) we decided to patch up this little apple sapling with the only thing at hand–vet wrap. If we could hold the broken tip together for awhile, it might regrow, which was a better option than cutting out the top of the tree. Abe doesn’t seem to understand that a wire fence means “no!” Major reinforcements of wire and steel posts were installed, and so far Abe has been unable to breach the fortifications.
the Abe strikes again! . . . .
Not long after the fruit tree calamity, we left the gate to the backyard open and Abe the Innocent could not resist coming in for a look (and a taste). We found this burr oak sapling in tatters with most of the leaves removed and the top broken. More vet wrap to the rescue, more mutterings and idle threats of turning Abe into hamburger. Since we were guilty of leaving the gate open, we decided to give him one more chance.