29 November 2005


WOW! That's all I have to say. I've been busy getting my blog customized and it's been a ton of fun, but also a lot of work. I hope that you all enjoy it! I'll be updating pictures and such as needed... Hopefully, they'll make you want to see the beauty of Wyoming sometime. I've also been busy with the kids, at hockey practice. They are both doing really well, so far! I'm very proud of them and their dedication to learning and participating!

I've also been busy on my project, Angel of the Morning by Lavender & Lace. She is quite an undertaking, but I know she'll be beautiful when she's complete. Here's my progress so far. She won't be decorating my wall, though, she's a gift for someone. :) I know that they'll love her!

Other than that the weather has finally turned to winter, we have the wood stove going and are literally burning through firewood... Only 6 more months til its warm again...

28 November 2005

Becoming a Wyoming Wife - Part 3

So far I have told you about my first experiences living in Big, Wonderful. You have seen me begin my successful career as a Wyoming Wife. It doesn't seem so bad does it? I mean, this is stuff that can save you if you get stranded out in the wilderness, right? So, you have to be asking, how does Christmas tree hunting figure into all of this? Well, let me just tell you, it was definitely an experience! An experience that leads to an $817.50 christmas tree. An no, this isn't for a gigantic one, either.

I know, I know, most people don't hunt for a christmas tree, in fact there isn't one state out there that will tell you that hunting is involved. I mean, how hard is it to find a tree out in the forest, right? Well, there is more to it than that, so prepare yourself, you're about to be shocked!!

Christmas tree hunting is actually a sport here in Wyoming. You go down to the Forest Service, pay some where around $10.00 and get a map and a permit to cut down a tree. How adventurous! Anyways, we have our permit, our map, our kids, an axe and some warm clothing. We also have some sleds to haul this thing back with, just in case we find this monster tree that is unable to be carried! Next we head out of town, having got a good idea where to go by talking with other people. Head south on Hwy 191 and take a right about 15 miles from civilization. Go another 6 miles, hang a left at the entrance to Little Mountain (so known by the BLM sign stating it is so) and then just go up this two track road until you come to the unsuspecting forest! From there take out your equipment and end the life of something that is cleaning up our air... Sounds easy enough, right! Well, here is how it actually happened:

We headed down Hwy 191, turned at all the right roads and made our way up towards Little Mountain. It was about the first good weekend in December. We started up on that two track road and found a little part that was snowed in, so what do you think we did? Yeah, you're right, we locked in the four wheel drive and went around it. Now my loving husband was at the wheel right now, as I had been sicker than a dog the day before (three months pregnant and feeling it!) So he proceeds on down this road. It actually clears up for a little bit, no snow or nothing. But then, out of nowhere, we are driving on this road, turn a corner and drive right in to 12 inches of slush and powder. Not anything where you can get some traction at all. So my survival skilled spouse, hops out of the drivers seat and begins to put chains on, as we can't back down to the dry part of the road. Needless to say, it isn't as fun as it sounds. Rocking back and for and moving farther on up the road, is not my idea of getting a dang tree. But, he's pretty sure it can be done. So he's out there putting chains on while I'm driving, or at least attempting to. :) And it's cold out, really cold out. He's got his warmest stuff on, but the jeans are absorbing that snow quickly. My loving husband begins to guide me up this road that only one car at a time can drive on and make a three point turn to trek back down the road. There will be no tree for us today! Now making a three point turn on a two track road is not all that fun or exciting, in fact it's dang scary. Especially since this is really the first time I've done it... So I'm white knuckling the steering wheel, moving slower than cold molasses, my loving husband is freezing his hair off... It was not a good combination.

So I finally get turned around and he is freezing. So he let's me drive, is this a good idea? My first experience driving on deep snow is on the side of a mountain, I really can't think of a worse place, can you? So I just follow the ruts he made going up. It's like being on an amuzement park ride, until... Yeah, you guessed it, it didn't work out the way it was supposed to. I got caught in a drift coming back down and had a choice. Accelerate and hopefully get out of the drift and not go off the side of the road, down into the ravine or gracefully lay my big ol' truck up on its side in the little ditch on the other side of the road. So, I made the right decision, at least in my mind, I layed my truck up. Now this is not an easy task. Imagine a Dodge 2500 long bed truck with its driver back tire up off the ground about 3 feet. Not anything a person truly wants to experience! Well, we tried to get it out, but it wasn't having any of it. My side of the truck was up in the air, my spouses side was pressed up against the mountain. Now mind you through all of this, I have two kids in the back seat, elementary school aged. My daughter behind my husband and my son behind me. So I start to try and sooth the kids, talking about going tree hunting again, after we free ourselves from the hold of Little Mountain. She looks at me and says "Next time you have to roll on your side of the truck, I don't want to be squished into the door again." Yeah, like I planned this or something!! So then the two kids start arguing on whose side of the truck I'm going to roll next time... Quite comical considering! Luckily, we had cell service, so we called some friends to get us off the mountain. While we were waiting, my kids decided that they had had enough of being in the truck, so they start sledding down the road I just slipped off of. I found the tinsiet bit of humor in that. But at least someone was having a good time...

Then the unthinkable happened... Yup, the kids had to use the bathroom... I instruct my daughter in the ways of the wild and tell her to find a bush and do her thing. My son, however, being the adventurous outdoorsman he is, at 8, just does his thing in the middle of the road... Thank goodness for snowpant!! And the fact he turned away from us!!! I had to explain to him that he also has to find a bush to do his business... He didn't understand why... LOL!

Finally, my husband's boss arrives, with reinforcements, to remove us from our hunting experience. He is absolutely shocked at the condition of the road, since he was just up here the weekend before. We end of leaving my truck there, as it cannot be freed, and head back to town. We live about 40 miles away. Now this is where it gets worse.

By the time we get back to town, it has started to snow. I call the tow company to go and rescue my truck and wait. After an hour, I get a call back that there will be no sight of my truck tonight, as a white out has occured and all tow companies are on call for traffic accidents... Oh could the day get any worse?? No that day couldn't, but the following day could...

I called the tow company again. They are sending in the big guns to get my truck off the mountain. Directions include turning on this county road and then turning again where you see this sign, although there is actually no road name... I confused the guy so bad, he let's me talk to the driver directly and give him directions... Lucky for me this guy knows exactly where he is going!! So I tell him to drop it at my husbands job site so he can look it over for engine damage and such.. It takes the guy 2 1/2 hours to find it and bring it back, no remember we were only 40 miles from it. The snow dropped a load on to it and they had to break some snow drifts just to get to the poor truck! They bring it back and give me a bill for $300! (Ouch!!) Thank goodness there was no engine damage. Just bent the passenger side in a few places and tweeked my running boards... Once again Thank goodness!!! So off to the body shop... $500 deductible... Then off to Wallyworld for my $7.50 christmas tree that was 1 foot tall and living....

Christmas tree hunting permit - $10
Tow off the mountain - $300
Damage deductible - $500
Actually buying a tree - $7.50
Time spent with family alone in the wilderness - Priceless, there are just somethings you can't buy!! And then there are some things you just don't want to!!

We all made it out good, the truck looks great, but that was the first and last time we hunted for the elusive Christmas tree in the land of Wyoming!!

Hope you enjoyed it! Stay tuned for more Wyoming Wife training...

27 November 2005

Becoming a Wyoming Wife - Part 2

Okay, you've read the first step in this whole process. But in order to get to the point where you can definitely say that you've accomplished all of the steps to becoming a Wyoming Wife, you have to go slow... Sometimes, it just seems to slow... And what's the point really? Once you make it through, what do you do? Well, enough of the questions, let's move on to step 2 - Cleaning a fish.

Okay, this has nothing to do with giving the slippery, little guy a shampoo and rinse. It is actually the way that he goes from free fish to dinner on the table.

My loving husband was gone, to California nonetheless, and I had two weeks of the bed to myself and children wanting attention all the time... So what's a girl to do? Most would probably call up Grandma and go to the mall, out to eat and possibly get a massage at a day spa. Me, oh no, I was on the slow track to completing the training set forth by my survival skilled husband. So, me, I take all three of them to the lake, so I can go fishing. Nothing quite says family time like bug spray, sunscreen and cold water, all before the sun rises. I got to the lake about 5:45am, no that's not a typo! Had to be good and ready for some fish! Anyway, I got the kids suited up, put on the goop, and then waded out, tennis shoes on, of course, about 15 feet from shore. Now, I'm not a tall person, so you would just have to know that the pond was not as full as it should be. I actually parked by truck, yup its got four-wheel drive, right on the shore. Anyways, I got side tracked... Sorry!

Okay, so I waded out from shore and began catching my fish! No, I'm not be facetious, I actually began catching fish right away. Used a pretty $0.98 lure I got at Wal-Mart, the small mouth bass couldn't leave the poor thing alone. So, remembering lessons from previous times, I unhooked my fish and put him on the stringer. I pulled out 5 fish in about 3 hours. One being the almost record fish from my last entry. You can actually see what I caught in that last photo. Anyways, there I go again... Okay, so I caught my five fish, 3 small mouth bass and 2 splake, which is a hybrid cross trout fish. So now what do I do? If my loving husband were here, he would probably have done the dirty work for me, but with him working 1100 miles away, I was on my own. My only other choice would be to take them home alive and turn them loose in my stock tanks, but I wasn't too sure how my horses would respond to the torment those fish would exact upon them. So, I bucked up and did what any self-respecting fisherperson would do, I asked for help...

Help came in the form of my 6 year old daughter. Yeah, I know, not the person you thought, but hey, I'm supposed to going through some training here, so why would I ask a man for help??? LOL! Anyways, I get out all the tools, as I had seen loving husband do this before. So I get ready, and I ask my daughter what I'm supposed to do next. Sure enough, she guided me through the whole process lickety split. Had all five cleaned and packaged in about 20 minutes. That time included wrestling with the slippery little suckers!

We got home a little before 10am, as we still had chores to do, and well, I had a newborn and the other two were getting bored quickly. Since then I've gone off and on, and now I outfish my husband, I actually had to give him one of my lures, just so he had a fighting chance :) Since then, my daughter has not let me forget that she had to show me how to do this... All I have to say is I'm mighty proud of her! She'll grow up a lot better with this kind of stuff, than all that s*^t found in the big city!

Well, I've made it through step 2. It's mostly self taught, because according to my spouse, "this is stuff that I should know how to do!" Well, yeah, like that can be just learned, especially if you aren't ever exposed to it! Well, I'll be moving on to step 3 soon enough. Want a hint? It has to do with Christmas tree hunting!

See you soon!

Becoming a Wyoming Wife - Part 1

When I agreed to quit my great job, sell my house, marry my spouse and move to Wyoming, I had visions of cowboys, horses, deer and antelope roaming, and well, basically living a western lifestyle. Well, once I took off my rose colored glasses I realized that I moved to a declining population state, where "the Equality State" is anything but... But then my spouse told me of Wyoming Wife training. Now it's not an actual class, although there are groups and organizations that offer some help and hope to newly settled and learning the ropes woman. Wyoming wife training is actually alot like survivalist skills, only as a woman, your spouse typically tries to teach you what you should know, as opposed to a non-biased professional who has all the patients of a saint, because you pay him to teach you something. My first step in this process was getting a fishing license and learning to cast a line (or rod, as my husband did trying to show me the correct way!) Anyway, sounds easy enough right? Well sure, you go down to one of many stores, if not all the stores, in your town. Show them an ID, pay your fee, and you are good to go. Then what? Well, now your loving husband is going to show you how to cast and reel in dinner. Now pay close attention, because somewhere in the teachings you agreed to catch, clean, and cook his dinner. This sentiment isn't in an instruction manual, it's just slipped in somewhere between "you're doing great!" and "did you have fun?" Now for those who haven't fished before and are animal lovers, let me just tell you, you have to spear this poor worm onto your hook and, hopefully, catch a big fish on the same hook and then hope that it enjoyed it's last meal...

My first experience wasn't all that great... I refused to put the worm on my own hook! (Call me a whimp, I dare ya!!! ) So once the poor thing was on there I was given a few instructions on how to cast out. Well, needless to say, I caught the bush that was about 15 feet behind me. Not the most glorious moment of my life... Then after I got the line untangled, I tried again... I caught my leg that time! Thank goodness for thick Carhartt duck!! That hook never had a chance, and either did the poor worm... So, not one to give up so easily, I tried a third time... Three is a lucky number isn't it? Well, on my third time I cast out about 4 feet from shore and had about 20 feet of fishing line scattered from hell to breakfast... Was not a pretty sight. So then I began reeling in my line and trying not to make it any worse than what it already was. I gave up then. I could see the disappointment in my loving husbands eyes... Ah well, let him catch my dinner! This is the Equality State right???? Enough for one day, if you ask me... Oh did I mention that the wind was blowing something fierce during my first lesson and that my spouse thought it would help me... Now I ask you, who in their right mind learns something like this while the wind feels like it's going to lift me into the pond???

Oh, about the worm... After the second cast, the poor thing broke in half... The third cast was the mercy killing it deserved before I inflicted any more damage to it... Not that a fish would care what shape its dinner is in...

Ah, well, I've got better since that first fateful day. Now I routinely catch more fish than my husband... And I don't use a worm at all. The last time I went fishing, I caught a small mouth bass that just missed the state record... If I hadn't cleaned it and such, it might have made it. But alas, my spouse was not there to inform me of my mistake, he was working!!! And I didn't feel bad at all, after all you can't eat a state record, but you can have a mighty tasty meal from that fish! And I didn't feel bad about going without my spouse either, his job requires long hours, so I'm left to my own devices at times....

Stay tuned for Step 2 - How I learned to clean a fish... You'll love it!