Signs Of Spring

1) On Wednesday morning, for the first time this year, I heard Sandhill cranes talking to each other in the distance. That evening, as Mike and I drove home from a rare dinner out, we saw three dancing in our neighbor’s field. Then, on Saturday, they showed up here! They soar over me while I milk Daisy and strut around our pond, negotiating territory with the geese that moved in when the ice melted.

2) Charlie is singing again. Last week, after some shift in daylight or temperature or perhaps celebrating the return of the Sandhill cranes, Charlie began howling again. He’s been singing to us every evening, and some mornings, too. As I mentioned in the book, Charlie stops howling in the winter, except on the rarest occasions. His return to song is celebrated around here!

3) Mud. Mud always comes before grass.

4) Babies! Yesterday morning, I watched a heifer (first time mom) have a smooth and perfect delivery in the morning sun. She licked off her baby and her baby wobbled to her feet and had her first meal and they lounged together in the sunshine and hay the rest of the day.

5) I found myself delighting in a novel sensation. I was outside, and I was warm! Not sweaty-hot-that’s-about-to-refreeze-you from ten layers of clothes and the cardio of chores, but a deep, permeating, comforting, comfortable warmth. Spring is arriving.


Where’s Our Hashtag??


I’m going to venture that this February in Wyoming has been way more brutal
than the dreaded Bomb Cyclone the east coast got earlier this winter…..


Whiteout blizzards every other day
Below-zero degrees every night
(20º-below-zero last night)
I will be amazed if my bees are surviving.
This kind of winter is so beautiful and so stressful.


It seems like it will never stop being Winter……. but there was something about the angle of the sun rays this morning, as they crept over the mountain at dawn, that just FELT like Spring.


New Year, Never Dull

The following is a compilation of my recent posts to Instagram & Twitter, in case you missed it….


Here’s Daisy following me to the house so I could put her in the front yard. Sir Baby broke out of his quarters on March 31 and bred Daisy when he WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO. Nine months from March 31 = now!!! Daisy’s in labor and I made a nest for her in the yard so I can keep a close eye on her.

I’ve tried to keep Daisy and Sir Baby apart the last few years because she’s had a lot of trouble with his calves. Nervous and hopeful. Emergency number of my vet on speed dial. Thankful for the mega moonlight but ughhh about the negative temps. Currently 12° and the sun just went down. Thinking of live tweeting since I’ll be up all night….

•  •  •

Hauling drinking water for Daisy. Yard water is shut off during winter so I tote gallon after gallon from kitchen sink to a tub in the yard for her.

Moon is rising….

Currently 5°. Maybe it won’t get below zero tonight! Daisy is still standing up with her tail out. Early stages.

She’s lying down and chewing her cud and I’m making tea and it’s still 3º

So many stars even with the bright bright moon

Feeling sleepy so I went outside. Brisk! Nothing new to report.

Zero degrees, cold enough that it hurts to yawn outside. Daisy just wants to be brushed! “Brush my moonbody in the moonlight,” she says.

Charlie’s dancing for us. He doesn’t sleep if there’s activity outside. And he has SO much fur, the cold doesn’t faze him.

So Mike has this trick where he feeds his cows in the evening and then they don’t calve at night. It works surprisingly well. I gave Daisy a lot of hay this evening…Would not be mad if she waited until the sun came up, it would be so much easier on the calf. Still watching tho!

No news is…. no news. Took a few 40 minute cat naps and they were delectable

All the other cows are coming up to say hi to Daisy in the yard. They’re having a proper gossip sesh over the fence.

Daisy is still in a (somewhat frustrating) holding pattern btw but feeling quite good about herself and sunbathing.


Daisy Update: She was in labor, but never to the point where I saw hooves, and then the next day acted like she wasn’t in labor at all. But she didn’t show any desire to be with the other cows, wasn’t mooing to them, was happy to be by herself. Which is a labor sign – they like to go off alone to calve. But she was no longer showing the physical signs of labor. None this is how it’s supposed to go if it’s going right. So yesterday I took her in to have an ultrasound.

I’m very sad to report that her baby was dead inside her. She was fully dilated so the vet was able to deliver the calf. The calf wasn’t properly formed and its death triggered Daisy’s labor (versus labor issues causing its death). Daisy has a low fever (her body’s response to the dead calf inside her) but she is OK and will be OK. This makes me OK.

The saddest part is that Daisy loves being a mother…. she made the “Mommy moo” when she birthed the placenta and it totally broke my heart. But I’m milking her twice a day to keep her body producing milk and perhaps she will adopt an orphan calf when calving season begins. They say rural life, farming life, ranching life is the simple life. It’s not simple at all.

•  •  •

I have a story for you!! Just as soon as my hands uncramp from milking four gallons twice a day….


I Woke Up To This


Rudolph, The Little Red Reefer


I am totally Santa. Yesterday I drove merrily through the snow, my little red reefer truck laden with gifts. My local post office can’t handle such volume (there is but a pickup truck with a topper running between our post office and the bigger post office in the neighboring town), so I loaded up several hundred boxes of books in my reefer truck and delivered them to the loading bay of the big post office. So exciting!

I am still far from done.

Here’s the book status: I got the books two weeks later than expected because when they left the book binder, they were loaded on a truck that went to California. I still don’t know the full story on that because I was out of my mind with stress and frustration. And once that truck got back to Wyoming, it had to wait out a disastrous wind storm. I finally got the books Thursday (Nov 30) and have been packing like mad and driving them to the big post office every other day.

– All international orders are en route.

– All orders of two or more books (this includes signed and unsigned books) will be en route as of tomorrow (75% are already en route).

– About 1/3 of the unsigned single book orders are en route. I’ve been going in chronological order from when orders were placed (April orders shipped first, etc). All single unsigned book orders will be en route by the end of this week.

– My goal is to get all single signed book orders en route by the end of the week, too… but the signed and personalized book orders take TIME. Even with two banquet tables set up, I can only sign a certain number of books at once (I leave them open for a bit to make sure the ink dries completely) and then I must wrap, package, and box each order one by one to ensure each personalized book goes to the right person with the right shipping label. There’s no way to “assembly line” the personalized book orders so packing is less efficient and takes longer. Know that I’m going at 5000% to get these done beautifully and packaged safely and off to you as quickly as possible.

– All books are shipped via Priority mail in the USA. The USPS cutoff date for Christmas delivery via Priority mail is Dec 20. All books will be en route well before that date.

– If you NEED your book by a certain earlier date, feel free to email me and I’ll make sure it goes out asap. Please be aware that such requests entail rearranging my computer shipping program and this takes time, adds work, and pulls me away from packaging books for everyone, so use this option only if absolutely necessary for gifting, etc.

thank you thank you ho ho ho
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