The sun sets on the end of July.
The sun sets on the end of July.
Here’s Edie, doing what we do in the morning.
Rolling and flipping and grabbing and smiling and screaming at her toys because they aren’t doing what she wants them to do and I have no idea what that might be but it sure pisses her off.
But mostly she’s plain happy, as long as there’s action.
So when she’s done rolling and flipping and screeching I put her on her horse.
And as you can see she likes it.
So you can imagine her delight when we put her on a real horse yesterday.
We had a branding at the neighbor’s and Pops brought the horse around before he rode it back home.
I wish we had a video camera to record what she moved like when we put her close to the nose of that bay and then up on his back. It was one of my favorite moments with her.
All of the sudden I had this flash-forward moment to all of the things I dreamed about doing with our daughter out here on this place someday. I saw her up there so tiny and excited, reaching for the horn of the saddle and squealing and then reaching further to grab the black mane and I saw her at five years old, blond hair and curls, riding a pony while I lead her around the pen in front of the barn. And then I saw her at ten years old, on a big horse, following behind us across the pasture in the warm glow of a sinking summer sun, her face flushed and dirty, her hair windswept.
And then she’s sixteen and I’m holding my breath, her ponytail flying and bouncing under her straw hat as she rounds the last barrel at a rodeo and I let out a sigh of relief…
Maybe it was watching the neighbor girls that I used to babysit all grown up and beautiful, helping to ride and wrestle calves, or maybe it was the light of the evening casting long shadows and reflecting off the dust in the air, making everything soft and dreamlike, but I was nostalgic for a future with this tiny little human who could just as easily grow up to prefer video games to horses.
But for now she seems delighted by it all, by the big outdoors and the blue sky and the grass and especially the animals.
She has a physical elated reaction to them. She sucks in air and reaches out her hands and grabs their fur. When we go to feed the calf she has a mini hyperventilation spell. When she’s crying for no apparent reason all I have to do is open the door and walk out on the deck and a smile spreads across her face.
She leans down from my arms and tries to get closer to the dogs.
She reaches out for the kitty’s fur.
The wild world is hers…
Yes, this is Edie. Our daughter. Our baby discovering that the fun is just beginning.
“You should have seen it out in the east pasture,” Husband told me when he got in from searching for stray bulls last week. “It was so colorful, like God dropped a bag of Skittles from the sky.”
It was an adorable statement coming from the scruffy, sorta smelly man sitting next to me.
And I was immediately jealous.
Although I can see it from outside my windows and on my slow strolls on the trails there’s nothing like experiencing fall on the back of a horse.
So Monday I did the next best thing and convinced Husband to take a little 4-wheeler drive with me to our favorite pasture so I could take photos from the tops of the hills and feel like I got my fix of it.
He never says no to ideas like this. It means that he doesn’t have to be cooped up in the basement putting up walls and wiring and things like that. It means that he can spend a little more time behind those binoculars looking for elk or deer or coyotes or mountain lions or whatever a man hopes to find on the other side of the glass.
I never hope to find a mountain lion.
That’s one difference between the two of us I guess.
Now a 4-wheeler these days isn’t my preferred mode of transportation. Every bump and wiggle sort of bounces me and this baby I’m cooking the wrong way, although she doesn’t seem to mind, because when we’re moving is the only time she’s sitting still.
And that’s terrifying and reassuring all at the same time.
But all that bumping around sends me popping a squat behind a bullberry bush at least once before I make it back to our front door.
If I need help initiating labor, I tell you, I know every stubble field and bumpy trail we can ride across to move it along. Let’ s hope that it doesn’t come to that.
But oh, it was worth it to take the trip back there. Everything is so gold it’s almost unreal. I kept checking my camera to make sure it was on the right setting, as if my eyes were lying to me.
But they weren’t. It’s just plain beautiful out here in this prolonged fall we’ve been given. Usually by now we might have already had a dusting of snow or a couple pretty chilly days, but not this year. This year my garden’s still growing, the sun is still shining a nice and comfortable 70+ degrees and the flies are still somehow finding their annoying way in to this house through some mysterious crack somewhere so they can die on the tallest and hardest to clean window ledge in the entire place.
When the sun started to cast long shadows and darken the valleys we headed toward home in the rapidly dropping temperature. That’s the thing about fall, it goes from 39 degrees, to 70 and back to 39 in a short 12 hour period. I was starting to wish for my mittens when Husband stopped his 4-wheeler by the place we cut our first Christmas tree as a married couple.
And got the pickup stuck to the floorboards in the snow.
And rocked and pushed and spun so much that our poor new puppy Hondo got sick and shit all over the pickup.
“Remember this spot?” he asked.
“I sure do,” I said.
“There’s a tree right there,” he said as he pointed to a 20 foot cedar, big enough to bring to Times Square.
“There will be no Charley Brown, spindly Christmas tree this year. Not for this kid’s first Christmas,” he said.
I shook my head and we bounced along our merry way, in between seasons, in the weather and in our lives.
In the calm before the storm, the warm before the cool down,
The wait before everything changes…
Watch my “Work (Girl)” Music Video
off my new Nashville album “Northern Lights”
Fall is creeping up on us, slowly changing the leaves on the trees from green to gold and bouncing the weather back and forth from 90 degrees to 60 in a matter of 24 hours.
Last night we had a nice, loud thunderstorm that dumped a good soak on us. It tamed the dust and softened the crispiness of this season.
But before it rained I went out wandering in the hills to take some photos. The wind was so still, the temperature was perfect and I liked the way the overcast sky looked like a blue blanket above us.
I’ve been moving a little slower lately and the bending over to capture the small details of the landscape leaves me huffing.
Give me a month and this slow walk will have turned into a full on waddle, but I just can’t stand to stay inside, especially on these beautiful days.
In the moments I have to myself in these last months of pregnancy, I can’t comprehend how our lives are going to change and I can’t help but visualize taking this same walk next year with a baby in tow, or waiting back at the house with Husband while I take a moment…
Because it’s always been the moving, the walking, the riding, the driving, that’s kept me motivated and inspired.
Soon I know our lives are going to slow down and speed up all at the same time and adventure will take on a whole new meaning.
For now I’ve charged myself with trying to enjoy what’s left of carrying this kid along inside of me… the kicks, the heartburn, the plans for the nursery and this body of mine that finally got a chance to show me what it can do.
It can climb up the buttes and grow a human at the same time. That’s pretty miraculous.
It’s nature at its finest and that’s just the sort of thing I marvel at outside the doors of this house every day.
I was away most of last week and on into this one, celebrating the release of my new album “Northern Lights” and playing a few concerts around the state.
I have a million things to say about the sold out shows, the little girls who got up on stage to dance with me, the generous crowd and the awesome musicians who backed me, but I have to get out the door to catch another gig.
So I’ll just do what I did when I got home last night before the sun set and let you take in what the rain created while I was out traipsing around.
I just couldn’t resist a quick walk before bed.
Can’t you just smell the green grass growing?
I think this is what heaven is like…
Like the rain after a hot day…and a warm day after the rain.
To celebrate my favorite kind of weather, here’s a video of me singing “Raining” at my CD release concert in Fargo on Sunday.
Peace, love and growing things,
It was a beautiful day. 70 something and sort of breezy, sunny. The perfect day to go out and collect some wood ticks.
And look for green and on-the-brink-of-blooming things.
A couple more days of this and we’ll be in full blossom.
But all the years of searching for spring I know where to look for the earliest flowers and what trees turn green first.
The tops of hills where the sun is warmest.
Down under the tall grass where the dirt stays damp.
By the creek where the trees with the white trunks grow.
That’s the thing about this place. It has its secrets, it’s little tricks just waiting to be discovered with the seasons.
Every day looks different here. Every day the sky brings sun or clouds to cast shadows so that if you want to explore something, there’s something new to see.
But there’s nothing like the waking up season. The door is open to the house tonight and the frogs are singing and croaking in the dam. I would bottle it up if I could and save it for the winter when there’s not much sound but the howling wind.
Who would believe it now, that it was ever so white and cold?
I don’t believe it.
Not when we’re warming up so beautifully around here.
And now for a weather report.
March is coming in like a cold and bitter lamb and it’s making me a cold and bitter woman.
But even though landscape looks a lot like this these days…
it’s hard to believe that in a few months it will turn from gray to green right in front of our eyes.
I can just smell the clover now. By June, we’ll be rolling in it.
By May we’ll be thawed out and warmed up.
By April we’ll spot our first wild flower.
But March? March suffers from mood swings. So I decided I’d have my own today.
I decided that while I’m freezing on the outside, at least my daydreams can be warm.
Summer!!!! I miss your face!!!!
Isn’t it nice to all be on the same page?
It has been a true winter wonderland around here lately. Lots of fog and warm temperatures have coated everything in frost.
And then it rained. And froze immediately on the ground, so now this place looks like Ice World on the Super Mario Brothers III game and the animals and me took a slippery stroll through it all, because who could stay inside on days like these?
Not me. And you shouldn’t either.
So welcome to your Wednesday Walk…
Last week our world was covered in ice.
This week, just in time for Christmas, it has turned nice and white (and rather slippery).
The beautiful thing about this place and its erratic weather is that every day it looks a little bit different out there.
Every day it’s a little bit new.
So I like to explore it. And when the new pup is involved in my little quest, it’s even more fun.
He’s just a ball of energy jumping around, licking the snow, biting the heads off of weeds and bouncing his way around, discovering his world.
So take a break from what is hopefully your last working day before Christmas, sit back and watch my home transform from icy brown to white.
Because who doesn’t love a little frosting, especially on the holidays.
This season is about all run out as we find ourselves at the end of October. The leaves are brown, the wind has taken most of them, swirled them around, tossed them up and let them fall.
But yesterday there were a few stragglers, a few trees that held out to stand out above the crowd. So I went out looking for them.
It’s funny how the colors seem brighter when we know they’re fleeting. In these same spaces today, with the wind and the gray skies, most of these leaves I admired yesterday have now hit the ground.
I knew it would happen. That’s the thing about this place. The trees, they are the reason it looks different here every day.
The trees and that sky.
So except for that sky, it will be brown now, until it turns white.
And it will be white until it turns brown again.
Then it will be brown until it turns green.
Green until gold…and so on and so on because that’s how it goes with trees…