beautiful rooms

I’m not talking about decorating ideas for your home, but rather enjoying the view from the room in which you find yourself.

Spent last week at the ranch cooking for the branding crew. I enjoyed my view from the kitchen, even though things got a little hectic.

Did you know the branding crew likes to ride out at daybreak? That means the cook’s alarm clock is set for 3:30. I’m talking in the A.M.

Being a compulsive extremely organized overachiever, I put a pork roast in the oven one night, so lunch the next day would be easy-peasy. The sweet daughter-in-law woke up at 3:30 to prepare breakfast. She was jolted awake to a house full of choking smoke. My roast had overflowed and smoked up the entire house. Yeah, that’s the kind of quality help I am. You can thank me later.

Did you know there’s a very valid reason no one makes fried chicken at home anymore? It’s complicated….hard….a lot of work….so of course I HAD to make homemade fried chicken and mashed potatoes for 25 cowpokes.

The night before the chicken feast, I filled two big aluminum pans with chicken pieces soaking in buttermilk and salt/spices.

chickensoaking

Job #1 the morning of the BIG LUNCH. Peel 10 lbs of potatoes.

potatoes Check.

Retrieve the buttermilk-y chicken and coat with flour and spices. Tell yourself you’ll have time to wash your buttermilk-soaked Levis later.

chickendippedPour a boatload of peanut oil into two deep skillets on top of the stove.

chickenfryingDon your hip boots so you can safely wade through the grease on the kitchen floor.

Mash the potatoes. Assemble a salad. Make beer bread. This was a big hit with the diners.

beerbreadTry to keep your energy up as you continue into your second hour of frying chicken.

kathytiredI forgot to take a photo of the huge pan brimming over with fried chicken, but here’s a photo of the aftermath.

chickenandpotatoesHappy cowboys and a gratified cook. The smiles and conversations really enhanced the time I spent in this room. Hope my chicken reflected the fondness I feel for each of them.

Sometimes, I left the kitchen and enjoyed other rooms.

The view from the pens.

114b
Cherished this view. He’s my favorite cowhand.

Dragging the calf to the branding crew on the ground. They have the HARD work.

downloadI enjoyed my view from the back of the forgiving ranch horse, Pogo. This room is one of my all-time favorites. Being horseback is medicine for the soul, I tell you.

photo(1)Events of the week had me recalling this verse of Scripture:

John 14:2-4
English Standard Version (ESV)
2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.

paradisebranding 179b

Hope you are savoring the view from your room this weekend.

Original-recipe love to all.

 

following light

It rained. I went from looking like this.

birdfacesTo looking like this.

handsuphannahPraise God! Answered prayer, for sure.

I have lots of bovine friends who are ecstatic, as well.

roundupPhotographed a recent branding at the northern NM ranch. Look at the green grass!

I took tons of pictures. Played with all the settings on my camera; shutter speed, aperture and ISO. Figured if I took enough photographs maybe one of them would be worth showing.

This recent foray into ranch photography served to reinforce the principle of the golden hour. Or in reality, the golden FIVE MINUTES known as sunrise/sunset. Let me demonstrate.

Here’s a picture of a couple of cowboys.

reidandwillAn OK photo taken at midday.

Now, take a look at the same cowboys at sunrise.

willandreidBe still, my heart! I’m in love with this light. The guys are alright, too.

Why does sunrise have to come so early? A sunrise photographer must be dedicated and carry lots of concealer to cover the bags under her eyes. The flattering light is short-lived.

cassadyThis young lady and her glistening sorrel horse are simply magnificent. She’s nice and smart, too. She looks beautiful in the golden morning light. These subjects make me look like I know what I’m doing with my camera. Thanks, Cassidy!

Following the light-a metaphor for life, right?

More sunrise glorious-ness.

sunrisejingling

 

horsejingling

Unfortunately, there is action that takes place AFTER sunrise. I did the best I could.

stever
Preparing to gather the pasture.

Ray1

rhettroping
Ropin’ and draggin’.
ray
Cowboy Ray was my favorite subject. I know a great face when I see one.

 

reid1
Branding fire.

 

walter

antelopepair
A couple of antelope roaming.

 

grahamonwall
A budding cowpoke still in his jammies.

 

I’ve learned my lesson. I’ve got to get up early and stay up late to get the most outstanding photos.

Hope you enjoyed branding day at the ranch. Now I’m off to purchase more concealer.

Stay out of the dark places.

Enlightening love to all.

the ranch: photos

I’m pulling the photo album out of my granny-handbag. Finishing up the three-part ranch series with my favorite captures. I snapped these with the Nikon d700 and the 50mm fixed lens. I didn’t want to be bouncing around in the 4-wheeler with tons of equipment. Simple is best.

Sit with me on the loveseat, won’t you? ***grabbing your sleeve***

I know you’ll want to see these, honey.

backlitcow
What’s a trip to the ranch without a cow picture? These softly back-lit ladies are beautiful.
103a
Our intrepid archeological assistants at the petroglyph cave. Who knew how much they love rock art?
185a
Elk horn sheds line the wrap-around porch.
174a
Adorable ranch kids riding their faithful horse, Smoke.
214a
Caught the sun just right in this rock formation. I like it best in B&W.
kathyonporch1
Moi, in the waning light. Proof I was really on the trip.
168a
This photo made me LOL. Observe the shadows. Looks like we’re about to be attacked by a wolf! Run, Sprout!
barn
Who knew the Texan had such an artistic eye? He saw the sun setting through this barn and summoned me to capture this moment. Grateful I still listen sometimes to the Texan. A photographer must always be ready at sunrise/sunset.
grahamwcat
G played for hours with this friendly barn cat. Nothing bothered this cat….tail-pulling, swatting, inadvertent kicking….he kept coming back for more. The toddler was endlessly entertained.

Now…..drum roll, please….my favorite photo of the ranch trip. I like the starkness of it. Feels familiar and it feels like art to me. I call it hommage a O’Keefe. I think you’ll understand.

sheepskull
A desert big horn sheep skull hanging in the bunkhouse. I admire the starkness and beauty of the skull, but I’m also drawn to the negative space in the photo. I may have to print this one.

 

Oh….you have to go now??***unfurling my tightly-wrapped arm from around your shoulders***

Come back and visit real soon.***wet kiss***

Here’s hoping you always find the flattering light.

Land of Enchantment-love to all.

the ranch: petroglyphs

Enjoyed a wonderful and scenic MLK weekend at the ranch in northern New Mexico. Sprout #2, the Son-in-Law, and the 2 Grands invited us to tag along on their adventure and we quickly nodded YES.

Since my camera is jam-packed with images from this trip, I’m going to write a short series. I’ll write three blogs about the ranch. Hopefully, I’ll have them all posted by the end of the week. Stay tuned, chicken-wingers!!

First topic: petroglyphs, or rock art. I’d heard about the drawings but never had the chance to see them. Seeing the petroglyphs was my first request for a ranch outing.

Four adults, two babies, and 3 faux-ranch dogs piled in the 4-wheeler for the half-hour drive to the site.

gator
My top-notch archeological crew. Explore we must!
jeepview
We set to the northeast. The baby protested the ride as too bumpy. We held her tight, but explained this was her initiation into hardy ranch life.
entrancetoglyphs
This is the entrance to the petroglyphs. This is in a very remote area….away from any main road. It is highly unlikely one would stumble upon this site. The first petroglyph is seen on the thin rock on the right. The glyphs are written on the surface of the thin rock facing towards the large rock.
zigzags
These zig-zag designs are the first indication of what mysteries await inside.
audincave
Sprout #2 in the ‘roomy’ portion of the cave. I’m not exaggerating when I say one must crawl on his belly to make it through this area. This makes photographing the petroglyphs difficult. The space is very tight….and snake-y. Note the cave dog.
petroglyph1
The best overall view of the rock surface with the petroglyphs. What do you see?
petroglyph2
Another view. These shots are taken with a flash, since there’s not much daylight in the cave.
petroglyph3
I’m guessing this is a bighorn sheep. Note some of the carved area is lighter in color and some of the carved area is almost black. The images are more black the more centrally located in the cave.
petroglyph4
Not sure about this image. Thought it might be a rabbit, but it could be a couple of smaller images.
petroglyph
This image of a deer intrigues me. One can see every small carving pock and bump. The snake-like tendril meanders around the deer and the face of the rock. Can you spot the smaller images to the right of the deer? One (looks like a fish) above right, and a smaller animal-thing lower right. Isn’t that amazing?
sophincave
These images look as though they would continue on the rock’s surface as it enters the soil. Would we find more if we did some digging? I think it’s a possibility. The cave-bichon is intently waiting for the ‘dig’ command.
human
This image is outside the cave. Is this drawing a representation of a human form? That’s my guess. There are no figures (that we could see) inside the cave that look like this.

These glyphs lit a fire in my imagination. Spent 3 hours on the internet last evening trying to discern if these are of some Plains Indian tribe origin….or if they are earlier than that. These images did not seem to match images I researched of the Pueblo Indians. The fact that these glyphs are dark seems to be a little unusual. Most photos I saw were of dark rocks with lighter petroglyphs. Why is that? Are these images so old the surface has darkened because of some chemical reaction? Have they been underwater? Are there more underground? Could they be….prehistoric? Were they carved in this small cave-space or has the rock moved with time? Or…..is all of this recent activity? My research indicates these things are incredibly difficult to date. My obsessive-compulsive self has surfaced and I’ve dreamed for two nights of these drawings. I wish I knew more about things like this.

Are you betting I’m gonna find someone who does?

If you know anyone who might shed some light on the origins of this rock art, please feel free to forward this post. I’ll talk to anyone.

I must end this post with a photo of our budding natural-scientist. She occupied herself on a blanket on the ground while we explored the cave.

hannahwithhat
Seems she’s studying the native New Mexico grasses.

Look for other ranch-posts this week, if you are interested. I’ve got some fun things to show you.

Dream-catcher love to all.