About Me

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I was raised in California, where my family ranched along with my parents raising us 5 kids, sometimes a few extra with them involved in foster care. I remember as a little girl how I loved watching my Dad ride...especially the gritty horses. He has a special way with horses. I knew from a kid that I wanted to marry a Cowboy...so I did. Although I haven't been a Wyoming Wife for long, my husband and I live an exciting life together. Not only are we partners but were the best of friends. These are going to be stories which include my emotions (which as a female they seem to be on the fritz sometimes!), days gone bad, and days that ended absolutely perfect. All in all...this is just a journal of my crazy, beautiful life as a Wyoming Wife.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cowboy Romance

We had been dating for a year and a couple months…things were getting serious between Kody and I. We both knew that. Kody being a cowboy, he definitely carries “Cowboy Romance” meaning its romantic for him to drive up to a gate, and he gets out and opens it. Also romance to him is asking me to sit in the middle on our way to move cows. I live for this “Cowboy Romance”. He is my Wildflower Pickin’ Cowboy.
It was early September 2009, we were out for a drive on the ranch. We spotted this buck deer that got my heart racing. I said, “ That one is mine!”
Time drifted and September turned into October. We hadn’t seen the deer since I put a bounty over its head. But with Kody’s skills as a hunter, this deer didn’t have much of a chance. There was a fresh skiff of snow, a matter of fact it was our first snow of the year. We got up before daylight, headed north and stopped at our usual glassing spots. The deer wasn’t where we were looking. We drove to another spot to glass a big rock pile.
Boy, can a smart old Mule deer blend in with any type of landscape it makes its bed in. I will give Kody the credit for this, he spotted him through his binoculars. It took me a minute to focus…I had just woken up. That was the deer, he looked so perfect. He had bed down in the rock pile all night, with a skiff of snow on his antlers. This is a dream buck, not a monster. He was a typical 5x5. About 27 inches wide. This was going to be the biggest deer I had ever taken. I jacked a round into my Browning 270SM, its my little sharp shooter! Squeezed the trigger and down went the deer.
I couldn’t explain my excitement. We hiked down to my trophy. I said my usual prayer, “ Lord, thank you for the life this deer gave and the life it gave up. Thank you for the mouths it will be feeding.” I always say a prayer after I hunt. Kody gives me a big hug, tells me good shot…and oddly keeps on hugging me. I just wanted to touch those untouched antlers.
Kody gets down, and says, “ Jordan, will you marry me?”
Suddenly I am a blubbering girl, I have Kody that just asked me to marry him and this buck deer that I just dropped. It was a lot of emotions. I told him yes, I made every phone call in the world after I got my deer prepared too drag out. That day was so special, I got my man and my buck.
Cowboy romance is special, its not cliché. Its not long walks on the beach after a candle light dinner. Romance is our husbands picking us wildflowers, starting our pickup in the morning, feeding our horse, and sometimes just a simple kiss on the forehead after you got bucked off. Kody makes everyday special whether its from working our horses or hunting. Cowboy Romance is all around us, sometimes we just have to find it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Little Red Pup

We were staying away from home for 5 days, we had a lion hunter here from New York. A very nice man that owns 6 Wendy’s…I thought that was pretty cool. We stayed at a friend Sandy’s house, A nice little cabin in a small town of 259 people. His cabin has an old wooden tack room where we would saddle up each morning and cool off our horses after each ride. Hung in his families rickety floor tack room are some old saddles, new saddles, headstalls, and a few Garcia bits I could picture my horse carrying proudly…but that’s another story. Sandy’s place is surrounded by some aged wood corrals and a few new metal ones too. In these corrals stands some of the most courageous bucking horses in the state of Wyoming. I pointed out a big grey horse, Kody tells me, “Yep, I rode that one.”
Back in Kody’s day he was a saddle bronc rider, and he still does ride Broncs for a living in the spring. Its just a different type of Bronc, he does it to put food on the table, and to pay for my much needed Blackberry phone…I guess I’m a modern day mountain woman. He break horses for people that don’t have the knowledge or sometimes they just don’t have the time. I was a little out of my comfort zone staying somewhere new, a place that wasn’t my home. But as I looked around I knew this place would be just fine for 5 days.
Of course the first morning was windy, that is just a normal Wyoming day. Wind is a houndsman worst enemy. Wind is also a houndsman wife’s worst enemy. It seems its always a little more windier and colder on top of a horse. When were hunting we look for tracks, with our dogs trotting along with us looking or “sniffing” around rock ledges, just about anywhere a lion would go. About twenty minutes into our ride we see a few magpies flying low to the ground. Magpies are something I always look for, they usually fly over carcasses meaning something had died recently. In this instance a Bobcat had hunted a mule deer and was successful. The dogs went crazy jumping the bobcat out of a rock pile and treeing the bobcat in about 10 minutes.
Bobcats are one of the hardest animals to hunt with dogs, they are tricky. The dogs put the pressure on this cat and sent him up a big thick cedar tree. Waylon is my dog, she is a young red bone. After having her 9 months we have grown close and I enjoy watching her hunt in her early knowledge. She is doing so great, I cant wait to see what she will be in the upcoming seasons.
We were sitting in the middle of this hunt on our horses. I really thought that was neat. This was also the first time I had seen Waylon open on a bobcat track, to tell you the female truth to it, I was so proud of that little red pup it brought tears to my eyes…now to remind you in the past she had made me so mad it has brought tears to my eyes. Now on this day they were good proud tears. I sat on my horse gratified knowing that little red timid dog was mine. Now in the ten minutes that this chase lasted there was no timid about her, that was until the gun shot went off. Swoosh…Waylon ran off. I guess that’s something that will just take the time, but it is great to know she has the will in her to hunt.
Mine and Kody’s dogs did awesome and so did Sandy’s. The hunter was impressed, and of course I was tearful happy. But I kept that all to myself trotting behind the guys. This is just another story of a proud Wyoming Wife. I was proud of my husbands diligent work with the dogs, proud of my horse and proud of these awesome dogs we call ours.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Two Good Teachers

Uncle Sonny was my great-great uncle who had a love for fancy lookin’ horses. He bought a colt for $5000 back in the late 90’s. He would come home after being gone all day and saddle his Palomino stud horse he named Samson but called him “Sonny”. There he would sit in his 30x30 horse corral and be lost in dreams of gathering wild cows in the wasteland of California.
Uncle Sonny passed away in his recliner leaving behind his family and his well treasured horses. In the corrals were a Dun Mare and a handsome Palomino. We ended up getting these horses. And for that I will always be thankful.
Delilah was the mare, I would ride her after Church when us kids would go check cows with Dad. She was a good horse, we had some “babies” out of her and the Handsome Sonny. As a matter of fact, my Dad taught us kids the “birds and the bees” with these two horses. Anyone having a ranch dad would understand that.
Sonny needed some work to be a ranch horse. He had never had a loop thrown off of him, he had never dragged a calf to a fire pit. My dad got this handsome horse where he needed to be.
Now being from Southern California there were wild cows there. I have pictures of my dad in the middle of a river throwing a loop off Sonny to dally off to these rank ol’ cows. He was worked in the years my dad was molding him. Sonny no longer became a project horse, he became a cowboys horse. My dad had him trained so well, Sonny would just lift his foot up to the hoof stand to rasp his hoofs…I loved that. My dad would kind of grumble and say, “ You should have seen me shoe him when we first got him.”
I didn’t become interested in ways of the Vaqueros, Buckaroos and horsemanship until I was 18. So be it…I needed a horse to call mine. My dad called the vet, Sonny was no longer a stud and he was mine.
This is where my dad was molding me on a finished horse. Teaching me to relax, and be emotionally connected with the horse (that’s my version of saying that). My dad and Sonny were my patient teachers. Sonny and I were friends, but I learned to be in control. There I was making my dad proud to be on this stout horse, and I was proud to be riding such an gifted horse. My dad would be watching me in the round pen build my confidence and after every ride my dad would say, “Ya did good.”
My favorite thing to do on Sonny was push Momma cows, we would get up behind one and his ears would pin back. Nothing was getting away from him. He never was to good just riding on a trail, he did better when there was work that had to get done. On the trail, we would be working our way up to a big hill, sometimes even little one…he would lope until we got to the very top. My dad said, “You don’t want a horse that’s going to quit ya in the middle of a hill, do ya?”
Everyone thought he was just a kind hearted horse. And very good looking at that. At one branding and old Mexican said, “I love your horse, he no spook at all.”
Needless to say I was proud of what Sonny and I had become. I decided at a branding that it was my turn to try and rope. Kody talked me into it, he could tell I wanted too. Now I’m left handed and my dad is right handed. People may not know this, but when you’ve only been roped on as a horse by a right hand its different on your opposite side. But Sonny did good. He helped me find my spots and didn’t mind dragging calves behind him.
Sonny helped me with my first ranch rodeo. Let me tell you how nervous I was in front of the whole town. But he did good, and so did I. He also was there for my second ranch rodeo where he did the same thing. What I really loved about Sonny, is he knew if it wasn’t me, my dad or Kody on his back. He would take advantage of someone who didn’t want to control him. I’m not sure why I was so proud of that, maybe that was my safety net of me thinking I was getting better at riding.
Sonny helped me, become me. He got me confident enough to go from a trot to a run, he helped me to stay on, so you don’t get so mad that you just stop. He taught me patience and love. He taught me to throw some loops, and how to work with cows.
September 16th was Sonny’s last day, he just lied down and went to sleep. Sonny was only 15 years old. He also passed away with a brand new set of iron on his feet. For some reason I don’t want this story to end because it is a story of a darn good horse that was mine. I will always have memories of me and Sonny. He was not only my teacher but he brought the same interest to me that my dad has always had. This story is dedicated to Sonny and other good horses that were taken to soon.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Long Walks

It seems to me that we are always up before the sun is…well most days! Married to a houndsman lion hunting has been one of my favorite things to do in the last 3 years. As you already know, I was the blind girl that didn’t know what “hounds” were for.
My favorite mornings are cool and crisp with a fresh blanket of snow. There is nothing like your tire tracks being the first ones up a well used Mountain road stirring up the untouched snow. When I first started going on these adventures, I would have to stop and look at every track, anything from Coon to Elk, I wanted to prove myself worthy and never overlook a track. I guess you could say compared to other women I had already earned my badge by waking up and trudging through knee deep snow and doing so with a grin on my face.
Some people would call me crazy (well actually people do). Chasing lions into some of the most dangerous country this beautiful state has to offer. Like I’ve said in posts before, just think who stood in those same tracks 150 years ago.
This particular morning we were loading our dogs to head for the hills after a cat. My phone rang…yes at 4:30 in the morning. It was a rancher he had said, “ You guys huntin’ today? Just stop where you see skid marks in the road.”
If your wondering what happened he almost ran a lion over with his pickup! What are the odds of that? All I have to say is that guy better not going outside when there is lightning! That week we had a lion hunter from Pennsylvania, he was 65 years old, 2 full knee replacements and a brand new hip. Needless to say he earned his badge. He also had said, “ You guys do this for fun?!”
We head up the road, and stop where the tire tracks were. Kody turns the dogs out. There is absolutely no track to be seen, it was a sheet of ice. I follow the dogs while Kody grabs leashes and water. I was interested to see the track, so I’m rummaging around by a creek bottom some of the dogs already blew through and found a pretty nice dead head (a deer that is dead). I head out of the creek bottom, Kody still at the truck, I see the track….nothing special to me. I put Copper Dog on the track, he is not as cold nosed as the other dogs (A track has to be FRESH for him to run it hard). He opens and heads after this Tom Cat. (Opening means the track is FRESH).
We climb a giant hill, with small rock slides on it. I was careful to maintain my balance. Thinking to myself, the dogs have got to be treed in this next canyon. Well they weren’t. So we walk some more…next canyon…no dogs. Kody gets the tracker out and they are the furthest away that it can read. They were far away and we had to get there. Long story short, we went on a nice hike that day.
4 hours later we can finally hear the dogs at the top of a big draw. I cant explain my anticipation to get there. We get to the top of this draw and Copper Dog came back to us. Kody and I got a little irritated that he would come back. Little did we know, how much a dog knows. It brings tears to my eyes writing it. We had heard our other Dog Roscoe at the tree and he is not there. My mind goes to wondering. Human instincts say something bad happened.
We had to catch our breath, we were dragging. We sat on a big rock pile about 10 feet away from Harley (our blue tick female). We couldn’t see her, but we could hear her. There was no lion in a tree, the hunter was loosing faith. Kody and I were feeling the same, upset and a little confused.
This is where trusting in your dogs come into play. Out of the corner of my eye the biggest Mountain Lion I have ever seen comes out of the rock pile not even 10 feet behind me. Kody had the gun, carrying it for the hunter. The hunter yells out, “SHOOT HIM KODY!”
That just makes me giggle every time. Thank goodness Kody has a lot of composure, I’m slowly learning what that is. He jacks a round in the rifle, and the hunter shoots and misses. Now all of this happened so fast the dogs hadn’t made it down to the lion.
I tell the hunter to calm down, the dogs are going to do their job and get that lion in a tree…and they did. I get my pictures of the lion and he was successfully harvested and well deserved. The dogs did wonderful.
It seems that every lion hunt I learn something. This time I learned no matter how tired you are make sure your dogs are alright. They aren’t going to sit and bark at nothing in a big rock pile. This hunt turned out very well, which it could have been much worse. As for Copper coming back to us, he was coming for help. A lot of big lions don’t like to tree, they usually back up in a big rock pile and are dog fighters. As for Roscoe, he was doing the same- coming for some help and missed us on his search. Goodness…I love these dogs. I wish I could have seen what they did for the 4 hours they had that lion. Roscoe was back at the truck licking his wounds. That is another memorable lion hunt, we got a lion and all our dogs are still breathing.