On a windy day ..

There’s an old saying, the Cowboy said to me this morning when I told him what I was writing about.

“Every day is a good day in South Dakota when the wind isn’t blowing. That, and we teach our kids here to lean into the wind when they are old enough to stand.”


I have always enjoyed a gentle breeze on a hot summer or fall day. But ..

A rare still moment ..

A rare still moment ..

I’ve never experienced anything quite like the winds that howl across the Great Plains states. With little in the way of stopping them, they seem to gain momentum the further they travel. By the time they reach us, they’ve typically traveled far and wide, and they are howling. We often double check the kids and small animals are still in the yard.

Yesterday, the gentle breeze was blowing at 20mph in our area. May not seem like a big deal to some of you, but it’s mean a few relatively humorous life lessons since moving to South Dakota earlier this year:

When the winds are above 10-15 mph, it’s usually wise to take the hammock down or someone might get hurt trying to lie in it or in simply walking by.

Going for a run in and of itself feels like resistance training.

Grasshoppers catching a ride on the wind feel like bb’s when they finally hit you.

Talking, shouting to anyone into the wind is relatively fruitless. Behind you though, they can hear for miles.

Sunglasses are often helpful, not because of the sun, but to protect your eyes from dust kicking up off of all those gravel roads.

Pitching hay to livestock should be done with the wind at your back.

Clothes on the line may end up at the neighbors, a mile away.

Semis often drive in the passing lane just because. Well, because if the wind blows them over, I’m thinking it means they blow over into the media versus over onto you. The passing car.

It’s not a wise choice to wear a flowy above the knee skirt.

Hats are a wonderful alternative to an otherwise bad hair day.


“You have to come see the sunrise,” the Cowboy said to me earlier this morning ..

I had already been out, after the bus came to pick up our oldest for school, in my pajamas. With a steaming cup of coffee.


It is the second full day of fall 2013.

The morning could not be more perfect here in South Dakota. The sun is rising, the colors across the horizon are absolutely stunning and it’s about 60 degrees. One of the best morning’s to go for a ride ..


.. or a run. Or even just hang out on the porch with a cup of coffee and soak it all in. We all know, days like this are numbered.


For about as long as I can remember, fall has been my favorite season. When I was a kid, I loved that it meant the start of another school year, cross country season, football games, crisp cool nights, the smell of campfires, leaves crunching underfoot as we would run through miles and miles of woods behind our house and the holidays once again around the corner.

While it still means many of these same things and I still have a very genuine love for the season .. I found myself yesterday, for the first time I ever I believe, not wanting summer to end. Not wanting to feel the cool breeze of fall or see the leaves turn. I realized after really allowing myself time yesterday to think about why .. it’s because it means another year is about to end. But, not just another year – another season of life. And the seasons, the years anymore, seem to be passing us by so fast.

Cliche, I know. But how very true.

I was helping my daughter with her homework the other night and as I looked over at her, all I could do was wonder where the first 12 years have gone. I looked later that night at the Cowboy who’s been sick for weeks now, fighting some sort of lung infection and all I could do was wonder how many more years of good health and life we might be blessed with. It has been a year of incredibly joys but also great sadness, aging family members have suffered major health complications, a few within just the past few weeks. Several family members and close family friends have recently passed away.

I do my best to never take a day or a moment for granted. Sometimes that means I, and many others like me, often go 500 miles an hour and throw ourselves into everything life, family, community and each day have to offer (often to the dismay of the more laid back around us). But it is also why we can appreciate the opportunity to slow down, reflect and spend time doing nothing but, say..

Soak up a beautiful sunrise.

Hope you are able to get out and enjoy all this fall and this beautiful season of life have to offer. Off to run ..

Minimum Maintenance

“I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve been on these roads,” the Cowboy says to me as we were being rerouted recently on a trip to a friends place. Road construction had completely shut the two lane highway we were on, down. There were only dirt roads in either direction and it was a crapshoot which direction might get us where we were going faster.

“Getting a detour out here isn’t fun,” he said. “You never know where you’ll end up.”


We were driving through rural, remote Central South Dakota where the roads don’t run quite the way they do in Eastern South Dakota. At least in Eastern South Dakota, there is an intersection with drive-able roads in any direction, just about every square mile. Even if it is a gravel road. It’s tough to get lost. And your GPS works (most places).

Not where we were that day.

South Dakota Backroads

South Dakota Backroads

It wasn’t long ago .. okay, it was actually a long time ago, I was a little kid .. when I couldn’t fathom being in a place like this. I sincerely thought on the family trips we used to take out west, that if we were ever in a place like this, our car would quit, the prairie dogs would eat us alive and no one would ever know. Because, well .. because it really is in the middle of nowhere.

But there is a strange beauty and peacefulness in the fact roads like this, places like this still exist. I would challenge any one of you that might not see yourself being comfortable anywhere but in the middle of a city, immersed in chaos and around tons of people, to make time for such a drive. Detour or otherwise. There are still so many places like this that exist. Places and people and a lifestyle that truly are minimum maintenance. It could be an incredibly rewarding trip.


Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere. And in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself. – Unknown

Not just for horses ..

“What’s in the box,” the Cowboy asked.

Another package had arrived in the mail last week that wasn’t his. That’s a fairly new occurrence at the ranch. No longer living 5 minutes from anything I might need or want, I’ve become a big fan of things coming to me and not having to go anywhere if I don’t have to.

Special Delivery

“I ordered some of that stuff Sam brought when the dogs got sprayed by the skunk,” I told him. “She said she couldn’t find it anywhere around here and I’ve tried. So I ordered it. One for us and and to take back to her and return the favor.”


The Cowboy has never had inside animals. Ever.

Sugar and Cecilia

I’ve never had anything but. Even growing up. Most of my life has been spent inside city limits somewhere where people complain and feel you’re abusing animals if they’re left outside for any length of time.

SO ..

When we combined homes in January of this year, I brought along with us, four of them. Indoor pets, that is. Two middle aged labs and two 12-year-old, front declawed, sibling cats. One of which had started to have kidney issues…

Without going into much further detail, let’s just say anyone with indoor pets knows there are going to be some accidents. There are going to be some spots and smells that need to get washed out of bedding, clothing, whatever it is and for whatever reason.

After years of trying to find some magic bullet .. some magic product that would take the stain and smell out .. any combination of natural, organic or chemical solutions .. I settled for one that I liked the most if I had to use something. But nothing ever totally did the trick. (I know, I know .. everyone has their ‘something’ that will work and please feel free to offer up your suggestions! I’m quite certain we can never have enough. In fact, I found this particular “Best Pet Stain and Odor Removers site. Some of these I’ve never tried and sound interesting.)

But this spring, our friend Sam introduced me to eZall.


It worked. With one wash. In situations that were so dire I thought I’d have to throw some really wonderful things away due to the fact they were literally soaked in cat urine. The dry cleaner I had work on a few things was even amazed. He asked if I’d share the secret with him.

I don’t want it to be a secret. I hope everyone gives this a try because, well because I know how much money I wasted over the years on products that did little to nothing. eZall, Tail and Mane Treatment for horses. Trust Sam, if not me, that this works. On more than just horses. Those fall football uniforms? Farm clothes? Sweaty socks? Gym bag?  Food smells. Given it’s as cheap if not cheaper than most solutions I’ve ever tried, you don’t have much to lose, and a lot to gain if it works.


We’ve had to put down our one little kitty. The night she crawled on top of me while I was sleeping and peed said to me, she was ready to go. This wasn’t fun for her anymore either. We still have four, with the addition of our pup this summer. But all, are now outside.

The house is a lot quieter and I miss them rambling around inside. But the washing machine is a lot quieter too and for that fact, I am grateful.