A Dusting

The new year has brought several days of bitter cold temperatures and it seems a constant dusting of snow to South Dakota. It’s been beautiful but almost too cold to get out and fully appreciate it all.  The kids have tried with all their might to stay out longer than 10 minutes to sled and play but it’s been days of running between heated homes and vehicles. Cabin fever has indeed settled in over this winter’s break.

 

Rain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The herd has stayed very close to the shelter belt through it all.

Tuko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the dogs find warmth among the straw bales if they’re out for very long.

Blu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hoar Frost

Was a gorgeous morning here in South Dakota. Captured these moments well after the peak of the hoar frost shining in the morning sun .. still a stunning sight. The shots aren’t great, I didn’t take much time to stop and focus as I had only 13% battery power left on the camera, something I don’t let happen very often. The camera’s been put to some fun use the past week and I haven’t thought to recharge.

Anyway, I snapped the few photos the camera allowed on a whim …

Rain

Rain

Hoar frost

Hoar Frost

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South Dakota Sunset

When you’ve got places to be, you’re running behind because you were just somewhere else you had to be and somewhere in-between here and there you’re hoping to get caught up on what you haven’t been paying attention to – things like email, an actual conversation with your spouse, messages and calls that need returning because, well because it’s how you get things done and it’s what others expect – how often do you simply lift your eyes to the world around you and soak it in?

It can be tough, taking the time each day to consciously just ‘stop’. Stop and soak up the scenery, or the people around you and the places you whiz by. But I challenge you (I say ‘you’ loosely here. I have only a vague idea of a few who might read this. My hope is at the very least, my kids will someday read back over my words and know this was something I felt important for not only my own life, but theirs as well) to slow down and try to notice something new in your every day. In your drive to work or back home. In the people around your office. Or even in observing your own child. So much in that snapshot of our daily lives, no matter how routine, is constantly changing. And it’s pretty awesome, inspiring and humbling when you stop to look at any of it.

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In-between a series of meetings, volleyball games, dropping off the gun my daughter had borrowed from the neighbors to go pheasant hunting last weekend, trying to find a few minutes to change into something warmer, grab a bite to eat and make it on time to rehearsal for the musical in town .. I didn’t have really any time to spare as I sped down a gravel road near our home this evening. But I saw the scene above, put my foot on the brake, let it register that I did actually see a scene that awesome, turned the car around and stepped out of the drivers seat for a few moments to soak it all in.

I’ve tried to make this a daily practice most of my adult life, but it’s never been this effortless. Life here everyday in so many ways, reminds me of how fortunate I am. It reminds me again to stop. To breathe and soak it all in. I hope you have this too.

I am so in love with a state (far more than just the state) I never thought I would know .. no more than the speedy drive through on my way to wherever I needed to be next, anyway.

Around the Water Cooler

The weather here, like much of the country right now, is hot. Our hottest temps so far, I do believe, this summer. Mid 90’s all week with no sign of rain in the forecast. The local pool is closed until next year with kids back in school. Although .. many this week are on early release due to the fact there is no air conditioning in their classrooms. A pool would be nice.

Here on the acreage ..

Water cooler

Lengthy Morning Meeting Around the Water Cooler ..

.. the herd seems to be weathering it all just fine. Other than, rightfully so, they’re thirsty. One indication of just how thirsty – these 5 seldom if ever make room for each other at the trough. I had to grab this shot this morning because this is a rare sight.

Drink up.

Waiting on spring ..

“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”
― Percy Bysshe ShelleyOde to the West Wind

Another Day of Heavy Fog

Another Day of Heavy Fog

The weather has been quite a topic of conversation lately .. most people sick of the cold and snow.  And while I’m ready for spring myself, today there were just some incredibly beautiful scenes to be soaked up.

Gracie

Gracie

Blanketed in Frost

Blanketed in Frost

 

Storm Blowing In ..

The snow hadn’t yet started to fly this afternoon but the wind had kicked up something fierce once again on the Great Plains by late this afternoon and there was a damp chill in the air.

The grove of trees the herd was lined up against the other day was facing the wrong direction to help with tonight’s howling winds.  So a few of them cozied up behind one of the loafing sheds this latest go round with Mother Nature.

The huddle.

The huddle.

As I ran out to snap a few photos, they all turned and looked at me, I think wanting to come over and say hello like they usually do.  But all stood their ground, not wanting to give up the wind break for any other in the herd.

I smiled at them.  And as the cold, bitter air sent a sharp pain through my front teeth, I scurried back inside, seeking warmth and shelter again myself.

Wind Break

Today’s snow came early, was heavy, wet and fell fast.  The Interstate is closed to our north, to the west and throughout much of the state, officials are asking people not to travel.

Break From the Wind

Break From the Wind

We made it home just before noon and are bunkered down for the day.  But I had to run and grab a few pics when we pulled back into the drive.  It’s the first time I’ve seen the herd all lined up along the tree and fence line in an effort to get relief from the South Dakota winds.  Beautiful.

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February Snowstorm