This is the (ranch) life

Scenes from out of town:

Bandee blue eye.


Peck, scuttle, cluck.

Fresh calf.

Colt and Mare.

Doc the donk.

Tumbleweed cache.

Chubby apprehension.

Fulfilling doghood.

Next year's rack.

Untainted scenery.

Pure rapture.

The bait and switch

Figure A: "Dr. Jekyll"
My front yard on Saturday evening. Delightful. 70s temps, sprouts of green starting to show. Even my landlords' skunk trap (see right) has a kind of serene quality to it.

Figure B: "Mr. Hyde"
The arctic potion bottle was uncorked late Sunday night to reveal a beast of a wintry onslaught by Monday morning. The upside is that 10-15 inches of snow with CAT-5 (seemingly) winds means even the newspaper people get to go home early. And the ever-riveting bi-monthly city council meeting has been canceled for this evening. How will I possibly fill the entertainment void? it is then. and this one. an awesome read.
A few snaps on Douglas' Third Street, just outside my office. Sometimes the sun does as it's told...

My favorite store in Douglas. Full of random, sundry, glorious nick-knacks. If you've received a postcard from me, it came from here. Home Bakery shop on the left makes a decent jelly-filled. Also quaint as all get-out.

Douglas Post Office. The P.O. is a central social gathering place in smalltown America. E'erbody's got a P.O. Box cause they live way the heck outta town. It's not uncommon for people to stop and talk to 10 people they know in here, all getting their mail on a sometimes weekly trip "into town." (note: holy smokes! the flag is NEVER that calm, with all the rip-roarin wind 'round here)

Tree branch icicles. Public library on the right. Note the pickups/duallies.

Great sky. More duallies...

Stetson ridin shotgun, just where it should be, except of course when the shotgun is riding shotgun. Also another dually...

Big City Downtown

From time to time I make it over to Casper, about "fitty" miles west of where I live. It's the nearest "big" city 'round these parts, tipping the scales with a rousing 50,000 people, which ties with Cheyenne for the largest city in the state.

It's not huge, comparatively, but 10 times what I'm used to on a daily basis, so it's a sizable step up in humanity, to be certain. (by comparison, the student body of my iconic Univ. of Oklahoma represents a population some six times larger than where I live. a fun fact to store away for later, perhaps)

This week called me Casper-side for the all-state cheerleading competitions, in which our venerable girls team didst participate and win first place. And there was much rejoicing...

But more importantly, these intermittent big(ger) city ventures allow one to reflect on the finer things in life (which in my book doesn't include cheerleading, sorry).

But it's things like Chinese food, quality brewed coffees, and yes, PEOPLE - pedestrian or otherwise that get one set back on track. I find the remote smalltown outpost bereft of pedestrian activity (esp. in the winter months) to be somewhat draining. As a people watcher of old (as any photographer lends himself to be), a plethora of photo subjects does a body (and photo) good.

Thus friends, a few snaps from Casper, America.

Overlooking the city of Casper. Don't ask Casperites why it's not the state capital, as geography shows it certainly should be. Kind of a touchy subject. Dang those sneaky Cheyennites with their railroads...

A game face for all the marbles.

Howlathon target.


Old Man down, not out

POSTED IN | 12:17 AM
In like a lamb, out like a lion? It seems likely to be the case here on the frozen Western tundra. Just as Winter's Old Man was about to put his feet up, turn on some March Madness and call his frigid pestering quits, it's as though he still has unfinished wintry biznass. Ah well. The end is in sight. May? Spring thaw? I can make it. Garaged bicycle? I'm sorry, friend. It's not your fault. I promise.

Bring it on, Old Man. And break a hip while you're at it.

I have driven on more dirt/gravel roads in the last seven months than ever before in my life. Some nice scenery though, despite the chilling wind.

Driving in to Douglas from the north. Perdy nice view. Come foliage time those trees will be much more alluring, I'll wager.

In other news I covered my first murder-suicide this week that happened just outside of town (down the pictured dirt road). Pretty weird. Get to call some family members for their comments about the deceased this week. Fun times. No, not really. Don't really get university classes on that sort of thing. All part of the gig, I suppose. A "Top 5" important thing I've learned since being a reporter: the world is a much darker place than you think. Or at least there's a crap load of nastiness on society's underbelly that, unless your job has you dealing with it regularly (courts, cops, police scanner duty, etc), goes largely (blissfully) unnoticed. Try going to a sex offender trial sometime where the 13-yr-old victim speaks about how it ruined her life. Yech. "He was everything to me and he did this. You never really know what people are like on the inside." She said that to her step dad, the bad guy. Wow.

News flash. Our world is pretty messy at times. Even the rural parts.

So, some thoughts on sundry news assignments of late.

(I can't normally use longer sentences, so I use them here, fyi)

Didn't mean for this to end up quite so dark...

Go Sooners! Beat the Cowboys!


The end.

At long last, a niece

Got a text message last night about 12:45 a.m. CST from my brother:

"water broke...about to have this rodeo."

Rodeo indeed. Thankfully the bull riding was relatively short lived, and little Julianne Bell Stuart (my mom's maiden name is Bell) landed about four hours later - my first niece of the lineup (though there's another niece in the gestatial works).

Julianne tipped the scales at 7 pounds with 20 inches to her name. Many a bass fisherman's prize she would've been in, well, fish form. Thankfully she's 100 percent baby. So they say. I've not given her the finger poke of authenticity yet (and sadly won't get to until June probably).

Anyways. Some pics from my bro, sleep deprived as he was.

Hot off the press!

Oldest bro Carson inspecting the newly arrived goods. Now middle child Joshy on the documentation crew. I think this is part of a method parents utilize for their kids when they have younger siblings (to help them cope with new baby). I wouldn't know. I was the youngest (and awesomest, obviously. i had three older sibs to take pictures of me! - but alas, i can't prove this statement).

Congrats, Bro and Sis-in-law!