Recent PostsDear Ladies of the NFR, I envy you. So you want to date a cowboy? What horse did he saddle for you? The Mysterious Ranch Pickup & Dating... Capri Camper at 70! When the fireflies dance among the fescue Which way is North? I knew it wouldn't work out when she mentioned the words "Calf Table" Dear Cattle, I Won. Heels and all. The day I became a Unicorn... The Day Granny Busted Broncs
Welcome to my blog of the traveling "tourist", the girl who loves hot coffee, sunrises between two ears, and capturing the western way of life. I hope some of my stories will make you laugh, inspire you, or just make you proud to live the western lifestyle. I'm always looking for new stories, and ranches to visit so if that interest you please feel free to contact me. "It's about riding for the brand, the loyalty in a handshake, and the power of a man's word" Thank you for stopping by.~ Laine Smith
Please feel free to view more of my story in the About Laine Smith section
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"As we're running 90 mph across the pasture after a new baby calf, and here I sit trying to get a tag gun ready, and apply the perfect cat eye eyeliner..."
Dear Ladies that will be attending the NFR,
I envy you. I envy the girls that were able to plan the perfect outfits for weeks. I envy the fact that you had every accessory, and every pair of boots that matched your outfits perfectly. You look adorable. Can you please tell me how you have your life all together?
A recent trip down Oklahoma's Hwy 69 reminded me that I need to get it together.As we're driving along in a one ton dually pickup headed to Texas I was reminded that
1) I need to invest in better bras
2) You should wake up earlier and apply makeup before you ever get in a pickup.
I guess I'm just lazy, and have always been on the "Throw & Go" method. Just throw in a few clothes, and pack the essentials. You can figure out the rest later.
It seems after many years of this method, I would figure out it doesn't work.
Like the many times I've just thrown in my makeup bag thinking "I'll just put this on in the pickup" and next thing you know we're running 90 mph across the pasture sitting there trying to get a tagging gun ready, and apply the perfect cat eye eyeliner. Or the time when your brother in law calls and says "Load up, we're headed to a roping". Well, let me just tell you, have you ever tried to put on mascara with an ornery brother in law driving? Just as you are so excited you haven't put any bat shit all over your eyes, he slams on the brakes, looks at you and giggles, and suddenly you jammed that mascara wand into your eye making it look like you've turned into a raccoon that's been crying from watching too many hallmarks.
Don't get me started on branding season. I look like the walking dead. How can a girl have it together at 4 a.m. to go saddle horses? Once again, I've said to myself the famous "I'll just put this on in the pickup" So here I sat, as we're driving down the gravel roads with a trailer full of horses. The ol' ranch pickup could use some new shocks, coffee flying out of coffee cups, sitting in the middle of old whataburger sacks,and the fact it's still dark really affects the perfect contour. I look like a clown that just ran away from the circus.
So this brings me to my conclusion that I learned from my grandma many years ago. "Throw on a little lipstick, and you feel like you have it all together." I've taken her up on this statement.
My essentials have changed I guess you could say. I now just throw on my legging's & wild rag on those cold mornings, throw in a packet of hot hands, and a few colors of lipstick.
So if you see me trotting across the pasture, or driving down Oklahoma roads looking like a raccoon, and lipstick on my teeth please be courteous and let me know. Grandma, I'm trying. I don't have it together.
Dear NFR girls, I envy you.
Good morning friends,
I just got home after being on the road for 3 weeks, and after covering ground from South Texas to Nebraska it really leaves a lot of windshield time to think. I received a phone call while I was on the road from a dear friend that she had finally met a cowboy. He was the man of her dreams by the way her voice sounded, and I could tell she was already planning the wedding in her imagination. Well, hold your horses little darlin'. First off, I better explain I am no expert, but a man that makes his living horseback is a different kind of breed. I could tell she was already wrapped up in getting to ride horses daily, and how she could win his heart with her cooking skills, and while I was trying really hard not to giggle I just couldn't contain myself any longer.
She spoke of how they were going to go check pastures that weekend, and couldn't contain her excitement. She wasn't use to riding very often, but again she felt she had watched enough John Wayne movies, and the Pioneer Woman cooking show that she could tame this mythical creature that some call a cowpuncher. Oh, and she loved dogs! So she figured the dogs that trots beside him surely deserves enough treats, and she'd get use to the idea that his cow dog was now camped out on her fine italian leather furniture.
So it's finally the weekend, she's been prepared all week. She makes the phone call to me frantically. "Laine, what do I do?" Well, like I said I'm no expert but there's a few things I've learned while photographing this lifestyle. Some of my best friends make their living horseback, and I'm lucky enough to get to tag along to photograph, and also do some under cover investigation for these sweet little town girls that think it's romantic to date a cowboy.
Step 1: Did you read my blog on IF he saddles your horse? You didn't? Well here's the link:
Step 2: This is where I can really help you out. Read below.
So here you are little darlin', it's finally the day. You've been looking forward to this day all week. Now in his mind you have to remember you are just free help. He sees this as spending time with you, but he also enjoys not having to get the gate. So, in his mind you are just free help. Do not get your feelings hurt, and just remember everything is a test but don't you dare whine!
- So here you are in the barn. He grabs his extra working rig because it's the only one that the stirrups will go up high enough to fit your shorter legs (compared to his 40" inseam)
-Little darlin' you pay close attention right now. If that horse is jumping around, snorting, and has a big hump in its back, you just turn around and walk out of that barn. He does not think very highly of you. He is just using you to put miles on a green colt and although you may be able to handle it you will know in that exact moment where you stand, and you don't need that kind of negativity in your life, ha!
- But if he grabs that ol' fat wooly gelding that has a few scars on him, has a soft eye, and walks with a slow waltz to the barn. You can rest easy...
You see that ol' gelding has been around a time or two, he's worn many of wet saddle blankets, and helped keep him out of many of wrecks. He's been sure footed when it was questionable, and he's been solid to work the rope when an ol' mad tiger strip momma wouldn't cooperate. He's not just another using gelding. This one has been hauled many of miles, and has paid his dues. He's had more conversations with this horse than any phone call he's ever made. Little darlin' if he pulls out that ol' trusty bay, you can rest easy. He already respects you, and thinks highly of you.
I've traveled quite a few miles, and ridden with some really great cowboys. Most of the time they just throw a horse in so I can ride around and photograph. I guess you can really call that trust. I like to tell funny stories from the road, and capture a lifestyle that I'm passionate about. I've called many of these guys that make their living horseback great friends, and the first to call if I need something. So ladies, if you don't have a sense of humor don't ever try to date a cowboy. If you're wondering how he feels about you, or wondering if there should be a second date than pay close attention to the type of horse he saddles for you. If its trusty ol' bay, you can be reassured you can accept his offer next weekend for Fiiiiine dining at Wataburger.
P.S. Don't order anything too expensive off the menu because day wages are slim, and he's had his eye on a new Kerry Kelly bit for quite some time. :)
Good luck out there ladies! Sit easy on ol' bay because he just pulled him out of retirement , don't forget your sense of humor and you'll be just fine!
This is a passion I have for capturing the true working cowboy & the western lifestyle through the lens & stories. This is a lost art & a dying breed of the working man. As technology has begun to take over, many little things have been taken for granted. It's about riding for your brand, the loyalty in a handshake, and the power of a man's word. Most of my photographs have been taken off horseback capturing the "working" cowboy during their normal everyday life. They're not posed, They're not staged, just raw and real through my experiences during sunrise on the back of a horse riding through green pastures.
" You've moved more piles of trash, you're suddenly smelling like a feedlot, and you're avoiding the hot shot and multiple cattle needles flying around, Yet you're headed to town...Ladies, this is a test"
Good morning friends,
Now ladies, I'm mainly talking to you. After all it's easier for me to give out a female perspective, as I find most of my gal pals have been in this boat, and I suddenly turn counselor, ha! If you've never been around a full time cowboy one might think it was "romantic" to get asked out for dinner by one of these fine young men. I mean they're mysterious, hard workers, always have great manners, live half way like a gypsy, and there's always plenty of horses to ride. Sounds pretty romantic right? Well, that depends on what you call romantic.
He's finally asked you out, and you've accepted. You've got it in your head that all your dreams are coming true. You've made plans that he'll pick you up for dinner around 7, and while you've been primping in the mirror since 3 p.m., changing your outfit multiple times, and have clothes scattered all upon your floor, He's been out doctoring foot rot on a bunch of heifers, and hasn't even looked at the time. You haven't heard from him, and your nerves are starting to kick in. You wonder if he even remembers or is going to blow you off. Your head is turning. It's 6 p.m., and you still haven't received a single text. You're freaking out! You're starting to call me, "Laine, I haven't heard from him, what's going on?"
Ladies, I'm in no way a therapist. I still don't understand men, however since I spend most of my time photographing this lifestyle I've become friends with a few. Now listen closely, "He has no idea what time it is, he also only has one thing on his brain, and that's to get everything doctored"
He shows up at 6:59 with only a minute to spare, you hear that ol' ranch pickup flying in, and rattling down that gravel road. Did you expect him to drive something nice? Oh you did? Well, that's your first mistake. You're about ready to strangle him because he never called or texted. You're trying to not be upset, however he barely made it out of the pasture by 6:30, ran in the house and took a quick shower, threw on a shirt that wasn't wrinkled too bad, a pair of jeans that only had a few stains, and his good hat. Then he raced for your house with no time to spare. He never texted, he never called. He just showed up when he said he would. Ladies, the first test is 1) Never bother a man while he's working.
The second test: The Ranch pickup.
Now while he was out before daylight, he's seem to forgot about all of his treasures he's accumulated throughout the week. He rushes frantically to the passenger door, and just as he opens it for you, an old beer bottle rolls out, a couple of cattle catalogs, and his saddle pad fell to the ground. He's throwing stuff in the back seat faster than the pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals. I mean horse brushes, old fast food sacks, cattle vaccines, extra clothes are a flying! You're standing outside the door, and you get your first whiff. It's the smell mixture of a feedlot, and wet cow dog. You're thinking to yourself at this point, "Are we really going to town in this?" Yes Ladies, you are. This is a test.
Remember ladies, I said it depends on what you call romantic. You didn't really expect him to drive a Mercedes did you? He's half gypsy. He never knows where he'll be from day to day, or what he might need so he lives out of his pickup.
He finally clears a spot for you, but don't expect a large spot. You should probably only take a small purse because his gun will be pointed down to the floor board, and you'll still have to manage to make your way through the multiple hot shots, and leather trade goods he carries around.
At this point, you're finally loaded up, but you're scared to look around. So you just focus on the road. The dash has inches of dust it's covered in, and suddenly you feel like you need to take a shower again, as your sitting where his cow dog that just got out of the pond was sitting a few minutes ago. You know those shoes you were worried about matching your outfit? Ya, those are now covered in cow poop, horse hair, and maybe a little Ivomec.
You don't dare to look in the back seat, but the temptation kills you so you give in to find tool boxes, trailer wiring, fencing pliers, a couple rolls of barb wire, extra clothes, rain coats, a warm jacket, and numerous old sale catalogs. You quickly turn around, and pretend you didn't see anything. You're trying to just focus on the road as the dust in the cab is flying around like a whirlwind tornado, and meanwhile listening to him tell you about his day of doctoring. You're trying to pay attention, but you have so much dust caked onto your freshly applied lipstick that you're getting distracted. You glance at him, and he's as happy as a field mouse with a little piece of cheese. He has a slight grin, and a twinkle in his eye. He knows he's testing you.
Once you finally arrive to your destination, you hear a few belts squeaking as he turns that pickup into a nice establishment. The radio? Ya, it only works when it wants to. He might have his cow dog with him riding in the back, or he might have a load of feed on, but you don't dare to turn around. You focus on getting to that front door, and concentrate on not knocking anything out the door when you get out.
Ladies, the ol' ranch pickup is a test. If you can handle going to town in this fine piece of equipment you'll probably get asked out on a second date. Plus you'll know exactly who to call if you're broke down on the side of the highway and need some tools, or need to repair a fence where some cattle got out on the fly, or who knows if you ever need your trailer re wired up, or if you need to borrow a pair of tennis shoes, need a horse brush, or a dose of Ivomec. You know the exact man for the job, and he will always be prepared.
Stick it out for the second date ladies, you've already passed the first two tests, and if you're lucky you might he might stop and get you a Wendy's 99 cent Frosty on the way home!
I'm in no means an expert, but hopefully you giggled a little!
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"Don't worry Momma, I'm with Tara" were the last words out of my mouth... Little did I know then the joke was on me!
Good morning friends, we've almost made it to Friday! I figured after a long week right before the holiday weekend I might give you a quick break, and warn you to be careful who you travel with, ha!
As you know by now I travel quite a bit, and when you're traveling it seems stories just kinda happen. Most of the time they're not planned which is even more of an adventure! When two girls are traveling together it seems the stories just kinda happen a little more often.
I've known my friend Tara since high school (that's what I've been told to say, ha!) She could or could not of been my teacher, but I cannot confirm or deny that at this time because as a woman I would never want her to feel older than I was, and in her defense she was freshly out of college. So anyways, I've known Tara since high school. Tara is the owner/maker at Bull Creek cinches, and she travels just as must as I do. She's always attending multiple western trade shows, and it just makes sense to travel together. My momma always gets worried when I travel, but feels a little more at ease to know that Tara has always been safe, is a momma herself, and has a few years of traveling experience on me (I mean months since we were in high school together) "Don't worry Momma, I'm going with Tara" were the last words out of my mouth. To which it brings my mom at ease...little does she know!
Here we are in Abilene Texas we had made it to the Western Heritage Classic. One event you must attend! Two girls, a Capri camper, and too much stuff packed. Hey, a girl has to be prepared with every accessory right? Do you remember those Capri campers? The kind that set in the bed of your pickup? Well, those little things are so handy! Unless of course you get stuck in the back of one.
The battery on our pickup had died, which led Tara to believe there was something wrong with the pickup, and then we'd be stranded in Texas. Which I was perfectly fine with the fact we may have to stay in Texas a little longer, but Tara was not fond of the idea.
We jumped the battery to which it had the truck running, but on an ol' diesel it takes them a while to charge, so Tara wanted to take a quick lap down the interstate. At this point she's in her own world. She's freaked out, hates mechanical problems, and began calling her mechanic at home. While it was bad judgement on my part, I hollered and said "Hey wait just a second, I'm gonna grab my purse out of the camper before you take off" Did I mention she was in her own little world?
The moment I stepped up into that Capri camper, I felt movement. I really didn't think much about it until I opened the back door to find we were rolling on out. Jason Jones (a bit and spur maker) was sitting in his lawn chair and witnessed this as I flew the door open, and he saw the shock on my face.It was at this point and time I had to make an executive decision to jump for my life, or just ride this one out. Jason was still giggling, and I just waved as we were taking on off at a higher rate of speed " I guess I'm going with"
So here I went, rattling down the road. Tara was in such a panic that we didn't put anything away in the Capri before she took off. Our accessories were flying all over the place as she mashed on the gas to go a little faster.I looked through the back glass. I could see her! And I had my cell phone. "I'll just call her real quick" I thought to myself. And I did. She was so worried about that battery gauge she kept hitting decline to my phone call. She still has no idea I'm riding in the Capri. I didn't want to tap on the glass because at this point she would've jumped out of her skin, and I could see us being on the news, and all over the highway like a Griswold's Christmas vacation scene. I'll just call her again. She denied it once more.
So here I am contemplating life in the back of a Capri camper going down the interstate. I'm in this for the long haul. Our stuff is scattered every where, and I'm pretty sure the only place I found to sit was the foot stool. Now friends, I've never been in a tornado, but I can only imagine what it would feel like as I was sitting in the back of the Capri getting hit by blow dryers, makeup, tooth brushes, and shampoo bottles rattling around. She wouldn't answer my phone call, and I wasn't about to scare her so I just rode it out at 70 mph down the interstate. How did I know we were going 70? I could see through the back glass, ha!
Her "short" trip lasted about 20 minutes, and I could feel us pulling off on the exit ramp to return back to the fairgrounds. We then pulled slowly onto the gravel, and back right back into our camping spot. After I made sure the truck had made a complete stop, I pushed my way through all of our stuff, and opened that back door. Now if you can imagine a deer in the headlights, that was the look that came across Tara's face. She was in shock. Complete shock then turned into laughter so hard, and tears began flowing down her face. I was laughing, and still shuffling through the chaotic mess to try to get out.
At that moment I all I could think about was blurting out "And my mom doesn't worry when I'm with Tara" in my sarcastic tone. haha!
Just another story from the road, ha!
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Good evening friends,
It seems I've been able to catch my breath a little after these last few weeks of traveling, and now that spring works are winding down I've been able to enjoy being a home a little more. I sat down with my family this evening around our large kitchen table, and enjoyed a home cook meal. That's something you take for granite when you've been living out of a suitcase for a few weeks. My momma always made sure growing up that we sat at the table for supper, and participated in conversation about our day. As I've grown older and the hustle and bustle of life takes over I've always been thankful for that rule she made when I was little.
After supper was all cleaned up I walked out to the barn tonight, and caught that hard to catch Blue Jay (My little niece named him). It seems a hard to catch horse can put a sour taste in your mouth right away, ha! But he is the ol' faithful, and I all I wanted to do was relax, and find a little inspiration to write. I've slacked off on writing, and I really enjoy it.
Just as we pushed further into the back pasture, Blue Jay was walking along his merrily way with his ears perked up, and then the noise in my head began to settle. The sun was disapearing from the horizon, and left off this romantic glow through the tall fescue. The fireflies appeared out of nowhere, and began dancing among the tall grass. There were thousands, and thousands that lit up the pasture. The clouds looked like a paint brush had touched the sky, and the only noise that could be heard was hoof prints through the grass.
I sat out there for a moment. Actually I sat out there for awhile. It was in that exact moment that I feel the needed to write. You see, I was headed back to the barn this evening, and in 2001 we lost the original barn to a fire. I lost every piece of handmade tack that my grandpa had past down to, I lost every trophy, and buckle my dad had won through the years, and many other items that just hold sentimental value. Non of our horses were injured, and it wouldn't be until a few years later when we would lose our house to a fire.
In 2013 the century old plantation home that my parents had worked so hard to rebuild through my child hood would be lost among the flames. We lost everything. So many of you already know that story, so I won't go into detail but it had me thinking tonight as I rode back.
We've rebuilt everything we've lost. Our lives have been spared, and our livestock has been taken care of by the grace of God. I guess when you lose everything, it kinda puts the world into perspective.
My momma is still cancer free to this day, and while she still has an empty mass where they removed the brain tumor I've just been thankful I get to spend another day with her. God sure has answered our prayers.
I recently got into the Salt Creek Gallery in Oklahoma, and while talking with the owner she wanted to know a little more about me. I became kinda shy, and I wasn't sure what I should say. "I'm just me" is what I think I said. I still wasn't sure what to say. As I reflect on this conversation sitting out in this big pasture I've thought to myself that every piece of my art work represents a little about who I am, what I represent, my heartbreaks, my laughter, and my journey. Although in that moment I couldn't find the words, It seems I've found a little more to my story as I sat there and watched those fireflies dance this evening. I'm not scared to tell my story anymore. It's molded me into the person I've become. It's made me trust in the Lord more than ever, to be thankful for every day, to help others, and learn to make due with what you have.
There's no rules on how to be an artist, there doesn't seem to be right or wrong answer. I still haven't figured a fraction of it out, but as I have art work scattered across this globe, I'm so very thankful for each and every one of you that have hung my artwork in your home, your sweet comments, and shares on Facebook.. You friends are my magical fireflies that have helped given me the courage to tell my story.
Let your light shine before others - Mathew 5:16
"Do you kids know which way is North?" Those words just flew out of my mouth as I was the one that was suppose to be charge...
Good morning friends,
It seems I've been chasing those white lines on the highway quite a bit, and I haven't been able to keep up with all the new stories, and travel adventures. I just recently got back from the sandhills of Nebraska, and every time I think about this story it makes me chuckle, so I hope it brightens your day, and you can relate.
My two new little buddies Braden & Kaylee. Aren't they adorable?
I was informed that on Monday afternoon the cowboys & I were needed on the Lazy 5 ranch to go help gather cattle, and prepare for their branding later in the week. Little did I know then what adventure I had gotten myself into! I had borrowed a little horse named Copper, and I was about to meet a family that would would turn into friends. But that's a whole blog in itself. Anyway, Laine stay on track...
So here we were driving down a sandy road up to the Lazy 5 ranch, the trailer was making all kinds of racket from all the bumps, and the boys were swapping all kinds of tall tales of cowboying stories. The clouds looked like it could come a down pour at any minute, and I began to worry a little bit because I didn't want all my camera gear ruined.
We unloaded the horses, tightened our cinches, and away we went. And away I went into the great unknown. It seems I'm always trailing behind all the cowboys in my own little world, trying to find my next shot, and it just so happens that's where I met Kaylee & Braden. We were instantly pals. Kaylee told me all about her horse Blue Duck, and Braden told me all about his horse Jose, and how it use to be Kaylee's but she was nice enough to pass him down. We talked about school, hobbies, and summer activities planned. It seems I was so caught up in all their stories that I really didn't pay attention to where we were going, or where we had just came from.
Now, this is where the real story takes place. We rode out for miles. Remember I'm from Missouri, so I'm use to trees, creeks, and a lot more fences. The sandhills has very few fences, and none of the other that I saw on their ranch. Except for some windmills scattered here and there. Windmills are the only landmarks. Remember I told you it was stormy also, so the sun was hidden. Well, Dusty their dad asked the kids if they just wanted to hang back with me, and the cowboys would ride further to go gather that cattle a few more miles away. The kids said "YES!!!, we want to stay with Laine" Well my friends that was the first mistake. I was instantly put in charge in foreign country with these sweet kiddos.
Dusty, rode up next to us and said "I'm gonna ride on and grab these other cattle, while you kids take all these cows and head North, and we'll meet at the windmill" In my little pea brain that sure sounded easy enough, and the kids and I began telling more stories. When all of the sudden a look of panic came across my face, and I honestly realized I was in charge, and no idea where North was. The windmill? You mean the windmill that was miles back?!?! So here I am out in the middle of nowhere white as a ghost in full panic mode, but I was staying calm for the kids.
I asked Kaylee, " Do you know where North is? Do you know where the pen is? How about the windmill?" She said "No, I thought you did" Well, I thought I did too until I realized there's miles and miles of these gently rolling hills, and I can't see anything in sight. So I panic, and start looking around for an adult. Only to realize I am the adult, and I had just been put in charge! Not to mention that we were suppose to gather the strays, and that they were counting on use to get them to the pen. Ok Laine, stay calm. Do not start laughing in your ridiculous hyena laugh (I do that when I get scared) you will scare these poor kids. Laine, just ride up to the tallest sand hill, and see if you can see anything. So with the kids next to me we trotted to the top of the hill. Nothing. That's what was in sight. nothing. However I did find a few strays, so we gathered them up, and pushed them on an old cattle path. Surely the horses, and the cows know which way the windmill was.
Ummm I'm pretty sure the cattle were just being difficult, and could see I was white as a ghost, and panic was across my face. They did not hardly move. So it was in this split second that I made an executive decision. We'd just have a little photo shoot. Yep, that's right. I decided I'd take pictures of the kids while I was coming up with an explanation in my head on how I was going to explain to their dad that I got us totally lost, and we'd just wait at the top of the hill until someone came to rescue us. haha!
In the middle of our impromptu shoot, I saw a brown speck a few miles away. It was some of the cowboys, and they were pushing the cattle our direction. That old cattle path must be the way to water at the windmill. I quickly put my camera down, and the kids and I began pushing on.
The windmill was in sight finally, and I had to let out my insane giggle. I mean who else could this happen to? The kids ended up having a blast, and not knowing the shear panic I was in. In fact I'm not so sure their story telling ever really stopped, ha! Dusty rode up to us, gave us new instructions on what to do with the cattle, and we ended up pushing them all in towards the trap where the windmill was at. I'd call it a success.
But please, please, please give me directions like turn left at the oak tree, or turn right at the feed bin because obviously I do not understand where North is, haha!
P.S. My mom bought me a compass :))
Braden, Dusty, Kaylee Wilson - Lazy 5 Ranch
" That's when she told me her family only uses a calf table, and I knew we didn't have a future..."
Good afternoon friends,
It's grey and gloomy here in Missouri, and I've had a quick minute to sit down and write. It seems we're in the middle of branding season, and it's a time to catch up with old friends, see a few neighbors, and swap a few tall tales. And this is exactly how this story took place. Now, before I go any further keep your funny bone alert, and a smile on your face.
I was catching up with one of my ol' buddies asking how his family was, if he's been day working a bunch, and you know just normal small chit chat when he had mentioned he finally got to take the fiery red head out on a date that he had asked numerous times. "Alright buddy!" I said. I was happy she finally gave him a chance, and before I could even speak he quickly shut me down, and said "Ya but Laine, it just didn't work out"
Now I'm confused. She had finally given him a chance, and how bad could it possibly be on a first date? He's a complete gentlemen so I knew he politely held the door, picked her up, paid for her supper, and kept his manners about him throughout the evening. So I just sat there with a confused look on my face, until he said "Her family only uses a calf table... and I knew we didn't have a future"
Now if you can imagine, I instantly busted out into laughter and tried to keep my wits about me as he began to say in a very serious tone "Laine, she said she was against branding the traditional way because any time they had tried to work cattle it never worked out right" that was followed up with a "This is a craft I take very seriously. It's taken years horseback and being around lots of cattle to perfect this art. It's not just something that should be replaced with four wheelers and calf tables" I had to agree, and I sat there as an ear to listen. He said " What's wrong with seeing your neighbor and helping them out? What's wrong with getting together as a community and catching up? And what's wrong with a nice ranch horse that knows it's job?" His feathers were getting fluffed, but he was absolutely correct. I'm still currently biting my tongue really hard.
I continued to bit my tongue because all I could really think about is who brings up branding cattle during supper on a first date?!?! Especially because you've asked her out 3 times! Only my buddy apparently. "Laine, her family only uses four wheelers" he said as he could hear me snicker, and then he said " We're in the heartland of America, this is tradition, this is my livelihood, I believe in helping your neighbors out, and then I found out her sister voted for Hilary and it was just too much!" he said as his voice got gruff, and huffy. And that's the exact moment I lost it, and had tears from laughter. I said " You can't hold a grudge because one of her family members voted for Hilary" "Laine, it's all just too much"
I wasn't laughing at him because I believe in everything he stands for, but I was dying laughing for the simple fact that could he not of brought up normal conversation over a casual dinner like "How was your day?" Nope, might as well just get it all out in the open, and find out where this red head stands on her agricultural views from the very beginning.
"Laine, it just didn't work out...they use calf tables" As he uttered, and shook his head.- A true story from my buddy a full time ranch hand who makes his living horseback every single day. hahaha!
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"Bobby Pins were a flying..."
Good morning, it seems we've all been there at one time or another. You know what I'm talking about, Ladies? The fact you haven't went to "town" in a while so you take this blissful opportunity to put a little extra effort into how you look. Now you may just need to run a few errands, or you may be on your way home from church, but whatever the occasion you decide to treat yourself with a little extra pampering time before you leave the house. This also translates to the day the cattle got out.
So here you are feeling all beautified, curls a bouncing, lashes long, that pretty new lipstick you picked up months ago on, and those new heels you're finally getting to wear because for once you won't have to be out feeding livestock. You're driving along singing to the radio, you've got those fly sunglasses on, and you are feeling great! Enjoy this moment. It only last a second when you own livestock.
You feel like you could conquer the world in those heels, you've had a great day in town, but you're ready to be home. That is until you turn on your road and you see a gate that has been left open, and cattle are scattered on that country road like glitter. Not just any glitter, that really fine kind of glitter that goes everywhere if there's an ounce of wind. That kind of glitter.
Now at this moment you have two choices. 1) You could run to the house to change your clothes, or 2) If you're like me you know those cattle can move pretty fast, so you fly out of the pickup and try to get them started back to the pens.
So here I am out here like wonder woman, gathering up bovine in a set of 3" pumps. This road just became my runway as I'm trying to push these youngin's back towards the house. All is going well. I've got this. If the fashion runway could only see me now. Hair blowing in the breeze, and I'm owning that road. My lipstick is still freshly applied, and these cattle are moooooooving on out. That is until, my dad sees these glitter cows, and comes to help out.
I shouldn't of spoke too soon. He starts hollering at me, because apparently I was doing this incorrectly. "Laine, get over there, don't lose them, and block the other gate so they don't head towards the highway" He doesn't blink an eye, and never notices I'm kinda in decent clothes, and in heels to top it off. It was literally 5 seconds after this "nice" warning my father shouted that they decided to scatter like cats. I mean those tails flew up over their backs, that fresh green grass kicked in, and they scattered.
If you've ever worked cattle with family, or a spouse you know that you can never weaken. You will get a cussin, you have to have thick skin, and you can never complain. But, I was still in heels. So once again, I faced my options. 1) Run towards that gate in those heels looking like a newborn calf that just learned how to walk, or 2) get rid of those puppies and fly over there barefoot? Those heels went a flying. I was bolting towards that gate barefoot. Bobby Pins couldn't fly out of my hair fast enough, who knows what that lipstick looked like as I'm sure it was smeared across my face by now, and don't even mention the decent outfit I had on, as it is now covered in flying manure.
So here I am standing there blocking a gate. Barefoot. HAIR A CRAZY SIGHT. and covered in manure, and mud head to toe...literally. Those heels? They're now in the dumpster. That outfit? It's right next to the heels.
I've learned through multiple of these experiences that cattle like to curse a woman when she goes to town. They always pick the exact right time to run a marathon. As for me? I haven't wore heels in a while, they make hoping fences to take pictures of windmills a little difficult :))
Dear Cows, I Won. Heels and all.
Hope you had a little giggle, and can relate!
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" I'll get the gate" he said, as I just sat in the pickup like a Unicorn and a smart smirk upon my face... (giggle, giggle)
It seems we've all survived and enjoyed our holidays with the family. I figured after being around your distant relatives you could use a little extra humor in your life. ha! It was a blistery cold morning, and I was to meet the two cowboys at the ranch house at the first break of day, now if you can imagine what a marshmallow looks like with two legs, and two arms then you have a visual of what I looked like on this morning. We had the trailers hooked up, and after loading the dogs,and horses we were to head out to the pasture to doctor sick cattle.
I hopped in the pickup in the back seat with all of my camera gear. Now ladies, if you can imagine riding down a gravel road in a pickup with a couple of cowboys on a blistery cold morning, you can visualize that they were feeling their oats. The sarcasm and wit was a flying, and I had to bring my A game to keep up! We pulled up to the gate, and they instantly just chuckled. They were smart. They had brought an automatic gate opener. In other words, I WAS the gate opener. But to my surprise one of them jumped out, and away we went. I was still kinda in shock.
We got the cattle all doctored, and were finishing up for the day and as we hopped back in the pickup I began to ponder why I didn't really have to get the gate. Now don't get me wrong these guys are first class gentlemen, but they also never miss a beat to give me a hard time, so the only conclusion I can come up with is that I'm a Unicorn! haha!
So this blog is really for all of those city girls that might need a little help in the ranch education department. Make sure you always sit in the middle of the pickup, or in my case the back seat with child safety locks on, and you sit there like the Unicorn you are! Haha!
Haha, you guys know I'm kidding. I always try to help out wherever I can, but it's fun to give them a hard time right back, or life would be pretty dull. I hope when you're both so old sitting in your rocking chairs that you look at the images I took of this day, and you laugh at the good times that were made. Thank you for allowing the "Tourist" to tag along, and a special thanks for getting the gate! I'm totally spoiled now!
You can view more of my stories and images on my Facebook page
"Why sure I'll ride him" were the words that came out of the small framed, silver haired, 78 year young ladies mouth.
As I awoke on this morning, the frost had covered everything it touched, and the wind was so bitter it could cut right through you. I honestly wasn't sure if I wanted crawl out of my warm bed to go with the boys, but I knew I'd regret it if I didn't get tough. So I bundled up in more layers than an onion, and waddled my way to the ranch house where we would meet.
The horses are already fuzzy with their winter coats, and on this cool morning their breath looked like a fire breathing dragon, and they had an extra spring in their step. They felt good! Ryan, climbed aboard ol' Ranger and after he got a few humps out of his back we were headed to the pasture to doctor sick cattle. ( That's a whole other story, ha!)
I was informed that this ranch manager granny would be joining us today from the warmth of the farm truck. Now, I'm not gonna lie, I always look forward to seeing a cute little grandma, but the fact there would be a warm feed truck to boot kinda got a girl excited. I can't help it, I hate frozen toes!
So as you can imagine, I rode around with granny for a while and watched the boys doctoring sick cattle in the pasture. We spoke of their ranch, and their operation, and how proud of her grandson she was. Now don't get me wrong this isn't your normal granny, she's a little spit fire and had me rolling with laughter as her short little legs could barely reach the gas petal, and we went hopping across the rough pasture in the feed truck. The boys had reached a stopping point, and we were about to switch pastures when Ryan walked up and saw an opportunity to give us a hard time. He said "Granny, you wanna ride this wild bronc back to the trailer?" in a joking manner. Well, I'm not so sure his face wasn't white as a ghost when she responded with a grin on her face and said "Sure"
Ryan, was still in shock I believe, but Granny climbed out of that feed truck, and my face lit up! This was really happening! Her cute little legs couldn't reach the stirrups so we brought ol' Ranger over to the pickup, and Granny was set!
Ol' Ranger is use to Granny spoiling him with treats, and that horse just dropped his head and knew he had to take care of her. This wasn't the same horse as when Ryan was riding him. He had instantly became a babysitter, and knew his job was to take care of Granny.
Away they went back towards the trailers, and Ryan still white as a ghost in shock, and a smile on his face as big as Texas. They rode and chatted, and I took pictures out of the cab of the warm feed truck. At that point I was almost in tears. I'm not gonna lie. Ryan told me that it had been years since she had been horseback, and he never thought he could actually talk her into it. But those spit fire Granny's like to keep you on your toes!
I was glad that I crawled out of bed that morning, and faced the cold bitter wind. This was a memory that will forever be cherished, and hung on the wall for years to come, right next to the photos of previous family members ranching. This is why I'm so passionate about capturing the ranch life. This is something that couldn't be captured in a stuffy studio, or in a posed photo shoot. This was an image of Granny living out her dream right next to her grandson. As we got back to the trailer I asked this sweet little doll " How was that?" and she simply responded with a big ol' grin on her face " He's gonna get extra treats tonight"
Feel free to view more images of this day on my Facebook Page.
" Oh my gosh, Lainey, that's a beautiful picture" were the words that came out of my nephews mouth as the mountains were very first reflecting in his big blue eyes.
It seems summer has been flying by, and I'm really far behind on posting about the cross country trip with my 8 year old nephew Creek Canyon. Creek and I have always had a special little bond. From driving gravel roads when he was a newborn because he had a severe case of colic, or to walking him endless hours when he was cutting teeth, somewhere in there we became pretty good buddies. His love for photography has just started to blossom in the last couple of years, but his love for animals, and wildlife has been existent since birth I believe. So when I mentioned I was going to a Montana ranch to photograph a horse drive, his blue eyes lit up, and you could see the inspiration on his face.
I think I must be half crazy as I was asking his parents for permission to take an 8 year old across country. I mean this would mean hours and hours in the car, and his longest trip prior to this was to Oklahoma. Should I be worried? What if he gets home sick? or worse what if he gets car sick? ha!
We left at 4 a.m. in one very loaded down rental car. Creek slept almost half way through Nebraska, and so far the trip was going well. The minute he woke up the questions began. " How many mustangs do you think we'll see" " Do you think we'll see white ones like Cloud?" ( Thank you to his buddy Tyler for buying him the Cloud the Mustang Documentary, ha!... He's watched it a million times) " I just can't wait to see mustangs" So needless to say I heard all about the mustangs through the state of Nebraska and into Wyoming. About 1,000 miles worth of mustang information, ha!
We arrived in Rock Springs Wyoming 15 and a half hours later. After some much needed rest, we awoke early the next morning to drive out to the BLM land to finally see his mustangs. I've never seen a kid so excited. It was really cold outside, and I figured he might change his mind. I was so wrong, haha! We bundled up and took off down this bumpy gravel road on the BLM land, and after a few miles he spotted his first band of bachelors. You would've thought he won the Powerball. He was rustling to grab my old camera in a frantic, and zip his coat up as fast as he could. "Lainey, you have to pull over, there they are, real live ones, I can't believe it" All I could do at this point was try to keep from laughing as stuff is flying all over the car.
We sat out there for a couple of hours so he could just watch them all. He was amazed, and I was quickly changing his camera cards because he thought we needed a million photos of the mustangs.
We left the BLM land and made our way to Jackson, Wyoming. I told Creek not to worry because we'd be seeing more mustangs on the ranch in Montana, along with a ton of wildlife as we were going to go through Yellowstone. He didn't make a peep. I think at this point he was overwhelmed with this adventure. His little heart was pounding as we made our way down the highway towards Jackson, and his first glimpse of the mountains was an unforgettable experience for me. We turned the bend, and there they were. Snow capped, and jagged. "Oh my gosh!, Lainey, that's a beautiful picture" as I could see the reflection in his big blue eyes. Once again items in the car went flying and he was digging for his camera. I'm not really sure to how many photos we have of those mountains out of the car window because I'm still currently sorting through the thousands haha!
We decided to get a little rest,and awake super early the next morning to make the drive to the Teton National Park. I didn't have to ask him twice to get out of bed. In fact, he put on clothes and boots, and flew out of the cabin. I'll be honest, I didn't make him brush his hair. We were camping, and on an adventure! Who has time for hair? It was dark, and we had thrown some breakfast burritos on the dash to warm up from the defroster, Our cameras were charged, and we would catch some early morning light, and hope to see a lot of wildlife. As we turned the bend on the gravel road, I could hear Creek's heart beating out of his chest almost as we were greeted with deer, and elk. "This place is so beautiful" as he began to tell me all about elk habitats and what they like to eat. I'm the adult here, and I'm getting information from an 8 year old tour guide, haha!
We spent the next few days just traveling through the parks, and photographing every animal in sight. A few times I was even asked to stop so we could photograph a bird's nest, or a pretty rock he found. He was in his element. I figured he would be getting pretty home sick as a few days had past, but it was the opposite. He wanted to travel further,and further. I felt like I was driving a smaller version of a National Geographic photographer around. He would begin his day with telling me what he'd like to photograph,and I'd try my best to make it happen. His folks on the other hand we're having a terrible time missing him, and his little sisters called often. My sister aka Creek's mom was a wreck haha!
After a few days of staying around the National Park's it was time to head towards the ranch. Creek was excited to see the mustangs again, and I was ready to be away from tourist.
The ranch was beautiful, and Creek was in heaven being surrounded by hundreds of horses. He finally found his white "Cloud the Mustang" and we have thousands of images of him as well, haha!
The horse drive was an experience, and the sound of thundering hooves against an old gravel road is one I will cherish forever. I'll post pictures on my facebook page when summer calms down a bit.
As summer is quickly winding down, and school begins in session again I have a feeling Creek is going to have quite the stories to tell his classmates. He has decided to use his photography from this adventure to benefit Farmer Grove Homesteads, which is an organization that host foster children. Last year we made Christmas ornaments and all of the proceeds was donated to buy little kids boots so they could participate in the horse therapy program. He raised enough funds to buy four pairs of boots.
As we rode through the mountains at the end of this trip, I realized that this could very well be the best adventure I've ever been on. Seeing the world through the eyes of an 8 year old little boy, and his excitement for life is refreshing. He taught me a lot about myself on that trip, and has inspired me to take more photographs of things I might've taken for granted, such as a birds nest.
We made our long journey back home after being gone for more than 8 days. We were exhausted, our car was filthy, and we were ready for a long hot shower. Was I crazy to take my nephew across country? Maybe I was, but to see the joy in his face, and the million questions twirling around in his mind, and packing a camera everywhere he goes was priceless in my opinion. Since we have been home I've been informed that he is my new assistant, I have to take him on every adventure, we will be moving to Montana soon, and when he gets a wife I can still live in his log cabin so we can still go take pictures, haha!
I've been inspired by this little guy. Our mission this year is to raise enough funds for Farmer Grove Homesteads to buy 5 pairs of boots for foster children so that they can participate in the horse therapy program. His way of sharing his love for animals.
I hope his story inspires you. I hope his story let's you know what's right in the world, and most of all how fast kindness can be spread. One 8 year old little boy with the love of photography, buying boots for little cowboys and cowgirls in need :))
Lainey & Creek's Big Adventures
P.S. Watch my facebook page for some of Creek's images, and some new items he will have up for sale this fall to help him with his goals
Good morning friends,
I'm sitting here writing this little gem as I'm covered in sweat, and feeling like I just ran a marathon. I'm covered in soaking wet horse hair, and my face is a flushed as a tomato. My whole body feels as I've just did a thousand jumping jacks, and I smell terrible. Welcome to the summer heat and humidity of Missouri.
I asked my dad last night if he would feed my horse for me this morning so I could catch up on a few things, and he gladly agreed. Now this could've been the biggest mistake. I arrived at the barn in the early morning hours, a cup of coffee in my hand, and was getting ready to catch my horse when I noticed all of the other horses running, and bucking like little young colts. I thought to myself "Hmm, everyone must be feeling good since it's a little cooler this morning"
As I noticed the other horses lapping around, and prancing in the pasture, I just kinda giggled and watched for a moment as I went to halter my horse. The moment I put that halter on my horse, and he also began to snort I giggled and knew he was feeling better, and liking his new home. I walked him over to tie him up, and began brushing and combing his wild mustang hair out, and he settled right down. Now this is the horse I know. We had quite the conversation until I threw that saddle pad over his back. That big black head came flying up, and he was instantly alert, and you could tell he might just take flight at any minute. Now this is the moment that you have to decide if you're going to be brave enough to saddle and climb on this fire breathing dragon. I took my chances.
The other horses were still acting like they were in a zoo, or out on open range, and I couldn't figure out why. I climbed up on my supposedly "gentle" horse, and I knew when that ol' head came flying up he was feeling good, and I was about to ride a gazelle. We trotted around a bit, and I knew the cooler weather felt better, but at this point I'm riding a giraffe. His ol' head was high, and you could feel the spring in his step. At any moment I'm thinking he's gonna kick over the moon, and I'm gonna be a yard dart out here in the back pasture. So we trotted and loped a few extra circles. Yes, he definitely has received some TLC in the last few days he's been here, but surely just plain rolled oats wouldn't bring him up that fast.
Remember, I asked my dad to feed? Yeah, well my dad also has thoroughbreds at the house right now, and those horses are on super high protein grain with supplements. Real life race fuel. They need to be in top condition for racing season, and they burn a lot of calories, so a higher protein is needed. However, our normal riding horses get a smaller mixture of rolled oats. As I finished my longer ride this morning, I thought I'd just check what grain my dad fed. I was right. He fed my ol' gentle horse racing fuel. No wonder I felt like I was riding a gazelle thru the pasture. The moral of this story is, never bring a horse to my house that needs some TLC from previous owners. He will have them jumping over the moon in no time, and your morning ride sessions will have you feeling like you've rode a gazelle from here to Mexico! ha!
P.S. I guess on the plus side I found out that blue horse can long trot quite the distance. I thought he was a Honda, not a Ferrari, thanks Dad :)
"Laine, the first lesson to setting up a teepee is...Crack a beer"
It seems my soul gets lost in the romantic idea of being able to pack a suitcase, and leave within a moments notice. Some might call it living like a gypsy. I like to think of it as freedom. Traveling inspires me. I've been informed I need to invest in a teepee, so I can get the full "authentic" effect of cow camp, and hotels are not so easy to find in a one horse town. So let the lessons begin.
I was invited out to the ranch to update photography for War Bonnets Brands, and with handmade western jewelry why not take photograph everything it represents, and learn how to set up a teepee in the process? Setting up a teepee was a little overwhelming for this girl, but here goes nothing!
We drove through the tall grass on a bumpy pasture road, and decided that it was the perfect place to photograph. I was instructed to grab a large sledge hammer out of the back of the pickup, as we'd be needing this to stake down the teepee through the Osage rocks.
Now ladies keep in mind, I'm out in the middle of a bull pasture with a cowpuncher who doesn't lack a sense of humor, or never misses the opportunity to give me hard time. I knew I couldn't mess up this process, so I was paying close attention to every word Colonel (as we like to call him) had to say. With a serious look on my face, and my full attention he began the lessons. "Laine, the first step to setting up a teepee is...crack a beer" Oh gosh, here we go with the hard time, as he just began laughing at my expense, and the serious look on my face, ha!
We unfolded that sucker, and I began using that huge sledge hammer to stake it down, and I didn't even hit my thumb, win! Put up the poles, and Boom! Mobile home complete! I really think it could be homey once you put a bedroll in it. It's spacious, and there's enough space you could actually stand up. The canvas is rain proof, and blocks the wind better than a regular tent.
As we concluded the photoshoot, and headed back to the house ,Colonel informed me of staying in a teepee for months on end. Cowboys on the wagons can't get far from the herd ,so it's a requirement. His eyes light up every time he talks about being a 2 day drive from the nearest town, and living in a teepee for months in the middle of nowhere. Literally.
As the world seems to be spinning out of control, and the amount of greed and hate seems to fill the media outlets. I felt my soul refreshed to be out in the middle of the bull pasture, disconnected from every day life, with the crickets chirping, and the sound of a whippoorwill off in the distance. You can "Glam" up those teepee's up a bit right? Turquoise canvas? Ha!
I think I just found my new weekend retreat. Have teepee, and bedroll. Will travel.
"Don't fling jelly" did those words just come out of my mouth?
If you've followed my Facebook page you know that I'm an Aunt to 3 kiddos. Creek Canyon ( age:8), Paisley Golden (Age:4), and then the little dumpling Coral Mae (age: almost 2).
Summer is in full swing, and if you can imagine having 3 kids that love to be outside, you know that it takes a village to keep them all tracked down. Being the aunt, I like to think of it as "Herding Feral Cats"
If you've ever tried to herd a bunch of feral cats, you know that it's quite the under taking. It's best to divide and conquer. That's where the village comes into play. I've been nominated as the 'Village Go-To" lately when the little dumpling (AKA; Coral Mae) needs someone to keep her occupied while my sister and brother in law try to catch a little break once in a while, or grocery shopping. I mean who wants to herd cats in a grocery store? ha!
The other day Coral Mae, and I were spending the day together, and our plans of planting flowers didn't pan out because it was pouring down rain. Now, can you imagine a wild beast caged for hours just pacing back and forth to get out? That explains Coral Mae's attitude as this country kid loves to be outside. Aunt Lainey was running out of options for entertainment indoors, and my hair was quickly thinning.
I didn't know if the dress she had on was from a boutique or a hand-me down, but at this point I was willing to face her mother, and buy her a new one just to let the caged beast burn off some energy! ha!
I noticed these pretty little shallow puddles, and I just so happened to have her rain boots, although I was soon informed that rain boots must be for sissies, ha! Of course, I grabbed my camera, headed down the drive with the almost two year old beast, and all of the dogs in tow. We began stomping, and splashing, and soon that little yellow dress was covered in mud. Those blonde curls were soaked, and that little wild child was finally taming down.
If you're a mother, I commend you. The beast had to go down for a nap shortly after our puddle jumping, and I...well... I had to finish cleaning up jelly that she had decided to fling all over the kitchen that morning.
I adore the precious time I get to spend with the kids, and I have to say I'm getting pretty creative at "Beast Taming" these days... Maybe that's why the kids have been begging to stay the with Aunt "Yainey" more often,Oh no! What have I done? ha!
Hope your summer is being filled with mud pies :))
Lainey aka "Beast Tamer"
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