The Sagebrush Sea

Ramblings from a Cowboy-girl.



Despite moving more than five months ago, we’re still a family in transition. We’ve not established new routines for our new surroundings.  As a result, my writing has suffered.  I am sensitive to the energy of my environment, I require quiet time and space to be productive.  Quiet time and space are hard to come by, with a family of three in a one-bedroom apartment.  On the flipside, our days are filled with an abundance of one another.  Joyful, quality time with my favorite people overrides any inconvenience.

The holiday season was upon us, before we were fully ready.  It seems as if this entire year has proceeded at such rapid pace, I’m not prepared for it to end.  Thankfully, we tend to measure time on the ranch by seasons and cycles, rather than calendar pages.  However, the outside world is not so forgiving.  Like it or not, 2015 is looming ahead of us.

The days are imperceptibly lengthening and despite the Winter weather bearing down upon us, Spring is in our future.  It is my hope for you that the changing calendar and promise of a new season, brings light and hope to your life.  May the blessings of this season of generosity smile upon you.  Light and love, Rachel.

A moment of gratitude.

My notebook is empty, but my heart is full.  Its as simple as taking the time to appreciate the beauty in the changing light upon a blanket of snow.

Sunset on snow, Carlo is unimpressed.

Sunset on snow, Carlo is unimpressed.

Though my horse was not inspired by the light, the beauty filled my heart with gratitude.  May you find peace in the small things this holiday season.


Changing Ranges

Road through sage grouse lek in Slaughterhouse, TM Ranch, Idaho

Road through sage grouse lek in Slaughterhouse, TM Ranch, Idaho


Cowboys’ desire to for new ranges, the novelty of new country, has been around long as the profession itself. My husband is no exception, though family has slowed his wandering. We’ve called ten different houses in three different states home in the past twelve years. I enjoy the thrill of exploration that comes with every new territory, but I crave the familiarity of my very own snug bed at night.

Regardless of our location, packing, unpacking, and the slow process of settling in is the same. “I will remember where I put the {coffee pot, warm blankets, important papers},” becomes the most common lie I tell myself. The relative importance of every belonging is considered and reconsidered, before it is packed or not packed. I think I’ve pared our household down to the essentials, until it comes time to unpack them all. At which time, I find myself reassessing the importance of each suddenly superfluous item.

A month has passed since we loaded our worldly belongings into a horse trailer and headed to Wyoming. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave Idaho, we spent the last four years building a life in a lovely community. Despite our contentment, the siren song of change was always audible. The signs began stacking up in favor of moving, we packed ourselves (and our dogs and horses) and returned to a family ranch in Wyoming.

We already know the high grasslands of this landscape, as intimately as we had come to know the sage and canyons of Southern Idaho. Although there is little unknown to explore, returning to this outfit holds the same sense of familiarity and comfort as a favorite pillow. Though we miss our friends and the home we created in Bruneau, our own cattle and horses we’ve raised are here to greet us like old friends.

With every move, I shed excess clothes, kitchenware, and furniture. With every move, we learn more about what we value and ourselves. With every move, we hold more tightly to our friendships and less tightly to our belongings. As difficult as it has become, changing ranges has taught us more about ourselves than staying in bed ever could.

Goodbye Good Friend.

I laid my old dog to rest this morning.  Gordo would’ve approved of the shady spot my son and I chose.    It was hot and the ground hard.  I dug the grave with the help of my tears, I owe him the honor of my labor.  We carefully selected rocks  to mark the spot and planted a single flower near his head.

We spent twelve good years together.  Despite my ignorance of training techniques, Gordo was a decent and hard working cow dog.   He enjoyed working, as Border Collies do, but lacked the characteristic creep and eye.  His cow working technique relied largely on sheer intimidation.

In addition to being a fine working dog, Gordo was an unfailingly loyal companion.   He walked me through grief and depression with  enthusiasm and cheerfulness.  Gordo rarely failed to bring a smile to someone’s face.  He embodied pure joy every time it snowed.  He relished cold weather and stealing hats off the heads of sledders.

I will miss him.  His love of walks and sledding, his skipping step and enthusiastic “talking” every time I mounted my horse in the morning, and the comfort of his knowing silence.  He was a good friend and a good dog.  May we all age with such grace, live with such loyalty, and strive to be cheerful.  Rest in peace, Gordo.  You are loved.

Gordo Lohof Larsen A Fine Friend 2002-2014

Gordo Lohof Larsen
A Fine Friend


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