The Sagebrush Sea

Ramblings from a Cowboy-girl.

Rodeo Rain

August 2014

Rodeo bound, our first few weeks back in our home country; we’re locked and loaded for Richey, Montana. This roping is the first social event our family will attend since our move and the three of us are giddy with excitement.  We can’t stop exclaiming to one another, how good the country looks.  We left Idaho in the midst of a drought; returning to Montana and Wyoming in one of the best moisture years folks can recall.   The closer we get to rodeo grounds, the darker and more ominous the clouds on the horizon look.

Cowboy canvas teepee, before the great flood.

Cowboy canvas teepee, before the great flood.

After pulling into the rodeo grounds, we unloaded our horses and we staked up our range teepee.  I like to acknowledge my Native roots by orienting my tent door to the morning sun and the East.  My husband is kind enough to indulge my whims.  With our horses watered and settled on grass, we settle in to visit.  It’s good to catch up with old friends.   Maybe it’s the miles.  Maybe it’s the years, but before long our bedrolls beckon.  The kid opts to camp in the pick-up, rather than the tent.  He must be more intuitive than we knew.  My husband and I  tuck ourselves in, too.  I sleep well, while it lasts.

In the wee hours of the night, rain begins pelting the canvas walls of the teepee.  The accompanying wind whips open the carefully tied teepee doors.  Wet canvas flopping in our faces, which are directly in front of the entrance, sleep is now impossible.  It is my fault.  As a result of our rush to pitch camp before dark and my insistence that the door face the East, we managed to set our tent up on an ever so slight incline.  Had we made a logical choice and slept with our heads away from the door, they’d have also been downhill.  Tolerating tent flaps, seemed less inconvenient. As they say, hindsight is twenty-twenty.

Morning can’t come soon enough, but it brings little relief. The rain continues to come down.  The tent is saturated and sometime in the wee hours of the morning water begins to pool on the floor.  As it pools on the floor, it begins to soak through our bedding.  Every time I shift my bodyweight, I create an new opportunity for water to soak up through the four inches of foam in our bedroll.  Four inches of foam is decadently comfortable, but only when dry.  A weak sun rises, we do too.

The rain keeps falling.  I try not complain, moisture is no laughing matter in agriculture.  I’m weak, Ill admit it.  The heater in our pick-up never felt so good.  Guy sniffed out coffee, one of my husband’s many talents.  Definitely worth keeping him around for.  While folks debate the pros and cons of going on with the show, we are undeniably old and cold, with no dry clothes or bedding.  Another soggy night ahead of us, we pack our soggy selves up slink away.

Slicker, Slick, and slick ponies.

Slicker, Slick, and slick ponies.

Someday, maybe we’ll feel some shame for not sticking it out.  Today, I’m happy to have had a warm nights sleep during the wettest August on record in Montana.  I admire those knot heads, we’re lucky enough to call friends who gutted it all out.  You are a fine bunch.

Regards from a sissy la-la,


5 Things I’ve Learned From My Brothers

I failed to post or acknowledge National Sibling Day.  I didn’t realize there was such a day.  How about you? When did April 10th become National Sibling Day?  I am clearly behind the curve on more than one front.  I’ve been giving thought to lessons I’ve learned from my younger brothers through the years.


1. “My saddle is too slick.”

There is no guarantee of safety in life.  Just because your “saddle is slick” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ride fast.


2. Help a guy ride a goat once in a while.

Kindness and helpfulness are infectious, pass it on.


3. Wear your Superman jammies to the grocery store.

Through the years, I’ve lived with Zorro, went grocery shopping with Superman, and zipped Spider Man up on more than one occasion.   Zorro, Super Man, or Spiderman whatever speaks to your personal sense of style, go with it.  It isn’t what you wear, it’s your attitude that matters.  Confidence speaks for itself.


4. Forgive.

Sometimes your brother knocks you down and steals your toys, love him anyway.  Life is best lived with your whole heart.  We are irresistible to others when we embrace that philosophy.


5. When you’ve had enough, you’ve had enough and that’s okay.

Don’t be afraid to express your discomfort with a situation.  At a certain age crying and screaming aren’t acceptable means of communication, but by no means should you stop communicating.  We are each unique individuals, but we all share the common need to protect our boundaries.  Clearly expressing ourselves is the first step.


Thank you, brothers.  I would be incomplete without your influence.  I probably wouldn’t know any fart jokes, either.






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.


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