Here we are in Smoot, Wyoming. Our new dream ranch and home in Star Valley. The population is 106 now that we've arrived, and we're crazy about it. It's been so much work, with much more to come - but it's a place that is just, so... 'us'.
This is the barn, and us - delivering one of our first loads in October.
This is the opposite view, with the house up in the trees... see it?
Jim unloading what will be our temporary entrance gate - a cattle gate.
We had a major mud problem in the fall when we first bought the place, so Jim turned the dirt road into a gravel road with 8-plus loads of gravel and the bob-cat. It was so much work for Jimbo, and the boys helped spread the rock around. In different ways, the boys are both miniature versions of Jim.
This particular cowboy hat is a major point of contention at our house. We have maybe 5 cowboy hats... all of which, I can't tell the difference between one from the next. But the boys both have their eyes on this particular hat. They fight about it - I think every day. Bo thinks he deserves it because he's, 'the smallest person in the family'. And Ty just won't hear of it.
I think we got a little piece of Judd Cramer back when we bought this place, and I know he's buzzing around us somewhere.
Wish he was here.
The Tree House.
It's looking a little lopsided, but it's working for now.
Jim told the boys - the tree house was theirs. But they had to maintain it... more than anything to get them to figure stuff out on their own. And it's working. The boys worked an entire afternoon building a ladder.
Bo hammered his face when the claw-end of the hammer came loose as he was digging a nail out of his ladder. A near-tooth-loss incident. Turns out all we needed was some unnecessary (magic) chap-stick and some TLC. It's amazing what those magic remedies can heal.
The boys both shot their first squirrel, wow were they proud...
...and these photos show they were proud when posing for pictures, but their faces say it all in these next two shots.
Ty's true reaction -
... and Bo's -I thought he was going to puke it. He later nailed it by the tail to the side of his tree-house, calling it his, 'squirrel mount'.
Jim and I worked on fire-wood for two solid days. We were up against snow-fall in October, and literally worked until it fell. We used the 4-wheeler and chains to drag fallen timber out of the back of the property, and cut as much as we could to store for winter.
And the snow has fallen.
Jim in the bob-cat, trying to clear as much as possible.
No furniture at this point, the boys crashed on the floor of the loft.
Preparing for Christmas, Jim & I hiked and found our first, real Christmas tree.
The house was pretty bare for Christmas, but the one thing we DID have - was a tree.
Pulling sleds behind the sleds is our favorite new thing. Ty is quite the driver.
Ty and I had a little too much fun in the beginning, turning over the machines a bit too often for Jims taste. We can tip them over, but can't quite set them back upright. I clearly had nothing to do with this one.
Hitching a ride in the bobcat.
The wreckage of Christmas morning. I hope we're not the only ones who let our kids be this unruly. It's once a year, right?
Jim trying to kill the muskrats in our pond. They look super cute with their fuzzy faces, until you see their giant rat-like tails, and then you remember they're MuskRATS.
The house from the gate.
Mi familia at the ranch. Jim's got a thing or two up his sleeve at all times. For Christmas, he surprised me with almost everyone coming for an unexpected visit... followed by an even more unexpected proposal!!
My Mom and guns. Who knew. Jim LOVES this about my Mom!
Little Sister, Katie-did
Kate & Bobo
Melissa & Kate on the sled.
This 'sport' is crazy really, like nothing I've ever seen - it inexplicably turns grown adults into giggling, goofy kids.
It's quite amazing. My sisters are the best!
Med-student gone wild!
Kate & Parker