In 2012 we had arranged to go back to Cody Wyoming and visit my family for Thanksgiving. We had a week to spend with my large family and we used every minute of it staying busy. We arrived late at night and couldn’t see much of my childhood home but as soon as we got to the farm it felt like home. The family dairy farm has several hundred cows and several hundred acres of land for farming. Of course the next day we had to go take a walk around the farm and take some pictures. One of the key landmarks of being home is a lone mountain called Heart Mountain. Our family has a small obsession with this mountain so it tends to end up in many of our pictures. Having come from Alabama the crisp, dry winter air was a small shock to our systems but we acclimated quickly. Below are some of the photographs we took while home.
The second night home we had a beautiful sunset which brought back so many memories of sunsets through the years. Later that night it started to snow and we had to run out and play in it for just a little while. The below pictures show our Sunset and the snow the next morning.
Later on in the week I paired up with all my cousins, uncles, and other family members to head out and split firewood for everyone. Over the years we have had dead trees gathered into one location then cut into giant logs for firewood. These trees were so large our fireplaces were too small to use the wood without it being split. So we got our equipment fired up and our crew together to get to work. I was told we would only be working for 2 hours then we would be done. I should have known better. I had forgotten if things were going well on the farm we worked until we were completely done.
To split the wood we required a chainsaw, Forklift, Tractor, Loader, and a dump truck. The chainsaw was needed for the trees that had not yet been cut. The Forklift held our hydraulic powered wood splitter. A splitting wedge had been welded to a frame on the end of a mount and a hydraulic pump had been placed on the other with a flat platform to push the logs against the wedge and split them. The Tractor was needed to provide the hydraulic fluid and power for the pump. The loader was used to hold the split wood until it was full. Then it would dump its load into the back of our dump truck which would hold several loads. Once the truck was full it would be driven to the homes the wood needed to be piled at. For all of this we needed a large working crew. One person to operate the tractor pump, several to gather the wood, several more to hold the wood while it was split, and even more to load the wood into the loader. Once the truck was loaded we split our crew and half would go to the home and pile the freshly split wood.
What should have been a short 2 hour job turned into almost 5 hours of hard consistant work. We skipped lunch and kept working. I hadn’t worked that hard in a long time and didn’t think anything of it, but the next day I have to tell you I knew I hadn’t worked that hard in a long time. I was sore everywhere. I wouldn’t have changed any part of the experience because it was so much fun working with the family. By all rights we should have had people injured at every turn but the most damage we had were stubbed toes, sore backs, and scraped shins. It was a very enjoyable experience. Oh and it was about 38 F˚ outside.
I should mention we were doing all the cutting right in the middle of a pasture area for some of our animals. Cows are curious creatures and it didn’t take them too long to come and discover what we were doing.
A few days after Thanksgiving we went with our family up into the mountains near Yellowstone National Park to go Christmas Tree Hunting and sledding. This has been a tradition since I was a child and we were looking forward to it. The drive takes about an hour in one direction and drives us higher into the mountains. When there we split up to inspect small pine trees to find the perfect Christmas tree. This is the most difficult part but also provides the most adventure. Rachel and I helped everyone else get their Christmas Trees just in time because it started snowing. You could see the snow falling through the canyon as it came closer and closer. It also provided us an opportunity to play in the slim snow and get some pictures of our individual family christmas trees.
On the way home we took a quick picture of the scenery. Below is a photograph of our local reservoir a little low on water in the winter. There was another beautiful sunset that night and the next day we had some more snow falling outside our house and our neighbor had some horses in their field. We couldn’t help but take a few pictures of the horses in the rapidly falling snow.