Monday, December 29, 2008

NEW COLLECTION: Branching Out


I'm so pleased to announce I have a new collection on my Web site called "Branching Out."

It contains 13 images of tree branches in the dead of winter, devoid of leaves but rich with dried seed pods. It speaks of the subtle beauty that remains after obvious beauty has left.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Dinner

It was just Brian and I for Christmas this year, and I decided to make a much smaller, albeit just as tasty, dinner.



I started with asparagus soup, a new way to enjoy our favorite vegetable. Yum!

Then came crab legs, because hey, it was Christmas. I do wish we could eat crab every day.


Then I finished with pumpkin butter mousse. It was oh so tasty and worth the $10 we spent on pumpkin butter at Williams-Sonoma.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas

Happy was pretty excited for her second Christmas.

It was Little Bear's first. Here she is guarding the presents.

The stockings were hung by the radiator with care.
My husband recieved many many books.
Happy loved chewing on boxes that were much larger than she was.

And Little Bear always seemed to choose the tiniest boxes to chew on.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays


The Capitol building in Cheyenne, all dolled up for Christmas, was the lovely sight just a block from the building where I served jury duty earlier this month.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tumble Inn

Some of my favorite photos that I have taken in Wyoming are of defunct businesses (I am thinking of doing an entire collection of them). There are so many, from the booms and busts of the energy business. Mines shut down, others open elsewhere, and loads of people move to and fro. I drove past this one on the way back home from our Teton trip.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More Reflections


I climbed down off the road onto this little beach (after checking for bears doing a little last minute foraging) to get these shots with the dead tree in the foreground. They are definitely my favorite.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reflections


When we were out driving around, we happened upon the Grand Tetons reflecting in the water.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mummm...chocolate.

My husband just turned 30, so while we were in Jackson, his sister ordered him an amazing dessert from world-famous chef, Oscar Ortega. He is the executive chef and owner of Cioccolato, in downtown Jackson, which has every sort of chocolate dessert you can think of in beautiful display cases. Ortega and his staff work right behind the counter in full view so you can see them crafting their wonderful creations.

Brian loves coconut custard pie more than any other dessert on the planet. Obviously, the dessert was not a traditional one, but Ortega made his own version, which was very much like a Boston creme pie with coconut and pineapple filling. I can't describe how amazing it was. It looked like it would be far too rich, but since it was dark chocolate, it was really perfect. I'm salivating just remembering it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Prepare To Be Underwhelmed...

...by my wildlife photography. I don't normally share sub par photos on here, but I turn into a 10-year-old when I see wildlife and have a camera handy. Even though I know they are going to be bad, I just can't stop snap, snap, snapping.


These are the elk in the National Elk Refuge, where they winter. You can spot them easily from the highway on the north side of Jackson. I don't think the space is a controversial item, but the fact that the government feeds the elk is. Their herd numbers are nearly double what biologists believe they should be, and would naturally thin out to what the land could support, except that they are fed in the winter. However, if they were not fed, they would graze on the surrounding cattle lands and cause ranchers quite a bit of money and trouble. So the issue is at sort of a compromise, as many wildlife related issues in Wyoming are.

We were exploring the roads open north of Jackson, in Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Parkway, when I spotted two wolves crossing a frozen river. We pulled the Xterra over and grabbed our binos and cameras. Even from a distance of about 1/2 of a mile away, they looked very large. Through the binos we could see their coloring and size and tell they were definitely wolves. Seeing them was the highlight of our trip - they are rare to spot unless you go with biologists and rangers who know their habits. They did look up and see us, but continued crossing the ice, tentatively feeling out unstable parts and jumping over melted rivulets, until they were out of sight.

If you want to hear about real controversy, just mention wolves. Wyoming, Montana and Idaho have been at the center of wolf reintroduction debates. The idea, I think, was for the packs to stay central to Yellowstone National Park and other nearby parks and forests, and for those areas to support them. Wolves, however, are wild animals and like any other, they don't stay where you tell them to. The estimated 1200 wolves range past the park and sometimes prey on the easy kills of cattle. Wyoming is struggling to find a compromise between folks who feel strongly on both sides of the issue. Some want NO wolves in Wyoming, and others want NO regulation of the species. Wyoming is still trying to find a balance that the federal government approves of.




Flat Creek, along the same part of the highway that you'll find the National Elk Refuge, is home to a group of Trumpeter Swans. We drove by a few times and they were always visible, but I got these pix when they were close to the fence (which is there to keep them from attacking folks like me who get too close).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Arrival in the Tetons


We arrived in Jackson at night, which means we didn't see much of the beautiful drive through Grand Teton National Park, though we did nearly hit an elk when we exited the forest and were zipping along through Jackson Hole, the basin between the Grand Tetons and the Gros Venture mountain ranges. The basin is very flat, and that's where you are most likely to see bison and elk, and it is clear from all the road signs that they will cross the highway. Still, even though we weren't exceeding the speed limit, we came to a screeching halt. I was in the back seat and I looked up to see an elk's butt in the windshield, heading back off the road. That's just another day in Wyoming. Anyway, I took this shot of the Grand Tetons the next morning. They are so impressive because there are no foothills. They seem to rise straight up, with the highest peak in the range being 13,770 feet.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wind River Mountains

From Cody, it was another day's drive to Jackson. Driving south, we could see the Wind River Mountains, which are in the distance in this photo. The range was on our right and we passed by them, driving through the Wind River Canyon which is quite dramatic in and of itself.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Irma

The first overnight stay on our vacation with Bri's family was in Cody, Wyoming, named for "Buffalo Bill," William F. Cody.
For those of you who don't know, Buffalo Bill was a larger-than-life figure that helped shape what we envision when we think of the American West. Famous across the globe in his own time, he is best known for his traveling arena show, Buffalo Bill's Wild West, which was founded in 1883. It toured the United States and Europe for 30 years, and featured sharp shooters, Indian rituals, and elaborate battle reenactments.

Buffalo Bill helped found Cody, Wyoming in 1895, and established his TE Ranch in the area. In 1902, he built the Irma Hotel, named for one of his daughters, as a stopover for people traveling to see Yellowstone National Park (the East entrance to the park is an hour's drive away). Many famous folks stayed, including Annie Oakley and Frederic Remington. Buffalo Bill maintained two suites and an office at the hotel for his personal use.
Though we weren't staying there, we did make dinner plans.


It was absolutely splendid, and decked out in holiday grandeur. The dining room is large and open. One wall is occupied by the cherry bar, original to the hotel. I've heard that Buffalo Bill reportedly paid $100,000 for in his time. I've also read that it was a gift from Queen Victoria, who attended his show when he toured Europe. I have no idea which story (if either) is true, but it is gorgeous.

It has a pretty bling cash register.


I loved the lighting...the elk shed chandelier and these old fashiony looking lights. They remind me of the skirts flappers wore in the 20s.


There are a lot of places and things that are interesting just because they are historic, but stepping through the doors of the Irma really transported us. The tin ceiling, the wallpaper, the bar...it all looked like it could really have been just the way it was back then. I'm sure it has been updated (imagine what all that cigar smoke must have done to the wallpaper) but it looks original.
The next day we spent a few hours at the Buffalo Bill Historic Center in town. This massive museum has five displays: The Buffalo Bill Museum, the Plains Indian Museum, the Draper Museum of Natural History, the Whitney Gallery of Western Art, and the Cody Firearms Museum. My husband enjoyed the latter's collection of (quite literally) thousands of guns. They also had on display several of the world's number one ranked big game mounts. It was cool to see some of the largest specimens on record.
We spent only a short time in Cody, but we really made the best of it with our dinner at The Irma, our trip to the Buffalo Bill Historic Center and some shopping at Sierra Trading Company. If you are ever on a trip to Yellowstone, Cody is worth seeing.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Beyer Family Vacation

My husband's parents and sister came out to Wyo to see the sights...to get a feel for the place where we now live. It was a bit of a whirlwind trip, but we showed them quite a bit of the state. After spending the night at our house in Wheatland, we stopped in Thermopolis on the way to Cody. Hot Springs State Park is always a favorite stop, with its herd of resident bison. This day, they were not too close to the road, but I just couldn't resist snapping shots of them.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Back Early and Gone Again

Hello everyone...
I added a few extra days to my vacation estimate in case there was enough snow to snowboard, but there was not. So we returned on Sunday evening, and thank goodness because I had a notice in the mail that I was up for jury duty today.
I went this morning and was chosen for a trial expected to last for 3-4 days. It's good timing, considering I feel like I'm always about to be off somewhere. Even if it lasts past the estimate, it is most likely to wrap up in plenty of time so as not to interfere with the holidays.
But alas, dear readers, you may have to do without me for a few more days. I really can't wait to get back to blogging every day (and I have some good pix of the Tetons to share) so please hang in there. There's much more exciting material to come - I just don't know when that will be.

Monday, December 1, 2008

To the Tetons


My husband's parents and his sister are coming to visit from Virginia and West Virginia, respectively, for the next week. They'll get to see our new house, and then we'll head west to Cody and then Jackson for some winter wonderland fun. I can't describe how gorgeous the Tetons are, so this photo from a previous trip will have to suffice.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Free Shipping

Just in time for the holidays...
Free shipping on everything in my store (excluding cheese plates).
That's photos, purses, notecards and magnets, delivered to you for free, through Sunday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ohio Trip, Part VII


Despite the fact that fall ushers in winter, I do love the seasonal mums that bloom enthusiastically when the temperatures begin to drop.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ohio Trip, Part VI

It was just a few days before Halloween when I was in Yellow Springs, Ohio for a short visit. It seemed that everyone had decorated, which just amplified the cheery feel of the town.

There were lots of older homes in town, including a few that didn't need any extra help to look spooky. And a few scary dogs that made me walk faster...


Friday, November 21, 2008

Ohio Trip, Part V

So Yellow Springs is a bit of a hippie town, but in that more grown-up sort of way, like Austin, TX. It's the kind of place where you see Birkenstocks and VW vans, sure, but it has a real sense of community. Some hippie enclaves feel transient, but Yellow Springs feels like the sort of place you'd move to raise your kids.


The community is mostly older houses, in various conditions. I saw houses being renovated, surrounded by scaffolding, and others that were quite tattered. They all seemed to fit it, with no pressure to be a perfect little neighborhood.


There were sidewalks along every street, making it very conducive to walking. It is sort of place you'd find a manicured "Enchanted Walkway." (See the sign in the above photo). The whole place had a sense of playfulness and a comforting feel that was really pleasant.



All the yards were well-cared for, and there were so many quaint details, like the garden gate above, and ivy-covered trees. I'm sure it all took work by the homeowners, but it looked effortless, like a place that aged naturally. I love that sort of place. It's no wonder Bri was so eager to show it to me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ohio Trip, Part IV

It was a perfect fall day when I was walking around Yellow Springs, OH.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ohio Trip, Part III

Yellow Springs has cool, thoughtful murals around every corner.