November 14th

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

This man.

You’ve all heard it before: Paul’s basically the best.

He worked all weekend, into the week, and he comes home and doesn’t stop. We had a list of home projects a mile long this morning, and he tackled it.

Here you see Paul in his natural habitat, conquering the snow fence install. Not pictured: Penny the chicken for the assist.

October 16th

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Animals have such healing powers. Especially large animals.

I don’t know why I always seem to forget that.

I assisted Shelley at what has turned into our annual fall photoshoot with Ames Percherons this afternoon, and those gentle giants just never cease to captivate me.

When you simply stand in their presence, it allows your mind to quiet and empty; their demeanor and spirit gently invades your senses, pulling out all anxieties. You smile easier, breathe easier, feel the peace fill your heart.

Maybe it’s because they are true examples of God’s creation. They thunder when they move, literally shake the ground, but it only takes two human hands to bring them all to a stop again. Power and grace. To look at an animal so large, yet so unimposing. To be so close to danger, but feel so safe.

It’s such a spiritual experience, there’s just nothing else like it. You can ask any horse person and they’ll agree – drafts are in a league of their own. Even the UPS guy drove down the road, turned back around, and stopped to watch.

They just draw you in.

Even the deer aren’t alarmed by them. We had just returned to the barn after the team thundered all over that hill the deer are standing on, but the deer act as if they were never there. It’s like they were hanging out in the trees, enjoying the show, and walked out to eat their clover as we left.

I’ve been feeling smothered by my anxiety lately, which isn’t uncommon for this time of year (goodbye long, sunny days), but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to hit that fall wall. But it’s amazing how God placed this afternoon on my schedule knowing exactly what I needed. My neck pain has subsided, my headache from earlier today is gone, my appetite is back, and I’m ready for tomorrow.

Heeeyo let’s do this!

August 16th

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

Tonight felt like the ideal summer night.

Comfortable enough to sit out on the front porch and watch Paul rope. Not too hot (or humid), not too cool. And miraculously enough, no bugs. Not until after the sun set when a handful of mosquitos arrived.

The sun was even diffused behind a thin layer of clouds/haze/smoke, so I could look into the sun to watch Paul rope without burning my retinas.

Paul hasn’t spent an evening at home in over a week, maybe pushing two, so this relaxing, near perfect evening was exactly what we needed.

August 9th

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

Every spring when I start my garden, my seedlings look so puny; it’s hard to imagine my garden filling out, especially coming out of winter when I’m hungry for more color outside.

Then August hits and my garden feels like a straight up jungle, and I’m half cursing myself for planting so much. It’s always amazing how much one seed, one plant, can produce.

You all may think I’m exaggerating, but I think Paul and I have picked over 300 cherry tomatoes from 5-6 plants out of our garden so far – AND THEY’RE ALL STILL PRODUCING.

Paul was very enthusiastic about them when they started to ripen, and now he’s dead sick of them. I’ve been saving our strawberry and extra large Sam’s Club blueberry plastic containers, filling them up with tomatoes, and pawning them off on people.

So on that note, if you want some cherry tomatoes, please do NOT be shy. Let me know!

July 17th

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

It’s happened, folks.

This image was not taken today. It was, in fact, taken on Saturday. In the two year run of doing this blog, this is my first “failure.”

Want to know why?

Paul left for work with my camera bag in his truck. I totally forgot to grab it before he left.

Yes, yes, I could’ve used my phone, but I’m embracing the failure.

I also am posting this image before yesterday’s because yesterday’s images are on the memory card in my camera. In Paul’s truck.

And to be honest, I was bummed I didn’t get to share this image on Saturday (branding took the front seat), so I’m glad I get to share it – even if through a failure.

This is our mama, my girl. And guess what I learned about her on Friday, friends?!


I walked out of the barn, looked back to the hay field Friday afternoon (right where she is in this picture), and she had two littles bounding around and playing while she took a minute to eat. I stood there and watched for awhile, unable to do anything but that because of why? What have we learned in the past?

Courtney. Must. Always. Bring. Her. Camera.

Naturally, one of the neatest things happens and my camera is up at our house. Such is life I suppose.

Then I took this picture the next day when she was out by herself (Saturday), and Sunday we watched from our house as Junior raced around on the pasture side of the fence, on full alert, because she was out grazing in the hay field. He wanted her to come say hi, but she was perfectly content to munch.

She’s become a fixture at the farm, and I love it.

June 9th

Saturday, June 9th, 2018

Well, Paul and I made it to three o’clock this afternoon and then we bailed.

At one point, everyone had to evacuate the field and take shelter because of the storm, but we got the all clear and started back up again. While all of the acts today were great, and we stuck it out for awhile, sitting in a steady rain wasn’t much fun for anybody. So we eventually did pack up and head home.

It was nice to have a relaxing evening at home, and to enjoy the little bit of sun that peeked out right as the sun went down. Paul and I were loading the dishwasher after dinner when we looked up and a Sandhill Crane couple were walking through our yard.

The sun was fading fast, and I had to raise my ISO higher than ideal, but I did get this one of the male catching the last bits of ambient golden light.

I love living here.

May 20th

Sunday, May 20th, 2018

I’ve missed these guys!

Once the snow melts and the grass starts to grow, we don’t see them much. I hear the roosters crowing a lot, but they don’t come out into the open often.

The neighbors who farm the fields around our house came out and planted soy beans this week, so with that bring the geese and swans to dig up and munch on the seeds until they germinate.

I guess this guy felt safe enough with all of the commotion to come out for a quick evening stroll.

May 16th

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

You’re getting more than one image today, whether you like it or not.


Want to know why?

#1: Percheron.
#2: Foal.
#3 Put it together for me now: Percheron. Foal.
#4: New lens.
#5: Pretty light.
#6: I’m feeling sassy (HA!)

Just so we’re clear, if you made it all the way to the end of that list, you’re hard to please. “Percheron” on its own is all this girl needs to hear. Then you add in “Foal” and I’m a puddle.

No, but really, how have I not had this lens yet?!?!?!? I’m shaking my finger at all ya’ll who didn’t boot me in the butt sooner.

Did I already say I’m feeling sassy? I’m at my desk talking to myself with my hands I’m so fired up!

It is 10 o’clock…and Shelley did in fact feed me coffee after our shoot…that maaaaaay have something to do with it 😉

Anyway, redirecting. If you follow my blog, you know about my shoots with Shelley and the Ames Percheron Farm. Tonight, Shelley invited me to come with for more of a “fun” mission (but let’s be clear here, all Ames shoots are FUN): Photographing a FOAL! A cute little 6 week old dude with no name yet; jet black with one perfect star on his forehead. Fun fact: When he gets to be his mama’s age, he’ll be the same color she is – hard to believe isn’t it?

Mama was so confident; she was a stunner. I’ll admit that I’m not well-versed on horses and pregnancy, but I thought she looked dang good. I would’ve never guessed she had a foal 6 weeks ago.

Which made me start thinking about their origin and their history. Plow horses, bred to be steady, powerful, and safe around family. Their roots run deep; their history rich. I’ve always loved old black and white photographs of farmers and their horses. I could decorate my house with them, I just find them quietly remarkable. So much so, that I usually find myself editing my photos of drafts into black and whites. If you go back to my state fair images from last year, I did that a lot with my images of drafts walking the streets before crowds arrived. Another fun fact: I actually photographed the Ames that day, and didn’t know it! Shelley hadn’t done any shoots with them at that point.

So tonight while working through these images, although the light was gorgeous, and the colors vibrant, I gave into the urge of BW. My goal was to give it a film-type look, check them out and see if you think I succeeded.


Ok, and one in color, because, well, spring!


April 25th

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Spring brings warm evening light; I’ve missed it!

My friend and mentor, Shelley, was approached by a publishing company last summer to collaborate on a book deal. She moved forward with them and a few short months later, a lovely collection of Shelley’s favorite images and stories came to fruition. Last night was Shelley’s book launch party.

A local barn hosted the event, and it was wonderful to see so many people come out to support a good friend. There were very yummy cupcakes, wine, and fellowship, along with lots of laughter and many signed books.

Shelley had asked if I would photograph the event, and I happily agreed. It was something out of the ordinary for me, and was a fun way to be a part of momentous day for her. At one point, many people had meandered out through the barn, and out to the pasture fence to greet the horses. I wandered out with them to photograph another side of the party – the guests – when I caught the warm light coming from the indoor arena.

The arena had been perfectly dragged for the party, except for one trail of footprints that walked out into the sand, turned around, and came right back. Someone else had been seduced by the light.

The texture of the sand, along with the disruption of the perfect, patterned lines of the drag, captivated me.

March 17th

Saturday, March 17th, 2018

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! My day ended pretty miraculously with a pot of gold (sky) at the end of the rainbow. But more on that in a minute.

The weather was just miraculous today – 50 degrees, light wind, full sun. I was outside in just a sweatshirt today, and I didn’t realize how much my soul needed that. I was a rebel and even turned off the furnace and opened the windows this afternoon. The fresh air in the house was heavenly.

I planted the seeds for my garden today – just another sign of spring. Snap Dragons, Alyssum, peppers, jalapenos, tomatoes, just to name a few. They’re obviously being started inside, but watching them germinate and grow is such a delight for me.

I was so wrapped up in the beauty of the day that I hadn’t taken any pictures. So, it was a pleasant surprise when the swans started moving around tonight on my way back from the barn.

It started with a couple…and then they were everywhere.

The geese are starting to come back, and have been encroaching on the swan’s feeding grounds. So I guess tonight was the last straw, and the geese weren’t welcome anymore. Everyone was worked up – honking, trumpeting. It was like a tornado of large birds – and it was AWESOME.


These are just a couple of my favorites. The sky just kept changing, and they all kept flying.

Once things had finally started to calm down a little, then I hear the distinct call of a Sandhill Crane. They’ve been around (six were in the field today), but this guy has been flying around alone all week. I don’t know if he lost his mate, or if he’s a juvenile just kicked out of the nest, looking for a mate, but boy is he loud.

Either way, it was so peaceful the way he flew over the trees. They aren’t overly graceful birds, however in the air they look so gentle and steady. I think this is because they have a very large wingspan, meaning they don’t flap their wings often in flight. If you don’t hear them coming (again, they’re loud – they sound like dinosaurs), they’re easy to spot in the sky.


December 19th

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

Today started with me photographing the clouds during sunrise, and ended the same way.

I rolled over in bed this morning to a sky full of beautiful pink popcorn clouds, and I rushed for my camera.

Then as I’m sitting at my desk working this evening, I glanced out my window and saw a sky full of orange. With the warm weather we’ve had the past couple of days, the top layers of snow has melted and created an icy glaze over everything, which reflected even more of the sky’s majesty.