Tag Archives: Christmas

Merry March


Still Christmas in March—
Sparkling trees cast colored cheer,
Cords buried in snow!

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Posted by on March 8, 2020 in Poetry


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The Sandman on Christmas Eve

Sandman Mountain



Laden with stone pack,

Mr. Sandman waits for the call

From Santa. He’ll fly!


Posted by on December 24, 2019 in Events, Nature and Wildlife, Poetry


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The Night Before Christmas on the Wintering Ground

with apologies to Clement Clark Moore


When what to their wondering eyes should appear


‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the ranch,
not a creature was stirring ‘neath sage nor on branch.
The feed pile was heaped, all ready for morn.
when sheep could devour their sweet breakfast corn.


The ewe lambs were nestled all snug in the brush
while ‘round them ewes lay still in the hush,
near bucks red with paint, their bright metal bells,
reflected the moonlight’s wintery spells.

Then out in the desert there arose such a clatter,
the guard dogs leaped up to see what was the matter.
Away to the bedground they flew in a flash
barking and growling, on alert for a clash.

The moon on the sage flat showed new-fallen snow,
giving lustre of midday to sheep bedded below,
when, what to their wondering eyes should appear,
but Santa’s own feed wagon, pulled by Mule deer.

The feed sled it brimmed with alfalfa and hay—
this wagon he pulled instead of a sleigh.
More rapid than pronghorns, his coursers they came.
He whistled and shouted and called them by name.

“On Bucky, on Bambi, on Fawna and Devin,
on Woody, on Forest, on Jumper and Kevin,
to the top of the rim, we’ll fly with good cheer,
With a nose glowing green, our leader, John Deere!”

As ice flakes that before the wild blizzard they fly,
through snowstorms and wind, they mount to the sky,
and up to the sheep wagon, on to the feed ground,
came Santa’s sled, where goodies abound.

With Santa attired in Scotch cap and wool,
in fleece-lined gloves—his white beard so full—
he wore arctic Sorels, a snug Carhartt coat
a red and green glad rag covered his throat!

His eyes how they twinkled, his nose how it froze!
He blessed his wool socks, which made comfy his toes!
Above that warm beard, his cheeks were all rosy.
He was glad for his woolens, which kept him all cozy.

The wagon’s pipe glowed, from the fire beneath,
while woodsmoke encircled the camp like a wreath.
He had a broad face, and a round little tummy—
all those cookies and milk—those goodies were yummy.

He was chubby and plump, like a ewe eating corn.
He went right to work, for soon would come morn.
He winked and he whistled, the dogs soon drew near,
Border collies and guard dogs looked up at his deer.

For herders he brought new winter attire,
and coal for their stockings to add to the fire.
The dogs all got bones, still covered with meat,
new coats for the horses, from heads to their feet.

For the sheep, Christmas magic, with a nod of his head,
their fleece grew an inch to warm their chill bed.
He gave ewes a blessing:  they’d all carry twins,
for this winter season is when it begins.

He mounted the wagon, called, “Gee” to his team
and off they all soared like a sheepherder’s dream.
Then I heard him exclaim as he flew with his deer,
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good year!


Posted by on December 24, 2019 in Animals, Dogs, Poetry, Sheep


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Christmas sunset, Sheep Mountain

photo by Chis Abel


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Posted by on December 26, 2017 in Family, Folks, Nature and Wildlife


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Year’s End haiku

Solstice sunset at Powder Flat

The sun swings southward
rising now just past the slope
of Flattop Mountain.

Solstice bringing short
days and long nights, at long last
finding its nadir,

And now, blessedly,
it will not seek a further
dark’ning nor shrinking

Of sunshine, daylit
hours. Now begins a dawning–
first gleams further north.

As light grows longer
morning shine extending time
and dusk now later

And later each day,
the world breathing in, and out
since Fall equinox

Led the moon and stars,
turning day into darkness,
stealing time each turn

Of the earth around
the sun, then leaning away
each revolution.

The pole star blazing
earlier as each nighttime
stole hours of sunshine.

Now we begin the
pendulum swinging northward,
toward the springtime,

It seeks a turning
Away from the magnet pull
That drew it southward.

Now the poles reverse
Morning’s rays creeping northward
Toward Sheep Mountain,

Toward equinox
when the heaven’s days and nights
will become equals.

But for now, solstice
in the winter, in the cold times
end times, renewal

We don’t sacrifice
animals. We don’t light fires
and burn Yuletide logs

Though we string shining
ropes that glitter and sparkle,
that glisten and glow

Yet we count the hours
for we know the sun returns
and the nighttime shrinks.

Our superstitions
replaced by certain science
daylight will rebound

Instead we sing songs
of praise, and adulation–
the birth of our Lord

Heralding the time
when the rising of the sun
fulfills the promise

Of the infant child
whose birth, foretold by shepherds,
attended by beasts

By cows, by donkeys,
by sheep bleating in the night
calling to the Babe

And we know by faith
and by our experience
that daylight returns.

So in the meantime
we sing and we celebrate,
this blessed season.


Posted by on December 21, 2017 in Animals, Cattle, Events, Nature and Wildlife, Poetry, Sheep


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Christmas with Marie

Marie, Pat and Sharon

Marie, Pat and Sharon          Christmas 2015, Hobe Sound, Florida

Pat’s Mom, Marie O’Toole, will turn 100 years old in May 2016. She still lives in her own home in Florida. Pat and I spent Christmas with her, conveniently missing some minus 20 degree temperatures at home. We are trying to talk her into moving West, but for some reason, she thinks Wyoming is too cold!







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Posted by on December 27, 2015 in Family


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Merry Christmas from the Ladder Ranch!


Bones of the new lambing shed in the Cottonwood Pasture

Bones of the new lambing shed in the Cottonwood Pasture

The holidays are here,

the year is almost gone.

Sunset’s coming sooner.

Long nights, they linger on.


Christmas on the Ladder Ranch

Brings us gifts galore.

Family gathers ‘round us

While Yuletide fires roar.


Deep within the meadows—

Summer’s rush to green has passed.

Round bales stacked like coins,

Winter’s wealth, its shadows cast.


Fair weather birds have fled,

but winter sounds abound,

brave trills of chirping chorus

echo bird-song all around.


Coyotes add their yips and howls

and wail their eerie cries

which echo through the hills

making hackles rise


on man and beast alike.

Battle Creek glows with icy sheen.

The stream murmurs, cracks, groans—

add to winter’s subtle keen.


But here beside the fire,

with its crackle and its roar,

we’re warm and well and happy,

with all we need and more.


There’s children’s cheery laughter–

they cry and yell and shout,

like to scare the coyotes

as they run and tear about.


There’s cows and sheep and horses.

There’s canines large and small

dreaming Border collie dreams

and guard dogs watching all.


The cows must fill their bellies

with grass hay long since cut,

and raked and baled and scattered

‘long the tractor’s snowy rut.


They’ve calves to grow within them—

Throughout the winter’s cold

and await the season’s turning.

Winter Solstice comes and goes.


And ewes upon the desert

munching daily corn,

awaiting warmth in springtime

when their babies will be born.


In Battle Mountain’s folds

deer and elk have bedded down

in hollows under oak brush

there’s shelter that they’ve found.


We thank the Lord for blessings

for His creatures great and small

for all of those we care for–

Please Lord, bless us all!


We are grateful for our friends

and kin, found both far and near,

from Ladder Ranch to you and yours–

Merry Christmas! Yuletide Cheer!








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Posted by on December 25, 2014 in Events


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