December started mild and dry. No snow to be found in our part of the county, but nights cold enough to start freezing the river. Pretty mild for this time of year here though typically. Usually the river is frozen over by Thanksgiving. Anyone for some fly fishing?? Gold panning? I think we’ll skip the river crossing on the horses this morning….. It’s pretty typical for locals in these parts to head up into the mountains with permits and cut down their own trees from the National Forest. Cheri found the most beautiful one ever on Mt. City Market and conveniently a forest fairy in a blue apron helped her load it up—a Christmas miracle! Jerry and Chad welcoming it to the Bar Lazy J—that’s one lucky tree….. You can bet it’s a cowboy Christmas around here! Ornaments of chaps, boots and spurs hanging in front of twinkling lights make for a welcoming western glow down here in the valley. A drive out to check on the herd tells us they are enjoying the grass while it lasts. When the snow finally comes, they aren’t likely to see it again until the Spring sometime. Everyone looks great! And then as if Mother Nature heard our thoughts……. The temperatures plunged and the snow came….and came……..and came…. The river looks only like a stream, but it’s still wide and rushing underneath that frozen layer of snow and ice. Not quite ready to walk across, but well on it’s way. And here Sleeping Beauty lies…. A frozen paradise! Yes. That’s a negative symbol in front of that 26. One might call it “cold outside”…. But you might also refer to it as…….absolutely magically gorgeous. Do you know what this is? Some people call them “sun dogs”, but essentially, it is a 30 below rainbow. When it’s cold enough, even the invisible moisture in the air crystalizes until the whole world around you is shimmering like diamonds—like you’re surrounded by magical dust. And through the sunrise—on a perfectly clear Colorado-blue-skied day—there was suddenly? A rainbow…. This is one of those moments you’ll never forget. Awed by nature’s beauty. And here’s some more of that “nature’s beauty” stuff! The back pasture! 12-21-12 as many of you know created a stir around the world as the Mayan calendar was ending and thus signified to many that perhaps the world was ending as well. Although we weren’t actually worried, for a brief moment, we were a bit—ummm….concerned?-- with this “cloud formation” over Spruce Mountain to the east…… (But if you gotta go? At least we were exactly where we wanted to be!) A drive out to see how the herd is faring after the snow fall. The hay is green and plentiful and our “kids” are all fat and fuzzy! Some of them look like different horses with their winter coats on, but you can bet we know each of them on sight. After a head count (many you have heard the tale of “Rocky and Hayden’s Great Adventure”), we check everyone for soundness (i.e. no injuries) and to make sure their weight is good. If any of the herd are struggling with the cold, our first indication is their weight. At the first sign of weight loss, we bring them back to the valley and supplement with grain for as long as they need. These are typically our older horses, if there any at all, and we know who to watch for. But everyone looks great right now! And they were anxious for some lovin’! Christmas Eve blessed us with a fresh layer of snow—a White Christmas indeed! Now don’t tell anyone but……we will share with all of YOU our friends of course…. Here it goes….. Jerry and Cheri are the real, true, actual Mr. And Mrs. Claus. There. Now you know the truth. There was only a short amount of time to snap some quick pictures because they had to get to that whole flying all over the world thing. Chad and Tammy were out hitching up the team and putting those ridiculous little antler headbands on the horses’ heads. (They hate those things, but everyone expects them, ya know?) So anyways, that’s what we were doing Christmas Eve—hope everyone enjoyed their presents we brought! But we didn’t forget our guys of course! Christmas carrots for the whole crew! We hope everyone enjoyed all of their holidays and despite our cold, we send lots of warm wishes to all of you!