From the Barnyard

The Western Original

February 25, 2015

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It was the Western Original’s Birthday last Saturday.

We had a lot of fun celebrating! A huge feast of lobster and prime rib, with deviled eggs, cucumber salad and Pumpkin pie!

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When Dick was a kid his mom would ask him what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, he always wanted pumpkin pie. So for his birthday I askedCammy make him a pumpkin pie cake! And he had several actual pies too!


I asked him about his mother’s pies this is what he told me:

Mother would make these pumpkin pies and set them out on the window sill to cool off and we’d (the kids) would run around to smell them and what a pleasure it was! We could hardly wait to get there, but she knew.

She put them up there and she was smiling.

Pumpkin pies were my favorite! Mother made them for me. Instead of cake I wanted pumpkin pie!

Such a pleasure!


I thought since it was his birthday I should do a blog post all about my Western Original.

Dick Gifford was born right here in the Big Horn Basin. Only miles from where we live now.

He grew up “down by the creek” (pronounce crick.) And probably rode more horses before he was out of diapers than most people will ever ride in their lives. And that was just his early years!

One of my favorite “cowboy" stories he tells is about hauling horses and a little “accident” he had.

I was hauling bucking horses in my 1980 Ford F700 with a 20 foot stock rack on it. There was a couple of us in the front seat and we had 10-12 horses on the back.

The horses got to fighting and pretty soon they broke a board from the stock rack and it knocked the window out of the truck, but we just kept trucking.

A few miles down the road we were trucking away when I felt this horrible, warm, slick stuff running down the back of my neck. It smelled awful!

My brother, Dennis, I think that is who I was with, slid as far away as he could and I was hugging that steering wheel and trying to get stopped!

I finally got the truck stopped and got that stuff off! Talk about a horrible, unexpected feeling!

I got that board and window fixed at the next town we stopped at!


He continues to ride and raise horses. He has raised some fabulous bucking horses. Like a horse named 40 below that was inducted into the National Rodeo Hall of Fame.

And broke some good horses too!

One of my favorite stories is about him and a horse named Frosty and Grampa Andy!

I had this ol’ gray horse I called Frosty.

I got Frosty into the trailer and took him out to dad’s house. I was going to ride up Bear Creek to Steam Boat and it was spring and it had been raining and it was pretty wet.

So we stopped on a hill on the North Side of the Spence Place and I got Frosty out and he was snorting and blowing his nose and acting pretty humpy and cagey.

Dad was standing there and pretty quick he said, “Does he always act like this?”

I said, “I don’t know, I’ve never ridden him before.”

Dad’s eyebrows just shot up and pretty quick you could see him just step in behind the trailer and watch out the side.

Well I got on Frosty and I turned him around a bit and used him some and got him into a good trot and from then on we had it made!


One of my favorite stories to tell about him was from when we were first dating, and talking on the phonetogetheras much as we possibly could, Dick was cooking his dinner and talking away to me.

As we talked he cooked and just was just looking forward to tasting this delicious steak! He was excited and hungry!

He finally got the steak cooked and took the first bite. * Silence.*

"Well, how is it?” I asked.

“I am not sure,” he said. And took another bite.

“Well…?” I asked.

“It’s, it’s terrible!” he said, choking down the second bite. “The worst steak I ever tasted! I don’t know what is wrong with it, but I can’t eat it!”

It was only later that we realized he had unintentionally sprayed the pan with spray disinfectant, like Lysol, rather than the spray cooking oil.

I do most of the cooking now!

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He moves slow and calm, he is quiet and soft spoken. And Kind.

Some things I bet you don’t know about him:

He reads his horoscope everyday.

He doesn’t know how to swim (very well.)

He had never tried mussels, or clams or lots of yummy food till we got together. But he likes them now.

He likes his meat cooked. Pork and chicken nearly burned and beef, not too pink.

He loves the dogs. Big or little. In fact, I think he is partial to the smaller ones.

He actually does like the cats. And they know it and take advantage of him. He feeds them everyday. And too much! I say they should be hunting mice, and he just gets them fatter and fatter on Meow Mix!

He has a huge degree of respect for mothers, of any species. And loves babies. All babies!

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So how fitting would it be that this little gal was born on his birthday?!

His little birthday gal! She definitely thinks life is her party! And she’s likely to make a few cowboys cry!

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Dick has rocked many, many babies to sleep on his lap. And my Native Boy proved he is still has the knack, even if the boy weighs more than 100lbs!

Thanks for joining us here at the Barnyard for Dick’s birthday! I hope to share more stories about him in the future! He is full of them. What would you like to hear about?

We are working on the puppy pick list, and I am deciding never to do another pick list. Not because people have been hard to deal with, it is just so much stress on me, trying to keep all the names and numbers, and the order and… I have to find an easier way to do it. I’ll let you know what I come up with!

Check out the new puppy pictures!

Dalmatian Puppies

Until next time! ~ Erin

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Getting caught up

February 17, 2014

After coming down with the worst flu known to man I am trying to get caught up!

My nose is still running, Sniff. Sniff.

And I feel as though my brain is mush… so bear with me.


First Happy Valentine’s Day to the Western Original!

Want to know what he said?

I was talking to him about Valentine’s Day and what we had got the kids, etc. When he looks over at me and says, “So are we going to color some eggs or what?”

No dear. Wrong holiday.

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His birthday is Saturday, February 21. Send him a card if you want! Dick Gifford, PO Box 326, Lovell, WY 82431. Or give him a ring 307-272-4083. Don’t ask how old he is. He’ll never tell you. I am sworn to secrecy.

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The puppies turn 4 weeks on Dick’s Birthday and the first people on our pick list will be coming down to look at them. So it begins! The exciting part!

I took over 200 photos of them while I was laying on the couch sick, I posted about 40 of them on Facebook. Check them out there!

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My Gidget Dog is due to have her puppies on February 25. Last time she had 5 puppies and they were all blue merle.

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This is Fancy, the Little Cowgirl’s dog we kept out of Gidget’s last litter.

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And this is Fisher Dog, he went to live in Florida with April.

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And this was Prince. He lives in Worland.

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I think we need to get some roller skates to put under Riley’s tummy! It is about to drag the ground! She had 4 puppies last time. Two red tris, a red merle and a blue merle. She is due on the 26.

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Here is one of her puppies from her last litter.

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And it looks like Spotty puppies are on the way! I figure in a couple weeks. She had 6 puppies last time.

We have a game at my house, everyone tries to guess how many puppies each dog will have.

My guess is 4 Gidget, 4 Riley and 7 Delilah.

The Western Original has guessed 5 Gidget, 7 Riley and 9 Delilah.

The kids say 6, 4, 8. And 7, 6, 10.

What are your guesses? Comment below. Bragging rights and possible gift in the mail to everyone who nails it! Thanks of joining us here at the Barnyard!

New Puppy Pics!

Update - Gidget had 5, Riley had 6 and Delilah had 7. I’m (sort of) keeping it under my hat for now, because I know I am going to have people knocking down my doors to get a puppy! They will be ready to start being shown on March 27.

Dalmatian Puppies

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The Donkey Games

February 9, 2015

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Ok, this is going to be a little different kind of blog post today! We had so much fun this first weekend of February! Temps up in the 50s and 60s! (But the wind was blowing a bazillion miles per hour!) The girls came over and we had so much fun, but most of the pics I took were with the cell phone. So the photography isn’t stellar, but sometimes I have to walk the fine line of participating in the fun and filming the fun.

Also some of the fun was ACTION! So I took video. I opted to share short clips, mostly 8 seconds or so, and none are longer than 54 seconds. And they can be enjoyed with or without sound (for those of you sitting at your desk in your office. Actually if you watch them silently I won’t have to be embarrassed by my maniacal laughing.)

Also this page may load kinda slow… not sure there is much I can do about it at this point. Sorry.

But enjoy!

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These are my Cow Chicks, Cowpoke Chicks, Cowpoke girls? What do you we call them? Who cares! They are my gang! (Rich is on the other side of the barn and not participating in the group photo btw, teenagers!)

When we got our mini donkey, Clarencea couple weeks ago we also picked up a couple new mini ponies. And I don’t think there are a bunch of kids anywhere in this world that can find more fun things to do with mini ponies than my gang!

(See also Labor Day Weekend,How to Bomb Proof a Pony, and My Favorite Time of Year.)

First we had a mini rodeo. Here is my Little Cowgirl’s bareback ride. Ah, Little ChubChubs! What a good ol’ boy! (28 seconds)

My Native Boy may not get best time for his bareback ride, but he does get points for best dressed and maybe some for comedic value? What do you think? (27 seconds)

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Billie is a super good horse trainer and she likes to teach each of my ponies to bow and lay down.

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Good boy, Paint Boy.

Clarence was definitely the high light of the weekend. My Little Cowgirl decided she wanted a “jumping donkey.” So the lessons commenced. Mostly Clarence teaching the girls in a quiet, serious, calm way, that you better hold on tight or you’ll land on your butt. (8 seconds)

Gives a new definition of grabbing hide! (7 seconds)

Freedom nearly stayed on! (8 seconds)

This is by far my favorite! I could watch the first 3 seconds over and over all day! Her face as she is flying over the donkey head! Priceless! (11 seconds)

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As per request from my biggest fan (my mother - hi mom!) Here is the freeze frame of a priceless face!

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I was taking the video with my iPad, so after each filming we had to watch the footage. And Clarence came over to watch the videos as well! He was fascinated!

Which gave Rich the Genius idea of playing a donkey braying on her phone! Oh my goodness I don’t think I have laughed so hard in months!

Ok I lied, this one is much more effective with sound! (54 seconds.)

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Just keeping it real. This was one of my carts at Walmart this weekend.

Updated puppy pics!

If you are looking for a real good mini pony we have a couple we could part with. My Little Cowgirl doesn’t want me to list them yet, so I haven’t. But if you call me looking for one… I just might have one (or two) I could show you.

I’ll be talking to you soon! Thanks for joining me here at the barnyard!

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Let go of the rope

February 2, 2015


I have seen this graphic all over Facebook and Pinterest, and trust me I have tried googling to find the creator, so if it is yours let me know and I will give you credit!

But, honey, I have to tell you - there are times you have to let go of the rope!


Meet Dallas, she was my first show heifer. And this is me, circa 1996. Nice huh? Can you say awkward and gawky? Ha! I bet my face would have been less sunburned had I worn my hat the right way!

Well Dallas - or the Big D - as we often called her taught me to “Let go of the rope!”

In the process of halter breaking her I would take her out to her pasture for walks. One day during peak irrigation time we headed out, the water was getting a little deep in the field, maybe knee high, but it was hot and I thought heck, get a little swim and walk my heifer, double win!

Turns out Big D wasn’t up for a swim that day, she headed back to drier pastures and I hung on to the rope - for a little while. She drug me through the water and I came up choking, spitting and pulling crawdads out of my hair. Only to look up and find a truck load of high school boys stopped on the road watching my humiliating heifer-walking-turned-water-skiing-adventure.


Moral of the story - let go of the rope.


Yep, wasn’t winning any fashion awards that year!


Here is my show steer Freshman year, still no fashion awards but I did win reserve grand champion market beef over all for the Big Horn County Fair that year! Yay me!


County Fair and showing animals was a family affair. My brother Jared showed steers a couple years.


And remember my hunky brother Matt? Yeah he was hunky even when he was 11. Here he is giving his steer a bath under the tree in the yard.


My sister showed steers and sheep and horses too, but I couldn’t resist sharing this picture of her and a live water snake from when we were kids.

Can you say country?

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Bring on the next generation of show steers, country kids and county fair! Meet “Wild Eye.” My Little Cowgirl’s 4-H steer.

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We started halter breaking him a few weeks ago.

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Little Cowgirl was so excited to get to pet him! She says he’s VERY soft.

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I thought about doing an informational blog post about “How to Halter Break a Steer. "

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Instead I will just show you this picture and let you connect the dots.

At least I know when to let go of the rope!

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And before I say good bye, I better show you a puppy picture, this is the blue merle male, he’s the cuddler. The pups are just 9 days old and ready for their second photoshoot! New photos are up!

Thanks for joining me on this walk down memory lane!

Come back soon! ~ Erin

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Erin Stiver-Henson 2013