Part 1? Hell yeah, my life is ON FLEEK. (I'm 53 and should never be allowed the use of those words, but the internet has no police.)
I convinced my personal firefighter and chauffeur to pull the trailer down to my sister and brother-in-law's ranch outside of Lakeview on the July 4th weekend, leave me, Scotty the and trailer there for the week while he works at his real job, and come back the following week and take us home. He was cool with that because firefighters and dog lovers HATE the 4th of July, and the 4th at the ranch is completely fireworks free. It's the quietest place to spend Independence Day. I recommend it to all dogs. It's great.
If it sounds like I pulled the trailer up to the front of my sis's house for the week, then you need to revise the picture you painted in your mind, because my brother-in-law and sister don't own a backyard horsey corral. They have a 5,000-acre cattle ranch with a reservoir, an RV park, deer and antelope (playing), and a ground squirrel population problem. Here's a link to the RV park website, in case you are ready to make plans for next Independence Day.
I took the opportunity to hone what is left of my watercolor skills after a year-long break. Watercolor is the painting style that I like to look at the best, and that I love to excel at, but the one which frustrates me the most due to my lack of skill. If I worked at it more, I would improve my skills and become less enraged by my failure, but that would require me to become enraged more in the process, so it is easier not to. This time, I just took watercolor paints and paper with me. That way, I couldn't walk into my studio, pick up a palette knife, and start making mud pies with oil paints. I had to pick up the watercolor brushes. Oooh, I can be such a taskmaster.
It was hard to concentrate on painting because there was so much to do - hiking, mountain bike riding, mooing at cows, brushing tumbleweeds out of Scotty's hair, going on field trips with my sister, draining the grey water tanks (no one could tell me how long my trailer showers could be), and reading - but I managed a few small paintings.
This one was based on a photo I took the year before, as we seldom had large expanses of blue sky this year - lots of fluffy clouds during the day and dark, thundery ones in the evening.
Is this still the ranch? Yes, this is still the ranch. There are some lovely ponderosa-filled hills to wander.
The cloudy conditions made for some dramatic photos and this dramatic painting.
Check out this photo of an incoming wind storm. I just wanted to show you this. I didn't paint it or anything. Pretty cool, though, right?
Hey, wait, Janice. Didn't you say this ranch was outside of Lakeview? Isn't that pretty dry country? Yes, reader, but this ranch is magic and has everything. Including this little creek, on the banks of which I saw a deer and a GIANT OWL.
This is a picture of the ranch house from the reservoir road below it. This is the last of the three paintings of the ranch that I made while I was there. None will be for sale - they belong to my sister and brother-in-law if they want them. I got a little skill back in the painting of them, and I had a lovely week in God's country. One last photo...
This sign was made by the FORMER OWNER of the ranch, so please don't blame my school teacher sister or brilliant brother-in-law, but it tickles me every time I pass by.
CHOCOLATE REPORT. Was I eating chocolate during the writing of this post? Yes.