Ucross 2018

The end of this week is a special weekend that my friends and I look forward to every year — the Ucross Quilt Retreat.  To show you how much fun it is, I’m sharing some pics from last year.  The old ranch at Ucross is a beautiful setting, especially mid-winter.  Isn’t it gorgeous?

 

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Town Hike

My final featured “hike” of the week is one I took in downtown Buffalo.  A friend had recently posted this beautiful shot of Buffalo covered in snow, silent and empty.  This inspired me to take a walk through the downtown area, though the snow had pretty much melted by then.

First I passed the beautiful display of local military service men and women.  Many friends are named here who serve presently or in the past; I’m grateful to them.

Then I passed our wonderful museum with its authentic log cabin in front (childhood home of a friend of mine that has since passed away).

This statue of local hero Nate Champion was created by another friend, D. Michael Thomas.  Nate lost his life in 1892 in the Johnson County Cattle War.

When Mike creates his amazing sculptures, he always uses local subjects (that we know) to pose for him, such as the one below (although I never can remember which identical twin was used for the subject) — this wonderful sculpture also represents events from the Johnson County Cattle War.

On my town hike I passed three more historical sites — the local war memorial, the 1884 courthouse (former site of the Lone Star Dance Hall) and a bell from the original city hall.

Now I was on our quaint but beautiful Main Street.

I popped into the historic Occidental Hotel for a moment to see the Christmas displays, which were being placed by friends David and Jackie Stewart at the very moment I arrived.  Dave was also celebrating his special new tune, “True Grass” making number one on the chart this month!  Congrats Dave!

The tree is much too big to get in one photo, but hopefully you can imagine its beauty.  All our local Christmas trees are brought down from our mountains.

I love the old (and labeled) ornaments in the windows.

Then I went outside and took a photo of the Occidental across the Clear Creek bridge.

All the downtown shops are looking great this holiday season (Margo’s Pottery, Prosinski Art Gallery, the Sports Lure, E.T. Quilts, Treasure Chest Antiques and others). This is a great place to shop and dine (check out the outstanding restaurants — Sagewood, Pie Zano’s, Up in Smoke, the Busy Bee and The Virginian!)–all owned and run by dear friends.

I also popped into the Longmire shop that sells a lot of souvenirs from the show, as well as western wear and accessories.  I love the fact that this old building still has the original floor with many holes drilled in it during the historic 1912 flood.

I paused to admire some great murals made by friends, Marchel, Jenny and others.

I turned and went west along Clear Creek past the Occidental, and ran into another friend — Ed — who walked with me for a while as we discussed his new job transporting disabled kids around town by school bus.  “It was a God thing,” he said, being able to take over the job from someone who had quit.

I concluded my short walk at another bridge that crosses Clear Creek, and made note of the fascinating historical sign next to it.

Wow, we live in a wonderful, historical area of this country, and have great friends all around!  I’m thankful for our beautiful home town and for all the friends that we see from day to day who contribute to making this a great place to live!  When I was a young girl growing up in the suburbs of Kansas City, we used to tease my mother for growing up in small-town Kansas.  Now I know how very special these places can be.

Over the weekend we enjoyed the annual Christmas parade, which followed free chili and hot drinks in Crazy Woman Square.  Various shops opened their doors and provided snacks and drinks, too.  Note the local steel drum band playing beautiful Christmas music!  Local community friends are wonderful!

 

 

 

 

TA Ranch

This week I’m catching up on some of the events that happened here over the summer.  As a Magistrate Judge, Paul had a wedding to officiate at the TA Ranch and invited me to go along.  I didn’t take any photos of the wedding itself, since I didn’t know the couple, but I did want to share some photos of the barn itself.

This was the center of a real-live, old-west shoot-out in 1892.  Their website describes it in this way:

When you escape to the TA Ranch at Buffalo, Wyoming you are surrounded by the history of the old west.   At the crossroads of the Indian wars of the late 1800’s to the trail through the Ranch of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, to the infamous Johnson County Range War of movie fame of “Shane” and “The Virginian,” it’s all here.

1883 TA Barn and Ranch House, occupied by Cattle Baron invaders in the April 1892 three day shoot-out at the Ranch, are today preserved and used on a daily basis by our guests and Ranch hands.

In the cold spring of 1892, a battle pitching homesteading ranchers against the might of the Cattle Barons who had controlled the open range and their hired gunmen in the area reached its peak.  After Baron assassins killed rancher Jones and rancher Tisdale in December 1891 near the Ranch, the Barons and their gunmen set out to eliminate any threat to their control of the Powder River Range by invading the area in April 1892, hunting down and eliminating the homesteading rancher “rustlers” and community public officials and leaders, deemed “rustlers” by such association.

These hunters quickly became the hunted.  An angry posse of hundreds of Johnson County residents/ranchers got wind of the plan and surrounded the invaders at their refuge at the TA Ranch. So began the climactic battle of the famous Johnson County War–a conflict which pitched cowboy and neighbor against the Barons and their gunmen, a western episode that continues to intrigue western historians to this day.  You may have seen filmed versions of the events by the History Channel of American television in recent years, all done at the TA Ranch and its historic properties.

In this photo Paul is looking for the bullet holes left in the barn at the time of the invasion.

They’re not hard to spot.

To get the fully story, though, you need to read about the Johnson County War itself; a great account of it is given here.  The photos are great, too.

We stepped inside the barn and I could imagine what it must have felt like inside this building with a whole town of angry people ready to burn it down.

The wedding was held outdoors and was nice–the bride arrived by horse-drawn wagon, Paul did a great job, the reception and food was nice, and everyone was ready for a good time of celebration at the original site of the 1892 Johnson County Invasion.