LC and Jamie and I spent a few hours late yesterday evening outside in the yard with our neighbor.
It was one more very sunny and very hot day, and when I stepped outside around 6pm I thought at first that the day was very hazy in a place where usually the sky is very clear.
And then I realized that what I was seeing increasingly all around me was actually smoke from a 2000 acre fire in Clark about 20 miles from Cody.
The fire began in the tinder-box dry grass and sage brush of BLM land on Tuesday evening, and it began as the result of a lightning strike.
The fire was isolated to public lands and therefore thankfully was not a threat to the homes out in the small isolated community of Clark
I looked out over the mountains surrounding the house.
Heart Mountain was completely engulfed in smoke and looked almost surreal.
So did Cedar and Rattlesnake, and even Carter Mountain that is almost 50 miles to our south
An article in yesterday's Cody Enterprise newspaper about the fire.............
LC has been spending a lot of time over the past few weeks with the two black horses that live on the property (Smoky and Blackie).
They are owned by the same person who owns the property and who spends no time with them, and as a result they have the same look in their eyes that I have seen so many times with other animals over the years (as well as humans) who receive little attention.
Raised on a farm LC grew up close to cows and horses, and I have smilingly watched him interact affectionately over these past few years with so many dogs that I have lost count.
He has an easy and very comfortable way with animals.
An easier and more comfortable relationship with animals than he often does with people.
Although he has not been around horses for many years he is beginning to remember how to handle them, and with pleasure I have watched him slowly get to know these two beautiful and previously free and wild mustangs..............
Smoky, Blackie, Dixie and her energetic and playful foal Petey..............
These horses have limited interaction with their owner in that he rides them only once or twice a year, and because of such limited contact their combined experience is that when he approaches them he must corner them and make a grab for them in order to saddle them.
When LC first made contact with these two animals he brought food.
They both love horse cookies and were able to be bribed to come close.
The next day he brought them cookies again and they tentatively came to him again.
Gradually and one day at a time they came to him more easily, and gradually over the past few weeks they have learned to look for LC.
He now whinnies when LC walks outside, follows LC along the fence line when he is working outside, watches LC closely and does not want to go back to the pasture until leaves.
It took so little time for these two beautiful, muscular, wonderful and sweet animals to learn that LC would not do anything bad to them, and that contact with him brought only good things.
They are beginning to trust him, but Blackie (the smaller and more docile of the two black horses) has quickly formed an attachment..............
Carter Mountain to our south, encased in smoke and the start of a setting sun................
Heart Mountain to our north.
Heart Mountain towers over the entire region, but almost hidden behind the thick blanket of smoke it looked both huge and mystical................
LC feeding two very sweet and wonderful animals.
Still skittish Smoky like alfalfa squares that he gently breaks apart in LC's hand before he eats them, and Blackie loves apple slices.................
Momma and spunky fast-growing baby boy..............
After LC had finished giving both black horses their new favorite treats Smoky wandered down the hill to graze, while Blackie stayed back.
He stood beside the hot wire patiently gazing in our direction.
LC and our neighbor walked and talked in the yard while I wandered around taking pictures of the horses, of the rapidly setting sun, and of the smoky mountains that looked both beautiful and mystical.
While I wandered close to him I spoke softly to Blackie, and he followed me as far as he could along the fence line, watching me the entire time.
He wants so badly to be friendly with people...................
The sun setting over Rattlesnake Mountain.............
While quietly wandering alone around the yard I heard a loud noise above me.
I looked around for the source of the noise and saw a helicopter flying overhead.
It was a chopper working to put out the fire over in Clark, and as it flew overhead I followed it, watching it fly over Cody and the making its way towards Newton Lakes.
It soared in place for a few moments and then descended out of sight and I can only guess that it was filling with water from the lakes...............
More pictures from the yard on a very lovely and quiet Summer evening.
Even though the days are still very warm the evenings are cooling down...........
In back of more homes than not here in Cody is an irrigation ditch that residents use to water their yards and their fields closest to their homes.
When we first arrived in Cody in early March nothing was growing, the world was beige, and the canals were dry.
The canal also runs behind our house and I took these pictures.
A reflection of weeds..............
Combing out a new friend............
Last night the world was no longer beige.
It was a world of red.................