Just at the time we were moving from Wyoming to Idaho (and for months afterwards) LC and I got slammed badly with seemingly non-stop expenses (some expected but also many that were unexpected) that financially drained us.
Home buying expenses, moving expenses, furniture and appliance expenses, home improvement expenses, vet bills, medical bills, house-in-Tennessee bills, plumbing bills, a trip to Bonners Ferry to see Chris.
For months it seemed that we could not find our way out of the bog that continually seemed to financially be sucking us down, and as we found ourselves falling further and further behind LC and I both looked at each other at the end of every month wondering when it was going to end, and worried that it wasn't going to end.
Thankfully it finally seems to be ending.
Thankfully we are finally starting to move forward again, instead of continually falling behind.
The cold of winter is not the only reason we have been staying so close to home for these past months...........
For a couple of days the temperature dipped down into the minus-double-digits and I walked Kory quickly, as the meat locker temperatures and freezing and strong winds battered me around (even as my happy dog ran in the snow completely unperturbed by this most recent onslaught of butt-ass, freezing cold).
When I woke up this morning I left a still sleeping LC, climbed out of bed and walked into the living room.
Still in pajamas I opened the curtains, looked at the temperature gauge and read 24 degrees.
Warm enough to let my puppy run for a long time on BLM land.
I smiled at the thought of that because I knew that taking our time, letting Kory run, letting her play and be free in the vastness of BLM land would make my 3 year old dog a happy camper.
As I was drinking coffee, catching up on the news and catching up on emails, LC sleepily walked into the living room.
It was a mild day. A calm day. A good day to be outside for a short while.
As I pulled on boots and a sweater and a jacket, and a hat and neck warmer and gloves (and as I talked over a frantically dancing and barking dog who knew that all that gearing up meant it would soon be time to head outside), LC agreed to meet me out on BLM land in about 30 minutes.
Kory has become so accustomed to hot dog treats that the moment we hit BLM land she looks up at me expectantly.
In the 30 minutes we were alone on BLM land Kory came to me probably 15 times (14 coming to me by herself and only once coming when I called her).
We now cut the hot dogs into smaller pieces but my sweet new girl doesn't seem to notice, and it is really good to see her run.................
Kory and I had been wandering for 1/2 hour and had easily and comfortably walked a good way off the trail, weaving our way in and around snow covered sage.
Aware of the passing time I kept an eye on the entrance to the trail, knowing that a big white f250 Ford truck would appear at any time now.
When I saw the truck I called Kory back to me, gave her an obligatory and appreciated piece of hot dog, told her she was a good girl and headed towards the trail to meet up with LC who was heading in my direction.
All of a sudden Kory saw the truck and instantly took off in a full run.
By the time I reached the truck Kory was already sitting beside LC in the cab, catching her breath.
Instead of turning and heading for home, we headed further down the trail in search of something new..................
15 minutes later we found a snow covered excavation pit sitting mysteriously in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the desert.
Since LC and I moved to Atomic City we have found a handful of these pits scattered seemingly randomly around the desert within a few miles of town.
I have no idea why or what.
Lava rock maybe? I don't know. There is a lot of it around here but these pits have obviously been inactive for a long time.
As LC stopped the truck in the middle of the snow covered trail we had been following, I climbed out and Kory looked at me uncertainly.
C'mon Baby - let's go!
My girl eagerly jumped out, looked around her trying to digest this new place, and then eagerly ran towards the hills that had been created during excavation.
LC and I followed, both of us enjoying exploring a new part of the desert, enjoying the sight of the now-almost-completely snow covered mountains in the distance, enjoying each others' company.............
Big Butte. Completely snow covered and looking as though it was just up and over the rise.
And not actually more than 10 miles away..............
As Kory happily ran and jumped and played, LC and I alternated watching her and looking towards the mountains to the west and north.
They looked so much bigger when covered with snow.
They were beautiful all year long, but when covered in snow they were breath-taking.
A stunning wall of mountains that seemed to extend into forever.............
Click on any picture to enlarge................
We stayed at the pit for a long time.
The world was completely and totally silent except for the coyotes that we occasionally heard howling up on Cedar Butte.
Climbing back into the truck we continued on the same trail, and then turned right to pick up one more trail, curious to see where it would lead...................
Looking back in the direction we came from..............
10 minutes more and we found ourselves parked beside a huge water tank, some farming equipment, a large fenced area and a huge water trough.
My first thought was that this was where cows that graze on BLM land through the winter came for water, but there was no evidence that this place was currently used by livestock.
There are man-made water sources for wild life located in the area. Was this one of those places? Were they only functioning during the summer?
More questions - more small mysteries - that I didn't know the answers to.
But it was an interesting place to explore none-the-less, and I again set my pup free to roam.
Kory was loving this quiet adventure - loving the unexpected presence of LC during her walk, loving the drives in the truck, loving the ability to freely explore new places.
She makes me smile...............
Twin Buttes on a cloudy and unsettled but mild day.............
The same insulated and water-proof boots that I bought while living in Alaska..............
Picking up one more trail, we successfully circled our way around to Big Butte Rd.
If we turned right we would eventually find ourselves at Big Southern Butte, and we have not traveled beyond Big Butte to see what is further onto BLM land.
Instead though, we turned left and headed back towards the house.
A mile from the city limits of tiny Atomic City I asked LC to stop the truck.
As I stood in front of the truck looking at the tiny tune town in which we lived, and then looked at the mountains that are located 30 miles away from Atomic City, I was again reminded that winter is my favorite season of the year.
It was a beautiful day. We were surrounded by beautiful, snow covered land.
After snapping this picture I turned back towards the truck and looked up to see both my guy and my dog looking at me.
It was a good way to spend a good morning..................
It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.................John Burroughs, "Winter Sunshine"