Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Build Me a Windmill

Teton Mt Range From Signal Mt ~ Teton National Park
So as most of you know, when the boss is not here doing Photo things, I serve as the utility infielder on the Ranch.  I don't know how to do everything but I'm a quick learner and with a little instruction and practice I can do just about anything.  This week a few new skills have been added to my resume.

Hidden Falls ~ Teton National Park
 Lets start with some simple log construction, on Monday I learned how to notch logs as if you would if you were building a log home.  I also learned how debark a tree.  We ended up cutting down a 50 plus foot tree and cutting it into pieces for a building project - it was an interesting project.

H3 ~ Teton National Park

 I also learned how to weld a little bit this week as well.  I need a lot of practice and its not pretty but its a new skill none the less.

Grand Teton, Mt Owen, and Mt. Teewinot ~ Teton National Park

 Did I mention that Darius and I are building a windmill.  Yes, thats right its not a typo - a real fucking windmill that will weigh about a damn ton when all is done.  Currently we have finished one side of the windmill and will be completing the other side tomorrow.  We are building it out of reclaimed wood, the ranch is very environmentally friendly. It's made out of douglas fur and the boards we are using are 4 x12's and about 24 feet long.  The bottom base of the windmill will be 10x10 and the top will be 6x6 platform that will be home to windmill blades, with and overall height of about 20ft.  The windmill will be placed out at the pond to aerate the pond and reduce the production of algae.  Anywho, this thing is a little like the kitchen island I built for Erin as a Christmas present, Its built to withstand any type of natural disaster you throw at it, its built like a brick shit house to coin a phrase. So here is to hoping we can finish it up tomorrow and get it all set up out by the pond.  I will post a photo when its all done I promise.

Jenny Lake ~ Teton National Park

 Here is also another idea if this windmill doesn't work out we can leave the base at the pond and use the 6x6 platform at the top as a hunting perch / deer stand.  Just saying is all.  Anyone know how much it is to mount a whale......I think I might need a bigger cabin!!!!!

Yellowstone Lake

Friday, June 24, 2011


Well, it was a long few weeks at the ranch. It was filled with tons of dishes.  You would be surprised at how many dishes it takes to feed 20+ people for 3 meals a day.  Anywho, we worked hard and long and now its time to play hard. Erin and I are in Jackson, WY.  We are going to Teton for some awesome photos hopefully and here is to a clear night for some night shots.  Hope you guys like the photos I took today.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Be Like A Small Rodent

Well today was filled with a few new firsts for me.  Today I am wearing many hats but most notably the hat of Darius' helper.  Which is great - Darius and I get along real well and keep each other laughing throughout the day.  Today's task was to finish the heating in the artist's cabin.  Cool - a new skill I'm getting to learn.

So earlier last week Darius and I took a chain saw to the the side of this log cabin to open up a new section for us to run pipe into the house from the new (recycled, because it was the old one used for the lodge) HVAC unit.  Today we had to make it functional - well sort of....  We began by mapping out where the registers would go inside these cabinets that are built into the floor (they are really cool cabinets by the way).  After we mapped it all out came the fun part of taking the sawzawl and chainsaw to the floor and making holes for us to run our heating duct.  Before we get to the next part i want to give a brief little back story about this next step.  Darius knew in advance that we would have to crawl in the crawl space under this house to install this heating duct and had inspected it last week.  He commented that he thought there was a Badger or some small ground rodent living under the house.  This was true however it was not a badger it was a skunk.  No I didn't get sprayed by the skunk.  However on Saturday night JW noticed a skunk running out from underneath the cabin and Johnny-on-the-spot ran to his truck grabbed his brand new 45 revolver and let loose on this skunk.  Killing it dead in 2 shots from 40 feet away with out getting sprayed.  So lets just say Darius wasn't ever going to get down under the house knowing that skunks and or badgers had been living there, he is afraid of getting maimed by a small animal in its home.  So i volunteered to do it knowing that he would end up trying to MACGYVER  some sort of way for us to not get under the house and consuming about half a day in doing a 20 min project.  Well im a big guy and the hole was really tiny so i shoved my 6'4" body into a hole that was maybe 2ft.  Head first crawling under this house like im stalking Al Qaeda at night with a head lamp on.  I'm very sneaky when i need to be....  No skunks or badgers just a lot of pipe that needed to be run.  However I did run into ALOT of POOP, needless to say there is a long shower in my future with lots of antibacterial soap.  So all in all it was a good day, learned some new things, didn't get skunked, and picked up dead mice all over the ranch for my darling wife who is a cleaning guru (she gets it from her mom).

Note from the darling wife: I picked up some of the dead mice myself. And I now have to RECLEAN the Artist Cabin which I spent about two days on last week.  Eh...  At least it will be warm. :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fog and Rain

Well, another week has come to a close and boy am I tired.  We all worked hard this week and endured the elements. This week we had some slight sleet and tons of rain.  It was really nice that it rained seeing that I had a lot of indoor work to do and lets face it I'd rather be inside wasting time while the weather is crap than missing out on those great sunshiney days.

Here is a brief run down on the week past.

We are finished in the gallery.  All the prints and lights are up hooorah.  Just a few final touches and we will be done until the boss he decides he wants new pictures up.

I sold my first print on Imagekind.  Yay.  I'm really happy about that, so thank you to the person who bought my picture whoever you are.  Its great to feel validated as an artist.  So here is a toast to wishful thinking and hoping that I sell 49 more before the year is out.  If you like my work please share the blog and refer anyone you know to check out the prints here :

I tried to get my oil changed at Walmart mid-week when we had to go to town to pick up one of our employees who had to have surgery on his hand after he got a staph infection.  So, I was told it should be 45 minutes, no problem, I'll go do my shopping slowly and then return.  45 min go by, I return, my car is not ready. No worries, I'm a patient fellow. Wait another 20 and then I see them pull up my car. Great  - 10 min and I'm out of here or so i thought.  Then an elderly gentleman with a gray ponytail and some serious gapped teeth who was rather rude to me earlier, greets me and tells me they are denying me service.  You ask why?  Well some 20 year old kid with a monkey wrench comes out and says, "That thing's on there tight and I can't get it off."  Are you kidding me?  You have wasted well over an hour of my time for nothing and I still don't have new oil.  Well, I tried to be positive but I was behind the 8 ball before I started. Let's face it, it's 2 hours before closing and some people just don't want to work, as well as the strong detest for the H3 and further compounded by the fact that I have California plates.  In other words I'm Fucked.  I shrugged it off - I'll try one of the local places with more competent employees one of these weekdays.

On some other news, the hammocks are up for all the guests.  Chad and I hung those on Friday and Erin has hers all marked out for when her work load lightens.

Also I got a work truck stuck while trying to go down and see the river.  The road had been recently reconstructed and was really soft.  So, with out much effort the front tire just slid right down leaving the truck on about a 65 degree angle.  It took me, Chad and Darius, a bobcat and a heavy duty fork lift (load-all/ telescopic handler) about 45 min to get the truck back on its way.  The truck almost flipped over with me in it, continuing to slide as we tried to get it unstuck.

Hope you enjoy the photos check out my Imagekind link. I've added some new photos.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Yellowstone Day Hikes

Beaver Pond - Yellowstone National Park

Well here are a few images that I shot last weekend from our little trip into yellowstone. We took a 6 mile hike and a few short hikes.  It was in the 80's and really hot. Hope you enjoy them.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

As for ranch life it is really moving along, everyone is doing multiple jobs as we prepare for the guests.  I made a food photography book that will be used as a menu book.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Double Mugging or Bulldogging

Food highlights from the week: Duck with coconut rice, curry sauce and roasted veggies.

So another week has come to and end on the ranch and well, it was a long week.  All hands on deck as we clear off the winter dust and frost, de-mice cabins and fix broken water heaters, replace sprinkler lines and redecorate the cabins with newly-made, western-themed lamps and tchotchkes .  We are getting the Ranch ready for guests.  So that means I'm doing a little bit of everything, which I love. Tuesday I helped JW finish the fence.  Wednesday we put up new walls in the gallery and finished mounting the rest of the 9 foot prints which are up.  Check out the full video tour of the gallery check out the link.

Thursday and Friday are kind of a blur I printed some more photos and worked outside on numerous projects.  But today was about getting new prints up all around the ranch and getting the boss' studio cleaned up and hanging a bunch of new photos.  At the end of the day I got to help JW in the arena herding steer. Well, chasing steer is more fitting.  I learned how to operate the chute that the cows run out of in all those roping events you have seen on TV.

Caprese salad with a pesto gastrique and balsamic vinegar.

Earlier this week JW told me about this amateur rodeo event call "Double Mugging".  Simply put, a steer is loaded into a shoot and reeled.  Then the rider (JW) ropes the head of the young steer.  Your partner jumps off the fence once the steer is roped, grabs the steer's head and flips it over on to its back.  Even though the steer are young they still weigh about 300-400lbs.  Then the rider jumps off the horse while his teammate pins the steer to the ground and ropes the steer's leg.  Bob's your uncle and thats about the best I can explain it.  So I got to do that today and boy did I have a blast.  There is some technique involved in doing it correctly and after about 3 minutes JW and I had gone over it pretty thoroughly.  Time to put theory into practice.  JW ropes the horse and I go flying toward the steer, put it in a sort of headlock and just pancake it.  No style, all force.  Try again, and this time I get the grip right but in taking the steer to the ground I rolled the steer over the top of my body and over my face.  Third and final time, get the grip right and take the cow to the ground while thrusting my hip into the cows shoulder and performing a sort of wrestling move called the ddp.  Good news is that JW and I are gonna enter one rodeo this summer and do this event for real.  I think we have a good shot at winning the $250 first prize.  Can't wait till Monday when I get to practice again, I think Erin will get a video of me bulldogging on Monday.   Off to Yellowstone to hike and have fun before the all the tourists descend on the park and make it a cluster-fuck on all the roadways.

Deconstructed Cheesecake with berries - the cheesecake is on the right, and that's the graham cracker crust running down the middle.