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Morning Coffee – A COLD Fall Morning…

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We woke up again this morning to another beautiful fall day here in the Yellowstone basin!  But this morning unlike many of the ones over the past few weeks was really cold.  As we pulled from our driveway this morning on our way to drop Brynn off at school the temp gauge was reading 28 degrees.  By the time we got across the Snake River it was 25 degrees and even colder north of town.

The Snake River looked pretty cool as there was steam coming off of the water and for that to happen the air temp must be colder than the water.  Trust me, the Snake River is not something to wade in this time of year as the water temperatures have dropped quite a bit.  Anyway we dropped Brynn off and headed to the coffee shop and then north of town again.

Now forgive us as our camera was acting up this morning but I think you will enjoy our little adventure.  We were alone this morning and the animals were right next to our truck at every turn.  We took our time and sat and watched the three moose in the pics for quite some time.  They were eating the sage next to the road and for the most part ignored us.  Been then they decided to check us out and we rolled away as they headed to us.  Very cool!

All in all we saw antelope, buffalo, moose, geese and most certainly some spectacular views of the valley.  On this morning we passed through Kelly, Wyoming, past the entrance to the Gros Ventre canyon, over to Antelope flats and Mormon Row and then home again.  Another great way to share a cup of java!

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Morning Coffee September 16th…

These are some pics from today and a few from a couple of days ago.  A cup of nice hot coffee and a camera.  Check them out…

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First Place in Accents at Western Design Conference 2014…

Artist Tim Jennings brings home the Blue Ribbon for his presentation of “Ta Tanga Ax Dog”, “Runs with Buffalo”.  The Western Design Conference is held each year here in Jackson Hole and it features some of the finest western designers in the world.  This is the second award Tim Jennings has received in four years in recognition of his art.  Below is the story behind this unique one-of-a-kind piece.

Art presented at the WDC must be fully functional and crafted by the artist themselves.  This is the first time Tim has presented one of his award winning Native American Styled flutes with a functional stand that also doubles as a sculpture.  Both flute and stand were hand crafted over many hours from reclaimed Old Growth Black Walnut.  Harvested from the eastern slopes of the Colorado Rockies – these walnut trees made their way west in the backs of covered wagons during the Oregon Trail days in the 1840’s & 50’s.  They were planted around the farms and ranches in Boulder Colorado.

Please read the story below that was the genesis for this work of art.  This piece is available for purchase and if interested please contact Timothy Jennings at timjen333@gmail.com or call him at (307) 690-0427.  If you like what you see please leave a comment or two.

tatangaaxdog_wdc_2014_01

Runs With Buffalo

Native American Styled Flute & Sculptured Stand

“Ta Tanga Ax Dog”
(Assiniboine Translation, Fort Belknap, Montana)

Buffalo Running – “boy-shahn  doo-wyn ching” 
(Shoshone Translation, Wind River Reservation, Wyoming)

“Buffalo” Translations

In Assiniboine (Nakota Sioux)
“Ta Tanga”

In Lakota (Lakota Sioux)
“Tatanka”

In Shoshone (Wind River – Fort Hall Dialect)
“Bozheenai”

The importance of the North American Bison to the Plains Indians cannot be understated.  Once measured in the millions, the North American Bison (Plains Bison) was hunted almost to complete extinction in the mid 1880’s. The intent was to remove the indians from the territories while at the same time eliminate potential hazards caused by large herds to the railroad which would soon occupy this land.

This presentation is titled “Runs With Buffalo”.  Run’s With Buffalo is a tribute to this magnificent animal that has remained sacred to the Native American’s and today still roams free within the Yellowstone Basin here in Wyoming.  The Native American Styled Flute presented within this functional sculpture is a tribute to the Plains Indians that still occupy many of the lands here in Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas.  The buffalo fetish, or totem that sits on top of this flute is my vision of this majestic animal as it presents itself here in our native lands that surround Jackson Hole.  An attempt to blend the literal while at the same time preserving the whimsical vision I see when I am present with these ancient animals throughout the year.

The functional Flute Stand Sculpture is hand carved from a single piece of Black Walnut trunk harvested from old growth walnut trees found on the eastern slopes of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.  Not indigenous to this part of Colorado, these trees were originally brought to the area around Boulder Colorado via the Oregon Trail many generations ago.  Hand selected, this crotch piece of wood blends the whiter sapwood with the darker traditional black walnut coloring which are the results of two separate branches coming together.  The two branches coming together represents to me the blending of the fetish and the flute into a single wind instrument completing my vision for this piece.

This fully functional six hole flute was handcrafted from the very same old growth black walnut harvested from this same part of Colorado.  Featuring the whimsical buffalo fetish with leather accents cut from a hand selected buffalo hides.  The stone work is a single cabochon crafted from Canadian Jade and bezel set in .999 Silver.   Voiced at the foot of the Teton’s this flute is tuned to the Key of E at 432 Hz (the healing frequency).  This 1 inch bored flute breathes in a deep healing tone.

“Runs With Buffalo”, “Ta Tanga Ax Dog” is a one of a kind piece that brings together the spirit of the plains indians art of sound with the ghosts of the sacred buffalo that once roamed the great plains areas unobstructed and was truly the life’s blood of the Plains Indian People. 

Artist – Timothy Jennings, Jackson, Wyoming
This piece is Available.  Commissions Available.

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Morning Coffee – Winds of Change…

Some of you may be wondering what happened to our weekly posts and the truth be told is we have been enjoying the most amazing Fall weather.  I can’t remember when the last time we saw such a beautiful, warm, completely awesome Fall in Jackson Hole.  Weekends at the lakes with our kids, people still riding their bikes around town and on the trails and more tourists seemed to hang around longer than in years past.  Simply a very nice surprise for those of us living in the Yellowstone Basin.

But as we all know the winds of change come quickly when mother nature decides that it is time.  One of most unusual things I noticed this fall was the complete lack of snow on the Tetons.  It seems that there is always snow somewhere on these majestic peaks but this fall snow was almost devoid of this precious white commodity.

One of the side effects of this wonderful warm weather was the total lack of water that we saw this summer.  Jackson narrowly escaped one of the worst fire seasons on record and because of the heroic efforts of so many firemen and state and federal assets Jackson narrowly escape what could have been a tragedy.  So with our rivers and streams down and our open spaces brown with thirst this warm fall season left many of the true locals lacking the very basic things they need to survive the upcoming winter.  We saw a return of the Bison to the area north of town and it was clear to me that this past spring and summer was good to these herds as their young were everywhere.  But the lack of tall grass like we saw last year seems to be on the thin side and so we ponder how they will fair this winter.

One clear sign that pickings are thin were the numerous bears we saw this fall all looking for something to eat.  On the Moose Wilson road the Hawthorne bushes that are usually packed with life giving berries simply did not seem to materialize.  The lack of water this summer showed clearly how devastating this could be when it came time for these animals to find food in preparation for winter.  We watched bears climbing trees and pulling empty berry branches to their mouths eating what ever they could get their paws on (literally).

Another event that fall brings is the beginning of the hunting season.  People are pulling permits for Elk, Bear, Antelope, Wolves (new this year), Bison and even birds.  Especially for the elk, fall brings the double hazard of foraging for food while hiding from hunters doing the same.  Small groups which to me look like little families run for cover after coming out of hiding for a well deserved drink and then it is quickly up the hill side to the safety of the trees.  Although I enjoy a good elk steak I enjoy even more seeing these beautiful animals in the wild.  Yes Jackson Hole and the surround area is a magical place to live.  And with each change in the seasons you definitely know what time of the year it is.

My worry this year is that because of the amazing summer and warm fall weather we have enjoyed, this winter may bring a true struggle for life for all that inhabit the great Yellowstone Basin.  Especially for the young, this first winter for them will be the test of how strong they are.  Food is scarce and they need these calories to make it through the winter.

As of now they look strong to me, and I am sure the Great Spirit will lift her hand to comfort them and bring them through what is about to come.  I leave you with a Native American Flute Song that shares with you a message of peace and hope.  Written and produced by Nakoa Heavyrunner, Assiniboine Native American Music Artist, The Honoring  is presented first in song, then by Native American Flute, then English and finally one more time in Northern Cree.  We too wish all of you peace and good life this winter.

Click to Play “the Honoring”

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Morning Coffee – Antelope Flats is Alive Again…

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Over the past couple of days I have ventured north of town with Peyton as every day offers something new and different.  No real stories to tell except that Antelope Flats is alive again with activity.  We have seen Moose, Coyotes, Buffalo, Elk, Pronghorn Antelope, Deer, Ground Varmints, Badgers, Hawks, Eagles, beautiful vistas – awesome.  Spring is definitely a time when all of mother nature is on the move. Although none of these pictures by themselves are spectacular, they are representative of what we see every single morning.  Antelope flats is easy to get to and in 1 hour you will be blessed to be surrounded by some of this areas greatest inhabitants.  The bears are out and we have ventured into the park to see if we could find them.  Yellowstone opens in the next week or so and we will soon be traveling into the parks for more photo fun. Come to Jackson as see what we are talking about.  Enjoy…

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Morning Coffee – Moose On The Loose…

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Today it was absolutely beautiful and cold too – about -2 degrees.  This morning we counted in excess of 25 moose all around the valley.  We saw cows and with their calves, big brutes with full racks on their heads and some younger males trying to keep up with their elders.  This was one of the best mornings for spotting moose in weeks.

The sun was just rising on the ski resort so we took a shot of the slopes from across the valley floor.  This morning there was an inversion in the valley and you can see it in a few of these shots.  Again I wish I had a better camera with a much better lens selection.  I need to get real close to these animals to get even these shots.  A new camera is on my wish list for sure.

Peyton and I are constantly amazed at all we see each morning we take a drive.  We see things that we do not take pictures simply because they are out of the range of our lenses. But today was saw Bald Eagles, beautiful vistas, many animals at a distance and more.  If you come and visit you must take in some of this for your selves.  Truly blessed!

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Signs of Wyoming…

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Not sure what got into me today but I just decided to take some pictures of all the signs we have here in Wyoming.  This gallery of pics is a small example of the signs we see everyday in our state.  Call me crazy but I had a lot of fun this morning.  I saw many animals but today it was the signs that grabbed me.  Enjoy…

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Fall Ends With First Snow…

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Not more than a week ago I posted some pictures that I took while up at Oxbow bend and then a few days later I post some pics from the Moose Wilson Road.  I was trying to share some of what we experience here in Jackson during the Fall colors.  The word on the street that we were hearing was that you needed to get your shots taken as the first storm of the season was moving in from the west.

Well the storm arrived yesterday in the form of a pretty solid rain.  Kind of nice since we had not seen much rain this summer.  But rain quickly turned to snow and for the past 24 hours it has been a mix of both rain and snow here in the valley.  This morning we took another drive out to the Moose Wilson Road in Teton National Park with hopes if showing the contrast from earlier posts.

This morning was cool as there were 3 black bears roaming around, 1 sow and her two cubs.  But the Park Rangers were closing the road and asking everyone to leave and let the bears feed alone.  Then this afternoon we heard that a Grizzly Sow and her cub made a visit to this same area.  Although this could be a rumor it would not surprise me with the snow fall.  They get pushed down looking for food.  You never know what you will see on one of your morning adventures.  Enjoy!

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Morning Coffee With My Buddy…

Morning Coffee With The Locals - Tatanka

Just about every morning I start my day by going to my local gym.  After I get finished with my morning workout I almost always make my way to my favorite coffee shop for a cup of morning joe.  Now most mornings after getting my needed cup I head back home to read the paper and check my email.  But about 3 days a week I get in my jeep and head north of town to see if I can find some of my favorite neighbors.

We are blessed here in Jackson Hole to have a fairly large number of wild buffalo (Tatanka) available to us.  Just drive north of town and you might be surprised at who you might run into.  On this morning I drove north of town and finished my coffee with one of these very beautiful creatures.  Although there were many buffalo to visit with I especially like this guy.  He was a large male that probably out weighed my jeep.  I am alway cautious when I am around these awesome animals but on this day we kind of hung out together and when he had enough of me he just mosied on by and headed to the rest of the herd immediately to the west.  Pretty Cool!