Wide open skies, hay meadows surrounded by hills and cattle. Then there's the people who care for these hills and cattle scattered here and there. It's land where cattle far out number the people but if you asked a local they prefer it this way and have no desire for anything else. It's literally just about 100 miles to get anywhere that most would consider "civilized". But in those 100 miles you could likely count the number of cars you'll meet or pass on the road on a single hand. It's not an easy life. The work comes from sun up to sun down but it's a good life. It's a unique place, a unique lifestyle and one that I'm thankful to have grown up knowing as it was a huge part of what made me who I am today.
Today I'm sharing James and Julie and their family. In a valley that falls in the shadow of the hill they were married on 10+ years ago. A hill on one side and the windmill James remembers drilling as a child borders the other side. It's here so many memories were made, memories are still lived and new ones made on the daily.
Annual vacations aren't part of the vocabulary and getting away is rare. It's hard to leave when life and your livelihood of keeping things moving and living and thriving depends on YOU. But in that sacrifice comes a special reward as well. To be able to see the improvements you've made or the new little babies on the ground that will grow and be sold to complete yet another year. At the end of the day it's worth it- the sacrifice, the hours, the toil in the sunshine or the blowing winds and blizzards. On the good days and the hardest of them all... you have a different appreciation for life and the basic necessities for surviving on the plains. An appreciation that you won't find or experience anywhere else.