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L Thomas 1983 Move to Wy

Page history last edited by Judi Myers 11 years, 5 months ago

Moving To Wyoming by Lynn Thomas, 1983. Thomas Ranch,105 Richie Rd, Boulder, Wy.

Dear Loved Ones and Friends,

This is a form letter.  Something I said I would never do.  I think they are rude, impersonal and dreadful.  So I should explain why I’m writing one.  I’ve been very behind in my correspondence, all my work and my life for a long time.  Haven’t even written to my kids (Beverly and Debbie) or relatives or best friends for months.  Some people don’t even know we’ve moved.  For some of you, part or all of this might be a repeat.  Some of you might have heard some of it, and some haven’t heard any of it.  I’ll go back through last year to let you know what’s been happening in our lives.  And to let you know just how many I need to write to, I’ll be having about 100 copies made of this.  I want to let you know regretfully that I won’t be able to keep up the amount of correspondence that I have in the past.  My life and priorities have changed so much that I refuse to spend as much time as I have before at the desk writing letters.  Although I do want to keep in touch with everyone, I will not be writing long personal letters much anymore.  Anyway, here goes…


About all we did in January worth noting was Joe and I took our usual good trip through Arizona about New Year’s.  In February I started wearing glasses – something else I thought I would never have to do.  I took a trip to California for a weekend of birding and camping with friends at the Salton Seas, then for a week to San Diego to visit my sister there and her family.  I went to the San Diego Zoo to photograph the animals, but never found the cougars which I especially wanted.  Then my sister and I drove to Northern Calif. (Paradise) to see my uncle who was very ill.  It was the last time I saw him alive.  We toured the Sierra gold rush country and had a great time doing that – including Old Sacramento.  I was lucky last winter to be able to babysit both grandsons and get to know them before we moved.  In March the Burk Gallery gave me and Lottie Burton a 2-man show.  It turned out pretty well and Lance Gray who worked for us at the lodge for 3 years and is cowboying in Arizona now, came up from Prescott for the show.  Seemed he was the hit of the evening.

I did a lot of canning, applesauce, jelly and slices which I bought in Julian on the Calif trip.  I was able to do a few more birding trips.


In April I flew to Fresno for a WAOAW (Women Artists of the American West) show at two galleries and was gone about a week.  I even almost enjoyed the plane trips.  It was a busy time with good friends I seldom get to see.  While there we had an authentic Basque dinner which I had wanted to do for many years.  We held the membership jurying which has been my responsibility to coordinate.

 Joe and I went to Santa Barbara to a clinic there for thorough physicals.  This took most of a week, and we were able to sightsee, enjoy the ocean and have wonderful seafood dinners while we were there.  We both had clean bills of health. 


The first part of May I was in both the Black Canyon Art show and the Helldorado Art Show in Las Vegas at which I won first and second in oil painting.  In this time frame somewhere Joe hinted he might be quitting his job so when I began to pack for the annual journey to Wyoming, I allocated some of the furniture and other things to the girls, and threw out or gave away stuff we didn’t want.  At this time he wasn’t really sure what he was going to do.  We packed up and drove up to the ranch.


We found out that Patches (POA pony mare) had a little pinto stud colt in April.  Well, Ace has turned out to be not so little.  We don’t know what the father was, but Had to be a work horse.  He’s as big now as 1&1/2 yr old Nancy.

 I went to several brandings.  Joe stayed about a week and went back to Vegas, and returned for another week at the end of May.  When he was here then he put half the new roof on the house (new roof went on the shop last year). 

The Kellys new (Big Sandy) lodge owners, arrived and we went up to help them open the place up, still sad for me to be giving up the place I loved so much.

 A lot of time through the spring and summer was stormy and cool, in fact half a day or warm, sunny weather seemed all we could get at a time all summer and fall.  We were feeding all the horses hay until they went on the mountain for summer pasture.  I began to get the space ready for my garden.  Being stormy, I had to put 18 buckets in the attic to catch the drips on the unroofed side of the house. 

I got cuttings and tree shoots from Ellen and planted about 10 trees in the yard and another 40 or 50 along the creek.  The ones in the yard all did beautifully, but we’ll see how many sprout this spring.  We had snow storms through half of June.  I took a trip to Jackson (Wy) to the galleries with Patsy Edwards and we did the town – movie and dinner. 

Verla Sommers and I took a trip through Yellowstone, Cody and Greybull (Wy) to take some of my paintings to a show in Basin.  We drove through the Bighorn mountains, and saw a lovely waterfall.  I’d never been in that part of the state and really enjoyed it.  We got a flat tire, totally flat in a gas station – that was closed.  A nice highway patrolman and the station owner fixed it for us. 

The time at the ranch was filled with chores, feeding, gardening, cleaning corral, clearing sagebrush from the yard, fixing fence, irrigating and on and on.


At the end of June Joe came back for another week and I got a real vacation while he watched the ranch.  Thirteen of us went on a private white water raft trip on the Green River in Utah through Desolation and Gray’s Canyon.  Friend Jack Waidner arranged the trip and provided the necessary equipment.  I met Nancy Messmer (longtime friend and lodge employee) in Rock Springs (Wy) at the bus and we drove through Flaming Gorge to Neola, near Vernal (Ut).  This trip gave us a chance to visit and catch up on lost time with each other.  I really miss being with Nancy, a special person. 

In Neola we met Joan Wright, Diane Haugen, their friends Sara and Susan, Jack and 3 young men friends, Doris and Jean, rafting buddies from Idaho and our knowledgeable guide Glenn Pratt.  We threw all our gear in Glenn’s big truck and drove about 60 miles highway and long dirt road to Sand Wash to disembark on the brown, swirling river.  The whole trip was great (after the truck ride) and I learned a memorable lesson about my fear.

 Every night I would lay awake (keeping Nancy awake too) with pounding heart worrying about the rapids to come, but when we pushed off into the river, the fear would be gone – we were in the rapids with no way out and doing it.  There was no time to be afraid then.  So now when I have a fear I think about that river and how unnecessary and useless the energy used for worrying is.

 It was a good trip and as thoroughly exciting as I could stand.  All but 4 of us were tossed into the river or boats flipped, being swept far downstream before a boat could catch up.  Our only casualty in the end was Diane’s beach towel.  The company was good, the scenery spectacular and the experience unforgettable.  The day after the raft trip, we toured Nine Mile Canyon with Glenn as our guide to see the wonderful petroglyphs there, and were only able to get through half of the canyon before it got late.

Joan, Diane and Sara came to the ranch to visit before our Pa-Jos (Art Gallery in Pinedale, Wy) WAOAW show, and we did a lot of relaxing, went to Granite Creek Hot Springs to swim and picnic where the scenery is really beautiful with the wonderful surprise of a large waterfall.  We went to the Big Piney barbeque and rodeo on the Fourth of July.  Several more WAOAWs arrived for the weekend featuring the Green River Rendezvous, a pageant of the fur trade era, and we hung our Pa-Jo’s show.  This week is always so full of good times and friends.  All the artists and their friends took a trail ride from the lodge into the high country after the show.  The ride has become an annual event. 


Joe came back, this time to stay for good having actually quit his job after 23 years.  We finished the roof and went on with our normal routines.  We began haying and the weather stayed stormy off and on, slowing us down some.  We went riding in the mountains a few times once just beating a terrific hail storm back to the lodge.  Joe built a new yard fence (which is still lacking gates), but it is a pretty fence. 


I had paintings entered in the WAOAW Olympics show at Arboretum in Los Angeles.

 We went on a pack trip for a week with 2 doctors and their families, guiding them for the lodge.  We just had to take care of the pack horses and they did all the work.  The weather was grand, and when we came back to finish haying it started raining again.  On Aug 20 it went to 30°  and killed all the squash and pumpkin plants in the garden. 

This summer we killed 22 skunks.

Joe and I took a trip through Riverton, Cody and Yellowstone, which was pleasant.  In the park we saw only two moose (barely), one buffalo and one squirrel.

 I was able to do some canning from our garden.  I really enjoyed my gardening and hope to have an even better one next summer.


In September I went to Don Puttman’s workshop north of Jackson at the Hatchet Ranch for a week.  It was very inspiring for me and well worthwhile.  We had a varied group of very well known artists through beginners and they had a good program for us with models, outdoor painting and lots of action for photography.  It was cold and stormy.  I stayed in the camper at the KOA.  Brrrr.  Visited the galleries again.


We got a satellite dish for our TV.  Without one there is no reception here.  We can get over 100 channels and have thoroughly enjoyed it so far (except when the TV went on the blink).  You would have to watch movies 24 hours a day to see all that are on.  Of course, Joe likes the sports. 

The horses came down from the mountain.    We began to haul wood for the winter and through the next weeks Joe got quite a stack.  I picked berries for jelly and put up a lot.

One day we saw two red foxes by the river, neither of us had seen foxes here before. 


September 21 we had our first snow.  The end of September we drove both trucks down to Vegas.  I went to the Burk show there, which was one of the better shows I’ve been in for awhile.  One of my paintings was almost bought by Gene Favell who has a museum in Oregon, but he bought A. Rodriguez instead.    Maybe I’ll do better next time.  In between having to be at the gallery for four days I packed up stuff at the house like crazy, managing to get everything in boxes.  We packed both trucks as full as we could get and headed back for the ranch, being gone a week.

Good WOAOW friends hauled my paintings from the Burk show to Arizona for the WAOAW membership show in Scottsdale in mid-October.  My painting “Rocky Mountain Laundry Day” won the artist’s artist award, the only award given for art which made me very proud.


  From that time until the present I have been in a real mess from the move.  In fact, I just cleared the top of the desk for the first time before beginning to write this letter.  If not traumatic, it has been close to it, this moving.  Usually when you move you pack up from one house you’re living in and move to a clean, empty new house.   Well, I moved to a very full house.  However, I am very, very glad to have all my things in one place and not moving 4 times a year.  That was beginning to tell on my health and sanity, I believe.  We still have the barn stacked full of boxes with no place to put the stuff.  I am semi-organized in the house.  It might take years to get things the way we want them. 


Joe plans to build another metal building next summer and someday a studio for me.  I have given up my job as membership chairman and vice president of WAOAW and that was a good choice for now.  Maybe later I can volunteer again, but I had done that about five years.


In October we sold the house to friends, the Greenhaighs, who plan to use it for rental investment property.  We were grateful it sold as soon as it did.  Joe took the big truck down to Vegas while I watched things here and loaded it with just about all the rest of our furniture and things.  And what a load.  It took us quite awhile to get everything sorted, what to keep, what to get rid of and what to do with what we don’t want – most of which is still also in the barn.  We need to have a big yard sale but I don’t know who would come. 


While he was gone to move our stuff, I gave a pot luck and slide show at the Boulder Community Center for all the people I’d been taking pictures of at the brandings for several years.  Probably over 100 came, which is a lot for here.  The dinner was really great and I think the slide show was a success too.  By this time we already had a good deal of snow on the ground and it has never gone off.


Joe took another trip recently back to Vegas to see his friends and go to Newell Anson’s retirement party.  Everyone there seemed to be doing well.  I stayed and fed horses and relaxed, almost a vacation not to have to cook three meals a day and all that goes with it.  Had the TV all to myself.  The weather was nice.  Well, I haven’t been away from here since we brought the meat in, so I’ll have to go visiting someday soon.


One day Trixie laid down in the snow to roll and rolled into the sled rut.  She got stuck there for awhile with all four feet in the air and I thought she was dying, kicking and struggling there.  But she got up and was fine.  Not before we were rushing out to try to get her up.  My projector broke just before the slide show, (I had to borrow one to show the slides) so I haven’t been doing much painting.  I have several sketches and lots of good ideas and plan to spend a lot of time at the easel now.  I ordered a new projector and it should be coming soon.  Lynn





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