Top Pics of ’18

Every year before Christmas I sort through my photos looking to make photo gifts for family and friends.  A blog showcasing the top pics of the year, then, naturally follows.  Below are 31 of my favorites from 2018.  Thirty-one is an obscure number, I know — but when I first started sorting this morning more than 60 favorites made the first cut, so I challenged myself to narrow it to 30, and now I just can’t bear to cull one more.  So here goes… in mostly chronological order… happy New Year’s Eve, everyone!


Five cousins kicked off 2018 with a bang!

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… and before the first month was out our family grew by one.

Baby Muggins.  So much of this last year has been about him:




(The birth announcement photo.  A photographic triumph for me, thank you very much.)



It was such a hard winter here.  My husband’s gray count rose astronomically this year because of problems like this:


This tractor, which the ranch had borrowed from a neighbor, was stuck on the Sumatra Road in deep snow for months.



And then, long into April, came the big flood:


And at long last spring, with its bright green grass:


Emi.  She is a Wild Thing.



Grandma and Marsi were looking for asparagus but found a mystery-bird nest.


Asher helped with bum calves.


Our sweet niece Tay was a big help with the kids this year.



Getting one decent picture of 40 tiny toes proved impossible.


And Beau and Fish were momentarily airborne.



There was a memorable production of The Nativity at our friend Tanya’s house…


(Emi and her bud Colt made the journey to Bethlehem.)

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And Marsi refused to say her line (singular).

There’s a little bit of devil in her angel eyes…

(Name that tune!)


Asher and his bud Rylee peeked in at Will James’ studio on a school trip:


And then spring turned into branding season…




(The crew riding back to the 5 Sections branding trap after trailing pairs to water.)


(Asher’s buddy Vash at the ready with a jug of C&D.)

(Harold Muggins Blake with Harold Peter Arvik.)


Branding season turned into ranch rodeo season.  (The next three pics were taken by my sis Sue Gallo.)


It was another memorable year at Custer.  These pairs made it to the arena about five minutes before the grand entry.


Sue got this fantastic picture of family friend Clint Potts on his top horse.


And this one of me and the herd of children that seems to gather around me everywhere I go.


Ranch rodeo season melted into hot summer days…


… with cottonwood cotton flying…


… and hours spent swinging in the hammock…


… and visits to the river…

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… and early mornings with Dad…


… and time for me ‘n’ Muggins to test out selfie poses while the rest of the crew floated the irrigation canal.





My 92-year-old grandma Peg came over for a birthday party and spent quality time with Muggins, her youngest great (to date).


Beau and Emi shared a hot meal at the South Butte Creek corrals.


And four Blake kids posed for a pic on Doogan, God bless ‘im.


Skillen-Robison Photography captured this pic of me and my kids.  The lady shown here is the mama I dream of being.  I don’t always live up to the picture-perfect bliss so effortlessly portrayed by a camera… but I do keep trying.  Here’s to a 2018 in which the good very much outweighed the bad for our little family… and here’s to the promise of the New Year ahead of us.

© Tam Blake

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