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!

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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:

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

 

Winter

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

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

 

Spring

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

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

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Emi.  She is a Wild Thing.

 

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

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Asher helped with bum calves.

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

 

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Getting one decent picture of 40 tiny toes proved impossible.

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And Beau and Fish were momentarily airborne.

 

 

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

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(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:

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And then spring turned into branding season…

 

Summer

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

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(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.)

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

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

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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…

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… with cottonwood cotton flying…

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… and hours spent swinging in the hammock…

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… and visits to the river…

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… and early mornings with Dad…

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

 

 

Fall

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

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

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

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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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