Julie Carter

Welcome to the West as I see it

Within these pages, you will find the end result of a lot of living and laughing, finally put between book covers to share with the world. A laugh is never a better laugh than when it can be shared and shared again.

I hope you choose to own a copy of my book, Cowgirl Sass and Savvy. It is a selection of some of the first stories individually published in a syndicated column by the same name that I have written weekly since 2002. They offer you a peek into ranch and cowboy life that isn't what you see as you drive by or what you read in the glossy slick magazines selling cowboy clothes, furniture and adventures.

And most of all, I hope the stories bring you, at the very least, a smile and a good laugh. No better gift could I offer you.

I also offer you a glimpse of this rural area as I see it through my camera lens. Shop the Mercantile page for posters that I have combined my photography with words I have written. Also there are calendars showcasing some of my favorite photos from this year. A link to my landscape photography website will let you browse through what I see when I travel down the dirt roads of the West.


Julie's Weblog

December 16, 2015

Filed under: General — Julie Carter @ 9:48 pm

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Workin’ for peanuts

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy by Julie Carter
Cowboys are always a never-ending source of funny quips and one-liners delivered with a matter-of-fact tone that belies the actual humor within the words.

Put a cowboy on an airplane headed to the bright lights of Las Vegas during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and his capacity for wit and humor pegs the needle on the laugh meter. The only thing funnier is an entire plane load full of them.

Obviously acquainted and buddies, the banter is passed back and forth amidst the stewardess’ attempts to take drink orders and offer the usual Southwest Airlines snack.

Lightheartedly, one cowboy suggested little juice boxes would be in order for the lot of them because they needed to stay sober for their arrival in Vegas. He had been assured they were to be met by the champion Australian beach volleyball team. He had plans for fun in the sand.

The discussion quickly moved to a recent trip to Vegas one of the lads had made to stand up in a wedding. It was for his good friend who had decided, on the spur of the moment and a night of drinking, to get married. The story teller said he got called in the middle of night, jumped on a plane and the wedding took place as soon as everybody could get there, at 8 a.m.

The cowboy next to him said, “If I ever get married again, it’ll be in the Elvis Wedding Chapel using a bubble gum wrapper for a wedding ring. That’s about as serious as I plan to be about it. I rode that horse already!”

With only an hour of open-bar time, the cowboys in rows 13 and 14 managed to get themselves dubbed the “two-fer boys,” both for beer and peanuts.

As a parting gift, over the loud speaker, the stewardess recognized them for their good humor and fun. She also handed them a large bag of the peanut snack sacks as a reward for their “entertainment show.”

Those cowboys gave new meaning to “working for peanuts.”

On the shuttle bus to the hotel, a Texas cowboy, who showed some signs of aging wisdom, said he’d had to quit gambling. When one of the other passengers asked why, he replied, “They kept complaining about the spit cups I used when I chewed, and I damn sure wasn’t going to give up chewing.”

Eight-time PRCA world champion bull rider Donny Gay was working the NFR behind the ESPN microphone during the bull riding. When asked if he thought he could still ride a bull Donnie said, “Sometimes I think so. Then I look down and there are about 25 pounds of me that have never been on a bull.”

The trade shows draw as many crowds as the casinos do. At a National Ropers Supply booth a cowboy was scrutinizing a belt loaded with shiny glitz. “That’s too blingy for you,” his wife said to him. He chuckled as he hung the belt back on the rack and said, “Yeah, that’s true. I’m too fat to be flashy.”

Words to live by.

December 10, 2015

A snapshot in time

Filed under: General — Julie Carter @ 2:54 pm

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy by Julie Carter

A Pandora’s box of memories sits on a closet shelf with a label that simply says “Old Photos.” A tattered lid is anchored tenuously with a yellowed strip of adhesive from a long-ago era and the dust is layered in decades.
If you are like me, that is just one of many boxes that hold pieces of your life in glossy rectangles with dates stamped in the margins and maybe a name or place written across the back. Handed down from generation to generation, the boxes may be relatively small but the value is untold.
As each photo is pulled from the mass of others, a memory is released. It floats up before your eyes and brings with it names, circumstances and perhaps even sounds and smells of that moment suspended in time by a camera.
I’ve looked at these pictures so many times over the years and yet as life goes by, each one seems to have a little more meaning, a little more depth for a life that once was. I find not just memories, but emotions as well, are held in place by a piece of film paper.
Each secures a season, a location and its own story. It captures genealogies and work histories. It validates memories of fashion both in clothing and home decorating. It takes you to a time when people lived simpler and times seemed harder but smiles were bigger. Oh, and those love-filled kitchens along with the smells of cooking food in pots and something always baking in the oven.
In the “Old Photo” boxes are all those Christmases past, starting with the tall spruce tree selected after a tromp up a snowy hill. Dad with a two-bit axe in hand and Mom making sure it was the tree to fit the bay window area. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and neighbors all joining in the fun. Laughter and children’s squeals of joy echoing in the crisp air of December.
Snowballs flying and kids rolling in the drifts. Then the trek back to the pickup with the Christmas tree of the year, dragging through the snow perhaps with a child hitching a ride. Times that we as children thought would last forever.
The strings of bright lights, garlands of popcorn and cranberries placed carefully on the branches once inside the house. Those treasured special ornaments carefully unwrapped and hung high on the tree out of harm’s way. Soon, the packages under the tree evoked unparalleled excitement for days before the wrapping-paper holocaust on Christmas morning.
We remember those things without a photo but with one, they come to life in a reality our mind, left on its own, tends to tinker with and adjust. I have always loved photos and that has evolved to me becoming not only passionate about them, but pursuing photography with that same driven desire.
I don’t see a camera as a tool for a photograph. I see it as a historian at work. I know without a doubt that what comes as a result of a camera will have a special place in life not just today, but significantly more in the future.
So while we remind each other and ourselves to savor each day because we know tomorrow is not promised, I suggest we photograph each day for the same reason. Save today for those tomorrows beyond your life. Someone will be glad you did.

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Julie, camera in hand, can be reached for comment at jcarternm@gmail.com.

November 29, 2015

Killjoy Christmas Shopping-saga of the toy livestock hauler

Filed under: General — Julie Carter @ 8:09 am

the toy

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy by Julie Carter

This is the time of year that I usually create a funny but accurate shopping list for the ranch wife or the cowboy that may be looking for something special for his sweetheart. Doing a little looking around, I jumped track to a rant that is swelling up in cattle country over a toy livestock hauling truck.
They are cattle trucks where I come from, or “bull wagons.” And yes, sheep and other assorted ranch and farm animals are hauled in them too.
It seems that a group of animal rights activists finds nothing amusing about kids playing with a livestock truck sold by Walmart (and other places too, they just went after the most visible big guy).
The online petition started this month by a vegan activist from Toronto refers to it as a “toy slaughter truck” and the petition states, “Normalizing the enslavement and murder of animals to kids is not OK.” Seeking 15,000 signatures and as of this week, there were 12,824 supporters.
The comments under the petition are priceless in both their reality and those I would call “completely gone off the deep end.”
It was pointed out in a response that these trucks are toy models of an industry that moves livestock from one place to another and claimed a 95% ratio of location change usage to actually taking animals for slaughter. The toy is labeled “Peterbilt Model 579 with Livestock Trailer.”
The other side of the issue jumped off the ledge with “The reality is violence. Do not support desensitization of children. This ‘toy’ is no different than a slave train combined with a coroner’s wagon. Auschwitz mentality is immoral & degrading.”
Another said, “Glorifying and normalizing slavery, abuse and slaughter is just disgusting.”
Seriously people? I would bet all that is mine not one child anywhere that found that truck under the Christmas tree would look at it and say, “Oh look, Santa brought me a slaughter truck.”
I have no delusion that my story here will change the mindset of those so embroiled in this leap from the toy shelf to Auschwitz, but it makes me feel better to shed a little more light on the insanity of this world. I am, however, a little concerned that those trucks hauling vegetables from farm country might be next on the list. Will the vegans attack their own?
Desensitizing children? Enslavement and murder of animals? Oh boy, it’s a good thing I’ve got a word limit that comes with this missive. My vote would to be to remove most television shows cartoon programs included, and video games. I would also do away with a long list of things people that claim to be free-thinking, free-willed adults do on a daily basis that “desensitizes” us all before taking a toy truck off the shelf. It is a TOY. A symbol of a tool used daily in the livestock industry. Period. Ban that, then ban the knives that chop the vegetables.
And, about that doll that magically poops little charms after feeding her water. It comes with the suggestion that the doll owner then make a bracelet out of the charms. Hey, I don’t make this stuff up! What kind of reality is that for a child? I suggest there is possibly psychological damage done by this doll to children who will someday actually have to change a real baby’s diaper … well, I leave it to you.
So on behalf of the livestock industry, the farming industry and the lucky charm industry, happy holiday shopping. By the way, those livestock hauling trucks are still available for $29.99. Buy two. Make a point.
Julie, who is charmless but has a previously owned by son toy livestock truck, can be reached for comment at jcarternm@gmail.com.

November 21, 2015

Picket fence at sunset.

Filed under: General — Julie Carter @ 4:15 pm

Picket Fence copy

November 20, 2015

Revival

Filed under: General — Julie Carter @ 5:59 pm

Welcome to the revival of the Julie Carter/Cowgirl Sass & Savvy blog. I will bring bringing to you the same wit and wisdom in print via my Sass & Savvy stories, along with a new photography business and things to go along with that. This site will link you to my landscape photography for sale along with items available on this site: books, calendars and posters.

Coming soon will be a link to my books in a digital download form as well.

I’ve been off on life’s adventures for the past 4-5 years, what we would just call living, and so have neglected the site but today, is REVIVAL DAY.

Stay tuned. Find me on face book at Julie Carter and Julie Carter Photography.