We Finally Ride The Magruder Corridor

Sometime in 2015 I read an article in our local paper about a road which traveled between two wilderness areas—the 1.2 million acre Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and the 2.3 million acre Frank Church River Of No Return Wilderness—the Magruder Corridor.  The road was open only in summer, could be traversed in a high clearance vehicle and went from Darby, Montana to Elk City, Idaho.

In July, 2016 we along with friends Larry and Geri plus Elmer and Heneritta rode the portion of the Magruder from Elk City to about the halfway point. The road was closed past this point for a mud slide. Our plan was to then head to Darby, Montana and ride that half–Mother Nature intervened with a massive wildfire in Montana which closed that portion of the road for the year.

Four years later in September of 2020, Larry, Geri, and Lonn joined us to finally ride the Darby, Montana section of the road. Our Montana friends had heard us talk about the Magruder and a plan was hatched to ride the entire Magruder Corridor, 100 plus miles and spend the night in Elk City, Idaho at Red River Hot Springs Resort (pay attention to that word “resort!”–there is more to come!). Mother Nature once again intervened and the entire road was closed for a forest fire. We made other plans and were heading to the Jarbidge, Nevada area. Friday before we were to depart on Sunday, the Magruder opened again. I was getting dizzy!

The Margruder Corridor is named for Lloyd Magruder who in 1863 was using the trail to bring back gold dust earned from selling supplies to miners at Virginia City, Montana when four other travelers joined the Margruder party.  These four travelers attacked and murdered the Margruder party fleeing to San Francisco with their stolen goods which included Margruder’s very recognizable horse.  A friend of Margruder’s pursued the murderers to California, spotted the horse, arrested the party and brought them back to Lewiston, Idaho for trial and eventual hanging.

The road on the Montana side starts out as pavement of all things then gets much worse—the road becomes more narrow with multiple tight switchbacks, ascending and descending several times.  Starting elevation is around 4000 feet with the road climbing to almost 8000 feet and descending to 4000 feet several times. There isn’t much traffic but when you come around a tight corner and end up face to face with a large dump truck it does make the heart beat faster!

Sunday we all gathered in Big Timber and headed out–with stops it took about seven hours for us to arrive at a boondocking spot we had used in the past near Darby, MT. The ATVs were unloaded, the dogs were released and we gathered for happy hour and dinner.

Monday dawned sunny and chilly. We got an early start as we had 100+ miles to ride and certainly didn’t want to be out after dark. Rest stops, lunch, more rest stops, a stop in Elk City for much needed gas and we rolled into Red River Hot Springs Resort just after 5pm.

First rest stop
Lonn rolling in on his bike

We rode through a recently burned area and began seeing all these wrapped signs, outhouses and buildings. The historic ranger station bridge had sprinklers at either end. 

We knew our accommodations would be nothing fancy–dry cabins–no electricity, no water. What we didn’t know was that they were very rustic, sparsely furnished, cold, dank cabins. In our cabin we heard mice all night, probably in the ceiling. The beds were awful, the linens terrible and it was so cold! We had a propane heater on the wall but it smelled so strongly of propane we elected to play it safe and turn it off for the night. Some of the cabins did not have a heater at all!!?? We thought we would start the heater in the morning to warm the cabin–not! The ignitor would not work, we needed matches or a striker neither of which was in the cabin. Using the word “resort” for that place is a stretch! The young couple who now own the Hot Springs has their work cut out for them–the place is in poor repair, there is no real restaurant, so much work needs to be done it’s mind boggling.

Greg and Phyllis’s cabin

Happy hour when we arrived

We were served a mediocre supper and a good breakfast before starting the 100+ miles back to our RVs. Above I mentioned coming around a tight corner and being face to face with a dump truck. Well, we came up behind this dump truck who had a major problem. He had lost a tire a mile or so back behind us, we saw the tire by the road. When he turned this corner, his inside dual tire blew and the dump truck began to tip. He was a young guy but must have been driving truck a long time–he had the presence of mind to pull the lever to open the belly dump which stopped his tipping. But the road was blocked and help would be a long time coming.

The guys decided it might be possible to shore up the side of the road on the downhill side of the dump truck–enough to let us pass. I wasn’t too thrilled about the idea but it worked and the guy with the biggest rig–Greg–tried the new route first and off we went, back to the RVs.

The return trip in spite of the hour long delay seemed to go more quickly and we were back at the rigs before 5pm. Just in time for more food, conversation, laughter and dog loving. All the couples have at least one dog, Greg and Phyllis have two, one of which is a 10 month old lab named Toby who decided my lap was the place to be! I guess he thought if Emmi could do it, so could he! I laughed so hard as did everyone else!

Wednesday we took a shorter ride into the Painted Rocks State Park area and to a fire tower we had visited in 2020. The same guy was manning the tower, it was his 27th season of watching for fires in that tower.

All the above photos from the fire tower area were taken with my new iPhone–I am amazed at the photo quality from a phone camera!

The water level in the lake at Painted Rocks State Park is significantly low–maybe from irrigation, maybe from drought.

Wednesday night it rained and Thursday it rained all day. I love a rainy day in a RV–nothing to do, no chores on my mind, just a relaxing day. Ken and Lesley decided to head home a day early and Lonn also pulled out hoping to find better weather somewhere down the road.

Thursday evening when it came time for dinner it was still raining so we all gathered in our rig–it worked!

Friday it was time to pack up and head home–wet dogs, wet gear, messy rigs but we had a fabulous time and we can finally say we’ve ridden the Magruder Corridor in its entirety!

Phyllis took this photo–these are probably lightning strikes in the wilderness which the USFS is letting burn. Hopefully the rain put out these fire.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             The Magruder burns often–but we spotted a lot of new growth in the older burn areas.

Saturday was a catch up day–unload, laundry, etc. Sunday I finished a quilt for my friend Jeane and put some of the flower beds to rest for the winter. The Cowboy worked on some things in the RV that don’t work correctly–such as the electric jacks.

Life is indeed so good.

Back In Montana

Back in Montana we are planning our next trip–a major ATV journey. Mom and I relaxed on Monday after all the wedding festivities. I’ve helped Mom start a new knitting project and I worked on my summer sweater. Tuesday Mom and I went to Little Rock for a doctor’s appointment, had a great lunch, shopped a bit and headed home. I cooked Tuesday evening–paying for pizza which Danny and Ann picked up on their way home from work

A foggy morning in Arkansas

A couple years ago Danny and Ann added a porch to the back of their home. It’s such a pleasant place to sit, dine and visit with family. My entire family lives within a 2 mile radius and someone is always dropping or in the case of my niece, walking by. Wednesday morning Ross (my brother) took me to the airport–it was time for the Arkansas visit to end. I drove up our driveway at midnight Wednesday. That 6.5 hour layover in Denver was awful!

At least the Southwest Airline concourse at the Denver airport has been upgraded. Big, open, bright, clean with comfortable couches, booths, chairs and plenty of charging stations everywhere. The restrooms are amazing–huge stalls which accommodate you and your bags. Giant handwashing stations. Dining options are limited–the shops and restaurants are not built/open as of yet.

Unpacking, medical stuff and grocery shopping filled our day Thursday. I did bake a batch of dishpan cookies–not sure where the original recipe originated but I remember Mom making these cookies when she worked on a guest ranch in Ennis, Montana. I’m freezing cookies in advance of our upcoming ATV trip.

The weather is unsettled in Montana–and smokey, oh so smokey! Rain is in the forecast but will it rain–who knows! No, it didn’t rain–only sprinkles.

Flowers on a vine alongside the road in Arkansas

Friday was spent baking and cooking in preparation for our upcoming ATV trip. Late afternoon we headed north–as in north of Big Timber where friends Jon and Joan live. Jon is our local tomato grower extraordinaire–he has greenhouses and produces lots of tomatoes in summer. Friends Royal and Nancy also joined us and it was a fabulous evening with good food and great friends. These are all people who attended school with the Cowboy. Jon and Joan have an unusual, really cool house which I had never seen. They also have a sweet, sweet English Lab named Sugar Bear. It was dark when we left their home so we traveled home slowly keeping a careful watch for critters.

I baked two cream cheese pound cakes–one was a flop and went in the trash, the second one looks great. I hate wasting all that butter and eggs but sometimes it happens!

The smoke wasn’t as bad on Saturday–we can hope the cooler, more humid weather will help firefighting crews stomp out those fires.

Life is good–in spite of the smoke!

 

A Wedding

It was so hot and smokey in our neck of the Montana woods the first part of this week but Wednesday after a 96 degree day and high winds brought cooler more fall like weather. Saturday morning the Cowboy saw a temperature of 29 degrees and frost. I flew to Arkansas on Thursday to heat and humidity. Mom has been a bit under the weather and my oldest nephew was getting married so a trip was in order.

It’s been all about the wedding this weekend–and rightfully so! Friday evening there was a short rehearsal followed by dinner at Ross (my brother) and Vicky’s.  Trent and Addisan were married Saturday evening in a field near their house under stormy skies–

Just as the minister (Danny, my brother in law and uncle to the groom) said “you are now husband and wife,” sprinkles of rain began and then it really rained. People took shelter in any vehicle available, under the raised tailgates of vehicles, etc. The reception food was retrieved from Addisan and Trent’s nearby home after the rain had stopped. The sprinkles continued and the decision was made to abandon the idea of dining outside and head for the church just up the road.

It was a beautiful wedding–I don’t know Addisan very well as of yet but I sure love the smile she puts on my nephew’s face! Here are a few photos I took with my phone–

Mom and her granddaughter, Niki.
Danny, Niki and husband Eric.
My brother Ross and his wife Vicky–parents of the groom.
Vicky and her granddaughter, Magnolia.
Niki and myself.

And the next two photos I did not take.

Clayton (groom’s brother and my nephew) wife Hannah and adorable child, Magnolia.
Trent and Addisan, bride and groom

Sunday we all gathered for a potluck type meal at Danny and Ann’s–they have the most seating capacity thus they host most of our family gatherings. Lots of laughter and love.

The Cowboy continues to work on that flatbed–the end is near. It’s been chilly in Montana–finally!

Life is good!

 

A Little Fun, A Little Work

September usually brings cooler temps, rain or snow. Not this year so far. It’s hot–in the nineties, not a drop of moisture or lower temps in sight.

In mid June we had that major windstorm which took out so many of our aspen trees. We’ve been spending a bit of time each morning cleaning up the mess. The Cowboy operates the mini excavator loading the bucket of the skidsteer I’m operating with logs and limbs which I then haul to the burn pile. Our burn pile is getting too big and we’ve had to start another one. It may take us a while to clean up the mess.

On Wednesday we were in Billings again for another medical appointment and grocery shopping. Back home the Cowboy busied himself getting our rig ready for an unexpected ATV trip on Thursday. The truck is still naked–no box or flatbed so we had to take the jeep and a little trailer the Cowboy made several years ago.

The ATV gang met in Big Timber at the Fort early Thursday morning trying to beat the traffic at a one lane bridge over near Livingston, heading up into the Crazy Mountains. Not long ago we rode trails in this same area with Sarge and Sarah but this gang has ridden in this area many times and knew of different trails–even a loop trail which we all like!

Four couples, six rigs and three dogs had a great day. It was much cooler up on the mountain and although the skies were a touch smokey, the views were still awesome. After riding all day we headed out stopping at the The Bank Bar (housed in the old bank building) in Wilsall for dinner. The food was good and the service very good. By the time we were on the interstate heading toward Big Timber it was getting late and by the time we started up the Boulder it was dark. And the deer and elk were determined to commit suicide! We dodged about five or six deer and two elk before pulling into our driveway with a sigh of relief.

Many of the trails are 50 inch wide–and so are the bridges–will we fit??                                                         
Rest stop
Forest Lake–as you can see, the lake level is down significantly.
And another rest stop.

We have been so fortunate this summer to have had no smoke–our luck ran out yesterday. Today the mountains are either non visible or a faint shadow. And it stinks. The Cowboy said the smoke map shows our smoke is coming from British Columbia.

And today the Cowboy finally felt better and made great progress on the flatbed–it’s on the truck!! Not finished but at least the flatbed is bolted to the truck frame. I worked in the RV a bit before lunch–cleaning and rearranging. This afternoon I retreated to the basement and quilted–the stitch in the ditch with clear thread is finished and so is the border. Now to fill around all the wool pieces.

Emmi sleeps a lot–when she does go outside in this heat it’s not long before she is ready to go back inside. We take our long walk in the morning, usually before the sun rises above the mountains when it’s cooler and we sometimes take a shorter walk in the evening after the sun has set. I have rattlesnake nervousness–we had one in our backyard and now everywhere I go I hear that noise! Stepped on a dead weed the other day and about jumped out of my skin–the dry weed made a rattlesnake like sound. We are over run with grasshoppers and sometimes those nasty things make a noise which makes me jump!

Life is good even if it is miserably hot!!!

 

Cooking

Have you ever added up the hours you spend in the kitchen? There are 365 days in a year. If you cook two meals a day (which I do most days) that is 730 meals a year. If each meal takes approximately an hour to prepare, that’s 1460 hours out of my year spent in the kitchen. That’s a lot of cooking!! My dear husband does not eat sandwiches very much like our ATVing friend we will call CB. So we don’t have sandwiches for lunch as many people do–he will eat a bacon, lettuce and tomato and we do carry peanut butter/jelly sandwiches on our ATVing trips–but not roast beef, turkey or ham sandwiches for him!

We live out in the middle of nowhere on both ends of the country. The restaurant choice in both locations is poor as are the grocery stores. So, I cook. Some days I derive pleasure from it and other days it’s just another chore on my plate. Wednesday for lunch I made Ina Garten’s Parmesan chicken, serving it over pasta with a purchased pasta sauce we both really liked–Rao’s Marinara. The Cowboy as you all know is not a fan of chicken but sometimes he just eats what I cook–he did say as his father used to say, “that was a good disguise on the chicken!”  For dinner on Wednesday I served bean burritos–pinto beans cooked in the pressure cooker with bacon/onion/jalapenos, pureed with my immersion blender and served on homemade flour tortillas with salsa, cheese and sour cream.

Years ago when our elderly neighbors sold their ranch and moved to town Beryl said, “I’m done cooking, no more!” And she stuck to that–she had other people bring food, they had a caretaker who would prepare food and leave it with Beryl and her husband Jim. I have started to purchase some pre-prepared foods–Costco has these frozen panko shrimp we both really like. As I don’t foresee  moving any time soon–it’s back to the kitchen for me.

It’s been a fall like week with cooler days and even some rain showers–more like rain drops. The cooler days were so welcome!

It’s been one of those weeks where the days just run together. We did venture to Livingston Thursday–I had an occupational therapist appointment–the splint they ordered for my right hand had finally arrived. The splint is huge and I thought sleeping with it would aggravate me but it actually helps–my hand is in a resting position in the splint and I don’t wake up with an aching, stiff hand now.

We also decided to have lunch in Livingston–at one of our favorite restaurants, the Rib and Chop House. It was mediocre at best–another reason why I cook. It annoys me to no end to pay $50 for lunch and the food be poor–and be charged $4 for iced tea!! I just need to find some motivation and new recipes!!

The cows departed Saturday–our pastures were well grazed and the owner of the cows had time to move them so off they went. We will see if we repeat this experiment.

I agreed to quilt a couple quilts for a friend–one is a wool quilt with lots of hand stitching, a pleasure to quilt. I’ve been retreating to the cool basement every afternoon for a couple hours with my audiobook and the longarm. The Cowboy has been spending time in the garage working on that flatbed–he’s getting closer to a finish!

Emmi is a cold natured little dog, she likes to be covered at night and even during the day if it’s chilly in the house. At night she manages to shake off her blanket, gets cold and then wakes us up wanting in bed with us as she is cold. During covid I watched these cute videos with Pluto the schnauzer and Pluto’s people mom. Pluto wore pajamas as she was quite elderly and was cold all the time. I ordered Emmi some pajamas–she is not impressed!!

Unloading the photos from the game camera we did have a critter other than deer and us–a bobcat we think–

Digital Camera
Digital Camera

This is one of the last of the columbine–they were beautiful this year but die back when the temps rise.

And our flock of “chickens” which drive Emmi crazy–sage grouse–I really wish they would find somewhere else to be–their poop is chicken sized poop and they poop a lot!!

This photo was taken by a professional photographer, Loretta Hurley who lives in our community. These teepees are at the north entrance to Yellowstone Park, just outside the stone arch near Gardiner.

In commemoration of #Yellowstone150, Yellowstone National Park is coordinating with Mountain Time Arts and their partners to premiere “Yellowstone Revealed” – a series of public, place-based projects and artworks created by an inter-Tribal group of artists and scholars in the park Aug. 17-28.
Events include lighted teepees near the Roosevelt Arch in Gardiner, Montana; a teepee village at Madison Junction; interpretive hikes, demonstrations, and storytelling with Tribal knowledge keepers; and nightly performances at Madison Junction and Old Faithful. All artworks, performances, and experiences are free and open to the public.  (Yellowstone National Park Facebook Page)
May be an image of twilight, nature and skyThis photo was taken by Roger Thompson and was on Facebook–Madison Junction and the teepees inside Yellowstone National Park.
So, that’s about it for another week in it’s almost fall Montana. If I haven’t said it lately–we do thank all of you who read this blog and those who take the time to comment, you are appreciated!

Late Summer

“To the Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” occurred around the time Sirius appears to rise alongside the sun, in late July in the Northern Hemisphere. They believed the heat from the two stars combined is what made these days the hottest of the year, a period that could bring fever or even catastrophe.”  (NationalGeographic.com)

The “dog days of summer” have a different meaning for me–hot days, crispy grasses, grasshoppers devouring everything in sight, including my basil, relentless sun–I can’t wait for fall! This summer’s dog days are different in one aspect–we’ve had very little forest fire smoke. Usually August is just one day after another of smokey skies and invisible mountains.

In September 2020, on Labor Day weekend we saw this–

We can hope, right!!

The cows are misbehaving yet again and we spent another Sunday out in the heat on that steep hillside, re-enforcing the fence, putting in new wood fence posts and replacing staples the cows/calves had pulled out of the neighbor’s fence by sticking their heads where they don’t belong! I got the job of pounding staples on the neighbor’s fence line and have the blisters to prove I pounded many, many staples! The Cowboy used the excavator to build us a road of sorts so we could get both the excavator and the ATV to the top of the fence line. The excavator we needed for digging post holes and the ATV to ferry supplies back and forth. As I type this blog at 5pm, we just came in the house–we’ve been going all day long. Exhaustion is putting it mildly!

I finished Louanne’s quilt–a cross stitch quilt she started 30 years ago, found last summer and completed while in Arizona this past season. It took me many, many hours of hand stitching to sew the binding to the back of the quilt–something I have only done for a customer/friend one other time. I hope I have sense enough not to do it again!!

And I’ve been a nurse this week. On Wednesday at noon the Cowboy said, “I’m catching a cold.” In this day and age those words are enough to make you flinch! He has been so incredibly sick, spending two days in bed–something I don’t think has ever happened in our married life. I tested him four times over the course of this illness–he did not have covid and I did not catch whatever it was he had! He still has a cough but is feeling much better!

Less Than A Hour

In less than an hour from home we can be here, camped alongside the Boulder River enjoying dinner with Lonn, Katie, Mike and the kiddos. Our site wasn’t on the river but we were on a little creek which kept the kids entertained. Campsites during the week are usually obtainable in this first come first serve campground–on the weekends it’s the luck of the draw. Several of the campgrounds on the Boulder are closed due to damage from the June flood. The Cowboy and I left home shortly after lunch so we could take an ATV ride before the gang arrived for dinner.

Dinner was burgers on the grill, potato salad, mac and cheese for the kiddos, two salads and the other half of the divine chocolate cake I baked the other day.

The flood in June changed the course of the Boulder River and left it filled in places with debris–trees, boulders in different places and lots of new sandbars.

These two–the Cowboy and his son Lonn stayed up half the night solving the problems of the world and continued their conversation over morning coffee. Our RV developed a propane leak in one of the lines in the stovetop. We shut off the propane for the night, turned it on just long enough in the morning to perk coffee–with lots of windows open–and then took the coffeepot out to the grill to keep the coffee warm. No propane meant no refrigerator! I had made potato salad for our dinner and what we didn’t eat I tossed–most everything else in the refrigerator was OK but I don’t want to take chances with potato salad! So, Lonn had to leave this morning to get back to work and we followed right behind due to the propane issues and no refrigerator.

Early morning on the Boulder with a bit of smoke haze I would say.

Lonn travels light–he has more “light” gadgets than a REI store! His tent is super lightweight, he has a Jetboil stove system that will boil water so quick, light weight folding chair and table–traveling on a motorcycle requires lots of “light” gadgets!

Our oldest great granddaughter is a third grader this year–

There are three youngster grouse hanging about in our yard. Emmi and I went outside first thing Thursday morning, she caught sight of the “chickens” and gave chase putting one up on the roof cap, another on top of the RV and another who knows where. On another trip outside today I saw the birds before Emmi did and distracted her so the birds could find a place to hide which they did making tracks out behind the RV.

Friday evening we had friends/family visiting and enjoyed another fabulous meal! The Cowboy requested a repeat of the birthday meal I prepared for friends a couple Sundays ago–brisket, calico beans, salad and because Lonn requested it I baked another strawberry/rhubarb pie.

After tasting the pie I was wishing I had started with pie and skipped the rest–it was that good!! Failed to get a photo of the finished pie.

Saturday afternoon a thunderstorm decided to drop some rain–the storms have just been rolling around us with no moisture. This one gave us eight tenths of welcome rain. And the best part–the temps dropped from 88 degrees down to 64 degrees!

Sunday morning Emmi and I took a walk up into the hayfields. With the cows here we have to change our route some mornings to avoid them but this morning the cows and calves were off somewhere else and we could walk our regular path.

It was a zoo up there–first I heard and spotted the sandhill cranes then spotted the coyote on a direct path toward the cranes but the coyote took no notice of the cranes and continued on up the hill. This is a poor photo, very zoomed but the sandhill cranes are right above the coyote.

Just the coyote
Coyote and Sandhills

Then as we walked I heard more sandhill cranes, much closer–there were four of them in a group–they were too far away for good photos. We usually only see pairs so it was exciting to see four cranes in a group.

If I stare at that door long enough someone will open it to let me in–I just know it!

While knitting last night I noticed this little bugger dining on my petunias!!

Tasty petunias!

The Cowboy has always said that when the crows begin to gather, fall is fast approaching–

Crows gathered on the dead limbs of a cottonwood tree

And work on the flatbed continues–the Cowboy took a break for a while but was back at it today.

Life is good!

Cool Down

Late evening sun striking the hills beyond our house.

As I start this blog late Saturday afternoon, our temp is 55 degrees with a very cloudy, misting sky. Heavenly weather for August 6th! Many years ago friends were married up the West Boulder in an outdoor wedding on August 9th and it was so cold–in August!! I attended that wedding dressed in a long skirt with long john underwear underneath, a sweater and a coat! The bride wore a traditional wedding gown–it was a short wedding ceremony! The last time I planted a garden, I had beautiful tomatoes just starting to show signs of pink–on about August 22 we had a killing frost which froze those tomatoes. No more gardens. This cool snap won’t last long, 90 degrees again by Wednesday.

A very early medical appointment this week had us taking the RV to Billings for the night staying in the KOA campground. It’s a old park filled with giant cottonwood trees. The cicadas up in those trees were so incredibly loud you couldn’t hear yourself think! It was 98 degrees in Billings that night and I felt so sorry for the many folks sleeping in tents dealing with that kind of heat and the noise of those cicadas. Plus the noise of I-90. We were very thankful for our RV and air conditioning!

A baby bunny has taken up residence in our front yard.

The Cowboy has been working on various projects–one was literally creating a gooseneck hitch for a trailer. Hard, heavy welding and work but it’s installed and works perfectly! He’s also been mowing a bit and I’ve been on a weed killing mission. I’ve hiked and climbed all over these hills chopping weeds. I don’t like to use chemicals beneath our aspen trees so chopping it is–UGH! And it was so hot on the mornings I chose to wage my war on weeds!

Not catching much wildlife other than deer on the game camera–it’s a good thing the camera can’t pick up how hot and sweaty I was!

The hummingbirds are eating us out of house and home–there are literally dozens of the little buzzers on the feeder, especially right before the sun goes down. It’s a feeding frenzy!

One of my prettier day lilies
A sleepy Emmi.

The cows/calves are behaving these days–I guess it just took some time for them to find their boundaries or the electric fence! 😮

Beautiful butterfly of some sort who loved the petunias.

Life is good!

 

 

 

MOOOOOO

Those happy cows which arrived a week ago have made us two unhappy land owners–at least for a few days–we are back to being happy again and enjoying the “mooooo’s!”  Our house sits down alongside a creek and the land rising up from the creek is dang steep. I spoke in a previous blog about the one section of fence damaged from falling trees that we repaired–it was treacherous work, ridiculously steep. The Cowboy had to cut a couple roads into the steep terrain just to give us room to navigate with the ATV.

Four calves decided our yard grass looked better than those acres of lush pasture awaiting their dining pleasure. We chased them out and the Cowboy reinforced a bit of fencing where we thought they had entered and reinforced the cattleguard wings.  The next day we came home from town to find the brats back in the yard, they were crawling through the fence and wrecking it in the process.

The Cowboy was NOT happy with our charges, deciding to run an electric wire UP that fence line. “UP” is the key word. This section of fence which borders our yard is even more steep. The slope was covered in thick grass and vegetation. I changed clothes donning long pants and hiking boots–might I add it was almost 90 degrees–and started up that slope with the weed whacker while the Cowboy gathered supplies. Some of the vegetation was too much for the weed whacker and had to be cut by hand. Parts of the sloop were so steep I had to push the weed whacker ahead of me and crawl upward on my hands and knees using weeds to pull myself forward. It took us a couple hours and the fence now had an electric wire. And obviously the calves have come into contact with that wire as there have been no more intruders in our yard. Just nice, behaved, pooping (I had forgotten how much poop a cow generates) mooing cows/calves munching on the grass they were supposed to be eating!

Fixing the fence where we thought the calves were escaping.

Yet another trip to Billing this week, our car gets about 23mpg and we are spending way too many dollars on gas!!!

On Thursday evening Lonn and the gang came for dinner. It was a perfect Montana summer evening and we decided to dine outside letting the munchkins run wild in the yard. We dined on smoked tri tip, oven baked risotto, a salad, chocolate cake and coffee/almond ice cream. Burp!!!

It’s very dry and our humidity is in the low double digits. Fires are starting all over Montana from lightening strikes–it was good while it lasted, no smoke–but it was just a matter of time. We’ve been in the 90’s for the last week–it’s a relief when the sun goes down! So thankful for the air conditioning the Cowboy installed last summer!

Today is my dear friend Jill’s birthday. Jill and Terry, Steve and Jeane came for Sunday lunch to celebrate Jill’s birthday. Once again we dined well–beer braised brisket, potato salad, a green salad, asparagus and baked beans. Dessert was that divine strawberry cake. I so enjoy preparing food people love and today was one of those days!

The Cowboy has been working on various projects in his garage which is not air conditioned. He is a water drinker which is good and he comes inside to cool down frequently. August is always a miserable month–it and July are my least favorite months of the year.

But life is still good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Busy Summer Days

I made this statement in last Sunday’s post, “So, it’s been an incredibly busy week and the next week does not appear to be shaping up any differently!” I failed to mention it had been an expensive week–those new excavator tracks were ridiculously expensive. This week started out with our beloved skidsteer developing a hydraulic leak and as you can see it took the Cowboy a bit of exploring in order to find that leak. I would look out the windows of the house and all I could see was the Cowboy’s rear end–he had to kneel in the front of the skidsteer and lean way over into it to get to the leaky cylinder. We purchased the stupidly expensive (as in four figures stupidly expensive)  part and the skidsteer is now back in business!

Hot and windy Monday, 93 degrees, summer has arrived complete with smoke from a fire on the Montana/Idaho border. But the smoke was gone Tuesday morning and the wind must have brought a “cold” front as our temps were much more moderate. We’ve enjoyed a pleasant summer so far, we hate to see the smoke arriving but it was just a matter of time!

Wednesday was a Billings day. I had a doctors appointment and an appointment for a mammogram. Had to cancel the mammogram, the doctor I was seeing was a bit over scheduled shall I say! The Cowboy picked up his new boots and that dang expensive skidsteer part. We enjoyed a great lunch, made a quick Costco stop and headed home to the Emmi girl.

Home we quickly unloaded and packed up again. We were joining Lonn, Katie, Mike and the munchkins up the Boulder for a picnic. We eat well when we have a picnic–filet mignon and shrimp on the grill. Brooks and Millie made s’mores on the campfire, the adults had apple buns from Costco. Emmi went along and had a ball exploring and avoiding the kids.

On the spur of the moment Sarge called and asked if we wanted to go up into the Crazy Mountains outside of Big Timber on Friday for a bit of ATV exploring–even though the Cowboy’s to do list is a mile long we said “sure, let’s go!” It was a beautiful day, warm at the lower starting elevation but cool and breezy at 8500 feet. The wildflowers were stunning, blue sky and rolling white clouds, creeks, a picnic and friends–what more could one ask! We even saw an abundance of bitterroot flowers–the state flower of Montana.

Bitterroot growing in very inhospitable conditions!

Anyone know the name of these flowers?

Bugs seem to be following us this summer–if it isn’t mosquitoes, it’s horseflies and biting little flies. No bites from the horseflies but the little biting flies nailed me a couple times!

Still mowing the grass, the peonies have gone but my backyard flower bed is thriving. Most of the colorful birds have found better food elsewhere but the hummingbirds love our feeder. Summer in Montana–it’s been a good one so far!

And today these arrived–the pasture munching red Angus cattle belonging to a young man outside Big Timber. These cows will eat the grass and the Cowboy is relieved of his hay making duties. The cows seem happy so far, fat and happy!

Life is good!