And Another Trip To Billings

It’s that time of year–dentist, dermatologist, mammogram, haircuts, etc.  Today it was the dermatologist and the Cowboy will look as if he has chicken pox soon–freezing lots of pre-cancer lesions and three biopsies.  And a lecture–the Cowboy hasn’t seen the dermatologist in too long–so now he gets to go more frequently than before!

We had a great lunch at CJ’s and went to Costco for just a few things–when you get out of Costco for less than $200 it’s a good day!

These two will soon be in Montana–isn’t this a beautiful photo of Lora and Laci!!

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Our forecast for tonight and tomorrow is for heavy rain, possible hail and high winds.  The rivers and creeks are running full–the Yellowstone River is wide and muddy.  We are in no danger of flooding but low lying areas near the rivers/creeks could flood.

Do you make lists?  I’m a list maker and most mornings I make a list of things I want to accomplish during the day.  The list might include “call Barb” or “change appointments” along with things like “bathe Emmi.”  Yesterday’s list was a full page long and I didn’t think there was even the slimmest chance I would complete the whole list–but I did and even added in a bit of mowing which wasn’t on the list.  I only had to move one thing from the original list–“change appointments” to another list.

I bathed Emmi, trimmed Emmi, cut the Cowboy’s hair, baked granola, cleaned all the bathrooms and vacuumed the whole house, ground coffee, sprayed weeds, etc. plus I fed us twice.  I’m thinking I put in a good day’s work!

Branding Day

Lonn and Katie doing what they love best.

The sun was shining and it was time to brand–I don’t do branding any longer but I usually go over to help with the food and there’s those added attractions these days–Brooks and Millie!!

It only stopped raining Saturday afternoon–we’ve been sitting in a major cloud bank since Thursday–and as you can tell from the Cowboy’s attire–it’s been a little chilly!  Lonn had scheduled branding for Saturday afternoon but the weather didn’t cooperate–it did today.

As usual there were lots of cowboys on horses roping the calves and lots of people on the ground doing the rest.  Katie had made pulled pork and salads–all I had to do was shred the pork and play with the grand babies.  There’s something so sweet about a little guy holding your hand and walking you around the yard to show you all the pretty yellow flowers–dandelions.  Millie is such a happy baby, quite happy to entertain herself.

And no Mom, I don’t think I will have any more of that green stuff thank you very much!

Katie made her hat and it’s just a touch big–we had been outside and even though the sun was shining it was windy and cool.

After all the calves were branded everyone gathered at the house for supper–lots of good food and great visiting.  Soon the Cowboy and I headed home, there was a little dog anxiously awaiting our arrival.

You know a lot of people scan blogs–they don’t read every sentence–even the Cowboy will say, “I didn’t see that in the blog.”  Not my sister, she must read our blog word for word–remember the recipe for chicken tenders I shared the other day and said the recipe came from Southern Living magazine???  Well, my sister informed me HER April issue of Southern Living had no such recipe–oops–it was Simple Living magazine.  I love her anyway!



A Different Kind Of Restoration

Cleaning irrigation ditches is a form of restoration, correct??  Ranchers don’t like grassy ditches or ones where a batch of dirt or rocks has fallen into the ditch causing the water flow to slow down.  A neighbor and friend needed some ditch cleaning so the Cowboy took the mini-excavator and spent Thursday cleaning ditches.

Wednesday we made a trip to Billings–I had two routine appointments, we enjoyed a great lunch and did a very small Costco run.

Thursday morning was yoga for me and in the evening Jeane, Jill and Hilary joined me for a Italian cooking class in Livingston.  We had so much fun!!  Kim who owns the Copper Moose, a specialty food store in Livingston has these classes every Thursday night.  Of course it’s a marketing tool for Kim–all the prepared dishes contained some item sold in her store–but it’s all good stuff!!  Infused olive oils, vinegars, specialty spices, etc.  Who knew veggie lasagna with gluten free noodles could taste soooooo good!!  And I’ve been slicing onions and peppers wrong all my life.  We had the best time!

It was late (for me) when we left Livingston and pouring rain but I managed to avoid the deer and arrived home to a welcoming husband and pooch.  The rain has fallen as a mist all last night and today plus it’s only been 45 degrees!  Spring showers I’m guessing???

Not the greatest photo but in this deary weather it’s a feeding frenzy at the feeders.  We have tons of rosy red finches, a few lazuli buntings, chickadees and one goldfinch.

This time of year our rhubarb is out of control–we have four plants–why I don’t know but we do.  Anything you bake with rhubarb requires so much sugar–but so be it I guess!  I saw this recipe from Smitten Kitchen go across one of my feeds and baked it this morning–it didn’t even make a dent in the rhubarb supply but oh, my, was it ever delicious!!

This is what you don’t do when making pizza sauce–That stuff will scorch in a second if you aren’t paying attention–the recipe has very little liquid–and obviously I wasn’t paying attention! 🙂

One of our native residents made the Good Housekeeping June issue.  Virgil is 97 years old, one year older than Nat and still goes to work in his store every single day it is open–amazing!

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I’ve worked in the quilt studio this afternoon–and it’s been good.  Sue from has sent a quilt to me for longarm quilting–a cheerful, colorful, springy quilt on this nasty weather day.

A Fine Spring Day

Tuesday dawns with not a cloud in the sky–clear, blue skies and we were in the low 70’s by late afternoon.  Yoga, lunch and a visit with friends Jim and Kathy rounded out our day.  The Cowboy did some restoration work–he repaired the lighting plug on the truck so our truck camper batteries would charge as we travel down the road.

Monday I finished cleaning the upstairs portion of our house–finally–and the Cowboy went to Big Timber.  Nat had mentioned he wanted a portable phone by his chair so he didn’t have to hurry to reach the phone.  Hurrying at the age of almost 96 is not a good thing! Every cordless phone I found on Amazon, etc. had way too many buttons for a almost 96 year old visually impaired man.  So–the Cowboy spent a large portion of Monday cursing the person responsible for wiring in the phone jacks in that house.  After crawling in and out of the crawlspace numerous times, he was finally successful and Nat has a phone by his chair.  The Cowboy also did a little door alteration work from garage to the back yard–he had a busy day!

This photo was taken during our rainy weekend.

In the April Southern Living magazine there was a recipe for oven baked big batch chicken tenders–they are absolutely delicious and the Cowboy even liked them!!  They are a touch labor intensive and my kitchen looked as if a bomb went off by the time I was finished but they were good and 3 pounds of chicken tenders is a LOT of chicken.  I cooked only six tenders for us and froze the rest–quick meals!

Chicken Tenders from Southern Living April, 2018

Nonstick Cooking Spray

3 lb chicken tenders or skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch thick strips


Ground pepper

1 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp garlic powder

4 large eggs

1/4 cup whole milk

5 TBS unsalted butter divided

4 cups panko crumbs divided

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

3 TBS honey

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.

WHISK flour, paprika, ground mustard, garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in a large bowl.  Beat eggs and milk in another bowl.

MELT half the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 2 cups Panko crumbs and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, 1-2 minutes.  Transfer to a shallow baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining butter and panko, transfer to the baking dish.  Stir in 1 tsp salt and several grinds of pepper.

WORKING in batches, dredge tenders in flour mixture, shaking off excess.  Dip in egg wash, letting excess drip off, and coat with panko, pressing to adhere.  Bake or freeze at this point.

TO BAKE 1 BATCH:  Place 12 tenders on prepared baking sheet.  Bake until golden on undersides, 6 to 8 minutes.  Spray tenders with cooking spray, flip, and cook until golden and crisp all over, 6 to 8 minutes more.  Stir together mayonnaise, Dijon, and honey.  Serve with tenders.

TO FREEZE: Arrange uncooked tenders in a shallow baking dish with parchment paper between layers.  Freeze until solid, about 2 hours.  Transfer to resealable freezer bags and freeze for up to one month.

TO BAKE FROM FROZEN: Place frozen, unthawed tenders on prepared baking sheet.  Bake until golden on undersides, 12 to 15 minutes.  Spray tenders with cooking spray, flip, and cook until golden and crisp all over, 12 to 15 minutes more.

Looking south from our hay fields.

And here’s hoping my “little” brother Ross had a great birthday!

Graduation and Happy Mother’s Day

We know how blessed we are to have our Mom with us–this photo was taken on the occasion of her 80th birthday. Michael’s mom, Joy, died in 2000 and we miss her greatly.  We wish all our reader moms a very happy Mother’s Day!

A favorite photo of Michael’s 

This all dressed up photo of Joy was taken in 1954.

Really–does spring cleaning ever end??  Friday I used those new knee pads from Amazon crawling around the living/dining/kitchen/mud room mopping the floors by hand–it’s NOT something I do often but sometimes the floors just need a good scrubbing.  I’ve washed a few windows so it would rain–which it did.  Out of this chilly storm we had almost 1.5 inches of rain.

Friday afternoon back in Arkansas my nephew graduated from college–YEA Clayton!!  He’s also engaged to a wonderful young woman–Hannah–and she too graduated on Friday.

As you can see, my two nephews did not inherit their height from mom Vicky. 🙂  Two young men making us all proud.

My out of control tulip bouquet purchased at Costco on Thursday.

Our lazuli bunting birds are back–

And Emmi is still killing sticks–

Putting On Miles

Tuesday afternoon we returned the CanAm to the garage and piled into the jeep–heading up the Boulder to see if any critters were out and about.  All we saw were herds of deer and one dang squirrel!  As always the scenery was spectacular!

The river is high and murky–and it’s not even high water time yet!

Wednesday we puttered at home–I did some more spring cleaning–does it ever end???  The Cowboy installed batteries in the truck camper and I vacuumed all the flies and wasps which accumulated over last fall and winter–ugh!

Wednesday afternoon late we headed to Livingston and the Rib & Chop House to celebrate Sarge’s birthday with he and Sarah. We had a lovely evening and it was good to see those two again.  The food was outstanding as usual and the company wonderful!  Lonn, Katie and Michael were also there having dinner so I scored some great grand baby smooches.

Today bright and early we were headed to Billings–I was getting a much needed haircut!  I didn’t talk about my haircuts this season–I figured our readers were tired of hearing about my hair struggles.  So, let’s just say I couldn’t WAIT to have Becky cut my hair today!

We literally filled the car today and I really meant to take a photo before we unloaded but didn’t.  Did you know Costco sells toilets???  One day this winter we were in one of the Tucson Costco stores and spotted a very inexpensive toilet–$159–and it came with everything for installation.  If it’s possible to “like” a toilet–we really “like” our Costco toilet.  It is a taller toilet than older model ones.  Today we purchased one for our Montana master bathroom–and that box just about filled the back of our Cadillac not including all the groceries we bought at Wal Mart and Costco!  I don’t think one more thing would have fit in the car!

Emmi stayed with Nat and Barb–she was one happy dog when we came home.  The car is unloaded and we are relaxing, waiting for the rain to start–and it may snow!

Heading back down the Boulder Tuesday evening.


Having Some Fun

Monday was a day for puttering and a little spring cleaning.  In the afternoon I ran into Big Timber for a few groceries.  It was a gorgeous spring day to start and before I left for town I hung clothes outside on the clothesline–does anyone other than me use a clothesline–I know Geri does! 🙂

It started raining while I was still in town and I assumed my clothes would be wet–the Cowboy wouldn’t notice they were hanging out there on the deck.  I was wrong–he did see the clothes just not in time to keep them dry! 🙂 He had gone up to our shed in the hay fields and was caught by the rain storm.

Today is a glorious spring one–70 degrees with puffy white clouds floating in a blue, blue sky.  We decided to enjoy the day–rain is in our forecast for many, many days to come.  I went to yoga this morning and it was so good–Julia is just the best instructor–and she doesn’t expect us to do 20 minutes of alternate nostril breathing at the start of each class! 😉

Back home I mowed the grass and raked all the rubbish left behind by the dang voles–those critters can destroy a lawn!  And I checked the gutters–and was amazed to find them all empty–that was an easy job.

Then for the fun–we took the CanAm out for a short ride and look what we found Larry–

Our neck of the woods in Montana had a very rough winter and spring is just barely starting.  Our grandson-in-law’s mother Sarah had photos of a peony bouquet–she lives in Tennessee–just not fair, my peonies are only 4 inches tall!!–months from blooming!!

We are going to enjoy this beautiful day a little longer–more on that story in the next blog!

A Good Time Of Year To Come Home

Seriously, with temps reaching 100 degrees in Arizona, now is the time to come home to Montana.  Will we have snow before it’s really spring/summer–most probably–but the snow won’t last long this time of year.  The sandhill cranes are chattering, the meadowlarks are singing, the grass is greening and leaves on the trees are about to pop.  We have a magpie mom and dad building a nest in the spruce tree right out our dining room windows–we’re not sure this is a good thing–time will tell!  Our temps have been in the low 70’s with mostly sunny skies–yep, it’s good to be in Montana.

Friday we spent the day puttering–we were unpacked before noon.  The washer/dryer ran continuously, not that we had that many dirty clothes but we cover all our furniture with old sheets–those sheets had to be laundered.  And I cooked.

While in Arizona we had pared down the contents of our freezer but still brought home a small amount of meat–we packed the meat in between huge slabs of ice and into a large cooler.  Of course the meat was thawed but still cold (the ice had melted very little) by the time we reached Montana and I used the hamburger meat to make a large batch of spaghetti sauce and tacos for lunch.  I grilled a chicken breast which we will use for fajitas and today I served the pork tenderloin for Sunday lunch.

Saturday we started spring cleaning–ugh–and made small progress.  And I cooked again–Pioneer Woman chocolate pie–we were invited to Lonn’s for dinner Saturday night.  We had a great evening visiting with our family and enjoying those great grand babies.  Brooks is now two and chatters, Millie is seven months and a happy, happy baby.

 Millee loves this jumping toy and entertained herself for a long time. Katie and Millie who had just woken from a nap.

Brooks was concerned that Grandpa Mike was going to take home the remote control excavator.  It was amazing to me how comfortable both children were with both the Cowboy and me.  Millie was born the end of September and we left shortly after in early October.  Brooks was starting to be comfortable around us at seventeen months when we left to head south but last night it was as if we hadn’t been gone–he sat on both our laps and played, chattering away.  Millee let me hold her and didn’t fuss–it’s good to be a great grandparent!

Sunday Barb brought Nat up the Boulder to have lunch with us–Nat doesn’t get out much any longer, his eyesight has failed and he is very frail–he will celebrate his 96th birthday soon.  So, we certainly were glad he was agreeable to making the trip “up the Boulder.”  Nat has lived up the Boulder since he and his twin brother were 3 years old–that’s a long, long time!

 Millee loves her Grandpa Lonn.  And Brooks is working on improving his steering skills–I kept my flip flop clad toes well out of his way! 🙂

Life is good!

We Are Home In Montana

After three days of driving and 1498 miles we rolled up our driveway just before 5pm.  We stopped in Livingston to pick up a few groceries–we will make a big re-supply run next week.  We surprised Nat and stopped in to see how he weathered the winter–he was delighted to see Emmi as Emmi was to see him.  This trip from Arizona to Montana was so different–for the first time in 15 years we weren’t traveling in a RV with our own bed, bathroom and kitchen.  We chose to stay in La Quinta Inns as they allow pets and do not charge extra.  The first night we stayed just north of Las Vegas.

Wednesday we drove just over 600 miles and ended up in Pocatello, ID for the night.  Both hotels were quiet and clean.  We are not TV people and don’t even have a TV in our Montana home but for some reason we enjoy watching TV in hotel rooms–we both became engrossed in HGTV home remodeling shows–I wonder why???  I was sitting on the bed and Emmi was there with me–all of a sudden she discovered herself in the mirror at the end of the bed–who is that other dog in our room–I better growl and send it out of here!

We had good roads and the usual highway construction for this time of year–at one spot just outside Las Vegas we waited about 20 minutes for the pilot car–

We’ve unpacked the necessities for tonight and will work on unpacking the rest tomorrow.  Emmi has had a ball playing session and we’ve walked around the property to see what’s growing.  We lost a couple small aspen trees probably due to wind, the rhubarb is growing like a weed and for the first time since we moved the lilac bush from Nat’s place in town to here, I may have lilacs.  The deer love to rub their horns on the lilac bush and always seem to stunt its growth–we put a fence around it before we left in October and it worked!

As you can see there aren’t many leaves on the trees and the grass isn’t all green but it was a beautiful day to arrive in Montana!

On Our Way

Monday was one busy day packing the horse trailer, buttoning up the house, visiting with our caretakers–and I even found time to bake cookies (traveling food) and granola.

Tuesday morning at 7:15am we left our Arizona home heading north.  By noon we were in Wickenburg enjoying lunch at the Tasty Freez.  By 5pm we were just north of Las Vegas after making a resolution to never travel through that city again during rush hour traffic! ;(  We were even in John and Pam’s neck of the woods for a short period of time today–we waved as we drove through!

 Part of the Las Vegas rush hour problem was this—–and desert dwellers have trouble driving in the rain–they see it so seldom!

Our trip today was just a touch easier than in a forty foot motorhome pulling a thirty foot trailer–but just a touch!  In this rig–our one ton Ford crew cab truck pulling a 30 foot gooseneck trailer–I didn’t think I would hear those dreaded words, “I can’t get this rig in there!!!”  Well, I was wrong.

We are comfortable in a north Las Vegas La Quinta Inn and dinner was delivered a while ago–delicious lasagna!  We chose La Quinta as they allow pets to stay for free! 🙂  Onward tomorrow!