Chores and More Chores

Image may contain: 1 personAnd another photo of Brooks.

Friday was an errand day–we checked in with Nat and had lunch with him.  Barb, his caretaker/roomie, is gone for a few days and we wanted to make sure he was doing OK.  The Cowboy stopped by the lumber store to gather a few items he needs for the bathtub remodel project.  Town was busy–RVs parked along the street, restaurants and bars were full as was the grocery store–getting ready for the long weekend.

Friday evening I said, “let’s go take a drive.”  It was too chilly to take the CanAm so we took the jeep and just went up Elk Creek until we came to a tree across the road–probably a result of the snow storm we had.  The Cowboy spotted a bear off in distance and by propping my Nikon Coolpix on the edge of the window I was able to zoom in enough to see him–the photo isn’t great.

On the way back down the mountain, the Cowboy again spotted wildlife–a small herd of elk.  Again, the camera was zoomed in plus daylight was fading so the photo isn’t the greatest but it was good enough to see that this herd was all bulls.

Who needs the millions of people in Yellowstone Park when we can see wildlife just a few miles from our house!

Amazon and FedEx both insisted our CanAm roof would be delivered before 8pm Friday.  When we left to go for the drive it still hadn’t been delivered.  On our way home we stopped by Joe and Tammy’s house (our former home which sits much closer to the county road than our house) and there was the roof box sitting outside their garage door.  We must have another new FedEx driver–they have a very hard time finding our house!  The Cowboy installed the roof today and it looks great–we chose one made by Extreme Metal Products–it’s a plastic roof and fits very well. Plus it was about $150 less expensive than a CanAm roof.

Today we’ve both knocked some items off the “chore list.”  The Cowboy fixed some fence which borders our neighbors in anticipation of their turning the cow/calf pairs into that pasture soon.

Our home is built from cedar logs and a substance called PermaChink is used to fill the narrow gap between each log. I chinked this entire house both inside and out in about 2001–2002.  Chink will sometimes shrink over the years due to dryness, sun exposure, etc.   I might not have gotten enough into a certain spot and the chink will develop a gap, the dumb woodpeckers think the chink tastes good–those are all reasons to perform touch up every now and then. The chink comes in a five gallon bucket and we own several types of chink guns–I originally did this house with an air driven chink gun.  Today I just used the manual gun which looks like a huge caulk gun.  No more gaps or holes now in the chink.  Here’s a photo showing the chink between the logs–

So, a couple more chores gone from the list–the endless list!

 

Birthday, Grand Babies, Construction

Nat celebrated his 95th birthday yesterday–amazing isn’t it!  The Cowboy, Emmi and I went into town taking the birthday cake and met the rest of our gang at Nat’s.  He wasn’t expecting us so it was kind of a surprise.  Lonn, Katie, Michael and Brooks made up the rest of our gang plus Nat’s roomie/caretaker Barb was there with us too.  Here’s Nat with Brooks–we had five generations there last night–Nat, my Michael, Lonn, Katie and Brooks.

Brooks is walking and very active–Grandpa Nat was a little concerned about his ability to hang onto Brooks.

 

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, sunglasses, shoes, outdoor, closeup and natureImage may contain: 1 person, outdoorAnd then there’s our Lora Elizabeth who is hanging out in Germany with her parents.  Isn’t she styling–I’m not sure what the fist raised pose was about–maybe, “Mom stop taking my photo!”

Chilly and spitting rain most of today but great weather is forecast for Memorial Day weekend–it usually snows in Montana on Memorial Day weekend! 🙂

And as if we didn’t get enough construction while in Arizona we decided to do a little remodeling in our master bath. When I married the Cowboy he had a heart shaped tub in his master bath–I wasn’t crazy about it but oh, well–it was his house.  Then danged if he didn’t want to move that same tub to our new house–well, I finally convinced him to remove it and install just a plain, jetted tub.  It helped when our neighbors Joe and Tammy donated the new tub–they are doing a major remodel on our former home and removed this tub from their upstairs bath.  It’s seen little use in that house so it will work just fine in our master bath.

While still at North Ranch the ATV ladies took a little trip to the outlet malls–while there I purchased two pair of Levi jeans.  I tried them on and felt they fit well.  Then I wore them–the dang things literally grow–I have a hard time zipping them but within 15 minutes of wearing them the jeans are falling off.  I am forever pulling up those pants!  So, I did a little alteration today–I removed a section of the waistband from the actual jeans and took a larger side seam in the jeans and the waistband–it worked, I’m not constantly tugging!

And I finally finished these place mats sewing on the last of the binding while we were traveling to look at the RV we didn’t buy.  I helped Gina make a set of these during one of their visits to Montana and I liked the pattern.  I bought this fabric a long time ago during a Red Lodge quilt retreat.  As quilters say, I am marking those UFO’s (unfinished objects) off the list!

Life is busy but good!

Beautiful Montana Day

It was warm enough for flip flops today–finally!  A gorgeous Montana spring day and we are loving it!.  This afternoon I was heading toward the screen door which leads out onto the deck when I spotted this strange critter standing on his back legs looking at me from outside the screen.  I slowly tried to pick up my camera but he scooted around the corner of the house.  I grabbed the camera and headed out the other door onto the deck and around the corner where Mr. Wood Chuck and I came face to face–I screamed and he departed in the opposite direction where he ran into Emmi who gave chase.  Dava arrived bringing me money!!–for quilting her quilts and Mr. Wood Chuck headed under my car with Emmi in chase.  We could hear him rattling around under the car and chattering at us–then Dava spotted him–they are nasty creatures and will destroy the wiring/hoses in a vehicle.

Stuff continues to leave our house and clutter up the home of someone else! 😉 The woodworking dust collector left yesterday and today a band saw.

Today was a baking day–we had guests this morning and I baked some more rhubarb cinnamon muffins.  I also baked two batches of oatmeal/chocolate chip/pecan cookies–I am going to bribe the construction crew at our former home to tell me how they applied the cool finish on the drywall.  And another batch for Nat who is going to celebrate his 95th birthday Wednesday.

I love heart shaped rocks and spotted this one beside the trail we use every single morning–first time I had noticed it.

One of our spruce trees has sprouted these tips–makes the tree look as if its decorated for Christmas!

See, I told you the blog might be boring after we were home in Montana–boring is my vote!

 

Decluttering

We’ve been saying for years, “we need to get rid of some stuff!”–well the decluttering process has begun!  Saturday morning we took photos of several pieces of equipment placing ads on Craigslist.  Two of the items I also listed on our local Facebook online garage sale site.  By late afternoon on Sunday the flatbed for a truck, a roller you fill with water and pull over fields to squish rocks (how’s that for a technical description!), a hay grapple, and two large down riggers for a boat (how we came to own those is a story for another day! ;)) were all gone down the road.  We also have a commitments to buy for a couple other items too.  We were on a roll!

In our basement were boxes and boxes of old records–bank statements, tax returns, medical records–some dating back to before my time with the Cowboy and we’ve been married almost 22 years!  So, Saturday we sat down and started going through those boxes and finished the task on Sunday afternoon.  We ended up with less than a handful of papers and sent lots of stuff to the burn pile!  We are really on a roll!

Saturday evening we took a break from making our life simpler–Lonn called with a dinner invitation–who could resist an invite for crab and steaks!!  And we would get to see Brooks!  We had a great evening with our family and Brooks is starting to warm up to both of us–

As we were traveling to Lonn’s last night the Cowboy spotted an eagle and made a u-turn so I could photograph him.  I never, ever tire of seeing the eagles!

Emmi is saying, “what took you guys so long to buy me a new CanAm??”  She jumped right in and hopped up on her perch in the middle when the Cowboy took a load of papers to the burn pile–right at home.  We are loving the new machine–quieter, much quieter than our 2013 one.

Life is good!

What A Storm

When your house sits at an elevation of 5200 feet, mother nature can be cruel!  Trees are all leafed out, clematis was about two feet tall, peonies plants were growing, columbine was growing like a weed–now it’s all buried beneath fifteen inches of snow!!!  Hopefully all the plants will rebound once the snow has melted.  We had just enough wind to knock the snow from the aspen so maybe the trees are not too damaged.Fifteen inches of snow is a lot and with Thursday being mostly cloudy and Friday’s temp reaching only 50 degrees, melting is rather slow!

Tuesday we were in Billings and it was a beautiful day–we looked at ATV side by sides, shopped at Costco, lost two pounds–of hair that is–and had a great lunch at Jake’s.   On the way home with me driving, the Cowboy located a CanAm side by side in Dillon, Montana–the only one of the model we wanted in the whole state of Montana!  Oh, no–not another drive–why couldn’t there have been an ATV at the Billings dealership???

So–why do we need another CanAm???  Well–we sold our yellow one in North Ranch before the move to Pearce. Logistics were just becoming too much–how to get a truck, jeep, motorhome, trailer and CanAm to our new home in Pearce–after all, there is only two of us.  We had lots of offers for help moving but it’s over 400 miles one way from North Ranch to Pearce–we didn’t want to impose on our friends–we like them! :)There is a ready made pool of ATV buyers in North Ranch–we parked the bright yellow CanAm in the front yard, posted a for sale sign and in two days it was gone.

Wednesday morning in the rain we headed west to Dillon.  Heading over the Bozeman pass the rain was mixed with snow and the roads were getting slushy.  It was a miserable trip over and an even more miserable trip back as we were getting late into the evening.  Not the greatest photo but the best I’ve got at this time–we like the more subdued color! 🙂

And as if the snow wasn’t bad enough–we lost power Wednesday night about 11pm and we didn’t have electricity until almost 10pm Thursday evening.  We do have a wood burning stove in our basement so we stayed warm but when you live in the country you need electricity to pump water into your home.  So–no water except what we collected from our cistern overflow.  Thursday I had a lunch date with Jill and Jeane plus we were to meet Sarge and Sarah in Livingston for an early dinner.  It’s a good thing Nat lives in town, has a shower and he had electricity!  We have two refrigerators–the Cowboy fired up our little Honda generator and we had extension cords running all over the house to those refrigerators.  He cleaned snow off the trailer solar panels and we used that power to charge our computers and to run the internet router.  We used our boondocking coffee percolator on the wood stove to make coffee.  It was an interesting 24 hours!

I spent the morning finishing a customer quilt and the Cowboy started customizing the CanAm to suit us. The snow is melting slowly, we are grateful for electricity and running water–life is good.

 

A Sad Day In Montana

Tuesday was a sad day for Montana when a Broadwater county sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed by two men.  The Cowboy and I happened to be leaving Billings Tuesday afternoon as Deputy Mason’s body was being brought to Billings for autopsy, escorted by a huge number of patrol vehicles along I-90.  There were fire trucks and people on the overpasses and our local news stated the street in downtown Billings leading to the hospital was lined with people paying their respects.  At the Laurel, MT weigh station there were many police officers but also all the truck drivers were standing out in front of their trucks or on their bumpers with hands over hearts or saluting–heart wrenching and very sad.  The deputy was only 32 years old and left a wife and three children.  The two men responsible were apprehended, a father and son–the son has died of wounds received during a shoot out with police after a 100 mile high speed chase.  A very sad day for Montana and that’s all I want to say today–we’ve been busy but that story can wait for another day.

(MTN News Photo)Photo borrowed from KTVQ website.

A Rarity

Sunday evening we headed over the hills to Lonn’s house for a visit–first time since we arrived home just over a week ago.  Our great grandchild, Brooks was a very chubby baby when we left, he’s now one year old and trying really hard to be a toddler.  He rides his toy pony and his motorcycle–looks at those blue eyes!  It was strange to not have Laci and Lora Elizabeth there–they were missed!

We had a great meal–brisket, smashed potatoes, salad and two kinds of pie–a lemon meringue and a chocolate–should have skipped the meal and gone straight to dessert!

Moose sightings are rare in our neck of the woods–the Cowboy said he saw a moose in the hay field a long time ago, I saw a moose and baby one summer morning several miles south of our home when Nat and I had gone to drive some cows home–but not common at all.  Last evening coming home from Lonn’s I spotted a moose laying in our neighbor’s hay field and shouted at the Cowboy to stop–he had no idea why but he followed orders!

One of my favorite animals to see!

Sunday morning was beautiful but the day deteriorated and we even had a few sprinkles of rain.  Today we’ve had even more rain–the forecasters are issuing dire weather warning for Wednesday and Thursday–rain and snow.  Time will tell their accuracy rate!

I’m finally getting caught up–the house is clean, the windows are washed and some weeds are sprayed.  I might even get started on a quilting project–fun!

Let’s talk about that sentence above, “Nat and I had gone to drive some cows home.”  Our cows were docile and would almost follow us anywhere for “cake”–pellets of alfalfa/grain/molasses.  We leased USFS ground for summer pasture and when the weather would start to change in the fall some of our cows would decide not to wait for us to herd them home.  The cows/calves would just wander down off the mountain onto the county road.  The phone would ring and a neighbor would say, “your cows are heading home!” 🙂  At that time the Cowboy was still in the business of excavating for folks and was working most days.  So, Nat came up to help me–I drove our Kawasaki mule loaded with a sack of “cake” and Nat drove his truck.  I got out in front of the small bunch of cows/calves and Nat was behind.  I would stop occasionally and give them all some “cake” and the critters followed me all the way back to the ranch–about five miles.  On more than one occasion that “spoiling” the cows with “cake” paid off!

 

Disposable Goods

Do I sound old when I say, “nothing lasts for very long any more!”  Well, so be it, I guess I will just sound old because nothing lasts!  In our former home down the hill is a refrigerator I purchased in another life probably somewhere between 1988 and 1990–that refrigerator is still going strong.  Joe and Tammy are remodeling and plan to purchase new appliances–they might want to keep that old refrigerator!  The refrigerator we originally purchased for this house lasted less than 10 years as did the dishwasher–see nothing lasts!

My Toshiba laptop at just shy of six years old is probably dying.  In defense of Toshiba, it has lasted way longer than any Dell we ever owned but dang it–shouldn’t a computer last longer than six years??  The laptop won’t start up on occasion or it won’t shut down.  I’m a big believer in external hard drives and back up my computer–not as regularly as I should but I do back up.  I sat down yesterday morning and backed up the blog/photos/documents–anything I didn’t want to lose when this thing really dies.

We’ve just been working away around here–in case you all think we work 24/7–we don’t.  We stop, put our feet up, examine the backs of our eyelids, talk and enjoy spring in Montana.  Our weather has changed and is to change even more drastically next week as in that dreaded four letter word–snow!  Yesterday we reached 80 degrees, today we ran the heat and the wind outside felt as if it was coming off a snow bank!

I actually quilted for a customer yesterday–our friend and neighbor Dava makes quilts for son’s friends graduating from high school and she waits for me to return to Montana to quilt those quilts.  Once she has gifted the quilts–she is bringing me one more–I will post some photos.

Another friend and neighbor, George, had a total knee replacement this week and came home yesterday afternoon.  My rhubarb is out of control so I picked a batch and used a new to me Facebook recipe for cinnamon-rhubarb muffins.  I took George and Shirley several and  had a nice long visit.   I’m glad several of the muffins left our house as they are very, very good!

On our morning walk we startled this grouse and later I saw him just outside the kitchen windows–goofy looking chickens!

I spent a lot of time in the kitchen this afternoon baking pies–lemon meringue and a Pioneer Woman chocolate pie which her cowboy loves and so does mine!

Spring in Montana–green, green!

Our Wheels Have Stopped Rolling

Finally we are in “still” mode and although I about worked myself to death today at least we weren’t in a vehicle driving down the road!  We left Casper, WY about 7:30am Wednesday morning after an interesting night.  After the trailer fiasco we decided to spend the night in Casper–it was after 8pm when we finally stopped driving and checked into the brand new Marriott Residence Inn for free!–using points I earn when traveling.  It’s a pet friendly hotel and Ms. Emmi was welcome.

Gorgeous room, spacious with a kitchen, very luxurious bed–I unpacked us and took Emmi for walk.  We ordered a pizza delivered and it was fabulous–from a little local place right across the street from the hotel.  I kept smelling an offensive odor–I would glare at the Cowboy, then glare at Emmi but neither claimed responsibility! 🙂 The odor kept getting worse–the hotel was almost full that night and as a result they had put us in a handicap accessible room–and for some reason there was a drain in the bathroom floor.  The offensive odor was a sewer smell coming from that drain.  I tried placing a plastic bag and towel over the drain but it didn’t help.

It was after 10pm when we moved to another non-smelly room and finally relaxed a bit.  Whew–what a day!

In Billings we stopped at Costco to replenish our pantry–we have a Costco Citibank credit card which we use for almost anything we purchase.  We pay the balance in full each month.  The card awards us cash back–4% on gas anywhere in the world, 3% at restaurants and for travel, 2% on Costco purchases and 1% on all other purchases. Each February in our statement we receive a check for our cash award.  Our Costco bill is usually quite hefty when we come home in the spring–we buy a supply of various meats and stock up on lots of other things–that award check always comes in handy!

It’s been a busy day around here–cleaning, window washing, weed spraying, laundry, a little bit of quilt work, dirt moving, grass mowing–yes, it’s spring in Montana and we are busy!

But it’s so gorgeous right now– The Crazy Mountains from Nat’s house–we stopped by there yesterday and had a nice, long visit. And our mountains from the Boulder Road.

 

 

Pack, Unpack, Pack

Some days are better than others!  We left home this morning, truck packed with the intention of staying in our new to us Roadmaster toy hauler trailer tonight.  Instead we are almost back to Casper, Wyoming at 8pm spending the night in the Residence Inn.  Twenty four feet long said the ad, everything works said the ad, great shape said the ad–NOT to all!!  It was thirty feet long with 27 feet of floor space!  The generator had not been run in over two years and there was still gas in the fuel tank from two years ago. The owner’s father was there and advised us not to start the generator until we drained the gas and started over with new gas–a fact the Cowboy knew!  It had no batteries.  It was absolutely filthy!  We talked to this guy on the phone several times asking questions but believe us, the first question we ask next time will be–when is the last time you ran your generator! 

It’s OK, nobody died, we just took a long road trip and thus this is a short blog–life is still good!