What A Week

Another smoky sunset

It’s been one tough week in this household. It started early, early on Tuesday morning. We had to have Emmi in Billings by 7:30am–ugh–for her anal gland removal surgery. We live almost two hours from Billings so that meant an awful rising hour for the three of us! In hindsight we are very glad we made that veterinary appointment. Then we had hours to kill before yet another appointment for yet another Mohs surgery for the Cowboy.

We went to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Billings–our only other experience with a ReStore was in Wickenburg, AZ–tiny store but awesome. The huge store in Billings was a dud. Lowes to check out back splash tile for the Arizona home, Costco where we wandered the aisles and finally it was time for lunch. We dawdled over lunch and could finally head for the clinic where they were quick to take the Cowboy back to a room.

This was by far the largest incision he has ever had for a Mohs procedure. It took multiple attempts to get all the basal cell cancer then a very large Z type incision to close the site. We were there for three hours.

During that three hours my phone vibrated, the vet clinic was calling. Emmi would not be having surgery as her blood work showed significantly elevated liver enzymes. A sonogram of her liver revealed she has a gallbladder full of “sludge.” This little dog is 12 years old, not an ounce of fat on her, active–would play 24 hours a day if someone would play with her. Emmi eats very well–the Cowboy likes to tell people Emmi eats prime rib and we eat hamburger! She had given us no indication she was ill.

So, we have to get rid of that sludge. We came home with two medications as the most important medication, urosodiol, a people medication would have to be compounded by a people pharmacy. As with all businesses during these times this pharmacy was shorthanded and it would take them until Thursday to compound the drug into a dosage and form for Emmi. I spoke with the veterinarian and he wasn’t happy with the wait but there wasn’t much we could do. On Wednesday I was anxious and called the pharmacy explaining how important this medication was for our little pooch. They were so accommodating and understanding promising to have it ready before they closed at 6pm on Wednesday. Off I went, making that 200 mile round trip once again. Audiobooks are my friend!

Emmi will have a repeat of her liver enzymes in 30 days. In the meantime she is all ready hanging her head when she sees me get the syringe ready to squirt the urosodiol down her throat–poor baby! Update–I mixed it with her food–she wasn’t happy I messed up her groceries but she ate it. It has to be better than squirting it down her throat twice a day for 30 days!!

The Cowboy’s face is incredibly swollen and he was just beat on Wednesday spending much of the day with an ice pack and his tablet. We are going nowhere near a dermatologist for a while, giving the poor guy a break!!

We order Emmi’s prescription dog food from Chewy’s and on Monday I had ordered a small bag to carry us through until we head south. Wouldn’t you know it–the vet wants her on a different prescription diet! I contacted Chewy’s asking if I could return the food we hadn’t even received yet. And here is the reply I received–

I’m sorry the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dry Dog Food, 6.6-lb bag didn’t work out as expected, but I’m more than happy to help. I’ve processed a refund to your Visa card and that’ll appear back to your account within 3-5 business days. If you feel it could still be of use, please feel free to donate it to a local shelter or rescue as our returns are on a case by case basis. We’d be happy to know that it’s going to help pets in need.

That reply made my day and almost made me cry! Amazing customer service!

I’m sure you’ve seen many of these photos across social media–tributes to the 13 Marines killed in Afghanistan–these in our own small town really hit home for me!–

We removed the Cowboy’s dressing on Thursday afternoon and he’s improved greatly! Still swollen and bruised but much better. Emmi is Emmi–as I said, she has given us no indication she is ill.

She loves to chase sticks but those weren’t good for her causing coughing when she would ingest some of the bark so the Cowboy created “sticks” from lengths of small plastic pipe. These sticks are all along our walking paths in the hayfields.

Recently I noticed an electric smoker for sale on one of our Facebook buy/sell groups. This tri-tip was my first attempt at using the smoker and the meat was to die for!!! Moist, flavorful and tender. Success!! Thanks for all the help and advice Jim!

A totally clear sky–first time in several weeks that there hasn’t been any smoke.

Sunday morning we woke to short lived rain then blustery, cloudy skies. The mountains have their first snow–

And I baked bread again–Amish White Bread

Thanks for following along with us this week!

Birthday Week

Having finally finished that gigantic shawl I’ve started a new knitting project with this gorgeous red wool yarn the Cowboy gave me for my birthday in 2020. I’m loving the color of the yarn so much–makes it fun to knit! This is a photo of the sweater from the pattern by Libby Jonson called Oatmeal, my first sweater to knit.

The Cowboy is feeling much better and decided to get a few extra trailers we own ready for sale. He aired up the tires, I took photos and the trailers are posted on Craigslist. And NOT the RV travel trailer in case anyone was worried!

Tuesday was my birthday and I was a bum–I took a walk with the Cowboy and Emmi then did my two hayfield rounds at a brisk pace–my weight loss program. I love to cook and eat so walking briskly and the cardio exercises given to me by the physical therapist allow me to eat more freely.

We went to Livingston and had Mexican food then back to Big Timber for milkshakes at Cole Drug–see why I need to do brisk walks!! I received so many beautiful cards plus phone calls and texts. I am so blessed with family and friends.

On Wednesday Jill and Jeane accompanied me to Billings for a girls day out in celebration of my birthday. We visited the great coffee shop, Rock Creek Roasters, shopped a bit and had lunch at the Marble Table. Shopped a bit more and headed home. It was a great day spent with such good, long time friends.

Thursday it was back to Billings for a haircut for me and lunch out again–that’s three days in a row I haven’t had to cook!! We bought a few groceries and pointed the car toward home–we put so many miles on our car in a summer!

And another smoky sunset

Friday we took a short drive up to Natural Bridge and were very surprised to find only one car in the parking lot. Every other time we’ve been by this summer the parking lot has been packed and there were extra cars parked out on the road.

The first photo is taken from the bridge looking downriver and the second is taken from one of the observation points looking upriver as the Boulder River water flows down the hole. The river is really, really low at the end of this summer–really low.

The smoke got to me on Friday–I woke at 5am sneezing, sneezing and I sneezed all day. Miserable! Saturday I was fine. During the night the wind blew, it sprinkled rain and Saturday we woke to a clear day, finally! Fluffy white clouds and blue skies–much better!

And Sunday was the same–two days of no smoke!! I spent Sunday knitting and ripping! My sweater has 222 stitches in one row and I had to rip out 20+ rows!!😭Late afternoon we took a drive up the Boulder looking for critters and saw one blue heron–that’s it!

But there is evidence of critters around our house–we’ve had bears very close. One bear obviously ate something that didn’t agree with him/her and left a long trail of scat out in front of the garage. This evidence is in the middle of the driveway–

Life is good!

We Eat Well

The Cowboy has been doing a lot of sitting and examining the backs of his eyelids while recovering from his skin cancer surgeries. He had strict orders from his doctor–“take it easy for at least 3-4 days, I would like a week but at least give me 3-4 days.” He knows my husband I guess! And the Cowboy has mostly complied. He’s done a few small, non heavy lifting type projects but has also done a lot of resting.

Seems I’ve been in the kitchen a lot lately and have tried some new recipes. This first photo is of the hamburgers we had for lunch one day on homemade hamburger buns using a King Arthur flour recipe. Nothing about this recipe was new. Those are oven roasted potatoes on the plate with the burger.

The Cowboy’s favorite meal!

While in Coos Bay with Ainslie and Beryl, Ainslie made breakfast–steel cut oats combined with regular oats and served with blueberries. We like oats and I seldom cook them but decided to try cooking the two together in the Instant Pot rather than having to watch a pot on the stove so carefully as Ainslie did. It worked–1 cup steel cut oats, 1 cup regular oats (not quick) and about 4.5 cups of water. Blueberries and brown sugar–a very good and filling breakfast.

The smoke that has returned does make for gorgeous sunsets–

In December of 2020 right after Mom’s visit I started knitting a shawl using an Andrea Moray pattern named Cinnabar. There is a term in knitting, “gauge” that means you need to have the same number of stiches and rows in a 4″ square as the pattern designer. You knit a swatch, count your stitches and rows hoping you have “made gauge.” I never could “make gauge” when I started this shawl no matter what I tried–bigger needles, smaller needles–it just didn’t matter, I couldn’t make gauge.

So, I just started knitting and kept measuring. Thankfully I could add rows to make it longer and as I added rows, the increasing stitches also made it wider. I am very pleased with it even though there are some mistakes, one major one, but I still like it very much! It’s a squishy knit, warm and cozy!

Sunday I used a recipe I found online for Instant Pot French Dip sandwiches. I halved the recipe and am glad I did using a large round steak I had in the freezer rather than the chuck roast. I also sautéed some peppers and onions to go on top. The sandwiches were delicious!!! The Cowboy was so happy–beef for lunch always makes him smile! I also made the buns again from the King Arthur flour recipe.

Even though our weather is warming again and the smoke is back, fall is in the air. There is a house on the way to town and the aspen trees out front are always the first to turn and the first to have leaves in the spring–it’s like clockwork. When I went to town on Friday, I took this photo–the gold doesn’t show up well, it’s just a hint of gold so far.

Another smoky sunset
I love when we come back to the house from our evening walk and the lights are on inside–it looks so welcoming.

Sunday afternoon we had the urge for ice cream–that has to be a big urge as it’s 22 miles to the nearest place for ice cream! But off we went–life is good!

We thank all of those who commented and left such kind words about our continuing the blog. You are much appreciated!

I Can’t Do It

Give up my blog and photography. Just can’t do it. But I can post in a more erratic manner, less often. We will see how that works! Thanks so much for all your wonderful, encouraging comments–our readers are amazing!

Monday was moving day–of the new to us refrigerator–we are too old for that kind of moving!!! Dang refrigerators are heavy! The Cowboy has had the newer refrigerator out in the shop, plugged in and making ice. He tweaked a couple things on the refrigerator and had no issues with freezing up while running. So in the house it came. Loaded into the bucket of the skidsteer then manhandled into the house. Does anyone move their refrigerator out away from the wall and clean periodically?? I don’t and geez, I could have grown a garden behind and underneath the old refrigerator!

I am loving the quietness and space of the newer refrigerator. It has two ice makers of all things–one in the refrigerator that provides ice from the door and another in the freezer drawer. You can turn off one or both with push buttons–we don’t use enough ice to need two ice makers so the freezer one is off.

The new to us refrigerator

It’s smoky again–with a vengeance! It rolled in from the south obscuring our view and giving the Cowboy an instant headache. It was 85 degrees at our house on Monday and again on Tuesday.

Exact same view–first photo was taken Tuesday, second photo was taken in May, 2018.

Tuesday I went to a new optometrist–in Livingston and I was very impressed. Lots of our friends use Eyecare Professionals and we took the Cowboy’s Dad there. In the past I’ve worn contact lenses but gave up as it became harder and harder to correct my vision with the monofocal lenses. This optometrist suggested I try multifocal lenses and by George–it worked! We may have to tweak the distance correction a bit–I drove home from Billings on Wednesday and noticed I wasn’t seeing highway signs very well. I also ordered a new pair of glasses. Yes, I was very pleased!

After the optometrist appointment, we met Sarge and Sarah at the Rib and Chop, picked up food and took it to the park. We enjoyed a nice meal and a long chat! Life is good!

Wednesday the poor Cowboy had two more Mohs procedures and he’s feeling a bit rough tonight. It has to get old being carved on every year and this summer he’s been carved on twice! We “enjoyed” a Costco hotdog for late lunch after our three hour stint at the dermatology clinic and picked up a few things in the store. Grocery pickup at Walmart and we were on our way home to a waiting little dog. I will be so glad when the temps cool and she can go with us.

The smoke cleared a bit today–we could at least see hazy mountains.

We Take A Different Kind Of Trip

We really can’t remember the last time we took a non-RV trip but that’s exactly what we did this time! We left home with just the car, suitcases and cooler in the back last Saturday, the 20th. Our first stop was an AirBnB in Ontario, Oregon.

Billed as a “quiet oasis” we had to chuckle. The “oasis” backyard was a dried up patch of weeds, dirt and cigarette butts. The duplex was filthy, the bed just OK–not the best place I’ve picked to stay but we survived!

We took the scenic route through John Day country from Ontario, Oregon to our next stop.

Excuse the dirty windshield please!

Our next bed and breakfast was amazing–we landed at Dan and Louanne’s in Bend, Oregon mid afternoon on Sunday. They share an acreage with their son and his family–chickens, goats, donkeys, and four cats who weren’t impressed with one little black dog.

Dan and Louanne’s home is an upscale modern manufactured home and we loved it! Perfect size–two bedrooms/two bathrooms with a small living area and good size kitchen in the middle. Louanne has great taste in furnishings and decoration, making their home very inviting. Dan of course had been cooking/smoking all day and we enjoyed a fabulous meal; their son and his wife joined us.

Our accommodations were much better than the ones in Ontario! We’ve never slept on a Sleep Number bed until Sunday night in their guest room–I think we are sold! Fluffy towels, outstanding breakfast and a tour on Monday out to the Mount Bachelor area. Yep, much better bed and breakfast!

Just about the time I snapped this photo Emmi came uncorked, barking, bouncing up and down–just having a fit–the cat paid absolutely no mind!

On Monday while auto touring we enjoyed a delightful late lunch with a friend of Dan, Louanne and Hadley’s (their son.) Sean and Hadley worked together in the past. The setting, Coltus Lake was beautiful and the food was good!

Tuesday morning we dawdled as check in time at our next accommodation was not until 4pm–Dan and Louanne were coming along. Traffic was light heading out to the coast and we stopped in Veneta for a late lunch before arriving at our rental house right on the ocean. A grassy yard and then the beach. The house has a large wall of windows looking out over the water, very comfortable seating in the living room, remodeled kitchen and bathrooms–it was perfect and clean!!

We spent time walking on the beach, eating, walking on the beach and eating. Wednesday we drove to South Beach and South Beach Fish Market where we sat outside in the sun and enjoyed the best fish (halibut) and chips we’ve ever eaten! YUM!!

It doesn’t get any better than this!

All too soon it was time to leave our beach paradise. Dan and Louanne headed back to Bend and we traveled the short distance to Coos Bay to see friends Ainslie and Beryl. They live just on the outskirts of Coos Bay within walking distance of town but their home and yard are situated on a hillside backed by dense woods giving it an secluded, oasis feel. Beryl and Ainslie both love to garden and as Beryl is from Wales–much of their backyard looks like an English garden. The climate in Coos Bay is temperate with about 45 inches of rainfall per year! Thus, they grow beautiful flowers!

This gladiola came from a cutting Beryl and Ainslie brought back from Sri Lanka.

Many of Beryl’s flowers such as the carnations pictured above are perennials! Ainslie and Beryl served us a wonderful meal and we enjoyed catching up–we haven’t seen them since December, 2019, right before covid appeared.

After another fabulous meal–breakfast–we said our goodbyes and rolled on down the road with intentions of heading to Bend. Louanne’s text changed all that! Seems they had been exposed to covid on Thursday night and while we are all vaccinated (including the person with covid) we decided to just head back to Montana. Our LaQuinta Inn stay on Friday night left much to be desired–let’s just say UGH and keep on going! So, the Cowboy had the pedal to the metal on Saturday and by 7pm we were home and unpacking the car. He was determined to avoid another hotel stay! There are benefits to traveling with a RV–your own CLEAN bathroom, bed, etc.

We had an amazing time exploring Oregon and seeing friends–even Emmi enjoyed!

Sunday has been spent unpacking and doing a mountain of laundry. I also baked bread–I’m determined to stay at home and not visit a grocery store until we go to Billings mid week for the Cowboy’s Mohs procedures.

Life is good!

Reminiscing

The above photo was taken almost a week ago on Friday after the rain moved out.

Over the years of blog writing we’ve met some great people. First up was Ellie who tried to teach me all about blog writing in a very short time in Tucson, Arizona. Reading other blogs we feel we know these people and sometimes even call them our “friends” even though we’ve never met in person. And then there are the blog writers we’ve met in person.

Nina and Paul

While on the Oregon coast in August of 2013 we met Nina and Paul of Wheelinit fame. Nina writes the blog and takes the stunning photographs. We’ve met up with the two of them and various members of their family in Arizona also. Currently they are living in France with Nina’s father and traveling in their small European sized motorhome.

A 2013 Oregon coast view

Some of the friends we’ve met through blogging no longer blog–Ellie and Rollie come to mind. Some blogging friends are no longer with us–Mike, Rod, Judy. The RV blogging world is shrinking–so many of our friends have ceased to travel and have hung up their keys. Stay tuned for what brought on this attack of reminiscing!

In Arkansas, there appears to be lots of baby holding going on–my nephew Clayton and his wife Hannah welcomed a daughter, Magnolia, a week ago–

My brother Ross holding his first grandchild
Gina, Rollie, Zoey and Angel visiting us in Montana
Left to right–the Cowboy, Jim, Gina, Rollie and Ellie–hanging out in the Arizona desert
Al, Kelly and Pheebs–the Bayfield Bunch

Life is good, so very good!

And We Have More Rain

We sat in a cloud bank all day Thursday with intermittent rain showers. But I think it rained all night and it was still raining when I started drinking coffee on Friday morning. By the time the rain ended and the sun came out we had over an inch and a half in the rain gauge. So grateful!

Thursday was spent baking bread and cookies plus making a huge pot of spaghetti sauce. The hamburger meat Lonn gave us is frozen in two pound packages! That’s a LOT of hamburger meat! Way too much ground beef! So, I have to think up ways to use a two pound hunk of meat. Pioneer Woman’s sloppy joe recipe is one the Cowboy and I enjoy very much–it uses two pounds. My spaghetti sauce recipe is a one pound recipe and I double it to use one of these gigantic tubes of ground meat. We eat spaghetti a couple times then I freeze the rest of the sauce for a time when I need a quick meal.

This sourdough bread making is a long, slow process! My starter finally started rising and I mixed a loaf of sourdough on Tuesday evening. Wednesday morning it was not double in size as it should until into the evening! Then it has to go in the refrigerator and I left it there all night. Baked it on Thursday morning and it didn’t rise in the oven as it should have but geez it tasted good–just the right amount of sourdough taste. Thursday evening I mixed another batch and left it overnight to rise–nope, not double on Friday morning–so we wait. A long, slow, process!

And—-that bread was a flop. Onward to another loaf!

Having problems with internet, thus no photos and a few hours late post.

We Have Rain

What are those drops on the windshield and that is not smoke out in front of us, it’s clouds that brought us rain, glorious, welcome rain. The rain gauge has almost an inch showing, it’s muddy, muddy–and we don’t care! We picked a not so good day to have to make two trips to town. The mine near us maintains our county road applying multiple applications of magnesium chloride yearly. It makes for less dust but when it rains we have muck, mud, sticky mud. We are so thankful for the rain the muck didn’t even bother us today.

It was a chilly 48 degrees when we left for town on our first trip–and I had just painted my toenails so had to wear sandals to town! I told one lady who commented on the rain that I didn’t even care that my feet were wet and cold–I was just thankful for the rain–she agreed!

We met with our insurance agent, I went to the grocery store where as usual I didn’t find what I needed and we had lunch at the Grand. Our food was quite good and we saw many folks we knew which is always fun! On the way out of town we picked up a grill guard the Cowboy purchased from a fellow Facebook seller.

Back home I played with the sourdough loaf I have started, waited for news from Arkansas and about 4:30 we were headed back to town, this time with horse trailer. I spotted a really nice refrigerator for sale on Facebook–freezer and ice maker worked, refrigerator wouldn’t cool–and it was only six years old.

When we built this house 20 years ago we purchased top of the line appliances. The refrigerator lasted only six years. When we replaced it we bought a less expensive Frigidare which has always been so incredibly noisy it will wake us up at night!! I showed the Facebook refrigerator to the Cowboy and he said, “I bet I can fix it.” So, the woman selling it could only meet us later in the afternoon/evening–thus the second trip to town.

Back home the Cowboy hosed down the truck and trailer removing most of the muck–we will wash them both tomorrow.

Tuesday afternoon up the Boulder with smoke
Early May up the Boulder, no smoke (and also no leaves!)

Tuesday afternoon we took a drive up the Boulder seeing almost no four legged critters and not very many two legged. It was so hot and smoky Monday and Tuesday, 95 degrees Monday. The smoke is really doing a number on the Cowboy–headache, sore eyes and throat–ugh! Another reason to be grateful for the rain!

I am a great aunt once again. My brother’s son Clayton and his wife Hannah welcomed Magnolia Kayte into the world today–my brother Ross and his wife Vicky’s very first grandchild. Don’t know who is more excited–the parents or the grandparents!

Words cannot express how much the comments on the last blog post meant to us. We thank you all so much for your remarks, your encouragement and your understanding.

The Cowboy and me–Cedar Key, Florida, 2011

Found the above photo on the TinTeePeeLogCabin blog while searching for something else.

It’s Back

We had five glorious days with almost no smoke and cooler temps. Saturday the heat and smoke came back. Today, Sunday–the smoke is really awful–we can’t even see the foothills from the house. Rain is in our forecast for mid week and we are hoping the forecasters are right this time!

No mountains to be seen!

The Cowboy is making great progress with the fencing–the last couple days he has only worked until about noon–way too hot out there and now it’s smokey again.

In the past I made a lot of my own clothes–lined jackets, blouses, skirts, etc. For some reason I quit–patterns were strangely sized, I had more disposable income–who knows but I quit. I’ve seen women my age wearing knee length, short or sleeveless dresses in summer and they always looks so nice. So, I ordered a pattern and yesterday I made a dress using some of that quilting fabric I have. I like the dress. Today I began cutting out another one–a longer dress which I also like but made from a stretchy cotton with spandex–not sure why I bought that fabric but an entire bolt was on my shelves.

The Cowboy was to have had two Mohs procedures for skin cancer on his face on Friday at Billings Clinic dermatology. On Wednesday the phone rang and it was a man who said, “is Michael almost here?” Seems they thought his appointment was on Wednesday–nope! I did not receive any reminder calls for an appointment on Wednesday which Billings Clinic always does, sometimes even twice! We live 100 miles from Billings and if we have multiple appointments I try to schedule them on the same day. I scheduled the Mohs procedures and my haircut for Friday–not Wednesday! So of course they had no time available on Friday nor on any day the first part of next week. We have plans so now the procedures have been delayed until September 1. GRRRRR!!

One lonely sunflower attempting to grow in the hard, dry dirt near the garage. The grasshoppers ate my other sunflower that came up in the flower bed–ate everything but the stalk!
Another nice whitetail buck!

I’ve been writing a blog since 2008 and it’s become a chore instead of something I enjoy. I’ve kept a journal for years and will go on keeping that journal but it will no longer be public as of September 1, 2021. We thank you all so much for following along with us during our RVing days and now our restoration days. The restoration of the house in Arizona is almost finished and it’s time for this blog to be finished also.

Making Memories

Sunday night it did rain, about three tenths. The temperatures cooled significantly and our skies were clear–the smoke left in spite of the new fires springing up all over Montana on an almost hourly basis–and I’m not exaggerating!

Finally, a clear sky sunset Tuesday evening

The Pryor Mountain National Horse Range located near Lovell, Wyoming is a place we’ve been many times but always in the early spring. We toured the range with Larry and Geri in July, 2018 and experienced triple digit heat–something we didn’t want to repeat! If you click on the link it will take you to the blog post from our first trip to the Range with more info about the horses and sheep.

Lonn and gang have always wanted to go to the Range but their schedules just never allowed for it and summer time is not the time to go. They have had a couple unexpected days off and Monday was the day. Emmi had an early morning veterinarian appointment and once that was finished we were on the road.

It was one of those days when we say, “this is why we live in Montana.” Cool temps (high of 77 degrees), even cooler temps at the “top” and 8600 feet elevation, clear skies and a slight breeze–perfect! Lonn rode his motorcycle, Katie and Michael ATVs with a child each.

We found a spot to have a picnic lunch–

Lonn and his Dad
Katie, Michael, Millie Bliss, and Brooks with Emmi photobombing!

We not only found horses, we found sheep right after lunch–

Many of the times we’ve been to the Range it has rained/snowed/sleeted on us. The skies began to darken just about the time we reached the top but it didn’t rain or snow–thankfully!

The grass is short, really short and winter isn’t far off in that country. The horses all looked great right now–fat and happy.

Emmi met a new friend
Horse people watching the horses
One cute kid–Brooks

It was a long but so enjoyable day–we didn’t get home until after 10pm–kind of late for these people who are never out at night!

The kids are nowhere close to those horses–the photo just makes it look as if they were. Millie wanted to pet the horses!

The Cowboy fenced today and I cleaned. Our skies are still clear and we are grateful!!