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!

 

An Unexpected Trip

It’s been one of those busy weeks in mid July with hot temps and lots of afternoon thunderstorms which bring just enough rain to keep the Cowboy from finishing the haying. Changes are in the works to eliminate haying from the Cowboy’s ongoing list of chores.

Tuesday the Cowboy had an appointment with a new to him doctor. We’ve both been impressed with the professionalism of this office from the minute I made the appointment to his seeing the doctor. Quite a different experience than the one we had at SCL Healthcare.

We had a whirlwind, busy day in Billings Tuesday with way too many stops for one trip. The doctor’s appointment, a haircut for me, pick up the cleaned and re-shaped hat from Law Dog, the hat maker, pick up the new tracks for the skidsteer, Costco, and lunch at a new to us burger place–delicious–better than Five Guys! Whew–what a day and once home there was a very happy little pooch ready for attention.

Wednesday we had a text from friends Peggy and Charlie asking if we would like to ride ATVs on Saturday and camp with them if we could. Of course–the haying and fencing will have to wait.

Friday just after lunch we were on the road heading for a fishing access campground along the Stillwater River outside of Nye, Montana, Castlerock.

Castlerock rising above the campground.

A thunderstorm just as we arrived made everything wet and muddy. But we soldiered on enjoying happy hour inside the rig. The skies cleared letting Charlie grill burgers which we ate while sitting outside beside the Stillwater River which is still running high due to the Yellowstone flood a few weeks ago. After dinner Charlie and Peggy took us on a short ride–seems Charlie spent some of his younger years in this valley and attended a one room school just up the road from the campground. We also saw one of the bridges with its approach washed away leaving a ten foot gap between the bridge and the road. It may be a while before folks can access their homes with having to go around the long way.

Saturday we rode up into the Beartooth Mountains to Placer Basin. Million dollar views at 10,000 feet elevation, beautiful creeks, and even snow. And a gazillion mosquitoes!! Ken, Lesley and John came over for the day to join us. It was a great day with such good friends–we are so fortunate!

The East Boulder River

 

Lacy photobombing!

We enjoyed our lunches at a cabin owned by friends Donna and Dennis–the mosquitoes tried to share our lunch and we all weren’t so sure we didn’t ingest a few mosquitoes as we ate!

The Cowboy and I were on the road early Sunday morning–fencing work was calling. This fence being built is to replace a section destroyed by that awful wind storm we had a few weeks ago. And of course this fence is on the steepest part of our ranch–the Cowboy had to cut a road with the mini excavator so we could get to the top of the ridge. My help was requested and when I heard I would be riding on the front of the 4-wheeler so the heavy roll of wire wouldn’t tip us on this steep road he cut, I almost declined!! It was my job to ferry the Cowboy up the hill, he would then walk down, stringing wire, pounding posts, etc. My job was to ride the ATV to the bottom, retrieve my dear husband and take him back to the top for the next stage. And I pounded three fence posts for him–I can still do it! It’s HOT, the bugs are awful and my poor husband worked so hard today.

So, it’s been an incredibly busy week and the next week does not appear to be shaping up any differently!

 

July 4th Excitement

Last Sunday we spent the evening at Lonn’s with the rest of the gang enjoying a great dinner. The kiddos couldn’t wait until dark to light their fireworks and neither could the adults 🤩! It was fun watching Brooks and Millie’s excitement.

Watching from a safe distance! See how Millie is dressed,–socks, shoes, leggings under her skirt, long sleeves on top. Seems last year a sparkler attacked her and she is very wary of fireworks now–covering up any skin that might catch a spark!

Getting a bit more brave but still screaming, “run, run!”

July 4th we were invited to Nancy and Geoff’s house for a fantastic celebration–good friends, great food and oh my goodness does Geoff know how to put on a fireworks display! We played games on the lawn, sat by the fire, chatted and when it was dark enjoyed one of the best fireworks displays.

I’ve harvested 9 pounds of rhubarb so far–two rhubarb pies, two batches of rhubarb scones and three bags of four cups rhubarb each in the freezer. And there is more rhubarb growing!

Wednesday I had my third hyalgan injection in my knee–it’s a series of three injections, one each week for three weeks. We ran a few errands dropping off the Cowboy’s custom hat at Law Dog Hat Company for cleaning and re-shaping, stopping at Al’s Bootery to order new boots for the husband, a quick Costco run and a Walmart grocery pickup. There was little time for lunch so we had a Costco hot dog. While sitting at one of the tables in the food court another couple wandered by looking for a place to sit, asking if they could sit with us. They had been on an extended driving vacation from Boise, Idaho to North Dakota and Chicago–they were on their way back home to Boise. They said lunching at various Costco stores along the way is something they enjoy doing–who knew!!

The Cowboy has worked on the flatbed, changed the oil in various machines, sprayed weeds and even cut a bit of hay. I’ve done some usual and customary chores–laundry, cleaning, bathing the Emmi girl, and I even finished Louanne’s quilt. Still have to apply the binding–photos to come.

Oops–this isn’t going to work. He wanted to place the flatbed onto that heavy metal table then pick up both with the forks of the skidsteer.
Coming at the problem from a different direction–he crawls around on that equipment like a monkey–makes me nervous!

Sunday we made a quick run into Big Timber for gas and fuel for various vehicles and equipment. Our bright yellow Jeep Wrangler is our run around on dirt/rock roads vehicle. We take it to Lonn’s every time we go. The Jeep is hardly ever driven to town so the Cowboy uses this battery operated fuel pump to transfer gas from a container into the jeep. That gadget is a marriage saver! When the Cowboy would try to pour gas from a container into the jeep’s tank the gas would drip onto the sides of the jeep, the Cowboy’s shoes, etc. Then I would have to smell it during whatever journey we were taking. UGH! This fuel pump runs off two “D” batteries, a nozzle goes into the container and a hose with fill handle goes into the jeep’s gas tank opening. It’s quick and mess free–a marriage saver!!

This is Magnolia, my great niece, my brother and his wife’s first grandchild. My nephew Clayton asked his grandmother/my Mom is she would make Magnolia a dress, he wanted something for this little girl that his grandmother had made. My Mom is a seamstress extraordinaire! She made all our clothing where we were growing up, made my first wedding dress, has made wedding and bridesmaid dresses for other people and now when her grandson asks, she made a little dress and hat. Magnolia’s Vivy (my sister in law) took this photo. So sweet!

 

 

What A Week

As I type this post on Sunday morning I am weary but happy! It’s been the best of weeks!! Friends visiting, ATV trips, visits with family–the best of summer!

On the 20th, I realized my husband was going to be gone for a few days the next week and came up with an idea texting my friend Kelly asking if she was up for a last minute trip. With temps in her hometown hovering near 100 degrees and us still using the heating in the mornings, Kelly said “yes” very quickly!

I had another knee injection appointment this past Monday, the 27th, retrieved Kelly from the airport, had lunch and headed home to the mountains. We enjoyed a dinner of carne asada tacos and homemade ice cream. When Kelly and I are together Dairy Queen blizzards are a thing. With no Dairy Queen in sight for over 50 miles, we compromised. Homemade ice cream sprinkled with Butterfinger crumbles–mighty good!

Tuesday morning Kelly, Emmi and I headed for our closest tourist attraction–Natural Bridge. Over the years readers have seen so many photos of this attraction but oh well–it’s still a beautiful spot. Remember I posted a photo taken by a local resident on June 13 when the flooding was happening–

When Kelly, Emmi and I were hiking around on Tuesday, June 28, here was how the falls appeared–

Quite a difference in water flow over a few days! The river only “went over the top” as we locals say for less than 24 hours then it was again flowing through the hole–

When we returned from our sightseeing expedition, the Cowboy was packed and ready to go. He was joining several high school friends in White Sulphur Springs for a little getaway. Kelly and I gathered our knitting supplies and made some progress on those projects we started last summer when she visited. We chatted and laughed, catching up on life. Good friends are a blessing–you can be away from each other for a year and pick up right where you left off. Soon we hope the other two ladies of our Kimberly-Clark working days can join us for one of these gatherings.

Wednesday we were on the road early heading for Big Timber and coffee at the Greycliff Mill with Jeane and Jill. The folks at the in town bakery and at the Mill know how to bake–that lemon/raspberry scone we had was amazing!!! After coffee Kelly and I drove to Livingston for a bit of shopping and lunch. The north entrance to Yellowstone National Park reached by traveling from Livingston to Gardiner, Montana is still closed due to the flooding. Livingston is feeling the effects of that closure with way less people and traffic on the streets, in the shops and restaurants.

Back home to one little glad to see us pooch we gathered our knitting, had a light dinner and spent more time reminiscing. Just after 8p I said, “let’s go for a walk up into the hayfields.”  I am so glad we did!! As we walked up the hill I took the following photo. We walked a little more and turned around to see how the clouds were progressing to see the photos below which Kelly took. We stood in awe watching the skies change–what an amazing show!!

The following photos were taken by Kelly using her iPhone 13 and there is no comparison to the ones I took with my Canon Powershot!–no comparison!

Selfies are hard but after many tries we succeeded!

Thursday morning the fun was over and we were on the road to the airport bright and early with Miss Emmi traveling along. The Cowboy was waiting for us when we returned. Kelly had no issues with her travel on Delta.

Friday the Cowboy worked on that truck flatbed. I drove up to check on a neighbor/friend’s kitties and then walked 3 miles. That dang Kelly looks so great she has inspired me to walk and try to lose some of the weight I’ve gained over the years! My hip is feeling great and my knee is improving with each injection–one more to go.

Saturday we were loaded and out the door early as in 7am off on another adventure–ATVing with friends in the Little Belt mountains north of us. It was a fabulous day spent with great friends and new friends. The weather was iffy all day and on the way back to the rigs it rained–we were just a touch damp when we reached the trucks/trailers.

Sunday was a day spent catching up on a few chores. Late afternoon we headed over the hill to Lonn’s house for a little July 4th celebration with the family. I made another strawberry rhubarb pie and it was again delicious–I’ve mastered this pie crust business!

Digital Camera

The above photos were taken with our game camera which is located just across the deck bridge. The bear photo made me laugh–he appears to be rolling his eyes!!

Happy July 4th everyone–hope you’ve had a great weekend!

 

 

 

What Did We Do This Week

Last week I had so much to tell you and this week I was late starting this post leaving me to think, “what did we do this week.” The flood recovery efforts continue in Montana–it will be a long, difficult road. We’ve had near perfect spring/summer weather–warm days, clear blue skies and the occasional thunderstorm bringing a little moisture.

Monday and Wednesday we were in Billings–I had two appointments which should have been done on the same day but that didn’t happen.

So, Monday I had my knee injected and on Wednesday I had my hip injected under fluoroscopy by a skilled PA at Billings Clinic. Today I told the Cowboy that I felt like crying happy tears–for the first time in almost two years I don’t have hip pain. It’s a life changer to have pain relief!

We have an older Cadillac SRX and while in Billings on Wednesday we kept hearing and feeling a grinding noise. Once we made it home, the Cowboy ran the car up onto blocks and took it apart finding the problem–we needed a new drive shaft carrier bearing. Who knew Amazon sold such items??? The part was delivered Thursday and installed–success–it’s nice to have a mechanic in the house!

Our lilac tree had more blossoms than usual–the backyard smelled so good!

Saturday was a busy day. It was the annual rodeo weekend Sweet Grass Fest in our small town. Vendors, car show, parade and a picnic in the park with friends Sarge and Sarah. It was a fun filled, great day.

A parade isn’t a parade without horses!

And a certain friend and her class were having their 50th class reunion this weekend–she is on this float and they were having a good time!

Saturday evening we had a fabulous evening at the home of friends Lesley and Ken. Good food, good friends and great conversation.

Lawn mowing, weed whacking, working on the flatbed, grading the driveway–all the other chores that were done this week.

Life is good!

Balsam root blooming turning the hillside yellow.

 

 

 

So Much To Tell You

Mother Nature is cranky–first we get 6.5 inches of rain over Memorial Day weekend, then this Yellowstone flood which is being called a 500 year event, then we have a wind storm that would rival any windstorm in Montana. And we took a trip–lots to talk about!! And lots of photos. (You can click on any of the smaller photos to make them larger)

Let’s talk about this 500 year flood event–it’s horrific–there is no other word. Sunday night, June 12 into the early hours of June 13 Yellowstone Park and surrounding areas received 4-5 inches of rain. It was warm enough that rain fell on the mountain snowpack causing rapid melting. All that moisture swelled the Yellowstone River and its tributaries to epic levels never seen before. Another recorded flood happened in 1918 and the Yellowstone was flowing at 38,000 CFS. Monday the Yellowstone was flowing at 51,000 CFS! Our home sits about one half mile above a river and we have no flood issues–our neighbors and the neighboring communities were not so fortunate!

Out of Livingston, Montana (55 miles from us) heading south toward Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Taylor Davis.

On Thursday June 9th we left home heading to the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area to camp with friends and ride ATVs up the mountains into the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. Friends Geri and Larry came from Rapid City to join us and friends Ken and Leslie from our neck of the woods came along. On Saturday another gang from Big Timber joined us for a day ride.

The weather while we were camping was unsettled–rain/sun/high winds/downpours–but nothing that would indicate the extent of the flooding we would see on Monday.

Our Boulder Valley A Glenda Rainie photo.
Natural Bridge Falls near our home sometime Monday, June 13, 2022. Photo taken by Roger Sanstad
Natural Bridge Falls on June 5, 2017, photo taken by me.
A neighbor’s home surrounded by water from the Boulder River, a Lloyd Rue photo.

The above photo is of our amazing Stafford Animal Shelter in Livingston, Montana. Staff and volunteers were in the process of calmly evacuating all the animals when the water suddenly rose to waist level and the power went out. Can you imagine???–and that water had to be so cold. All the animals were evacuated safely, all staff were OK but the shelter is a total loss.

The above three photos were taken inside Yellowstone Park which is devastated. The gateway communities of Gardiner and Cooke City were totally isolated for several days–no potable water, no way in or out. The lower loop of Yellowstone Park is re-opening June 22 but a system to limit the number of visitors is being put in place. License plates ending with odd numbers will be allowed into the Park on odd numbered days, etc. There is no way the lower loop could handle the number of visitors normally in the Park on a summer day–just sheer volume, or lodging or dining. The poor wildlife probably couldn’t handle the number of tourists!!

The north/upper entrance to Yellowstone is not expected to open this summer–the devastation is that great. Red Lodge Montana is located on Rock Creek and that normally shallow, rocky creek became a raging torrent leaving the street in Red Lodge covered in large rocks.

The Beartooth Pass, one of the most scenic drives in the US is closed for repairs. This flood will most likely significantly harm the tourist industry in Montana this summer and our hearts go out to all those business owners which rely on the tourist trade for much of their earnings for the year. Our hearts go out to the so many people who have lost their homes, land, outbuildings and perhaps their livelihood.

Zachary Beard Photo

Our trip to the wild horse range was awesome as usual. Warm in the campground, very chilly on top of the mountains. On Friday we rode in an area we had not seen before, lead by Ken–beautiful country!

Saturday morning we met the gang coming from Big Timber at our usual meeting spot–the corrals and headed up the mountains with 11 rigs and I think 20 people. More snow than usual on this previous date–ice caves weren’t accessible due to snow, we saw fewer horses and no sheep. The weather was awful on top of the mountain, cold and dumping rain. We took shelter in Penn’s cabin originally built in 1911 as a shelter for men cutting railroad ties. In 1921 a man named Penn filed a homestead claim on the lands surrounding the cabin, thus the name Penn’s cabin. The cabin kept us all dry while we had lunch and waited out the rain.

Friday evening we took shelter in Larry and Geri’s motorhome to enjoy our dinner–the weather was cranky–high winds making the motorhome rock and sheets of rain. In the neighboring site young people had erected two tents and they were having one heck of a time keeping those tents anchored! Then when walking Emmi I find out one of the young people had tied his boat to the pier and came back 20 minutes later to find the waves caused by the extremely high winds had sunk his boat!!! I felt so sorry for those kids–they took down their tents, loaded everything into the ruined boat and left!

Ken and Leslie departed Sunday morning and the four of us took a tour of the Bighorn Canyon. It was a gray, rainy morning so photos do not do justice to the colors in the Canyon–but here are the ones I snapped.

We spent the rest of the rainy Sunday visiting, reading, napping, walking the dog and enjoying doing absolutely nothing with ice cream for supper–a very good day!

Monday we were loaded up and moving early! There was absolutely no cell service in the campground. As we traveled along and found cell service I began to see reports of the flooding on social media. We wondered in what condition we would find our home–as I said, no damage–our little creek is high due to that Memorial Day weekend rain but no higher than when we left on Thursday.

My summer flowers

And then we had the wind storm–good grief Mother Nature!!! Saturday, I went to Livingston to have lunch with our friend Sarah–an outstanding lunch at Rice Fine Thai! Shortly after I left home the wind started to blow and it blew for an hour or more the Cowboy said–making a circle, coming from all directions. We lost multiple aspen trees in our little valley but no damage to house or outbuildings. Our neighbors up the road were not so lucky with damage to outbuildings, equipment, and vehicles. Power was out for about 10 hours.

So, that’s is what has been happening in the last week and a half–let’s hope the next week is a little more dull!!

 

Spring In Montana

Clouds, rain, wind, sun, clouds, rain, etc.–it’s spring in Montana–what else can I say! My newly planted petunias are doing well in the cooler more moist air. This time of year we live in a jungle of aspen trees and the grass grows an inch by the day!–

Our little Emmi girl turned 13 on Tuesday. She is at present doing better than she has in the last couple years. We seem to have hit upon a medication regime that keeps her issues under control. We are so fortunate to have excellent veterinarians that listen to us both in Arizona and in Montana.

We are busy getting ready for a trip–moved the little travel trailer closer to the house so loading is easier and turned on the refrigerator. RV refrigerators are such fickle creatures plus expensive to replace–I always hold my breath until we are sure the dang things are cooling! Here’s a funny story–in all the RVs we’ve owned over the years–many, many–we’ve replaced one refrigerator which was in our third RV and third 5th wheel.

We were staying the winter in a RV resort near San Antonio, Texas when the weather turned nasty as it can in the south. An ice storm moved in dumping an incredible amount of freezing rain, closing roads and freeways and effectively isolating our RV resort for five days. The resort was on a lake at the bottom of a ridiculously steep hill–there was no way anyone was coming in or going out of that place with ice on the roads. And our refrigerator died. It was cold enough that I just left stuff sitting on the picnic table outside. Other cold items and frozen food went into a refrigerator in the lodge which the resort owners were kind enough to let us use. Getting up to the lodge to retrieve anything was a touch difficult–I don’t ice skate–and that ice was treacherous!!

The Cowboy had located and purchased a refrigerator and had lined up help for removing the original one. But we had to wait until the ice melted enough for someone in a delivery truck to bring us the new refrigerator. All was well in the end after the ice melted and amazingly the resort did not lose power the entire time.

Here are a few photos of the feathered friends visiting our feeders this time of year–

 

 

 

T-Ball Watching

In last Sunday’s post I briefly mentioned the rain we had. Well, my goodness, did we ever get rain Sunday night and Monday. By the time the rain stopped falling we had 6.5 inches in our rain gauge!!! Highly unusual for Montana but so welcome!

With all that rain falling walks were short and lots of mud was tracked into the basement which is unfinished–thus that’s where we remove muddy boots and rain gear. Emmi was in and out of the laundry room sink getting her paws washed. Much to her dismay a bath and haircut followed. I had to threaten Emmi several times with a trip to the groomer if she didn’t stop wiggling!

The Cowboy has been hard at work on his flatbed and various other things such as changing the oil in one or the other of our vehicles/equipment/lawnmowers.

Wednesday we took a drive to town–I wanted flowers this year and friends Kelli and Bonnie own a greenhouse. Our deck is in the sun for most of the day so whatever I plant must be sun tolerant. Some years I branch out and try different plants–always without much success. This year I decided to stick to the old tried and true–petunias–they love my deck and always do well. So, petunias it is in a red/white/blue color scheme. We did purchase a couple perennials for the back yard flower bed.

We keep having very cool nights so our leaves aren’t fully developed but our summer time jungle is forming. The birds are eating us out of house and home–lazuli buntings, rosy red finches, western tanagers, a black headed grosbeak pair, yellow warblers, woodpeckers and chickadees visit the feeders. And we have a host of hummingbirds.

Saturday we traveled to Livingston to watch the grands play T-ball. Want to smile and laugh–go watch a group of 4 to 7 year old children play ball. We had the best time–they are so cute! Brooks can really whack that ball! Those two ladies/coaches were awesome with the kiddos and had to be exhausted by the end of the “game.” Saturday afternoon we had some wicked lightening and a bit more rain.

On Facebook recently I noticed a post by our friend Pam–a slice of delicious appearing strawberry/rhubarb pie and Pam was kind enough to provide this link to the pie. We have tons of rhubarb this time of year and a shortage of ways to use it that don’t require buckets of sugar–oh well–rhubarb pie it is. And my goodness is that pie ever delicious!!

As you all have read, Louanne is our pie baker extraordinaire and has tried to teach me to make crusts. While in AZ we had a refresher conversation and by george I think I can make a pie crust! One thing I had forgotten was the little cheesecloth sleeve that goes over the rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin. That little problem was always one of my BIG problems no matter what rolling pin I used. Well, in Montana I don’t have a cheesecloth sleeve. Nursing resourcefulness to the rescue.

While searching for cheesecloth in the basement pantry and not finding any I stumbled across this package of Kling–a stretchy bandage wrap. Worked like a charm–no issues rolling out the pie crust!

Emmi and I went for an afternoon stroll about 2:30 Sunday afternoon and it turned into a race to the house before we were drenched! I could see the storm coming and told Emmi to pick up the pace–we reached the house just as the first drops started falling.