We Have Porches

Monday our contractor, Sergio, was here bright and early to set the forms. Tuesday morning his crew and the cement truck were here before 8am.

We now have concrete porch pads and a large patio out our back door. We are very pleased.

When we purchased this property almost five years ago, (YES, five years!!) it did not have a garage. There was a rickety set of steps which went from a concrete pad up to the kitchen door of the guest house–about two feet above ground level. We built a garage that first spring so as to have somewhere to leave our vehicle and tore out the steps.

So, it’s about a two foot drop from the kitchen door to the garage floor–we never replaced the steps. The Cowboy used two of our aluminum step stools that we’ve used for standing on when painting, etc. and created a step to use while the porch cement was poured and is drying. That’s our only way out of the house–every other entrance was blocked by the concrete pour. Emmi is confused!

And there is justice in this world! While searching for Christmas gifts for the greats I stumbled across these piggy banks–

I did not do my due diligence, loved them and ordered the banks. Once I realized I had made a huge mistake–the banks would have to be made in and shipped from China–I immediately tried to cancel the order. Not happening–I must have traded a dozen emails back and forth with someone who had no concept of the English language! They supposedly expedited my order and in a month I received these–

Pressed cardboard with thin, scratched acrylic fronts and sheets of press on sticky letters for “personalizing” the banks. The website clearly showed the bank in the first photo and on the website I had to enter the names I wanted to have “etched” onto the acrylic fronts. I asked for a refund and we went back and forth–email after email. I gave up and turned the matter over to my credit card company.

When filing the dispute with our Visa company I completed a generic form with questions such as, “have you received the merchandise,” was it damaged,” etc. There was no place to enter photos or explain the issue. At first the credit card company sent us a letter with a quote from the Chinese company stating I had received my merchandise and that would be the end of it–the fraudulent company would be keeping my money.

Not so fast!! The letter stated that if I wanted to pursue the dispute I could write an email and send photos which I did. In less than a week we were notified that the dispute had been settled in our favor and the $90 was credited to our account. The piggy bank pictured above in the first photo is available from a reputable artist in the US and sold on Esty. This scum Chinese company has created a website using photos stolen from this reputable artist.

Last Saturday evening we had Dan, Louanne and Linda over for dinner. While we were sitting in the living room enjoying happy hour before dinner, Dan noticed a huge bird had flown by the window. I stood up and could see the owl on the guest house roof–not the greatest photo but that’s one big bird!

Monday morning Emmi and I were on the road early heading for Green Valley and a new to us veterinarian recommended by Gay and Joe who have three rescue pooches. Emmi has now been on the liver medications for two months and it was time to check her lab values. Tuesday evening Dr. Bigelow called us and Emmi’s liver enzymes are significantly lower–great news!!! The Cowboy stayed at home to be available to the concrete crew.

It’s Chex Mix season and this is our first batch–the Cowboy loves this stuff. I modify the original recipe by adding more butter, Worchestire sauce and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. The Cowboy also likes only the cereal–no pretzels or nuts in his Chex Mix!!

We had rain showers during the night and will possibly have more tonight. Our nice warm weather may be departing too.

Life is good! Happy Thanksgiving to our family, friends and readers!

 

Projects Are Progressing

Our area of Arizona had torrential rains this summer and with the rains came the weeds. This entire area has been taken over by pigweed–a nasty, nasty weed with each plant sporting a zillion seeds! It’s in our yard although not as much as our caretaker keeps it mowed and it’s everywhere else, even in the fields of farmers who didn’t plant a crop. Soon I will start spraying the pigweed that has taken root in our yard but it may be an ongoing battle as it’s all around us–if it’s not one thing, it’s another in the weed department–tumbleweeds or pigweed, goatheads or tumbleweeds.

The installation of the subway tile backsplash has begun! So, the kitchen is a construction zone once again–we moved into the main house kitchen when we arrived in AZ and I’m just working around my contractor!

Just before we returned to Montana last spring Louanne and Dan gave us a housewarming gift, this beautiful wheat weaving. We actually know the guy, Rocky, who does the wheat weaving and love having one his pieces. It fits so beautifully on our yellow wall which doesn’t show well in the photo.

Tuesday afternoon our contractor (not the Cowboy) stopped by and he can pour our concrete soon. Uh-oh! The Cowboy wasn’t quite ready–he needed to haul some fill dirt and level out the spots where the concrete will be poured–under the two porch roofs and out the backdoor to make a good size patio. So, Wednesday he was in the backhoe and on the end of a shovel and tamping device–I think he’s tired tonight!!

Tuesday we took a break and drove over the Chiricahua Mountains to Rodeo, NM and back around to home through Douglas. There was so much rain this summer that we were expecting the mountains to be less dry but it’s quite dry up there. We did find some flowing water but not much–

There was a bit of fall color and we spotted some wildlife–turkeys and deer.

So many people! That drive is not for the faint of heart–the road is really rough, narrow, steep and crooked. Yet we met so many passenger cars and other vehicles. In all the years we’ve been going up into the Chiricahuas we’ve never seen that many people–and on a Tuesday.

We stopped in Douglas for a few groceries–no pumpkin, no Wheat Chex (how am I supposed to make Chex Mix??), no caramel bits, no Claude’s Fajita marinade–the list goes on and on. Came home and ordered all the missing stuff from Amazon. Yes, I might have paid maybe $5-$10 more for the whole list than I would have at Walmart but at least I have the food I want. Why does Amazon have it and Walmart doesn’t??

Dairy Queen ice cream and we were headed home to meet up with Sergio, our contractor guy.

A gorgeous sunset ended our busy Tuesday.

Wednesday while the Cowboy was working outside I washed windows–why did we put so many windows in this house?? And I did laundry and cussed!

The Cowboy likes to wear a vest as in down or synthetic type vests–it’s a very warm day when he isn’t wearing a vest at least part of the day.  Emmi threw up all over the Cowboy yesterday in the truck–thank goodness for wet wipes!–and his vest needed washing. It was one of the synthetic kind, was new and had never been washed.

I didn’t give a thought to throwing it in with a bunch of like colored shirts, socks and underwear. When I opened the washer a cloud of polyester stuffing was everywhere–stuck to everything. Searching the vest I found no holes, just a poorly made piece of junk with the Orvis name on it. I had to re-wash all the other clothes and still some of that stuffing is stuck to our socks and underwear. GRRRR!

We’ve been busy but we are healthy and life is good.

Uneventful

It was snowing when we woke on Sunday but we didn’t have any issues getting to Lonn’s–he was our taxi driver to the airport! It was snowing a lot when we left his house and just down the hill where someone had hit an elk there was a sow bear with two cubs eating on a piece of the carcass they had dragged across the road under a big fir tree. So cool to see as we leave Montana.

Our flights were completely without issues–smooth flying on both legs. Crowded planes and crowded airports. Dan and Louanne retrieved us and our bags and we were off. They were so gracious as always and had shopped for a few groceries for us before coming to the airport.

The house and yard were in fine shape–our trees appear to have grown a lot and we have tons of new weeds due to all the rain this past summer. Lots of bugs in the house on the sticky traps–crickets which I hate!, spiders and two or three scorpions which freaks me out!!  At least they were dead on the sticky traps–sorry Angie!

We have been on the go since arriving. Monday I spent the day vacuuming, mopping and unpacking. The Cowboy opened up the garage and got the truck, CanAm and golf cart going. He then started spreading drywall mud–no grass grows under his feet for sure!

On Tuesday we worked so hard! I have a gigantic Walmart pickup order in place and we will need both refrigerators. The larger of our two refrigerators has always resided in the guest house as that’s where I cooked and we ate. Now that the kitchen countertops are in place in the main house and I’m cooking there, we wanted the larger refrigerator in the main house. Whew–refrigerators are heavy! We are so, so glad we have a backhoe!

Question for any of our readers living in the Tucson area. I need another round of the gel knee injections. I called an orthopedic surgeon’s office (recommended by a reader) and was told by the person answering the phone that they had to order the gel substances and sometimes it takes two months to receive. I asked if the pandemic had caused that type of delay and she told me “no, it just seems to take that long.” My surgeon in Billings, MT stocks the gels and can administer them on the day you walk in and they decide that would be your best treatment course. So, have any of our readers had knee injections in the Tucson area and if so would you mind sharing the name of your surgeon?

Today was stock the pantry and refrigerators day. Our credit card numbers are worn and our pocketbook is lighter. We left home headed for Tucson just after 9am and didn’t get home until after 4pm. Traffic to and from Tucson on I-10 as well as in Tucson was very heavy today. Costco was a zoo and I’m about finished with Walmart pickup–we will leave it at that. We should have enough food to last us a long time–with the exception of produce–as always.

We had a delightful lunch at a BJ’s Brewhouse–unlike the Cowboy I am seldom in the mood for a hamburger but today I was so hungry when we finally decided to have lunch that a burger and fries sounded wonderful! I had a fried jalapeno burger with some kind of delicious sauce–I ate the whole thing. The Cowboy had his usual mushroom/swiss burger and said it was really good too.

It took us forever to unload and put away all the groceries–tomorrow will not be a day of rest–I will have to vacuum seal all the meat we purchased!

 

According To Plan

If all has gone according to plan this blog will publish from our Arizona home. It was a busy week in Montana with some not so great weather and some really wonderful fall weather even if it is November.

Monday I finished up the last of Katie’s quilts and managed a little other sewing. Emmi’s traveling crate needed a more comfortable pad so one was created.

In the last blog I wrote about how we often stay home for a week at a time. This wasn’t one of those weeks even if we had planned to stay home so as to have plenty of time for departure readiness! Tuesday we met Sarge and Sarah in Livingston for lunch at one of the Mexican restaurants–it was good, very good and it was great to see those two before we depart.

One more time I visited the offices of my optometrist to see if someone could possibly adjust my new glasses. The dang things hurt my ears, they hurt my nose and slide down my nose as if it were a ski slope! The young woman who helped me was the same person who wasn’t successful last time and she could not have been more accommodating! She even offered to help me choose different frames and to remake my glasses–amazing–but no time for that. So, she brought out the big guns–another optician from somewhere in the back that was supposedly the best at adjusting glasses. She was and my glasses don’t hurt and they stay up on my nose–hallelujah!

Wednesday we were to have traveled to Billings to have my hair cut and run a couple errands. The Cowboy woke up a bit under the weather so I went alone and shopped a bit. I enjoyed a fantastic lunch at a new to us restaurant in downtown Billings–Uberbrew, recommended by our friend John. Back home the mostly recovered Cowboy and Emmi were glad to see me.

Thursday morning had me traveling to town joining our friend Jeane for one last coffee before we depart. We had such a great time visiting–I miss my Montana friends when we are gone. Back home I started organizing and packing. The Cowboy fixed our wobbly mailbox post and puttered with small projects he always has ongoing.

At times I’ve referred to myself as the “cobbler’s child”–projects of mine seem to fall by the wayside sometimes. 😍While the Cowboy was trying to keep busy this week I reminded him shelves in our entry/mudroom/laundry room would be nice. We’ve only lived in this house 20 years, right??? To be fair, his planer died last year, we have a garage attic full of boards cut on our sawmill but those boards couldn’t be used until he either fixed the planer or bought another one. He fixed the planer–is there anything the man can’t do??

I found a photo of shelving I liked and just like that the Cowboy created!

Friday was another really busy day but at least we stayed home. Lonn and the rest of his gang were coming for dinner and I was busy all day long! I smoked two tri-tips and the meat was so good! I made Pioneer Woman’s Au Gratin potatoes and while everyone raved about them, I wasn’t impressed. The ingredient portions were off. After an hour in the oven the potatoes were still swimming in cream and milk–I had to remove the hot casserole dish from the oven and pour off some of the liquid then turn up the oven temperature. That recipe needs some adjustment! It was good to see the kids and get our goodbye hugs! 

But the star of dinner was my Dutch apple pie! Made from scratch pie crust and using Louanne’s topping recipe that pie was so, so good!!

Another book I’ve read lately–November Road–by Lou Berney was one of those that while reading I almost forgot to cook–it was that good! 

And lastly, the quilts–

Lora Lee, Lonn’s wife and our grandchildren Katie and Laci’s mother died in early 2014. She was a fabulous quilter and loved bright colors. She left behind lots of quilting fabrics and some completed and nearly completed tops. The “cowboy” quilt on the left is my favorite–more my color scheme than LoraLee’s. The middle quilt was to have been a large, queen size quilt and LoraLee was working on it when she died. I took the completed blocks and created a wall hanging. The quilt on the right was something I would have never attempted–way too many little triangles for me but it was a gorgeous quilt and big! I had to go to our local quilt shop and find some binding for it–my quilt fabric stash does not contain bright colors! I was able to use fabric from my stash for all the backings–a good use for it! 

The Crazy Mountains

Saturday was a busy day, very busy! We were up early and finally sat down about 5pm. All the vehicles were crammed into the garage, last minute packing, cleaning out the refrigerators, feeding us–the list went on and on but finally we were fairly confident we were ready to go. Now if Southwest Airlines just cooperates! 

Books And Haircuts

Isn’t that the ugliest hat!!! He just won’t throw it away!

Emmi was sporting what we call her “puppy” look–shaggy, fluffy, couldn’t see past her eyebrows so Monday was bath and haircut day. She has been to one groomer in her life–when she was a puppy and it was a disaster! So grooming is left up to me–and she wiggles and wiggles some more. We finally get it done but not without some conversations!

The Cowboy has been puttering–fixing the fence the bears loosened as they searched for chokecherries, hauled firewood as our weather is not so nice again. Lonn came to get a horse trailer on Tuesday and I had fresh cookies coming out of the oven for him and our UPS driver, Tony.

I’m a Peter Heller fan, to a certain extent. I listened to the audio version of The River and loved it. My niece chastised me for recommending it to her as it’s most definitely not an uplifting book but the fast paced story certainly held my attention. I tried listening to The Painter but couldn’t do it–I won’t read anything where an animal is abused. Peter Heller’s newest book, written during covid is a dud in my opinion–I struggled to read The Guide. Another of his books, Celine, I found just OK. But in the last week or so I’ve listened to the audio version of Peter Heller’s first book, The Dog Stars and loved it. This book is also not an uplifting, everything happy kind of book and at times is downright scary considering the times in which we are now living! Now I’m out of books–any recommendations??

Holes in the clouds

I’m still quilting–sewing on the bindings for the three quilts I did for Katie. I am very pleased with how these little quilts look! My longarm purred like a kitten and the tension was just perfect, front and back–every quilter’s dream!

The wind howled on Wednesday, 50+mph gusts with spitting snow. Golden leaves are flying everywhere creating a colorful carpet on the grass. One miserable day in our valley! There are weeks like this one where we never leave home, it’s been a week since we’ve been out and about anywhere. It’s a good thing we like each other–most of the time! 

We did go to town on Thursday so I could buy supplies for the sewing class I took on Saturday. Several years ago I purchased a kit for making a “Diva Wallet” and like so many projects, put it away and never started the wallet. After noticing Bonnie (a friend who owns the local quilt shop) was having a class, I signed up and came home with a finished wallet. It was fun–the lady who taught the class has made literally thousands of these wallets and sells them at various stores and craft shows. The outside of the wallets are made from “cork fabric”–something I had never heard of but it does make for a more sturdy piece.

Earlier in the week on Facebook I posted about falling down rabbit holes–I have so many friends who are great cooks and CJ (who I’ve never met but consider a friend) posted these cookies which she calls No Bake Cookies for Big Kids. I immediately rose from my chair and made these cookies. They are dangerous–I consumed way too many and took them to my sewing class on Saturday to allow others the pleasure of gaining weight!😁And to get them out of my house! I have no willpower when it comes to sweets! The cookies have “adult” ingredients which include chili powder and espresso powder–my friend Sue commented on the Facebook post, “Whew❗ I thought adult ingredients meant something other than chili powder” which made me snort with laughter! I used regular milk instead of almond milk, creamy peanut butter as I had no crunchy and toasted pecans because again, I had no peanuts–still addictive!

And here’s our little goblins–could they be any more adorable?? Not sure why Millie has two costumes–maybe she couldn’t make up her mind but she is the cutest witch!

Today, Sunday, was one miserable weather day. We woke to icy walkways, even the grass, and a bitter wind. Our high was probably about 38 degrees if that. Dang miserable walking the pooch–we didn’t tarry! I finished the last of the quilts and put the longarm to bed for the winter–blowing out all her dust bunnies, oiled her parts and covered the machine. I have a couple more things to do in the sewing room–we will see if those happen before we depart. 

Memories

The Cowboy’s father Nat died three years ago today. I’ve been thinking about him and was scrolling back through past blogs to see what/how we were doing during that time. On the day before he died, I posted this photo:

And Yankeeflyer a person who often comments on our blog posted the following in his comment on that day:

Thank you Nat and the crew of Flak Alley Sally.
DFC Citation – Mission 62. Rashin, Fusan in Korea (July 11)
For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight 11 July 1945. These individuals were combat crew members of a B-29 aircraft on a mine laying mission to Rashin, on the north eastern coast of Korea. This mission was flown from bases in the Marianas and return for an over all distance of approximately 4400 miles. Many difficulties and dangers overcome on this operation included complex navigational problems involved in such a long over water mission; making landfall at the planned time and place on the Korean coast; achieving a precise mine-laying run in the face of unfavorable weather conditions and difficult terrain; the great strain resulting from the long flying time involved; the possibility of encountering determined enemy opposition while twice traversing the main islands of Japan; and the danger of being forced far out to sea. Throughout this difficult and gruelling mission each member of this crew performed his assigned duties with such outstanding skill and devotion to duty that the entire operation was accomplished as planned and the mines released in the exact area where they would most effectively block shipping. The coolness, courage and determination shown in accomplishment of this long and hazardous mission by these veterans of repeated assaults against the Japanese homeland reflect great credit on themselves and the Army Air Forces.

First Lieutenant EDGAR L. VINCENT as Airplane Commander
First Lieutenant WILLIAM G. SPELLMAN as Navigator
First Lieutenant HERBERT C. HORST as Bombardier
Staff Sergeant WALTER H. STULL as Radar Gunner
Staff Sergeant JOSEPH N. ROTONDI as Radio Operator
Technical Sergeant LEON L. STEWARD as Central Fire Control Gunner
Staff Sergeant NATHANIEL B. CLARK as Left Blister Gunner
Staff Sergeant GORDON P. BRANTMAN as Right Blister Gunner
Sergeant LOUIS L. CHICQUETTE as Tail Gunner

[Transcribed by David Wilson, son of Sgt Bernard E. Wilson (Gunner, “Anonymous IV”)]

And this is Nat’s Distinguished Flying Cross he was awarded for that mission. Nat talked about that mission saying it was brutal, cold and frightening. Fuel was an issue. Nat said, “it was almost a suicide mission!” I just can’t imagine–Nat was only about 22 years old at the time. He truly was one of the greatest generation.

We made a Billings run this week, I had an appointment with my internist and we enjoyed a nice lunch. No need to buy very many groceries as we will soon head south. It was cool enough that Emmi went along.

Our weather has been beautiful–perfect fall weather. I have taken some photos over the course of this week and it was cool to see the comparisons in the fall color just days apart. 

Saturday we moved an apple tree. Years ago we planted three apple trees and none of them ever bore very many apples. About two years ago the dang voles destroyed two of the trees eating all the bark from around the trees from ground level up about a foot–the trees died. The third tree never bore fruit and we decided it couldn’t hurt to move it to a more open space with more light and less water–the trees were planted right along the creek and we had been told apple trees don’t like “their feet to get wet.” We will hope it survives. I am never more thankful for equipment than when we are planting trees!

Sunday morning was a red letter morning–we saw a bald eagle and what we think was probably an immature bald eagle. Amazing! 

I finished longarming the three quilt tops granddaughter Katie brought me and I have the binding for all three cut. I’m very pleased to have finished these quilts. I didn’t get the bathroom vanities or the stairs painted but there is always another time, isn’t there!

Snowstorm

Earlier this week we had snow–as in a foot of snow! And temps in the low 20’s! At first the weather was OK with us but now we are over it! It’s hard to exercise as in walk when you are wearing Muck boots and heavy coats. Emmi gets cold mostly because the Cowboy rolls snowballs for her and she eats the balls trying to destroy them. Plus when the snow melts it creates a muddy mess and Emmi has to be rinsed off every time she comes inside–she isn’t impressed!

Wednesday morning in our backyard

I’ve been quilting–I longarm quilted two quilt tops that our daughter in law LoraLee completed at some point in time before she died. I have some other quilt blocks LoraLee made and I’m working on those. Our little quilt shop in Big Timber is 20 years old this week and I attended their celebration Wednesday night–the Cowboy drove into town with me as we weren’t sure how the roads would be. Found some binding fabrics and enjoyed visiting with fellow quilters. I still don’t have my quilting mojo back, maybe one of these days?? I have been knitting–

This is a sweater I am knitting in the round for myself, the yarn is a beautiful red wool and so soft. That off color line you see toward the bottom of the piece is a lifeline–a piece of yarn threaded through the stitches as you are knitting a row. If you make a mistake you can then rip back to that lifeline and use it to help you guide the stitches back onto your needles. As you can see I might need to insert another lifeline soon!

Cold and gloomy!

Twenty seven years ago Saturday the Cowboy and I were married in the home of friends during an October snowstorm. During covid in 2020 I cooked every occasion meal we ate–I looked back through the blog and read that I made chicken enchiladas of all things for our anniversary. The Cowboy isn’t fond of chicken–was I mad at him?? 😍For this anniversary we went to Billings and had lunch at a new to us restaurant–it was OK but not outstanding. I asked the question of our Facebook friends–“where do you like to eat in Billings” and this new restaurant was on that list. CJ’s, our favorite is a great place but I’m weary of their food, so we will work through that Facebook list and try some new places. 

Tonight we are off to Lonn’s to celebrate birthdays. The little ones have once again had mild cases of covid so our September celebrations were delayed and we’ve moved into the October birthdays. I’ve made a cake and have the presents all set to go. The weather is cooperating–beautiful sunny, breezy days in the 50’s. Most of the snow is gone but the mud is still with us. 

One more doctor’s appointment, routine for me and we just might be ready to find some warmer weather.

The Crazy Mountains taken from the freeway exit in Big Timber–always beautiful!

Weather Is About To Change

Wednesday was the Cowboy’s birthday–another trip around the sun for my guy. I wrote on Facebook Wednesday morning that we turned 39 and 49 years of age shortly after we met and now look at us–where have the years gone?

We celebrated the birthday by having lunch in Billings at his favorite restaurant, CJ’s. I had a haircut appointment and we did a little shopping. I happened to mention to my hairdresser that I was waiting for our county to get Pfizer booster shots and hoped the public health folks would have a booster shot available before we left to go south. Becky told me that a nearby pharmacy had the boosters–we stopped, filled out paperwork and now I am “boostered!” As of Thursday morning–no ill effects, none.

Our granddaughter Katie brought me some of her mother’s quilt tops and other projects way too long ago for us to talk about. With time on my hands I sorted, loaded a top onto the longarm and started quilting. I haven’t forgotten how!

Have any of you read Nomadland by Jessica Bruder or seen the movie? I purchased a used copy of the book for the Cowboy. When he finished I asked him, “did you enjoy the book.” His reply, “it’s not an enjoyable book.” Well, I read the book and he’s absolutely right–it’s a hard to read book in the sense it makes you think and it’s hard to read about how difficult life is for many, many people in this country. You have an apartment, a junky car and a job at Home Depot. You can barely afford your utilities and groceries much less insurance. Forget the safety net emergency fund Susie Orman preaches about–you are just barely surviving.Then your job is eliminated after Christmas. And just that quick you are homeless.

But some of these people pick themselves up, buy any kind of camper they can afford, hit the road, and supplement their $500 social security checks with work camping in jobs such as hosting a USFS campground, Amazon during the holiday season, sugar beet harvest in the west, selling Christmas trees, running a pumpkin patch, oil field gate guarding–anything to survive. They aren’t lazy and most of them are my age and older. There is no way I could work a season at Amazon! Those folks walk ten to twenty miles a day on concrete for $11.25 an hour–they aren’t lazy–they are doing what it takes to survive.

There is a whole culture that exists of people living in a RV, their car, a van, an old school bus, etc. And I’m not talking about those of us who lived or are living in a RV–working a good job from that RV or living on a good retirement income. I’m talking about nomads who wander the country in older vehicles, living on minimal social security and working temporary/seasonal jobs just in order to survive, to buy groceries, gas for their vehicle, propane to keep warm, etc. 

The book made me both sad and grateful. The Cowboy and I are so fortunate and for that we are truly grateful. 

It’s a beautiful fall day on this Sunday but that’s about to change! Snow and temperatures in the twenties are in our forecast for the next two or three days. But it’s OK–we have nowhere to go, we have a warm house, food to eat, wine to drink–and we need the moisture. 

The above photo was taken earlier in the week when it rained a bit. 

This last photo was taken from almost the highest point on our land looking to the west. Not a neighbor in sight! The houses you see in the middle right are abandoned–that ranch is now owned by the platinum mine. 

Just Puttering Along

We are both trying to get all the little things done before our departure south. The Cowboy has been completing some projects for the neighbors, I put the front and back yard flower beds to rest for the winter. The sprinkler system was drained today. I really wanted to do some painting–bathroom vanities, stairs–but that hasn’t happened. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t! 

I keep busy feeding us! It’s use everything in the refrigerator and freezer time in this household so meals are a little different–green peas with shrimp, etc. I baked another round of the Amish white bread and the loaves were beautiful. Our neighbor lost her husband recently after a long illness and I took a loaf to their house–lots of family there so the bread was a hit. 

I’ve given up on sourdough for the time being. I was just getting another starter going (ditched my first starter) when the trip to Challis came up. I was not going to take the starter with me plus it would have been so hot in the RV during the day I’m not sure how it would have reacted so I ditched it the second starter. I decided to wait until we were in Arizona and then I will get another starter going. 

We’ve had some warm days and no moisture. Our pests this time of year are very persistent! Flies and hornets buzzing around everywhere! The Cowboy has been looking for the hornet nest but has yet to find it. 

These photos are from our trip to Challis, Idaho.

Times were hard in the late 1800’s with no doctors available to these remote mining towns–there were seven graves in this little cemetery.
Ken, our leader for the day and Emmi
Peggy and an uncooperative Lacy, Charlie, me, the Cowboy with Emmi, Nellie the pooch, Lesley and Ken–one great group of easy to be with folks!
Weird rocks

A trip to Livingston was on the agenda this afternoon to get my glasses adjusted. It’s always a pain getting a new pair of glasses adjusted just right. Not sure today’s adjustments helped much!

Back in Big Timber we enjoyed strawberry milkshakes at Cole Drug which has a soda fountain that’s been there long before the Cowboy was a child. He told me he would come into Cole Drug and get a cheese sandwich when the school hot lunch involved fish!

Changes are coming in our weather pattern–YEA!

A Change Of Scenery

Sometimes a person just needs a change of scenery–it’s good for the soul. Our friend Ken mentioned a few weeks ago a possible ATV trip to Challis, Idaho but plans might not work. Things changed, plans were cancelled and the trip was a go. We had previous appointments in Billings prior to departure day leaving us with one day to load the rig. Whew! By the end of that day we were both dragging–I prepared a bunch of food to take with us–the ladies share responsibility for happy hour snacks and side dishes. Charlie is in charge of grilling each couple’s chosen meat for dinner each night. 

So, off we went a week ago today–bright and early heading for the Challis, Idaho area. 

That’s Ken and Lesley in front of us, Charlie and Peggy are out there in front somewhere with us bringing up the rear. It was smooth sailing all the way to Challis with two stops for gas and a stop for lunch. We had some difficulty finding a boondocking spot traveling up this steep mountain road with absolutely NO place to turn around only to find no boondocking spots and the campground full. Back down that awful road cringing when we would meet oncoming traffic–it was one narrow, steep road!

Moon going down

We ended up camped in a BLM campground along the highway. And were so lucky to find one accommodating camp host. There were not three open spots so he allowed us all three to camp in one large pull through, end to end. We parked first in the middle and moved our truck, Charlie backed his rig close to our front and Ken pulled his motorhome up to the rear of our trailer. Our doors all faced the grassy area and picnic table. It was a great spot with lots of shade in the afternoon.

It was chilly every morning–really chilly and we didn’t start riding until about 9:30am each morning when the sun was finally coming up over the mountains and hitting the campsite.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the 50 inch rule–many US forest service trails and even state trails are designated as 50 inch ATV use only. This means 4-wheelers and side by side ATVs that are only 50 inches wide can use these trails. In some areas the rule is even stricter and only ATVs in which the rider sits astride are legal. This bridge you see us about to cross was just barely 50 inches wide and the two poles were set in concrete and were exactly 50 inches wide. Our Polaris RZR is 50 inches wide and let me tell you, I would cringe as we were going through these barriers but we didn’t scrape so all is well!

The trails in this area–the Yankee Fork–are well used and rugged with some challenging riding. I only got out and walked once–that’s my gauge for how scary the trails is, I walk if I’m that uncomfortable and I take Emmi with me!–but I was tempted to get out more than once!! There was some side hilling that really made me cringe but we all survived! The fifty inch trails interspersed with other wider trails and roads were very narrow, usually incredibly steep with lots of trees to avoid–challenging!

Even though the trails were well used we saw very few other people–less than five rigs per day–even on the weekend. The fall colors were spectacular as was the scenery in this historical former mining area of Idaho.

We rode four days–50 miles, 55 miles, 80 miles and on the last day 47 miles. The dogs and the people all enjoyed each other’s company and we had a great trip. Tuesday we all loaded up and headed for home bucking a dang gale force wind all the way back to Montana. The wind brought the smoke supposedly from the California fires and it was miserable Tuesday night but by Wednesday morning all was clear once again.

Every day we rode past the ghost town of Bayhorse–an Idaho state park, closed for the season. The above photo shows one of the buildings and the next photo is of the kilns used in the processing of the gold found in these hills long ago.

And another dwelling of some sort

I will share more of the photos in the next blog posts–don’t want to overload you! Our fall colors in Montana are glorious right now too and the temps are downright chilly with frost most mornings–fall is here and winter not far behind. Now, if it would just rain or snow!!

I love this photo of the Cowboy taken by Lesley!