Visitors, Wildlife and Good News

Surprise visitors, a trip to Billings, rain, thunderstorms. Plus our Memorial Day weekend weather forecast was typical–rain–at least it wasn’t snow!

Geri and Larry left Arizona in late April and have been traveling, visiting places and friends. They are headed to South Dakota spending the summer near a daughter and her family. We were excited to hear they would be coming through Montana! They arrived before lunch on Monday and we spent the day on the deck enjoying the sunshine, dive bombing hummingbirds and our other colorful birds. In the early evening we enjoyed a fantastic dinner–grilled tri-tip, twice backed potatoes and a salad.

Tuesday Geri and I took a 2 mile walk and in the early afternoon we took a drive up the Boulder. When we spot a bear we usually announce it with a lot of expression and volume–BEAR!!! We are driving along and Larry just matter of fact states, “well, there’s a bear.”  The rest of us in the truck with some volume say, WHERE! The bear was eating ants from a stump, a healthy, handsome guy. Exciting!

Emmi does not like very many people–she adores Larry and Geri as you can see!
Can you see Emmi just over the Cowboy’s left shoulder–her favorite place to ride when we are just poking along.

Geri and Larry left early Wednesday morning and so did we–appointments in Billings. We were going to be gone all day long and then some. The temps in Billings would be too warm for Emmi to go with us. On a whim I called our friend Kathy and thankfully she was able to come up and spend the day with our girl.

The Cowboy dropped me at the hair salon and headed downtown to the medical district for his first appointment where he received a clean bill of health. Back to the salon to retrieve me, next stop was Costco and a quick lunch of Costco hot dogs. We haven’t been to Costco for a big grocery run in about a month–this one about broke the bank! With a stop at Dairy Queen for blizzards we headed back to the medical center where the Cowboy saw the dermatologist getting yet another clean bill of health–he’s on a roll!! A stop at Walmart to pickup groceries and we headed home to a happy to see us Emmi. Kathy told us Emmi would sleep in her bed for a while then come to the corner of the living room rug, look at Kathy and just howl. I had told Kathy about the boiled chicken treats in the refrigerator–once Kathy gave her chicken Emmi decided it might be OK if Kathy spent the day with her!

When vacuuming I sometimes put Emmi’s toys on the hearth out of the way. She will discover the toys and if she can’t get the toy she stares at it until one of us feels sorry for her!

I’ve been trying to walk at least 2 miles every other day and do yoga the other days. The Cowboy has been doing yoga–working on the RV, crawling underneath it, almost standing on his head to install new ceiling panels–he has been getting his exercise! We are now on a deadline–we have an ATV trip planned and will need that RV!

Saturday evening friends Ken and Lesley plus Lonn joined us for yet another great dinner–the tri tip and twice backed potatoes were such a hit earlier in the week that I just repeated it. I did make homemade ice cream for dessert–coffee almond butter ice cream–delicious!!

The forecast for Memorial Day weekend was rain, rain, rain. We’ve had just enough rain to make it muddy, then the sun pops out, then it rains again. Typical for Memorial Day and as I said above, at least it wasn’t snow which also isn’t uncommon.

On this Memorial Day we thank the men and women who have given their lives to protect this country.

This photo was taken several years ago by John Novotny, a long time member of our community. This is the beautiful cemetery in our little community where a Memorial Day service is held each year.

Kansas City And Oklahoma

One week ago today on Sunday I left home at the ungodly hour of 3am, leaving the Cowboy and Emmi warm and snug in their beds. It was time for a girlfriend trip to see my dear friend Kelly in Kansas City. It was raining and the trip to the airport was slow–dark, raining, watching for deer/elk–it was slow. I know this makes me sound old but we just don’t drive at night often–so I’m way out of practice.

Kansas City has a brand spanking new airport and Kelly was waiting for me with her million dollar smile. It was so, so good to see her. We talked, talked and talked some more, dined on great food, traveled to Pawhuska, Oklahoma to Pioneer Woman country, spent two nights in a cute, quaint older home Airbnb in Pawhuska, toured the area and drove back to Kansas City. I flew home Thursday afternoon to the Cowboy and Emmi.

This house belonged to the people who owned our Airbnb located right next door. I loved this house and almost asked for a tour!! Pawhuska is full of older homes such as this one–some in good condition, some in sad condition.

Kelly’s home located in a fabulous neighborhood is so beautiful and my accommodations were five star! Except for that pool that didn’t have any water!! 🙂 🙂 The pool is in the process of being refurbished.

How wonderful it is to live close to fabulous restaurants, one after another! And a grocery store on every corner! While I love the quietness and beauty of where we live on both ends of the country there is definitely something to be said for convenience!

We almost didn’t go to Pawhuska after Googling the location and reading that it could be horribly crowded. It wasn’t crowded in the least! In fact Kelly and I were wondering how the various shops stayed in business with so few tourists. Many of the old buildings in downtown Pawhuska are vacant. At one time Pawhuska was a booming town–the book Killers of the Flower Moon tells the sad, disturbing story of the murders of members of the Osage tribe who in the 1920’s were the richest people per capita in the world due to the discovery of oil beneath their land.

The Mercantile was packed full of “stuff” and not a lot of people seemed to be buying. The Pioneer Woman restaurant had a two hour wait for a table at 1:30pm–probably due to lack of staff. We chose to order food to go taking it upstairs to an open area near the coffee shop filled with comfortable seating. We dined in two Pioneer Woman restaurants and hit the ice cream shop–the food was very good.

On Tuesday we drove out to the “Lodge” where Pioneer Woman films her cooking shows. No Pioneer Woman or her Cowboy sightings but we did see her sister buying baked goods in the coffee shop. Long ago I read that the Drummond Ranch leases land to the BLM for wild horse grazing. The gentleman manning the “Lodge” told me upon hearing I was from Montana that some of the wild horses we saw in the fields were from Montana.

View from the Lodge

Oh, to have so much storage said Kelly!

The Nature Conservancy Tallgrass Prairie Preserve is about 15 miles outside Pawhuska. The tallgrass prairie once spanned 14 states and covered over 142 million acres. Today less than 4% of the original tallgrass prairie remains most of it having been converted to farmland. The Conservancy uses fire and bison to recreate a functioning tallgrass ecosystem. There are 2300 bison living on the preserve.

Dried tallgrass.                                                                                                                                                  
Bison in the distance

Wednesday we drove back to Kansas City, took a walk through the neighborhood stopping to visit some of Kelly’s neighbors and dined at a delightful restaurant two minutes from Kelly’s house. In that shopping center there are probably seven restaurants from which to choose–just two minutes from Kelly’s house.

Back home in Montana it’s finally spring–we have leaves and the grass is so green! But–compliments of huge fires in Canada we have smoke–way, way too early for smoke! Driving home from the airport Thursday evening the mountains were invisible behind that wall of smoke. This morning the smoke had lessened, as I post this blog the smoke is back, obscuring the mountains totally.

This is my stick and you are NOT getting it Dad!

We continue to work on the RV, I’ve been trying to walk 3 miles every other day with success and we try and complete all the other chores that pop up this time of year–mowing, weed whacking, weed spraying, clean the gutters, wash the windows–the list is endless!

Life is good!

Better and Better

The week started with a trip to Livingston for lunch with Sarge and Sarah before my physical therapy session. So many businesses including restaurants in Livingston have started closing on Sunday and Monday due to lack of help making it hard to find a place to eat. The last two PT sessions have been on a Monday. Sarah and I chose Neptune’s restaurant, open on Monday–not somewhere Sarge and the Cowboy would usually go but once I had eaten there with Sarah, I knew my guy could find something on the extensive menu he would eat. Neptunes is known for its sushi–and no the Cowboy and I don’t eat sushi but the restaurant also has so many other good menu items. The first time I went with Sarah I had blackened shrimp with grits which was divine! Monday the Cowboy and I both had burgers–also delicious.

And if going to Livingston wasn’t enough we went to Billings on Tuesday and that’s a long story–the story of why I still have laryngitis.

Friday of last week I dropped a bottle of red nail polish from a high shelf in our master bathroom. It hit the white tiles that surround our white tub, shattering into a million pieces spreading red polish literally everywhere–all over the white tiles/grout, in the tub, on the beige floor tile. A disaster! The husband went to the garage and grabbed a huge can of acrylic enamel reducer (which contains acetone)used for paint thinning–it smells like acetone. I had been dealing with an intermittent cough all week chalked up to allergies on my part. The acetone  smell really started to get to me in spite of having windows open. Friday evening when we came home from Lonn’s Cinco de Mayo party I suddenly developed laryngitis.  And I’ve been unable to talk since then.

We are finally seeing some green, leaves are sprouting slowly and the neighbor is “rolling” the hayfield–when it’s damp the roller forces the rocks into the ground so the haying equipment isn’t damaged by rocks.

I needed to be able to talk–for one thing, I’m a talker–for another I have a very important trip coming up and definitely needed my voice. I didn’t link inhaling the acetone to my laryngitis–Sarah, our retired veterinarian friend did at lunch on Monday. Mr. Google definitely said acetone inhalation was not good and the top symptom on the first article I read was laryngitis! So off to see my nurse practitioner in Billings on Tuesday–my lungs are clear but she said most definitely the acetone inhalation could have irritated my throat and produced the laryngitis. I came home with a whopping dose of prednisone–40mg daily for five days. Prednisone makes me feel like the energizer bunny–40 mg and I will be a whirlwind! And as I post this blog, I’m better, still hoarse and if I talk too much I get really hoarse.

Emmi doing one of her most favorite things–killing sticks.

Rain was in our forecast for all week but most of the moisture has bypassed us. The Cowboy was working on the RV roof all day long Wednesday before the rain was predicted–up and down the ladders all day long. The roof is now attached again–still more to do but at least the roof is back in place. And Saturday it really rained–more than half an inch of welcome moisture. The leaves and grass should really be popping by the time I return.

I hope to never discuss my cranky hip again! It’s better!!! Way better!! Maybe the cortisone injection I had just took longer to work than I thought it should have?? I do know the physical therapy I’m having for a different issue–which isn’t blog material :)–is definitely helping. I’m feeling better than I have in almost three years., walking better, driving, sitting–all without pain.

Not the greatest photo taken from inside the house–our little lazuli bunting birds have come back–we get so excited when our first one appears in the spring.

And–Happy Mother’s Day–this is an older photo of Mom and me but I’ve always liked it. Mom continues to perk right along, enjoying family visits, knitting, reading.

Mom and her great granddaughter Leah.

Garage Doors, Cooking, Gatherings

The chokeberry trees and the wild rose bushes are leafing–they are always the first two to show any sign we might have leaves soon. The rhubarb has emerged from a huge snow drift and is poking its red sprouts toward the sun.  Our weather has been unsettled this week with long stretches of warm sunshine and then thunderstorms bringing just enough rain to make a muddy mess. The grouse are courting or trying to court. The amorous males run around all day in full regalia chasing the females–they  are leaving their calling cards in the yard, on the deck and sidewalk–the whole bunch of them need to find a new home!!

Monday I traveled to Livingston and enjoyed a long lunch with friend Sarah. On Tuesday the Cowboy did the same–he traveled to Big Timber to have lunch with a bunch of high school classmates. Those guys have such a good time–it’s cool that so many of them still live in the area and are healthy enough to gather!

The rubber strip on the bottom of both our garage doors were kaput and we replaced those this week. It was quite the chore–lots of grunting and swearing was happening!

Friday evening we journeyed to Lonn’s for a Cinco De Mayo gathering of friends and neighbors. Our friends/neighbors Ken and Lesley rode with us and we enjoyed chatting with them going and coming. Lots of food, lots and lots of very good food! The kiddos enjoyed having friends to play with–I bet they all slept soundly that night!

Well, the Emmi girl is definitely loosing her hearing, maybe totally. She is a 10 pound super duper watch dog. When our UPS guy Tony backs his truck up to our doorway she is on high alert, bouncing all four feet off the ground with every high pitched bark. She goes out once the truck is stopped, Tony talks to her and gives Emmi a treat. One day this week when Tony came, the window was open in the kitchen which looks out over the driveway, Emmi was asleep in her bed and she never heard him backing the noisy truck up to the back door–never moved. When our friend Ken came for lunch the other day, she never moved from her bed. Makes us so sad! I’ve ordered a whistle–she sometimes seems to hear the Cowboy’s whistle but I can’t whistle.

Emmi after her bath this week.

The Cowboy washed the big truck on Saturday–it was filthy to start with then we took it to Lonn’s and that road is one big sloppy mess. He also started working on putting the RV roof back together. We tarped the roof when realizing this unsettled rain pattern was happening–good thing we did.

On Wednesday morning I woke up with a cough–no other symptoms, just a cough. Thursday I was fine, no cough. Friday, woke up with the cough again and by Friday night I had one major case of laryngitis which the Cowboy is enjoying immensely! 🙂 Saturday I spoke in squeaky whispers if I spoke at all and today–same thing, cough and laryngitis. I don’t feel bad, have no other symptoms, sleep well–weird! It has to be allergies–tested myself for covid–negative. And the Cowboy hasn’t caught whatever it is I have. Really weird!

On Friday I spent most of the day in the kitchen. I made tortillas and bread. The bread recipe I found on the back of a bag of Gold Medal whole wheat flour I had–Honey Whole Wheat Bread–and I think it’s our new most favorite bread. I took a loaf to Katie and her gang–they too loved it.

One of the ladies in my Arizona book club highly recommended this book, Invisible Child; Poverty, Survival and Hope in an American City. Even though this was a hard read for me I devoured this book. When I say a book is “hard” I usually mean the subject content is uncomfortable whether sad, ugly, or even evil. This book set in New York City was all three–sad, ugly and evil–the foster system in New York City is broken, perhaps irreparably broken. And the children suffer.

Not the greatest photos but this is about the third time we’ve seen a bald eagle in the tops of our trees along the driveway. At Lonn’s our grandson had spotted another bald eagle–again, not the greatest photo but they are so, so cool to see!

The Cowboy changed the oil in the big truck and installed mud flaps to keep the mud from piling up on the running boards. Breakfast was late this morning–we slept later than normal because we stayed up watching Fiddler On The Roof. So that made lunch late–steaks on the grill and french fries done in the new massive, gigantic, counter space hogging toaster oven/air fryer/etc. I bought an air fryer last summer–wasn’t really crazy about the appliance–then it was recalled due to a fire hazard. The company had us cut the power cord, take too many photos and complete an online form. The company provided several replacement options. I did not want another air fryer. One of the options was a toaster oven and I neglected to notice the oven was also an air fryer. The thing is HUGE! I don’t have a lot of counter space in this house. I have an idea for shelving in the mud room just off the kitchen but the Cowboy isn’t too thrilled with the idea. Time will tell!

Almost all our snow is gone–just a few drifts remain.

Could It Finally Be Spring

And another week is gone. Time seems to speed by so quickly these days–one minute it is Monday, then it’s Sunday and time to write another blog. We three took a trip to Billings on Tuesday. The Cowboy saw the dermatologist and escaped for two years in a row any more MOHS procedures. I lost 10 pounds–not really–but my haircut with my favorite Montana stylist left me feeling pounds lighter! We enjoyed a good lunch at Jake’s, shopped at Costco and picked up groceries at Walmart.

I had started doing Walmart pickup for groceries before covid hit and I’ve never stopped. Walmart pickup saves us an hour when we all ready have too many errands on our plate in the big city. I’ve never enjoyed just wandering in a grocery store–I go in with a list and get what I need.  Sometimes Walmart pickers aren’t the best but not often. The picker this time chose awesome radishes for me and not so great lettuce. Is there a shortage of romaine lettuce AGAIN?? Costco had no romaine and Walmart substituted green leaf lettuce for my requested romaine.

The snow drifts in our backyard flower beds finally melted and I was able to do a little yard work in between horrific wind and chilly temps. A brief snowstorm blew through on Thursday with no accumulation. Our weather finally turned to spring on Friday and we’ve both been outside–the Cowboy working on the roof of our toyhauler RV and me in the flower beds.

Friday evening we journeyed to Lonn’s for dinner with all the gang. All the adults in the gang work so I offered to bring dinner with the exception of the lettuce for the salad–see above paragraph!:)  I cooked a brisket, cheesy potatoes, and chili rellenos. I made Katie’s favorite salad dressing–Boulder River Ranch poppy seed dressing and baked a new to me chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting.

Mount Rae

I’ve used the same chocolate cake recipe for a long time but every time I bake the cake, the centers of the layers fall and the cake is almost crumbly. Finally I decided to do something about that little issue instead of filling the craters with extra frosting and Googled “best high altitude chocolate cake.” In Montana we live at 5200 feet and in Arizona at 4500 feet so we really are high altitude on both ends of the country. The new recipe worked!! No sunken centers! I had tried modifying the cake recipe I had used forever by adding a bit more flour, reducing the leavening agents, etc. with no success. I’m glad I found a chocolate cake recipe that works–it was delicious! The greats had asked their mom several times if Mimi was bringing cake–Millie and Brooks showed their appreciation by eating two slices each!

Poor Daisy–Brooks and Millie decided she needed bracelets???

Did any of you catch the above sentence–“the Cowboy on the roof of …….” The heavy snowfall this winter in Montana collapsed the rear portion of the roof of the toyhauler we purchased last spring. When the Cowboy removed various sections of the roof he found this wasn’t the first time the roof had been damaged by water–lots of rotted wood. Being the handy husband he is repair work began, supplies were purchased in Billings/Big Timber this week and on Saturday he spent one very long day putting things back together. He still has to tackle repairing the floor adjacent to the drop down rear door–same thing, this isn’t the first time it’s seen water damage.

Our little Emmi continues to enjoy her food, loves to play with sticks and balls, and loves to go for walks. She will be 14 soon and is slowing down–after our morning walks she will sleep for hours. This little nine pound girl brings so much joy to us. Our friend Gay has three well loved pooches and on each of her blogs she will post photos of all three as they too are getting elderly just like our Emmi. I told Gay I was going to start posting Emmi photos–so here you have it——-

Mom–this dang chicken won’t let me catch him. That grouse led Emmi on a merry chase, staying about four feet in front of Emmi who would tire and stop. The grouse would stop as if to let Emmi catch her breath–the grouse aren’t know for their intelligence!

Until the grass is tall enough to mow my yard work is finished–the flower beds are clean and grass free. The mice/voles did a number on our shrubs this year, girdling so many branches. The mice/voles tunnel under the snow and then snack on anything they find–our grass, the shrubs, etc. Heavy snow stayed on the ground so long this year the varmints snacked a LOT!

Sunday morning the Cowboy decided it was time to harrow the hayfields. He hooked the harrow to the old farm truck and off he went–didn’t take him long.

And we have our first wildfire of the season–can you believe it!! Way, way too early! The fire is burning on the mountain above the guest ranch our friends Jeane and Steve owned.

Tires, Cooking And Creating

West Boulder Mountains hiding behind the clouds

It hasn’t been a very exciting week around our place and I doubt anyone wants to read about our icky weather. We purchased a brand new John Deere skidsteer in 2000 when we owned an excavating business. It’s our most used piece of equipment and my favorite to run. The tires were original and it was time to purchase new ones–you think car tires are expensive–try buying these!–

I’ve done some cooking this week–made hamburger buns so we could have Pioneer Woman’s sloppy joes. I’ve made Instant Pot oatmeal a couple mornings. I combine regular oats and steel cut oats, add a bit of brown sugar, a chopped apple, water and milk, cook for 4 minutes and we have breakfast. I’ve seen it said, “there is nothing “instant” about an Instant Pot” and that’s the absolute truth. I timed the oatmeal this week–by the time the Instant Pot comes up to pressure, cooks, and sits to allow some of the pressure to escape it’s 15 minutes. The oats only cook for 4 minutes but there is all that “pressure” stuff to add to the time.

Finally after more than six months, probably closer to a year I am back to doing yoga. I can get down on the floor with my new knee and even kneel on the knee if there is some padding beneath it. I love yoga!

I’ve been creative. I made two of these bags as Christmas gifts for Katie and Laci, our granddaughters, from fabric that was in their mother’s stash when she died. I liked the bags so much I decided I needed one, and I can see myself making more of these bags.

And I’m knitting. I’ve started a sweater and have a shawl in the works too. I normally only do one project at a time but the sweater requires all my concentration and I can’t knit the sweater plus watch TV. So, I started this shawl from a kit I purchased in 2020 during covid–it’s mindless knitting although I’ve had to rip back a few rows twice now from not paying attention to which row I happen to be knitting!

I’ve read some books lately–City of a Thousand Gates by Rebecca Sacks, From Scratch; A Memoir by Tembi Locke, and Into The Water by Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl On The Train.

Geoff, Nancy and Shirley came for Sunday brunch. It’s the first time we’ve seen them since October last year. I made an egg casserole–I’ve had the recipe forever and I made monkey bread plus a fruit salad. We had such a good time eating and catching up. Nancy is a great gardener and brought me these beautiful tulips which will reside inside!

And yes, that is still snow out the windows beyond the tulips!




No Matter What The Calendar Tells Us

It may be spring elsewhere in the US such as in Billings, MT where on Monday I saw green daffodil shoots sprouting. But, at our elevation of 5200 feet, we still have snow/snow/snow. We did have two days of beautiful 70+ degree weather which caused the creeks and rivers to rise out of their banks from rapid snow melt. The weather then cooled again, it snowed again, today and yesterday was warm and sunny again–it’s spring in Montana–very typical weather. We did this to ourselves coming home this early but after my doctor’s appointments Monday–I’m glad we came home!

These two photos were taken in our backyard several days after we came back to Montana. When we arrived the two shrubs in front of the spruce tree were not visible at all–totally buried with snow. The snow is shrinking but in our backyard, the snow is still at least a foot deep, maybe more.

In May of 2022 I had the bursitis in my hip injected giving me almost six months of total relief! In November after my knee replacement in October and right before we headed to Arizona I had the hip injected again. Billings Clinic would not let me chose the provider who injected the hip the previous May so I got this arrogant dude who injected my hip and I had ZERO relief. I explained all this to my ortho surgeon who said, “can pick the provider.” When deciding to come back to MT a month early I called the orthopedic surgeon’s office and they scheduled the injection with the correct provider. Why does everything in the medical world have to be so difficult??

My other physician’s appointment was exciting–I was totally misdiagnosed in Tucson by a nurse practitioner who claims to be a specialist in the problems I was experiencing !! It was a relief to walk out of that office, find the Cowboy and say, “no surgery this summer!!”

The Cowboy has been puttering and I’ve been taking it easy allowing my hip injection to work–knitting, reading and keeping us fed. We’ve done a bit of socializing–coffee with Jeane in town on Thursday was awesome, catching up from a winter away while the Cowboy ran errands.

On Friday we made a trip to the Chico area–over near Yellowstone Park to visit friends. Sarge is temporarily under the weather and we felt maybe a little company might lift his spirits. Sarah had a delicious beef stew and dessert prepared, I took Mexican cornbread and a salad. We spent a couple hours eating and visiting. They have a high energy lab–Callie–Sarah and I took her for a walk which Callie seemed to enjoy–it was dang cold/breezy so we didn’t walk far. Sarge and Sarah live near the little community of Emmigrant, Montana–literally if you blink you will miss it on the way to Yellowstone. There is a gas station/community store at the flashing red highway light. I had never been in the store until Friday–it was amazing!–huge and stocked way better than our community grocery store!!

The next two photos show the river roaring after our two days of 70 degree temps with sunshine.

The Cowboy has started on one of his major projects in between doing honey do’s for me. We usually take an early morning walk with Emmi–she still loves to go for walks, kill her “sticks” and chase balls. Her hearing is deteriorating so we don’t let her stray far from us. Emmi was taught to “come” quite early in life and has always been so good at obeying until she started loosing her hearing.

So, it’s been six days since I had the hip injected and the injection didn’t work. It isn’t a surgical fix so I’m in deal with it mode.

The birds are hungry and happy we are home. I’m seeing birds which normally don’t appear until mid May–gold finches, rosy red finches.

And a couple fun photos–a favorite of our little girl wearing the dreaded goggles with her crooked little teeth.

I was searching old photo albums today for photos of our Grand Canyon hiking trips in 1997 and 2001. I found those and also this photo below of my Dad and Mom with me probably taken in about 1993.

The 2001 trip, from left to right–Gerda, Jill, Jeane, Mom and Ann (my sister). Mom and Ann drove from Arkansas, the rest of us flew from Montana to Arizona. It was much warmer on this trip than our 2001 trip!

From left, me, Ann, Jill and Mom in 1997. You can see by our attire that it was a much cooler hike! Trips of a lifetime for sure!


As You Can See Our Scenery Has Changed

The Crazy Mountains and Yellowstone River

Yes, we are in Montana, leaving Arizona last Sunday morning. We made an overnight stop with our friends Geri and Larry and stopped in to see Jill and Terry also. Geri arranged for a quick, spur of the moment supper gathering of many of our North Ranch friends–Tom and Sandy, Cathy and Mike and Kathy and Joe. It was so, so good to see everyone! Monday our wheels were rolling and we landed in cold, snowy, windy Ely, Nevada for the night. An absolutely miserable night–it was 12 degrees, the wind was howling and the snow was blowing horizontally! Emmi hated it as did the Cowboy and I. Our original plan had been to travel through New Mexico, up into Colorado and across Wyoming to Montana. A major snowstorm changed those plans! Same weather pattern was predicted in Salt Lake City–so travel through Nevada was our choice.

Our truck in Ely, NV

Why are we back in Montana a month early. I need help with this ischial tuberosity (sitting bone) bursitis I can’t seem to shake. The pain is affecting the way I walk with my new knee and the pain literally takes my breath away–sitting, walking, sleeping, climbing stairs, bending over–it’s awful! And I have another health issue (nothing serious) that needs addressing. I called the surgeon I need to see and asked for the first available appointment thinking it would be sometime in May. Nope, April 10th! The Cowboy was agreeable to leaving Arizona a month early if it would help me so that’s what we did.  

Our one stretch of snowy/icy roads

Tuesday was a long, long travel day with two road closures, one for weather, the other for who knows what. We landed in Dillon, Montana about 6:30pm. We traveled on one stretch of snowy road, the rest of the day was on dry pavement. In Dillon the wind was still blowing and it was 13 degrees–at least it wasn’t snowing!

Wednesday was a shorter day with only three hours of travel time but once we hit our driveway travel stopped. The Cowboy managed to get the truck onto level ground in front of the barn which belongs to our neighbors. He then walked up to our equipment shed, one half mile of uphill, sink to his knees with almost every step walking. And then the skidsteer wouldn’t start. Emmi and I were waiting in the truck–for 2.5 hours while the Cowboy managed to use the mini excavator to travel back down to us. The mini wouldn’t plow the heavy snow but it has tracks and stayed moving–thankfully! We strapped some of our belongings on the mini excavator, the Cowboy drove with Emmi in his lap and I stood on the floor hanging onto the roll bars–talk about Beverly Hillbillies! No photos unfortunately!

And off he goes. The tracks don’t really show how deep the snow is. There seems to be two or three layers and the truck only broke through the first layer.

My dear husband was beyond exhausted and in bed by 7:30, sleeping for 12 hours! Nothing like physical activity to help with sleep! Thursday morning he was at it again strapping a generator onto the mini excavator. He used the generator, a battery charger and the skidsteer’s own engine heater to jump start the skidsteer and plowing of snow began. He plowed snow for five hours! After lunch we drove the jeep down to where the truck was parked and managed to get both the jeep and truck back to the house. Whew!! 


In Arizona both our refrigerators were moderately full of food–both cold and frozen–as we were about a month early leaving. The Cowboy has a thick walled styrofoam cooler he’s had forever–pre me. He was sure if we packed all the frozen foods into that cooler and didn’t open it, and put it in the bed of the truck the food would stay frozen for the trip. He was right–everything in that cooler was frozen solid when we unpacked it on Thursday. The regular cooler with refrigerated items still had ice. Of course it helped that with the exception of the night we spent in North Ranch the temps were never above freezing on our trip. And wine doesn’t freeze at 12 degrees! By the time we unpacked the truck and put away some of the items we were both once again beat! 

Fence posts sticking out of the snow on Monida Pass in Montana. So, so much snow for early April!

Walking is dangerous, Emmi has a hard time finding the exact right place to potty–the Cowboy has plowed even more but there is still an icy layer making for treacherous navigating–I’ve ordered strap on cleats for my shoes. Saturday morning Emmi and I needed a walk–we took the Jeep down to the county road and walked two miles on the plowed, mostly dry road–much easier! 

In between unpacking and plowing snow we had some fun. We took the Jeep–slipping and sliding–over to Lonn’s on Friday night to meet our new Great and see the rest of the gang. Lonn cooked seriously good ribs!! 

Our icy driveway
Meet Hattee Rae–she is a good baby!!
Moody sky over the West Boulder mountains
Brooks and Grandpa playing Monopoly–Millee doing what Millee does best! 🙂 🙂
Mount Rae in its snowy glory

Temps in the high 60’s and low 70’s today and Monday should melt some of this snow–then more snow is expected! 😦 😦


Friends, Mexico and Eating As Always

The days sure run together this time of year–no major projects, too windy to be outside very much–it is March. One of our friends had a health scare a few weeks ago and is still not up to driving herself to Tucson. On Tuesday I took her to Tucson where we chose new frames for her glasses at Costco. Geez that Costco on Grant Road is busy–we were there by opening time at 10am and our friend still waited at least an hour to be helped. I once again had my newer glasses and sunglasses adjusted without success–don’t know what the issue is with those two frames but it seems to be impossible to have them adjusted to the point they stay adjusted.

We enjoyed lunch at Eclectic and made a stop at Trader Joe’s where I purchased some beautiful tulips and a few other items the pantry needed. Back on the racetrack (I-10) we headed for home.

Wednesday our friends Jane and Paul stopped by for a one night visit–they had driven to Tucson from their Wyoming home to deal with some family business and are now on their way back to Wyoming. They had been staying in RV parks so their 2 year old golden-doodle was soooo happy to be “released.” She ran and and ran–that dog has way too much energy–Emmi avoided her! We enjoyed a fabulous dinner of beef stew, salad and a dessert from our past. When Jane’s first husband was alive we would drive from Montana, they would drive from Wyoming and we would meet at the Grizzly Bar in Roscoe, Montana. The Bar served the simplest dessert but it was so, so good. Ice cream balls rolled in mini chocolate chips and drizzled with raspberry sauce–very simple to make but so delicious! I just thaw raspberries, run them through the blender, add a tiny bit of water and sugar then press the sauce through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds.

Thursday we made a run to Mexico. We have traveled into Mexico many times in our lives even renting a house for two months in the small mountain town of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Traveling to Mexico is something I suspect we won’t do again due to the cartel violence. And we hesitated to even cross the border but made the decision that perhaps the border at Bisbee/Naco would be safe enough and it was. Louanne has crossed the border at Naco several times and agreed to not only drive but to also be our guide.

One of the medications the Cowboy takes on an as needed basis is absurdly expensive in the US but half the cost in Mexico and on Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus website. A cream for cold sores which I use is $126 with GoodRx (down from a previous high of $500) in the US but in Mexico it is $8 a tube. If I purchased the cream through my Medicare drug plan–$500!!!! In Mexico no prescription is needed for medications. You present your list to in this case a very accommodating woman who spoke English and laughed with us. Louanne and I walked across the border, into the pharmacy and back across the border into the US in less than 15 minutes–done.

Does it worry us to take medications potentially manufactured in Mexico–no more so than it worries us to take any medication. Did you know that a huge percentage of medications prescribed in the US are made in foreign countries or contain ingredients made in foreign countries? “About 80% of generic drugs were finished in foreign countries, and an even greater percentage had their API made in foreign countries,” he added. “In contrast to brand-name drugs, which are largely made in Europe, generic products and their API are typically made in Asian countries such as India, China, Japan, Singapore, and others.”

Why didn’t we just go see our doctor–have you tried to get a same day appointment with a physician lately? Not happening at least in this neighborhood–we would wait at least two weeks. Emergency rooms are not the answer. So–we know what works and what has been prescribed for this issue–Mexico was the answer. And I have a happier Cowboy!

The Cowboy’s garden has been producing more lettuce than we can eat! The grass is greening, leaves are appearing on the trees and the Mexican poppies are blooming–not to the extent they bloomed in spring of 2020 but still very colorful! It is March and it’s still windy making the ears on one little ten pound dog stand straight up!

Saturday afternoon we joined the gang at Linda’s to play Rummikub–we had so much fun! The Cowboy and I won three games each making us the “tournament” winners. I seldom win more than one game when playing with this gang–Donnie and Mo are good, way good as is Linda!! But as with any game, it’s the luck of the draw!

Angela and Ralph came for Sunday lunch. We’ve know these folks since about 2004 so we always have plenty to discuss. And geez did I ever feel stupid–we enjoyed a fabulous lunch as always–burgers, roasted potatoes and Cesar salad with apple pie for dessert. In the back of my mind I kept thinking–“is this all I cooked??” As we are solving the problems of the world I remember–the chili rellenos! When we went out to the ranch belonging to friends Robbie and Pam she made the simplest but best chili rellenos and I watched carefully as Pam cooked. On Friday I roasted the Anaheim peppers to remove the skins, took the seeds out and stuffed the peppers with cheese. Today all I had to do was pan fry the peppers just before we were ready to eat–except I forgot–the peppers were still in the refrigerator! So, the Cowboy and I will enjoy chili rellenos for supper and have leftovers for tomorrow! Good grief!!

Here is my latest knitting project–a Stephen West shawl–yarn and pattern purchased from a small yarn shop in Malvern, Arkansas in 2020.

The weather in Montana has been awful the last few days, 30 inches of new snow at Lonn’s and he is calving–ugh!

Our Ranch Tour Last Sunday

Entrance to the ranch.

Last Sunday we drove out to the foothills of the Chiricahua Mountains to visit the ranch owned by friends Pam and Robbie. Pam is also our realtor. What a gorgeous place with views which would make you want to never leave home. A ranch tour and dinner was on the agenda. They have a very comfortable 4 seater side by side Polaris Ranger and with Robbie at the wheel we were off. The creek which runs through their property is still running high from all the rain and snow this corner of Arizona has had this winter.

The ranch belonged to Robbie’s grandmother, then his parents and now he and Pam own the ranch.

They’ve recently added some water upgrades for the cattle–a new well, solar, piping to distant tanks, etc.

We had a ball bouncing around for a couple hours touring the ranch Robbie and Pam both love. The ranch is miles and miles from anything but they neither one would live anywhere else.

This is one of several water tanks (in Arkansas we would call this a pond) located on the ranch. Runoff from rain/snow fill these tanks during the winter and monsoon seasons.

Some of the resident wildlife.

A flume which transports water across this ravine, built long, long ago and still working.

Back at the house Pam and Robbie had us quickly sitting down to an amazing meal–grilled steaks, salad, asparagus and the absolute best chili rellenos!! I watched Pam make the rellenos and I’ve all ready purchased the ingredients for making more for us! We so enjoyed our visit with them and look forward to spending more time with Pam and Robbie.

Haircuts, pedicure, trips to Tucson, a party–the list goes on and on making for a busy week. And we’ve been entertaining!

Tuesday evening Louanne and Dan served an amazing dinner to a group of folks which included Jerry and Kathy, the Cowboy and I, Janice and Linda. Gosh that food was good!!

The Cowboy has been busy puttering around outside and working on more stained glass animals. He absolutely hates to be sent to the grocery store but for some reason doesn’t mind going to the local dollar store for me—wonder why??? We have yucca plants in our yard no more–they harbor pack rats and the Cowboy has been fighting an ongoing battle with one particular rat who seems to think tunneling under our garage would be a good thing. The backhoe and the Cowboy made short work of the 3 yucca plants in our yard. The rat seems to have given up and gone elsewhere–we can hope!

Thursday the Cowboy’s cousin Pat came for an overnight visit. Our friend Shauna was heading back to Wyoming on Friday so she too came for dinner. Hamburgers without buns, roasted red potatoes and a vinaigrette dressed salad using the Cowboy’s home grown lettuce. Dessert was leftover strawberry cake from the contribution I made to Dan and Louanne’s dinner.  It’s so much fun to listen to Pat and the Cowboy tell stories!

Friday Louanne and I headed to Tucson for a day out. We shopped and shopped some more but took the time to have an amazing lunch, dining outside on the patio of Locale, an Italian restaurant. I had pumpkin ravioli and swear I almost asked for a spoon so I could scoop up all the sauce–it was a fabulous dish!

I have never been a fan of frozen pizzas–never! There is always something off putting–the crust, the sauce, etc. During one of my times away from home the Cowboy purchased a four pack of Kirkland frozen pepperoni pizzas. They are actually not bad. I add green peppers, black olives, onions and lots more cheese. The curst is on the thin side but not bad and there is no off putting taste. When I’m tired or too lazy to cook I dress up one of these pizzas, put the pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees, then cook the pizza for about 10 minutes. The stone and high oven temp keeps the pizza from being soggy.

We’ve had a pair of buzzards hanging around lately–I asked the Cowboy if the buzzards maybe knew something we didn’t!

We had Sunday lunch at our house today with Milton and Lucy, Dan and Louanne, Janice and Linda. Once again (it’s starting to sound like a broken record) we dined like kings. The table was groaning with delicious food–brisket, calico beans, potato salad, strawberry jello salad and a green salad. Louanne made a fabulous blackberry pie.

Life is good.