We Meet Blog Readers

Well, our friend John Brown said one time we shouldn’t complain about the rain–and I’m trying not to–but it sure would be nice if we could finish this haying business!  Shortly after I posted the blog Saturday evening we had one major thunderstorm roll through dumping almost one and a half inches of rain in less than 30 minutes!!  It thundered so hard the house shook–and it’s totally possible one of those “shakes” was an earthquake which was felt from Manhattan, Montana to Springdale, Montana. Several friends have commented on Facebook that they felt the quake so it’s entirely possible we did too–it was just so noisy with all the heavy rain and thunder.

The Cowboy did manage to bale some of the hay on Sunday before the next round of rain started–another two tenths. I spent an hour Sunday morning chopping weeds again–this time burdock which I might hate even more than hounds tongue!  Burdock is nasty stuff, each seed pod has a gazillion seeds which spread with the slightest contact.  I was chopping burdock on the steep hillside just over the creek from the house where I don’t want to spray–my bird feeders are there and I don’t want to kill the other vegetation.  If you catch burdock before it goes to seed you have a chance of eradicating the nasty stuff!

No haying going on Monday–too wet.  Our hay is grass hay, will probably dry and we don’t ever worry about getting a second cutting. Other ranchers/farmers up and down the valley have alfalfa hay and some grain on the ground.  That hay takes much longer to dry and the window for getting a second cutting is getting smaller and smaller.  Rain is again forecast for today.

Monday evening we drove to Livingston and met blog readers Michelle and Doug at the Rib and Chop House.  Delightful people who are spending their first summer of retirement traveling around the west.  When four people who’ve never met each other can spend almost two hours chatting I think there’s a connection!  And they have another RV world connection–they met Al and Kelly of the Bayfield Bunch at their Congress, AZ house back in 2012.  And as I forgot to take a photo, I borrowed this one taken by Al.

And once again, no haying operations today–some rain, just enough to get the hay wet so far! I was on a cleaning streak today and the house looks mighty nice if I do say so myself.  The Cowboy has been hanging out in the garage building a wood stove for our Arizona house.  He thinks maybe he’s built close to 350 wood burning stoves for other people and himself.  I will take a photo when it’s completed.

I’m in search of a new bundt pan! The newer one I have in Arizona releases the cakes nicely.  The one I have in Montana makes my cakes look like a herd of mice have been snacking! Grrrrr!

And the peonies finally bloomed!

 

 

 

Summer Arrived

This photo was taken with my iPhone Friday evening as we were coming back through town after dinner at Denny and Ellen’s.

Warm temps, sunshine and a breeze makes good weather for hay cutting and the Cowboy started that project Wednesday. Latest we’ve started haying in a long time.

Emmi has been making more trips with us to Billings than usual.  She always stayed with Grandpa Nat when we would travel to Billings during summer.  Tuesday when we delivered the motorhome to Billings Emmi came along.  It was lunch time when we finished all the business with the coach and we were hungry.  I used my Bring Fido app to find restaurants with pet friendly outdoor seating and the Billings Rib and Chop House popped up.  We frequent the Rib and Chop in Livingston and love it but had tried the Billings one twice when they first opened and we weren’t impressed.  Tuesday they impressed both in service and food.  When I inquired about patio seating the hostess went to find the manager–thunderstorms had been moving through and they had closed the patio which involved locking all the tables and chairs together with chains.  The hostess came back with a young man and they opened the patio for us.  That same young man was our excellent waiter.  Our food was delicious but the accommodating service was spectacular.  We will go back!

Our weather is so unstable–thunderstorms every afternoon.  Thursday the Cowboy finished cutting all the hay and Thursday afternoon late it rained a bit. Friday he raked the hay and it rained a bit. Saturday he started baling and it rained a bit.  We are not the only ones, there is hay on the ground from our place all the way to town. But, summer did arrive!  We went from low 70’s to high 80’s overnight.

Thursday was a busy day for me.  Yoga in town and errands, errands.  We had quite the collection of books–not any longer–in our cleaning out/ downsizing mode we boxed up tons of books and I donated them to the library.  The young man who helped me unload the boxes said their used books were depleted after the Friend’s of the Library book sale and they could really use more–YEA for both of us! I also took bunches of stuff to the local thrift store–they were also happy as was I!!

Friday was a weed whacking day for me–one of my least favorite chores! And it was hot! Friday afternoon we went to town to the farmers market and Jon had more good tomatoes.  After the market we drove north of town to Denny and Ellen’s where we joined Mark and Gemma for a wonderful dinner and re-connecting.  Denny and Ellen lived up the Boulder in years past, Mark and Gemma live up the Boulder but are incredibly busy still being employed full time plus–so we hadn’t seen these folks in a long time.  It was so good to see them again and spend time catching up.

Saturday I made quick trip into town, came home and made lunch then mowed grass.  While on the riding mower I saw a sage grouse  in the grass and she wasn’t eager to move.  As I got closer she did move to reveal about 8-10 tiny baby grouse.  I quickly shut off the mower deck and put the mower in reverse–that section of lawn will have to wait until the momma grouse has moved her babies.

 

We Are Once Again RV-Less

When you have land, you have weeds and this year we have a bumper crop!  We spray, dig and pull weeds every summer but we still seem to have more weeds.  This year it’s hounds tongue. Sunday and Monday mornings I spent time on the end of a shovel digging and chopping.  I hate hounds tongue–each plant has a gazillion seeds.  When the plant goes dormant in the winter, the seeds dry and are extremely sticky.  The seeds attach themselves to deer, rabbits, and anything that moves including Emmi and us!  I hate hounds tongue!

Yes, we are once again RV-less.  We took the motorhome to Billings today, turned it over to its new owners and put the check in the bank.  The Cowboy invested countless hours in that motorhome fixing all the “everything works” that didn’t work.  We drove 950 miles round trip to get a new/used generator.  We discovered the “everything works” inverter was totally fried and installed a new one–inverters that size are very expensive! The Cowboy spent hours troubleshooting the AquaHot system which would not work and ordered countless parts–it works now and works well.  We are so fortunate that the Cowboy is handy but his patience was sorely tried! We were happy to deliver it in working order to the excited young couple–they are taking it on a trip this weekend to Cody, WY.

Sage grouse babies in our front yard Monday morning.  The mom was in the driveway clucking at all her little chicks.  They could fly so maybe the babies will survive.

More thunderstorms and rain last night, cool temperatures and very windy today.  The wind made driving the motorhome not so fun early this morning.

Stay tuned as we search for yet another RV–our friends Ralph and Angie said, “you’ve tried everything, what are you going to get now?”  Well, we haven’t tried everything and we do know what we don’t want–a R-Pod or a 42 foot motorhome–maybe something in between???

 

Still Raining

It’s still raining. Over this July 4th holiday we have had at least one and a half inches of rain and our temps have been perfect–unseasonably cool but perfect.  Again, the hay cutting member of this family is not so sure! As a result of all the rain, my columbine flowers are gorgeous and the rhubarb is prolific!

Nancy was our yoga chauffeur on Thursday–Tammy and I appreciated the ride!  Our yoga teacher Julia saw no problem with having a yoga session at her home studio on July 4th so off we went and we had a full house!  Thursday evening we were invited to Tammy and Joe’s for dinner.  Their son Patrick and his wife Holly were there as well as our friend/neighbor Shirley.  The food was fantastic and the company/visiting was great!

Friday the Cowboy made a quick run to town and chores were calling my name–you know, vacuuming, dusting, laundry.  Emmi slept, played ball and slept some more.  Thanks to all of you who commented or sent emails about Emmi’s anxiety.

  Our muddy feet princess Millie Bliss–all three of them were playing in the mud of the riding arena and had to be freezing but they were having a ball!July 4th involved some fishing with Grandpa Lonn.

Playing with the moon setting on my Nikon Coolpix P600–I was pleased!

 

One Gone

On Monday the R-Pod went down the road behind a truck which didn’t belong to us–one gone!  So sorry Linda A.–no photos of the inside of the R-Pod.

Emmi had a veterinarian appointment for her yearly checkup late Monday and we ran some errands while in town.  Emmi gets so stressed when going to the vet.  She literally tries to climb up onto the top of my head–any suggestions???   This time she was so stressed she vomited her worming medication all over the Cowboy–he wasn’t too impressed!

It’s still raining and chilly–the kids went to the Livingston parade yesterday and right in the middle of the parade it began to hail and rain.  Laci said she felt sorry for the people participating in the parade!  We were in Billings today and the high was only about 63 degrees–so sorry Sandi!!

Tuesday I finished a quilt and altered some jeans–so glad I can sew!  My Mom made her own clothes as well as clothes for my sister and me.  She made wedding, bridesmaid and prom dresses.  Some of her skills rubbed off on me–my sister not so much! 🙂 🙂

Wednesday the Cowboy had a dermatologist appointment in Billings and we left home rather early.  The doctor was not kind to him–several spots were frozen and two spots biopsied to see if anything more needs to be done.  He’s gonna look mighty beat up tomorrow!

On the way home from Billings I was driving.  There were two disabled vehicles by the road and I moved into the passing lane.  Just as I was almost directly opposite the vehicles a small child rounded the front of the vehicles and began to walk alongside the two cars!  The child was walking right alongside the freeway!  Some people do not deserve to have children!!

Our thunderstorms have been bringing not only rain but also some beautiful sunsets–

We are hibernating at home for July 4th.  We would love to go see some fireworks but dark occurs after 10pm in Montana this time of year–way too late for us two to be out!  🙂 🙂  Life is good!

Happy July 4th!!

Small Town Celebrations

We are enjoying some of the best “summer” weather Montana has had in years!  Our high temperatures have been below 80 degrees with a slight breeze.  While we were in the Bighorn Mountains it rained almost an inch.  We will take it!

This is rodeo weekend in Big Timber, Montana and our social calendar was full–not the Cowboy’s usual mode of operation let me tell you!  Saturday we headed in to town to attend Ullman Lumber Company’s 100 year anniversary celebration.  We are fortunate to have such a fabulous, well stocked building supply business in our small community.  Grandfather Con Ullman started the business one hundred years ago and is the man on the far right in the below photo.  His son Forrest then took over followed by Sox Ullman who was a high school classmate of the Cowboy’s.  Sox and his son Justin now run Ullman Lumber.

The Cowboy and his family lived 22 miles from town.  It was customary for “country boys” to live with town folks during the school year, especially if they participated in sports.  The Cowboy lived with the Ullman family his senior year.  Ullman Lumber hosted a celebration on Saturday providing lunch to a tremendous number of people and it was fun to visit with so many friends.

And isn’t Photoshop a wonderful thing–the current store sits in exactly the same place as the older version of the business in the photo but has a more modern look these days.  And four generations of Ullman’s added to the photo.

Back up the Boulder to spend some time with the needy Emmi then it was back to town for a pre-rodeo gathering at Nancy and Geoff’s.  Again, lots of friends, neighbors and people we had not met before.  And great food!

Saturday morning we were once again on the road–it was Sweet Grass Fest in Big Timber.  Music, vendors, food, a fabulous car show and again, lots of visiting with friends.  McLeod Street and 2nd Street are blocked and the festival fills the space.  At 2pm there is a parade and hundreds of people lined the sidewalks–I love this weekend!  There is the rodeo and later music and dancing Friday and Saturday nights.

Our brand spanking new fire truck!! The company which provides our blazing fast DSL internet service which is often a rarity in Montana!

Our friend Deb recently inherited this Ford from her father.

Cute little cowboy on a big horse!

A busy but super weekend!  Sunday we both managed to play catch up with some of the chores around here–sprayed weeds, mowed grass, and I even managed to quilt a bit.

At Home

Monday we left Horseshoe Bay campground heading for Tensleep, Wyoming and higher elevations.  The USFS campgrounds we found in Tensleep Canyon must have been built in more recent years.  The sites are large, the roads are wide and easily driven with a big rig and the signage is easily understood.  There are non-reservable sites in every campground.  A clearly readable tag hangs on a post at each site stating exactly when that site is available–“open until June 28th.”  When we pulled into Boulder Park Campground on Monday afternoon intending to stay three days we had our pick of several sites.  Each site is large enough to unhook and park the ATV and truck with room to spare.  Each site has a picnic table, hanger for a lantern and a steel grill stand.  The campgrounds have garbage service and vault toilets.  The host at Boulder Park campground was amazing–pots of flowers everywhere, cute solar lights at each very clean vault toilet and she was quite knowledgeable about the area.

Geri and Larry in front of us heading through Tensleep Canyon.

We took a short ATV ride Monday afternoon and at 9000 feet elevation it was dang chilly!

Tuesday morning we headed out for another ATV ride wearing our winter clothes!  It was another chilly day!  The days would start out sunny and beautiful but clouds would build, the wind would blow and it felt like winter!  As you can see the snow hasn’t melted off those mountains yet! Even Emmi was cold–she wears a coat but needs her blanket too!

Lots of snowdrifts and puddles–winter hasn’t been gone for long in the Bighorn Mountains.  At one point during our ride we were at 10,000 feet elevation–cold!

Wednesday morning we rode to several of the other campgrounds just to see what was available.  Again we found nice campgrounds with large sites and stunning scenery.  There are also lots of boondocking spots in this region of the Bighorns.  July 4th is approaching and many of the boondocking sites were occupied.  This lake view was our lunch spot where we watched that strange, big cloud form.

Tensleep Creek A snowmobile bridge– This wide open valley with the creek flowing through it reminded the Cowboy and me of the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park–without all the people.  We saw one fisherman  and one other ATV all day.

This puddle was quite large and deep.The trail up to East Tensleep Lake was tough–steep and rocky–but the view was worth every bounce.  You can see the Cowboy picking his way over to boulders to get up to the lake–Geri went too but Larry, Emmi and I stayed behind.

We enjoyed many good meals and lots of great conversation with Larry and Geri.  We are so glad they decided to meet us and ride for a few days.  We said our “see you later” today and parted company–they are heading back to Rapid City and those granddaughters.

Cool days, cold nights and stunning scenery–the Bighorns were fabulous!!

 

Wow Days

After some Big Timber errands on Friday we headed to Lovell, Wyoming and the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. Our friends Larry and Geri traveled from Rapid City to meet us at the campground–they arrived on Thursday evening. We enjoyed an evening of catch up and Geri prepared a fabulous dinner!

Saturday morning we headed to the staging area for the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range where we met up with the Big Timber bunch for a day of riding on the range. It was sunny, cloudy, rainy, and snowy! We were grateful for the good rain gear we carry! We were a group of 11 rigs, 14 people, and 5 dogs.

By days end we had seen 98 horses and several foals. The Big Timber bunch pointed their wheels toward home and we headed back to the campground, beat but so glad to have spent this day with such a great group of people.

Sunday we decided to drive up into the Bighorn Mountains and search for campsites, leaving the trailers at the campground. Once we reached the summit I said, “OK everybody keep your eyes peeled, I want to see a bear, a moose and elk.” By the time we headed for home Larry said I should have wished for a winning lottery ticket!

Right off the bat we saw an elk then a moose and would you believe it, a total of thirteen moose!! Larry has good eyes and spotted most of the moose.

Definitely a WOW kind of day. We had lunch at Burgess Junction and searched for campgrounds and boondocking spots finding a few acceptable boondocking areas. It’s been a wet spring in Wyoming and many of the boondocking spots are too wet and muddy to safely enter. There are several USFS campgrounds but the sites are so small that even with our tiny R-Pod and truck, we won’t fit. Larry and Geri definitely won’t fit. And there’s Reserve America but I won’t open that can of worms! So we will save the higher elevations of the Bighorns for the warmer days of late July and August. It’s onward this Monday morning.

Those were two very special days spent with fabulous friends!

We Take Yet Another Trip

On the way to Lonn’s the other night we came across a huge herd of antelope.

Thursday was a yoga day in town.  The afternoon was occupied loading the camper and making it road worthy.  Yep, we are taking an unexpected trip, taking the R-Pod for it’s maiden voyage.  The Cowboy didn’t want to make any permanent changes just in case we don’t like this little rig.  On the R-Pod Facebook group one of the major issues discussed is the black tank drain–the strap which holds the drain pipe breaks–YIKES.  So, the Cowboy reinforced ours today.  He also placed reinforcement boards under our shower through this teeny-tiny little opening.  RV manufacturers should be ashamed of themselves–such poor quality! And he installed a 12 volt power port so we can keep things charged.

We are heading to the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range with the gang and Geri and Larry are joining us.  They’ve been in Rapid City celebrating the birth of their newest granddaughter.  We will then head up into the Big Horn Mountains for some more ATV riding.

Internet availability may be scanty–we will see–if a blog doesn’t appear that’s the reason.

Katie gave me this little bag Wednesday night–I love it and her thoughtfulness!

Thursday our temps dropped and in the evening it started raining.  Thirty nine degrees on Friday morning and one half an inch of rain–good stuff!  Lonn had snow–on the first day of summer!

 

Where Do The Days Go

Anyone know what this evil looking contraption is??

First I want to apologize to our Canadian readers–seems in the last blog when I copied and pasted from a news article the location of the horned dinosaur bones, the writer of that news article had misspelled Ottawa and I didn’t catch it–neither did spell check.  This mistake was bluntly brought to my attention in an email from a reader.  Perhaps he was being tongue in cheek as he misspelled two words in his email to me???? 🙂 🙂

June is more than half over and I would be hard pressed to tell you what we’ve done so far in the month of June.  I do know we’ve made way too many trips to Billings but when you live in the middle of nowhere you have to go somewhere for the dentist, doctor and decent groceries.  I made another trip to Billings on Tuesday for a haircut and to see the optometrist.  I’ve worn contacts in the past; mono-vision and bifocal.  As my up close vision worsened as it seems to do as we age, the contacts didn’t correct my close up vision as well as glasses. I stopped wearing contacts except when we ATV and I wear goggles.  I can see in the distance but have to really focus on things such as the GPS.  I was hoping the optometrist who I had seen in the past could help with the contact lens issues better than the optometrists I had seen at Costco but it was not to be.  He said the contact lens companies had spent billions in trying to develop a lens for people who are both farsighted and nearsighted without success.  The field of vision is too large for something as small as a contact lens to fix.

Monday I spent a couple hours on the phone with homeowners insurance companies.  We’ve used the same local company for our home/ranch/auto insurance needs the entire time we’ve been married and the Cowboy used them before we married.  About two years ago our insurance agent retired–how dare he!–and to say the least, we miss him greatly!  As a result I was shopping and was successful. I had all ready moved our auto insurance to another company.

I loaded a quilt on Sunday afternoon and Monday afternoon spent about two hours quilting–it was a joy to be back on the longarm and it performed beautifully!

Today the Cowboy has been puttering with the motorhome and I’ve been cooking.

This time of year we live in a green jungle of aspen trees, cow parsnip plants, grasses and wild rose bushes.  Seems one little dog lost her ball in the creek and as the water was down a touch the Cowboy went fishing for Emmi’s ball.  He was successful and we have a happy pooch!

Wednesday evening we drove over to Lonn’s to have dinner and see the gang–a very special evening!  Our granddaughter Laci and great granddaughter Lora are visiting from Germany.  I will never tire of hearing those babies say, “Mimi, watch this, Mimi watch this.”  Lora is almost five years old, Brooks is three and Millie is almost 21 months old.  It’s chaos in that house but it’s a joyful chaos. Here is photo overload–

On the way home tonight the skies were so full of color–