Planting And A Parade

As if I hadn’t traveled enough miles on Wednesday for all those dentist appointments on Thursday I went back to Big Timber for an appointment. Our friend Jeane has a green thumb; her flower beds and yard always look so nice. After my pedicure I drove out to their house and had a garden tour. With all those flowering plants fresh in my mind, Jeane and I drove out to one of the local nurseries–Blakes–and bought a bunch of perennials and ground covers for our backyard flower bed project.

Now I just have to decide where to put everything. A landscaper friend once told me–more is better–meaning plant many and the plants will fill in–making for a lush flower bed. That’s my goal!

Friday we had guests–Pat and his daughter Julia–the Cowboy’s first and second cousins. They came for lunch and we practiced our physical distancing enjoying a fabulous meal out on the deck. I cooked a tri tip roast to perfection–it was sooooo good!

On April 9th I ordered a Clover bias tape maker via Amazon from a quilt shop in the United Kingdom. Due to all the mask making our local quilt shop and any other online supplier such as JoAnn’s was out of stock on any bias tape makers. I was promised delivery in two weeks but the package never arrived and the shop refunded my money. Imagine my surprise when this was delivered on Friday–I’ve contacted the UK quilt shop and paid for the item. And we just think mail delivery is slow in the US!!

The Cowboy needed generator brushes for his 1958 Ford tractor. Our local parts store–Stephens–usually has literally anything but didn’t have these brushes. Ebay to the rescue and we would say judging from the box these are original parts for this old tractor.

Saturday was Sweet Grass Fest in Big Timber–small town living at its best in spite of Covid. They spaced the vendors, expanded the parade route and limited tickets to the rodeo. Our Montana county does not and has not had a Covid case. Let’s hope that’s still the case after this weekend. Sarge and Sarah met us in Big Timber–the guys took off to look at the cars in the show and the ladies took off to stroll the vendors and a couple of the new shops which just opened in town. The crowds were sparse at 10am which was great and when the crowds increased we retreated to the park.

The Cowboy had one of these at one time in his life–his was a 1941 Lincoln Zepher.

And the Cowboy really liked this Overland–he can’t remember the year,maybe 1914–and yes it was pink.

We found a picnic table in the shade and enjoyed a great lunch! I brought both chicken and potato salad plus some sliced pineapple. Sarah brought watermelon and a gluten free dessert that was delicious–almond cake with sliced strawberries and whipped cream. We really needed a nap after all that food but the parade was starting–

It’s raining in Montana which is a good thing–it was getting rather dry and dry in a Montana summer leads to forest fires. Sunday afternoon after our fabulous Sunday lunch it was cool enough in our house to have a fire in the fireplace! And raining!

I had salmon, the Cowboy had beef–surprise, surprise!

Life is good!

Long, Long Day

There is so much yard work to be done this time of year. The grass grows an inch a day I’m thinking, the weeds grow even faster and then there’s the hay that is almost ready for cutting. We are exploring ideas for eliminating the hay cutting operation in summer but it would involve quite a bit of fence building–never a favorite activity.

Our backyard patio/flower bed project is not finished. Thursday I am going to try and find new plants for filling in the bald spots then comes the work of putting down landscape fabric then mulch. I’m still on the fence about the landscape fabric–I’ve always used it here but oh my is it a tough job to lay when the plants are in place. But I also hate to weed so landscape fabric may be the answer.

Beautiful summer days in Monday–warm, sunny, no bugs although I did acquire a mosquito bite at some time during my yard work.

I completed another knitting project–don’t look too closely–this one has a glaring error that I didn’t see until I had it completely off the needles. As it’s a dishcloth for me, I’m not too worried about the oops.

Wednesday morning leaving the Cowboy and Emmi at home I was on the road by 7am headed to Billings. I had a full, full day of appointments–dental office for a cleaning, mammogram, another dental office to finish up the two root canals started in late May and a haircut. It made for a long, long day but we are finished with doctor and dental appointments for a while–we hope!! I found time for a Costco stop and lunch on the patio at Jake’s. After leaving the hairdresser’s I stopped at Walmart for our grocery pickup. It was almost 7pm when I drove up the driveway–I’m one pooped lady but it’s done!


Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day! My own Dad has been gone almost 18 years and the Cowboy’s almost two years. We miss them both–greatly!

Nat and the Cowboy–two good Dad’s.

And my Dad–not sure what he is doing but I’m sure it involved work–he was one hard working man and he passed that good gene as well as others to his three children.

When we were traveling this spring from Arizona back to Montana due to this dang Covid mess, I told the Cowboy I was going to use our Montana 14 day quarantine time to teach myself to knit, to organize my photos better and to quilt. Well, two out of three wasn’t bad I’m thinking.

I did quilt using the longarm to finish a quilt–it still doesn’t have a binding and the bunnies still have no facial features which have to done by hand. I started using Lightroom year before last but all my older photos are still a mess–and they remain a mess–that project has not been completed and I realize it most when I’m searching for photos such as these photos of our Dad’s.

But I did teach myself to knit and it makes me happy! Years ago I attempted to knit socks–my first foray into knitting and it was a disaster! The Cowboy said he learned new cussing words when I was knitting–I highly doubt that–but it was stressful and I gave it up. I have a blogging friend–Judy, from the Patchwork Times who knits beautifully and is so encouraging. Judy gave me suggestions for needles and I was off. I completed those two headbands a while back and while in Arkansas I finished a scarf–it’s not perfect, there are mistakes but I am so pleased with it!

I started this little dishcloth while in Arkansas and now it’s finished–it too has mistakes but I’m learning.

We’ve been busy as usual with the normal stuff–spraying weeds, house cleaning, mowing the grass, etc.

I have the handiest husband! Knitting has changed–much of knitting is now done with circular needles on cables. The “needles” are interchangeable. I started a project before leaving for Arkansas and realized the longest cable I had was not going to be long enough to hold all the stitches of this bag I was knitting. I ordered longer cables and they arrived while I was gone. When I started to transfer the knitting from the too short cable to the longer one I told the Cowboy I wished there was some device that would connect the two cables then I could just pull it through the knitting. Instead I had to carefully pick up each stitch with a needle and transfer it to the longer cable. My handy Cowboy to the rescue. Each cable comes with “stoppers” to keep your knitting from falling off the cables if you need to remove the knitting needles for another project. The Cowboy took two of those stoppers and created a “joiner” for two cables. He is amazing! (I later searched for “knitting cable joiner” and found such a device does exist but I will just use my Cowboy created one for now!)

The stopperThe joiner

A needle tip attached to the cables.

Do you like my decorations?? We have this pesky little bird–a yellow warbler–and he has about driven the Cowboy over the edge. He started pecking on the windows while I was in Arkansas and has continued to do so since I’ve been home. I had read somewhere that these pinwheels would deter birds and had purchased some in the past trying to deter a pesky robin. The little yellow bird is on his last two legs and these pinwheels had better deter him!

It’s Good To Be Home

Since publishing the last blog on Sunday night, Mom and I were busy. Eating with family, going to the doctor in Little Rock and packing my bags. Tuesday morning not so bright but it was early Ann took me to the airport where the planes were still crowded but also at least American Airlines was enforcing the “wear a mask” rule. My travel was uneventful and our arrival into Billings was even 15 minutes early.

Mom had another doctors appointment on Tuesday and the neurologist was encouraging saying Mom could improve and get back to her more healthy self. They are blaming the falls and spasms of her legs and arms on a cardiac medication she began taking this spring. That medication, amiodarone has been stopped and she is improving.

The Cowboy and little Emmi were very glad to see me as I was them. We tried to eat on the patio at Rib and Chop as we had Emmi with us but were met with the excuse, “our patio is dirty and we just don’t have enough people.” Hmmmmm. Short stops at Costco for fruit and veggies plus a Walmart pickup order and we were on the road toward home.

It’s spring time in Montana and we are living in a green jungle. The chokecherry trees are blooming scenting the air with their fragrance. The columbine blossoms opened while I was gone. The birds are hungry and the rattlesnakes are out–we haven’t seen one but our neighbors Joe and Tammy have.

On Sunday the Cowboy joined the Montana ATV gang and traveled to the Pryor Mountains National Wild Horse Range. We started going with this group to the range in 2017 and have gone every year. Here is a link to a blog post I wrote about that first trip.  This first photo was taken on Sunday–

These remaining three photos were taken on our first trip to the range in 2017. While we were eating our lunch that day, these two big horn sheep climbed up onto this knoll and stood there watching us for the longest time! What a treat!

I heard a squeal and whipped around with the camera at eye level managing to get a shot of these two trying to prove who was the meanest–I wish it was more clear but I still like it.

It was shorts, t-shirts and air conditioning weather in Arkansas. It has rained most of today and our high was 48 degrees.

Life Is Busy

I’m sure we are busy most days and the days blend together. Niki and her girls have been visiting and Ross stops in a couple times a day. I’ve been taking care of the chickens, the cats and the plants at my sister’s house while they took a much needed little trip. I’m most definitely not a chicken person and the first day, those chickens could tell I wasn’t a chicken person–I made them nervous.

Three days later they’ve decided I’m OK–I bring the food and shut their coop door to protect them from bad things. The chickens can tell time, I’m convinced! The chickens are released from the coop to roam the yard every afternoon at 4:30–in winter, earlier. When I walk over to open the door they are all ready cooing and chattering–let us out, let us out. At 8:30pm, I go over to shut the doors of the coop and every chicken is sitting on the roost, cooing quietly saying, “shut the door, shut the door.” Ann’s chickens are good layers, I’ve gotten at least a dozen eggs every day.

Weed spraying on Barnes Hill just went hi tech–Ross equipped his tractor with a GPS–keeps him on the straight and narrow.

Mom’s new iPhone is working, her data is transferred and I can finish the rest of the Verizon business from home–I hope. It took yet another trip to the Verizon store on Friday but the phone now works and we’ve been practicing!

On the way back from the Verizon store–45 minutes away–Mom and I had a scare. We were on a narrow, winding back road when a Dodge pickup crossed the center line coming halfway over into our lane. I didn’t swerve but I did apply the brakes hard and head for the ditch which wasn’t deep at all, I dropped both passengers tires off the pavement but was able to drive out of the ditch. I had to stop and calm myself refraining but chasing down the moron and giving him a piece of my mind.

On the way to the Verizon store Friday Mom and I had been talking about this exact thing–distracted driving. I have started to really focus on vehicles coming at me on two lane roads–watching for distracted drivers. My Dad taught me to always be aware of my surroundings when driving–look for an escape path–and I usually am doing this as I drive. All those lessons just might have saved our lives yesterday–we were in Mom’s Toyota Camry–no match for a Dodge truck. If you remember when we took this same route on Monday we had to sit and wait for an accident scene to be cleared. We later learned the accident happened as the result of one of the vehicles crossing the center line. A person was killed in that accident.

It’s softball season in the south and every weekend sees Elizabeth on the field for one, two, three, maybe more games. She is going to college with the aid of a softball scholarship. Her mother Niki is my only niece and I adore Niki and her two daughters. They are one of my life’s greatest joys.

Elizabeth is on the left in the sunglasses.

The kildeer sitting on four eggs in the middle of Danny and Ann’s front yard–in the broiling sun for most of the day. Leah and I mowed Saturday–Mom’s yard plus Danny and Ann’s. We mowed around the kildeer. Danny has seen the male fly in to relieve the female and she flew straight to the pond for a drink of water!

Sunday lunch–my brother fried fish, french fries and hush puppies–a most unhealthy meal but oh so delicious! Vicky made baked beans–we dined well! My contribution was this chocolate cake–

And we also had blackberry cobbler!

It’s a hot one in Arkansas today–summer is here. The Cowboy and Emmi went on our yearly trip with the ATV gang to the Pryor Mountains wild horse range–I bet they have a good day.

Danny and Ann’s home–her front porch always looks so southern in the summer time–ferns, porch swings, rocks–southern.

And I finished my scarf–my third knitting project. I am so excited–this was a “learn how to knit different stitches pattern.” I learned the garter, stockinette, basketweave, seed, smooth sand and ribbed stitches. The scarf has mistakes and needs to be blocked but I think it’s beautiful.




It’s Still Tough

It’s still tough to conduct any kind of business. The bank lobby is closed, companies such as Verizon have long wait times for phone calls, and don’t even get me started on the credit reporting agencies such as Equifax. I’m attempting to help Mom arrange her affairs and every step of the way it’s been a struggle due to Covid.

Mom’s phone died during the Christmas season. Her husband Chuck was an android man–the rest of this family with the exception of my brother are Apple folks. Chuck ordered Mom a brand new Samsung Galaxy S9 and she has struggled to use it. With Chuck gone there is no one to help her understand the new phone and we are all clueless as to how an android operates.

I tried calling the local Verizon store but the stores are accepting no calls. I went online and made an appointment for this past Monday. Off we went into tropical storm winds and rain–seriously it was raining so hard! And, the Verizon store was no help whatsoever. If I had been able to talk to someone I would have realized the Verizon store wouldn’t have an older iPhone, they only sell the latest and greatest. They were kind and accommodating but couldn’t help us.

Back home it was eBay to the rescue. I order Mom a brand new iPhone 7 Plus and it will be delivered Friday. We will have an almost new with very little use Samsung Galaxy S9 for sale–at a great price–if anyone is interested.

And the list went on and on–I was on the phone for most of the day on Tuesday. I wrote this blog in 2017 about freezing your credit with the various credit reporting agencies. Parts of that blog are no longer applicable–for instance Equifax does not use pin numbers now–but the gist of the message is still the same and Chuck paid attention freezing his and Mom’s credit. And the best part–Chuck left a file with all the information! I was attempting to create an account for Mom and to do that, credit must be checked by Verizon.

I detest calling companies such as Verizon and try to do all my business with those type companies online. But for this business I needed a person and I was lucky getting to speak with an awesome woman at Verizon. Except the “awesome woman” made an error which caused so many problems I might still be writing about them when I write the next blog on Sunday. Wednesday’s Verizon person was able to discern the issue but now we must wait at least a WEEK for their IT people to “go into the system and remove the error messages.”  You have got to be kidding me! A WEEK???? Wednesday’s Verizon person knew I wasn’t happy and has agreed to call me Friday afternoon to walk me through setting up Mom’s new phone. Then she will call me again once the “error messages” are resolved.

Good grief! So far I’ve wasted three hours of my life talking to Verizon people!

Wednesday was a beautiful day–so nice we turned off the air conditioning and opened the doors and windows. Currently I am in charge of the chickens–I’m not a farm girl even though I grew up on this farm. When I let them out to roam the yard they were nervous nellies–I don’t think they liked me! Now if I just don’t forget to close them in for the night!😁

Hanging Out In Arkansas

Wednesday afternoon I started a batch of no knead bread using this recipe:


Recipe from How to Bake Everything



The only thing required is forethought.  Ideally, you will start the dough about 24 hours before you plan to eat it; you can cut that to 12 and even 9 (see the first variation), but you’ll be sacrificing some of the yeasty flavor and open crumb.


4 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed
Scant 1/2 t instant yeast
2 t salt
2 T olive oil (optional)
Cornmeal, semolina, or wheat bran for dusting


  1. Combine flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl.  Add 2 c water (it should be about 70°F) and stir until blended.  You’ll have a shaggy, sticky dough; add a little more water if it seems dry.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rest for about 18 hours at room temperature (a couple of hours less if your kitchen is warmer; a couple more if it’s cool). T he dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.
  2. Lightly flour a work surface, transfer the dough to it, and fold it once or twice; it will be soft but not terribly sticky once dusted with flour.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for about 15 minutes.
  3. Using just enough additional flour to keep the dough from sticking, gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball.  Generously coat a cotton (not terry cloth) kitchen towel with cornmeal, semolina, or wheat bran (or use a silicone baking mat); put the dough seam side down on the towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal.  Cover with another cotton towel (or plastic wrap) and let rise for about 2 hours.  When it’s ready, the dough will be more than doubled in size and won’t spring back readily when poked with your finger.
  4. At least a half hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450°F.  Put a 3- to 4-quart covered pot (with the cover)— it may be cast iron, enamel, Pyrex, or ceramic — in the oven as it heats.  When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up. (Slide your hand under the towel and just turn the dough over into the pot; it’s messy, and it probably won’t fall in artfully, but it will straighten out as it bakes.)  Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned; the bread’s internal temperature should be 200°F or more.  (If at any point the dough starts to smell scorched, lower the heat a bit.)  Remove the bread with a spatula or tongs and cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
  5. Faster No-Knead Bread
    Reduce the initial rise to 8 hours; skip the 15-minute resting period in Step 2 and then shape the dough in Step 3. Proceed immediately to Step 4.
  6. Whole Wheat No-Knead Bread
    Substitute whole wheat flour for up to 2 cups of the all-purpose flour.

This recipe requires forethought but it was worth it–my goodness it was delicious!!

Mom had a doctor’s appointment in Little Rock Thursday morning so we were out the door early leaving my sister to deal with the baking bread. I am making Sunday lunch for the entire family and think I will make another loaf of that bread! After Mom’s appointment we stopped at the Honey Baked Ham store and purchased one of their delicious hams for Sunday lunch–I haven’t had a honey baked ham in years and years!

We are in the process of selling some of Chuck’s things–a truck, mobility scooter, etc. By Friday afternoon the truck and scooter were gone. I could have sold the truck three or four more times–so many calls!

Danny, Ann and Ross dug potatoes this morning–it’s so incredibly hot and muggy here in Arkansas! I know it was hot miserable work digging potatoes! Saturday great niece Elizabeth was playing in a softball tournament almost two hours from here. Mom and I held down the fort while the rest of that side of the family went to cheer for Elizabeth. As hot as it was I was very glad we were staying home. I did make a Walmart grocery pickup run on Saturday and cooked some of the meal for Sunday.

This little pooch is eleven years old now–where have the years gone. She still acts like a puppy and seems to be very healthy. She is our joy! And thanks to Jim and Ellie, the Walmart ducks are still her favorite toys.

Sunday lunch was divine! Ham, baked beans, strawberry jello salad—-the list goes on and on. I also baked a lemon meringue and a chocolate pie. We are all currently experiencing a food coma! Today was Danny and Ann’s 45th wedding anniversary. It is also their daughter’s wedding anniversary. Niki and Eric have been married 23 years today. Danny and Ann received a nice anniversary present–NOT–their air conditioning unit decided to die sometime last night.

Back in Montana the Cowboy has been social–Friday he enjoyed lunch in town with some of his friends and Saturday night he joined the neighbors for a get together. It’s raining and chilly in Montana–such a difference in our weathers!



That Was Interesting

Saying that travel has changed is an understatement! On Tuesday I flew American Airlines from Billings, Montana to Dallas, Texas and on to Little Rock, Arkansas. American’s policy is every passenger must wear a mask–everyone did while boarding but then all bets were off and off came the masks. Some airlines are practicing social distancing when selling tickets, not American.

Tuesday morning when I checked the seating chart none of the “extra legroom for purchase” seats were sold. My thought was by purchasing one of those seats for $33 I would more socially distance myself. Good theory, waste of money. Once everyone was on board the flight attendants allowed people in the more crowded rear of the aircraft to come forward into the “for purchase” seats without paying the $33 charge.😲

My new seatmate wasn’t wearing a mask😔. And for a 2 hours and 45 minute flight–no service. No water, no nothing–so they said in the interest of social distancing. Now let me get this straight–you seat someone within six inches of my face and yet you can’t come down the aisle and offer me a bottle of water????  I heard one of the flight attendants tell someone not to worry about keeping their mask on???Interesting is an understatement.

My sister retrieved me from the airport and Mom was waiting up for me–brought back memories. 😏Wednesday was a busy day–we picked up groceries at Walmart, stopped at the bank and went to the other grocery store in town. It’s very humid today, thunder and a bit of rain but mostly humid. Thursday will be another busy day. Mom is doing better, navigating on her own much better. Blue, my brother’s dog is my only photo of the day and it’s blurry–he didn’t want his photo taken! That’s not really true, I did take other photos but they were of items we are selling–a truck, a mobility scooter–nothing you would want to see I bet.

Life is good.


Spring Is Here

Thursday in Billings was my turn–a root canal which turned into two root canals–oh joy! The good news–I liked the endodontist much better than the one I spent time with last summer. It’s another on going project which will have to be completed once I return from an upcoming trip. After the dentist, we made a quick stop to pick up our Walmart grocery order and headed home–up the Boulder.

This photo was taken over Memorial Day weekend when we had rain, the mountains had snow.

Spring has sprung up the Boulder–finally! Our log home sits on the bank of a creek in an aspen grove. Aspen trees a vivid lime green, the creek burbling along and our little birds chirping their hearts out–it’s spring. Our birds are eating us out of house and home–I love our little birds and the new guys we’ve acquired this season–the Bullock’s orioles. It’s a colorful frenzy at the feeders all day long. And then there are the robins–noisy birds especially when they start communicating with each other at 5am!! We also have several grouse hanging around in the yard–I do wish they would find another hang out spot–their poop is disgustingly big!!

The Cowboy is feeling much better and has been working on our backyard project which was delayed by weather and then by that nasty kidney stone. It isn’t totally finished–the flagstone needs leveling and we will need some more plants but we are pleased with the way it looks. I’ve been spraying weeds, keeping us fed and Saturday I bathed the Emmi girl and gave her a much needed haircut.

We usually fend for ourselves at breakfast time–cereal or an omelette (which he cooks) for the Cowboy, yogurt with fruit and granola for me. Some mornings I am ambitious and cook–Sunday morning I made blueberry pancakes which we paired with Costco thick cut peppered bacon which is not available at this time. We stocked up when rumors started flying about packing plants closing! We had a discussion yesterday about how awful this isolation might have been if a person didn’t like to cook. I told the Cowboy he was dang lucky I liked to cook.

The next blog will come to you from Arkansas–since Mom’s husband died in March she hasn’t been doing so well and needs someone to stay with her. I had plane tickets to fly to Arkansas in late March when all the Covid stuff blew up but you know what happened to those plans. I will be there for two weeks leaving the Cowboy to his own cooking–he could be in trouble. He and Emmi will hold down the fort. I have my sanitizing wipes and masks ready.

Life is good.

A Different Kind Of Billings Trip

When we came home from Arizona most doctors were not seeing patients. When restrictions began to lift I started trying to make appointments and of course could not get two or three of those appointments on the same day. So, we settled for three straight days of doctors appointment–makes one feel old doesn’t it!

Tuesday was stent removal day and the Cowboy feels much better. Wednesday was a routine yearly visit with my nurse practitioner for me and a visit to the dermatologist for the Cowboy–he now looks as if he has chicken pox.

We are staying at Shannen’s (the Cowboy’s daughter) place outside of Billings high on the hills overlooking the city. They have an RV electric hookup and we are comfy in our little motorhome. We didn’t even bring a tow vehicle, we’ve just taken the motorhome everywhere making our needy little pooch happy.

It’s branding season in Montana. Lonn and his gang help the neighbors and the neighbors help them. Our friend Jayme took this photo of Lonn at one of those brandings and I borrowed the photo from Facebook.

We tried to buy the Cowboy some new boots today without success. The only thing we found to buy was Dairy Queen ice cream–our reward for all these doctor’s appointments!