It’s Good To Be Up The Boulder

When the temps cooled Friday evening, off went the noisy air conditioner and up went the windows–what’s that noise????  The freeway noise was so loud–what’s up with that??–this RV park has always been so quiet!  At bedtime it was obvious we weren’t sleeping with the windows open and so we listened to the noisy air conditioner.  We both came to the realization–we’ve never stayed in this park when it was warm enough to open windows or have an air conditioner running!!  It’s always been coat weather in late April or early May.

So–next time we stay in Dillon it will be at an abandoned weigh station just outside town on a secondary road–for free instead of listening to freeway noise for $39/night!  But who knows, next time we stay in Dillon it may be so chilly we need hookups so we can run electric heaters!

Saturday morning we had the wheels rolling at about 7:30 with only 170 miles to go with a stop in Big Timber to see Nat.  Emmi was overjoyed to see him as were we.  Although Nat’s vision has dramatically failed this winter he is still navigating well.  We arrived to find him sitting on a stool pulling weeds in his front yard.

After a nice long visit we headed up the Boulder.  Grass is green and many of the trees are leafing out–a very good time to come home.  Plus our temps were in the low 80’s–not bad!  Our yard needs mowing, the weeds need spraying, yard debris needs cleaning–this time of year the list is endless isn’t it!

The Cowboy began getting the house ready for occupancy again–uh,oh!!!  We seldom have issues when we return home from an extended time away but this year–we had issues as in plumbing issues–not the Cowboy’s favorite! So while I began unloading the motorhome, the Cowboy started fixing the plumbing problems.  It always amazes me how many actual “parts” the Cowboy keeps on hand–Larry teases him about “the Clark hardware store”–well, I truly think we could start a hardware store!

By Saturday evening the motorhome was a long way toward empty and the plumbing was fixed as much as it could be without a trip to the real hardware store.  We were both beat!

Sunday we took a nice long walk after a breakfast of pancakes and bacon and began doing more of the same.  The washer and dryer have been going non-stop.  Rain was in our afternoon forecast so I had the Cowboy get the lawnmower going and I mowed plus weed whacked around the house before the rain came.  The inside of the motorhome is now empty–always a good feeling!  There are still a few “piles” of stuff which need to be put away but at least its all inside the house.

Our neighbors Joe and Tammy who purchased a large portion of our ranch and our former home are in the process of a huge remodel of that house.  They use this property as a second home living in Colorado most of the time.  WOW!  It’s going to be beautiful when finished–they are raising the ceilings, adding windows, new covered deck and my favorite–a rock patio with fire pit.

Back In Montana

OOPS–I had my “falls” wrong–the Cowboy pointed out Twin Falls is the navigation pain, not Idaho Falls!!  Should have used the map when writing this blog!

Not quite all the way up the Boulder but back in Montana all the same.Montana has new state welcome signs–you can hardly read the “Montana”–wonder who created that one??

Although we tried to be quiet, starting a diesel engine ended that idea –Thursday morning at 5:30am the wheels were rolling–the Cowboy wanted to try and get to cooler country by days end.  He drove and drove–600 miles which put us near Wells, Nevada.  In 2008 when we owned a big Ford dually pickup and 34 foot 5th wheel we boondocked on BLM land just south of Wells, Nevada one cold night in late April.  So, we tried that same spot again–we won’t do that with this rig again!!–The Cowboy had a difficult time maneuvering this loooong rig into that same spot but he persevered!  We had a wonderfully quiet, restful, cooler night–no noisy air conditioner running all night.

 The view from our rig Thursday night

 What is this thing??

Once we were through Las Vegas it was smooth sailing–excellent roads, little traffic–easy driving up through Nevada.

 Today our biggest city was Twin Falls and as always it was a pain to navigate–they need a bypass but with only two bridges spanning the Snake River that might be a long time coming.  Check out John and Pam’s blog for some photos of one of those bridges–some people get to sight see when traveling! 😉

We like to travel the back roads but today we decided to try the freeway I–84 out of Twin Falls then I-15–busy, poor road conditions, construction–maybe we should stick to the back roads!!  We started later this morning than the Cowboy likes–we dawdled–and by mid afternoon it was obvious if we made it up the Boulder today we would be driving it in the dark. So, we called the only RV park we really don’t mind using which is located in Dillon, Montana–Southside RV Park–and yes they had room as always for our 70 foot rig.  Quiet, very clean, lots of green grass and trees–we don’t mind staying here and it’s an easy 3 hour drive to home.  Plus Pizza Hut delivers!  And this park is full tonight with snowbirds heading north!

The Cowboy is outside washing millions of suicidal bugs off our windshield. Emmi likes to ride up high so she can see–

And I am writing a blog.  We will stop to visit Nat tomorrow on our way up the Boulder.  I’ve had our internet/telephone reactivated but that doesn’t always mean it will be working–so if no blog appears, you will know why.


Heading North

We often say to each other–the thing we miss the most about North Ranch is the people–our friends.  And that’s the truth!  It was so good to see Geri and Larry yesterday–we spent time Tuesday afternoon catching up and Geri had fixed a wonderful supper for us.  Most everyone else from the ATV group has departed for cooler country as is the Restoration gang–it’s too hot!

The Restoration portion of this blog is taking a much needed break.  The blog will become a journal of sorts again complete with photos, travels, cooking, quilting and puttering.  We will resume the Restorations in the fall when we travel back to Arizona.

When we stopped for a Cowboy stretch break in Gila Bend yesterday it was 94 degrees.  The Cowboy absolutely hates to travel in that kind of heat–rough on tires!  We ran the big generator and two air conditioners all the way to North Ranch.  We don’t know how people work outside in this kind of heat–thankfully we don’t have to!  The busy highway which runs past North Ranch is under construction–

How do those flaggers stand there on the black asphalt in this heat??  Poor guys!

After Geri’s dinner last night we all decided to take a stroll after the temps had cooled.  The North Ranch cactus are in full bloom–

This morning the Cowboy was off to the DMV, Geri went to exercise, Larry, Emmi and I took a walk discussing and solving all the world’s problems along the way!  We’ve spent the afternoon being bums–well deserved!  We are meeting up with other friends at Larry and Geri’s for happy hour tonight.

Thursday morning early, early (to beat some of the heat) we are pointing this bus north to cooler temps–probably a snow shower or two before it’s really warm in Montana but that’s OK–to us it’s better than these temps!

Look at the size of that agave stalk–Larry and Geri have been watching it’s rapid growth.

Yes, we miss our friends the most–we enjoyed seeing Mike and Pat along with Jim and Ellie tonight.  We wish you all safe and fun travels this summer!

If the blog is missing in action over the next day or so it just means we are not in cell service range.

One More Sleep

And we are heading north. It’s been busy days–Saturday the church we’ve been attending had a picnic.  The party was originally scheduled to be held at the home of Larry and Stephanie but that dang wind and cooler temps sent us to the shelter of the church.  Sunday the Cowboy and I attended church and the “leftover” party–there was so much food left over after the picnic we all decided to have lunch at the church after services.  We’ve really enjoyed getting to know the people of this church.

The Cowboy finished the last little bits of the roof and I painted the last wall.  Sunday afternoon and today we’ve packed, washed clothes, and finished up all the little things you have to do when leaving a house for several months. Our caretaker Mickie stopped by to pick up keys and last minute instructions.

Packing Cowboy style with Emmi supervision.

Outside enjoying happy hour this evening we both marveled at how much we enjoy this little place and how much we’ve accomplished in about two short months.  We are both ready for some down time and as we are heading to North Ranch for a couple days I bet relaxing is on the agenda!

Too busy for photos so I will treat you to some grand baby photos–

Image may contain: 1 person, sunglasses and outdoorSeems watering plants is Lora’s new favorite pastime.

Image may contain: 1 person, closeupKatie said every time he sees her phone he thinks he is going to Facetime with Lora in Germany–he loves his cousin!


I’ve Made A Mistake

Friday we woke to sunny skies and very little wind.  With 40mph gusts in the forecast we knew working fast would be in our best interest!  Both of us were on the roof by 6am and by 8am we had all the tar paper and rolled roofing stapled and nailed down against the wind.  The Cowboy had in weeks past coated one side of the guest house roof with Henry’s TropiCool and while he began cutting all the little pieces of roofing material to cover the parapets, I started rolling the Henry’s onto the other side of the guest house roof nearest the new garage roof.

One summer in Montana the Cowboy was insanely busy with our excavating business and it was also haying season. When we married I learned to drive the swather which cuts the hay but had never learned to drive the tractor and baler.  That summer he was so busy I made him teach me to bale hay.  Well–on one of those 95 degree Montana days in a tractor with no air conditioning with hay dust blowing all over me–I knew I had made a mistake.

Yesterday on the end of that paint roller I knew I had made a grave mistake in telling the Cowboy I thought I could get on the roof if he lifted me in the backhoe bucket.  I should have just gone my merry way telling him I was too afraid to get on the roof! 😉

The wind begin to blow with a vengeance and we still persevered!  We stopped for a quick mid morning breakfast and were quickly back to work.  The wind howled and we still persevered!  We sometimes felt as if we had to plant our feet against the wind.  The Cowboy was wearing his black felt hat as there was no way a straw hat was going to stay on his head. The wind tried to snatch the hat–the Cowboy was quicker and handed me his hat to hold. Well, the wind had the last laugh–about the time my hand touched the hat a mighty gust of wind grabbed that black hat, dipped its brim right down into that bucket of sticky white roof coating and sent it flying off the edge of the roof.  Uh-oh!

Here’s what we both looked like at 3pm when we finally staggered down off the roof–

Wonder if I could get somebody to pay me a lot of money for those splattered jeans??  We were beyond exhausted, barely able to put one foot in front of the other but the roof was mostly finished.  We probably have a couple more hours work to do–touching up the roof coating and the caulking but the most of the work is done!

The wind has been relentless–last night we had 50mph gusts–this motorhome was rocking and rolling making me feel nauseous again!  Today, the wind was once again relentless–blowing not quite as hard as on Friday but still blowing.  As I type this blog the wind is still blowing!



Getting Ready

We are making plans for departure–time to head north–between the heat and the snakes, it’s time!  The wind has been relentless and our well driller Brian tells us April is the windiest month in this valley.  We have to finish the roof on the garage before leaving.  Finishing the roof is such a priority I even volunteered to help and danged if the Cowboy didn’t take me up on my offer Wednesday morning!  Unfortunately the wind only cooperated for less than a hour.

I have a healthy fear of heights but as long as I stay back from the edge I do OK.  My problem is I can’t take that last step from ladder to roof–just can’t do it.  So, the Cowboy came up with a solution–he hoisted me up in the backhoe loader bucket–he really wanted my help! 🙂

With the wind howling we’ve finished other projects–the Cowboy finished fine tuning our plumbing system from well to guest house.  He has started storing supplies inside our new garage–

Today we finished hanging the drywall in the living/dining room of the guest house–

This evening late after we had been to dinner at the local bar the Cowboy finished a project he started this morning and kind of forgot about–rodent control!

The dang varmits keep trying to dig under the foundation of the house at this spot and have been successful in the past.  So, a few concrete blocks and some ready mix concrete and hopefully they won’t find it so easy!

The wind, dust and smoke is creating some outrageously beautiful sunsets each evening–

That’s our houses, motor home and trailer as you look east–you can see the layer of dust hanging in the mountain foothills.

And one for my brother Ross–looking north toward the power plant.

They Fit

Maybe not side by side, but the two vehicles fit with room to spare.  We now have a garage with working garage door, an enclosed space where the Cowboy can store his treasures and also putter.  He’s a happy man tonight!

I was handed a caulk gun this morning and sent off to work–caulk all the seams on the outside of the garage.  Either the Cowboy has never seen my caulking work or he just didn’t care–just so it’s finished–so off I went and you know, by the time I was finished my caulking wasn’t so bad!

Early afternoon we had a visitor–a woman who came highly recommended as a property caretaker.  She will be our caretaker–checking on the houses, mowing grass, watering trees/plants.  In North Ranch our friends Jerry and Caryl performed this chore for us and it was much appreciated.  It provides peace of mind to know someone is checking!

It was less than 80 degrees today and super windy–the Chiricahua Mountains were totally obscured by dust from the Willcox Playa–“an area of flat, dried-up land, especially a desert basin from which water evaporates quickly”–Google.  It’s mighty barren over there and all that sand and dirt takes to the air when it’s windy at times causing the closure of I-10.

The Dragoons were gorgeous this morning but by noon those mountains were shrouded in heavy smoke–there is a 20,000 acre forest fire burning on lands under the jurisdiction of the Coronado National Forest, Bureau of Land Management and the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management.  The fire is near the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area.  Monday all day and into the evening I smelled smoke–as in grass/forest fire kind of smoke.  Today the smell was worse and the mountains were shrouded–we don’t have TV and had heard nothing on the radio so Mr. Google to the rescue.

I’ve been playing with the DSLR camera using the tips our friend Nina from WheelingIt gave me.  I took this photo of the Dragoons early this morning before the wind blew the smoke over the mountains.

I am loving the Merlin Bird ID app–it’s a free app and so far I’ve used it to identify these scaled quail, an Abert’s towhee and an eastern meadowlark. The photo of the quail was taken through a tinted motorhome window.

Life is good!



Sunday In Arizona

Holy, moly it is warm in Arizona!  Saturday there was an auction nearby–we all three went to the auction but Emmi and I couldn’t take the heat.  The Cowboy brought us home and went back for a while but the stuff he might have purchased wasn’t going to sell until early afternoon.  We had other plans.  Our friends Angie and Ralph are staying in their new Arctic Fox truck camper at the Tombstone cowboy shooting range.  Wednesday they leave on a trip of a lifetime to spend five months in Canada and Alaska.  Angie and Ralph are full time RVers and usually live in their 36 foot Holiday Rambler Presidential 5th wheel but for this journey they wanted something smaller.  When did manufacturers start putting slides in truck campers????  Saturday they invited Jim and Linda–our friends who live full time in Tombstone–and we three to enjoy a late lunch/early dinner with them.  It was a fabulous afternoon with good friends and good food!

 Jim and LindaRalph has his back to the camera and Angie is facing the camera.  Jim is saying, “Linda, she has that camera out again!”

Sunday morning dawned with the Arizona bright sunshine causing the temperature to rise rapidly.  I did some brush painting of the garage fascia boards before heading off to church.  The Cowboy has made building a garage seem easy!  Of course, the cement floor was all ready in place as was one wall but it still seems as if we’ve built a garage in record time!  As I type this blog he is still out there working on installing the garage door.

I wrote about all the used windows we have–taken from a house in which Lonn (the Cowboy’s son) and his late wife LoraLee lived before moving to the new house the ranch owners built for them.  Well–next to that house was a long narrow garage slated to be destroyed–it had FIVE garage doors.  The Cowboy spent a few days removing all those garage doors which have since been stored in our barn.  We hauled one of those doors to Arizona last fall intending to use it at our North Ranch house.  As you all know–that didn’t happen and we are glad to have that door to use in this garage.  The Cowboy’s brain has been working overtime trying to figure out where all the nuts/bolts/springs go–it’s been a few years since he removed all those garage doors!

All the roof sheeting is in place on the garage roof.
The garage door–not working but in place!
Garage door from the inside.

My geraniums are blooming beautifully–getting a head start for the Montana summer.

Sunset in Arizona!

Where Were We

In 2009 on this day we were back in Montana after a winter spent traveling to Mexico.  Our little schnauzer Jazz was so ill that winter but had recovered to some extent as you can see in this photo–one of my favorite of Jazz!  Sadly we lost her to cancer in July, 2009–she was only nine years old.

Our First Accident

Waiting at Safeway for a tetanus injection.

I went to Benson for groceries today leaving the Cowboy home alone.  Just as I was driving through Sunsites my phone rang–the Cowboy’s voice wasn’t right, he asked where I was and said he would talk to me when I was home.  I arrived to find a nauseous husband sitting in a chair–seems he was using the heavy duty, huge air nailer when it double fired.  One nail into the board, the other nail into the Cowboy’s left index finger.  It only penetrated the fatty tissue and did not hit bone.  He gritted his teeth and jerked the nail from his finger.  I may be a nurse but just the thought of doing that made ME nauseous!!

When texting with Geri about a totally different issue she texted, “when was his last tetanus shot??”  Well–I checked with both his physicians in Montana and it’s been a while–a long while.  The Sunsites medical clinic is closed on Friday afternoon.  The Cowboy said, “I got a shingles vaccine at Safeway, do you think they give tetanus injections??”  Well–they do and they filed our insurance!!  Since I couldn’t remember the last time I had a tetanus, I also received an injection–we should be good for a while and we can thank goodness it was only a minor accident!  Dairy Queen ice cream helped the Cowboy’s finger feel better–now what’s my excuse?? 🙂

And, we had a surprise while in the Willcox Safeway–we were walking away from the pharmacy when someone said, “Janna??”  I turned and I know my face must have said, “yes I am Janna but who are you???”  It was Jan and Ken–Jan, in the past wrote a blog–Idaho RV.  They are the people who suggested we outfit Emmi with the Good Life No Bark Collar.  They were staying in Willcox for the night on their way to Silver City to ride ATVs.  It was a short but pleasant conversation–safe travels guys!

OK–now for project progress–yesterday the Cowboy was on the roof early laying OSB getting as many sheets up there as he could before he had to stop and build the last section of roof frame work.

Just before the sun went down Thursday night we were using the backhoe to lift and set the last piece of fascia.  I truly do not know how we could have built this garage without that backhoe!  Today before we left to go get the tetanus injections we used the backhoe to lift and set the last wall of the garage–the wall which will hold the garage door.

Now there are lots of smaller sections to complete but the heavy work is finished.  We just may have a garage before we depart for cooler country.  It’s warm in Arizona–86 degrees today.

On my way to Benson today I stopped to photograph the pecan groves in full leaf–

And last but not least, Kim–one of our readers left this comment, “You should download the “Merlin Bird ID” app for your phone so you can ID the birds when you spot them. It’s a free app.”  Well, I went straight to the iPhone and did just that! What a totally cool app–you can enter details about the bird and the app will present you with possible matches or you can use a photo you’ve taken.  My bird photo from the Wednesday night post is probably a western meadowlark.

And The Project Continues

But it’s not all work–Emmi and I take a walk every morning, the Cowboy prefers to start working early to beat the heat–I think he was out there by 6:30am this morning!  I think this is a ladder back woodpecker–feel free to correct me!

The Cowboy has been going strong–today he created this beam and built the wall to hold one end of it.  Most people would purchase a pre-made beam but not the frugal guy I married.  The dang thing weighs probably 150 pounds and we lifted it into place with the backhoe.  When the Cowboy purchased our lawn tractor at an estate sale, he also purchased several sets of heavy duty metal shelving.  Late Tuesday afternoon he said, “do you think you could put some of those shelves together??”  Well, danged if I didn’t manage to get two sets erected, the first set was a breeze, the second one caused me to cuss!  Must have used all the good bolts on the first one!

While I was playing with nuts and bolts the Cowboy was on the roof installing the OSB sheeting–we now have lots of shade!

When we bought the lawn tractor we repaired three sides of the little shed so the tractor would have a home–for some reason we never got around to repairing that last side–this afternoon when it was shaded we removed the siding, cut it to fit better and screwed it back in place.  Now we are fairly certain the pack rats and mice can’t use it for a home this summer!

This guy sort of looks like our meadowlark????

So, we continue to plow ahead with long days–we lunch, take a little siesta and then we are back at it again.