The Roadmaster Came Home Today

Last night we received a text from the Jim, the owner of the Roadmaster Predator trailer we are purchasing.  It said, “the generator is purring like a kitten and the batteries are charged.”  Early this morning we dropped Emmi at Nat’s and headed to Billings.  Later in the morning we were so glad Emmi stayed with Nat–cue shark music!

Jim and Tracey live in a neighborhood in what is known as the Billings Heights.  The trailer was sitting at the curb outside their house.  The Cowboy headed to Billings with a truck load of parts–new tires and rims, air compressor, air wrench, three ton floor jack and a multitude of other tools–thank goodness!  In order to install the tires we needed to move the trailer away from the curb.  First problem–the electric trailer jack would not raise the trailer high enough to fit on the hitch ball of our truck.  Cowboy hardware store to the rescue–we had an extra tall hydraulic bottle jack (which came with the first RV we ever purchased from an elderly friend (now deceased) of Nat’s) which the Cowboy used to raise the front of the trailer enough for me to put extra blocks under the wood block all ready in place.  First problem solved.

Next problem–

Never a good sign to see the hood raised.  Seems we lost our power steering hose and fitting as we were pulling the rig away from the curb.  Jim took the Cowboy to the closest auto parts store and they had the parts–Jim was amazed.  Hey–it’s a 1997 truck which someone other than a rocket scientist can work on and parts are readily available.  The Cowboy installed the part in short order and we were back in business.

So you can see why leaving Emmi with Nat was a good idea–it was 94 degrees in Billings today–she would have been way too hot!

Four hours after we had arrived–New rims and tires, a little trim of the fender skirt (tires were larger than the original ones) power steering fixed and we were headed to Costco which was a mad house on the Saturday before July 4th!!

The Cowboy wanted a toyhauler which was not as tall as most you see.  We drove to Lander, WY last Saturday to look at a 5th wheel toyhauler and my goodness that thing was tall!  The Cowboy had fixated on these cargo trailer like toyhaulers–not tall, heavier axles and large fresh water tank capacity–100 gallons.  Most have tiny windows and I would say, “nope” when he would find one on Craigslist.  This one was listed probably six weeks ago and we even emailed back and forth with the owners.  For some reason we never got around to seeing it.  Last Sunday it popped up on Craigslist with a great reduced price and we went to see it.  The trailer is something we both feel we can enjoy–it’s not a Country Coach but it’s not bad!  The decals are all peeling and will need to be replaced, the flooring in the garage/living area is damaged and we will probably end up replacing all the flooring.  But other than that–it’s in fairly good shape for a 2006.

I like the colors–blacks and tans.  It needs a good cleaning inside and out–we are excited and looking forward to our first trip!

 

Assembly Line

While still spraying weeds every morning, the grass cutting has slowed (the riding mower is still in pieces awaiting parts), my house is fairly clean and I found myself with some spare time this afternoon.  I have a stack of ten or so quilt tops of my own waiting to be quilted.  The three pieces on top of the pile happened to be two small wall hangings and a small table runner.  I’m not picky about quilt backings–neutral, solid color and I’m good.  So, I cut a narrow piece of backing and loaded all three small pieces in a row–I only had to pin one piece of backing to the two zippers instead of three separate, small backing pieces.  Each of these pieces requires some stitching in the ditch–I use clear thread for this stitching and I can now jump from one piece to the next.

The horse was an “oops.”  When great-granddaughter Lora was born almost three years ago, I made this quilt for her room–

IMG_1449-001As you can see the horse on the quilt is going a different direction than the one on the panel I’m currently quilting.  When I realized my mistake, I just made another panel for the quilt and kept the one with the horse running the wrong way.  It will make a cute little wall hanging.

The fish is from our southeast Alaska ferry trip with Geri and Larry–I found the pattern and fabrics in quilt shops along the way.  The table runner pattern and fabric was given to me by my sweet sister on a birthday.  It’s almost embarrassing to tell you how long these two pieces have been waiting for quilting–I pieced both at the last Iron Maiden quilt retreat I attended in the fall of 2014–well now!!

Rainy and cool has been our weather pattern for the last few days.  The Cowboy would really like to finish cutting our hay–but we don’t want to wish it would stop raining just yet!  He’s been working on the bathtub remodel project and cleaning out the solar trailer.

We still don’t have the new to us Roadmaster trailer–RVing folks, run those generators!!  This  Onan generator had not been started in almost two years.  The owner of the trailer promised he would get the generator going before we paid for the RV.  Jim tried and tried yesterday with no luck–but he does have some luck–his wife Tracy works for the Cummins shop in Billings and the RV is there getting its sick generator repaired.  Seems it needs a new carburetor which was to have been delivered overnight–nope–hopefully the part will come Friday.  It’s very important to run your generators and most generator repair people say run them under load–check your manual and follow those directions to avoid a costly repair.

Sunset up the Boulder.

Sad But Good

And there goes our motorhome.  As we were driving the forty foot motorhome towing the thirty foot trailer from Arizona to Montana in early May, the Cowboy began thinking it was time to downsize–I’ve been thinking it for a while!  We really don’t need a forty foot motorhome to go back and forth between two houses and we would really like something smaller to use during Montana summers.  This Country Coach was a 1996 and older coaches are hard to sell.  We listed the coach on Craigslist and for almost a month had not one phone call.  We lowered the asking price an insignificant amount and changed the wording of the ad.  The very same morning I changed the ad a guy from Roundup, MT called–he was in Livingston and would be passing through Big Timber in about a hour, could he come look at the coach.

Long story short, he bought the coach and we delivered it to Big Timber on Saturday morning.  We were sad to see the old girl go–our next RV will most certainly not be the quality of that motorhome.  Granite floor tiles, corian countertops, cherry cabinets, real wood pocket doors–it was a gorgeous coach but it’s time to move on.

We are negotiating with a young couple in Billings to purchase their Roadmaster Predator toy hauler–a bumper pull travel trailer.  The trailer was located in a storage lot with no power available and the generator needed servicing. Once the rig has power and we can see everything working, it’s the one we will purchase.   Yep, it’s way smaller and we sure moved a whole lot of stuff out of the Country Coach–time to downsize stuff too I guess!

Yesterday it was 91 degrees, today it was only 60 degrees with some rain showers–strange weather!

Our friends Angie and Ralph are traveling in Alaska with their truck and truck camper.  In the last few days Angie caught a 28 pound halibut while out on a fishing charter.  Angie once said to us–“you guys change RVs more often than some people change their underwear!”  Well, Angie, we are changing again but we owned the Country Coach 7 years, way longer than any other RV we have had!

 

 

Couldn’t Ask For Better Weather

Each year in late June Big Timber is host to Sweet Grass Fest held in conjunction with the rodeo parade and rodeo held on Friday and Saturday evenings.  In the beginning Sweet Grass Fest started out small but has morphed into a large event with great live music on Friday and Saturday evenings.  On Saturday during the day there is a large vendor fair with craft and food offerings plus a growing car show.  It’s a chance to enjoy the spectacular Montana weather, visit with neighbors and friends plus partake of all the festival has to offer.  We love attending and today was no exception!

Under sunny, clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid 70’s we headed to Big Timber this morning leaving Emmi with Nat before we headed to downtown Big Timber.  We don’t like to take Emmi to crowded events–for one thing she is a black dog and her hide soaks up the sun, for another thing she is tiny and someone could easily/accidentally step on her.  So–she stays with Nat.

We found lots of people we knew and spent a great deal of our time visiting before sneaking off to the Thirsty Turtle for lunch.  The food being cooked by the vendors smelled and looked absolutely delicious but there is limited seating and the seating is in the sun–ya, ya–I know I’m picky but I don’t like to stand up to eat having to hold food and drink in my hand.

The car show was larger this year than it’s ever been–I love hearing the Cowboy talk about each car, “if they can keep the wheels on the ground, it’s the fastest car here.”  He was referring to this car–with a 427 engine.This is our friend/neighbor Dava with the car which at one time belonged to her Dad.  Dava’s dad died when she was young, the car was sold and only in the last several years was the car returned to Dava.

Note the patriotic leg wraps!  These mules were a whole lot better behaved than one of the horses in the next photo–You can’t see the horse but the guy in the black cowboy hat was riding a very spirited horse.  The noise of the “rat rod” in front of the riders wasn’t helping the horse’s disposition.  The horse danced all over the street and at one time came way too close to the absolutely perfect paint job on this old truck–I’m thinking his rider was cringing as he struggled to make the horse behave.

 Our friend/neighbor Ken–one of the folks who took us to the Pryor Mountains National Wild Horse Range.We enjoyed our day in town and tomorrow we are off on an adventure–stay tuned for some exciting news!

Perfect Pizza

After years of trying, I think I’ve perfected the art of making homemade pizza.  When you live 22 miles from town you don’t order pizza and I’ve yet to find a frozen pizza I actually like–I’m open to suggestions!

I’ve always made my own sauce and it was always runny–well it seems I’ve been using the wrong tomato base! Recently ThisOldGal.com posted a recipe for Ultimate Pizza Sauce on her Facebook page and I saw the light!  Her sauce recipe uses tomato sauce and tomato paste–no canned tomatoes.  In Jill’s post she stated, “If you leave out the fennel seed the recipe will be delicious, but if you use the fennel seeds, the recipe will be absolutely incredible.” and she was absolutely right.  I’m not a fan of fennel but in that pizza sauce it was amazing!  I doubled the recipe and froze the remainder in one pizza portion sizes.

Crust was always an issue too–I didn’t want to spend too much time every Friday (our pizza day) making pizza dough.  I’m not a baker of the kind of bread which requires kneading–never have been.  So, for my dough I use a hunk of the Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day recipe.  If you are not familiar with this method, check out the cookbook link–I use these recipes for making all kinds of bread.

Getting the crust the perfect size and thickness was a big problem until I watched a video by Peter Reinhart.  Sometimes I still struggle and cuss but most of the time, it’s perfect using his method!

The one step in pizza making which frequently caused me to curse was getting the raw pizza off the pizza peel onto the hot baking stone.  I had another light bulb moment when reading someone’s recipe–“liberally sprinkle the pizza peel with corn meal.”  That word liberally has made all the difference in the world–Emmi and the Cowboy don’t have to hide any more on pizza making Fridays!

And then there are the tools–Making pizza crust with that perfect crunch requires the use of a pizza stone–a thick, heavy pizza stone and a very, very hot oven!  A 500 degree oven or grill if possible.  In summer I use the pizza stone on our Weber grill which has three burners and a thermostat I can watch.  I also use a wooden pizza peel for transferring the raw pizza to the hot pizza stone( liberally sprinkled with corn meal before I position the pizza dough!)

Add your desired toppings–I use onions/green peppers/pepperoni/seasoned hamburger/mushrooms and mozzarella cheese.  Onto the grill it goes and I watch it like a hawk–at 500 degrees the crust will burn quickly!  And, another reason to use the grill–all that liberally sprinkled cornmeal will sometimes slide off the pizza peel onto the surfaces of your very hot kitchen oven causing lots of smoke–not nice so I use the grill most of the time.

So, that’s probably more than you wanted to know about making pizza but I was lacking in subject matter tonight! 🙂 🙂

On another note–

 Yep, 34 degrees this morning!  Lonn had 29 degrees and our high reached only 70 degrees today–absolutely perfect weather!!

It’s Haying Time

The Cowboy usually cuts hay around July 4 but last year he cut about this time of summer as we had an ATV trip planned.  So, I guess he decided this was a good time to cut hay this year too–no trips planned at this time but you never know!  The wind has howled today, yesterday we had a high temp of 86 and today 81–makes for fast drying hay.  Have you seen how hot it is in Arizona???  Wow–so very glad we don’t have to stay there in summer!

I killed the lawnmower–it was mowing fine this morning, after lunch the mower part wouldn’t engage.  The Cowboy said I hit a rock–a big rock!  But that’s isn’t all that’s wrong with the old mower–we’ve had it a long time, the mower wasn’t expensive and we’ve used it.  It’s now in pieces in the garage–we will see if the Cowboy can make it work again!  Weed whacking was next on my agenda–UGH!  If it doesn’t rain soon it may well be the end of my mowing and weed whacking in places we don’t irrigate such as down by the county road.

The Cowboy had cleaning irrigation ditches on his agenda Tuesday so I made a run to Billings by myself for a haircut and to pick up just a few things at Costco.  This time of year we go through a lot of fresh fruit–strawberries, watermelons, oranges–and it just isn’t obtainable at our little grocery store in Big Timber.

And that’s all there is today–thanks for checking in with us!

Father’s Day Ride

We joined Lonn, Katie, Mike and Brooks for a close to home fabulous ride on Father’s Day!  In 2006 a huge forest fire named the Derby Fire caused us to be evacuated–the area we rode yesterday was burned by that same fire.  It was heartening to see all the new growth–lots of new trees, abundant wildflowers, wild strawberries and raspberries–it was really quite beautiful!

Brooks is asleep before the wheels start rolling but as soon as the engine stops–he wants out!  He is such a trooper–Lonn and his gang brought their RV over on Saturday so Brooks experienced camping for the first time. 🙂

We had gray, heavy clouds part of the day and sunshine at times.  It was dang cold on the 18th of June!  We wore coats, gloves and hats most of the day!  You can see how Brooks was bundled!

When the new baby comes Lonn may have to look into purchasing a four seater????

We ended our ride fairly early in the afternoon so we could stop and visit with Nat on Father’s Day.  Then it was home to prop our feet up!

Today the Cowboy started cutting hay–it’s a little early for us but the hay seems to be ready, we have what looks to be a run of good weather and we have a few grasshoppers–time to cut!  I finished a customer quilt today and chores–those routine things which have to be done.

I also made homemade tortillas–when in AZ there is a little grocery market nearby which sells fabulous tortillas.  In Montana good tortillas don’t exist–so I make them.  It’s really very easy although I think I am going to order a tortilla press–with arthritis in my hands, I have a hard time rolling the dough thin enough.

Life is good!

 

Glad That’s Over

DSCN4756The garage sale that is–UGH–I’m thinking this might have been my last garage sale.  I get caught up in the hype–the city of Big Timber was having its yearly city wide garage sale–the Cowboy and I thought, why not?  Well, I’ll tell you why not–it’s a whole lot of dang work!  We did very well today but we had a few big ticket items which we were sure would sell and they did–right at 8am.  The rest of the morning was slooooow!

The Cowboy was sad when he started pricing his horse packing equipment but today he felt better about selling it.  The city publishes on the local Facebook sites a map and brief description of what each location is selling.  I also posted on the Facebook sites photos and brief descriptions of the big ticket/sure they would sell items.  In the Facebook post I said, “please, no early sales.”

The sale was to start at 8am.  At 7:50am two vehicles pulled up–one was a woman I knew who had expressed interest in the Singer Featherweight sewing machine.  The other truck contained a young man and his mom.  Both vehicle occupants were very respectful of my time request and did not leave their vehicles until I waved them over a few minutes before 8am.  The woman bought the Featherweight and the young man was so excited about the Cowboy’s horse packing equipment.  The Cowboy was thrilled his equipment was going to someone just starting out in the packing business and threw in horse pads and other stuff.  We had a steady stream of people all morning and occasionally someone would purchase something–I did sell another antique sewing machine.  As I said, we had a good day but it’s not something I want to do again–we have lots to take to the thrift store!

It’s that time of year when our yard and flower beds are gorgeous–

DSCN4753DSCN4745

And Sunday is Father’s Day.  My Dad has been gone since 2002 and I miss him every single day–

DadThis photo was taken when Mom was working as a cook on a dude ranch near Ennis, Montana.  They loved to spend summers in Montana escaping the hot Arkansas weather.

IMG_2318Nat and the Cowboy–this photo was taken about two years ago, probably on Father’s Day.

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there!

 

 

 

Billings Again

When we are in Montana our time is often filled with doctor and dentist appointments.  I’ve been to see my nurse practitioner, it was the Cowboy’s turn to see one of his physicians today.  I also dropped by the office of my nurse practitioner to retrieve a written prescription.  And here’s the story on the why of that one!

It’s another “why I love our healthcare system” rant.  I chose a new healthcare plan with a higher deductible at the beginning of 2017.  I made this choice with eyes wide open and was fully informed.  A higher deductible allows the use of a health savings account–a very attractive tax break!  We can afford a higher deductible and I am reasonably healthy.  I knew the cost of my medications would be greater until the deductible was met.  Greater, not robbed!!!

I take a statin–Crestor.  The cost of that prescription changed very little with this new plan.  I also use a hormone patch–I was paying $20 for a three month supply with my old insurance plan.  I would now be paying $206 for a three month supply with the new health insurance plan.  Each patch would cost almost $9.  I checked CanadaDrugs.com.  Same patch, three month supply–$94–about $4 per patch.  CanadaDrugs.com requires a written prescription be mailed to them–my doctor was very accommodating and wrote me the prescription.  Of course by buying the medications in Canada I can’t claim the $94 against my deductible but I would rather pay out of pocket than be ripped off!

Last evening I walked by the west facing windows and gasped–not bad for a Montana sunset!

DSCN4737

Wednesday I spent most of the day getting ready for the garage sale.  The Cowboy worked on the bathroom tub remodel.  It was a cool, very windy day so inside work was good!

DSCN4731DSCN4732

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, ocean, outdoor, water and natureMy two great nieces on the coast of Alabama with my sister, their grandmother.  My sister Ann likes things clean, very clean–they’ve been at the beach for about a week–I think all the sand has about sent her over the edge! 🙂 🙂

Welcome Moisture

DSCN4728Whoa–what happened to spring??  Monday evening we had a small thunderstorm pass through with tiny hail and some rain but during the night it rained a lot–almost an inch of moisture which is very, very welcome this time of year!  We’ve planted some grass seed and have spent a lot of time watering–last night’s rain will take care of the watering for a couple days!

Each year Big Timber hosts a community wide garage sale and although I am NOT a fan of having garage sales, we always seem to do well at this one.  So, we’ve both been trying to ruthlessly select “stuff” to place in the garage sale–we will be set up at Nat’s and let’s hope for good, warm weather!

Today my friend Jill and I went to Billings to keep another friend company as her husband had surgery.  Even considering the seriousness of the event, we enjoyed the company and the lunch which Jill treated us to.   Emmi and the Cowboy held down the home fort while I was gone.

The following are more photos from our trip to the Pryor Mountain National Wild Horse Range:

IMG_5963IMG_5961IMG_5919Looking at these photos, I’m ready to go back!

Fire Update: 40% contained and much less activity!