The Heat Might Be Done

Smokey skies make for great sunset photos–

Hey, what happened to our mountains??

The following photos are all taken at sunset.

Trips to Billings can be exhausting and the one on Tuesday was no exception. I think our car could make that drive all by itself–400 miles in two days! Doctor appointments for the Cowboy and hair appointment for me. But what made it really exhausting was knowing we had to go back on Wednesday. It’s almost impossible to get last minute appointments with physicians and certainly not on the same day you all ready are going to be in Billings. The Cowboy was having some concerning issues but after three doctor’s appointments in two days–all is well and we are supremely relieved. The third doctor’s appointment was a fluke–he had a dermatology appointment for September 1 meaning in just a weeks time we would have to make that 200 mile round trip once again.

On the way to Billings this morning I made a phone call asking if his regular dermatologist had any openings today, Wednesday–yea, right, as if that was going to happen. Dr. Williams did have one opening today but it wouldn’t work with the Cowboy’s other appointments. The receptionist said they had a new dermatologist and she could see the Cowboy at a time that worked–so we did it! We think the Cowboy is finished with doctors for the year–we hope!!!

The backyard remodel is finished. I decided against lawn fabric and just spread small gravel as a mulch. It looks amazing–we are so pleased!

It’s raining as I am writing this blog. Our temps over the next few days are in the 70’s and even high 60’s–the heat may be gone!!  Life is good.

Smokey Skies

Our friend Sue posted this photo and link on Facebook early this morning–it tells the tale. It’s a smoke map and as you can see southeastern Montana is in the red zone. Saturday was miserably hot and so smokey we could see no mountains–it was as if they didn’t exist. Fall can’t come soon enough for this girl!

The Cowboy has been working away in the motorhome with the air conditioner running. Friday we did make a run to Livingston–he had an appointment to have his drivers license renewed. When we drove through Big Timber on the way to Livingston I scored pizza dough from our new boutique grocery store!!!

And Friday was a really good day–I had gotten up that morning telling myself today was the day–I was somehow going to get an appointment scheduled with an orthopedic surgeon. While we were out walking Dr. Fischer’s office called and left a message. The surgeon had reviewed my records and an appointment could be scheduled. Late September was the earliest they could see me but at least there is help on the horizon! We both need help!–if it’s not my knee it’s the Cowboy’s ankle! We take turns walking Emmi.😁😁

Recently I wrote a blog about my love for reading and mentioned what I was currently reading–A Good Neighborhood.” Whew–I did NOT like that book and almost stopped reading it. One of the main characters was so morally flawed, too much bad happened to other characters, there was an undercurrent of sexual abuse and the ending was incredibly sad. A high school classmate Karen recommended The Radium Girls and I was able to obtain the audio book from one of the library systems I use–what an eye opening book!! During the early 1900’s young women, some as young as 13 were hired at good wages to paint clock dials with radium!!! so the dials would glow in the dark. The radium powder made the girls glow in the dark too! As you can imagine, many of those girls lost their lives due to exposure to a substance not yet regulated.

Another high school classmate Myra recommended Hillbilly Elegy, a memoir and another one I’m having trouble leaving on the table while I knit and listen to The Radium Girls. A struggle indeed! I did read and finish another little book recommended by yet another classmate Joe–he had gone to Bible college with the author of 1000 Strangers In My Car. Joe’s classmate was a minister for 30+ years before Parkinson’s disease affected his voice. The author struggled to find employment after leaving the ministry and became an Uber driver. It’s a quick read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My latest knitting project is progressing–not rapidly but progressing. I’m still cooking. We have a busy week coming up–two trips to Billings for doctors appointments–this getting old isn’t for sissies!

This photo was taken on Friday–Saturday and Sunday we couldn’t see these foothills from our house.

 

Dang It’s Hot

It’s just wrong for us to have temps in the 90’s at 5200 feet elevation!! Ugh–it’s so hot. I sit in my living room chair under the ceiling fan and knit. If there is anything to be done outside, it’s finished or rather I’m finished by 11am. Emmi is walked at 7am and after the sun goes down and if I see one more rattlesnake she may not get walked at all!😬😬

The Cowboy has been working in the motorhome. The entire bathroom floor has been removed down to the metal floor studs. The toilet is out. This is one major project! At least he can run the air conditioner in the motorhome while he is working! Why do people let issues go until it becomes such a problem to fix?? Once again, I am so glad I have a handy husband!

We were in Billings on Monday obtaining supplies for the motorhome bathroom remodel and it was 104 degrees! Masks were worn and lots of hand sanitizer was used. Wednesday we were in Big Timber obtaining more supplies–Mike likes to support the local lumber yard–he graduated from high school with the owner.😁I retrieved my concealed carry permit from the sheriff’s office and attempted once again to purchase pizza dough at our new little boutique grocery store. Attempted is the key word–this stuff is like gold–comes in on Friday morning and gone by Friday afternoon usually. We will be traveling through Big Timber on Friday–I will try to score pizza dough.

And really, that’s all we’ve been doing. I’m still cooking every meal we eat, I packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to Billings for lunch–isn’t that a sad state of affairs! While we might get takeout, it’s too hot to sit outside and eat that food.

I’m attempting to see an orthopedic surgeon without much success. One would think we lived in Canada as much difficulty as I’m having.😀 I’ve contacted two well recommended orthopedic surgeons–one affiliated with Billings Clinic, the other with St. Vincent Healthcare or SCL Healthcare or just SCL–I think that particular hospital is having an identity crisis! Both want to see my records from any previous surgeon I’ve seen for this knee issue–ONE–and then review those records before granting me an audience! The surgeon I saw for my knee in September of 2019 had been practicing a whole sum total of 3 days when he saw me. I’m a retired operating room nurse. I’ve seen my share of good and bad surgeons. I want someone who is highly recommended and who has been operating for a long time. Guess I may have to wait a while!

Pink skies over the Crazy Mountains.
Thunder clouds brewing on our evening walk.
Setting sun highlighting our log home.

 

Dear Friends

Before I married the Cowboy I lived in Powell, Wyoming and was the Director of Nursing for the small hospital. One of the nurses who worked at the hospital–Jane–and her family became part of my family. Jane’s husband died in 2017 and she has remarried–a delightful man–Paul. They are bicycle riders and were heading to Idaho for a week of riding the Idaho Rails to Trails route. Jane and Paul stopped by to spend a couple nights with us. They have their RV and the bicycles plus the only dog Emmi has ever actually played with–Lacy. You should see the two of them romping all over the fields chasing each other!

There are friends in life who you may not see often or even talk to every day but when you are together it’s as if you’ve never been apart. Jane is one of those friends–and I love her dearly. We’ve talked and laughed so hard this weekend. And eaten well!

We took them to Natural Bridge on Saturday early enough in the day that the area wasn’t over run with people. The people we did see were exceptionally polite, stepping way back from the trail to give everyone space. The Boulder River is low right now and the falls aren’t spectacular but it’s still a beautiful area.

We had beautiful weather over the weekend but starting tomorrow for several days the temps are in the miserable range–UGH!

Jane and Paul rolled down the driveway just after 11am and we’ve been puttering. Emmi gets so agitated when I trim her fur–so today I gave her half a haircut–the front half. She isn’t going anywhere nor participating in any beauty events so I will get to the other half of the haircut on Tuesday. The Cowboy has been working on the floor in the motorhome–it had some soft spots from previous water damage and he is going to fix those.

Life is good.

 

 

Storms and Smoke

Reading has always been one of the joys in my life, even as a child. I love libraries and have always frequented them wherever I go. Being able to read books obtained online has definitely changed the way I read and I’m grateful. Don’t get me wrong, as anyone does I love to hold a book in my hand, it gives me such a good feeling to see a new book waiting on my chair side table. But, all those years I traveled, it would have been great if I could have just downloaded a new book after finishing one. I might not have had that epic panic attack on a long airline flight if another book had been available to me after finishing the one I brought.

I read using both methods now, probably more online than actual books. My friend Kelly is a must have the book in my hand reader and kindly shares her read books with me and I then pass them on to someone else. A large box is on its way to me and I can’t wait! I just started reading A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler. I’ve been on the waiting list at the Pima County Library system in Arizona for months for this book, placing a hold back in February or March. Granddaughter Katie (a teacher) vehemently dislikes online reading but to each their own I say to her–living as remotely as we do on both ends of the country and during a pandemic–online reading fits the bill.

I’ve been manufacturing masks again–this time for Katie and the kiddos. Katie is a teacher and her school was initially mandating masks and face shields. They have now backed off the face shield requirement–how would you like to teach school in this get up in an non air conditioned school building when our temps are up near 90 degrees every day??

The Cowboy left Tuesday morning heading to Livingston to pick up Sarge–seven of the guys who graduated high school were gathering in White Sulphur Springs. They were to have spent two nights coming home on Thursday. One of the guys was under the weather and the Cowboy brought him home today. Tuesday I went to Livingston also and had one of the best lunches I’ve had in a long, long time! Sarah and I ate at Big Sky Thai–the food was outstanding! I ordered two entrees so I could bring one home and not have to cook for myself–it was awesome–such a welcome change from our normal dining out options. We sat outside enjoying our meals and the company.

It’s the season for daily fire starting thunderstorms. Tuesday evening we had one heck of a storm dumping a half inch of rain in less than fifteen minutes. The wind blew and our whole valley filled with thick, eye burning smoke from a fire over on the Montana/Idaho border. I couldn’t sleep with the windows open, it was just too smokey but it did make for a beautiful sky as the sun was going down.

Sandhills chattering as Emmi and I walked this morning.

A Social Weekend

The Cowboy stumbled upon this post in Google News–Why We’re Quitting RV Life After Five Years.  Some of the points the author made have certainly hit home this summer in Montana. The USFS campgrounds are packed as are any boondocking spots you might find. Our kids went “up the Boulder” last weekend and were amazed to find the area totally packed with people and campers. It’s the new normal right now.

Friends we’ve met through blogging and RVing-Jerry and Wanda were in Yellowstone National Park and cut their visit short–way too many people. It’s usually crowded in the Park almost all the time–but not like this.

We’ve had some really hot days this past week but it’s cooler now–a welcome relief since the addition of air conditioning to our home didn’t materialize! 😩

We’ve been busy, a couple unexpected trips to Billings, yard work, selling stuff.  All the Cowboy’s hard work repainting that stock trailer paid off–it went down the driveway Saturday afternoon. I’ve been knitting and today I’m going back to the mask making factory. Granddaughter Katie (one of our family’s teachers) is going back to work on Thursday. Her school is requiring masks and face shields. The greats are heading to Catholic preschool and masks are not required–yet.

Our granddaughter Laci and great granddaughter Lora made it back to Germany just in time to celebrate Lora’s sixth birthday–again–we had a party in Montana before they left. Laci and John decided to live off base in Germany and have been blessed to rent from a couple who also live right next door to them. This couple and their daughter adore Lora and the rest of the family so much they’ve almost adopted them! They organized a fabulous treasure hunt for Lora’s birthday–

It’s been a social weekend! Friday evening we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Geoff and Nancy’s with friends–outside on their beautiful patio overlooking the river. And Sunday evening we enjoyed another gathering of friends at Shirley’s on her screened porch with the sound of the river in the background. Life is indeed good–Covid or no Covid!

Dog Days Of Summer

On Monday evening we had wind and showers–no accumulation–but our temperatures dropped. Tuesday was a cooler day but it’s not to last–it’s the dreaded dog days of summer I guess. Our attempt at ordering mini split air conditioning/heating units from Amazon was a total failure. We ordered the same exact units from another company for our Arizona house and the transaction was seamless. This company was a total dud!!

I am so glad I taught myself to knit–it gives me such pleasure. Here’s a photo of my latest completion–a Booga Bag. Don’t ask me why it’s called a Booga Bag–I have no idea! This one wasn’t just a straight knit and purl operation–it involved techniques which led to lots of YouTube video watching.

The Cowboy has been working on our little motorhome again trying to stop the squeaking and rattling. I admit that this time I was a bit worried about his ability to make all the pieces fit again! I’ve been resting my knee, doing very little except keeping us fed and our clothes clean. The rest of the time I’ve been icing the knee and knitting. The Cowboy isn’t motoring very well either at this point in time so Emmi walks have been shortened.

The Patchwork Times Judy shared this recipe not long ago for chile relleno casserole and the Cowboy was thrilled! You see, he thinks the only thing served in Mexican restaurants is chile rellenoes–it’s the only thing he ever orders!😁 This casserole was seriously good! Perhaps a bit too cheesy but really good!

My day lilies are finally blooming–

So, nothing much is going on, still isolating, still cooking, still knitting.

Least Favorite Month

The dog days of summer–ugh! August just might be my least favorite month. It’s so hot and dry in Montana–our days are in the 90’s. Too hot to do anything except hibernate inside a house with the air conditioner running–if we had an air conditioner! Seems our mini split units ordered from Amazon are lost in transit. By 5pm our house temperature is 80 degrees–time to head to the basement! Too hot to go for ATV rides, yep, my least favorite month.

Thursday the Cowboy joined Sarge and Royal for a trip up into the mountains around White Sulphur Springs, Montana checking out the trails in preparation for their yearly gathering. He was gone from early morning to evening–rare for my introverted Cowboy.

Friday I made a run to Livingston for odds and ends and was pleased to see everyone was wearing a mask. The town was crowded as it usually is in summer but everyone was respectful of space and wearing a mask.

Speaking of masks, I’ve been sewing again whipping up a few masks to send home with the Germany living granddaughter. Their time is coming to an end in Germany and I had planned to visit them this fall–guess that’s not happening. Plus my sewing machines are in the basement–cooler!

The Cowboy has been working outside–mostly in the shade–on his stock trailer project and finished it before lunch on Sunday.

Sunday evening we celebrated the great granddaughter Lora’s birthday a few days early–she and her Mom are flying back to Germany on Wednesday🥺. Dinner at Lonn’s–we had hamburgers on the grill and of course cake and ice cream provided my Mimi–me.

This cake is made using a recipe from the files of my friend Jeane who with her husband Steve owned and operated the Boulder River Guest Ranch for years and years. This cake was served to people having birthdays while staying at the ranch. It’s a three layer cake with whipped cream between the layers and a decadent chocolate frosting. The remainder of the cake remained at Lonn’s house!!

We’ve enjoyed having Laci and Lora here and wish their time had not been cut short by airline issues and Covid. They all went camping up the Boulder the last couple of nights–a good time was had!

 

A Trip With The Grandchildren

Monday morning the wheels were rolling on the little motorhome towing the yellow jeep-jeep (as Millie refers to it) meeting up with our granddaughters Katie and Laci plus their kiddos. We were heading to Woodbine, a USFS campground in the Stillwater River valley about 2 hours from home. Katie and her husband have recently purchased a small towable RV and while Michael doesn’t have much free time in the summer due to work, Katie, Brooks and Millie have been camping a lot. With Laci and Lora visiting from Germany, they are camping even more. Katie is becoming an expert backer of the camper getting it into her campsites without help. We made a last minute reservation so our campsites weren’t close together. Ours bordered one of the little creeks and the kids spent time playing on “our beach.”

Millie Bliss’s expression does NOT fit the saying on her shirt!😍 It was dang hot Monday afternoon! Note the extended jack on the Winnebago–very, very un-level site! Woodbine is a beautiful campground with well spaced sites set at the base of the towering mountains of the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness. Most of the sites are short in length but there were a few that would fit longer RVs.

Monday evening the kids made a delicious dinner–it was wonderful having someone else do the cooking! Tuesday morning we decided to hike to Woodbine Falls–a short, easy three quarter mile hike. My knee is still giving me grief and I wasn’t going to go but changed my mind at the last minute and went–I was fine. The kiddos were troopers and led the way. People on the trail were respectful of our space and some even wore masks.

A small waterfall before the big one.Oreo, a maltese/yorkie cross is hoping someone drops something, he is only about 16 weeks old and adorable! Brooks is four, Lora will be six soon and Millie Bliss is 2, almost three–she tries so hard to keep up with Brooks and Lora and do everything they do which results in train wrecks at times!!

This is the view of the waterfall from the hike. These next photos are a view of the waterfall from the road into the campground–

Much more impressive from the road! No hike needed! The hike was fun but we had some kiddos who were ready to be done by the time we were all back at the campground–

I provided supper Tuesday night and just about the time I put food on the grill, it began to rain. We all crowded into our motorhome and sat around our curved dinette booth–it worked. The rain continued well into the night–such a pleasant sound, rain on a RV roof!

Because it was still raining Wednesday morning, we all packed up and headed for home–a great time spent with family. Unpacking the motorhome was easy–just the food and clothing. We’ve both been couch potatoes this afternoon. Hot and dry in Montana, a fire has started “up the Boulder” about eight miles out of Big Timber.

 

 

Busy As Usual

Long ago before my time in Montana, the Cowboy purchased a 20 foot gooseneck stock trailer. There are several of the same trailers in our county and they all rusted–very soon after purchase. The company repainted the roof for the Cowboy but over the years the trailer has surface rusted and looked horrible. The Cowboy has decided to sand the trailer–what a job–and repaint it. Sometimes I think he invents work for himself??😁

While we were having lunch Sunday this little guy strolled into our yard, he could see us sitting at the dining table so this is not the greatest of photos taken through the window–the Cowboy had to slowly get up and hand me the phone, the only camera within reach. The little buck was eyeing my day lily buds. We had to release Emmi and she told him in no uncertain terms that this was her yard and to keep away from the flowers!

Friday was grocery buying day. I buy very few groceries at our local store in Big Timber and let’s just say I have issues with that store. So, every two to three to four weeks just depending on what’s happening in our lives we travel to Billings, 100 miles away, and purchase a large quantity of groceries. This time it had been four weeks since I had purchased groceries. Between Walmart and Costco we spent about $400 on groceries Friday. Lots of produce which is what we run out of first, meat, household goods, cereals, etc. We have two refrigerators and a huge downstairs pantry–storage is not a problem. Things such as watermelon and cantaloupes keep well in the cool basement.

I went to Billings by myself on Friday and had such an enjoyable day. Don’t get me wrong, the Cowboy is very patient and sits in the car patiently waiting for me if I want to visit a yarn store, Target, etc. But I always know he is out there and it makes me hurry because I don’t want him to have to wait too long. I went to Target, got what I wanted and got out–that store was way too crowded! It seemed as if everyone who lived in Billings was in Target! I went to my favorite wine store and for the first time, I visited the yarn store. In the wine store there was only one other customer and we were way far apart–he was buying chardonnay and I was buying Cabernet! 😁I was the only customer in the yarn store.

I’ve only ordered yarn online and have been slightly disappointed in the “feel” of some of the yarn–too coarse, too scratchy??? Well, that wasn’t an issue with all the gorgeous yarn at the Yarn Bar in Billings! Fabulous owners, so helpful and of course I purchased some yarn. It’s a tiny little space but the ladies had packed a lot of merchandise into that tiny space. I wish I lived closer so I could take some classes.

The ladies at the yarn store wound the “hanks” of yarn for me into these nice round balls.

An illustration of a ball, skein, and hank of yarn

And here’s my current project–a Booga Bag. I have fifteen more rows to knit then will felt the piece–I love the colors!

Let me say this upfront–this is my blog and my opinion–you don’t have to agree but you do have to be nice if you comment. Almost everyone I saw in any store in Billings was wearing a mask. Customers and staff. Sweet Grass County, Montana residents haven’t gotten on board with the mask thing yet. A mask is one simple thing we can do to help stop the spread of this virus–it’s not political, it’s not a conspiracy, it’s a virus and it kills people at random. And our numbers in Montana keep rising, Arizona numbers are skyrocketing. In the past four days, 1000 people per day have died from Covid in the United States. Almost 150,000 people have died from Covid in the United States. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s not political, it’s a virus.