Just Hanging Out

The days run together, we stay busy. It’s a good thing we like the company of each other!

Tuesday was a new day–sunny with a howling wind. Not as many chores–just as many meals. I did quilt a bit on my Buggy Barn bunny quilt. About 3pm the Cowboy came inside and asked if I would like to take a drive–absolutely! We drove up the Boulder almost to Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch before we turned around–the road was getting rougher by the minute and the snow was getting closer!

This is my view some of the time, at other times she is hanging her head out the Cowboy’s window.

Not very many critters out and about–saw a muskrat in the beaver ponds and elk across the river at the former Boulder River Ranch. Lots of deer grazing in rancher’s hay fields. The views are awesome as always–lifting my spirits as always.

Wednesday we met Sarge and Sarah at the Rib and Chop House in Livingston. We ordered takeout and drove to a nearby park where we sat in the sun on a beautiful spring day and enjoyed our lunch and the company. This was the first meal I haven’t had to cook since around the first of March–it tasted so good!

Montana continues to hang steady–some days we have no new cases, other days just one or two. Lots of people are out and about it seems. I hope we continue to hang steady while the state is in the process of opening back up.

How Did I Ever

Write a daily blog that is?? I’m writing twice a week now and it’s all I can do to come up with anything halfway interesting. And who am I kidding–it may not be interesting to many people but the searchable blog sure solves lots of arguments in this household.😁When I met the Cowboy in 1994, I started keeping a journal–somehow I knew life with him wouldn’t be boring and I wanted to document that life. I still have all those journals in which I wrote every single day but it takes a while to read back through those to solve an argument.😆 In 2008 I started the blog TinTeePeeLogCabin and wrote daily until we stopped RVing and purchased the house in southeast Arizona. I began writing this blog in February, 2017 and it quickly morphed into just a twice weekly documenting of our lives. Thanks to those of you who have stuck with us!

On Thursday we loaded our car with protective gear and coolers headed for Billings on a cool, windy, rainy morning. Our first stop was for a rather large Walmart pickup order. All the pickup and delivery services have been overwhelmed during this Covid crisis and I won’t complain except to say that whoever picked my order must have been really stressed and overwhelmed! I had been sent a list of substitutions and out of stock items on my phone and knew one of the out of stock items couldn’t possibly be correct–I really wanted that item. Donning my protective gear I went in the door of Walmart, walked to the produce section, selected my cabbage and fresh radishes, used self checkout and walked out to the car. Done, no people contact!

On to Costco. The Montana governor has announced a phased re-opening of the state beginning Monday, April 27. The stay at home order issued on March 26 was set to expire Friday, April 24. We are thinking Costco decided to jump ahead in the process–no line to enter, way more than 50 people in store, and someone was still halfheartedly disinfecting the carts. A large percentage of the customers were wearing masks and attempting to social distance.

We found most of the stuff on our long, long list. No fresh chicken which was so strange–none, nothing. We came home with frozen chicken tenderloins–I haven’t purchased frozen chicken in so long I can’t remember the last time I did! No blocks of Parmesan cheese–weird–and of course no disinfecting wipes or gloves. They did have flour but only in 25 pound sacks and Costco was stocked with paper towels and toilet paper. I only needed paper towels. Our cart was bulging when we checked out and we were very glad to have with us that cash back reward check from our Costco Visa card.

We didn’t stop anywhere else, I had taken a snack with us as eating a take out meal in the car didn’t appeal to either of us. We dropped off the groceries we had purchased for Jim and Kathy then headed home to begin the long unloading process. On Friday I spent all morning vacuum sealing all the meat we purchased. I also made hamburger buns again–this time the buns were outstanding!

The knitting process was about to defeat me until I discovered something called “lifelines.” After watching the English rib knitting video one more time I accidentally watched it to the end where the very proper English woman said, “consider using a “lifeline” for this style of knitting as it’s a very hard pattern for fixing mistakes.” That’s an understatement if there ever was one! It’s impossible to fix an English rib knitting mistake–at least I wasn’t having any luck in trying to rip back and fix my mistakes. So I ripped back to the beginning for I can’t count how many times!!  What’s a lifeline?? Mr. Google to the rescue and my knitting now has lifelines!! Those lines of different colored yarn allow you to rip back to those strands and then thread your stitches back onto your needles. I’m inserting a lifeline often–I need all the lifelines I can get!😊

When we first moved into this house 18 years ago we fenced a small area and occasionally we would plant a garden–lettuce, radishes, carrots–things which might have a chance of producing in our short growing season. One year a few years ago we fenced an even bigger area and planted a large garden–tomatoes, peppers and even corn. We placed hoops over the more fragile plants–tomatoes and peppers, covering them with clear plastic each night. On about August 28 that year our temperature dropped below freezing and everything in the garden froze. That was my last garden.

We’ve decided to try the smaller garden again and Saturday we cleaned out all the debris and are waiting until the soil dries a bit more before tilling. I may plant some tomatoes in pots that can be rolled in and out of the garage each night–seems like a lot of work for little yield–doesn’t it!

Sunday morning I was making breakfast when the Cowboy who was wandering around outside on the deck stuck his head in the door and said, “get your camera.” We’ve never seen an eagle this close to our house–he was in a dead tree right off the deck. This was a quick shot taken through the window as we were afraid of spooking him. Right after I took the photo he flew.

My great niece Elizabeth has signed to play softball at the college she will be attending in the fall, majoring in nursing. Signing events should be full of fanfare–former coaches, friends and family are there to cheer you on. Not in the spring of 2020 thanks to Covid. It was a low key affair which her mother recorded and here’s one of the photos–Elizabeth is the one smiling, not sure what Leah is doing other than being Leah😍. We are so proud of you Elizabeth!

There was even a bit of farming going on Sunday afternoon–the Cowboy was harrowing our fields. My hairdresser called this afternoon. Hair salons may open tomorrow, Monday, April 27 and must adhere to certain restrictions. All stations must be at least six feet apart–now does that make any sense?? Your hairdresser is most certainly NOT six feet from you. Everyone must wear a mask–how is that going to work when someone is cutting your hair??? The four owners of the salon have rearranged their chairs and are the required six feet apart. They are each only taking one customer at a time–no getting your hair cut while another person’s color is processing. So–my haircut is for May 19–twenty two days from now–she’s gonna need a lawnmower!

Done

Our fourteen days of quarantine is over. We are now free to take a drive, go to the grocery store and if the governor can be believed as of Monday we will be free to do a lot more–retail will be opening, hair salons, and churches.  The following Monday restaurants and bars will open. All these openings have restrictions. For example, restaurants have to have half their normal seating and no sitting at the bar. Gyms, theaters and large events are still closed. The governor cautioned everyone, especially those over 65 to continue their vigilance. To gather in small groups, to practice social distancing. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities remain closed to the public. Schools may reopen later in May at the discretion of their school boards.

I posted this quote on Facebook yesterday and have really been trying to think and talk about my joys.

These little guys are some of my joys!

Brooks enjoying the sunshine! Millie Bliss making mud pies.Lora and her trusty side kick Gemma enjoying a stroll in the German countryside–wonder what she has in that back pack??

We now have a stair rail–

Emmi has a new ball-

When we would go to Yarnell, Arizona on the ATVs for breakfast there was a metal shop of some sort right next to the restaurant. Outside the shop was a huge ball made from horseshoes–probably twice the size of this one. The Cowboy decided to try his hand at making one–it’s now my newest deck ornament.

Another round of masks is on its way to Geri and Larry in South Dakota. The one with the sunflowers is for you Larry!😁😁Some of the ones in the pile are going elsewhere–to local friends and to my Mom.

Totally unconcerned with each other–I was about to call Emmi back when the deer took off.

Our resident woodpecker of some kind. He hangs by his claws to get a sunflower seed from the feeder then takes it to a nearby tree for dining.

We’ve had some nice days–warmer–now if that blasted wind would just stop!

Stair Railing and Knitting

Our view from the hay fields of what we call “our mountains.”

Let’s see–what shall we talk about? Bidet is installed amid much grumbling from the Cowboy–he had to re-plumb the toilet. Oh dear! But it didn’t take him long and his wife is happy–that’s important when you are quarantined together!!  This house has a basement with nice stairs–built by Nat–wide treads, not steep but at our age we need a stair rail. Let’s just say that for a while that railing has been on the Cowboy’s “honey do” list. He’s now working on our stair rail. My mother when she comes to visit next will be pleased!

The robins are hopping around looking for a place to nest–no lady you are NOT nesting on top our outdoor lights–go away! It’s too early for you to even think about having babies!

My knitting project isn’t going well. I’ve knit the same four inches forty times I’m thinking. I have a hard time looking at knit stitches and figuring out how to fix my mistake–so I rip–and knit those same four inches again and again–I’m wearing out the yarn. I did find an excellent YouTube video yesterday and the next time I make a mistake (and trust me, there will be another mistake) I will try to fix it instead of ripping. One of my quarantine goals was to learn to knit and I’m running out of time!

I’m going to make a few more masks for a friend with an auto immune disease–she is sticking very close to home, having her groceries delivered to her father’s house in town–he also doesn’t go out. Her partner, another cowboy, is being wonderful about taking precautions to protect her. He is helping with calving on a neighboring ranch and comes in contact with a few people–at a distance, but…..

My family in Arkansas as of Friday evening have power–it’s been out since Easter Sunday evening. My niece sent photos of her laundry hanging outside and the caption read, “been a long time since I’ve done this!” Her text last night before the power came on said, “I’m ready for peace and quiet (no generator running), my ceiling fan and my dryer.

I made the best spaghetti sauce Friday and paired with homemade bread and salad it was a great meal–one of our favorites. Earlier in the week I made a pan of Pioneer Woman chicken enchiladas and we are still enjoying the leftovers. Lonn and Katie made a grocery store run and were kind enough to pick up a few items for us. The Cowboy left a barrel and sign “please leave packages here until April 24th” down near the road in front our neighbor’s shed–Katie’s husband Michael delivered the groceries and left them in the barrel.

Saturday was pizza day and I made a chocolate cake–The Best Chocolate Cake, Ever and it is the best chocolate cake ever. The Cowboy and our granddaughter Katie LOVE Costco’s multi layered chocolate cake. When I baked this one they both said, “this is better than Costco’s cake!” I only have eight inch cake pans and the batter made enough for three layers. I froze two of the layers, cut the frosting recipe (link is included in the recipe) in half and we will eat just one layer–do you believe that??  I don’t!

Sunday was more of the same, fighting with the yarn although I’ve made progress in learning how to fix my mistakes by watching the same YouTube video over and over and over. I even started the longarm and quilted a bit before making lunch. The Cowboy is working on the stair railing. The wind is blowing, the temps are cool but at least the forecast was wrong–it didn’t snow, only a bit of rain.

The West Boulder mountains viewed from our hay fields.

 

Halfway There

Today marks the halfway mark in our 14 day quarantine and we are still speaking. The Cowboy directed my attention to a “funny” on Facebook–man and woman are sitting beside each other and the woman said, “could you please blink a little more quietly.” We aren’t that bad, yet.

Well, I doubt anyone wants to read about clean sheets on our bed or laundry or what we ate but as that’s about the extent of our activities it’s what you get. The Cowboy is puttering and I’ve been making masks for shipping off to family. We’ve both been taking short walks with the Emmi girl–the weather is not exactly conducive to long, leisurely walks. Snow, cold and a howling wind at times. I will just say it this one time–I hate April in Montana.

Today is our great grandson Brook’s birthday–he is four years old–how did that happen? We would sure like to see him on his birthday but that’s not going to happen.

Since we have so little to discuss, let’s talk about bidets. We have a couple friends who raved about their bidets, she is English. When it came time to outfit the master bath in the Arizona main house, we installed a bidet toilet seat. It uses the same water supply as the toilet and needs an electrical outlet which my Cowboy had all ready installed. Costco had a Brondell bidet toilet seat on sale (prior to Covid-19) and we ordered one online. I now don’t want to live without a bidet toilet seat. We bought one which uses heated water, heated air dry, and various other settings accessed with the remote. I am night blind and one of the features I really like is the blue night light. Install is easy–it replaces the regular toilet seat and comes with a plumbing “T” so you can use the same water line as the toilet. Plug in to an electrical outlet and it’s ready.

My plan was to update the master bath toilet in Montana until Covid-19 reared its ugly head. No bidets at Costco. The company itself, Brondell, is struggling to fill orders and of course the price is much more than what we paid at Costco–$160 more. Amazon did have the Brondell brand but it is now out of stock or at an outrageous price from third party vendors. Searching on eBay I found one!!! It was $60 more than our original purchase but it was available for shipping and arrived Wednesday evening. Success!

Sunday evening my family in Arkansas had severe high winds. Trees and power poles down everywhere across a wide path. They have been without power since about 8pm Easter Sunday. Generators are keeping their freezers and refrigerators going. It’s unseasonably cool in Arkansas right now and people need heat. The power companies are working around the clock trying to fix the lines. Makes my quarantine with power seem not so bad doesn’t it!

And I’m really in the 21rst century–I went to yoga yesterday via Zoom!! It was cool to see friends and hear their voices–and I so enjoyed the yoga! I’ve been calling people–friends, neighbors, family–I think it’s important to stay in touch. We hope all of you out there are coping and surviving these uncertain times.

 

 

 

Day Four Of Fourteen

The days all run together, we have a hard time remembering what day of the week we are living. We are on day 4 of our 14 day quarantine. No going anywhere. Someone must bring you groceries if you need food. We have plenty of food and thank God we have plenty of room to roam and not come into contact with any two legged’s as Pluto said. The weather is making it difficult to roam–blizzard conditions on Saturday and on Easter Sunday morning we woke to 14 degrees. As I type the beginnings of my Sunday blog, the sun is trying to shine and all our leafless trees are shrouded in a coating of white, white snow.

Thursday was spent putting away all the stuff from the motorhome and doing a mountain of laundry–regular clothes and all the dust covers I place over the furniture when we leave. I did feed us but darned if I can remember clear back to Thursday what it was we ate??

Our house has electric heat upstairs, radiant hot water heat under the upstairs tile and the basement floors. Plus downstairs we have a wood stove which we use a lot when it’s cold. There is a fireplace with glass doors in our upstairs living room but we seldom use it–the doors get grubby and I tire of cleaning them. Friday we replenished our wood pile–there was a stack of logs up on the hill in the hay field the Cowboy had been saving to run through the portable sawmill. We sacrificed some of those logs for warmth!  😆

We built this house in over the course of the year 2001 and moved in January, 2002.  We’ve never rearranged the living room furniture until Saturday. Our chairs always faced the kitchen/dining area and I told the Cowboy I wanted to look outside for a change–so we moved furniture–every man’s favorite thing to do!

Not quite satisfied, I tweaked the arrangement on Sunday morning while enjoying a fire in that fireplace we never use–seemed the morning for a fire. We had pancakes for breakfast–something in which we seldom indulge.

I’m trying to knit, I can cast on, knit and purl but when it comes to actually making something I struggle. I thought knitting a headband to keep my ears warm would be easy–not yet! I failed miserably at knitting socks several years ago–the Cowboy asked me not to knit–it hurt his ears!😍Sunday before I made lunch, I sat down and watched the video for the headband pattern I am using. I had been watching the video so intently (the person doesn’t show her knitting very well on the video) I hadn’t been listening to what she said–the headband is knit in English rib! Light bulb moment! I searched YouTube and found a very annoying lady who gave clear instructions and demonstrated over and over how to knit the English rib. I’ve got it!!

Saturday I made masks. Our friends Gina and Rollie are living on the island of St. Croix–Rollie has taken a job as commissioning manager for a refinery on the island. Talking to Gina the other day she mentioned that masks were unobtainable and I promised to send some to her. From news stories I’ve read, there have been approximately 50 cases of Covid19 in the US Virgin Islands and one death. Every quilter has fabric and I’m no exception. We had trouble finding something to use as a nose piece–manufactured face masks have a very thin, flexible piece of metal. The Cowboy has an extensive selection of everything 😁 but no thin, flexible metal so we used 18ga insulated copper wire. Not perfect but it worked!

It’s Easter Sunday and we hope each and every one of you had a blessed day. We are missing family greatly both here and in Arkansas. Here are some photos of our Easter bunnies–

 

A Change Of Scenery

That’s most definitely not a photo of Arizona. The Cowboy and I decided that the place we call “home” was the place we needed to be in all this upheavel. On Friday morning, April 3 we made the decision to head north to Montana. We packed the motorhome, finished last minute projects and were rolling before 7am on Monday morning. We landed in Blanding, Utah for the night at a RV park. I made the reservation, paid by credit card and asked to be assigned a spot so we didn’t have to go into the office. They were very obliging at Blue Mountain RV Park.

We traveled through the Salt River Canyon again–

And we traveled some awful, rough roads through Arizona and into Utah. It’s a wonder the cabinets are still hanging! It’s a might dangerous to travel through the Indian reservations in Arizona–cows and horses grazing alongside the road. It was sad to see the normally busy, vibrant Bluff, Utah almost totally empty. It was a long day, 523 miles.Recognize those mountains Gay??

This guy was our only neighbor in the RV park and he was definitely social distancing!

On Tuesday we were up and on the road early. Moab was incredibly quiet–no traffic, no people. Interstate 70 was deserted, trucks but very few passenger vehicles–eerie! Once we left I-70 at Rifle, Colorado, our cellular service was non-existent and stayed that way until we reached Columbus, Montana on Wednesday. Northern Colorado and all of Wyoming must be customers of some service other than Verizon. We would occasionally receive a text but if I tried to place a phone call the service invariably dropped the call.

Riverton, Wyoming was our stopping spot Tuesday night and we stayed in the Walmart parking lot–a first for us. My dear husband chose the parking spot and at 2am we were awakened by a noisy forklift–very noisy. The forklift went away after about 30 minutes but it took much longer for the three of us to go back to sleep!

On the road again Wednesday early and after driving a total of 1409 miles on this trip we arrived at our Montana home. We interacted with no one, we stopped for gas only, no trips into the convenience stores for treats, no stops for meals, no rest area restrooms. We are a self contained RV and we took advantage of that way of travel. The Cowboy pumped gas wearing gloves, I wiped the credit card with a disinfecting wipe and he removed his gloves before getting back in the RV.

Montana residents returning from out of state are under a mandatory 14 day quarantine order. No going anywhere and no visitors. So, we are tucked away in our log cabin by the creek. We navigated the driveway with no snow issues, there are some drifts around the house and on the hillside but at least we didn’t have to plow snow to get up the driveway! We brought home lots of food, we should be fine for two weeks plus. Both of us know our weather isn’t going to be great until probably the first of June but it is good to be home. We have a nasty storm predicted for this coming weekend but we are safe and warm. Life is good.In Big Timber, Montana–unreal!!

 

Just Muddling Along

I’ve hidden the scale in the closet. I’m not usually a bread maker–I don’t like to knead bread and with my arthritic hands, it’s almost impossible. Several years ago I did get hooked on the Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day cookbook. There are several basic bread recipes with basic ingredients–flour, water, salt and yeast. No kneading. Each recipe makes enough dough for four loaves of bread or more depending on the size you chose. The dough once it rises the first time is then placed in the refrigerator. When you are ready for bread just pull off a chunk, let it rise and you have crusty artisan bread or pizza dough or a baguette. My kind of bread making.

Then along came Judy from The Patchwork Times with her homemade hamburger buns and other breads. Yesterday she blogged about King Arthur Flour No Knead Harvest Bread–oh, dear, I’m hooked! A heavy, crusty sort of sweet bread with cranberries, raisins and pecans–what’s NOT to like??? And no kneading!! Today Judy is talking about focaccia breadI love focaccia bread and again, no kneading. You can now understand why that scale needs to be hidden.

We’ve just been staying at home–taking walks, working on the house, reading, and probably watching too much news. I’ve been trying to get a grocery pickup time and am seeing I would have better luck with Fry’s than Walmart.

My great niece Elizabeth is a senior in high school in Arkansas. It’s senior prom time but of course there is no senior prom this spring. Elizabeth dressed up and Facetimed with her boyfriend–that’s a great attitude in these uncertain times. I love this girl!

These photos are from our Monday drive over the Chiricahua Mountains.

It’s been a tough few weeks in my family–we lost a cousin to cancer, our stepfather and now my Mother’s sister. Mom was one of six girls, no boys and now she is the only one living. Makes me to sad to think all the aunts are gone. Dad died in 2002–he was the oldest, the only boy. His three sisters are still living.

Happiness and Sadness

On Tuesday morning our Chuck died leaving his suffering behind. He and Mom married almost ten years ago and he always said, “I’m so glad I landed in this family.” Chuck took such good care of our Mom and had the best sense of humor–he could make you laugh! He suffered a horrible heart attack in 2016 and almost didn’t survive–that episode destroyed his health and he has struggled along for four years. We will miss him so much! Rest in peace dear Chuck.

My sister, brother-in-law and brother cared for Chuck at home until he died–I will be forever grateful to them for the sacrifices they made in order to keep him from a nursing home. Chuck was very grateful too–he landed in the right family!

We have a budding cook in the family. They are self isolating in Germany and Laci keeps repeating, “I am NOT a teacher.”

Monday we took a drive over the Chiricahua Mountains just to get out of the house. We waved to a few other folks taking a drive and saw people camped in the forest service boondocking spots. All the USFS campgrounds were closed. We had been told the wildflowers were spectacular and they were–stunning!

 

And I am becoming so domesticated–Judy from the Patchwork Times was making hamburger buns lately as was the RV Goddess.  I decided to give it a try today and when we ate lunch both of us were wondering why I never made buns before–they were delicious!! I used the King Arthur flour recipe for bunseasy and so, so good!

Our granddaughter Kristen just finished her second year of college and prerequisites  with an eye toward nursing school. The nursing school accepts 26 students, 300 applied and our Kristen is going to nursing school. So proud of her!

Life is good–I enjoy the company of the person I’m spending 24/7 with, we are in a safe place, we have plenty to eat as the scale tells us–Life is good.

Still Isolating

Whew! Montana’s governor put into place a “stay at home” order effective early Saturday morning. Cases of the virus in Arizona are rising by over 100 per day yet no stay home order. We are safe and secure in our little isolated spot in Arizona. Any one other than me tired of cooking??–it’s not so much the cooking as it is deciding what to cook–some nights we resort to popcorn.  😁

Since posting on Wednesday I wrote a long, wordy blog about our Thursday Tucson adventure–you might ask why we drove all the way to Tucson–our local (Benson) Walmart and Safeway are very poorly stocked as is the Safeway in Willcox–I wanted to stop going to the store just to see if they actually had anything! Instead of being so wordy let’s just say there were too many people (400+) waiting in line at one of the Tucson Costco stores. I posted on Facebook about this adventure and said 200+ people–the Cowboy corrected me! We left and were able to hit a Walmart and another Costco store, obtaining most everything on our list–I bought the last bag of unbleached flour in Walmart. We wore our masks and gloves.

Both Walmart and Costco had purchase limits. Costco has instituted several protective measures–they sanitize the carts, limit the number of people in the stores and now have a plastic/plexi-glass screen between the cashier and customer. They ask you to hold your own credit card and they scan it.

All our purchases rode home in the back of the truck–being aired!😁

In Costco I witnessed a man fussing at his child for leaning against the meat case and getting germs on his clothes and hands. The man picks up a package of meat, turns to put it in his cart and scratches his eye! 😣No gloves, no mask. I wanted so badly to bring this to his attention but refrained. 😏

The new trees have water lines, more tile has been laid and I painted a set of closet doors. Too much news both on the TV and on the internet has been consumed.

Any of you who have read this blog for very long know I am extremely picky about my hair. My regular appointment was scheduled for this coming Wednesday and I am canceling. I cut my own hair this afternoon–YIKES! It doesn’t look bad–the Cowboy helped me trim the back. But don’t fret Becky and Sharon–I will be back!