A Storm

Coming home from physical therapy today as I neared the turnoff for our road I noticed puddles in the rumble strips on the highway. The gravel road was wet but not muddy. Our driveway was a different story–you could see where water had rushed down the driveway and there were muddy spots. The Cowboy was quite excited when I arrived–we received about a half inch of rain and the temperature dropped about 15 degrees!!! A gift during this time of unbearable heat, dryness and fires. 

I graduated from physical therapy today. And I was sad. The physical therapist I had was an amazing young woman. When after five visits and my hip felt absolutely no better she said, “OK, let’s scrap everything we are doing and start over.” She listened to me and we went a different path which turned out to be the right path. Unlike the physical therapy clinic I visited late in 2020, I loved this clinic from the person who answered the phone and scheduled right down to the physical therapist. Alison has a doctorate of physical therapy and she also had a bubbly, outgoing personality. We discovered that our granddaughter taught Alison’s son in fourth grade this past year. So, I am so glad to be feeling better but I’m also sad. For once in my life I looked forward to physical therapy!

The Cowboy has been doing some metal work for our friends/neighbors. He’s been working in the mornings, retreating to the cooler house in the afternoons. His talent amazes me! 

Tuesday I drove to Livingston to have lunch with Sarah. It’s so hard to pick a restaurant these days. So many of the eateries are short of help and are reducing hours to cope. Montana seems to have an over abundance of tourists this summer and the small town of Livingston and its businesses are stressed. Can’t find a parking place, can’t make a left turn into the constant stream of traffic and the interstate is almost as bad as I-10 in Arizona between our home and Tucson–where we are the tourists!😎 Our first restaurant choice (the one with the lemon ricotta gelato) was closed so we went to the Thai restaurant and had a fabulous meal–outstanding meal! But no lemon gelato!☹️

The hummingbirds are eating us out of house and home. I filled the feeder twice today! I don’t know whether they are hungry or thirsty! 

We are grateful for the weather break today, so grateful! 

Photos from our Dubois, Wyoming trip

Still No Air Conditioning

I was going to write a long, whiny post about having no air conditioning and decided it would serve no purpose. Suffice it to say, parts are still missing in action and it’s dang hot in Montana. 

Saturday we attended a funeral for the mother of a dear friend. Kathryn was 94 years old and had lived a very good life. Is it wrong to say we “enjoyed” seeing people at a funeral?? We enjoyed seeing all the friends and family–many, many people we have known for years. 

In the afternoon the Cowboy worked on the air conditioner install again. I’ve been mowing grass, watering, playing with Emmi, cleaning house, etc. 

Sunday we had friends over for lunch but in the morning the Cowboy worked with the air conditioners again and I helped a bit. 

Working hard in the heat!
The install is happening too close to the hummingbird feeder and the little guys are not happy!

And speaking of fall–it can’t come soon enough! Our forecast is awful–hot, hot and no moisture. Each evening we have thunder and lightning–no moisture and the next day we read that yet another fire has started somewhere. For the last few days the wind has picked up in the afternoon and a huge cloud of smoke rolls into our valley obscuring the mountains and making it hard to breathe. Fall can’t come soon enough!

The map below shows all the fires in Montana. A little green flame signifies fires 0-100 acres. An orange square with flame signifies fires of 100-1000 acres. A red square with flame signifies 1000+ acre fires. Green flames are new fires, green squares with flames are new, fast growing fires. Here is a link to the interactive map on the actual website.

There are no fires near us at present. There is a new, small lightning caused fire up the Boulder, let’s hope it stays small. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the fire fighters. The fire up the Boulder was first accessed by three wildfire fire fighters who hiked for six hours with a 2500′ elevation gain. Can you imagine and with those heavy packs??? A fire fighter was severely burned in a fast moving fire near Red Lodge a couple days ago. It’s not a good year.

Covid is still here. Folks near and dear to me are ill with covid, an Arizona friend, fully vaccinated since March/April had covid recently and was really ill for about three days. It’s discouraging for us to hear of fully vaccinated folks contracting covid. But, I was talking to a friend who lives in Spokane and she said, “no vaccine is 100%, I had all the shingles vaccines and I got shingles–a very mild case but I had shingles!” And she is right plus the percentage of those getting covid after being fully vaccinated is about .01% of the vaccinated US population. I’m so over covid!

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Dubois Wyoming

Last Thursday morning we were up and out very early in the morning heading to Big Timber to meet friends Ken and Lesley plus Charlie and Peggy. It was the maiden voyage for our little new to us travel trailer and the Polaris RZR we purchased this year when returning from Arizona. We were heading to the small high mountain (7000′ elevation) community of Dubois, Wyoming. 

I simply can’t say enough about how easy it was to travel with these two couples. Charlie lead the way at an easy pace and we brought up the rear. We stopped for gas/fuel in Thermopolis, WY and lunch beside the Wind River. Dubois was a busy little tourist town–we found our required Wyoming ATV permits on our third try and headed northwest out of town about 25 miles to the Brooks Lake area. 

The USFS campground on the shores of Brooks lake was small, tight and very crowded. Each couple was traveling with a dog and we chose the dispersed camping having the area mostly to ourselves for the four nights we were there. The three dogs are well behaved, come when called and in dispersed camping they didn’t have to be tethered all the time. 

Ken and Lesley’s rig–can’t beat that view can you!
Brooks Lake from our campsites

Again, I can’t say enough about how easy it was to travel with these guys. The people got along and so did the dogs! Appetizers and adult beverages each evening with lots of stories. Charlie was the grill king and each couple provided our own meat–Charlie grilled it to perfection each night. The ladies would decide each morning who would bring the appetizers and who would provide the sides for the evening meals. Easy, easy!

The ATV riding was spectacular! These guys like to ride–the first day we rode 50 miles, second day 70 miles and third day 80 miles. Our temperatures were amazing at 9200 to almost 10,000 feet elevation. On two mornings there was frost on the windshields of the trucks.

Ken was our leader and showed us some amazing country. We saw very little wildlife–the Cowboy and I did catch a grazing moose one morning and we spotted this guy sunning himself–

Most of our rides ended at beautiful mountain lakes–

We saw very few people while out and about on the ATVs–not what we expected after seeing the busy little town of Dubois. The three dogs got along very well, Emmi even tried to play a bit with Lacy who belongs to Peggy and Charlie.

I wish I had taken more photos on the first day as on the second day of riding, the smoke from a forest fires rolled in obscuring most of our mountain views. We had no cellular service and no idea where the forest fire might be. At home Monday night we discovered it appears the entire western United States is on fire–UGH!

Back from scouting out our boondocking spot.
Brooks Lake from our campsite

The only not so great thing about this trip was the dang mosquitoes–incessant, relentless, millions of mosquitoes! We even put bug spray on the dogs–that’s how bad it was!!

Our little travel trailer performed well–for the first time in many RVs, I have an oven again and I used it making jalapeno poppers for appetizers the first evening. We slept well snuggled down into lots of blankets–it was cold at night! It’s so dry in Wyoming and our boondocking spot was very dusty–and much of that dust made its way inside of our trailer! The pooch needs a bath now that we are home.

Monday morning the Cowboy and I headed home with Lesley and Ken making tracks later in the morning. Peggy and Charlie stayed another day. At home we’ve been on the go non-stop–laundry, cleaning the house, changing the oil in the RZR, washing the RZR, etc. Emmi has been sleeping, recovering from all that ATV riding!

On Tuesday we greeted Emmi’s new sitter, a young woman who grew up in our neighborhood and who loves animals. We had a very long day in Billings and just didn’t feel right about leaving Emmi alone for nine hours. It was a joy to have Brooklyn here and Emmi even warmed up to her, allowing Brooklyn to hold her.

In Billings our first stop was the dermatologist for the Cowboy where he had two spots biopsied–UGH–poor guy, he just can’t catch a break with this skin cancer thing. Next stop was lunch followed by a routine dentist appointment for me and then Costco. A haircut and a Walmart grocery pickup were the last two appointments before we pointed our tired selves toward home.

The smokey skies made for beautiful sunsets
On a tree at one of our lunch spots

We had such a good time and are so glad these guys included us in their trip! Life is good!

Bit Of A Break

In the evening on July 4th after I had posted the blog, we had a thunderstorm which delivered about a half inch of rain. Monday was so nice–cloudy, misty and cool all day long! Tuesday it was once again 90 degrees but today wasn’t bad–probably about 85 degrees.

Monday evening we cruised over to Lonn’s taking dinner–beef barbacoa tacos (recipe by the RV Goddess) and homemade coffee almond ice cream–quite the combination! Our granddaughter Laci and great granddaughter Lora are visiting for a bit–they have recently moved to Nebraska and husband/dad is stationed with the USAF there. It was a great evening! 

The missing in action air conditioner parts were shipped and should be delivered by Friday. The sticky flies are still here–today I went outside to water plants dressed in long jeans and one of the Cowboy’s long sleeve shirts. I was not taking any chances on getting bites again!! 

Emmi was looking a little shaggy so she has had a bath and a mini haircut–she can now see better–those eyebrows were out of control!

And that is what is happening in our household. 

The Technomadia folks had a blog post about how to keep your photos organized. When I started using Lightroom to process photos the organization became a little easier to handle but I still have to stay on top of it. I am ruthless when it comes to deleting photos I consider to be poor–when I transfer photos from camera card to Lightroom, poor photos are deleted then and there. Photos which go into the blog or Facebook need to be resized but once they are published in either of those two places the resized photos can be deleted from your Lightroom catalog. I need to be more diligent about going back and deleting those type photos. Last night after reading Technomadia’s post I went into my Lightroom catalog and started deleting photos. In the process I came across some awesome photos and as I haven’t taken any photos this week–here are some from our trip to Twin Lakes in the Big Hole, Montana, in July, 2017.

Boring

At the risk of being totally boring, let’s talk about the weather again. Saturday it was 96 degrees outside and 80 degrees inside our house. Friday was almost as bad. We open the doors and windows at night but when the night time low temperature is 60 degrees, the house doesn’t cool down enough to cope with the high temps the next day. Our mini split air conditioning/heating units finally arrived late Friday afternoon. But unfortunately they arrived with missing parts. 

So, we do what needs to be done outside early in the morning. I walk Emmi before 7am and after the sun has set. Mowing and weed whacking take place early in the morning. The Cowboy works in his shop in the morning and spends the rest of the day inside under the ceiling fan. It’s so dry that even with irrigating our hay did not grow enough to make it worth cutting. 

We watch and listen for rattlesnakes, the Cowboy found one across the creek from our house when walking Emmi while I was gone. A rattlesnake bit Nola, a St. Bernard belonging to our friends Joe and Tammy who own our former ranch. Nola spent the night at the vet clinic but seems to be doing OK–this heat isn’t helping her be comfortable. 

There is no change coming in this weather pattern–hot, hot and more hot. And no rain. It’s a weird, upsetting summer in Montana. For the first time in a long, long time we did nothing today on July 4th. I considered having a party but just couldn’t summon the energy in this heat. I did cook a July 4th type lunch for us–hamburgers, potato salad, corn on the cob and green salads–it was delicious!

Friday we made a flying trip to Billings to purchase a generator–seems generators are in short supply like so many other things. Harbor Freight had received a shipment of 10 Predator generators and when I called on Wednesday evening they still had all ten units. On Friday morning when we got to the store there were four generators remaining. When I stepped up to the counter and told the clerk what I wanted, another man behind me said, “make that two.” There were then only two of the ten generators left–short supply! We were on the road at 7am and home just after noon–a flying trip!

And if the heat wasn’t enough to aggravate us we now have what we call “sticky flies.” They are slow moving, small flies that buzz in and out of your ears, your eyes and they bite leaving large, swollen red spots. Outside trying to play with Emmi the dang things will drive you crazy–I become very gleeful when I manage to slap and kill one of the pesky things! The flies usually only visit us for about two weeks–thank goodness!!

 

Our peonies are beautiful and plentiful

A Major First For Me

For a while we’ve had camping reservations near Red Lodge. We were joining Katie and her two munchkins. We ordered mini split heating/air conditioning units from Amazon on June 13 with delivery by June 30th. On Monday I called the freight company–“oh yes, we outsource to a Montana/Wyoming freight company, someone from that company will call you today.” Should have known better. The Cowboy stayed home in order to receive that call and the mini splits. When my cell phone once again had service today I called him–nope, he had not received a call nor the mini splits.

So, it was a first for me–I’ve pulled and backed trailers, mostly gooseneck trailers and have no trouble pulling–it’s the backing that’s a problem! I received backing lessons in our driveway Monday morning and just after lunch I was off with our new to us travel trailer. And I was semi successful–the backing took me several tries but I finally got the hang of it and put that trailer right where it was supposed to go. And–I leveled the trailer on the first try!!!!  

Here comes Brooks and Oreo
And Millie

It was nice and cool and it was dang cold in the mornings! I was having battery problems and couldn’t run the heat in the early morning but survived. While not out chasing munchkins I knitted and read. It was a gloriously restful, fun time with family and I enjoyed every minute!

 

Happy hour snacks, kid style
Greenough Lake

Katie and her husband had purchased an inflatable paddle board–this was it’s maiden voyage. Katie is one strong young woman–the paddle board weighs about 25 pounds and she packed that thing uphill from our campsite and down to the lake. I declined a ride on the board!

Oreo is very attached to Katie and was quite concerned about her being out on the lake!
Brave enough to stand!

So–it was a successful camping trip for me alone. There were some stressful times–on the way to Red Lodge on Monday I had two suicidal motorcycle riders pass me (I was doing the speed limit)–the first one on a double yellow line and when he cut back into my lane he almost clipped my front bumper. The second almost caused a major pile up when he pulled out to pass me with a car coming at us in the other lane–he pulled back behind me just in time with the car honking angrily at the motorcycle rider. YIKES!!! The battery problem was a touch stressful but Katie had brought a generator and I just ran it a couple times a day. The campground was pleasant and not crowded. The weather was perfect–yes, a successful maiden voyage.

 

How would you like to climb down that ladder in the dark to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night??

Look Who Came To Visit

Thursday and Friday were stressful days! The 1997 Ford diesel truck came home from the repair shop on Wednesday and on Friday morning it was driven away, far, far away from Montana! A guy from Missouri flew a driver/courier person to Montana–was to have arrived on Thursday, but due to the airline’s lack of crews the guy didn’t arrive until really late Thursday night, almost Friday morning, a million text message later. We were out the door before 6am on Friday heading to the Bozeman airport with the truck. And off it went to greener pastures. 

It stormed and rained just a smidgen Thursday night and Friday morning was damp and chilly. As we were heading out I snapped this photo with my cell phone–

A foggy morning on the Main Boulder

Friday I prepped and cooked–and our visitors arrived about 4:30pm–Louanne and Dan came to see us!! They received the grand tour of the house, we enjoyed some adult beverages and sat down to a dinner of carne asada tacos. I had baked two pies so we also didn’t go without dessert! 

Saturday morning we were busy getting things ready for our picnic in town–it was the annual Sweet Grass Fest. We met up with Sarge and Sarah, strolled through the car show and vendors but didn’t advance very rapidly, we saw so many friends–stopping to talk to each one. The crowds were large, much larger than last year during covid. Lots of vendors of stuff and food. Just after noon we retreated to the shady park, claimed a picnic table and enjoyed the good food we had prepared. The park is a great place to watch the rodeo parade–lots of shade and green grass. 

Back home after that busy day in town we all collapsed–some napping, others reading. Good friends are those who feel comfortable enough in your presence to do their own thing–and that’s what we did! We all came back to life late afternoon, enjoying happy hour snacks for dinner then more of those delicious pies. 

When we came home from town Louanne and I noticed a little bird stuck to the kitchen window screen. When I went outside he didn’t move as I got close and thinking he might be stuck in the screen, I gently pulled him away from the screen, making him squawk and placed him on my other arm to see what he would do. Nothing–he was quite comfortable!

I told the little guy I had work to do and placed him in our spruce tree–he was gone the next time I looked so he must have flown away.

Sunday we enjoyed a leisurely morning, I baked sausage muffins and we had another delicious meal.

After breakfast and showers we took off in the truck on yet another tour plus we enjoyed one more picnic.

Back home everyone went their own way–I started loading the RV as we have an upcoming trip. We all gathered outside for happy hour then another absolutely fabulous dinner–pork tenderloins, grilled pineapple, roasted potatoes and salad–so good!! 

Life is good!

Away She Goes

Took Mom to the Bozeman airport today and found American Airlines to be very accommodating. The gate agent didn’t like Mom’s seat assignment in the back of the plane so she changed that and was very happy to give me a pass so I could accompany her to the gate. American Airlines has been in the negative news lately with all their cancellations so we were glad Mom’s trip went well with no issues. She landed in Little Rock right on time.

After the plane boarded I did a Costco and Walmart run. Haven’t had to shop for my own groceries in a long time!–I couldn’t get a pickup time at the Bozeman Walmart for today. We will ever get back to having fully stocked grocery shelves? Walmart had no Cetaphil soap, no cilantro, so sparkling mineral water of any brand, etc. Many of their shelves were almost empty. So, I had to make another stop at Albertson’s in Livingston. 

Physical therapy in Livingston and I could finally head for home where a little dog and a husband were waiting.

On Monday, Mom and I drove to Ennis–a three hour drive one way. In about 1998 Mom and Dad came to Montana so Mom could work on a guest ranch for the summer–as their cook. They had such a good time and came back several summers before Dad became too ill. The people who owned the ranch have both a son and a daughter. The daughter lives with her husband and their twins on the ranch but the ranch is no longer a guest ranch operation. They were so glad to see Mom as she was them. And what beautiful children–a boy and a girl, twins–so well behaved and personable. We had a great visit on the front porch of their home.

The guest ranch buildings–a beautiful setting!
A community school established in 1909–the last child went to school in this building in 1942.
On the way to the ranch.

Tuesday was spent getting Mom ready to depart, cooking and knitting. It’s once again hot in Montana and our mini split air conditioning/heating units are to be delivered by June 30th–let’s hope so!

 

Happy Father’s Day

We enjoyed another fabulous dinner tonight with Lonn and his gang of Katie, Mike, Brooks and Millie. It was cool enough today to roast the brisket in the oven creating mouth watering smells for hours! A very good time with family.

Mom and I have been knitting–we are both thrilled with her progress–she only learned to knit while in Arizona with us last winter but has turned out some beautiful creations. No photos as the project she just finished is a gift. This is her next project and she has been practicing with some scrap yarns of mine–

Thursday Mom and I met my friends Jeane and Jill at the newest establishment in our area for lunch. It’s a grist mill, Greycliff Mill, which serves light lunches and has a cute little gift shop. The setting is beautiful and the folks who built the mill have done a great job!

The Cowboy has finished irrigating–whew, is he ever glad. Not sure it’s going to do much good, those high temperatures so early in June were not good for anyone’s hay crop.

Our two Dad’s–mine has been gone since 2002, the Cowboy’s since 2018

Janna’s Dad–a photo taken while he and Mom were working on a dude ranch outside of Ennis, Montana
And one of my favorite photos–the Cowboy and his Dad, Nat.

Hope all you fathers out there enjoyed your day! It rained–only a quarter of an inch but it rained and was very cool today–lovely weather my book!

A Visitor

Monday we puttered, the Cowboy more than me with his irrigating chores! Monday evening we dined at Lonn’s with the rest of the gang and on the way home the Cowboy spotted this lady on the hillside–

Tuesday the wheels were rolling again, heading to Bozeman late afternoon. Mom came to visit via American Airlines–she is becoming quite the traveler! Her flight was late getting us home around 11pm making for a short night! The Cowboy and I both have a hard time sleeping after dawn and during Montana summer–that dawn comes early, early!

You’ve all read about the heat wave we are experiencing in Montana–Monday was hot but Tuesday was even hotter–98 degrees at our house, 101 degrees in Big Timber. And with this heat and no rain we knew it would not be long before we began to see this–

Photo by Ben Sherman of the Robertson Fire near Red Lodge, Montana

This is Red Lodge, Montana, about a two hour drive from our home, a classic small town, gateway to the Beartooth Highway. The fire is 26,000 acres in size and growing tremendously on Tuesday with the heat and high winds. There is another fire in the Pryor Mountains, home to the Wild Horse Range we visit almost every year. And yet another fire near Townsend, Montana. Fire season has begun about two months too early! It may be a long, long summer in Montana.

On Facebook today a friend, Vicky, had posted a “weather chart” of her own creation and we found it very interesting. She began keeping the weather log in 1998 and while it has several “readings” the one most intriguing to us was the highest temperature on June 15 for each year since 1998. Until yesterday, when the temperature reached 101 degrees in Big Timber, Montana, the highest temperature Vicky had recorded for those 24 years on June 15 was 78 degrees!!! Vicky also recorded the moisture received for May and June in each of those years as well as other months. We refer to the year 2006 as the “year of the fires” when two huge forest fires roared all around us–we were evacuated twice. In May of 2006 Vicky recorded only 1.67 inches of rain. In May of this year, she recorded 2.01 inches in the town of Big Timber. That doesn’t bode well for our fire season.

The Cowboy has been working way too hard irrigating hayfields. At least the high temperature today was only 81! Mom requested a rhubarb crisp and one is made–just waiting for it to cool before we indulge. 

I made a quick Costco run yesterday before heading to the airport–have you ever heard of a Hami melon? We have eaten about three of them and find the melons delicious–oblong and taste like a cross between a cantaloupe and a honey dew melon.DSCN9825-2

Thanks for reading along with us!