Montana Life

In between the unpacking and cleaning we took the time on a gloriously beautiful Mother’s Day for a drive up the Boulder.  Big fluffy white clouds in a blue, blue sky and 75 degrees.  Couldn’t have asked for better weather but the weatherman tells us not to get too comfy in the coming days! 🙂

In addition to all the beautiful scenery in our backyard it was also a red letter wildlife day.

First sighting–a moose at the Beaver Ponds. He or she was not interested in coming out of the bushes so I could get a more clear photo.

Hawley Mountain still snow covered.

Emmi loves to ride like this when we are going slow–her favorite spot.

Sunbathing woodchuck or marmot.

The Cowboy had eagle eyes today–he spotted the moose first then these elk.  A happy little dog out of the jeep at the Four Mile USFS cabin.

I just finished another great book–The Way The Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald.  It was one of the “finds” we purchased at the used bookstore in Pearce and it was one of those thick books I love.  I’m always sad to finish a great book–does that make sense??

Remember our 42 foot long rolling home we purchased last summer and left in Montana for the winter?  Engine started right away, the new to us generator has a problem–not so much the generator the Cowboy AKA our mechanic thinks but a communication problem between it and the coach.  He spent much of the afternoon under and in the generator compartment.  Most motorhome generators are on roll out trays making it easier to perform maintenance and repairs.  Not this one–it fits inside a compartment–we used the skidsteer to lift the 8KW monster into the compartment last summer.  Now the Cowboy is thinking he may have to remove the generator–I think I have something else to do that day!!!

Hope you all had a great Mother’s Day Sunday–here is a photo of three very special people–my Mom, brother Ross and sister Ann.  My sister-in-law Vicky took the photo–made me homesick!

Monday was another red letter weather day–76 degrees and sunny with a cool breeze–perfect!

Back In Montana

Wednesday morning we left Blanding, Utah at about 7:30am.  Almost 600 miles later we stopped for the night in Riverton, WY.  Too long sitting in that pickup!  We took our time Thursday morning and enjoyed the hotel provided breakfast before attempting to depart.

I say “attempting” as the truck wouldn’t start.  When I moved to Wyoming and saw the electrical outlets in parking lots I had to ask why hotels had these.  Well–it gets cold in up here in the northwest and many vehicles have block heaters.  Our diesel pickup and our jeep both have block heaters.  It wasn’t that cold Thursday morning–38 degrees and usually at that temp you don’t need the block heaters.  But it seems our truck needs new glow plugs and thus that block heater came in handy Thursday morning.

I always enjoy seeing this formation as we enter Moab country.

The weather deteriorated as we headed toward Cody.  On top of the pass above Meeteetse, WY, the weather was miserable!  But once over the pass and through Cody the weather improved a lot.  By the time we rolled in our driveway it was over 50 degrees and mostly sunny.  No leaves on our trees but we do have green grass.

We made a quick stop in Big Timber for a few groceries and headed up the Boulder.  We unloaded much of the stuff in the trailer, took a walk with Emmi and are enjoying being back in Montana. The bird feeders are hung and now we are waiting for all the birds to discover we are home!

Friday the birds arrived–rosy red finches, lazuli buntings and chickadees.  All the bins are unloaded and the contents put away.  The washer and dryer have not stopped.  Life is busy as usual when we first arrive back in Montana.

North Bound

Do you frequent used bookstores?  The one in Sunsites is affiliated with our library and is the best used bookstore I’ve ever seen.  It’s clean–they recently installed new carpet and also painted.  The books are clean and in order.  There is no clutter and to make it even better–on Saturday you can purchase a bag of books for $2!!!  This is our Saturday haul!  The Arizona Highway magazines were free.

Up until recently I’ve only read one Stephen King book–11/22/63: A Novel.  I’m not a fan of scary books and I’ve always associated Stephen King with terrifying books.  I very much enjoyed 11/22/63 and now I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed another Stephen King novel–Finders Keepers.  My friend Kelly included this book in a whole box of books she recently sent me.  I told her I probably would not read the Stephen King one but Kelly told me to give it a try and I’m glad I did.  Yes, there were some murders but I wasn’t frightened and the book didn’t give me nightmares! So today at the used bookstore I purchased a couple more Stephen King novels–we will see how I like these.  I love a good thick book and he writes thick books!

Saturday Milton and Lucy came for dinner and to collect keys and instructions for the summer.  We are so lucky to have Milton as our caretaker–it was such a relief to arrive last fall and find the place absolutely spotless!  Sunday I went to church and in the afternoon packed a bit.  Monday we were amazed at how little we had left to do and spent the afternoon being bums–can you imagine!!

These are the sun shade screens the Cowboy made for every west facing window in the house–the screens really do help with the heat and also make it impossible to see inside the house.

At 6:30am Tuesday our wheels were rolling and we stopped at 4:30pm after 530 miles of driving–the Cowboy did all the driving today.  We chose to travel through the Salt River Canyon and were so glad we did.  Yes, at times it’s a steep, crooked road but we still made good time and the scenery was breathtaking.  I did more looking than the Cowboy, he was too busy paying attention to the road.  It was raining when we came through the Canyon and I was taking photos from the window so they aren’t the greatest.  We are in Blanding, Utah for the night and enjoyed a fabulous supper at the restaurant next to the motel.  Onward tomorrow.

  Back in the land of red rocks.

Lots Of Last Minute Projects

Several years ago we purchased a air-less paint sprayer from Harbor Freight.  It’s never been out of the box until Wednesday when we used it to spray another coat of paint onto the garage door and paint the little shed.  Wow–that little sprayer made quick work of painting to the point where I think we will use it when we are ready to paint in the main house.  We both are amazed at the changes we have made with this property–we’ve gone from this:to this beautiful home!!

Emmi and I had an eventful walk Wednesday morning.  A few days ago we spotted a coyote quite close–ragged looking and limping.  Wednesday morning he was way too close for comfort–I kept Emmi next to me for the rest of our walk. When we turned the corner to head down the last stretch toward home I saw a snake stretched across the road–I was so glad Emmi was right beside me–I scooped her up and as I got closer to the snake realized it was a rattlesnake.  UGH!!  Time to head to cooler pastures I’m thinking!  We’ve seen the same coyote two other mornings–he needs to find another home–Emmi is not going to be his breakfast!

The Cowboy has been building sunshade screens for our west facing windows to have in place when we leave. I mulched my flowering plants in the front yard on Wednesday and did a little packing.

Thursday I sprayed weeds and mowed the taller weeds then spent the rest of the day packing. The Cowboy finished his last outdoor project–drip edge on the little porch over hang at the back door.  He’s been sorting and packing too in between making sunshade screens.  Homemade pizza for dinner tonight–delicious!

Friday we took a break–did some minor packing and in the afternoon drove to Tucson to have dinner with Louanne and Dan. They needed a big city fix and rented a house in downtown Tucson for a few days.  They wanted us to experience an old, old Tucson favorite–Lil Abner’s.  Autographs all over the walls, tons of indoor and outdoor seating.  Steaks cooked over an outdoor grill–to die for.

He’s smiling Hadley!

Can you imagine cooking over a hot grill outside at 92 degrees???

And we still have a few poppies–And the Cowboy spotted a blooming cactus this morning–



And Yet Another Trip To Sierra Vista

Sunday we had a visitor!  The Cowboy had gone out to the garage and when he came around to the back door there was a very long gopher snake stretched out just under the door into the house.  The Cowboy encouraged the snake to move along but he wasn’t very interested in crawling away but eventually did disappear–probably somewhere less busy!

On Friday we purchased what we thought was oil based enamel paint for the garage door.  The Cowboy was trying his hand at mixing other oil based paints into the paint we purchased at Home Depot.  He was attempting to match the color of the house but the paint just wouldn’t stay mixed–it kept separating.  Much to his dismay he discovered we had purchased a latex paint!!  The can looked just like the other oil based paint we had purchased and was on the very same shelf as the other oil based paint.  So, that idea went out the window and on Tuesday we went back to Sierra Vista, took a chip of the stucco with us for matching and purchased a latex type paint for metal–to paint the garage door.  It’s amazing how close places like Home Depot can match your paint colors.  I painted the garage door this afternoon and it’s a perfect match!

On Monday we played taking another ATV trip with Dan and Louanne.  Our destination was Hands Pass and the Kasper Tunnel in the Chiricahua Mountains.  In the 1890’s the Hand brothers three came to this area to mine.  They acquired the Hilltop Mine and the hand dug small tunnel through the mountains allowed the town of Hilltop to develop on both sides of the mountain.  Our Backcountry Adventures Arizona book gave great directions; our GPS as well as the Avenza Map app showed the trail but it was not to be.  We came to a locked gate with lots of ominous “no trespassing” signs.  We tried another trail–the Pine Canyon Trail with the same results–a locked gate.  That trail was so rocky we were almost glad to find out there was a locked gate! 🙂  It was still a great day, the weather was perfect for riding, we found water still running in the desert and saw a few critters.

You can never take the girl out of the country! 🙂

Today my little brother retired at the ripe old age of almost 58.  He started working for an Arkansas power plant when he was 19 years old and has worked there for almost 40 years as an electrician.  I am so proud of him–he’s worked very, very hard all these years both at this job and on the farm he inherited from my grandfather.  Enjoy your retirement Ross, you’ve earned it!

Roofing And Another Trip

Thursday the Cowboy roofed one side of the shed.  Again I was the backhoe operator–raising and lowering him and his supplies up onto the roof.

Friday we went to two yard sales and I came home with a huge $3 haul–two decorative crosses and a cake plate. The Cowboy didn’t find anything he couldn’t live without.  We were then off to Sierra Vista again taking the Emmi girl along.  Does anyone else out there other than me worry about leaving their pets home alone, having someone break into the house and steal the pet???  Am I crazy???  It was a very warm day and Emmi would have probably been more comfortable at home on the couch but I decided she was better off with us.  We take her into Home Depot or Lowe’s with us and when I go to the grocery store, the Cowboy and Emmi stay in the truck.

We needed paint, screen making supplies, and various other small items.  The screen making supplies were a bust–the little corners don’t fit!  So we ordered some different ones from Amazon and will return the Home Depot ones–ugh!

As of Saturday morning the shed has a new roof and the Cowboy was certainly glad that chore could be crossed off the list! It was a very warm morning and the temps made it even sweeter to have that project finished.  As we were sitting on the porch cooling off the Cowboy asked me if I had seen any tables at the yard sales which would work in the motorhome.  One of the Beaver motorhome’s previous owners removed the table but left the chairs?????  Well, we went back to the Lion’s Club garage sale and found a table which will work perfectly–$20!!!  I will have to refinish the top but that’s OK–I’ve done that before to a much larger table!

In earlier days of our RVing life hanging out with Jim and Ellie as well as Gina and Rollie I made a lot of cream cheese pound cakes–everyone loved that recipe.  For some reason (watching our weight??) I’ve not made one for a long time.  But Saturday night we are invited to a large gathering at Dan and Louanne’s.  I was asked to bring a dessert which would feed lots of people–cream cheese pound cake to the rescue.  I have no idea where I got this recipe–probably from Southern Living Magazine–but here it is–

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

1 1/2 cups butter softened

1 (8oz) cream cheese softened

3 cups of sugar

6 large eggs

3 cups all purpose flour

1/8 tsp salt

1 TBS vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar beating well.  Add eggs, one at a time beating until combined.

Combine flour and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed until just blended after each addition.  Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10 inch bundt pan.  (and word of warning–grease and flour that pan well!)

Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on wire rack for about 15 minutes; remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.


It’s not bad metal roofing, it’s dust! 🙂

We had such a delightful time at Dan and Louanne’s tonight.  So many good friends and neighbors and so much great food!  As always Dan did a wonderful job smoking a huge brisket!  The season is winding down and many of us are making departure plans–it was good to see everyone tonight.


ATV Adventure

In January of 2018 we took a drive in the truck but turned back when the road became too rough saying we would try it again sometime with the ATV.  Monday was the day and Dan and Louanne went with us.  In the Galiuro Mountain range northwest of Willcox sits Hooker Hot Springs and Jackson Cabin.  In 1885 Colonel Hooker purchased the land, thus the name for the hot springs.  Hooker Hot Springs is now part of 49,000 acres owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy.  Riparian areas, seven year round flowing streams and stunning rugged scenery make up what is now named the Muleshoe Ranch.  Our destination on Monday was Jackson Cabin located 14 miles from the Muleshoe Ranch headquarters.  Fourteen miles of rough, dusty, rugged trail but you can’t beat the scenery.  One account I read compared the rock formations and mountains to those of Utah.

The day was cool with clouds and sunshine.  This one is for you Mike McFall!

And our goal–Jackson Cabin.  I’ve not found any information on who or why someone owned a cabin so far from civilization.  There  were corrals, a water system–someone worked very hard at some point in history.And our only wildlife of the day.  He was gobbling and Dan started talking to him making the turkey fan his tail feathers and gobble some more.

Tuesday we were both worn out from our Monday adventure–the trail was tough enough that we didn’t get back to the trucks/trailers until 4:30pm and then had a 40 minutes drive to home.  But, a roof repair job was calling our name so we got to work.  The little tractor shed was in sad shape when we purchased this place.  We moved the door, replaced the siding and decided the roof would wait.  The wind this season made our decision for us–time to replace the roof.

The safe way to install a new roof–stand in the backhoe bucket!  I was the crew as in “lower me,” “hand me a……,” “can you cut 1/4 inch off these two boards…..”  Wednesday afternoon all the new decking is on and most of the new fascia board and rafters are done.  Thursday if the wind cooperates we will lay tar paper and the new steel roofing.

Wednesday I painted with primer the steel posts we set as porch roof supports to protect them from rusting this summer.  Wednesday afternoon the Cowboy went to help Dan change the oil in his CanAm as we have another adventure planned for next Monday.

Emmi thinks she might like to try yoga. 🙂


A Happy Wife

Hope all our readers, friends and family had a lovely Easter.

Moon going down over the Dragoons Easter Sunday morning.

The Cowboy has spent hours working toward getting our evaporative aka swamp cooler working.  The house we owned in North Ranch had an evaporative cooler and it was amazing how pleasantly cool the house would be when using it.  Unlike with air conditioning windows are left open to circulate the air when using a evaporative cooler. The Cowboy dislikes (and that’s putting it mildly) air conditioning.  We never used the central air in our North Ranch house only the evaporative cooler which used the same ducting system as the heat pump/air conditioner.  Swamp coolers don’t work in humid climates–but this time of year with a humidity of 1%–9%, the cooler works well.

Today the Cowboy finished the install and I am a happy wife–it’s a pleasant 70° in our house as I write this blog! Saturday night we had friends over for dinner and when we sat down to eat just after 6pm it was 80° in our house!!  This cooler is large enough to cool both the guest house and main house.

Friday we made a Sierra Vista run–the metal was ready for both the cooler and the shed roof.  Emmi stayed home–way too warm that day for a little black dog to travel.  We both like the color roof metal we chose from an internet photo–always an iffy proposition!

There is a local meat market here in Sunsites which also sells Mexican food and pizza to go.  We had yet to try Guzman’s so Friday Dan and Louanne came out and we ordered pizza.  Let’s just say I will continue to make our pizza! ):

Saturday while the Cowboy worked on the cooler, I spent the day cooking.  Stephanie and Larry plus Harry and Betsy joined us for dinner–both couples have lived here a long time and attend the same church we attend.  If I do say so myself our meal was outstanding!  Brisket, Brenda’s cheesy potatoes, green salad and asparagus.  Dessert was lemon meringue pie.  We do eat well!

Easter service at church today was wonderful–all those old hymns I love! We enjoyed another great meal mid afternoon at Dan and Louanne’s.  Ham, potato salad, deviled eggs, green salad, homemade rolls–it was so good!  And another lemon meringue pie for dessert.

We are off on an adventure Monday–stay tuned!

Strange Weather

Tuesday night as the Cowboy and Emmi were outside for last outs before retiring for the night, I heard what sounded like rain–it was–hard rain and the two of them were quick to come back inside!  The wind was blowing, the temperatures dropped and it rained hard for just a bit.  Perfect for settling the dust! Strange weather for late April in Arizona!

The Cowboy is feeling better at times and at other times not so good–he seems to have pinched a nerve or pulled a muscle in this neck/shoulder.  It’s hard for him to “sit.”  So, he’s been doing stuff which doesn’t require heavy lifting.  Heat, aspirin, massage and rest are all helping him get back to his normal!

Tuesday we made a run to Benson–we needed a notary and a few groceries.  The rest of the day was low key. Wednesday morning was the same but the Cowboy was restless after lunch and started a project–the ceiling in the hallway connecting the two houses.  I helped at times but also worked on a little quilt project–Morley the Moose.

Wednesday morning after the storm.

An almost full moon rising Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday our weather was beautiful–clear skies and very warm temperatures.  Thursday morning we set another steel post for the porch roof on the main house.  The Cowboy ran a water line and power to the evaporative cooler. Now we just need the sheet metal to form the ducting from cooler into the house.  We’ve ordered the sheet metal and roofing steel from a guy in Fort Huachua who isn’t fulfilling his end of the bargain–so we will see!

Was so excited to see this bird while on our morning walk–I’m thinking it’s a Scott’s oriole??  Where is Judy when we need her??

And a couple shots of the full moon rising over the Chiricahua Mountains on Thursday evening.


Montana In Our Sights

It’s the time of year when we start thinking of Montana, thinking of Arizona projects needing to be finished before we head north. In the fall, sometime in September we will be thinking of our return to Arizona. We won’t be leaving just yet but certainly in the next month. The Cowboy has a list of things which need finishing–but it’s not such a long list.

Saturday I checked one thing off the list–mow the grass/weeds.  We haven’t mowed as much this spring and instead have enjoyed all the poppies which sprang up after our wet/cool winter season.  The yard was looking ratty so out came the big John Deere tractor/mower and now the yard looks like a carpet–a weedy carpet but then that’s Arizona!  There is also some type of weed out there giving us both the sneezing fits–mowing really brought on the sneezing!

The Cowboy has been under the weather the last few days so projects have taken a back seat.  I think we have a handle on what’s wrong with him and will get him back to his normal hard charging self! It’s been driving him crazy to just be sitting–as you can all imagine!

Sunday was a pleasant, lazy day–the Cowboy managed a small project Sunday morning but spent the rest of the day being quiet. I went to church and then made Instant Pot beef stew using this recipe.  It’s that time of year when freezer/refrigerator clean out begins–now that we don’t have a RV refrigerator for the trip north.

Our sweet little great grandson Brooks celebrates his third birthday today–happy birthday Brooks!

Monday morning the Cowboy managed to finish the framework for mounting the evaporative cooler–We need a few things to complete the project which we will get sometime this week when we go to Sierra Vista to purchase the steel roofing for the little tractor shed.  That little shed is past needing a new roof and if we lived in a wetter climate the tractor would be wet!

Our very own Easter rabbit!

I’ve done routine chores today–laundry, changing bed linens, etc.  I dug out a few sprouting tumbleweeds–I’m thinking the tumbleweed war may be a forever war!

And here’s our beautiful great niece, Elizabeth on her way to her junior/senior prom in Arkansas–she is such a beautiful girl!