Monday, September 29, 2014

Sunshine, Rain and Quilts

We had sunshine and a breeze early today which did much to dry the mud but this evening we’ve had another downpour, back to mud I guess! Sad smile

Yesterday we went into town to attend the 85 and 80th birthday celebration for our friends and neighbors Olav and Gladys plus we dropped off some quilts I had finished for my friend Linda.

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IMG_1644IMG_1645I outlined all the creatures on this quilt, did stars and loops in the borders and sashings plus I created a water looking design in all the other blocks. 

IMG_1649Here’s another of the bunny quilts our quilt retreat group has made—if you will remember I made one just like this and gave it to my niece.  I just love these whimsical little guys!

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We’ve been on the go today, Nat was a little under the weather and we ended up taking him to the clinic in Big Timber where they gave him a couple liters of fluids, he’s back home tonight, tired but doing OK. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

An Old Friend Leaves

It was sad to watch ORF roll down the hill on a trailer today—what in the world is ORF you might ask??  A 1971 Ford pickup—the cowboy was employed as a ranch manager when I met him—a young man named Donald worked for Michael.   Donald must have been bored one day, he took the “F” and the “D” from the “FORD” emblem on the front of the truck and reversed the two letters—the truck became “DORF.”  The “D” fell off, thus the old truck became “ORF” and we always called the old green, beat up, wreck of a truck “ORF.”   In spite of its age, ORF was very dependable, always starting even in the coldest of weather.

When I met the cowboy way back in 1994 I was a city girl—raised on an Arkansas farm—but I wanted nothing to do with farms or ranches as an adult—that is until the cowboy swept me off my feet!  I almost went back to the city when I met “ORF!”  You see, “ORF” was our feed truck—there was a bale spear on the rear of the flatbed—it stuck straight out and you jabbed the spear into the center of a huge round bale of hay.  There was then an electric winch which pulled that hay bale upright onto the flatbed of the truck. 

Now comes the fun part—if there were two of us it was great, one drove, the other stood on the back of the truck and forked the hay from the round bale to the cows.  If the cowboy was off working somewhere and it became my job to feed our cows—that’s when it gets interesting!   

It was no problem to stab the round hay bale and winch it onto the bed of the truck.  BUT—now you were both driver and feeder!!  Very, very carefully you put the truck in first gear, opened the door, climbed out onto the running board and onto the step up to the flatbed—now remember, the truck is moving while you are doing this.  Cows don’t need to be fed in summer so it was usually cold and it might be snowing or raining, you are bouncing across uneven pasture land over frozen cow pies and horse poop, all the while forking hay off to the cows.  The cows and calves are all around you—Michael put a toggle switch on the cab of the pickup—if you thought you were about to go over the edge of one of our many gulches or you were about to mow down a baby calf, you hit that switch and the truck engine died, stopping you. 

My friend Jill would come up some days to help me feed if Michael was off somewhere.  She always refused to drive ORF saying she felt safer on the back of the truck forking hay!!! Winking smile

Yep, life was exciting in those days!!!  We used that truck to feed cows right up until about a year before we sold the cows—the cowboy bought a round bale feeder and I thought I had died and gone to heaven the first time I fed with it—you actually got to sit in the warm cab of the pickup!!

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Well, our Indian summer weather might have ended.  Cold, rainy and breezy today.  We did manage a walk before the cold front rolled in and I snapped a few fall photos:

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Check out my pupil Angie’s latest blog—she wrote and published it with no help from me—she writes about the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting.  She and Ralph moved down to Billings yesterday so Ralph could shoot in a match at the Billings Rod and Gun Club this weekend.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

More Computer Lessons

Angie appeared toting computer and notepad ready for some more computer lessons.  I gave up on Live Writer and we learned how to write a blog in Microsoft Word, then cut and paste it into Blogger, adding the photos once the blog was on Blogger Dashboard.  She posted another great blog, this one longer and with more photos.  Angie loved getting the comments from all you guys—thanks a bunch! Here’s a link to her blog about their stay in Pendleton, Oregon. 

We all enjoyed leftovers for lunch—Pioneer Woman Parmigiana, salad with homemade dressing, and french bread.  The cowboy and I are going back to having our heavy meal at lunch and eating either no supper or a very light one.  Tonight we enjoyed a happy hour out in the backyard with popcorn, veggies and dip—perfect!  If we eat this way, heavy at lunch, light at supper—we both seem to lose weight easier.

The cowboy spent the morning creating a spot to attach his early birthday present from Lonn—a Roto-Pax gas tank for the ATV.  It’s a flat, 2 gallon gas tank with a center mechanism which locks onto the jeep or ATV. 

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Today would have been my Mom and Dad’s 60th wedding anniversary had he lived. 

Daddy and Mom Early courtshipDad was eight years older than Mom and considered quite the catch.  All his life he remained as skinny as you see him in this photo taken probably before their marriage.  Dad died in 2002 and we all still miss him greatly.  But, we are also very happy that Mom found love and companionship again with Chuck—we are glad he’s one of our family.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Is It Fall

At 83 degrees it’s hard to believe fall is here but the changing colors and temperature drops at night are a sure sign.

IMG_1587There isn’t much going on around here except a whole lot of visiting—we all went into town yesterday to run some errands and saw a little fall color on the Yellowstone River.

IMG_1590And in addition to visiting we of course have been eating well!  Last night we made Pioneer Woman Chicken Parmiginia and once again it was delicious!  Tonight Lonn joined us and we enjoyed hamburgers, oven fried potatoes, and coleslaw—oh my!!

Angie and I spent the day fighting with her computer and blog.  I wanted to help Angie get her blog off the ground using Windows Live Writer but Live Writer was NOT cooperating at all!!!  I ended up helping her publish a quick blog just on Blogger—here’s her address, check it out and leave her a comment—it will make her day!  Our Rolling Ranch House

Angie and Ralph owned a horse farm in Fredrick, Maryland before retiring and going on the road full time.  Ralph is still participating in Cowboy Action Shooting and that’s how we all met.  We’ve kept in touch all these years and it’s good to have them visit us once again.

We’ve owned a small battery powered vacuum cleaner for years—I used it for quick pickups or to catch the flies which are so prevalent this time of year.  Well, for some reason it died, won’t hold a charge any longer and the cowboy couldn’t fix it.  I ordered a new one from Amazon.com and I think this is the first time Amazon hasn’t delivered on the two day Prime membership shipping promise.  Hmmmp!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Look Who Came To Visit

It’s been a long, long time since these friends came to visit—summer of 2007.  We first met Angie and Ralph in the winter of 2003 when we were participating in a shooting sport—Ralph was also a shooter.  At that time they still owned a farm in Maryland and were traveling part time in a truck camper towing a horse trailer behind.

We hit it off immediately with these folks and have kept in touch over the years, they spent a couple months at our place in the summer of 2007.  Angela and Ralph are now full time RVers and travel with a big ole Dodge pickup and a Holiday Rambler 5th wheel. 

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Tonight we dined on the deck—steaks provided by Angie and Ralph—Pioneer Woman potatoes, salad and grilled zucchini (for all of us except the cowboySmile).  We haven’t stopped talking since they arrived!

The cowboy was industrious today washing both the Cadillac and the jeep.  I gave Ms. Emmi a bath and cut some pieces for a little quilt I am making.

Last night Joe and Carolyn joined us for a little drive and dinner.  I tried another Pioneer Woman recipe, chicken parmigiana—it was absolutely delicious!!!  And the cowboy said I could serve that one again—he even liked it!!!

Life is good.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Friends Visit and Elk Video

While in Cedar Key, Florida a few years ago we were blogger stalked—actually more than once—but it’s a good kind of stalking when you meet people such as Joe and Carolyn or Jerry and Wanda.  There was another couple who stopped by for a brief visit in Cedar Key but I’ve forgotten their names.  The other two couples have visited us here in Montana and Joe and Carolyn decided to take another look at Montana the past week or so.  Judy and her brother are also very close to us tonight but our schedules didn’t mesh—we will have to meet up with Judy in Arizona this winter.

We met Joe and Carolyn in town for lunch and will be taking a “color” looking drive with them tomorrow—it was great to see them again!!

I promised an elk video and here it is—we used to have elk in our neck of the woods, some years we will hear one or two elk bugling, other years none.  The elk used to be plentiful; different theories abound as to why but most people think either over hunting or wolf killed. 

The motorhome is unloaded and Michael has spent the afternoon draining and winterizing.  Next trip will probably be when we head south after Thanksgiving. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Homesteaders

UPDATE: We weren’t lost, I posted a blog Monday on Live Writer to be published Monday night telling you readers our plans—well, I certainly must not have hit the correct “publish” button! So, here is one of the two blogs I’m posting tonight to tell you about our wonderful little mini vacation!

 

On Wednesday we decided to try the Missouri Breaks Historical Homesteads Auto Tour—Michael found a brochure online but couldn’t find a map.  As I said before, this is big, rugged country—if you get lost don’t think someone is going to come find you and there is no cell service to call for help.  Yesterday afternoon we stopped at the BLM office and they had a map—they also had some information about road conditions.  He warned us about a couple spots we might want to avoid and told us to have fun.  The campground host who took our campsite fee this morning also knew where we were going.

IMG_1980The campground is located in the trees to the left of the river and bridge.

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Off we went in the jeep—bouncing, bucking and swerving across the ridges and valleys of the wild and scenic Missouri Breaks.  The Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909 greatly accelerated the settlement of Montana expanding the original amount of land permitted by the Homestead Act of 1862 from 160 acres to 320 acres.  Proving up time was reduced from five years to three years and homesteaders were allowed to be gone from their claims six months per year.

In the years after 1909 rainfall was plentiful with good crops.  World World I sent many of the men off to serve their country—some never to return to their homesteads.  Then the year of 1919 was the driest of record following by a long, hard winter.  This marked the beginning of the drought, bank failures and the declining economy.  Many of the homesteaders starved out and left, some departing so quickly dishes were left on the table. 

The first homestead we came to belonged to two men, one of them with Big Timber, MT ties—John Mauland.  They were successful ranchers first with sheep then cattle.  Many of the ranch buildings are still standing and if the mosquitoes hadn’t been buzzing so loud, I bet we could have heard the two men talking!  This homestead was near the river and I had to retreat to the jeep—the mosquitoes were about to drive me crazy!

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IMG_2002This was the nicest and newest log home built along the river before the Army Corps of Engineers bought out the river places for the Fort Peck Dam Project. 

IMG_2007We visited several more homestead sites before deciding to find our way back home.  IMG_2010One of the homesteading women, Elma Petersen Webb became pregnant with her first and only child at the age of 44.  She decided to go back to Chicago where she was originally from to have the child.  This required her to ride a stage to Roy, MT, board the train to Lewistown then on to Harlowton where she continued on the main line to Chicago.  This woman lived on a homestead where at times water had to be hauled from 10 miles away!!!  No electricity, no refrigeration, no washing machine!  I think I’m glad I was born in this century!!

Here is one of the spots the BLM guy warned us about:

IMG_2011It wasn’t so bad here, in fact we drove through this one but just up the road out of site of this photo was a bog and we turned around.  The rains this country received in August really damaged the roads and bridges.  The almost dry August creeks became raging rivers leaving destruction behind. 

So, that was our Wednesday in Missouri Breaks country—we may go out to look at the elk again in the evening. 

Thursday we left our spot beside the Big Muddy and headed north again to what is referred to in Montana as the Hi-Line.  We stopped in Malta and toured the Dinosaur Museum, stopped in Havre and tried to visit LoraLee’s brother and sister-in-law in their western store, Norman’s, but they weren’t there.  We ended up in Neihart for the night at our friends Nancy and Royal’s.  Today Royal and the cowboy took a road trip to look at some property Royal and Nancy purchased.  I took the opportunity to drive back to Great Falls—50 miles—and get in some snuggles with that sweet baby, Lora Elizabeth.  Laci treated me to lunch and I had a wonderful visit. 

Lora Elizabeth newbornLora Elizabeth newborn2Laci and John had a photographer come into their home to take newborn photos.  Laci posted the album on Facebook today and I swiped a couple—isn’t she adorable!

Tonight we are home, back in the world of being connected—life is good!