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Monday, August 22, 2016

Here Comes The Smoke

We’ve been lucky so far this summer having had little forest fire smoke.  In years past the smoke has made us miserable and today the smoke arrived.  There are fires burning in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming plus all the ones in California—we are just dang lucky the smoke hasn’t been here all summer!  Michael woke with a sore throat this morning and when I went to the kitchen to start coffee I could see why—we were sitting in a haze of smoke.  There are air quality alerts all over the state and the air smells of smoke—UGH.  If the air quality doesn’t improve we may have to find somewhere else to be!

DSCN2937Our previous schnauzer Jazz learned cattle guard walking all on her own—we had to teach Emmi but she now has it down pat!

DSCN2945Smoke does make for pretty sunsets!

barn doorsIn our Arizona home the master bathroom has a design flaw—the door opens into the bathroom and you must step inside and shut the door before getting to the toilet—definite design flaw!  I love the sliding barn door look but geez the hardware is pricey!  So—cowboy to the rescue!  He is using his lathe to create the hardware for our door—isn’t he smart!

I’ve been working on a quilt of my own and making progress—I should be able to finish quilting it tomorrow.  I have two customer quilts waiting!

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Much Need Rain And Other

Thursday night it rained most of the night into Friday morning giving us one and a half inches of much needed rain.  Our temperatures went from the high 80’s to the high 60’s on Friday.  This morning it was a chilly 37 degrees here on August 20th!  Today has been a beautiful, sunny, cool one!

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Just after Michael and I married a mining company started operations about nine miles up the road from us.  The neighborhood fought the mining company but of course couldn’t stop the process.  The neighborhood grass roots movement did force the mine to establish what is referred to as the “good neighbor agreement,” a legal document.  In the document the mine agrees to certain policies:  dust control on the gravel road, bussing of non-management personnel to control traffic, limiting semi/heavy duty type traffic to daylight hours, etc. 

As a result of this agreement we have one of the best maintained gravel roads in Montana!!  Our road is graded more often and the dust suppressant is applied frequently.  But oh my!! does that stuff ever make a mess on your vehicles!  The mine usually gives us a heads up when the magnesium chloride is scheduled for application and we stay home until it dries.  Rain makes the mixture very, very sticky!

The magnesium chloride was applied last Tuesday and we had a birthday party to attend—so we took the jeep as it’s our smallest rig to have to wash!  No other plans were in the works until the Can-Am dealer called saying our ATV was repaired.  So, off we went to Billings again Friday morning after the rain—geez, that’s been a long explanation for why Michael has spent a lot of time washing vehicles lately!! Smile

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Some beautiful sunsets lately!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Birthday Party (Family Photo Overload)

When one works for what we refer to around here as “the rich and famous” your time is not your own.  Lora’s birthday is in early August but the ranch where the rest of our family are employeed was packed with owner/guests at that time.  So, Laci and John (who is home on leave from Korea) chose Tuesday afternoon to celebrate Ms. Lora’s second birthday.  Lots of friends and family, lots of happy noise and lots of food.

DSCN2858The star attraction practicing a little yoga???

DSCN2860-001Two of the grandpa’s.

DSCN2863Lora and Colt

DSCN2882Cold water or dancing?? 

Aunt Katie, cousin Brooks and one of the chefs, Michael.

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DSCN2861Kristen, our youngest granddaughter.

DSCN2909A smiley baby Brooks and Brooks with his Dad, Michael.

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DSCN2893Michael’s daughter Shannen with the fork in her mouth (I could get into trouble for that one), Mark, Michael and Kristen, our youngest granddaughter. 

A great party!

Wednesday we took a trip to Billings.  Haircut time for me and finally it was time for the Can-Am to have the safety recall done.  If you remember—around the end of June the Can-Am lost all steering while I was driving in the hayfield—we were just glad it happened on fairly flat ground and not some cliff in Moab!!  Seems it’s a problem with all Can-Am Commander side by sides manufactured in the years 2011-2013.

 IMG_0959One way to get a rig off the trailer, especially one that doesn’t steer!  When we loaded the CanAm at home, Michael drove it onto the trailer while I pushed the wheels in the right direction—nerve wracking! 

Today Michael helped me can 18 pints and 3 half pints of chokecherry syrup—YUM!  May have to have pancakes for breakfast tomorrow to sample the syrup!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Louisiana Flooding

Janet S. left this comment on a previous blog, “have you heard from Rollie & Gina are they o.k. with all the flooding in Louisiana?”  Gina and Rollie are currently in Houston but still have many family and friends affected by the horrific flooding in Denham Springs, Louisiana.  Gina and Rollie’s home is miraculously not flooded.  Their daughter Ashley and her husband Parker recently moved to Arkansas near where my family is located.  Ashley has accepted a position as a physician in Hot Springs, Arkansas and Parker is completing his residency at a nearby hospital.  Ashley appeared on an Arkansas TV station tonight appealing for donations and help for Denham Springs.  In spite of the fact Ashley has been studying hard for her internal medicine boards which she will sit for on Friday—her heart is in Louisiana.  She and her family will travel to Louisiana this coming weekend to take the donations Arkansas collects.  There is also a Facebook page, Arkansas Is Coming.  Rollie, Gina, Ashley and Parker will appreciate any and all help given to the people of Denham Springs, Louisiana.

If you haven’t seen the flooding on the news, here is a video our friend Kerri shared on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WeatherNation/videos/10154470076154874/

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Culture Shock And A Longarm Quilting Sale

I’m a southern girl, if you’ve ever heard me talk it’s obvious and I do love homegrown vegetables!  My family had big gardens and we ate well.  In spite of holding down full time jobs, Mom and Dad raised a huge garden as did my grandparents who lived close by.  My grandfather grew the best watermelons and sweet potatoes which he took to town to sell. 

In 1992 when I moved to Powell, Wyoming from Houston, Texas I went into culture shock—short growing season meant not very much produce.  My sweet Mom even overnight shipped a box of tomatoes to me in Wyoming my withdrawal was so acute!  When I purchased a house on eleven acres, I planted a garden and managed to grow a few tomatoes ending up with lots of green ones picked before the frost could get them.  In our neck of the woods, growing tomatoes without a greenhouse is possible but incredibly labor intensive—plant in pots, bring the plants inside every night or plant in the garden and cover them every night.  I did the “cover them every night” routine once—about the end of August we had a hard freeze and the tomatoes froze in spite of being covered!

Well—Friday I spotted a Facebook post written by a friend with a greenhouse—he would be at the farmer’s market Saturday morning with fresh tomatoes.  We were at the market before it even officially opened!

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First fresh/real tomato I’ve had in a long time!!  Delicious!!!  Now, mind you, the cowboy doesn’t share my love of tomatoes—oh, well, that just means more for me!

Coyote Creek Quilting is having a sale.  I will longarm quilt any quilt, queen size (80x90) or smaller for $0.015 per square inch with an overall edge to edge meander. That means your queen size quilt will be quilted for about $100. There is a $50 minimum charge if you wish to use this sale to have a wall hanging quilted. This pricing does not include batting (which I sell for the same price as quilt shops) or the backing. I do have some neutral colored wide backs which I will discount 10% during this sale. Quilts must be longarm ready--pressed, threads snipped and the backing must be pieced if required. I only have time to quilt ten quilts--so contact me soon!!

Whew—what happened to our fall like weather—it was a hot one today!  I was in the nice and cool basement quilting but Michael was working outside.  It is so incredibly dry here—Michael retrieved our old flatbed feed truck, put the huge water tank on the flatbed, filled it with 250 gallons of water and connected a gas engine powered high volume pump to the tank—and now we have a fire engine of sorts.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Where We Live

We’ve been busy—yesterday we made a run to Billings for a routine doctor’s appointment and a Costco shopping trip.  Today I finally got all the accumulated dust bunnies (how does a house get dusty when all the doors and windows are shut and no one is coming or going for a month??) vacuumed and some general cleaning done.

It’s been a long time since I shared any photos of where we live:

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DSCN2839On a walk with Emmi last evening I spotted this furry worm/caterpillar.  My Mom has said if the caterpillars are furry it’s going to be a hard winter?? 

It’s a bumper crop year for chokecherries—I don’t think I’ve ever seen the trees so heavy with fruit.  The cowboy has been hinting about picking some for jelly/syrup and I’ve not listened.  Today he wore me down and I sent him to pick cherries.  The cowboy doesn’t help much in the kitchen but he did today—we juiced the berries getting 25 cups of beautiful, deep red juice.  And then there was the mess—white sinks and red juice make for a very big mess!

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This afternoon late after cleaning up all the chokecherry mess, we took a little RZR ride up Elk Creek near us. 

DSCN2841Not quite ripe.

IMG_5649Little big dog as Larry calls Emmi.

IMG_5655Youngster turkey.  There was a mama turkey with a bunch of babies but she and the babies scurried into the tall grass before I could get a shot.

I could swear fall is in the air—our mornings are cool, in the high 40’s and we’ve stayed under 80 degrees for several days now.  There’s just something in the air—fall is coming.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Chair Pockets and Rain Gauges

What the heck are chair pockets???  Well I found out—granddaughter Katie and I made 30 of those things over the last two days!

 chair pocketKatie will be teaching second grade this fall, saw this pattern on the internet and enlisted the help of her grandmother—me.  Katie’s late mother, LoraLee had as all quilters do, a large fabric stash.  It was a good feeling knowing LoraLee’s fabric stash was going to a good cause!  We toiled away for two days cutting, sewing and keeping this little guy happy--

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DSCN2835All done this afternoon, ready for those second graders and their chairs.  Geez times have changed—teachers spend so much of their own money supplying and decorating their classrooms—has it always been that way and I just wasn’t aware??? 

Remember this photo and my plea for identification help??

IMG_5597Well, a blog reader came through—“My husband retired from the National Weather Service and says this is a rain gauge.  It has to be above tree tops so the amount of actual rain collected is not compromised by what would fall off the trees.  The pointy things hanging off the top are wind shields to prevent the rain collecting in the gauge from being blown out before it is measured.”  Thank you so much Sharon for taking the time to send an email and thanks for reading the blog!!

The cowboy repaired our riding lawnmower then mowed the grass today—good job!  We are experiencing fantastic August weather with highs in the 70’s and no humidity (sorry Al and Kelly!)