Monday, June 30, 2008

A Very Warm Day

Well, it was our first HOT day of summer, it was very warm and even a little humid which doesn't happen too often. By 7pm, it was cloudy and had cooled.

Michael took off this morning with a piece of equipment to help put in a sprinkler system and I did yard work and more yard work with a little laundry tucked in between.

And speaking of laundry, last summer while our friends Angie and Ralph were here staying in our RV spot, Angie and I started drying most of our clothes on the clothesline on our deck to save money on the electric bill. We had to take turns washing because the clothesline is short in length. When we were in Billings last, I purchased another retractable clothesline and now I have two, so I can dry everything outside all at once including sheets.

I had a wonderful experience today--in this day and age when customer service seems to have gone by the wayside--I got absolutely fabulous customer service from one of my favorite stores, Costco. We purchased a Sealy mattress set from Costco in 2005 and it just has not held up well, developing soft spots where we both sleep. With several phone calls back and forth between Costco and Sealy and us, Costco decided today to have us return the mattress to them and they would give us a NEW one. The mattress is 3 years old--Costco is providing above and beyond customer service!
Sunset last night was breathtaking, I hurried outside and took these two photos.



Sunday, June 29, 2008

Natural Bridge and a Motorcycle Ride

Another beautiful, warm, not a cloud in the sky Montana day. We puttered this morning with a little garage building and a little yard work and after lunch decided to take a motorcycle ride.

About six miles from our home is Natural Bridge Falls on the Gallatin National Forest. In times of high water such as now when the snow melt is roaring down the Boulder River, the falls are spectacular. When the river is at a more normal water level, a natural bridge is formed and the entire river disappears into a limestone hole and comes out as the falls but at a lower elevation. The falls drop into a deep pool and then it appears as though the river just disappears, from the observation platforms, you can't see the river once it leaves the pool, it is flowing beneath a limestone cliff on which you are standing. I love the falls both in times of high water and normal water--it is amazing to see the entire river disappear into a hole in low water times and to see people out walking on the natural bridge where in spring a huge torrent of water flowed.

After our sightseeing adventure, we traveled on into Big Timber with a stop at the quilt store, Little Timber Quilts and a stop at The Fort for gas and an ice cream treat.

We drove down by the local feed store to see if a friend of Michael's was home and when passing by the feed store, I was again reminded of how wonderful it is to live in a small Montana community. Around the perimeter of the feed store are various items for sale that ranchers need such as round hay bale feeders, wire fencing panels, water troughs, etc. NONE of this stuff is locked or tied down in any way and ALL of it could easily be stolen. There aren't many places in this country anymore where this would be possible.

Life is the greatest!

Here comes the river. The bridge crosses over and there is a hiking trail leading to the opposite side of the falls where you can really get a good view but we both had on boots for motorcycle riding and were not inclined to hike in them. The burned trees in the upper portion of the photo were from the huge forest fires we had in 2006 when we were evacuated twice.

The falls. It is hard to visualize how high the falls really are in this photo--about 80-90 feet

This is the pool at the bottom of the falls and in low water times, it is deep, deep blue colored but today it was not even visible due to all the spray and water.
Usually the river is not visible at this point, it is flowing underneath the cliff to the left of the photo. In my time in Montana, 14 years, I have never seen the river flowing like it is in this photo--we have lots of water this year! Again, it is hard to visualize how deep this canyon is, trust me, it is deep!


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Isn't Saturday Supposed To Be A Day Off

Don't most people take weekends off?? I guess when you are retired, any day can be your weekend.

Michael worked very hard on his garage today getting almost all the trusses up on one side. I sprayed some nasty weeds again and took the mower down the driveway and cut the grass around the worm fence by the road. I also re-cut our walking paths up in our hayfield and got up near the irrigation ditch and ran out of gas! Had to walk back to the house, find Michael, get gas and then have him haul me back up the hill on the mule, as in Kawasaki mule. After all the mowing, I got out my favorite tool, the weedeater (yea, right!) and finished making the area around the worm fence look nice.

We walked up to where our little creek and the irrigation ditch join up this morning--Michael wanted to make sure things were working as they should and they were. Our neighbors have started irrigating hayfields and have more water than they can use in the irrigation ditch, so we get some of it which is a good thing.

It was a beautiful day today, not a cloud in the sky all day.

Columbine plants do very well in mountainous areas and mine are gorgeous this year, just loaded with blossoms.

The Jazzy girl like to curl up on the side of my chair sometimes, she looked so cute this morning, I couldn't resist a photo.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Moving Complete

A beautiful, beautiful Montana day. Here it is June 27 and it was only 78 degrees today and a nice cool breeze--we are loving it!

When we sold the ranch almost 3 years ago, we continued to rent a large barn/shed from the new owners. Today, we completed our move out of that building and all Michael's treasures are here on our own place. He is so happy!

This afternoon late, we hauled one of the mini-excavators into town and Michael backfilled some of his Dad's foundation. I went and put gold (diesel fuel) into the truck (it was only half empty and it cost me $98!!), stopped by the library and picked up some reading material and visited with friends at Cinnabar Creek.

When we got home, it was past dinner time but we sat out on our deck with a glass of wine and reflected on how lucky we are to have this beautiful place to live.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Day Off

We finished our project at the cabins yesterday evening late. There is still one more cabin/bunkhouse located at the main ranch headquarters site to do but Michael and his son changed plans and we have some breathing room! We will go back about mid July and complete the job.

We just took it very easy this morning, drinking our coffee, reading the paper and other things online then went for a walk with the Jazzy dog. Then we began to get caught up on our own projects. Since we sold the ranch almost 3 years ago, we have rented a big barn/shed from the new owner to store Michael's treasures. With our garage, we will no longer need that storage so Michael has been moving the remaining few things out of there today. I sprayed the never ending weeds, made phone calls and did the never ending laundry.

One of the phone calls I made was to research new health insurance. As we were and are self-employed, we have always paid out of pocket for our health insurance. Both of us are healthy, take only one medication between the two of us and have a $10,000 deductible health insurance policy. So even wellness things like mammograms come out of our pocket and so far this year, we have spent over $2000 on wellness issues! So I am trying to find other options for us. We contribute faithfully to a Health Savings Account and I recently changed administrators for that account, locating a new administrator that paid a much higher interest rate on our balance. And by the way you RV'ers--it is a credit union located in Chicago, IL that allows you to become a member of the credit union if you also belong to Escapees.

This evening, we are off to Michael's son's to pick up our last remaining piece of equipment so he can haul it to another job on Monday.

It is a great day and life.

Balsam root flowers again.
The recent warm weather has increased the amount of snow melt coming down from the mountains and raised the water level in the rivers greatly. This is the East Boulder River near our home. Some of the rivers such as the Yellowstone River are at flood stage.
Not sure whether this young eagle will turn out to be a Golden or a Bald.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kamikaze Bird and Billings

Last night we had a small pale yellow bird hopping up and down our bedroom window sills, flying at the window at times and chirping very loudly. It continued this behavior until dark but was at it again early as in 4am this morning. It is gone tonight. I need to get the bird book and see if I can identify it. Our baby robins from the pin box on the RV are trying to fly, too. Time for mother robin to find a new home for her nest!

We were out of the house by 8am this morning, stopped for coffee at Cinnabar Creek, dropped Jazz off with Michael's Dad and were off to Billings. I had doctor's appointments and we had our usual long list of things to do such as buy groceries. We didn't get home until about 7:30pm! We don't know what the answer is for these marathon Billings days but they are killing us. We used to go more often but with the price of gas, we are attempting to travel less frequently.

I saw a new dermatologist today who things he is a comedian! He told me my legs were too tan so I must buy my pants too short! He didn't like my tan arms, either! But I really liked him for a change, I have struggled with dermatologists! He also told me I had no wrinkles on my face to worry about--so I really liked him!

We are off to work again tomorrow--no rest for the weary!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Almost Finished

Well, we almost finished one step of our excavation project at the cabins. We probably have a short day's work to finish on Wednesday then we will move the equipment down to another spot the ranch calls the bunkhouse and work there for a few days, then we are finished completely--hurrah!!

Jazz explored and explored again today and tonight has taken up residence in our bed, she is so tired. I worried about her Saturday and Sunday, she seemed not herself and did not eat well. As some of you know, she almost died this past winter and I was afraid she was having the exact same symptoms again but I think she was just exhausted from all her running around on the ranch on Friday while we worked. Today she ate well and acted her usual self.

These buffalo are located on the ranch that borders the one where we have been working. The buffalo are frequently near the road as they were this afternoon. It is shedding time and they sure are mangy looking critters.

Mom and baby buffalo
We are off to Billings tomorrow for doctor's appointments and grocery shopping. Jazz will stay with Nat, it is too warm to take her.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Glorious Sunday

Beautiful, warm, sunny weather this Sunday. Michael worked out on the garage and complained about it being hot--it took us so long to warm up this year, I am not hot yet!

I mowed the lawns today and did some cooking and laundry. It was an uneventful, restful day for me. Even Jazzy is still tired from our construction work last week and we head off for more tomorrow.

Michael's Dad came up for lunch today--he loves my cooking so it is a pleasure to cook for him. We had steaks, salad and baked potatoes. My rhubarb plants are going wild this spring and I had made a rhubarb crisp a couple of days ago and experimented with making it lower in calories and fat--it was good!

The photos are more from the ranch Lonn manages.

Balsam Root flowers all over the hillsides in full bloom, bright yellow.
One of the buck mule deer we saw at a distance the day before. He was taking his afternoon nap. Across the road, his buddy was also taking a nap and we watched one of the other big guys walk up behind him and lash out at the napping deer with a hoof as if to say, "get up, you're in my spot."


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Work, Again

We decided to put in another day of work at the ranch Michael's son manages. But before that, we made a trip to Big Timber to get diesel for our truck and to have breakfast. In the past, we have purchased 500 gallons of diesel at a time to fill our bulk tanks here on the ranch as it is 22 miles to town and a gas station. We purchased some diesel for the bulk tank last summer but haven't filled it again--and with the price at about $4.65 for bulk diesel--filling a 500 gallon tank might break the bank!

After breakfast and filling the truck, we headed back up the Boulder. We needed to put the sod back in place that we had ripped off to dig trenches before it dried out too much. We got that done interspersed with several breaks to sit in the rocking chairs on the front porch of one of the cabins and gaze out over the beautiful scenery.

We stopped to visit with Michael's son and his wife a while when we came down the mountain from the cabins and then came home and collapsed. Michael did summon up enough energy while I was fixing us something to eat to get our sprinkler system operational for the season.

Shell Mountain up close and personal as all the mountains are from this ranch. The mountains seem close enough to touch.
This is the West Boulder River at high water. We have had several warm days in a row and all the snow in the mountains is starting to melt, raising the water level in the rivers. Notice the wooden bridge in the background and the mountains. That is an old log cabin on the left that has been there forever and always looks like it is going to slip into the river.
These are those Crazy Mountains again and the pond near the cabins.
We are taking the day off tomorrow and hopefully it will be a day of rest!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Why We Live In Montana Day


This was one of those why we live in Montana kind of days. The temperature hovered around 75 degrees all day, the sky was so blue it was indescribable and the mountains and wildflowers added so much color to our landscape.

We spent the entire day at the ranch managed by Michael's son, Lonn. We are doing an excavation project around the cabins one of the owners built way up on the side of the mountain. The views literally take your breath away--you can see forever--six mountain ranges are visible from these cabins. It didn't seem like work, every where we looked, the views were spectacular. Some wildlife came out to see what we were doing and Jazz had a ball, sniffing and exploring off a leash. While we are very tired tonight, it is a contented tired--it was a wonderful, beautiful day.

This Mule Deer came out to see what we were doing in his home.
There were about 6 of them on the hillside above where we were working--if their horns are this big now, can you imagine how big they will be come fall???

The Crazy Mountains and the pond by the cabins.

As soon as we got on the highway from our place this morning, Michael spotted this bear loping along the river bank. I got so excited, my photo is not the greatest, he is the brown spot in the center.

The West Boulder Mountains and some beautiful yellow wildflowers.
The Jazzy dog got very tried today and needed some Mom attention so she decided to ride with me for a while in the skidsteer.
We are so truly blessed to be able to live here in Montana and to also travel as we do.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Baby Robins

We have baby robins in the underneath side of our pin box on the fifth wheel. Sure am glad she hatched them now so she can get them raised before we want to go somewhere. When I go out to the RV to get something, the mama robin becomes very agitated and tries to dive bomb me.

It has been an uneventful day but busy. Michael started our project today over on the ranch his son manages. We are excavating around the foundations of 3 cabins and laying drain pipe. I stayed home and got caught up on cleaning and laundry. I also cooked up a bunch of food so I wouldn't have to think of something to cook when I come home from working dead tired. I am off to help him starting tomorrow, we should be finished in about a week.

There is so much talk on many of the blogs I read about the economy and ways to save money. http://www.thesimpledollar.com wrote today about cheap and healthy meals to prepare. I agreed with all his ideas such as cooking beans and pasta but I didn't agree with his comments about adding chicken to Ramen noodles and creating a healthy and nutritious meal! Ramen noodles while the mainstay of my college age granddaughter are loaded with sodium and all this time I thought a package was a serving--NOT--there are two servings to a package and 890mg of sodium per serving! The noodles also have a healthy dose of fat per serving.

We are trying so hard to diet and it gets frustrating when the scale stays at the same spot for too long. I try to cook healthy, no packaged or prepared foods, just meats, vegetables and whole grains like oats and whole wheat breads. Guess I am just eating too much of the "healthy."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pasture Ornaments & Baby Skunks

This first photo is of our two horses, each about 18 years old and as we haven't ridden much in the last few years, we refer to them as our "pasture ornaments." All they do is stand in the pasture and eat and eat, thus, they are beyond fat! Last year I decided to do some research to see if I could reduce our insurance rates. When the representative called, she had multiple questions to ask me such as; "how far is it to the nearest fire station?" "does your house have wood burning heat?" and on and on. One of the questions she asked me was, "do you have any livestock?" And I answered, "yes, two horses, our pasture ornaments." Her next statement almost made me fall out of my chair with laughter--she said, "are the ornaments metal or ceramic?" Guess I need to be more specific next time but it has provided good laughs every time I tell the story.

Our two pasture ornaments, Red and Roan eating as usual
This is one of the walking paths I mowed yesterday with Shell Mountain in the background
I made a trip into town today to weed whack my father-in-law's yard and to get a haircut. Nat has a huge yard and has an aversion to yard work--I think I may be developing the same aversion! On the way home, Jazz and I had an experience. We rounded the curve near our house and in the middle of the road was a mama skunk and four little babies--Jazz began to yap, I stopped and let mama skunk get off the road with her brood and we went on down the road--where was the camera???

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Stuck in the Irrigation Ditch

It has been a busy day. Michael loaded up the mini-excavator and headed off to work today (yes, that dirty word, "work"). We have owned a excavating business for several years and he still does some work for clients he always enjoyed working for.

I stayed home but didn't do any less work, that is for sure. Things like laundry and weed spraying just never seem to end, do they. I re-worked the drip system to our shrubs and some newly planted shrubs today.

After lunch I hopped on the riding mower to mow a walking path around our 40 acres. The young horses being pastured on the ranch we used to own make walking over there not very pleasant so I wanted to create a place where we could walk on our own ranch. The grass was so tall, it took me many trips back and forth to get it short enough and I got stuck in the irrigation ditch--riding mowers are heavy when you have to push them! Dang thing threw muddy water all over me, too! For those of you who don't know about irrigation, water is precious here in Montana. There are these irrigation ditches everywhere coming from the little creeks and rivers and the ditches are built on grade and gravity flow to each ranch owning water rights. Ranchers and farmers use the water to irrigate hay fields and crops. The moral of this story, don't cross irrigation ditches that have water in them with a slow moving riding mower unless you want to push!

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Monday After

It was a busy weekend of entertaining, parties and guests and we are pooped! It is always so enjoyable to visit with friends and family but it is also enjoyable to just get back to the two of us or rather the three of us if you include the Jazzy dog.

I'm beginning to sound like a broken record but Michael did slave away on his garage today again. I fired up the weed sprayer and murdered a lot of leafy spurge, burdock and houndstongue again. After I fixed lunch, I jumped on the riding mower and mowed the walking paths around our place and our old ranch where we still walk. A friend is pasturing some young horses on the ranch we used to own and they are like a bunch of teenagers--a pain in the you know what! Act like you are going to open a gate to drive the mower through and here they all come to help you. I told each and every one of them today how worthless I thought they were!

It was such a beautiful day that after the mowing and garage building, we took a ride on the Honda into Big Timber. I needed to mail our Air Force granddaughter a letter, I missed the mail man at home. Her parents heard from her again yesterday and the poor girl is so homesick, my heart hurts for her.

The Crazy Mountains which are up close and personal to Big Timber. These mountains just seem to rise up out of the prairie and are very majestic looking. We can even see them from our ranch which is 22 miles from Big Timber

An Evening Primrose we spotted on our walk this morning.
A young buck mule deer that wasn't the least bit concerned about us including the yapping Schnauzer Michael was carrying so she wouldn't chase this deer.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Friends and Dog Grooming

Happy Father's Day!!

Yesterday, I spent the day getting ready for a happy hour type gathering of many of our friends here at our home. I love to entertain and cook so I was in my element! We have new neighbors, Nancy and Geoff who bought the home of friends Jill and Terry. Their home is located about a mile from us right on the river. We invited other neighbors and spent a wonderful evening eating, drinking and visiting. It was actually warm enough of us to sit out on the deck for a change.

Michael is still working very hard on our garage. He put up one of the big truss supports this morning--all I can say is that I am sure thankful we have machinery--that was one big board!!

It is a beautiful day in Montana and the forecast calls for several more just like it. The sunshine is so welcome.

Poor Jazz is a very traumatized dog. For the party occasion, she got a bath and then this morning while we were on our walk, once again, she found something nasty to roll in--guess she is telling me she doesn't like baths. Soooo--we came back to the house and as she hasn't had a haircut since before we left Arizona, I bathed her and gave her a buzz job! I cut most of her hair off and she doesn't look so much like a Schnauzer, now. It will be easier to keep her clean this summer while she is outside so much.

Michael's Dad, his son and his family are coming over this afternoon for an early dinner so I best get busy. We are having steaks on the grill, twice baked potatoes and homemade cream cheese pound cake for dessert--I am hungry all ready!

When our guests were leaving last night, the sky was spectacular, this photo really didn't capture all the colors but you get the idea!
One traumatized little dog!


Friday, June 13, 2008

Small Town Politics

I have a soapbox today! As you know, we live in a very small community here in Montana and like any other small community across the country, everyone knows every one's business and if they don't the small town newspaper tells you.

It is the custom of our local newspaper to publish a column titled the "Sheriff Report" which lists all the arrests made the previous weeks. Many times I am upset to see a name followed by MIP, meaning minor in possession of alcohol. The weekend following graduation, two recent high school graduates received MIP's. The names of these two young ladies were not published in our local newspaper. It is my hope that our local newspaper rather than bowing to pressure from these parents has decided to stop publishing the names of the young people caught with alcohol.

Because we are a small town, it is difficult for a young person under the age of 21 to buy alcohol because everyone knows everyone. So, that means some adult is providing it for these young people. Michael and I both have very dear long time friends that have lost a child each to drunk driving when they were under the age of 21. Buying alcohol for underage children is against the law and heartbreakingly dangerous. I am all for teaching teenagers to drink responsibly but buying alcohol for underage young people is not the road to go down!

That's my Friday soapbox!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Birds and Crummy Weather

The crummy weather we are having has really brought out the birds around here. They don't like the rain, wind and snow any more than I do and seem to be very hungry.
I recently read a review for a new birding book Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America and picked up a copy yesterday during our mega shopping trip to Billings. The only birding book I had was the National Audubon one and I had never been really happy with it. It did not show any photos of the female birds or young birds. I love this new Smithsonian book--it has both male and female photos for most birds, a range map for each species showing breeding, year round, migration and winter locations. The photos are awesome, very clear. That's my two cents worth! The book is very new, published in 2008.
Our trip to Billings yielded a full SUV and an empty pocketbook. We are having a neighborhood get together here at our house on Saturday afternoon, so I did lots of grocery buying for that. Our printer also gave up the ghost so I bought a just on the market HP--I'll let you know what I think when I get it set up.
We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at our favorite Billings restaurant, CJ's.
It has been cold and windy today and Michael worked outside all morning removing the forms from the concrete we poured on Monday--we have garage walls, now. On to the roof!
I just love these little lazuli buntings, they give me so much pleasure to watch. With all the cold weather, it seems like I have many more buntings than I usually do.
This lady paid us absolutely no mind this morning when we spotted her while out on our morning walk.



Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Blessed

My sister reminded me today how blessed Michael and I are to live where we live. It is so incredibly beautiful and private here. We have each other, our health, our families and friends and of course the Jazzy dog. We are truly blessed.
I fired up the weed sprayer today and got some nasty old burdock and houndstongue murdered. We thought the weather report had been wrong--the morning was beautiful then the wind came up, the temperature dropped and a snow/rain squall went through. I was weeding our backyard flower beds and had to retreat inside.
Bet some of those folks at the RV Dreams Rally in Branson, MO wish they had a little of our cooler temperatures!
Our power company is working on the system tomorrow and have told us we will have at least six hours without power starting at 8am. So--we are taking the day off and heading to Billings for some serious grocery shopping and other shopping.
Count your blessings, today.

More of the wild iris have bloomed

Monday, June 9, 2008

We Have Walls

At 10am the concrete truck roared up the driveway and we started pouring the final half of the garage walls. We had a really talented crew--Nat, who is 86 years old and had heart surgery last November, one-armed Lonn who is Michael's son--he has one arm because he is dealing with a torn biceps tendon and to add insult to injury on top of that, got bucked off his horse Saturday. The final member of this great crew was me who doesn't know the first thing about pouring concrete. Michael got to run the skidsteer loader and supervise but, we got it done, it is working and we now have garage walls.
On our early morning walk, we spotted two fawns hiding in some bushes. We tried to sneak closer for some photos but weren't too successful--one fawn took off and the other hid himself even more into the bushes.
We had sunshine early today but now we have clouds and our forecast does not look good for a few days so expect some whining from me.

Nat looks like he is looking for something he lost!
There are actually two fawns in this photo but it is hard to tell.
Jazz walks this log across the little creek that is there--you would think she doesn't want to get her feet wet but she had all ready been in the creek several times this morning.
Michael is out spreading tar on the older concrete walls of the garage to help prevent moisture from seeping in when he backfills dirt against the walls. He is dressed in the grubbiest clothes he can find so they can go in the garbage if he has too much tar on him when he comes in. He has on an old black cowboy hat that should have gone in the garbage long ago so maybe I will get lucky and it will get tar on it so we can throw it away!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sunday Lunches

I grew up in the south and church and Sunday lunch were part of life. We usually went to Mom's for lunch after church with all the family present, it was kind of expected. We never stopped to wonder if maybe Mom was tired of fixing lunch! When Grandma Barnes was alive, we spent many Sunday's at her house, she and Grandpa lived within sight of our house. We ate all the things we now know were bad for us such as fried chicken, fried okra, fried potatoes. Although both my grandparents lived to ripe old ages eating all that fried food! Lots of what we ate came from the garden, too. My family continues to have Sunday lunches and they gather frequently at my sister's house. I miss those Sunday lunches at home, not just the food but family, too.
I had my own version of Sunday lunch today. When I called Michael's Dad, Nat this morning, he said the wind was blowing and it was raining at his house in Big Timber and that it was making him cranky. I suggested he have a change of scenery and come up to our house for lunch. Our friend, Larry, called and said he was bringing us some loads of gravel and I invited him for lunch. We had tomato and rice soup (Larry does not eat salad) to start then marinated pork tenderloin and my famous (in the family) garlic mashed potatoes. For dessert we had oatmeal/chocolate chip/pecan cookies which I made for the concrete crew that will work tomorrow.
Yesterday as I was driving the riding mower back up our driveway, I happened to glance over to my right into the tall grass--there lay a baby fawn so still--it didn't move, not even its head in spite of the noisy lawnmower! It was a beautiful sight!

Another view of the worm fence with the snow covered Crazy Mountains in the distance.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hard Work and Feeling Good

The weather cooperated today long enough for me to get the grass mowed and weed whacked here at the house and also down at the road by the "worm fence." These fences are probably called "worm fences" due to their crooked design. They were very common here in Montana in earlier times probably because they required no digging of post holes. They last a long time as evidenced by the old ones you see along the sides of the roads. Mowing the grass and weed whacking just makes it look so clean and nice at our driveway entrance. But, tonight, I need a massage, that is a lot of work!
Michael and I were discussing today that it feels good to work hard and accomplish something. He has been struggling with the lack of something to do when we are traveling in the RV for extended periods of time and is very pleased to have a project for the summer. I seem to have an easier time of staying busy in the RV with sewing, writing this blog, cooking and reading. Michael needs to have a physical activity, anybody have any thoughts?? He may have to take up golf!!
Today I am reminded of my Dad. He had no hobbies and lived to work until he became too ill to work. His idea of a good Saturday was cutting firewood, mowing the grass, and washing the cars. He was always quick to rope you in to helping, too. Michael and I both tried to copy Daddy today, we had way too many projects!
Our son and daughter-in-law heard from Laci our granddaughter today. She just started boot camp in San Antonio. She called and said it was hot, she was doing lots of marching and getting yelled at a lot. She felt she was doing well with the sit-ups and push-ups, too. It was a relief to hear from her and to get an address so we can send letters.

A photo of our driveway and that blue, blue Montana big sky!
The worm fence and Boone Mountain in the background.
A baby bunny that is hanging out in our front yard driving Jazz crazy.


Friday, June 6, 2008

Quilting, Rain and BIG Holes

After we took our walk this morning, I started out to mow the grass here at the house and down by the road where we have a log rail fence at the entrance to our driveway. Mother Nature had other ideas--we started out with sunshine and quickly progressed to rain, cold and wind. The big blue tarp in the photo is protecting our concrete forms from all the rain. Michael is being supervised by the Jazzy girl as he digs the BIG hole to get power and water to the garage. Sure is nice to have a husband who is so handy!

Since I couldn't do manual labor today, I did a little cleaning then headed to my sewing room downstairs. I had started this bag while we were still in Arizona and decided to finish it today. I am very pleased with how it turned out.

When we sold our ranch about 3 years ago, we kept the small parcel where our house is located and the new owners of the ranch allow us to still walk on their property. They have leased out the pasture ground to a friend of ours who raises Frisian horses. These are young horses with no manners yet and they come to the fence every time they see us to check out what's going on. Of course Jazz has to have a fit and I really have to watch her, she seems to want to give chase which would not be a good thing, we could have a pancake Schnauzer. Frisian horses are draft horses and have HUGE feet.
The mountains in the background of this photo burned in the summer forest fires 2 years ago. These fires came within 1/2 mile of our home and we were evacuated twice. Hopefully with all this rain and cool weather we are having here in June, our forest fire danger will be lessened this summer--see there is a silver cloud.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

We Are Starting to Grow Web Feet

It rained those cats and dogs again most of the morning but this afternoon, we have very welcome sunshine. I did get out this afternoon and pull some weeds and grass from the flower beds. There are certain chores that make me wonder about full time RVing and pulling weeds is one of them!
Guess we won't be going anywhere in the RV for a while, we have a mother robin sitting on 4 little blue eggs in our pin box!! Robins have a knack for putting their nests in sheltered spots. At least she put her nest out of Jazz reach, Jazz is bad news for little baby birds that haven't gotten their wings yet.
We are trying to diet again and lose some of the winter weight we gained. I think being on a diet is one of the hardest things I have ever tried to do, UGH!
There is a pair of mallard ducks hanging out on our pond the last few weeks. They are there almost every morning which is making us think they may be nesting nearby--we might have baby ducks.
Nat, Michael's Dad who lives in Big Timber came up today and had lunch with us. He and Michael had a good visit.

Another view of the Tobacco Root Mountains near Butte, Montana. Notice how much snow is still on the mountains--the news is good for our snow pack this spring. Lots of mountain snow means lots of irrigating water for the ranchers and farmers and lots of smiles from those folks!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Butte, Montana, the Air Force and Rain, Again

Yesterday morning early in Butte, MT, we attended the induction ceremony for our granddaughter, Laci. It was a very emotional occasion as she left for San Antonio, Texas and boot camp. My thoughts have been with her all day today hoping she is coping and getting acclimated.
After the ceremony, we headed toward Bozeman and Costco to pick up a few groceries. Along the way, we drove up the side of a mountain to check out a USFS campground. We are always on the lookout for scenic and private campgrounds that we can fit into. We could fit our RV into this campground but the road was 4 miles of bone jarring gravel and rocks, not somewhere we want to take the rig. But you couldn't beat the scenery.
I did manage to check out the quilt store in Butte and another one in the very small town of Whitehall, MT. After Costco, we scurried home as we were expected for dinner at the home of our friends Mark and Gemma by 6pm. It was an enjoyable evening, good food and good friends.
Today it is raining again, cats and dogs! Michael has started working on the second half of the garage wall.
This afternoon as our friends Ellie and Jim say, I practiced my napping and did very well at it since it was raining. It is June 4 and we have not reached 45 degrees, we have a fire in the fireplace!

This is a photo of the Berkeley Pit in Butte, site of the largest open-pit copper mining operation in the world, started in 1955 and closed in 1982. It has filled with water and is 1800 feet deep!!
The Tobacco Root Mountains as seen from the USFS campground we checked out.
Jazz and me beside the creek that flowed through the campground.
Pretty purple flowers.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Butte, Montana

Dinner with our neighbors, George and Shirley and Robyn and Claire was wonderful last night as usual. Shirley served us salmon and the way she prepared it was awesome. George is our local wine expert so that part of the evening was excellent, too.
We took a beautiful, strenuous walk this morning and got very muddy feet. Jazz lagged behind a couple of times and later I found out why! She let herself into the house as she is prone to do since Mr. Handyman has not fixed the back door lever and went to take her morning nap in my chair. I stopped to pet her and smelled this toxic odor. She had rolled in a nice, fragrant pile of horse poop!!! So, in spite of the fact that she had the dreaded bath yesterday, she and I headed off to the bath tub again!! She was not a happy girl and neither was Mom!
Tonight we are in Butte, Montana which is located about two and a half hours from our home. The drive is very scenic although it rained on us almost the whole way and the wind whipped us around.
Our granddaughter, Laci, is being inducted into the US Air Force tomorrow morning at the Federal Building here then she will leave for boot camp in San Antonio. We are allowed to go to the induction ceremony then they take her away. We will miss her greatly!
We are in a motel and I told Michael that it would have been more fun to bring the RV and probably cheaper--even with the price of diesel fuel. Motels in Montana in the tourist season are expensive.
Tomorrow I will post some tourist stuff about Butte with photos--I brought the old laptop with me and left the cable for the camera at home.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Weed Spraying/Mowing/Dog Grooming

Happy Sunday!
I started out to have a day of rest but just kept coming up with way too many projects that I wanted to get accomplished. I am the chief weed sprayer here on our small ranch so since it wasn't raining and the wind wasn't blowing (rare occasions lately) I headed out to spray with our tank sprayer mounted on our Kawasaki mule. Each morning we walk a 2 mile path from our house, around the ranch we used to own and then home via our driveway. Parts of this walk are across hay fields where the grass gets very tall and as we are in rattlesnake country, I like to see where I am walking so I mow a path across the fields.
Michael worked on the garage getting the forms set up and ready to pour the second half of the walls. He is really anxious to finish this garage.
After lunch, I decided to wash my SUV and of course, I caused a thunderstorm that dumped a bunch of rain on us just as I was finishing up. The lightening was very sharp and spectacular.
The last of my projects was to bathe Jazz, which she hates and I hate to do because she hates it so much but we got it done and she smells a ton better.
Last night we went over to Lonn and LoraLee's for a going away party for our granddaughter Laci who will be entering the Air Force on Tuesday of next week. Lots of her friends and our neighbors and friends were there--it is always fun to visit with everyone after having been gone all winter. The food was great, too.
Tonight we are going down our driveway and across the road to George and Shirley's home on the river for dinner. They are our closest neighbors.
It was a great day in Montana.