Friday, September 30, 2011

Is Email A Good Thing

A long time ago when email had first started to be a means of communication a friend said to me, “I hate email!”  What was so surprising about this comment was that Lyn was an attorney, a powerful executive for a copper mine—she received 100’s of emails per day.  Lyn said she hated email because people would say things in an email that they wouldn’t dare say in person or on the phone.  Lyn has a point for sure!  Judy over at Patchwork Times, wrote an excellent blog today entitled  Tolerance In Blogland.  Think about it the next time you want to leave a not very nice comment on someone’s blog—would you say that to the person’s face??

Why waste your time reading a blog when you never agree with anything the person says??  Why waste your time leaving nasty comments??  I read very little news and I don’t watch TV—do I have my head in the sand, nope, I am well aware of what is going on in our screwed up country but I don’t spend my day stressing out over it.  I don’t spend time stressing out over what someone else may have written in a blog—it’s their blog, let them write what they want.  If you don’t like it write your own blog or go read someone’s with which you agree!

OK, with that said!  Michael spent the day working on his road project and I spent the day quilting and sewing—what more could a girl ask for?? 

How about dinner out in town with friends, Terry & Jill along with Jeane & Steve!  We tried out the newest bar/restaurant to open in Big Timber, The Thirsty Turtle.  Huge burgers that were quite good! 

The smoke was very thick in the air tonight as we were driving home, very thick.  I pray every day for a west wind!smoke

IMG_0882 The lengths we will go to for entertaining the dog!  Michael was rolling this big roll of pipe out of the back of the truck this morning and Emmi thought it was a big bad something out to get her.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sewing Festival and A New Truck

Long ago I thought nothing of being up at 4am and out the door by 5am heading for some operating room somewhere.  But, I’m retired and 4am is dang early for this girl any more!  In order to have Michael at the place for picking up the new to us truck and to have Jeane and me at the Sewing Festival by 8:30, 4am it was, YUK!  We dropped Emmi at Nat’s, picked up Jeane at Nat’s and off we went!  And typical Montana weather, heater in the morning, air conditioner in the afternoon.

We left Michael to conduct the truck business as Jeane and I made our way to the Shrine Auditorium for the annual Billings Sewing Festival.  Jeane was taking a class—making a pillow using serger techniques.  I was taking two classes; techniques for using this wonderful product called Texture Magic and another class on needle punch embroidery.  I learned so much and Jeane thinks we should come back next year and take more classes—I agree.

Finished up the classes just at lunch time and headed to downtown Billings to a favorite place of ours, Bin 119.  We both ordered Ruebens, delicious!!  Then it was off to run some errands—you know the kind—craft stores, Coldwater Creek, and of course the quilt store, Fiberworks.  Costco was our final stop before heading home. 

It was a fabulous day spent with a very good friend, too fun!

Michael made it home with his new truck and is very pleased.  Emmi was just glad when both her people got home!

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Smoke, Wind, And Dinner

Once again when we got up this morning we were engulfed in nasty, thick smoke.

IMG_0875And tonight the wind is blowing hard, lets hope some of those smoldering slash piles don’t flare. 

Michael worked on the diesel pickup again today and after lunch took the big backhoe down the East Boulder to dig some difficult post holes for a friend.  Remember this spring how we were complaining so bitterly about all the rain we were getting.  Well, the faucet was turned off about mid-July and it is very, very dry around here.  All the moisture compacted the ground and then the heat baked it making it hard as a rock for digging.

I got a quilt loaded onto the quilting frame—I love listening to my iPod and audiobooks while working in the studio.  I am currently listening to The Help, I read it a couple years ago when it first came out and loved the book, now that I am listening to someone read the book to me I am hearing parts I missed and once again, I can’t put the book down!

Lonn and LoraLee came for dinner tonight and we had a great evening.  I made ribs, oven fried potatoes and spinach salad.  And, I was bad—I made homemade brownies.  A delicious meal and a good time with family.

An early morning tomorrow, very early! 

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

After a walk with Emmi and some photo taking of fall colors I got started on all my chores, YUK!  Phone calls needed to be made to doctor’s offices that couldn’t seem to figure out how to file insurance claims and get them paid.  I researched companies selling embroidery thread.

After my lunch of tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and bread I washed the bumble bee jeep, vacuumed and cleaned the inside—looks great now.

Did some reading of the manual for my new sewing machine—I broke a plastic pressure foot the other day while doing that little embroidery project—Jeane got me a new one over in Livingston but I won’t have it until Thursday.  I’m anxious to try again!

The RV Goddess had a simply wonderful recipe for roasted tomato and garlic pasta sauce in her blog a couple days ago.  I thought it was delicious, Michael preferred my tomato sauce with red pepper.IMG_0872

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This doe loves to hang out in our sawmill shed—when Emmi and I walked by she seemed to be saying, “what, what do you want?”  I wasn’t 25 feet from her!IMG_0868

Monday, September 26, 2011

Off To Billings

Michael was perusing the Craigslist ads this morning and saw a truck he might like and so after lunch off we went headed to Billings, leaving Miss Emmi with Nat much to his delight.  I didn’t get much accomplished this morning except some phone calls and emails.

We bought the truck, a 2002 gasoline F250 Ford, an extended cab, plain Jane, Angie and Ralph type truck.  We gave our friends such grief over their plain Jane Dodge diesel pickup, complaining every time we got out of the truck, “oh, geez, we have to lock our own doors!”  This is the first gasoline powered truck Michael has owned in years and he is hoping to have better luck with it than with the diesels.  We will see.

Stopped at Billings RV to get some new light bulbs for the motorhome—I am so excited—while I very much enjoy boondocking I am also looking forward to having full hookups this winter.  A change in scenery and a change in the parking method!

A quick stop at Fiberworks, the quilt shop to pick up supplies for my class I am taking at the Billings Sewing Festival on Thursday then off to Jake’s for a wonderful dinner.  Costco then home.

The smoke is just about unbearably thick tonight, YUK, it is past time for this stupid “controlled burn” to end.

IMG_0858 Now Judy, I think this bird is a magpie and I’m pretty sure I have that one right!!IMG_0852 The smoke does make for pretty sunrises and sunsets.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Short And Sweet

Another too warm day with too much smoke here in Montana.  I think it is fall, isn’t it??  And if we didn’t have the weather to talk about what would we talk about??

Nat came for lunch—meatloaf, garlic mashed potatoes and spinach salad.  I made some cookies to send home with him and the rest I took to our dinner hostess tonight.  Poor Michael only got two of the warm cookies at lunch.

Tonight we had the pleasure of having dinner at Bill and Myrna’s who live over on the West Boulder and have no smoke.  Three years ago we traveled in our fifth wheel to Alamos, Sonora, Mexico where Bill and Myrna own a home.  They were so gracious to us introducing us to all their friends and to their town.  Myrna is originally from Oklahoma and speaks Southern with me.  Our friends Boo and Terry were also there as well as Barbara and Bob.  It was a perfectly delightful evening and we are very late getting home.

Before we went to dinner we darted over to Lonn and LoraLee’s for a quick visit and to pick up the mail that they collected while we were in Canada.  They have a sweet new puppy, a tiny little yorkie/poo named Buddy.  He is so tiny and cute. 

One little dog was very glad to see her people, she howled her distinct displeasure at being left home alone for so many hours!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Wind Changed and An Update

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IMG_0847 This is the scene to which we woke this morning—heavy, thick smoke.  The clothes we wore while walking Emmi actually smelled like smoke—YUK!  Hope this goes away soon or we may be firing up that motorhome again!

There is a black cloud hovering over our vehicles—the old ranch truck died yesterday too but at least it isn’t too difficult a fix—a slave cylinder???  I drove to town this afternoon and got a new one plus some groceries.

I finished Dava’s name embroidery project early this morning and she was up here just after 8am to pick them up.  The rest of the day I have puttered and quilted.

On our walk this morning Michael noticed some baling twine on the ground—he picked it up to take it to the stove.  Emmi kept jumping up trying to grab the wad of string and he finally threw it like a ball for her—she tried to “kill” it once she got her teeth into it.

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UPDATE:  And we saw a beautiful golden eagle this morning.  Judy (the bird lady of blogland) says this is not an eagle, dang it, it is a red tail hawk, I always get those confused, but whatever he was one big bird!IMG_0840 IMG_0832

Friday, September 23, 2011

The New Sewing Machine

I think it is smarter than me!  If I could just remember how I did each step!!  It is smarter than me!!  A friend from up the road, Dava called me this morning.  She saw on Facebook where I had a new embroidery machine and had a project for me.  WHAT???  I haven’t even turned on the machine Dava!  I let her talk me into this small project involving embroidering some names onto cotton fabric, oh, and by the way she needs it by Saturday morning!

So, this afternoon I had no excuses and off I went to try the new machine.  Sewed some beautiful straight stitches, loaded the embroidery stuff, hit the sew button and promptly broke a needle.  YIKES!!!  Called the shop where I purchased the machine and she walked me through some steps—was able to get to sewing once again and I actually finished two of the names—only took me 3 hours!!! IMG_0825 Four more to go!

Emmi and I took a nice walk this morning, no billowing smoke early in the day but the smoke sure was hanging in the valleyIMG_0805

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Michael worked over on the West Boulder all day today, didn’t come home until after 6pm.  It is just wonderful that he feels like working—a year ago this time he wasn’t feeling so great!

Went down late this afternoon to pick up the mail and geez, the smoke was really billowing then and I was able to get a great shot of one of the helicopters.IMG_0812 IMG_0819

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Whole Lot Of Coming And Going

My plan was to get our house cleaned and the laundry done this morning so I could play this afternoon—didn’t happen.  First off it took me way more time than I wanted to spend to get the house clean—it’s amazing how much dust and cobwebs can accumulate in three weeks!

I made Olive Oil Bread dough from the Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day cookbook and used a portion of the dough for pizza.  Loaded it up with homemade pizza sauce, a little seasoned hamburger, and lots of veggies—it was so good! 

It was very warm here today—in the eighties—kind of unusual for this time of year.  Our leaves are just starting to have a hint of yellow and red.

As you know our big dually diesel pickup is sick—Michael tore into it today trying to find the cause of its illness.  All those parts laying around in the garage kind of make me nervous! 

Michael has a big project, a road to build, which he needs to start before bad weather sets in.  The only truck we have operational now is the old, old farm truck—fine for running around here but not for going to town.  Michael needed some supplies to start this road project so I took the convertible to town, got Nat’s truck, loaded up the lumber at the lumber yard, came back up the Boulder, unloaded the lumber, headed back to town and visited with Nat a little while before heading home in the convertible.  I was getting dizzy!

The “prescribed burn” is still burning and when the wind came up today I got a little concerned.  It is amazing how a fire will “lay down” at night—when I was coming and going from town the smoke was really heavy, tonight when I came home there is hardly any smoke.  So far the wind is blowing the smoke away from us—let’s hope that continues!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Unloaded and Dishwasher Install

The motorhome is officially unloaded—the inside that is of anything that would freeze before we head south in December.  I should have counted the number of trips I made up and down those steps into the coach and the number I made up and down the stairs to the basement.  Just working off some of that Brenda food!

Our friend and neighbor Geoff came down this morning bringing goodies—my tomato plants that I left for them to enjoy while we were gone, leftover soup Nancy had made before she left for Hawaii :))), lettuce which I needed and best of all, some beautiful flowers Nancy grew--IMG_0793

Poor Michael worked most of the day installing the new dishwasher—about 4pm he ran a test load, success!  I think he made just as many trips up and down the basement stairs as I did and many trips out to the garage.IMG_0795 I cooked up a pot of soup and late this afternoon we headed into town to take dinner to Nat.  He isn’t feeling well—we were glad we did go in.

The US Forest Service is doing what is called a “prescribed burn” in the mountains very near our home.  I sure hope they keep their “prescribed burn” under control!  Our tax dollars are working hard, there are two huge helicopters parked in a field near here and on our way home tonight we passed probably 25 big trucks and pickups coming down the mountain from where the fire is burning.  Guess we can hope with all those resources the fire will remain under control.  IMG_2134

Our house sits just over that tree where the pale red “X” is located. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

We Are Home

But maybe we should have stayed in Canada!!!  At least that’s what Michael said after we left the Quilted Hen Quilt Shop. 

We left the Great Falls RV park about 8:30am headed to Carter, MT, about 25 miles northeast.  There is nothing but a small store in Carter and a large sign telling you which way to turn for getting to the Quilted Hen.  About a mile up a gravel road there is another sign and you turn into their wheat farm.  Nothing but wheat fields for miles, nothing!IMG_0782 Nothing!

Except in the yard of their home is the quilt shopIMG_0783 IMG_0784 and what a quilt shop it is.  Diane, the owner, is the number one dealer for Pfaff sewing machines in Montana.  The shop is open, bright, welcoming and filled with gorgeous fabrics.IMG_0786 The two ranchers talking.IMG_0787

Out of curiosity I was looking at the new Pfaff Creative Sensation embroidery machine and the owner noticed.  She explained the price of the machine and I explained that I had absolutely no interest in a machine that cost that much!!!  Well, would I be interested in a pre-owned previous model, less than six months old with less than 30 hours of sewing on it??  Now, when I went into the store I purchased fabric, I had absolutely NO intention or interest in buying a new sewing machine, I like the machine I have, a Pfaff.  Diane explained that she has a group of customers, six women—when Pfaff introduces new machines, these ladies always trade in their previous machine and buy the new one even if the older machine was less than six months old!!!!  These ladies obviously have way more money than I do!!!! 

When Diane told me what she was willing to sell the pre-owned machines for I thought I needed a hearing aide!  I went and got Michael and we were both standing there when I asked her again—same answer.  We went out to the motorhome and talked about it, I called Gina and she agreed to purchase my machine and we walked out of the store with an amazing embroidery machine for an amazing price.  Michael said it would have been cheaper to stay in Canada!  I am so excited—can’t wait to try it out!IMG_0791

The ladies spent about a hour and a half giving me the basics, Emmi played with all the ranch dogs, then we headed on down the road arriving in Big Timber just about 4:30pm.  We stopped and visited with Nat a little, rolled up the driveway and unloaded the necessary stuff.

Brenda, you were right, that Canadian Costco chicken pot pie is delicious, Michael loved it and so did I!

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We had a wonderful vacation and it is now wonderful to be home.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Storm and A New Dishwasher

We slept well in spite of being in a RV park right beside the busiest road in Great Falls.  A relaxing morning using the park’s fast wifi, drinking coffee and walking the Emmi girl before we headed off to find Home Depot along with another appliance store, Eklands. 

If you have never driven in Great Falls, it is an experience!  The streets are very confusing and strangely named.  It is extremely easy to get turned around and we both have trouble knowing what direction we are heading in this town.  We found both Home Depot and the other appliance store but ended up having to call the RV park for directions to Sam’s Club—nope, we have no GPS, there may be one in my future but Michael swears at the things! 

Home Depot was the typical big box store—a woman helped us who talked as if she knew so much about appliances but knew very little.  Off to Eklands and what a refreshing change of pace.  A Great Falls business where the sales manager helped us.  We learned a lot about dishwashers and ended up buying a brand we had never heard of—Blomberg!  It is a European dishwasher and supposed to be very quiet.  When I told the guy I wanted a quiet dishwasher he began showing us another unfamiliar brand, Meile, but when I saw the $1500 price tag I said, “maybe I don’t want that quiet!!”  There are some great features of this dishwasher we purchased—a drip pan underneath the machine with a float which shuts off the water supply if a leak starts, a silverware basket that can be moved to any spot on the lower rack and hopefully quiet.  The dishwasher is riding in the back of the jeep!

Lunch at a Mexican place, Michael enjoyed his selection and mine left a lot to be desired!  While at the restaurant, a storm came through with rain and high winds.  When we got back to the RV park all the power was out—no internet, no anything.  There are several high end motorhomes right across from us and they all had their generators running—amazing our dependence on power!  Emmi and I took a nap under a blanket—it was wonderful!

Tomorrow we are off, first to the Quilting Hen in Carter then home—we are both ready!

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No photos today so I will leave you with one of Peyto Lake in Alberta.

After reading Rick’s post about comment moderation I am going to try turning off comment moderation for a while.  The last time I did that I got comments in Chinese literally and a couple other foreign languages—that makes me mighty nervous!  But like Rick says, you can use your delete button very easily.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Windmills and Wheat Fields

The horse went home to the barn.  Our tentative plans were to head toward Waterton-Glacier Park staying in a provincial park or a commercial RV park in Magrath.  The closer we got to those destinations the more Michael said, “we could be in Conrad, Montana by late afternoon,” then when I agreed to that and we approached Conrad, it was “we could be in Great Falls, MT by 6pm.”  So guess where we are!!!!  Our border crossing took us about 10 minutes—the usual questions and we were off with no problems. 

We will shop for a new dishwasher tomorrow—ours died right before we left home.  In exchange for my agreeing to come to Great Falls, Michael promised to let me go to the cool little quilt store, The Quilting Hen in Carter, MT on Tuesday.  Then we will head on home and be there by Tuesday evening.

We left John and Brenda about 10am this morning with hugs and promises to see you down the road.  We had a wonderful, wonderful time with John and Brenda, the best!  Drove to Cremona just up the road and dumped our tanks before getting on the road.

The wind is howling here in Great Falls which is entirely normal—Lonn and LoraLee lived here for many years. 

IMG_0771 IMG_0767 Emmi slept the day away—doesn’t she look comfortable??

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Our Last Day At Dogpound North

Brenda and I took off this morning leaving the guys behind to do whatever it is guys do.  We were off to introduce me to the new grandson Kashton and his parents.  What a beautiful baby (and darned if I didn’t leave BOTH cameras at home today) and it was a pleasure to meet Rebecca and her husband.  Their home is just beautiful—a perfect family.

Then a stop at Costco where I discovered that just like in the States, you do not want to go to Costco on Saturday!!  We picked up a few things, had a couple slices of pizza and were off for more exciting shopping.

The town of Cochrane is only about 25 miles from John and Brenda and has preserved the downtown area—lots of cute little shops.  We both found a pair of earrings we couldn’t live without but that was it—amazing, huh???

Then home to prepare supper for those hard working guys—John explains on his blog what they did today.  Again Brenda outdid herself—pork chops on the grill, those to die for cheesy potatoes and sautéed green beans.  I made an apple/almond crisp for dessert.  Brenda says at dinner, “I’m glad you guys are leaving tomorrow, we have to quit eating like this,” to which Mike replied, “that’s why we are leaving.”  We all enjoyed a laugh at that.

It has been a wonderful time spent with good friends and tomorrow we are heading south—the horse is heading to the barn!

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Sun, Snow and Endless Views

Off we went this morning to see one of John and Brenda’s favorite places, Peyto Lake in Banff National Park.  First we had to stop so I could have my first Tim Horton’s coffee, I ordered a small and let me tell you Bayfield Bunch, that was one small cup of coffee!  But it was really all I needed and the doughnuts were great!IMG_0708

Onward to the Park.  When we got out of the car at Castle Mountain it was very windy and chilly, by the time we got to Peyto Lake it was snowing!  Then the sun would come out, then it would snow some more!IMG_0709 Castle Mountain

The Park was crowded—not nearly as much as on a summer day but crowded none the less.  We parked at Peyto Lake and began the “short, steep” climb—all of us were huffing and puffing by the time we got to the lake and then really lost all our breath at the sight of that beautiful, beautiful spot.IMG_0718

The water really is that gorgeous color!IMG_0740 

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IMG_0731 The glacier that feeds Peyto Lake.

Although Michael and I have been to Lake Louise in the past I decided another look was necessary, John agreed with me and since he was the driver, off we went.IMG_0756 IMG_0753 IMG_0758 And yep, Miss Emmi went along, Canada is a lot nicer about allowing dogs in their national parks versus the US!

It was 3pm when we were leaving Lake Louise and our tummies were all saying, “feed me.”  We headed for Banff and another favorite place of John and Brenda’sIMG_0761 After enjoying a wonderful lunch/dinner John took us on down the road back to IMG_0764 Words cannot describe the beauty we experienced today and we so appreciate our friends John and Brenda sharing their paradise with us.