Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Little Work and A Little Party

We were up and at’em early once again this morning and once again it was a good thing considering the temps!  Michael did some things today he shouldn’t have which involved haying equipment—he may be paying the piper tomorrow!

“Watts Happening”—this was the name Gay and Tom gave to their early July 4 gathering today—their last name is Watts.Smile It was a great party, tons of people we knew and hadn’t seen in a long time, great music provided by a former McLeod resident Jack Loveless, and wonderful food!!  It was just a fun gathering with a catchy name!!  Gay and Tom live up the Boulder in a little subdivision of mostly summer homes with a few year round residents, including them.  They have cabins for rent and do a booming summer business.  Thank you Gay and Tom for a great evening—we enjoyed it so much!

IMG_3783IMG_3785Dogs were invited too!

IMG_3787This is the Boulder Valley, one of the most beautiful places in the world.

On the way up we saw these elk by the river:IMG_3790

On the way back we saw a small herd of elk with babies--

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Weeds, Weeds and A Quilt Show

I had three things on my to do list for today—stake the tomatoes, done.  Weed the strawberries—done—I’m starting to think purchasing strawberries at Costco is much, much easier!!  Sorry Claire!!  And destroy the nasty burdock weeds which were sprouting seed pods across the creek.  We hate to spray there because our bird feeders hang over this area and I worry about the birds ingesting the weed spray when the little feathered critters eat from the ground.  Even though the labels state it is safe to use under aspen trees, it just doesn’t seem the smart thing to do so, off I go shovel in hand climbing around on that steep hillside with sweat running down into my eyes!!  UGH—but I got it done.  Michael stood on the deck and helped me spot the weeds which needed cutting then he couldn’t stand it anymore and rigged himself a long pole attachment to one of our weed hooks.  He could then reach across the creek and nab the ones nearest the water.

It was a good thing Michael was up before 5am and I followed a little after 5:30—we were able to get most of the outside chores done before it got so hot. 

There is a reason Montana is on fire—here is a photo taken around noon today of our weather station. IMG_3760 Note the 11% in the lower right corner—that’s humidity—there is absolutely no moisture in the air, none!  And it was 90 degrees again today with wind—perfect fire conditions!

One of the ladies whom I’ve done quilting for decided to stage a quilt show this weekend to benefit cancer victims in our community.  With the help of many others Linda pulled off a fantastic quilt show!  Here are some photos of the hanging quilts:

IMG_3761Pieced and hand quilted by our friend Joan—isn’t it stunning!!

IMG_3763This quilt made me cry because I not only know the owner well, I knew the person who pieced the quilt.  It belongs to my friend Dava and was made for her by her Mom, Dottie who lost her battle to cancer in January, 2012.  It was made for Dava’s 40th birthday from favorite outfits she wore as a child.  The backing is made from the curtains which hung in Dava’s nursery.  What a special gift to cherish!!

IMG_3774I can’t remember who this one belonged to but it is beautiful!

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Mary P’s quilt and Shirley’s lonestar both of which I quilted for them.

IMG_3769Jane’s happy quilt which I also quilted.

It was a tremendous show being the first one ever—great job ladies!!

We grabbed a few groceries and headed home—Michael did very well on his first outing—but sorry guys, he had to let me drive!!! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Another Warm One

Not 100 degrees, only near 90 but still hot especially when you are out in the sun!  I did some weed whacking and mowing down by our pond this morning.  Michael felt well enough to seed this same area with grass seed while I made lunch.  We had shrimp and corn on the cob.

Last night I made a flying trip to Big Timber for milk—what’s the hurry you might ask??  Eight miles up the East Boulder road sits a platinum and palladium mine.  When the mine was being developed a group of concerned citizens was formed to serve as representatives for the residents of the East Boulder road in negotiations with the mine management.  There were two concessions the residents gained as a result of this—workers must be bussed to the mine—management can drive their own vehicles but miners working in the mine have to ride a bus significantly decreasing the traffic on our little country road.  The other concession was dust suppression.  The mine maintains the road using private contractors—we have the best road in Sweet Grass County.  Several times a year the mine has a contractor apply dust suppression liquid—magnesium chloride.  Mine staff call all the residents warning them the road will be “gunked” on a specific date.  We all try to stay home until the stuff dries—it is sticky, sticky and will rust your car quickly if not removed.  Nasty stuff but it does eliminate the dust—six of one, half a dozen of another! 

So, that was the reason for my trip to town—I needed milk and bananas before the road got sticky today and tomorrow.  The Big T IGA had milk (amazing) but no bananas (not surprising!). 

After lunch I took the skidsteer and attempted removing the trees which fell on the road while we were in Billings.  Got most of them carted away but the one tree is still too long, it will need to be cut into lengths and that won’t be happening any time soon.  The tree is off the driveway so it can wait until husband is feeling better.

Last chore of the day was using the Mantis tiller in the garden—getting rid of weeds, the little tiller works wonders.  My garden is looking great—IMG_3753One of several baby squash!!!

IMG_3755Tomato plant blossoms—never mind that my sister-in-law Vicky is canning tomato juice in Arkansas—at least I have blossoms!! Smile

IMG_3756And I think we are going to have potatoes!

Michael is feeling better today, has walked a lot outside and inside in between napping.  He even picked and cleaned the radishes for me!!   He is being a good patient—maybe he remembers that new iron skillet I bought a few weeks ago??

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

We Are So Thankful To Be Home

Hospitals are such noisy places—poor Michael didn’t sleep much the entire time he was there—even if he did get to sleep someone was then coming in to poke and prod.  I stayed until 10pm last night with him and couldn’t believe all the noise in the hallways—nurses talking, phones ringing, call lights beeping, doors banging.  Nope, no sleep in the hospital!

Michael did have excellent care while in St. Vincent’s Hospital, excellent nurses too and we both just love his doctor.  I made chicken noodle soup when we got home, he ate and has been asleep ever since catching up!

We retrieved Emmi at Nat’s and that was one happy little dog—first time she has ever spent two nights away from us.  Started up our driveway coming to a tree across the road—I was able to move enough of it out of the driveway for us to get by.  Just a few yards more and there was another huge tree across the driveway.  Just as I was getting out of the jeep to start walking Michael said, “bear!!”  He was just a few yards out in front of us right in the driveway.

OK, now I have to get out of the jeep and hike up the driveway to get the skidsteer for moving the tree and we have Mr. Bear wandering around!!!  I tucked the pistol in my pocket and off I went singing all the way—my singing would scare anything away let me tell you!

Returned with the skidsteer and moved the tree—thank goodness for equipment!  I guess we had a little wind while we were gone!

There are 10 different wildfires burning in Montana at this time.  One of these fires, the Ashland Fire, has exploded today going from 5000 acres this morning to over 100,000 acres.  They are calling it the largest fire in Montana history.  The morning newspaper said 60 homes had burned in the Dahl Fire which is now 18,000 acres located north of Billings.  The temps are much cooler but the wind is howling again!  Let’s keep all those affected by the fires and the firefighters in our prayers!

Roundup wildfire Larry Mayer photoThis is a photograph by Billings Gazette photographer Larry Mayer of the Dahl Fire last night.

IMG_2408I think she is glad Dad is home!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Can You Say Bored??

Geez, sitting around in a hospital is so boring.  We walk for a while, we TRY to sleep for a while, we eat, we watch a little TV, we surf the internet—yep, it is boring around here!

Michael is doing very, very well except for the lack of sleep and boredom!  His IV is out, he is eating, drinking and getting kind of cranky—doesn’t that mean he is on the mend??

We should be discharged tomorrow and hopefully the blog will become more interesting!

Very hot and windy here today, we are under a red flag severe fire danger warning.  There is a 2000 acre fire burning north of Billings near Roundup, 200 homes have been evacuated.  Not good, not good at all!

I did leave the hospital this afternoon to get a haircut—a welcome respite! 

Just saw a blurb on our local news about Cedar Key, Florida where we spent the winter—parts of the seawall as well as parts of businesses are gone!!  Glad we didn’t buy that coffee shop!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Life Hands You Lemons Sometimes

Not a very big lemon but a lemon none the less!  We are in the hospital in Billings, Michael had a minor surgical procedure today, scheduled, and will spend a couple days here recovering.  I am the chief nurse, patient walker, you name it person!  He is awake, walking in the hallways, eating and drinking—and best of all smiling and talking to me! 

Another scorcher today with severe thunderstorm warnings and extreme fire danger.  We may be cranking up that pink motorhome and heading somewhere cooler/wetter when we get home from Billings.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Yikes It’s Hot

97 degrees today—way too hot for Montana this time of year and with only 37% humidity!  Our house is not air conditioned—we open all the doors and windows at night letting the cool air in then shut everything in the morning.  The house stays reasonably cool until about 2pm then starts to heat up—right now it’s dang hot in here!

We both were just kind of vegetables today—I did go downstairs to the basement and work on some little sewing projects—it’s cooler down there! 

Nat came for lunch, we had tenderloin steaks and I roasted a chicken I had thawed—the guys ate steaks and I ate chicken—it was delicious!  I used the gas grill for roasting the chicken and cooking the potatoes so as not to heat up the house any more than necessary!  We enjoyed some more radishes out of the garden along with a tomato/basil/mozzarella cheese salad.  Watermelon and honey dew melon for dessert. 

Late this afternoon we drove into Big Timber and enjoyed an ice cream bar—at the Fort, our local gas station/convenience mart/liquor store a couple rode in on a Harley in full leathers.  We used to ride a bike and I know the why’s and what for’s behind the leather but I really don’t think I could have done it—97% outside and encased in black leather!  Then to top it off the transmission on his Harley had locked up, it wouldn’t go forward, wouldn’t go backwards!  We gave them the names of the nearest Harley dealers—it was after 5pm and I doubt either business was open, poor guy!

IMG_3748 Look what’s hatching under our deck—gonna be a crowded nest!

IMG_3749This morning we were encased in fog—strange for this time of year but this heat is just cooking the moisture out of the ground.

Off to water the plants!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A List

Started the morning out with a lengthy list of to do items and managed to cross off all the things on the list and then some!! 

We are having some warm days and one of the things on the list was to get sprinklers and timers set up for the two smaller gardens—one is strawberries, raspberries and apple trees, the other I call the salad garden—it has radishes, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard and carrots. 

Mowing the grass and painting in the Tin Tee Pee were also on the agenda—here’s an “after” photo with the new paint and floors:IMG_3745

Ms Emmi needed a bath and with the warmer temps, a haircut.  She is a nice smelling pooch now!  We had to have a behavior conversation while the haircut was happening—way too much wiggling around!

Michael worked on a Geoff project and mowed our walking paths as well as the edges of the driveway. 

We were very glad to get an email from Rollie and Gina saying they were going to start writing their blog again.  Rollie is the writer and has all ready written a blog about the new grandbabies, the gandbabies on the way and their travels to Europe this year—check it out. 

IMG_3739First harvest from our gardens!

IMG_3738Wild roses are blooming, doesn’t that mean high water is over??

Life is good!

Friday, June 22, 2012

We Lose A Matriarch

My family lost one of our matriarchs today, my Aunt Valeta, my Mom’s oldest living sister died in her sleep this morning.  When we were in Arkansas in March, Aunt Valeta was still navigating on her own with the aide of a walker and we had a good visit.  Not long after she suffered a stroke and became bedridden. 

When we were kids we all called her Aunt BeBe because Valeta didn’t fit around our tongues!  She was a great influence not only to all her nieces and nephews but to other kids growing up in our church.  She taught Sunday school off and on through the years and on most Sundays’ could be found sitting right up front. 

Once when Aunt Valeta and Uncle Frank Lee were living in Louisiana I went down to stay with them for a while—their only child Mary Ellen was a little older than me but tolerated me well.  Aunt Valeta decided I needed swimming lessons with Mary Ellen.  Little did she know I was terrified (and still am) of water.  The first time the swim instructor made us put our heads under water I came up blubbering and I remember Aunt Valeta telling me, “you don’t have to do this if you don’t want.”  Music to my ears!! 

Aunt Valeta was 82 years old, she and Uncle Frank Lee would have been married 64 years soon—she will be missed by her family and friends!

Michael finished the flooring today in the Tin Tee Pee.  When he removed the toilet the other day, he left it sitting outside beside the rig—I told him the other day we looked kind of “redneck” with our toilet sitting outside in the driveway.  He promptly informed me if I would get the bathroom painted he would re-install the toilet.  All righty then—I primed the bathroom today.

Homemade pizza for lunch then I was off to make a gift for the party we attended tonight.  Our friends John and Peg recently left the Boulder valley and moved into a subdivision in town building a new home.  They had a party tonight to show off their gorgeous new home—lots of friends we haven’t seen in a while—great food—just a wonderful summer get together!  Their home sits on the Yellowstone River with awesome views!

The gift I made taken from Pinterest:IMG_3731a cute little flag!

IMG_3732Evening sky view leaving John and Peg’s. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Gas Delivered and Billings

Right after we got back from our walk this morning Bob showed up with the bulk gas tank truck delivering us the grand national debt—250 gallons of gasoline!!  YIKES—Mike paid the bill and I just put it over on the desk without looking, too painful!

I got Marti’s quilt ready for shipping—I print my own shipping labels from the USPS website—and we dropped it at the post office in town on our way through.  It’s on the way Marti!

Emmi kept Nat company today while we went to Billings—Michael had a doctor’s appointment.  Before that appointment we enjoyed a great lunch at Jake’s and I got in a trip to Fiberworks, one of the best quilt stores!

After the doctor we made a Costco stop getting some fresh produce such as cherries and indulged in a frozen yogurt on our way out the door.

Home now—we are to experience the warmest temps so far this spring/summer over the next few days—should make the garden grow.

IMG_2400Emmi’s favorite way to ride in the convertible and my handsome cowboy driving the convertible—he never will let me drive—why is that??

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This Will Definitely Bore You

With the exception of the laundry aspect of yesterday today was pretty much the same.  I spent the entire day quilting and finishing Marti’s Rocky Mountain High quilt.  I hope to put the quilt in the mail to her tomorrow and once she has received it I will post photos.  It is a beautiful quilt!!

Michael spent the day on his knees again and he wasn’t praying (well, maybe he was at times for things to fit).  He made great progress with the flooring—the front and rear of this travel are rounded and he did a fantastic job fitting the flooring to the curved areas.  The cabinet frames are real wood and we weren’t sure how to refinish these.  This morning we sanded a couple areas and have decided to keep the real wood, sand it down and apply a finish. 

And that’s it for our day—see I told you, boring!!  So, I will tell you another ranching story—when we ran cows here on the ranch we leased USFS land for summer pasture.  One summer we had a new lease, one the cows had never been on before.  We rode horses herding the cows from our place, up the East Boulder,  and onto the permit.  Michael was sure the cows could find the water tanks on their own—NOT!!  The next day the two of us rode up to check on the cows finding them in a huge stand of downed trees bawling their heads off—nope they hadn’t found the water tanks. 

We begin trying to herd the cows to the water tank and quickly realized we couldn’t ride through all those downed trees.  Tied the horses to a tree and began pushing the cows to the water tank which unfortunately was located DOWNHILL from us—cows don’t like to go downhill—cows are not the most intelligent of creatures!  For literally hours we, on foot, chased those cows down—then the cows would run back up—chased them down, then the *(&^%* cows would run back up.  HOURS we did this, it was July 4 weekend and it was HOT and we had no water, our water was back on the horses.

Finally the dummies decided we were trying to tell them something, they all ran down the hill and stuck their heads in the water tank!  Michael and I collapsed with relief—but then we had to hike back UP that hill and back OVER to our horses.  We too drank water out of the water tank inlet we were both so thirsty and hot.

That was one day I HATED being a rancher’s wife—I thought we were both going to die of heat exhaustion or murder all those cows before that day was over!  On the ride out and down the mountain we saw a beautiful cinnamon colored bear.  We were both so incredibly tired when we got home—the horses were fine, they spent the day tied to a tree!  All in the life of a rancher!IMG_7291

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The above two photos were taken exactly one year apart, lots of snow still on the mountains in June, 2011, almost no snow this year, not looking good for irrigation or fire season!IMG_3713

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Back To Work

There’s that bad word again—work—but that’s what we did after taking a walk in wind which felt as if it was blowing off a snow bank!!  Cold!!  And the wind blew all day. 

My work consisted of laundry and quilting—getting close to the end of Marti’s Rocky Mountain High quilt!!  Lots and lots of stitch in the ditch which contrary to belief is difficult to do on a longarm quilting machine—much easier on a regular sewing machine! 

Michael’s work consisted of installing more flooring in the Tin Tee Pee—he ran into a slight problem today!  The toilet has foot flushing pedals and the thickness of the new flooring would not allow the pedals to be operated correctly—uh,oh—toilet had to come out!!  When he started this project he optimistically predicted the flooring would be installed in two days—he’s revised that schedule now!

Emmi spent most of the day outside playing with the ball and getting her people to kick the ball when one of us came out. 

IMG_7291Recycled from last June, there was a lot more snow on the mountains this same time last year.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Blanket Trip

I’m not doing so well in the blog writing department lately!!  First our internet dies then we take a road trip and stay in a motel with no wifi!!  We are back, 600 miles later from a trip to buy blankets!!

Blankets?? 600 miles?? you might ask???  We are trying to decorate the inside of the Tin Tee Pee with a cabin theme.  I found this blanket in our closet—we think it might have belonged to Michael’s mother???

IMG_3708It is an original Hudson’s Bay wool blanket and appears to have never been used—the colors are that vivid!!  See the black marks on the left side—those are size indicators.  Three and a half marks indicates this blanket is a twin bed size.  The orange tag on the bottom left is the original label. 

Any way, perfect for the trailer but we only had one.  Found lots of other sizes on eBay but not any twins which we thought were in good enough condition.  Michael was surfing Craigslist and found TWO twin bed size blankets in good condition—but the kicker—they were in Spokane, WA!!  We emailed the owner back and forth trying to figure out how to pay for and get these blankets.  She agreed to meet us in Missoula, 300 miles for us and a little less than 300 miles for her as she lived north of Spokane about 30 miles. 

We drove over Sunday afternoon spending the night in the little historic mining town of Philipsburg, MT.  Managed to get a few hours sleep on concrete beds with concrete pillows (we missed our RV!!!) and then drove over the most beautiful back road, Rock Creek Road, into Missoula today.  Saw a fox and then a huge moose in the middle of the river—couldn’t get a clear photo of the moose, he was moving way too fast.

 IMG_3688Concrete bed motel!!IMG_3690View from the motel—see the ski runs on the mountain behind the building?

IMG_3696My favorite cowboy!!

IMG_3697A little USFS cabin you can rent—I wanted to go look in the windows but someone was staying there.

IMG_3699This is frequently my view going down the road!!

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Michael was brave and walked out onto this swinging bridge over the creek.

IMG_3704There are many, many places to boondock along this beautiful creek and also several organized campgrounds.  The road is NOT for the faint of heart or for big rigs—we would never dream of taking the motorhome up there, maybe the Tin Tee Pee.  We did pass passenger cars traveling the road. 

OK, back to blankets—the blankets we bought today are in really good condition but have obviously been used and washed—the colors are not near as vivid.  Someone has also sewn a satin band around one edge of the blanket so it won’t scratch when pulled up under your nose!! SmileIMG_3707The blankets we purchased.

IMG_3708Our blanket—see how vivid the yellow stripe is?  But, the two we purchased will look great in the Tin Tee Pee!!!

600 miles later we both have our feet up and are catching up on news and blogs.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sometimes You Win

Another beautiful day in Montana!  Do you know how hard it is to find a notary to witness a signature on Saturday???  Almost a month ago we listed a vehicle on Craigslist and the same weekend sold it.  The man who purchased the vehicle lived about 3 hours from here, gave us a $100 deposit and promised to return the following weekend. 

Almost one month later we still have the truck and no money!  We got various sad tales, “the investment company sent my money to the wrong address, etc.”  In this age of internet and instant money transfers we weren’t buying his excuses.  On Wednesday I called the man and told him if the truck was not paid for in full by today, the deal was kaput and we would keep his $100 and the truck!!!!!  He just couldn’t understand why we were upset????Sad smile

Last night he called, would be here today with cash in hand but needed the bill of sale notarized.  I spent over a hour on the phone trying to locate a notary finally finding one at a car dealership in Livingston. 

So, instead of a trip to Big Timber (22 miles) we had to go to Livingston (57 miles) to meet this guy.  The young woman who was the notary was working with a gentleman on a truck sale and we probably waited a hour for her to finish with him (he after all was buying something from the dealership!), notarize the bill of sale and send the man on down the road with the truck.  Lessons learned!  We always write a bill of sale for people purchasing something from us so they know we are serious and above board.  All future bills of sale will have an expiration date!!!

The only good thing about the whole wasted day--we got to have lunch at the Rib and Chop House!!  And the smile on the face of the young woman notary when Michael gave her a nice tip for helping us out today!

We didn’t get home until after 4pm and tied into the little Tin Tee Pee.  I got one coat of paint on the walls and Michael laid several of the flooring boards—its going to look great!!

No photos today, too busy I guess!! 

A Productive Day

**No internet last night, seems a contractor dug up a HUGE fiberoptic cable which took into the night to repair.**

Daybreak comes so early to those of us living in Montana—5am and it is very light outside—Emmi then decides she should come up and visit us in bed and we are all awake.  We get a lot done in a day getting up between 5 and 6am!!! 

Judging by the presence of all the dust bunnies and spider webs, I think it has been a long time since I cleaned house!  But, it is clean now!  I love a clean house but this time of year  cleaning kind of falls by the wayside!

Michael spent the morning on the roof of the Tin Tee Pee applying leak stopper.  He first had to get rid of all the old caulking material which took him a while.  We will let the new caulk dry until tomorrow then try spraying the roof with water to see if he was successful in stopping the leaks.  He also installed new clearance lights on the front of the rig.  IMG_3685

While cleaning the house this morning I also made four batches of granola.  We had black bean burgers for lunch and they were actually quite good—even Michael said so!  We’ve been trying to cut down on our meat consumption and have been doing really well! 

After lunch I headed out to the Tin Tee Pee with paint brush in hand.  Gave the ceiling one last coat of paint and finished applying primer to all the walls.  Tomorrow I hope to get the real paint on the walls.  Michael is anxious to start laying the hardwood flooring but I don’t want him to start until I finish painting—much easier that way—no need for drop cloths!!  And, I’m not the neatest of painters!

Rainbow photo taken Wednesday night after one of our quick showers blew through.  IMG_3679I love the way the sun made the sky appear so blue and the foliage so weirdly green.

IMG_3680Tiny little flax flowers.IMG_3684Pale, wild irises. 

A very productive day in Montana.