http-equiv='refresh'/> Tin TeePee/Log Cabin: May 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

Up the Boulder

Another beautiful day in Montana. We had thunderstorms of very quick duration off and on all day but lots of sunshine, too.
It was a physical day--we got to take our 2 mile loop walk today for the first time in over a week due to the rain and mud. Then Michael got started with the chore of removing the forms from the setting concrete walls, a definite chore! I did a quick run through the house with the vacuum cleaner and then went out to help him. After lunch we headed in to Big Timber to help Michael's Dad get started with his project, laying a concrete block foundation for his new shop. I did get in a quick visit at Cinnabar Creek, too.
I have always found it strange and amusing since moving here that people refer to our little valley as, "up the Boulder" or "we live up the Boulder." The Boulder River (of the movies A River Runs Through It and The Horse Whisperer fame) valley is due south of Big Timber. To me, if you are saying "up" about something, it should run north. But we are exactly south of Big Timber and the Yellowstone River. As you travel up the Boulder, the elevation increases by about 1000 feet and the scenery is spectacular. As I have said before, it is 22 miles to the nearest grocery store or gas station but in that 22 miles, you will see some of the most wonderful scenery anywhere. I never get tired of the drive.

Up the Boulder

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sunshine and Cement

We woke to sunshine after seven plus days of rain. It was wonderful, such a beautiful morning. The trees seemed so green, the birds were chattering and it just made for a great start to the day.
Today was the big day, our crew started arriving about 9:30, Michael’s son Lonn and his Dad, Nat. I guess some people would accuse us of elder abuse, asking an 86 year old man to help with a concrete pour but Nat still loves to get out and help. He says that having a project is what keeps him going. I hope our brains and bodies are still going that well when we approach 80!! The cement truck roared up the hill about 10:00 and the work began taking about 2 hours to pour the walls for one half the garage. Lonn and Nat were up on scaffolding with long poles to poke into the cement as Michael poured skid steer bucket loads down into the forms he built. Once the work was finished, we enjoyed hamburgers on the grill and the first watermelon of the season.
After lunch, it was still such a beautiful day that I decided to get out and weed whack and mow the grass. I even climbed up on the hill outside our house and cut Jazzy a path up to her viewing rock. There is a rock high on the hillside above our house that she will go up to and sit for hours just looking around. She doesn’t like tall grass, so being the good Mom that I am, I weed whack her a path every year. She is most certainly not a spoiled dog, is she??
We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing--Michael on the computer researching the stocks, I read for a while then worked on my bear quilt. Jazz spent the entire afternoon napping; after chasing Lonn's dogs around all morning she was a pooped puppy. Life is good.

Hard at work
I couldn't resist Mr. Squirrel this morning. I know that squirrels are little varmints and can be very unwelcome pests but he sure is a cute varmint!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 Satellite, Greenhouse and Celebrations

OK, you would think after the second time I would learn, but no, it took the third time. I get the blog all typed on Blogger Dashboard, photo added, click “publish” and I get a message from, our satellite internet company that states something about “web acceleration” and “unable to perform last task.” And everything is lost. So, I am now typing the blog into a word processing program and cutting and pasting into Blogger Dashboard. We don’t know if the problem is Blogger or or in combination with our new computer’s Window’s Vista.
Yesterday Michael had a doctor’s appointment in Big Timber and he dropped me off at Cinnabar Creek, the greatest little store owned by good friends of mine, Jeane and Kathy. The store is the local gathering place for all the specialty coffee drinkers and people just wanting to sit and visit with friends. When you walk in, the store just smells so good; coffee, candles, lotions. They also have a fabulous selection of books, jewelry and other stuff. So, I got to have a coffee treat and visit with friends while I waited for Michael. After he was finished, we headed to another local institution, the Frosty Freeze for lunch. Our restaurant selection in Big Timber is limited but “the Freeze” serves decent food and great ice cream. It is a sure bet that you are going to run into someone you know, too.
After lunch, we headed to the greenhouse owned by friends Lola and Jim. I wanted to pick up a few plants to put in my portable planters that I put on the deck in the summer. Not that I think summer is coming anytime soon. I am starting to think it will be summer in the rest of the country while we are still trying to start spring. Jim and Lola have been to Alamos, Mexico where we spent a couple of months this past winter. They have a travel trailer and a condo in Arizona.
Just as we were heading home, the cell phone rang and it was Michael’s son inviting us to a spur of the moment birthday celebration for our graduated granddaughter, Laci at the Rib and Chop House, a great restaurant over in the nearby (60 miles, we Montanans have to travel far and wide to eat and shop) town of Livingston, MT. So, we picked up Michael’s father Nat and headed over in the early evening. We had a wonderful time, good food and good company. Laci’s eighteenth birthday isn’t until June 5 but she will be at boot camp in Texas by then.
Today we are putting the concrete forms back up that the mudslide dismantled for us last Friday. The concrete truck comes tomorrow. Yesterday, it never got above 40 degrees, it has rained and rained for the last seven days and it is cold, windy and miserable out there and there is lots of nice, juicy mud to stick to our feet.
But even if it is miserable, it sure beats going to work in an operating room, something I did in my previous life.

A Montana spring photo, the sharp pointed peak is Boone Mountain and we can see these mountains from our place. While we were getting rain, the mountains got snow.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Graduation, More Rain and a Quiet Memorial Day

We are starting to grow moss around here! Four inches so far and it rained off and on most of today. Jazz seems as down in the dumps as I am, she hates to be wet so has spent a lot of time inside.
Yesterday our middle granddaughter, Laci graduated from high school. She is our very social, outgoing grandchild. Her father is very relieved to finally see her graduate--she is our blond and when she was small and her Dad was fussing at her for some infarction, she looked up at him and said, "I was just having a blond moment, Dad." There have been many "blond moments" during her high school career but Laci has persevered. She was homecoming queen her senior year and has developed so many loving friendships. She and her great-grandfather, Nat, also developed a wonderful relationship. Laci's parents manage a large ranch approximately 30 miles from the town where she attended school. Fourteen miles of that is on a gravel/rock/mud terrible road. As a result, she spent many nights of her high school time staying with her great-grandfather. It was great for both of them! She has made the decision to join the Air Force and will depart for boot camp June 2--we will miss her bunches!
Memorial Day was an uneventful day for Michael and I. We took a walk in the rain and the rest of the day was spent working on projects, a quilting project for me and cleaning up the shop for Michael.
Our little blond Laci at graduation yesterday--that smile lights up the world.

This photo is not great because I took it through the screen but this little guy kept appearing on top of this thermometer that is under the eave of the house where it was dry--he is no dummy!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Full Rain Gauge

It started raining last Wednesday and has only stopped for very short periods of time since then. We have close to 4 inches of rain in our rain gauge, there are puddles everywhere and mud on top of mud.
We are building a garage into the hillside out in front of our house. Michael and our friend Ralph moved tons of dirt last summer out of the hillside to make room for the garage. The walls of the garage will be concrete as it is being built into a hillside. Michael decided to build his own concrete forms out of plywood and 2x4's and then use the same materials on the roof, something he has done many times. We had the forms all set and ready for the concrete truck last Thursday and had to cancel due to the rain. Friday morning Michael came into the house with the longest face--the hillside had collapsed sending a huge mudslide down into his forms, caving them in on one side. We had to take all his hard work apart and now we wait for the rain to stop so we can move the mud off the concrete floor slab and put the forms back up.
Rain in this part of the country is a very good thing and we don't dare complain about it when there are farmers or ranchers around!
Today is Michael's Dad, Nat's 86th birthday. We had a wonderful family party tonight with Michael's son and his family and Nat and his friend Margaret. I cooked a prime rib on the grill and got out the recipe book and made a 3 layer chocolate cake, a recipe I got from my friend Jeane when she and her family operated a dude ranch near us. It was a great evening. Tomorrow our granddaughter, Laci, graduates from high school.

A bird feeder full of our lazuli buntings. The poor little birds have been at our feeders non-stop the last few days while it has been raining.

The hummingbirds are hungry, too. They have just been sitting on the feeder at times, it is under the eave of the house, to stay out of the rain.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Gas Prices, What Can You Do?

Of the several blogs I read almost every day, Lynnae, who writes had some comments about the prices of gas and gas station practices that hit home. She states that her family is trying hard not to leave their small town for items that would be less expensive in the next larger town. Lynnae mentions gas stations that are charging a much higher price for credit and debit cards versus cash.

We live 22 miles from a small Montana town of 1500 people. There is nothing but beautiful scenery and ranches in that 22 miles, no gas station and no grocery store. In the days before $4/gallon gas, we thought nothing of heading to town for lunch and to pick up one item at the grocery store, (a very small, expensive IGA grocery store). Now, we try to consolidate our trips and go once a week if that. To do any major shopping such as Costco or larger chain grocery stores, it is 105 miles one way. We were accustomed to heading to the town of 100,000 about every two weeks or more often depending on our whims. Now, we are trying to lump two days of errands into one and going to the larger city once a month or every six weeks.

And, as if paying $4/gallon for gas weren't enough, the pumps in many stations cut off when they reach $75. One of our vehicles which I might add is sitting still a major portion of the time, has a 37 gallon tank--now do the math--can I fill this truck for $75??? When I have questioned gas station attendants, I am told "it is your credit card." NOT!! When I asked this same clerk if I came into the convenience store and purchased $100 worth of food and other items would the cash register cut my credit card off at $75 and of course the answer was "of course not." I was successful in changing this practice at one of our local gas stations in our little town--but I think they even have gone to a $100 limit on their pumps to limit their liability for drive offs. Here in Montana, we have not noticed the practice of charging more for credit purchased gas, yet.

So what do we do?? Moving doesn't seem to be very much of a choice--we love where we live, Michael was raised in this valley and our home and land have no mortgage. Buying a new vehicle may seem like an option but if you do the math, it really isn't cost effective for us. We own a 2000 Ford Explorer that gets an average of 24/mpg. This vehicle costs us $7500 and we paid cash. People we know have rushed out to buy new hybrid vehicles costing $25,000. At $4/gallon gas it will take a very long time as in 15 plus years to recoup the cost of that new vehicle, depending on your annual mileage.

For now, we are cutting back on the trips we make anywhere, we have almost stopped eating out entirely and we are trying to buy groceries in a more budget frame of mind.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Quilting, Fabric and SNOW

What’s the rhyme, April showers bring May showers. Well, May is bringing us SNOW! It has rained most of the day and this afternoon the temperature dropped enough that it changed to snow. It is melting about as fast as it falls as it was 85 degrees yesterday, how’s that for weather extreme?? But, in this part of the country, at this time of year, we are thankful for any moisture that comes our way.

Yesterday, we headed off for Billings, a 105 mile one way trip for doctor and dentist appointments. We also had our usual full page list of errands such as Costco, Lowes, etc. We left early and arrived home late, pooped. While doing our errands, we drove by the gas station where we usually fill the vehicle. Gas was $3.60/gallon. We decided to wait until the end of the day to get gas and when we went back on the way out of town, it was $3.65!!! Where will it end??? I guess you should strike while the iron is hot???

I started a quilt today, a Lone Star Quilt from the book Easy and Elegant Long Star Quilts by Shirley Stutz. It is supposed to be an easy quilt but I seem to have made it hard. About two hours into the process, I discovered I did not have enough of the primary fabric, every quilter’s nightmare. Fabric is seasonal like clothing and a store may or may not still have the fabric six months later. And to make it worse, I bought the original fabric in a small quilt store in Drummond, MT, over 200 miles from home last fall. I called our local quilt store owner, Lily (who is getting married soon) and she turned me on to This website has a search engine in which you can enter words describing your fabric and presto, there it is. A quilt store in Indiana is shipping my fabric to me.

Blogger was not working well tonight, kicked me off once after I tried to publish, losing all my work and it will not load photos tonight, so photos tomorrow.

Life is good in spite of Blogger and snow!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Full Time versus Half Time

Fulltime RVing?? Sounds good to me tonight--no lawn, no garage to build!! But on the other hand, I sat outside today and just looked around in awe at our landscape. We are finally starting to have leaves on our apsen trees--it is the 19th of May! Our little creek is running merrily and the mountains are still covered with snowpack. So, maybe for the time being, we will continue to half time!
I mowed the grass for the first time this year, did a little weed whacking and spent some time using the weed sprayer.
Since we retired last year, we have become a lot more frugal than we ever used to be. When both of us were working, Michael as a construction company owner and me as a health care consultant, money was always available. With retirement, our income has decreased but so have our spending habits and we are getting along very nicely. Since marrying Michael, my spending habits have changed for the better, too. I was one of those people who spent every last dollar and then some, thought nothing of having credit card debt, other debt and I loved new cars. Michael has taught me in our fourteen years together that it is absolutely the best feeling to be debt free--I sleep at night! I stop and thank Michael sometimes for the peacefulness he has brought me.
Mom headed off for her summer job yesterday after spending 10 days with us. I hated to see her go, I just don't get to spend enough time with her and I miss her.
All in all, it was a good Monday!

Sunday, May 18, 2008


We have started reading a blog/website, The guy who writes, Trent, had an interesting post today about clotheslines. It is his contention that clotheslines are an item associated with poverty as are people who work on their cars in their backyards. He goes on to state that items such as clotheslines can be viewed by neighborhood visitors as items which will decrease the value of homes.

We usually enjoy his articles about being frugal and attempting to save money and get out of debt but this one was way off base. We both grew up with families that used clotheslines and we use a clothesline at our home. It does save money over using the dryer and I love the way the clothes smell. I don't dry everything outside, towels dried outside are just a little too scratchy.

When we stay in RV parks half the year while traveling, I get testy when the rules tell me "no outside drying of clothes" or "no clotheslines". I carry along a wooden, folding clothes rack and I like to use it to dry things like cotton t-shirts and jeans, things that have a tendency to shrink when dried in the dryer. I try to place the rack in an unobtrusive spot and I don't dry our underthings outside, either.

My family didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up but I don't ever remember feeling poor and the clotheslines certainly didn't make me feel poor--just an overworked teenager because I had to hang the clothes on the line!

I finally caught one of the Lazuli Bunting bluebirds on camera today, isn't he gorgeous!!!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Garage Building

Last fall we started a garage by pouring a concrete slab and then we left for the winter. Michael has started working on it again and Mom and I got out and helped him yesterday. He is building forms for the concrete walls and hopefully by July, we will have a garage and shop.
It was a beautiful day in Montana yesterday and again today. Warm and sunny, should have our leaves popping out any day now.
Last night we joined friends Jill and Terry for dinner at the Grand in Big Timber. We drove out to their house beforehand and had appetizers and wine. They are remodeling an old farmhouse and it is always fun to see the next step. Jill and Terry were our neighbors here on the East Boulder for many years and Michael and I were married in their home. They sold out about 2 years ago and moved closer to town. Terry builds beautiful homes and has been featured several times in Architectural Digest. Jill was a physical therapist but now sells real estate.
Today Michael worked on the garage and Mom and I proceeded to clean house, do laundry and get ready for our dinner party tonight. The people who bought our ranch which allowed us to retire are here for the weekend with their two sons. Tammy and Joe live full time in Colorado and vacation here. Plans are to eventually move here when the sons graduate high school.
Our neighbors down the hill, Shirley and George joined us and it was a wonderful evening.
Our birds are thriving, eating us out of house and home and the squirrel is getting more than his fair share.
I keep trying to get a photo of one of the lazuli bunting birds but they are just too flighty. I will catch one before summer is over.
Today was one of those days that make us realize why we live in Montana.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Road Trip

Mom and I went on a road trip yesterday to Bozeman and Belgrade, MT. It rained cats and dogs on us most of the day, we had to time our trips into the stores between rain storms. We started out in Big Timber at Little Timber Quilts. The ladies that work in this quilt store are awesome. I get a monthly newsletter from them and it had a 15% off coupon which I used to purchase some flannel for my Boulder Creek Designs Cliffsbear quilt. I also purchased some more fabric in a beautiful shade of red for my Shirley Stutz Easy & Elegant Lone Star Quilt. This Lone Star quilt is going to be a challenge for me being that it is king size.
We then headed on to Livingston where we made a quick stop at the jewelry store to drop off a ring I bought in Mexico and to have some minor adjustments made to my watch band that wouldn't stay fastened.
Then on to Bozeman. We started out with lunch at Applebee's then stopped at Wal-Mart for a few groceries and other things.
Our next stop was at the Belgrade, MT Quilts on Broadway store. This quilt store is one of the best I've seen. It is in an old house and is just packed with fabric, kits, ideas, and other things to catch your eye. I bought a new "bag" pattern, Savoir Flaire by Tammy Tadd Designs and the fabric to complete the bag.
Then it was off to Costco. Nothing exciting, just groceries and a few other things that just seemed to jump in my basket. We drove home and the rain seemed to be letting up. Michael and Jazz had spent the day helping Nat and were pooped and in need of some dinner.
Today, we noticed one little lazuli bunting bird near our feeders but he didn't stay. I hope he was the scout for all the others and told them we have great feed here on the Clark ranch! These beautiful little birds show up every May, usually on or around the 13th.
The squirrel keeps trying to figure out how to get his fair share and we have what seems like hundreds of Cassin's finches some days. The gold finches are numerous, too. We have seen one hummingbird and I did put the feeder out but he hasn't been back.
Today was mostly cloudy but no more rain and the sun is peeking out now. The next three days promise sunshine and 70-80 degrees! YEA!
We are still educating ourselves with the new Dell computer. I did manage to get all our e-mail contacts exported to the new computer today, a feat for this computer challenged person.

No new photos over the last couple of days so I thought I would post a couple of favorites. This is Jazz and Michael on our picnic in the Beartooth Mountains with friends Angie & Ralph last summer.

A Montana sunset last fall

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gardening and Hairdo

Warning to all guys--today's blog is kind of girly! We started out the morning by taking a nice long walk, our first in several days due to the snow and the resulting mud. Jazz had a ball. When we returned from the walk, Michael fired up the mini-excavator and we began to plant trees and transplant tulips and irises that came from Nat's (Michael's Dad) place. It didn't take us long.
Michael worked on my Explorer for a while and when he went to town this afternoon, he thinks he may have it fixed--hurrah!
After lunch Mom and I headed to town. I had an appointment to get my hair repaired. Last week I had it cut by a new person and she convinced me to try coloring it myself, something I had been wanting to try since we travel so much. Well, we argued about the color she wanted to use and sure enough when I colored my hair, it turned out much, much too dark, black!! Today, she put a few highlights in and "lifted" my color and it looks much, much better. The things you can do with modern hair styling! I am much happier and glad it worked out because I would love to find someone in Big Timber to do my hair as Billings is too much diesel fuel away!
After the hair thing, we went and visited with old friends of ours, Beryl and Jim. They used to be our ranching neighbors until they became elderly enough that a move to town was in their best interests. They are both fighting illness and loss of mobility. It was good to see them and they were glad to see us.
I am posting this using the new Dell computer which came today. Talk about a learning curve! Windows Vista has more options and buttons than I know what to do with!
Sunshine today, it was a good day!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day and Lost Dog

Yesterday was a wonderful day spent with Mom. The weather even cooperated and it was warmer with a little sunshine thrown in. We went to the Grand, a restored old hotel in Big Timber that has fabulous special days and holiday buffets. The food was very good and as always when you eat at a buffet, we ate too much. Nat, Mike's Dad joined us, too.
Mom and Janna
I said I would post photos of our little sewing project so here they are. This is such a fun thing to do--it does take time but you can use up little scraps of fabric and the end results turn out great. I am making a large, paper pieced bear quilt that is going to be awesome. I found a wholesale place on line where I get these unisex sweatshirts for less than half what the quilt stores are asking. Any hobby you have seems to cost money and quilting is no exception.

Since Jazz was six months old, she has been taught to stay in her yard area which by the way is a very large yard area by one of the underground pet fences. There is a wire around the perimeter of her yard and she wears a shock collar; if she gets to close to the perimeter, the collar sounds a warning and if she gets to the perimeter, she receives a shock. It took one time of training when she was just a puppy and she avoids the fence when she hears the warning. She is also smart enough to know when she has that collar on and when she does not.
Today we took our walk down to the road, a little over a mile round trip. When we got back, Jazz came into the yard with us and Mike and I went in the house. The fence has not been working lately, we have a break somewhere and haven't found the time to repair it. I saw her outside a couple of times and so did Mike. Well, a little later, I went to get her to put her inside the house so we could leave and no Jazz. We looked for her for over an hour. We live on a small ranch and are surrounded by a huge ranch with cows, horses, etc. We also have wolves, coyotes, mountain lions and bears. We were getting very, very concerned. Michael finally took a LONG hike over the hill to our neighbor's barn and there she was, happy as a clam!! She had found something very smelly to roll in and was just delighted with herself. I was delighted to see her coming across the hay field with her Dad!!
Needless to say, I got in gear and got her fence fixed, Michael had to go to Big Timber so he picked up batteries for her collar and Jazz got a bath because Mom was not as partial to her "new" smell as she was!
A busy day but still a day in which we did what we wanted to do!! Life is good, except it is snowing again!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ten Inches

When I got up yesterday morning, I announced that Jazz and I were heading back to AZ. The sun was shining on TEN inches of new snow that accumulated overnight. On Friday we probably got about 8 inches that accumulated then melted. The sun made our landscape absolutely beautiful.
Michael headed off to town to help his Dad on the garage project and Mom and I had a quilting paper piecing lesson. Our project turned out great--I'll post some photos of it tomorrow. I am 52 years old and have always sewed. Mom made the majority of our clothes while we were growing up and still sews for great-grandchildren so I think some of her talent rubbed off on me. But, I am totally hooked on this quilting business.
We live 22 miles from anything here in McLeod, MT. No grocery store, no gas station, no nothing. From our home we can see no neighbors nor hear any traffic. One of our main forms of entertainment is to get together with neighbors for dinner. We went to the home of friends Robin and Claire last night. They have a beautiful log home with spectacular views and live about 5 miles farther up the road from us. George and Shirley were also there and we all had a great evening. Robin is an excellent cook and Mom and I had to have TWO pieces of her strawberry pie last night. Claire is a retired biologist for the MT Fish/Wildlife/Parks and Robin is Robin! She has lots of interests, designed the home she had built before marrying Claire, rides horses and tries to raise chickens and various other critters. Her heart is soft and she has a tendency to baby the animals, letting the chickens roost in the garage where it is warmer for example! George and Shirley are avid fisherpeople and hunters and George is our local wine expert. We always have a great time when we get together with this group.

Our newest spring scene on May 11
One snowy dog. She burrows her nose in the snow, sniffing out all the critters that might have been there.
Snow on the mountains
Happy Mother's Day--it is great to have my Mom with me this year.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Snow and more Snow

We were awakened by my Mom with her loud exclamation of surprise when she saw all the snow this morning. There was about two inches early and by 11am, we had about 4 inches. It all began to melt as the temperature rose through the day but as I write this, it has been snowing for a while and we have another 3 inches on the deck rail.
The snow makes for some excellent bird watching, the birds have almost eaten 4 full feeders of birdseed. I know it makes for good moisture but dang it--it is May 9 and supposed to be spring.
Mom and I took a quick trip over to a neighboring town of Livingston, MT to do a little grocery shopping and other shopping. Our grocery store here in Big Timber is a little lacking at times. Michael took the mini-excavator into town and started digging the footings for his Dad's garage.

The busy bird feeder

Mr. & Mrs. Cassin's Finch

May real spring come soon!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What Happened to Spring

We are back to fires in the fireplace, wearing a heavy coat outside and Jazz is snuggled up to her heating pad. It rained most of yesterday which is a good thing this time of year and we now have lots of sticky, gumbo mud.
Tuesday evening I listed for sale our Gold Wing on Craig's List. If you are not familiar with Craig's List, it is a nationwide free classified listing that you can specify the state for your listing. Our Gold Wing motorcycle was a 1988 and Michael was thinking he might like to have a newer one. I listed it for sale on Tuesday evening and a guy called at 8am Wednesday and wanted to come look at the bike. He arrived two hours later with a U-Haul and left with the bike. We decided to celebrate, went to town and put our check in the bank and had ice cream.
Today it is cold and there is a bitter wind blowing. Michael was headed to town to help his Dad (remember this is the 85 soon to be 86 year old Dad) dig the footings for a garage he is going to build at his place near Big Timber. But we discovered that our neighbor's horses had decided to come visit our two horses and had pushed the fence over in the process. So, Michael spent the morning putting the fence back together--thank goodness we have equipment, skid steer with auger so we don't have to dig fence post holes by hand!
Mom arrived about 6pm tonight, it is so good to see her.
I took great photos of birds on the bird feeder, even got some in flight today but "Blogger" is not cooperating. Even thought my photos are saved right side up when I go to put them on the Blog, it turns them sideways, wierd!

The birds are eating me out of house and home and our usual assortment is not all here yet.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Do You Ever Have Days Like This

It was a cool, cloudy and windy day in Montana, not very spring like. My Mom is arriving on Thursday evening from Arkansas to spend a week or so with us before heading off to her summer job as an office person on a large dude ranch in Laramie, WY. So, I tried to do what every good daughter does when she knows her Mom is coming---CLEAN LIKE CRAZY. But nothing seemed to go right today, couldn't find the mattress cover for the guest bed--now how do you lose a mattress cover?? It was just a day of things like that, frustrating little things that won't matter a hill of beans tomorrow.
Michael also had a frustrating day being a mechanic, not one of his favorite things. His old standby work truck, a 1995 Ford diesel died last summer and could not be ressurected even after Michael gave in and took it to a paid mechanic. So, he is determined to figure it out and has it narrowed down to a part he can order from eBay.

I caught Jazz in the midst of a good stretch this morning

This whitetail deer seems to be saying, "who are you and what are you doing in my pasture?"

Tomorrow is another day!

Monday, May 5, 2008

TV Watching and Motorcycle Riding

Ever thought of giving up TV? Ever wonder what you are paying for when you can't find anything to watch?
I grew up in rural Arkansas where we got 3 channels on the TV, sometimes snowy pictures, sometimes not. TV watching was not an activity that was high on the priority list of my family. Mom and Dad worked too hard and when we were at Grandma and Grandpa's house, Grandma thought electricity cost too much to let us watch much TV. I have always been a reader and would much rather read a book than watch TV so even after I married and left home, TV still wasn't something I enjoyed. My husbands (yes, plural, that is a story for another day) were channel surfers so we had cable in most of the places I lived. Michael grew up in very rural Montana and got no TV channels.
As an adult, Michael taught himself to install the huge satellite dishes prominent in many rural areas of the country and later began selling and installing the small Direct TV dishes for our local telephone co-op, supplementing his ranching income. He had always received free programing from the companies in return for being a representative. The small Direct TV dishes became so common and inexpensive that even Wal Mart began to sell them and Michael's business died off. We had been married about 5 years when we came home one evening to a message on our screen that our free programing had been cut off. We talked about it and decided to try it without.
Nine years later, we still have no TV service and haven't missed it for a minute. We read, talk, do puzzles, take walks and we do use the internet.
There is so much on TV that is offense, vulgar and just plain nonsense--why bother! You can surf through 100 channels and find nothing that interests you to watch. And right now with all the political ads, we can only be thankful we don't have TV! When we travel in the RV, we do watch TV and I am appalled sometimes at what I hear coming from the television at 7pm in the evening! Do parent's let their children watch that garbage???
It works for us!

A beautiful day in Montana, 78 degrees and sunny, so nice we took the Gold Wing out and went to town for ice cream!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

An Easy Sunday

Jazz has always been a sleep through the night little dog--last night she decided she needed a drink of water and to go potty--just like a kid!! Needless to say, it was mighty hard to get back to sleep so when I did get up, I decided it was going to be a lazy Sunday.
We took a walk around the ranch we used to own that adjoins our little 38 acre homestead, it is about two and one half miles. It is uphill and downhill so we get a workout. This is one of the views we have as we walk:

I've been trying to educate myself on blogging, adding ads to blogs and other aspects. I learned a lot this afternoon but I think I will probably have to get a whole lot more traffic to make it worthwhile, right now it is just fun.

Michael took off after lunch and went over to the ranch his son manages to install a well pump. He came back very disgruntled--guess he is out of practice!! He was pulling a 5th wheel trailer loaded with a piece of equipment and left the tailgate of MY truck closed when he pulled away from the trailer. The tailgate doesn't work very well, but will it matter in a year??

I got a little bit of ambition this afternoon and unpacked the remaining boxes from the RV that were full of my quilting and sewing supplies. It felt good to finally say, "the RV is unpacked."

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Sunshine and Wind

Sunshine and blue Montana skies today but we have that pesky wind again. Our friends that are unfortunate enough to have to stay here in the frozen north in the winter say the wind has driven them crazy this winter.
My family is busy, busy at home doing cleanup. My brother-in-law is pastor of a Missionary Baptist Church and it is always so heartwarming to see the outpouring of help, support and prayers when someone is in need. There has been a crew at their house all day helping to put things back together. A stranger even stopped to see if he could help, was put to work, fed at lunchtime with everyone else and then went back to work with everyone else this afternoon.
Even though it is only about 55 degrees and windy this afternoon, Michael couldn't stand it any longer and got the Gold Wing out and took it for a ride--I declined to accompany him, too cold.
We took a long walk this morning before it got windy and I took these photos. Even I have to admit that the snow on the mountains in the sunshine is gorgeous.

Some of the mountains you can see from our home
The Crazy Mountains and a friend's horses that are being winter pastured on the ranch we sold when we retired

Friday, May 2, 2008

May Snow

We woke to 2 inches of snow and more filtering down. Michael got up before me, leaving Jazz and me in bed. When we did get up, I told him Jazz and I were going back to Arizona! All the snow was melted by noon.
We spent the day still cleaning and unpacking. After lunch we decided to head into Big Timber to run a couple of errands and to maybe have dinner. On the way into town, we noticed friends Jim and Kathy out by their corrals near the road and stopped for a chat. A few years ago, this friend Kathy and I decided to open a little shop. We sold women's clothing, books, jewelry, and other things such as pottery. We also had an espresso bar. I only had the store for about 2 years, deciding that retail was not for me and sold my half to another dear friend, Jeane. Kathy and Jeane have made such a success of the store--it is the gathering place for many and the place to shop in Big Timber. I stopped in to visit this afternoon while Michael went to his Dad's to call the electric and phone line locaters so he can start digging for his Dad's new shop. Jeane and I had a great visit. Her husband, Steve stopped in and we all decided to go to the Grand for dinner. It was such fun to see friends and we enjoyed our visit very much. The Grand is an old late 1800's hotel that has been restored. It is a bed and breakfast with an excellent restaurant. Michael's great uncles owned the Grand at one time and rumor has it, they lost it in a horse race!
We live so remotely here in Montana that cell phone service is almost non-existent. With an antenna, we can get a signal most of the time and we leave one of the cell phones plugged to the antenna all the time. The other cell phone we just leave turned off. On the way to town today I turned it on and had a voice mail from my sister asking me to call. She, my brother-in-law and my Mom have been in Holland for the wedding of an exchange student my Mom and Dad had many years ago. When I reached my sister Ann, it was not good news she had to share. They had arrived in Detroit this morning and called their daughter, my niece, Niki who lives near them with her husband and two daughters. Arkansas has been hard hit this year with killer tornadoes and today another one hit killing 7 people in Arkansas. My sister's home is extremely damaged, my brother lost his shop and the roof from the barn my grandfather built and other outbuildings. His home and the home of my Mom had no damage. They all live on the farm my grandfather owned when he was alive. My brother worked the night shift and slept through the whole thing! Thank God no one was injured but my heart hurts for them.

Our view this morning, BRRRRR

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May Day

This is the first day of May, May Day, and isn't it supposed to be sunny and warm?? Well, it is not here in Montana, overcast, cold wind and only about 40 degrees. UGH
Hooray, I finished unloading the RV today but of course the downstairs storage room and my sewing room look like bombs went off in them. So, the next step will be putting all the stuff away. I am anxious to get started on some quilting projects so maybe that will encourage me to get with it!
Michael did some clean up work today, hauling away old dead limbs and trees. He also cut us some much needed firewood. We have a wood-burning fireplace in our living area and we use it lots.
Nat, Michael's Dad came up today to pick up a post pounder--sounds like work to me. He is planning on building a shop next to his house and he is going to put up a temporary backyard fence for "his little black friend, Jazzy," while they are building the shop. Remember this man is 85 years old, soon to be 86, hope Mike has that much energy when he is 85!
First Goldfinch of the season arrived today
I can't resist taking pictures of Jazz, we are just so happy she is well and still with us
This very fat Robin has been hanging out on this window ledge and pecking at the window. I guess he is saying, "let me in, it's cold out here."
One goofy looking pooch