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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Busy Social Calendar

We are definitely back in the swing of things here at Lake Medina RV Resort. Yesterday I couldn't get Jazz walked for stopping to visit with folks and it was the same this morning. Michael and I started out for a walk and didn't get far before we met up with Pat on his motorcycle. He insisted Mike come along with the guys for a ride. It was rather windy and chilly today for motorcycle riding but off they went. The guys got back about 2pm.

Jazz and I went for a nice walk up and down the major hills this RV resort has. After getting back to the RV, I started cleaning. We were grubby--we left home 2 weeks ago and I hadn't vacuumed or anything in that time. Took me a while to say the least. Jazz kept me company snoozing on the couch.

I am baking a rhubarb crisp to take to the New Year's Eve celebration tonight. The park is providing the meal, residents are providing appetizers and desserts. There is to be dancing and entertainment so we should have fun and we are celebrating a New York New Year's at 11pm!

Happy New Year to all our friends and family.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lake Medina

Michael was up at 5am, I think he forgot he is retired and we were out of the RV park in Waco, TX by 8:30am. It was a easy, relaxing day driving on the "red roads" and going through the small towns. We arrived in Boerne, TX about 1pm and stocked up on groceries at Wal Mart where we also got fuel for $2.09/gallon.

Lake Medina RV Park hasn't changed much, it is still the greatest, friendliest place! We pulled in about 3pm and it has been non-stop visiting since we got here. Two years ago we spent two months here and loved it. It is such a welcoming, beautiful, and quiet place. The RV park is located within a Texas ranch that has been in the same family for over 100 years. Many of the residents of the RV park have been coming since the park opened in 2000. There is absolutely none of the cliques that exist in some RV parks. The park is located on Lake Medina which is a lake used for irrigating farm land thus the level fluctuates greatly. When we were here two years ago, the lake was dry with only a small creek running through the bed of the lake. Last year the lake was near flood stage, this year, it is approximately 15 feet down.

Our friends Angie and Ralph who are full timers are here and Angie prepared a wonderful dinner for us tonight. We haven't seen them since they stayed with us the summer of 2007.

From the left, my sister Ann, my Mom, me and my niece Niki
My Niki in her fashionable new rubber boots

Leah riding Cocoa

Life is great!

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Sad Day

It was a sad day this morning when we pulled out. While we are glad to be moving on to see other friends and family and to find warmer weather, we are sad to be leaving family behind again. I am blessed to have the most wonderful family and I love them dearly.

We traveled from Sheridan, AR to Waco, TX today, getting a little over 8mpg and seeing diesel for $1.95 per gallon, of course, we paid $2.09 just before we saw the cheaper version. At Texarkana, TX, we exited the freeway and traveled the red roads. We are tucked into a very quiet RV park about 10 miles outside Waco and tomorrow we will travel through Crawford, TX where President Bush has his ranch.

It was 72 degrees when we arrived here today, wonderful!!
These photographs are on the wall of my niece's living room, aren't those girls beautiful??
Red neck cooking in Arkansas. Bacon makes such a mess when cooking it indoors so my brother-in-law Danny (Niki's Dad) and Niki's husband Eric are cooking the bacon outdoors. Doesn't Eric look attractive in that hat???
A beautiful Arkansas sunset. Santa brought me a new camera and I learned to use the "sunset" setting.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

They Are Gone

Niki and the great nieces (gosh that makes me sound old) finally talked Michael into staying an extra day. We went to church this morning with the Dutch visitors and the rest of us greatly swelling the attendance!

After church we all gathered for a farewell lunch at Ann's then the Dutch friends said goodbye with many tears and hugs. It was great to see them and we thoroughly enjoyed their visit.

The afternoon was spent cleaning up, going for a walk and getting the RV ready to travel tomorrow. I am sad to be leaving but glad to be on the road again.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Shopping and Dining Out

Everyone went off to different places yesterday with Mom, Danny and Michael staying home to recuperate! Boy and I headed to Hot Springs, AR which happens to be the birthplace of Bill Clinton but is also the home to many antique stores. Boy is a collector of antique tobacco items and other things. We had a great day and enjoyed a wonderful lunch. The Dutch ladies went shopping--they love our stores here--things are much more expensive in Holland so they always bring extra suitcase space for taking home treasures. Ann took Leon and Edward for a hike near Hot Springs in spite of the fact it misted rain most of the day.

In the evening we all met for dinner at a Chili's in Hot Springs. There were 20 of us for dinner and Boy and the rest of the Holland folks treated us. We split up after dinner with the Holland ladies going off to do more shopping, meeting back up at Danny and Ann's for coffee and desserts.

This morning at 6am, it is 70 degrees and very humid. The Dutch folks rose very early, 4am, to take Leon to the Little Rock airport. He has to return to Holland for work and the rest of the gang will remain in the US until January 1. They are all leaving Arkansas tomorrow for more US sightseeing.

Breakfast by Ann this morning was delicious and I am going to catch up on some housekeeping chores today in preparation for leaving tomorrow.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family. We have had a wonderful, wonderful time with our family and Dutch friends.

Yesterday on Christmas Eve Mom and I were crazy enough to venture to Wal Mart for a few last minute groceries. We finished readying Niki's home for visitors. Michael and I managed to get in a couple of long walks with the Jazzy dog, too.

In the late afternoon on Christmas Eve, our Dutch friends arrived. My parents, Martha and Rubin (my father is deceased) decided to host an exchange student in 1993. They were the American parents to a delightful girl, Maaike. Through the years even after Maike left Arkansas, she has stayed in close contact with my family, journeying to Arkansas frequently and even to Montana sometimes bringing her parents and sister and boyfriend. In April Maaike and Leon were married and my sister Ann, her husband Danny and my Mom made the trip to Holland for the wedding. This Christmas the entire family decided to come to Arkansas to celebrate Christmas with us. Maaike brought her parents Boy and Gerda, her husband Leon and his Mother, Annie; Maaike's sister Marika, her boyfriend Edward and her child Melisa.

Mealtimes are chaotic and fun with our enlarged household. Today for our Christmas Day celebration, we traveled to Niki and Eric's home where more chaos reined! Marika and Edward were staying there with Marika's daughter who is the same age as Niki and Eric's Elizabeth. Santa had paid a visit and the living room looked as if an explosion had occurred!! We had a delicious breakfast and opened what seemed like a mountain of presents. The Dutch friends brought lots of chocolates and cookies. Niki's present to all of us received the prize for the best ever. She put together an album of Mom's life that had us all in tears, it was so special. Thank you Niki, we love you so much.

We came home and relaxed a little--the Dutch folks took a drive--Maaike has lived here so she was the navigator. Mom's sisters stopped by to visit during the day, too, with their families.

Michael is a little under the weather and today we also found out that Nat had fallen off a ladder and was in the hospital in Big Timber. He broke his nose and is bruised and sore.

Remember I have said that here in Arkansas we visit and eat, then eat and visit--a lot of that went on today for sure. Everyone has gone off to their respective spots for the night as I write this and the house is quiet. We are so thankful for our wonderful family and for friends such as these Dutch people who travel great distances to spend this holiday with us. May God be with you in this season and the coming year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mini Ice Storm and More Eating

We woke during the night to the sound of rain on the roof and wondered what the morning would bring. There was a little ice on the steps and vehicles but it melted quickly as the morning warmed up. It continued to rain off and on all day.

Yesterday Mom and I drove to Clinton, AR to the home of my aunt and uncle. This is my aunt who sends me the quilts to quilt. My Uncle Si has Parkinson's disease and is confined to a wheelchair but is still alert and enjoys visitors. Aunt Marg had more quilts for me to take home. We enjoyed lunch with them and then headed home getting caught up in the Christmas traffic.

Friends of Danny and Ann--Pat and Harley who have visited us in Montana--joined us for a wonderful dinner last night. Danny smoked pork and venison on the smoker all day and it was delicious. He about froze while doing it, it was very cold and windy yesterday.

Today Mom and I gave my niece an early Christmas present. Niki is a nurse and works full time and has two small daughters, Elizabeth and Leah. Mom and I cleaned her house and did the laundry.

About 2pm Mom took me to town where I met up with Niki and we took off to get our hair cut getting home after 5pm. Michael, Danny and my brother Ross installed Mom's new flooring in her bathroom today.

A busy day, maybe we will slow down tomorrow, you think???

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Arkansas Arrival

We are here! Friday we made it to a wonderful state park in south eastern Oklahoma called McGee Lake State Park. Electric and water hookups and we had the entire campground to ourselves. Michael saw his first ever armadillo and Jazz really wanted the critter to play with her. Cardinals and ducks talked to us and just about dusk we heard a chorus of coyotes. A wonderful place to spend the night. Our RV site backed right up to the lake.

Saturday morning we made our way to Arkansas to my family home. The entire Barnes/Hill family lives either on the farm that belonged to my Grandfather or very close by in the case of my niece and her family. It is great to be here, my sister Ann and her husband Danny have a RV electric hookup and we are snug and comfortable. Last night we had dinner at Mom's and then headed to Little Rock for the Yuletide Symphony concert. A great evening, beautiful music.

Today we all headed to church. My brother-in-law Danny is the minister of the church I attended while growing up. Lots of friends from days ago and family still attend the church. Today their choir presented the Christmas cantata and it was beautiful. Niki's (my niece) two daughters were cast as angels complete with halos, a serious miscasting I told them! After church it was back to Danny and Ann's for a wonderful lunch of stuffed beef tenderloin and all the fixings. I am still stuffed hours later. That is one of the things this family does best--we cook and eat, eat and cook!

The afternoon was spent visiting. It is cold here with a nasty wind blowing. Michael and I stayed home tonight while everyone else went back to church for the children's program.

I won't be posting any photos for a while although I have taken some great ones. Danny and Ann live in a high speed internet dead spot here and only have dial-up which isn't conducive to posting photos.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dodge City, Kansas

At about 2:30am on Wednesday morning both Michael and I were wide awake so we got up, got ready, finished loading the last minute stuff and left Montana. We had chains on the truck to get down our driveway which was snow packed. We stopped about a mile from the house on our gravel road to remove the chains. Michael was out removing the chains and asked me to get in the driver's seat and pull the truck forward, OK, but when I went to get out of the truck to go back to the passenger side, I put one foot down on to the icy road and the next thing I know I am flat on my back, whacking my nose on the door pocket as I am going down, wrenching my back and shoulder. Not a nice beginning!!

We traveled well all day although the wind in the Casper, WY area was as usual, gale force rocking this RV! About 4pm, we pulled in to Gering, Nebraska into a city park with electric hookups and nice warm bathhouses. It was about 18 degrees. When we left MT, it was 10 degrees. In Gering, we turned on the furnace, our heating blanket and Jazzy's heating pad and we were snug as bugs in a rug. Due to our early awakening hour, we were in bed before 8pm and asleep!!

Today, we traveled east on I80 until the weather deteriorated and we started trying to head south to avoid the ice storm that seemed to be chasing us. About 5pm, we pulled into Dodge City, Kansas. And, we are as usual wondering what in the world induced Trailer Life to give this RV park "9" ratings. We usually use to find our RV parks; we find that RVers are more honest than Trailer Life, but we have had no internet. The park is between two busy highways and right across one of these highways is a very noisy railroad track. Oh, well, we are only here for the night.

Fuel is about $2.45/gallon here and we have been getting less than 8mpg, the wind has not been kind. It is not as cold here and we might make Arkansas tomorrow depending on the weather.

The elk herd near Lonn and LoraLee's.

Olive oil at less than 10 degrees, notice it isn't clear anymore!!

Michael in the RV when it is less than 20 degrees outside, coat and wine!
Jazz under the blanket when it is less than 20 degrees!
Our site in Gering, NE this morning, sunshine that didn't last long, those clouds in the background caught up with us bringing icy fog and snow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

We are Off

We had a heat wave today, it got all the way up to 10 degrees above zero! Our friends Mark and Gemma had the two of us, and Denny and Ellen over for dinner last night. It was a great evening and good to see these guys before we head south.

Today we have been loading the last of the stuff into the RV. I loaded the stuff into the freezers and there is no need to even turn the refrigerator on, it is so cold in that RV!!

We went over to Lonnie and LoraLee's this afternoon to take them a checkbook and mailing boxes. LoraLee collects our mail then sends it to us wherever we happen to be.

Bright and early tomorrow we are off for warmer country. Let's hope we have good roads and warmer weather.

Monday, December 15, 2008


When we thought we were leaving on Sunday or Monday, we made arrangements to have our internet and phone services put on vacation and when we changed our plans, decided to leave things as they were to avoid confusion. So, we probably will not have internet service and therefore, no blogs for a while. Hopefully we will get out of the frozen north soon!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cold and Projects

It must have been meant for us to stay home for a few more days. Michael constructed a new coffee table for us today. I have been wanting a leather topped coffee table--being the frugal man that he is, Michael decided he could make one. At a garage sale this summer we found a nice oak, mission style coffee table. He put thick foam on top, covered it with leather we had purchased and inserted buttons, it looks fabulous!!

I think I blogged about my king size quilt top that didn't get quilted because the backing fabric I ordered was not wide enough. Well, I added some borders to that fabric today, got the backing fabric and the batting loaded on the quilting machine and tomorrow I will start quilting, I hope. King size quilts are huge, this may be my last!

It is so unbelievably cold here. As I write this blog, it is 17 degrees below zero at almost 6pm. It never got above 10 degrees below zero all day. Jazzy spends very little time outside, only the necessary! The birds are eating us out of house and home. We are looking at heading south on Wednesday, the first day it is above zero!

Way Too Cold on a Sunday Morning

Just a quick update, it is 25 degrees below zero this morning! Sure hope it is warmer in Arkansas when we get there!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Really Cold

It was 20 degrees when we got up and was starting to snow. By 9am, it was 10 degrees and really snowing and it has gone downhill all day from there. 12 degrees below zero as I write this with about six inches of new snow. We have postponed our departure tomorrow, it is just too cold to be traveling in a RV.

We had a nice early Christmas with Michael's son and his family this afternoon. Nat joined us too. Michael's daughter and her family who live in Billings were also coming but the highways are just too treacherous. We had turkey and pork tenderloins. LoraLee made a new chocolate eclair dessert and wouldn't you know it, she accidentally left it behind, I think I may have a snack soon! She also left the rest of her homemade rolls!

We are toasty warm with a fire in the fireplace and the woodburning stove downstairs.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bike Loaded and Lunch With Friends

We were slow getting around this morning, took a walk and then Michael hooked up the RV, pulled it forward and we loaded the motorcycle on board. He didn't want to do this chore on Saturday when it was 30 degrees and snowing.

Then, on to Big Timber for lunch with Jeane and Jill at the Grand. Michael went out to his Dad's to try and get the weather station working. Jeane, Jill and I had a great, relaxing lunch, I will miss them while down south although both have promised to visit this winter.

After lunch I spent time getting my friend Kelly's Christmas present ready to ship and other errands. Michael picked me up and we did the post office and UPS run.

The weather station just would not give us a wind mph so I got on the phone to Oregon Scientific and received outstanding customer service. With a little tweaking, Michael was successful and now Nat knows just how hard the wind is blowing in the windy city of Big Timber. I'm not so sure he really wanted to know!

We stopped and visited Jim and Beryl in the nursing home before dragging ourselves home, I sure hope it is early to bed for me tonight!

Odds and Ends

We took our morning walk, waiting until the sun came up before we started out. We hiked to the top of a huge hill on our neighbor's ranch, huffing and puffing!

The RV is just about loaded with the exception of the stuff that can't go in until the last minute. We picked the most frigid day of the year to leave, the forecast is for a high of 5 degrees on Sunday and a low of -9!! Jim and Ellie--how would you like to be staying in a RV at those temperatures. Depending on conditions, we may end up staying in a motel a couple of nights on the road!

Last night we enjoyed our last get together for the year at the home of Robyn and Claire with George and Shirley. Robyn made homemade chili and it was delicious and the bread pudding was excellent! It was another late night, our social life this holiday season is busy! Today we are going into town, I am having lunch with Jill and Jeane.

We did have sunshine yesterday with a cold wind.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Not Sleeping

Is not sleeping a symptom of getting older?? Seems like when we get together with friends the topic of sleep or rather not sleeping comes up. Michael rarely sleeps past 5am and in Montana in the winter, that is just too dang early to get up. Now me, I might sleep until 3am or 5am just depends on the night.

On Wednesday, we continued to load the RV. Our medicine cabinet in the RV is a good size for one in a RV but it had only one shelf so everything was just piled in the cabinet and if you opened the door too quickly, everything fell out and you better be sure the toilet lid was closed! My sweet husband put another shelf in the cabinet yesterday, isn't he a good husband??

In the afternoon I went down to my friend Shirley's home and gave her another computer lesson on dealing with photographs. Michael went into town to visit our tax accountant before we leave and to finish installing his Dad's weather station. He wasn't successful with the weather station--more research is needed!

The wind has been howling the last two days, I don't think I could deal with the wind if we stayed here in the winter time, it just never stops this time of year.

More RV loading today and I am almost finished with my friend Kelly's Christmas present.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Loading and Loading Some More

Tuesday we took our early morning walk in the snow and cold. Last winter when Jazz was so sick, she would just poop out on walks--would just stop and not be able to go any farther so Michael would pick her up and carry her. Well, now when you want her to go somewhere she doesn't want to go or you stop her from chasing a deer, she stops, jumps up on Michael's legs and begs to be carried and as you can see in these photos, Michael suckers!!

Good thing she only weighs 20 pounds.
We loaded stuff and more stuff into the RV, Michael is about finished with his packing, I still have a little more to do.
Mid-afternoon we headed into Big Timber. Nat needed a new thermostat and as a Christmas present we gave him a weather station. Michael installed new wiring and the new thermostat and started reading the directions for the weather station. The wind was literally howling in Big Timber. Nat said he wasn't sure he wanted to know how hard it was blowing with this new weather station. Today Michael has an appointment with our tax accountant and he will finish installing the weather station.
In the evening we went to Steve and Jeane's for dinner, always a most pleasant time. Jill and Terry were there too. Steve and Jeane live in a wonderful old home that was an original carriage house for storage of horse drawn carriages. Jeane's taste is exquisite and the home is decorated beautifully. We had a wonderful time visiting with good friends and the food was great--for dessert, a chocolate cake with peppermint flavored filling, YUM! We were home rather late last night, so the blog gets posted in the morning!
Off to pack some more.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Wrapping, Baking and Sewing

All the Christmas presents that are here are wrapped, the post office still owes me one present. I got all the wrapping done when I got up so early this morning.

We took a walk in the new snow, got our exercise--Miss Jazzy seemed to enjoy it very much this morning.
As we started out on our walk, I caught sight of an eagle. The photos aren't great, he's in the top of the tallest tree and is an immature Bald Eagle. Doesn't it look bleak here in our country??
He's fluffing his wings getting ready to take flight.
I did some cookie baking today to give as gifts to friends and neighbors. My snickerdoodles have altitude sickness, turned out flat as pancakes!
After the baking, I went downstairs to sew. I have been trying to get our king size quilt top finished so I can quilt it before we leave and take it with me. I ran out of border fabric and the mailman brought me some more with today's mail. Got all the borders sewn on and measured the quilt. I had ordered backing fabric a month ago and ordered what is called a fatback which was supposed to be 120 inches wide. Well--it is 116 inches wide so it is way too narrow. I gave up--the quilt won't get finished before we leave.
It has snowed off and on all day and is cold, about 20 degrees. The fireplace and the glass of wine seem just right tonight!

Snow and Loading the RV

Yesterday we started loading the RV. We have had a terrible time with mice this summer and fall and can't seem to get the nasty critters locked out of the RV--so everything had to come out of the storage bays so we could clean. I did a thorough cleaning inside, too and started packing. I have said before--I know why people full time--then they don't have to load and unload. It is supposed to be frigid cold here by the weekend so I couldn't load some things for fear they would freeze.

Michael worked on the taxes in the afternoon and hopes to visit with our tax man this afternoon. In the evening, I wrapped a few Christmas presents.

I am up early this morning, just couldn't sleep, too many lists in my head! We have about 2 inches of new snow. I have a fire in the fireplace, a cup of coffee and the Christmas lights on, what more could anyone want?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Two Parties

Thursday it was 9 degrees, tonight it is 50 degrees, go figure!

Last night we went to the home of friends and neighbors, Dava and Stuart for a Christmas open house. We had a wonderful time, lots of visiting with friends and neighbors and wonderful food. Dava and Stuart along with their sons, Jacob and Tucker are one of the few families left in our valley who make their living by ranching. It was a great party.

Tonight we went into Big Timber stopping by the nursing home for a quick visit with Jim and Beryl before going to the home of Jim and Lola for a wine party. There are a group of people in Big Timber who make wine and this was their Christmas party. Lola and Jim go to Arizona in the winter and have also traveled to Alamos, Mexico where we spent time last winter. Once again, the food was good and the wine interesting--chokecherry, currant and even a homemade merlot. Michael has talked about learning to make wine, we'll see what next summer brings when the chokecherries get ripe.

Today Michael hooked up the RV and brought it closer to the house so we can start loading. We also put out big round bales for the horses and hauled some firewood. I have been trying to get a quilt top of my own finished so I can quilt it on the longarm before we leave--I got down to the last border today and I was short 18 inches of fabric---GRRRRR. Called the quilt store in Billings where I got the fabric and they are mailing me some. I may or may not get this quilt finished before we leave!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Even Colder

I complained yesterday about the cold, well today when I got up it was 9 degrees but the sun did shine bringing our temperature up to a whopping 18 degrees by 3pm. We are so ready to go south!

Nat came up for lunch today and when I went into town late in the afternoon my first thought was , "what was I thinking??" Asking an 86 year old man up for lunch when the roads were sheets of ice?? But we both made it safely. I had some errands to run and a Santa Claus present to buy for my dear husband.

Michael and Jazz stayed home and kept the fires burning, we certainly needed fires!
Our view this morning on our frigid walk!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Gosh, It's Cold

BRRRRR!!! 16 degrees when we got up this morning and we have about 5 inches of snow on the ground. The high temperature today was about 20 degrees! We took two walks today, when the weather is bad we don't walk up into our pastures, too steep and slippery, we just walk down our driveway, 1/2 mile each way. Jazzy is unimpressed with the weather!

She kept burying her face in the snow, sniffing out tracks and mice.

Michael worked on the old truck again and I cooked and sewed. Not very exciting around here but restful and fun!
Snow and a little blue sky

This flock of birds appears every November and usually departs sometime in January according to Nat who feeds the birds while we are gone. There are about 70-80 of these birds on some days, 10-20 on others. They can clean out a feeder quickly. I think they are Gray-Crowned Rosy Finches according to my Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Snow and Other Things

When we got up this morning, it was a balmy 52 degrees with no wind. At 9am when we got to Big Timber, it was 26 degrees and snowing--tonight as I write this we have about 4 inches on the ground.

We ran errands in town, Michael picked up some parts for his truck and I got my concealed carry permit renewed. We also got license plates for the VW--Montana lets you license permanently any vehicle that is more than 10 years old--you never have to buy plates again and the 1959 VW qualifies as more than 10 years old for sure.

Michael worked on the old truck when we got home and I did some cooking and a little sewing. In the evening we headed off to the home of our friends Mark and Gemma. Mark and Michael then went on up the Boulder to the home of Denny and Ellen for dinner. All the ladies gathered at Gemma's for a Body Shop Party. Good smelling lotions and other things. The lady who was to have given the demonstrations did not come, the roads between us and Bozeman where she lives are treacherous. So it was an abbreviated party but we still enjoyed visiting and eating. It was good to see friends and neighbors.

I took this photo out the window of the house, the little tree in the middle has Christmas lights on it and it was so beautiful with the snow.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cooking and Sewing

Yesterday we puttered, me in the quilting room, Michael out in the garage. In the evening we joined our friends Robyn and Claire and went down to the home of friends George and Shirley for good wine and munchies. When we got home, I realized it was almost midnight central time and I could register for my classes at the Machine Quilters Showcase in early May next year. I got all the classes I wanted and my credit card got a workout!

Up to 50 degrees today, cloudy with cold, wind and snow on the way! On our walk this morning, these horses which belong to our friend Jim were really interested in that little black dog that was running along the path.

I worked on Christmas presents today and did some cooking. I tried a new recipe for Christmas Pecans and they are so good. Michael and I sampled so many I may have to make another batch to give to friends! We also got all our Christmas cards labeled and sealed, ready to send. Are we efficient or what??
A laid back kind of day.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Another Windy Day

Anything that isn't nailed down is in the next county by now the wind has blown so hard! Jazzy girl goes outside strictly for the necessary things and comes right back in.

Michael was a mechanic again all day, poor guy. I drove out to McLeod, which is just a post office, a bar and a one room school house still in operation. Michael went to school there through the eighth grade and our granddaughters also attended school there. The number of students fluctuates year to year, some years 5 and other years 20. I find it amazing that a one room school still exists today and there are many of them in Montana. OK, back to why I was in McLeod, I met John the potter to pick up my sister-in-law's new dishes which she ordered when she and my brother visited this summer.

I called those wonderful folks at today and permanently canceled our internet service with them. We are very happy with our local telephone company's DSL and will depend on RV park wi-fi this winter while in the RV. Our DSL is less expensive and it works all the time, something you certainly couldn't say for!

The rest of the day was spent quilting, I started the last one of my Aunt's quilts and am using a pantograph (a pattern that you follow with a laser light) that is just beautiful.

Made some wonderful tomato soup late this afternoon and that's what we had for supper with some leftover sourdough bread.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas Tree and Cold

Oh, my was it ever cold today. The wind howled all day and blew these storms through about every hour it seemed. Our walk this morning was miserable.

Taken early this morning just as all the bad weather was blowing in.
After our walk, we hopped in the old truck and went up the East Boulder and cut a Christmas tree. Since we moved into this house 7 years ago, we have had an artificial Christmas tree. For some reason, Michael wanted a real one so that's what we got. We got the tree up and decorated and I got out some of my other decorations such as Nativity scenes we have collected.

In September, 2000, our log barn which had a 2 bedroom guest house upstairs burned to the ground. The lower floor of the barn was used for storage and I had placed my Christmas ornaments in sealed wooden boxes in the barn. Michael's Mother had also given me her Christmas ornaments with some of them dating back to her childhood. Decorating with those ornaments was so much fun, Michael remembered many of them from his childhood. When the barn burned, I lost all these ornaments. It was heartbreaking--it was the only thing in the barn that we lost that could not be replaced. The day after the fire we were there poking around in the ashes and I spotted something white. It was one of the six little angels you see on our mantel. These were Michael's Mother's when she was a child and they all survived the fire. I just sat down and cried when I found all of them.

A close up of the angels, each is playing a musical instrument.
Our Christmas Tree

I also put lights on one of our outdoor trees, the only one that is still short enough for me to reach, so we are all decorated. Tomorrow I quilt! Did you do any Black Friday shopping??

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I put the camera out where I could see it this morning right on top of the desk beside the dining room table and do I have one photo of the table or our guests?? Nope!

Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends and family. We started out expecting 14 guests and ended up with 7! Nat tried out his new horse shoe pitching building yesterday with a couple of his friends and over extended himself--he could hardly move today and he stayed home. Michael's son and his family have owners in residence and owner's families and they opted out. Our friends Robyn and Claire also were unable to join us so we had a nice gathering with Steve and Jeane, their son Reed, their daughter Jordan and granddaughter PJ. Terry and Aileen rounded out our holiday gathering. As usual, we had way too much food and ate way too much. My new recipe for this year was Artichoke/Parmesan Stuffing--it was a hit! Jeane brought a pumpkin cheesecake that was to die for!

After our guests headed out, we packed up a plate for Nat and went into Big Timber. We stopped by the nursing home to visit Jim and Beryl before taking Nat his Thanksgiving dinner.

What are you thankful for this year? Michael and I are thankful for our health, our home and our wonderful marriage. We are thankful for our families and friends and our freedoms. We sincerely hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving Day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Preparation

My sister sent an e-mail this morning telling me I didn't do the blog last night. I thought about it but that was all I did I guess.

I spent yesterday in Billings again, got my haircut and finished my Christmas shopping! That is a good feeling for sure! I have some presents to finish making here at home but at least the shopping is done.

Today we took a nice long walk and I was huffing and puffing since I haven't walked the last two days. After the walk I got started on cleaning the house and cooking. And finally sat down about 5pm, pooped!

It was a nice day here, weather wise, cool but mostly sunny and almost no wind. Michael spent the day working on his old truck.

I am so thankful that I have Michael and that we live in this beautiful place.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ready For Bed

I got up this morning at 4am and here at 8:30pm, I am ready for my bed. We left the house at 6am headed for Billings and an 8am doctor's appointment and we finally rolled back in at 6pm!

My dermatologist/internal medicine physician was glad to hear that I am much better with no ulcers anywhere!! And I am beyond glad--it was a long summer!!

Getting my teeth cleaned was next on the list followed by lunch at our favorite restaurant, CJ's. After lunch we ran a couple of errands before Michael's doctor appointment which was a routine checkup.

We squeezed in a Costco run and several other stops before finally heading home. I bought 2 pumpkin pies at Costco and we couldn't resist a while ago--might have to stop and pick up another one tomorrow--oh, didn't I tell you, I have to go back to Billings tomorrow for an even more important appointment--my hair!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Christmas Tree and A Quilt

Another brisk day in Montana. I am looking forward to not having to wear a coat, gloves and hat when I go outside for a walk!

When we got back from our walk, Michael started working on another old truck (don't even ask how many he has) that he got running yesterday. By the end of the day he had this truck working well.

I got an early start on sewing this morning and by lunchtime I had completed this little Christmas tree. I made it to take to my friend Beryl in the nursing home, it won't take up much space, it can hang on the wall.

You can't see in this photo but it has sequins and rhinestones glued to the fabric in different places and most of the fabric is Christmas themed.

After lunch I started and finished a small quilt for my Aunt Margaret. There is a style of quilting called meandering--you just start off and made loops and curves and hoops. I had been hesitant to try it but was very successful in meadering Aunt Marg's little quilt--no square curves!

Looking up the East Boulder this morning

This guy had a girlfriend and Jazzy gave chase to both of them but the buck was so interested in his girlfriend that he payed no attention to Jazzy.

It's hard to see in this photo but his horns are mismatched, he has more points on his left side than his right.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Quilting Class

Today I was off to Big Timber to take a quilting class at our local quilt store, Little Timber Quilts. The store is owned by a very vivacious young women (less than 30 years old) who is so much fun to be around, very creative and a good instructor. One Block Wonder is the name of the quilt and you use only one fabric to create this quilt. The quilt is made up of hexagons and when you cut the fabric by stacking layers on top of each other, different color combinations appear--it will be beautiful! The class was from 10am until 4pm this afternoon and it was fun to visit with local women and others from nearby communities. All in all, it was a super fun day.

Michael worked on putting one of his mini-excavators back together and was successful.

Jazzy dog slept and that was the extent of our day.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Sad Granddaughter

A little more snow, cold and wind. Mother nature is telling us it is time to head south!

I baked pies this morning and then quilted the rest of the day. My Aunt had sent a Christmas quilt for me to do and I finished it today, it turned out wonderful. Michael (I'm not sure what he did today).

LoraLee decided to celebrate Thanksgiving tonight because Laci leaves early in the morning for San Antonio, back to the Air Force. We picked Nat up at the West Boulder turnoff and headed over to their house about 4pm. It was a great evening until we got ready to come home. Laci is not at all sure she wants to go back to Texas, not that she has a choice. It will help that she will spend Christmas with us in Arkansas. She also thinks Grandma and Grandpa should spend the winter in San Antonio.

Jazzy smells things in the snow such as coyote tracks and just buries her little nose. She was not a happy little dog tonight when we got home, she could smell that we had both been petting other dogs, LoraLee and Lonnie only have six dogs!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Trip to Town

It is cold and we got just a little bit of snow yesterday. Our walk this morning was brisk!

Michael is giving up on the old truck and we towed it back up into the field today and he will decide what to do with it later--maybe a deep hole???

I finished up a quilt for my friend Jill--it is actually a table topper and then loaded one of my Aunt's quilts so I can get started on it.

Mid afternoon we took a trip into Big Timber. Jazz had an appointment at the vet for her yearly checkup and shots--she was not impressed! I stopped in at Cinnabar Creek, the store is beautifully decorated for Christmas and they are putting out more stuff all the time. I bought some Christmas socks and our yearly tree decoration.

We stopped in at the nursing home to visit Jim and Beryl and learned some more about the Volkswagen. It has been down the Baja behind a motorhome and lots of other places. I really want to get it fixed up enough to drive into town so Beryl can see it.

Dinner with Nat at the Steakhouse was last on our town list and we enjoyed our time with him. We haven't been out to eat much lately, trying to diet and also bored with the choices in Big Timber.

This is a close up of one of the designs I create on quilts.
Low clouds and two fat horses getting fatter!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Snow, The Mine and Pampered Chef

It is November in Montana as my friend Jill reminded me and it is snowing tonight and cold.

Just after Michael and I were married in 1994, a platinum and palladium mine opened about 9 miles up the road from us. It changed this valley considerably--our road, the East Boulder Road is a narrow, winding gravel road and the presence of large buses transporting workers and semi trucks hauling supplies was considered to be hazardous by the local residents. Our road saw very little traffic and what traffic it did have we usually knew the vehicle. The residents of the Boulder Valley fought the mine but as usual, the mine won and opened. Stillwater Mine has after all proved to be a good neighbor. The mine buses the laborers rather than allowing them to use their own vehicles helping to decrease the traffic. The mine also actively encourages carpooling by the management staff, too. The mine contributes 40% of the tax revenue for our county. They are the highest paying employer by far in this community. It has been good for Big Timber. On Tuesday Stillwater Mine announced that it was closing the mine for the time being, perhaps even permanently and laying off 526 workers. The price of platinum and palladium has fallen to record lows over the last few months. This news has devastated our community but today the outlook was a little better with news that the mine is all ready calling workers back to the job. Maybe they just needed to do a little housecleaning!

I went to a Pampered Chef party today at the home of a neighbor, Mona. She and her husband Mike run an outfitting and hunting business from their home here on the East Boulder. It was a good gathering of neighborhood ladies and we enjoyed some excellent food! And the mimosas were wonderful!

Poor Michael, the new $350 part did not make his old truck run as he had hoped. What next??

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An Indian Summer Day

We had a beautiful day today, sunny, very little wind and almost 70 degrees. Nat came up to escape his housekeeper and stayed for lunch--we had steaks on the grill and Nat and I had baked sweet potatoes and the non-sweet potato eater had a plain old white baked potato.

I vacuumed the house again, when you burn wood for heat there is a constant mess but I wouldn't trade my fireplace for anything!

After lunch I headed to the quilt studio and did manage in spite of my machine to get LoraLee's quilt finished. The pattern is called a Broken Star and the colors Lonnie chose for this quilt are colorful to say the least--I almost had to wear sunglasses! My machine is acting up and I was on the phone to the company a couple times today without success. We will try again tomorrow.

The intricate stitching you can see is what the machine and I do to the pieced quilt.

Monday, November 17, 2008


It was a quiet day around here. Michael worked out in the garage on the Volkswagen and other things--I'm not sure what. I spent the entire day quilting--I was almost able to finish LoraLee's quilt--should be able to get it finished in a couple of hours tomorrow.

Michael's Dad Nat wears a particular brand of socks that he has always been able to order from our little department store (the owner is about the same age as Nat!) until the store decided to stop ordering the socks because Nat was the only person who purchased these socks. So, being his favorite daughter-in-law (remember I am the only one) I found the company online and talked them into selling to me direct. I ordered 3 dozen pairs of socks and they arrived today. I called Nat to give him the happy news and told him that the socks should last him the rest of his life (he is 86) and he said, "I'm gonna try and outlive those socks." Now, if I could just get the other company to ship his special shoes, I could remain the favorite daughter-in-law.

It was warm enough in Montana today for Michael to ride his motorcycle into town to pick up a part. Tomorrow the temperature high will come close to breaking records!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Laci's Party

Michael got the Volkswagen to run yesterday but it has a slight problem--no brakes. The emergency brake works so you keep your hand on it when driving just in case you need to stop like I did when I put it back in the garage and got awfully close to Michael's motorcycle! I am sure he can fix the brakes, too.

I worked on LoraLee's quilt most of the day yesterday until it was time to get ready to go over to Lonn and LoraLee's for Laci's party. Laci is our granddaughter stationed with the Air Force in San Antonio, TX. She has been home about 2 weeks, it was great to see her. The Air Force has been good for her, she has matured greatly!

Today I decided the house better get a cleaning rather than quilting. Michael worked on cleaning out one of our outbuildings so he could get some of the equipment in the building for winter. After lunch, I did get some sewing done--started working on Christmas presents.

The sky colors were beautiful last night on the way to the party.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Quilting and a Trip to Town

Yuk, that winter wind is terrible, it is so bitter cold and last night the wind was worse than the night before. We lost a couple aspen trees again. Our walk this morning was invigorating to say the least!

I quilted this morning and Michael worked on the vintage Singer sewing machine we bought earlier this week. It was missing its knee control and he constructed one--I'm telling you, the guy is talented!

After lunch we decided to go into town. I needed to mail my Mom's birthday present and we wanted to get a battery for the Volkswagen. While Michael ran the errands, he dropped me off at Cinnabar Creek where I helped my friend Jeane string Christmas lights. The store is packed with all kinds of wonderful Christmas things and the decorations are beautiful.

When we got home we popped popcorn (Michael makes the best popcorn) and read all the mail then I quilted some more--getting to be a habit, isn't it??

The wind has slowed but as I write this at 6:30pm, it is around 20 degrees outside, BRRRR.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wind, Rain, Sleet and a VW

The wind did indeed howl all night long. It rained a lot although as hard as the wind was blowing, I am surprised any of the rain made it to the ground--we call it horizontal rain! Today the wind is still blowing, it has either rained, sleeted or snowed most of the day and it is very cold!

I quilted all day. Quilting a queen size quilt is a little more difficult than quilting the smaller lap size quilts. I worked and worked today and didn't seem to make much progress but I did learn to use a ruler with the machine so that was fun.

When we went to see our friends Beryl and Jim in the nursing home the other night, Beryl gave us a pleasant surprise. Beryl had a daughter, Charlotte who was killed when in her early twenties. Beryl has kept Charlotte's car all these years, a 1959 Volkswagen and asked us if we would like to have it. Of course we said yes! We went and pulled it home today--Beryl and Jim have a small place with a cabin on the river just up the road from us and the car was stored there. Of course the mice have been in it but the outside of the car is in great shape. It has two Mexico tourist stickers on it, Jim and Beryl pulled it behind their motorhome years ago. I can't wait for Michael to get it running--gets 35 miles per gallon!

Jazzy dog is sticking close to her bed with the heating pad--she hasn't been interested in being outside today at all.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Busy Day

The weather service had issued a severe weather alert for our area as of this morning. We were forecasted to have wind 35-55mph with gusts to 80mph. One of our trees in the front yard planted about 3 years ago is very tall and at times seems to struggle in the wind. Michael had run some wire to the outer edge of the front yard with the intention of putting in a post with an electrical outlet for things such as Christmas light. Today seemed like a good day to do this and then also use the post to secure the tall tree. But, my favorite thing he did was to attach a light fixture to the post to light our way out to the garage, it looks very nice and the tree is secure, now.

While Michael was working on the post, I used the skidsteer to haul a couple loads of firewood and to spread some gravel on some muddy spots that had developed when we dug trenches for water and electric to the new garage.

When I came inside to start lunch, I also started a major cooking project. I had some hamburger meat that had partially thawed in our malfunctioning freezer (which is history) so I made batches of spaghetti sauce and stuffing for stuffed green peppers. The rest of the hamburger I cooked and froze for other uses. In between all the cooking, the washing machine was busy, too.

About 2pm I was able to sneak off to the quilting studio. I have been fretting about the queen size quilt (my first of that size to quilt) my daughter-in-law wants me to quilt. I had loaded the backing and batting onto the frame and had the top ready to load but I just couldn't make myself start quilting. Well, today I got brave and hooray, my quilted feathers are beautiful!! I can do this!

About 6pm, the wind started and it sounds as if we are going to be blown off the map!! The temperature has also gone up and here at almost 8pm on a November night, it is almost 60 degrees outside!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Singer Sewing Machine

Michael was cruising around on Craig's List last night and found a beautiful vintage Singer sewing machine for sale inexpensively. The machine was owned by a lady living in Townsend. I called her this morning and we decided to drive over and look at the machine (as if I did not have quilts to be quilted and laundry to be done).

For the price of $40, I think we got a bargain. It needs at least one part but those are available and I have that handy husband who can fix anything! It is a portable machine and came with a round top wooden case. The bobbins are these tiny, long cylindrical things like something I have never seen.
On the way home we stopped at the nursing home and visited Jim and Beryl. I had purchased Beryl a new write on white board and some new pens. Beryl's disease has eliminated her ability to talk and she communicates by using these boards. She was so pleased! She and I both love red so I got her some bright colored pens to use.
Mr. Whitetail Buck watching us on our morning walk. I warned him that he better stay on our land as we don't allow hunting and the neighbors do!
Jazzy being a dog. She finds this same spot every morning and just rolls and rolls--it must either smell very good or feel very good!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Search For Parts and Billings

We intended to get a fairly early start this morning and head to Billings but Michael decided to try and find this part he needs to repair the old truck. That took a while so we arrived in Billings just in time for lunch! Jazzy got to go along on the trip, too.

We made stops at the usual places, JoAnn's, Target, etc. before ending our shopping day at Costco and loading up on groceries. Most people who do not live in Montana where it is a long way to anything think we are crazy to travel 100+ miles to grocery shop. It sure is nice that gas has gone down in price a little--we paid $2.13/gallon at Costco today. My sister said it was $1.89 at Wal Mart in Arkansas this morning!!

We stopped in town and visited with Nat for a while and then traveled the rest of the way home. It is always good to get home "up the Boulder."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Friends and Another Grey Day

Remember I went to the grocery store on Friday and was complaining in the blog about the price of groceries in our small town? Well, that wasn't the worst of it. We were having friends over for dinner Saturday night and I pulled the hamburger meat out of the refrigerator to start making the lasagna and the meat was spoiled! So, back in the car and back to town to return it and to go to the meat market where I should have gone in the first place! The young lady that took my returned meat asked me when I purchased the meat, yesterday I told her and then she said, "did it look like this (very dark colored all the way through) when you bought it?" I just looked at her and didn't even answer. She finally said, "guess that was a stupid question!"

Jill and Terry and Claire and Robin came for dinner last night. I made homemade lasagna, salad with poppy seed dressing and french bread. I tried a new recipe for dessert--pumpkin cheesecake, it was just OK, not a keeper recipe. We had a wonderful evening with a lot of political discussion thrown in.

Today I worked in the quilt studio all day and Michael has successfully isolated the problem with his old truck, made him a happy camper!

I only have one niece, Niki, and today was her birthday--Happy Birthday, Niki. She is a special child and we all love her dearly. She and her husband Eric have two little girls, Elizabeth and Leah. I can't wait to see everybody at Christmas.

Tomorrow we are off to Billings for a grocery run and for other important things like quilt store stops.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Rain and Jazz's Birthday

Maybe the weather had something to do with why I felt so crummy today. Rain and clouds and cold. I got up this morning but ended up back in bed for a couple hours. When I got up the second time, I did feel a little better. I fixed Michael some lunch and then decided to run into Big Timber and get some groceries. We were going to Billings today but I just didn't feel like a shopping day.

We have an IGA grocery store in our small little town and I feel sorry for the older people in our community that are forced to shop there. It is so expensive. I had three bags of groceries and it was $77!! It seemed as if every item I picked up had a $5 price tag on it!

Today is Jazzy girl's eighth birthday. She got to go to town with me today so she was thrilled.

Michael worked on his truck all day and it still isn't running, maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


10 degrees this morning and sunny, BRRRR!! Our walk was a little on the brisk side to say the least!

I worked in the quilt studio all day and Michael spent a lot of time on the computer watching the stock market and researching ways to repair his old Ford truck. Last summer it just quit, wouldn't start. Michael is a very good mechanic and could not get it running. We took it to the garage in Big Timber and they could not get it to run, so it has been sitting up in the hayfield. Today we pushed it down the hill and into the garage so he can start working on it. I have confidence he will make it run again.

And that is about all that went on around here today. The UPS man arrived at our house at almost 6pm with my quilting thread order. Before the poor man could go home, he still had to go to Camp on the Boulder, a church camp approximately 25 miles from here. The road is dirt/gravel/boulders and is terrible to drive on. Poor guy!!

Snow on the Crazy Mountains

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Very Cold Day

A while back I wrote about how cold it was and that we could hear Arizona calling. Our friends Jim and Ellie commented recently that we should be able to hear Arizona screaming--today we could hear Arizona screaming! It was so cold with snow and a bitter, bitter wind.

I spent over an hour on the phone with the wonderful non-English speaking technical support people of Dell this morning and am still having issues with my seven month old laptop. I will call our internet service provider tomorrow and see if they can resolve the problems, GRRRRR!

I made a wonderful beef/vegetable stew for lunch then headed into town. I attended a birthday party at the nursing home for a friend of Michael's family, Jack--he was 94 years old today. I also dropped in on Beryl and Jim again.

Then it was off for a massage--heavenly! I stopped at the grocery store and picked up a couple of things then headed for home dodging the suicidal deer along the road. There were 3 huge buck mule deer nibbling grass right beside the road.

Does this look like winter or what???

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Girl's Day Out

Sorry, Dave, you'll just have to read the girly stuff tonight!

Today was a great day! Michael and I got the last tree that he and Lonnie cut down last week out of the creek and all the branches and assorted other junk cleaned up this morning. It looks a lot better now when we look out across the creek.

My friend Nancy picked me up about 11am and we headed to Big Timber for lunch with some of the other "Boulder" ladies. Ellen, Gemma, Janice, Edith, and Peg joined us at the Grand for lunch. Carmen and Judy came in and there was no where to sit so they joined us too. It was a delightful lunch and it was good to see everybody again. Nancy is newer to our neighborhood so she enjoyed meeting all these friends. We also stopped by the Civic Center so Nancy could vote--Michael and I voted absentee a couple of weeks ago.

After lunch we wondered down to Cinnabar Creek. My friend Jeane decided to sell her half of the store recently so my original partner, Kathy, now has two new partners. Everyone is very glad that Cinnabar Creek is going to continue to be part of Big Timber--it is a great little store and gathering spot.

When I got home, Michael had installed a garage door opener--we are really getting uptown these days--first a garage, now a garage door opener.

Cold, cloudy and winter like today.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Computer Classes

Our friends George and Shirley were complaining about their lack of computer know how the other night. Shirley had attempted to download some software from her digital camera to the computer so she could remove photos from the camera memory stick with no success. I promised to bring her some easy to use software and help her learn how to use it. So, that is what I did this afternoon--she was a great pupil and had it down pat in no time. I also helped her clean up her computer hard drive, something she doesn't think has ever been done--should help it run faster! The two of them are off to Miles City, MT tomorrow to hunt antelope.

Michael ran into town after lunch and did some errands while I was giving computer lessons.

When I got back from Shirley and George's, I sat down to watch a video about using the long arm quilting machine to create "feathers" on quilts. Maybe someday I will be as smooth as the woman who created the DVD.

Our weather turned cold this afternoon with a brisk wind and clouds, BRRR!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Quilting and Wood Cutting

Yesterday Michael worked on his machinery doing routine maintenance. I got to play in the quilt studio all day, it was wonderful!!

In the evening we went to the home of our nearest neighbors, George and Shirley's for a little "gathering" as Shirley called it. Munchies and George's always awesome wines were on the menu. Claire and Robyn and Geoff and Nancy were also there making it a very enjoyable evening.

Today Michael started to clean up some of the logs he and Lonnie cut last week. The logs are green and heavy making it hard work! He accomplished a lot and has just one more to cut up, the one that fell in the creek.

I spent the day in the quilt studio again and finished quilting the baby quilt LoraLee left with me. I also quilted a Christmas project and it turned out nicely.

Our weather is changing, we are loosing our Indian summer and reverting to winter. Rain is expected tonight and tomorrow and it is much cooler.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hauling Cows

It is a good think we are retired and flexible! Yesterday morning the phone rang about 8am and it was Lonnie, Mike's son. He wanted to know if we could haul a horse trailer load of calves to the stockyards in Billings in the afternoon. Of course, Michael said yes. I scurried around and got ready and headed into Big Timber to run some much needed errands. Michael hooked up the horse trailer and brought it down to the garage to make sure everything such as lights were in good working order.

After going to the bank, the auto parts store, the feed store, the hardware store and the library, I stopped in at the nursing home to visit our friends Beryl and Jim. Beryl's health is deteriorating rapidly and it makes my heart hurt to see her like this.

Michael arrived in town with his load of calves about 3pm and we headed to Billings. There were three other trailers in our group, too. That is one of the things I love about this community, the willingness of friends and neighbors to help. After we unloaded our trailers at the stockyards, we headed to the Outback to have dinner compliments of the ranch for which Lonnie works. One of the couples, Bobbie and Scott have a 2 year old, Lane, and he kept the party entertained.

After dinner we made a quick stop at Costco and then headed home.

Today we took a long walk and then Michael helped me put the new canvas "leader" on my quilt machine. He then began the icky task of cleaning out the horse trailer after hauling a load of calves around. I guess he was in a clean mode, too, because he washed both vehicles, too--they needed it! I went out and helped for a while.

A busy Friday!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

And More Woodcutting

We are accumulating a very large pile of firewood and logs. Nat has one of those portable sawmills and likes to make boards and it seems that Michael can always find a use for the boards. We only got one load today and then Michael went back up and got the mini-excavator. Claire and Robyn encouraged us to come back and get some more firewood and maybe we will before the weather changes again.

Sawdust flying.

While Michael was retrieving the mini-excavator, I vacuumed and cleaned a little. I also got caught up on laundry. Our front door which opens onto the deck over the creek is a leaf catcher this time of year. Then, when you open the door to let Jazz inside, several leaves manage to come in also. I got out the noisy leaf blower and got rid of all those leaves. Guess my next step is to clean the gutters--all the leaves are off the trees and it looks very wintry.
A little cooler today and not as much sunshine.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Firewood Cutting

Our friends Robyn and Claire live about 4 miles farther up the East Boulder than we do. They have been encouraging us for a long time to come cut firewood so today was the day. We got two huge trailer loads and both of us are exhausted! You have heard the old saying about firewood, it warms you three times, cutting, stacking and then burning it. We could not have asked for a more beautiful day, sunny and 72 degrees and to think that two weeks ago, we had 3 feet of snow on the ground!

Robyn and Claire coming to get some firewood, too.
Michael working hard!
My father-in-law is now sure I am his favorite daughter-in-law (actually, I am his only daughter-in-law, Mike is an only child). He has worn these same socks for years and was able to get them through our little local department store. The store doesn't want to order the socks anymore because their supplier requires large quantity orders. I found the company online today and they are willing to sell directly to me, Nat is thrilled!!! What did we do before the internet?? (We had never heard of blogs for sure!)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tree Cutting and A Beautiful Day

It was a beautiful day, around 60 degrees, no wind and sunny, what more could you ask for??

I spoke with the folks at APQS, manufacturer of my quilt machine, and a new canvas "leader" is on its way to me, problem solved.

Michael's son Lonn and his wife LoraLee came over today to help with a tree cutting project. There were 4-5 large aspen trees near the house and deck. We decided to be safe rather than sorry and cut them down. Aspen trees as they mature have a short life expectancy and start to have very few limbs and leaves. These 4-5 trees were very mature, providing us little shade and were probably a hazard, so down they came today.

Prior to the tree cutting, we enjoyed a lunch of baby back ribs, parmesan potatoes and salad. One of Lonn's favorite meals is ribs and I have been wanting to fix my friend Kelly's rib recipe for him--today was a good day and he pronounced the ribs delicious.

Which one next?
Two down, three to go.
What a beautiful day, we are so blessed to live here. The peace and quiet are tremendous!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wind and Wood Cutting

Oh, my did the wind ever blow here yesterday and into the night. The newspaper said we had gusts of 50 mph and I believe it! We lost 6 large aspen trees in our little ravine here.

Michael cut some trees that were all ready down into firewood yesterday and then cut some of the ones that fell into firewood today. He also built an entrance over the creek to our little trail through the aspen grove that we use on our walks. He has been wanting to get that built and yesterday seemed the time to do it.

I fought the quilt machine all day yesterday and Michael stopped in to help me frequently. The "canvas leaders" to which you attach all your quilts were not straight and it is essential that they be straight or your quilts come out crooked. Nothing I did by following directions from the quilt forums and from my manual helped so I will call the company tomorrow for directions. I was about ready to scream by day's end!

Nat came up for lunch today and he was very late which is unusual for him. Michael had gone out to the garage to get a vehicle to go look for him, that's how concerned we were. Michael came back in the house and asked me, "do you think he changed his clock last night?" Well, that is exactly what he had done, changed it a week early! Why couldn't the powers that be have left the date for changing the clocks the same after all these years? An announcement was made Friday at the Senior Center where Nat lunches about not forgetting to turn your clocks back. I told Nat that there was probably a lot of little old ladies that were late for church this morning that would be complaining at the Senior Center on Monday.

We had an enjoyable lunch, I made homemade beef stew and chocolate chip/oatmeal/pecan cookies, Nat's favorite. After lunch, I decided the quilt studio could stand a cleaning.

Michael's version of a log splitter!
Building the trail across the creek.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Very Boring Place

Not a thing happening around here unless you call me sucking a burning ember up into the vacuum bag exciting. Yes, I was vacuuming the hearth and an ember popped out and without thinking, I sucked it right up and the next thing I knew, I could smell something burning. I ripped that bag right out of the vacuum cleaner and took it outside.

I have been under the weather again with an infection in one of these ulcers on my hands so as a result, not much happening around here.

Michael did some outside work today and I did feel a little better and got in some mild cleaning but that's about it. Maybe it will be a more exciting day tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


It was only 18 degrees when we got up this morning but we did have sunshine. Our walk was a little on the nippy side!

When we were in Billings the other day, we purchased two light fixtures that use the full spectrum fluorescent bulbs for my quilting studio. Michael installed those while I cleaned house--it needed it! The new lights made a world of difference in how well I see. And speaking of seeing--the new bifocal contact lens is not working--I can see great to sew but I can't see to read. So, back to the drawing board.

Michael decided to clean up the tree that had fallen into the creek back in the summer and turn it into firewood. He also got a roof jack installed for the wood burning stove in the garage.

I had a ball quilting today, it was as if everything finally came together and went so smoothly. I almost finished my Aunt's last little quilt she sent--I only have one more row to go.

Snow on the West Boulder Mountains--looks kind of wintery, doesn't it??

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Hair Color

OK, guys you can ignore this first part--I went to my hairdresser in Billings, Becky. When we got home this past spring from Arizona, I attempted to began using a hairdresser in Big Timber. She does a great cut but couldn't get the color thing right. I came home with black hair both times. I gave up and went back to Becky today and once I was there I remembered why I liked her so much. She and the rest of the girls in their salon give you faith in the younger generation again besides the fact my hair color is perfect! Becky and her other business partners were tired of being pushed around by salon owners and decided to open their own salon about 2 years ago and it has been a great success. Becky and her husband, a policeman have been married 5 years and have a 2 year old daughter that does not go to daycare. The two of them arrange their schedules so that one of them is with their child each day. They purchased a new to them house this past April and they did not get an interest only loan!! With everything going on in our economy, it is a joy to see young people like Becky and the group of women with whom she works.

After the hair thing, we had lunch and then it was off to Costco. I had an appointment for a much needed eye exam--I needed new contacts and glasses. We are trying bifocal contact lenses!! So far so good. I ordered some sporty new glasses, too. My old glasses were 4 years old--no wonder I couldn't see!

We woke this morning to another 2 inches of snow and more must have fallen during the day because there is still snow on the ground and it is cold. I hear Arizona calling!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Normal Day

Not much going on around here today. Michael headed over to his son's early this morning and was able to finish that project today and bring his equipment home.

I got so involved in the quilting studio that I lost all track of time. I worked on my Quilt For An Hour project (I am behind) and then I practiced and practiced. I am ready to load the last quilt my Aunt sent me and get it quilted and then I can send the three of them back to her in Arkansas.

We had spaghetti for supper, I had made the sauce and frozen it a while back so it was an easy meal to put together.

I spent the evening watching Myrna Ficken's Beginning Long Arm Quilting DVD and got some great pointers from it.

See, I told you there wasn't much going on around here today!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

We've Been Busy

Let's see, it's Sunday and I need to get caught up! Friday Michael headed off to his son's to try and complete the digging project but didn't finish. I went into Big Timber to run a few errands but primarily to visit friends in the nursing home. It was a difficult visit--our friend Beryl is having a difficult time being in the nursing home and has a very debilitating, sad illness. I wish I could fix the situation, but I can't.

Friday evening we went to the home of our friends Robyn and Claire to have dinner, Terry and Bo were there, too. It was a great evening, Robyn is a fabulous cook and she had made prime rib. We just had a wonderful time and stayed rather late!

Yesterday, we took a nice long walk with Jazz and she ran and rolled in the grass to her heart's content. About lunch time, we drove into Big Timber, dropped Jazz off at Nat's and picked up our friends Jill and Terry. Thursday was our 14th wedding anniversary and we were married in the home of Jill and Terry. We were headed to Red Lodge, a ski resort town about 2 hours from us. There is shopping and great places to have dinner. It was a very enjoyable afternoon and evening. We had dinner at the Grizzly Bar and after a main course of prime rib and shrimp, we all indulged in one of their famous desserts--ice cream rolled in miniature chocolate chips and drizzled with raspberry sauce, YUM!

This morning, it is raining and Michael said it rained most of the night, I slept!

This is a photo of Boone Mountain taken from near our home. After all the snow we had, I don't think we are going to have much fall color, the leaves look like they are going to turn brown and fall off.

We heard from our friends in Alamos, Mexico and all are OK but the damage to that little village is incredible they said. The Mexican government has been very prompt in getting aide to the town and repairs have all ready begun. You can view photos of the damage at Click on the left door, when the page loads, double click on the top photo on the far right side. All the photos will load and you can just click "next" to view them all.