http-equiv='refresh'/> Tin TeePee/Log Cabin: 2014

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Settling In, Popcorn and Spaghetti Sauce

After the sun rose high enough to provide warmth we headed out into the desert on one of our favorite walks to Inspiration Point.  Years ago someone at North Ranch named the various paths through the desert, erecting signs with path names and mileage making it easy to chose a destination.  Going out to Inspiration Point we walk about 2.5 miles. 

The cowboy decided the motorhome needed a bath and was out there with a hose and his brush right after we returned from walking—our old coach does look much better when clean!  And now I can see out the windows. 

The holidays are almost over and we are ready to get back to our healthier eating habits—eating our big meal at noon and snacking less.  All the Christmas goodies are gone—I sure miss those homemade chocolate turtles! Sad smile

For lunch I made spaghetti sauce—every time I make spaghetti sauce and take the first bite I say, “I make the best spaghetti sauce!!”  I’ve tweaked an old Little Rock, Arkansas Junior League recipe over the years and here it is:

Spaghetti Sauce

Serves 6-8

1 lb ground beef

½ cup chopped onion

2 tsp dried parsley flakes

6-8 cloves of garlic minced

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp oregano

¼ tsp pepper

Dash basil

6 oz. can tomato paste

8 oz. can tomato sauce

16 oz. can diced tomatoes

8oz. package spaghetti

Brown ground beef and drain, then sauté onion and garlic in oil remaining in skillet or add a small amount olive oil—don’t let the garlic brown. Add all other ingredients except spaghetti. Simmer covered 1 hour then uncovered one-half hour. Serve over cooked spaghetti.

And now for popcorn.  I grew up with a grandfather who loved popcorn—he used a cooking pot on the stove to make his popcorn.  Fast forward many, many years to 1994 when I married the cowboy.  A popcorn eating/addicted cowboy—who also cooks his popcorn on the stove top.  When we first married he used vegetable oil, I converted him to using a smaller amount of light olive oil and now we are using coconut oil.  The coconut oil gives the popcorn a delicious flavor but makes our smoke detector go off every time—you would think I would remember to hang a towel over the dang thing! 

Why would anyone put a smoke detector right beside the cook top?  In our 5th wheel the smoke detector was right over the stove on the ceiling, I couldn’t even scramble an egg without that stupid thing shrieking at me.  It shrieked one time too many and took a flight out the door one morning!!  It didn’t survive causing the cowboy to relocate the next one away from the stove!! 

DSCN0077Life is good!

Monday, December 29, 2014

We Landed

Just ahead of Mark and Dortha we landed at North Ranch just after lunch time today.  Our original plan when we left Montana in early December was to spend the month of January in the desert around Bouse, AZ.  Well, Mother Nature intervened!  As I’ve said before, the cowboy has developed an aversion to our propane blue flame heater—we open a window, we have a carbon dioxide detector, but once we start the heater Michael immediately becomes extremely congested.  We have never left the blue flame heater going at night—we are neither one comfortable doing this.  So, Wednesday night the forecast is for freezing temperatures and maybe even some snow!!!  Sad smileIt doesn’t warm up until Sunday. 

So, with that in mind, I decided (we decided) to be pavement prince and princess.  Friends of ours, Tom and Sally own two lots in North Ranch and are seldom here—they allow friends to “lot sit” their space and here we are—full hookups for a very reasonable price.  Last year we had so much fun at North Ranch—jeeping and ATVing—plus this year we have the added bonus of Jim and Ellie having purchased a house here. 

And speaking of Jim and Ellie—Jim grilled burgers and brats tonight at Mike and Pat’s—we enjoyed a great meal and we also enjoyed surprising Mike and Pat with our presence.  On the way to North Ranch from Tucson this morning I asked Michael, “how long do you think it will take for someone to “catch us?”  We hadn’t told anyone we were coming to North Ranch—it didn’t take long to “get caught!”  As I came to a stop sign in the jeep on our way to parking on the lot, who should be at the cross street stop sign but Jim and Ellie!!! 

It feels like home and we are glad to be here even if it is a little chilly!!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Not Quite Flip Flop Weather But Warmer

On Friday night when we parked in Sweetwater, TX I wrote, “we don’t need power or water.”  Well, when we woke to about 35 degrees, wind and rain outside and 49 degrees inside—both of us were thinking an electric heater or two would have been nice!  As it was so cold both inside and out we just fired up the old Country Coach and hit the road letting the Hydro-Hot heat warm us.  We did run into some snow flurries along the way but the roadway was only wet, no snow accumulation.

About 3pm Saturday we landed back at the Escapee’s park in Lakewood, NM—our trailer and ATVs were still there in storage.  It was nasty, damp and cold--a batch of taco soup seemed like the thing to have for dinner. 

Still cold this morning but at least it was sunny—I did have to scrape frost off the jeep before we loaded it into the trailer and hit the road.  We drove from Lakewood, NM to Tucson, AZ, arriving at the Pima County Fairgrounds a little after 5pm—490 miles.  Our travels took us through--

DSCN0049and busy El Paso, TX.  The snow which fell in this area on Saturday was beautiful in the sunshine.


DSCN0062We are all tucked in for the night and hopefully we will reach our destination tomorrow—I’m ready to sit in one spot for a while! 


Friday, December 26, 2014

On Our Way

With tears, hugs and goodbyes surrounding us we left Danny and Ann’s this morning about 8am.  The cowboy stopped about 5pm after 539 miles in Sweetwater, TX.  We are parked at the fairgrounds without hookups—the electrical posts are all locked and we really don’t need power or water.  Our route took us straight through the middle of Dallas on I30—it wasn’t bad at all except for one small section where I35 takes off from I30—that coupled with construction had us crawling along for about 15 minutes.  Other than that traffic was very light—I would imagine many people had the day off. 

DSCN0033DSCN0026My position for a large part of the day, I am ready to loose those wool socks in favor of flip flops!

DSCN0035Other than driving and sewing—we didn’t do much of anything else today.  I’m attaching the binding to a quilt I made for the cowboy. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day

And a beautiful one it was here on Barnes-Hill in Arkansas.  After a delicious late breakfast (Granny, aka my sister and PawPaw, aka my BIL had to go watch the grandkids open presents) we all got out in the sunshine and took a long walk—working off some of this food we’ve been enjoying!!

We spent the rest of this day visiting between the houses, eating, laughing and opening more presents!  Late this afternoon Niki and her gang arrived—and more presents were opened.  I think the girls were thrilled with their Granny and PawPaw gifts! 

DSCN0017See the handbag on the coffee table, it’s made by the Dooney & Bourke Company and is the Duck Dynasty version of the popular “duck” handbag.  It was Eric’s gift to Niki and she loves it! 


Michael has been playing with his remote control helicopter and the GPS mounts for both jeep and ATV he received.  I am learning how to use my first Nikon camera.  All my other digital cameras have been Canons—my favorite Canon, the PowerShot SX30IS died—the view finder is kaput and I intensely dislike using the LCD screen for photo taking.  I toyed with the idea of sending the Canon for repair but the cowboy said, “then you have a three year old, obsolete, repaired camera.”  All righty then!!  We had been looking at the Canon PowerShot SX60 camera on Amazon but while in Costco back before Christmas I noticed this package deal on a Nikon CoolPix P600 with a 60X wide optical zoom.  The camera came with SD card, case, lens cover and a whole bunch of other stuff—less expensively than the Canon.  So, I am learning! 

Emmi has spent the day playing with her new balls and having a ball being entertained by Elizabeth and Leah—she will miss them. 


We are heading out in the morning—I am sad, very sad—I love my family but it’s time to head on down the road and hopefully find some warmer temperatures! 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Birthday Dad

Our father was born on Christmas Eve and his Mom, my grandmother made sure his birthday was celebrated each year in spite of it also being Christmas Eve.  Daddy died twelve years ago in December and his presence is never more missed than on Christmas Eve.  Happy Birthday Dad!


It’s been a quiet day of preparation around here—we’ve talked to family back in Montana and helped with the preparations for our Christmas Eve celebration.  I made one last minute run to Wal Mart and it wasn’t too bad—stepped right up to a check-out counter! 

Tonight we had our progressive dinner—appetizers at Niki and Eric’s, salads at Mom and Chuck’s, main course at Danny and Ann’s and finally dessert at Ross and Vicky’s.  When all the family lives as close as this one, a progressive dinner works well!  This year we played the dirty Santa/Chinese gift exchange game with our food type gifts.  Mom and Chuck’s baskets of goodies were very popular as was the tin of homemade turtles I provided.  The game provided lots of laughter and joking—it was fun. 

We want to wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

We Are Still Busy

When arriving last Thursday evening, a day earlier than planned, I thought we had lots and lots of time to visit and visit with family and friends.  Now, it’s almost Christmas and our time is nearing an end—we may miss some folks I’m afraid.

Yesterday Danny and Ann left very early heading to Little Rock for last minute shopping.  Michael, Emmi and I took a nice long walk then I started making my goodies for our gift exchange on Christmas Eve while taking advantage of Ann’s washer and dryer.  Once Danny and Ann returned we had a “clean out the refrigerator” lunch!  In the evening Niki and I went to Little Rock for a little shopping and a fabulous dinner.  Niki is my only niece and for nineteen years before my brother Ross and his wife Vicky had children Niki was the only niece/nephew or grandchild.  She is very loved and we’ve always had a special bond. 

Today we all piled in Mom’s car and headed to Clinton, AR to visit Aunt Margaret, Dad’s oldest sister.  I guess I should say the ladies piled in the car, the guys opted to stay home and babysit Emmi.  Aunt Margaret is one of my quilting inspirations and I have quilted many, many quilts for her.  Today she gifted us each with one of her creations—just so happens I quilted the one she gave me!

IMG_0592We enjoyed reminiscing and also enjoyed another great lunch Ann prepared and took with us.  Here are a couple other Aunt Margaret creations that came out during our reminiscing—amazing!

IMG_0131A tiny sweater Aunt Marg knitted for her son Tim when he was a baby and a dress she knitted for her daughter Kim—she knitted these!!!  They are gorgeous!!

IMG_0132And here is Aunt Margaret with my sister Ann and with Mom.

IMG_0136IMG_0134IMG_0135and with me.  It was a wonderful visit, one I cherish!  It was a long, long trip home with the Christmas shoppers and afternoon traffic but we are now snug and Ann is cooking AGAIN!! 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Story

Danny, my sister Ann’s husband is pastor of the church in which I grew up.  Today their choir presented a Christmas cantata in the morning church service.  It was good to visit with friends/family I haven’t seen in a long time plus we so enjoyed the Christmas music.  Our great-niece Elizabeth even had a solo—she did a fabulous job!  That’s Danny up front and center.


IMG_0518Two of my favorite girls, great-niece Leah and her friend Harley.

Back at home after church Michael and I took Emmi for a long walk then Mom and I went to see her sister/my Aunt Mary.  Mom is one of six daughters—two of her sisters are gone and Aunt Mary is very ill—it was hard to see her so sick.  Tuesday we will go to see my Dad’s oldest sister, Margaret who lives in northern Arkansas.

IMG_0530Preparations began right after morning church for a very special happening in Danny and Ann’s barn this evening.  Strange critters started appearing everywhere.  As the light started to fade on this short day the children of Danny and Ann’s church preformed an enactment of the Biblical Christmas story.  It was without a doubt awesome!!!! 

IMG_0532IMG_0536Here comes Leah/Mary leading her “donkey”, aka, Cocoa!!  Mary wasn’t in costume just yet, either! Smile Darkness came so quickly my photos started to be hazy and the one I took of  Joseph/aka Leah’s father Eric, leading Cocoa with Mary on board didn’t turn out.  This was a first for the adult helpers and the children—having this outdoor performance--they did a great job!!

IMG_0541IMG_0549The shepherds

IMG_0558The “angels!”—Elizabeth is on the left. 

IMG_0566Wayne, the director and Niki, my niece the music maker.



IMG_0584The evening ended with everyone enjoying the soups and snacks Danny and Ann had prepared—delicious as usual!!  Niki baked a salted caramel cheesecake—bad girl!!


Another great day spent in the company of family and friends—a very special day.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Eating Well and Rick To The Rescue Again

With all this eating we are doing a walk seemed in order this morning:IMG_0505

Emmi was in heaven today, niece Leah spent almost the entire day throwing a ball for her!  The cowboy had a project—one I’ve been after him to do for a while!  We’ve owned this motorhome for four years and only once in those four years have we been able to make the third air conditioner/heater controls work—the main thermostat in the coach would not recognize a third unit existed.  While we were working in Texas, we had the cowboy, Rollie (mechanical engineer) and Paul, electrical lead on the oil rig; they caught a lot of grief from me when the air conditioner still wouldn’t work with all that expert knowledge banging around in the motorhome!! Smile

Well, the cowboy was finally successful today, we now have heat in the bathroom/bedroom!!!  I am a happy girl!!  Some little diode thingy that lived in the belly of the motorhome was bad and Michael figured it out!

I spent the day cooking—all the ladies in my family are great cooks, fabulous cooks and we enjoy eating and feeding.  While in Alaska a friend of Larry and Geri’s gave them a huge chunk of fresh off the boat salmon—they aren’t big fans of salmon so I ended up with the fish—the cowboy doesn’t do salmon either so I hadn’t cooked it yet.  This fall Sarah and Sarge brought us another big chunk of salmon Sarge had caught while fishing off the coast of Prince of Wales Island this summer. 

This family likes salmon—I used a blackened seasoning and made a mango/avocado salsa to accompany the fish—it was to die for, delicious!!!!!  For the non-fish eaters, I grilled a tri-tip roast which had marinated most of the day.  Michael pronounced the beef, “exceptional!”  Vicky, our SIL brought some great potatoes roasted with bell peppers.  Niki made a cesear salad and Ann had provided two different kinds of coleslaw.  Did I say we liked to eat???  We topped off this fabulous meal with a apple pie/cobbler dessert—it was OK but needed more sugar I think!


About a week ago friend Angie called me—she had lost her “My Pictures” folder on her laptop.  If you remember this summer I got Angie started with her blog, Our Rolling Ranch House.  Well, she fell off the wagon or something and was having problems.  We tried talking through the issues with no success and knowing Rick was celebrating Christmas with family in anticipation of their leaving for the US, I sent him a quick email.  He promised to help Angie after the weekend but in the meantime, I got brave and downloaded the program TeamViewer and took over Angie’s computer—yep, that was brave of me!!!

I could see what the issues were with her My Pictures folder and Picasa but could not for the life of me figure out how to fix the problem.  Rick to the rescue and Angie is back in business.  Today I again used TeamViewer to take over Angie’s computer and walk her through the steps of getting photos from camera to Picasa to blog, she is now back in business!  That TeamViewer thing is great—thanks Rick! 

In between cooking today I wrapped Christmas presents and added the red fabric cornerstones to my little Winter Solstice quilt.  Now to stitch down the wooly sheep and it will be ready to quilt when we are back in Montana.

  IMG_0119This is Ann’s poinsettia from last year—she stuck it in a dark corner at the end of last season, she thought it was dead but this fall it started to produce little green shoots—now look at it, it is almost tree sized!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Busy Day In Arkansas

As usual the days seem to fly by when I am home in Arkansas.  We spent a lazy morning before heading over to Hot Springs with all the rest of the Christmas shoppers to exchange some clothing for my Mom.  To Sandie and others who remember Mom’s accident this past summer—she is doing well.  Her shoulder is healed as is her forehead laceration.  She is having some issues with her back—probably the accident aggravated old injuries and her doctor is doing some tests.

Michael and Emmi held down the fort visiting with Danny (my BIL) and with Ross (my brother).  I’m not sure he accomplished much else and that is strictly OK! 

My niece Niki and her husband Eric have two daughters, Elizabeth and Leah.  Elizabeth is 12 years old and accompanied us to Hot Springs—oh, my—been awhile since I’ve been around a 12 year old!  They are both beautiful girls and fun (at times Smile).  Elizabeth is a good teacher—she taught me some things about my iPhone I didn’t know! 

Our family calls this farm Barnes-Hill.  Our family name is Barnes and my sister married into the Hill family, thus Barnes-Hill.  The land belonged to my paternal Grandfather and passed on to my brother Ross.  My entire immediate family lives within about a mile radius—around the corners and through the woods! 

I will try to remember to take some photos tomorrow, it’s to be a sunny, nice day!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Quick Blog

Well, Rod, you were correct, we made it to my family home in Arkansas about 5pm this afternoon.  We traveled hard all day in a misty rain, making tracks!  Not only were we anxious to see family but we also had a goal—make it to the co-op fuel station my brother uses in Sheridan, AR before it closed.  We filled the coach with diesel at $2.80/gallon!!!  How long has it been since we’ve seen diesel that low priced???  The gentleman running the co-op told me he had sold 6000 gallons of diesel TODAY!! 

Emmi is glad to be running loose again and we have started seeing all the family—Mom had made some of Pioneer Woman’s corn/shrimp chowder—delicious, it sure hit the spot!  My great niece Elizabeth had a basketball game which they won—so all the attendees, my sister and her husband have straggled in tonight after the game.  I am sure that by tomorrow night the entire gang will have gathered and we will be doing what we do best—eating! 

Thanks for riding along with us on this trip.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

We Are On The Move

By the time we moved the trailer to the RV park storage lot and dumped our tanks we were rolling by 9:30.  I think the cowboy is ill—we only traveled 340 miles today!!!!  We ran into some nasty road construction just outside Artesia, NM—the road crews responsible for setting out the warning barrels forgot that something bigger than a Volkswagen might use those roads!!!  The left hand side of the road dropped off sharply and the barrels were way, way too close, Michael struggled to miss each one but we did clip two or three of the dang things—no damage to the coach thank goodness!! 

We traveled through cotton fields:

IMG_0108and multiple small Texas towns—some prosperous, many with empty store fronts.  A couple of the towns had brick streets, I remember my Dad always thought it was so cool when a little town still had its brick streets.

IMG_0111We passed by this anatomically correct critter Smilestanding watch over the highway—he was huge!!:

IMG_0501We are settled into a little city park in Throckmorton, TX—full hookups, $15—can’t beat that!!

Onward tomorrow, depending on weather, roads and traffic we might or might not make it to my family home.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas On The Pecos

IMG_0449Beautiful, stately homes line the Pecos River here in Carlsbad and one of the must sees in this area is Christmas On The Pecos.  IMG_0448Bundled up against the winter chill a group of us from the RV park boarded the boats and stared in fascination as we glided past millions of twinkling lights, animated displays synchronized to music, and simple displays with a message.  The wonderland of lights is created by more than 100 Pecos River homeowners and corporate sponsors who invest much time, effort and money into creating these spectacular displays! 




We spent the day getting ready for our departure tomorrow, heading to Arkansas for Christmas with family.  Our big cargo trailer is remaining here at the Escapee’s park and we are just towing the jeep—much easier for this short a trip. 

Laundry was on the agenda—this park has a unique way of regulating the laundromat use—you have to sign up for a time on the hour.  Works like a charm!!  With that checked off my to do list I bathed Ms. Emmi and cleaned the coach—we are ready to roll. 

Lora and SantaAnd look at our happy little Ms. Lora!!