Sunday, May 19, 2019


 Yes, you know what drat means.  It snowed.  Three inches so far with a prediction for 10 more.  Winter isn't coming, it is still here.  Despite today's woes, last week was wonderful.  Some friends came out to go turkey hunting.  We had a great time.  I think they saw a fox every day.  Turkey hens walked over their feet and they were swooped by a hawk.  Hunting is always an adventure.  They did get a turkey.  If they would have just sat on the porch with me drinking coffee they would have had several toms:)  That was the shining spot of May.  As you can see below, the birds are as aghast about the snow as we are.  Don't you love the look on his face and the snow on his forehead? 

 I was being a grump about the weather, but my husband sweet talked me into a walk.  I was glad we went.  Ella was upset that the men didn't take her bird hunting (you can't use dogs turkey hunting).  She was sure to show us her birding skills on the walk.  She pointed perfectly at our resident grouse. 

Well, that is that.  They still aren't done with the roof.  I am losing hope.  The roofer said they would try again tomorrow, before the big snow hit.  That is all I have for this week.  Please tell me I am not the only person with snow?

Sunday, May 12, 2019

They are in...

Today was the nicest day all year.  I took advantage and planted my seedlings.  I dug up the soil, added some compost, and in they went.  We will see how big these little buggers get.  That little green dot is a tomato plant.

 The basils and thyme were taken back outside after spending some quality time indoors.  I'm pretty excited to see how they do.  The more I grow herbs the more ways I find to use them.

 I planted my peppers, pumpkins, watermelon, lettuce, spinach, radishes, and turnips.  I have mousetraps set up.  I also put collars around the seedlings.  Damn mice.

I have been seeing quite a few elk on the way to and from work.  My husband saw our local fox while out turkey hunting.  What herbs do you plant?  What wildlife are you seeing? Do you have any tried and true mouse repellent?

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Birds, gardening, and what does the fox say?

Poor Robin.  Winter isn't quite done yet.   It melts off and then snows again.  It sounds like it is supposed to stay cool  until June.  The birds aren't going to wait.  They are here in full force.  The chipping sparrows always make me smile.  

The yellow-rumped warbler is like a gymnast trying to get the catkins.
This warbler was also hanging precariously in its efforts to get some spring fodder.
The junco seems a tad grumpy.
This house finch is eyeing the feeders.
This turkey hen has a nest nearby.  Everyday she wanders by the feeder and then meanders down the road.  For as long as we have lived here we have had a hen nest below the cabin.  I'm sure it isn't the original, but certain she is a descendant of the first hen.
This was our big weekend project.  We have always wanted a live Christmas tree.  I saw this wonderful combination of pine, juniper, and dog wood.  We made a few modifications.  I hate pine trees, so this little Black Hills Spruce is the focal point.  I just need to get some red twigged dogwoods and it will be perfect.  While we were taking a break from shoveling, a fox trotted by us.  Now all my poor husband hears is me singing, "what does the fox say?"  
I got a bunch of basil (I love basil on pizza) and thyme for the herb pot.  I have them in the greenhouse, but I must be very aware of the weather.  It is supposed to dip below freezing a couple of times this week.  I also got a few metal planters from Runnings for my greenhouse.  They are the perfect size.  In fact, I think I will be able to add one more.  My seedlings are all up and I am so ready to garden.  Unfortunately, the weather isn't as ready as I am.  I did some serious spring cleaning this week and it feels good to have the house ready for summer company.  Now when it finally warms up, I'll be guilt free to go outside and enjoy gardening.  
Do you have your spring cleaning done?  Has winter let go in your area?  I hope you are all enjoying good weather, perfect bird watching, and great gardening.

P.S.  The tulips in the header are from about 15 years ago.  They came up one year and that was it.  I don't have the best luck with tulips.  That picture always reminds me of the saying by Emerson, "the world laughs with flowers."

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Stuffed meatloaf

I am done with my class,  Thank goodness.  My paper got an A and I'm holding my breath for the video grade.  Kelly and I celebrated by going for a drive to look for turkeys and elk.  We did find two young bulls.   I was able to snap a couple of photos before they moved on.  They are incredibly majestic.  When they move they are completely silent.  It was good to get out and do some walking and see some different scenery.

We also tried a new recipe I found on Pinterest called stuffed meatloaf.  We made some major changes, but kept the main concept.  I made our normal meatloaf recipe.

1.5 lbs of hamburger
1/2 onion chopped
1 T. parsley
3/4 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. ketchup
1/2 t. onion salt
1/2 t. salt

Flatten the meatloaf on some freezer paper.  Add 
5 strips of cooked bacon  
6 slices of sharp cheddar cheese
Roll up like a cinnamon roll and transfer to some aluminum foil.

Smoke on the grill at 160 for two hours then crank it up to 365 for 30 to 40 minutes.  The online recipe had it at 150 for two hours and that did not look done.  It was delicious.   That smoker was one of our best investments.  The original recipe can be found here;

That is it for my weekly adventures.  My next goal is to do a major spring cleaning.  I started with the bathroom today.

Have you finished any big goals lately?  Do you have any future goals?  I hope you all have a great week.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

First and final...

My first flower of the year!  That's all I have for the week.  I am putting the finishing touches on my research paper.  Then I have to stretch the limits of my ingenuity and create a video about my research.  Yes, I said a video.  I have no idea how to make a video.  My students are going to have to guide me through this process.  Wish me luck.   After the 27th, I close my online locker (which is still empty) for good!  Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Observations and observation deck...

I had the opportunity to travel with a good friend of mine to a training in Anaconda, Montana this week.  We had so much fun.  I don't know how I get so lucky.  LaVera and I laughed dang near the whole trip.  Normally a ten hour drive (eleven if you stop at an antique store) over two mountain passes in early spring is no laughing matter.

I was able to meet up with my long time friend, Jody.  It was great to catch up with her.  Over a span of 25 yearsish we manage to get together every two to four years.  We graduated from college at the same time and married around the same time.  It is always fun to visit and see how our lives have evolved.  She has lived in many different places and has a wonderful family. 

Another enjoyable part of the trip was the principal at the Job Corps, where the training was held, is also a friend.  We are very similar.  We both started working at Job Corps 25 years ago.  We became principals around the same time.  Both of us are avid outdoors women and hunt (we have both shot bears).  We are realists with a healthy amount of skepticism.  Life is beautiful.  
It was nice to do a little traveling.  We somehow missed the big South Dakota blizzard.  In fact, we even stayed at a very nice hotel in Anaconda the Fairmont Warm Springs. I highly recommend it if you are avoiding a blizzard.
Everything worked out perfectly.  When I got home the weather had warmed up enough so Kelly and I could finish the observation deck.

I will be doing yoga out there tonight before bed.  I am super excited.  We laughed at how much bigger the deck seems now that we aren't pressed against the wall of the cabin.  It went up relatively fast.  Of course people do work faster when the are standing up and walking around, compared to laying flat with somebody holding your feet.  
I guess that is my weekly observations.  It is sure nice to have good friends and great memories.  I will always remember that trip as one filled with laughter and good company.   I am thankful every day for the choices I have made that have led me to such a fabulous life.  Did I mention that I came back to a good foot and a half of snow, fully expecting my Jeep to be buried in snow, only to find the staff and students had it all shoveled out for my return?  I almost cried.  I guess the t-shirt company is right "Life is Good."  

Have you ever gone on a road trip with a close friend?  Have a great week.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Sixteen years later...

Many of you asked what kind of damage can mice do.  Here is what happens when the snow melts.  You find that they have chewed all of the bark off of the trees.  They girdle it and the tree dies.  We were so thankful that we didn't lose any apple trees to blizzard Atlas, only to find that the mice girdled one.  You don't know the little buggers are under the snow until everything melts.  The apple tree below will survive, but I obviously need to find a bigger protector.  I haven't ventured into my orchard yet, but I see most of my shrubs are had.  All of the trees are protected with a wrap.

 Sixteen years ago we built our cabin.  Somehow in all the little things that need to be done, the upper deck railing didn't happen.  At first it wasn't a big thing.  When you build a house you get pretty used to wandering around high areas with no support.  We did most of the calking and staining and that required going to the peaks on scaffolding.  Then time goes by.  The older you get the more you realize you don't bounce.  This year our goal is to put a railing around the upper deck.  It took awhile to figure out how to attach some good solid posts.  My wonderful husband found some really strong supports.  Saturday we were brave and attached the support posts.  It is a long way down.  We were in such a hurry to put the supports up and see how the attachment system worked that we didn't stain them first.  Sometimes we put the cart before the horse.  My husband took some photos of me staining the posts.  I didn't take any photos of him attaching the posts, because I was holding his feet.  

Next week we will see if we can find the railings.  We have some log railing, but will use metal ones.  We don't want to lose the view.   I'm excited to get some chairs up there and maybe a yoga mat.  When we first moved in I used to do yoga up there under the stars.  Somewhere along time I decided it wasn't such a good idea.  

It was super warm and melted quite a bit today.  I cleaned the strawberry bed and raked what little showed.  I spread some marigold, black eyed Susan, and sunflower seeds in my planters.  Next week I will plant my seedlings. 

Do you have any home improvement projects you have been avoiding?  Have you planted any veggies yet?