Sunday, March 31, 2024

Bucket List Check Off...

 This week, my husband and I were able to do something we have wanted to do for a long time.  We went to North Platte, Nebraska to see the Sandhill Crane migration.  We have always had an affinity for the cranes.  They are the harbinger of spring and the last call of fall.  Whenever we hear them, we find each other and then watch them until they circle out of sight.  Despite the fact they are always circling they are gone before you know it. 

We have always wanted to go to North Platte where they stage up before they complete their spring migration.  They fatten up in the fields along the Platte River before the final leg of their journey.  Instead of thinking someday we will go, we decided this year we will stop wishing and just go.

After a 5 hour drive to the Platte River, we didn't see a bird.  Not only that we didn't see the river.  It was surrounded by trees.  We got to town around 7 pm and I can't say how worried we were that the trip was a bust.  No birds, no river, not even a deer.  

Right inside the city are some crane viewing blinds.  We got something to eat and went to the river's edge thinking our trip was for nothing.  Were we ever wrong.  My camera didn't get a good picture of the cranes, but you can certainly hear them.

The next morning our with our spirits lifted we took a recommended drive for optimal crane viewing.  It was better than we ever expected. We were able to watch them dance and saw thousands of cranes close up. 
I am so glad we went.  It was a fantastic experience.  I don't know why we waited so long.  Not only did we see cranes, but also many different ducks and lots of wonderful farms.  

We were not aware that Buffalo Bill had a ranch in North Platte.  We didn't have enough time to explore the ranch or the state park.  I did take a photo of the house as we went by and it looked amazing. 
Something else we didn't realize is that North Platte is the hub for several rail lines.  This is the Golden Spike Tower, so you can see where the 8 tracks meet and how they check all of the cars and engines.  We aren't big train fans, so we didn't tour the rail yard and I didn't get any good train pictures. 

We only spent a day.  It was a perfect day!  Then the drive back.  There are two things you should know about Nebraska, there are lots of trains and windmills.  Also, the ranchers still use windmills to fill their water tanks.  I think that is amazing.  I had so much fun trying to get some good windmill photos. 

We don't go on vacation often.  It seems all of our trips are to see family.  I am so glad we decided to check this off of our bucket list.  Someday you will run out of tomorrows.  
We came back in a snowstorm, but hopefully the snow won't last.  It was worth because we will always remember this trip. 
We can't wait to see the cranes fly over this spring and wonder if they are ones we saw on our visit.  What is something on your bucket list?  I hope you had a wonderful Easter.

Sunday, March 24, 2024


Another weekend over in a flash.  I got quite a bit done, never as much as I want to.  Saturday, my husband and I made a quick trip to Spearfish to pick up the batting I forgot to buy for the quilt.  Since the weather was nicer than we anticipated, we took a walk on one of Spearfish's beautiful and plentiful walking paths.  It is good to see a community place value on the recreation of its citizens.  There is a paved walking path from one end of town to the other.  It is paired with mountain biking trails, disk golf courses, and many nice benches to just sit and enjoy the view.

The corral below was used to hold horses for the Spearfish, Lead, Deadwood stagecoach.  Can you believe it is still standing?  Better yet, no graffiti.  I wish I had taken a photo of the plaque. It explained it better than I could.
Another snowstorm is on the way.  At least the cabin has the occasional bloom to keep my spirits up.
Here is the storm, slowly creeping up the valley.  Drat.
Probably just as well.  I am running out of time and have to get quilting.  I was going to do in the ditch, then bees, now maybe flowers.  I need to just get started.  Sandwiching everything together is my least favorite part.  I have to crawl around on the cold tile floor in the basement.  

I finally found some coarse sea salt at the store, so it was time to work on my flavored salt project. I really enjoy Pinterest, as I find so many new things to try.  Long ago I found this Melot and Maple popcorn salt.  I LOVED it.  sweet and salty.  Of course, they (I don't know who they is) stopped making it.  I've searched everywhere.  I looked it up and could find a wine salt recipe, but not Merot and Maple.  I decided to try: 1/2 cup of homemade wine, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup (I'll be honest.  I just globbed in there and didn't measure).  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Take 1/2 cup of salt and add 2 tablespoons of the wine mixture.  Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake 30 minutes at 200 degrees.  Make sure you swirl it around every 5 minutes or so.  Otherwise, it hardens.  Turned out great. Can't wait to use it on my popcorn.

I'm not certain what I am going to use my bacon salt on, but something will come up.  I added 2 tablespoons of crumbled bacon to 1/2 cup of coarse sea salt.  My husband smoked it on the grill for an hour at 200 degrees.  Again, make sure you swirl it around.  It hardened and didn't take the smoke very well.  We mixed it up and put it in for 1/2 hour and that worked better.
I took a walk in the woods today.  You can see our cabin if you climb the big hill across the way.  There is nothing more refreshing than a walk.  Dressing warm was a must as it was about 15 degrees and snowing.

Normally, sunrise and sunset photos are my thing, but the moon has been just as amazing.  Every night my husband and I go outside and look around before we go to bed.  It is a new tradition in honor of Ella and we are enjoying it.  Life is pretty amazing if you just stop and look around.

Have you ever made flavored salts?  Any ideas for the bacon salt?  Any ideas for a pattern to quilt?  Do you have anything blooming in your home?  If you have anything blooming outside, I don't know if I can hear about that right now.  It is supposed to snow for the next couple of weeks.  Let's not talk about the garden.  It may put me over the edge.  Hope it is sunshine and roses where you are.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

A little bit closer...

 I made great progress this weekend.  I finished the back of the graduation quilt.  I have grandiose ideas about how I'm going to quilt it.  We will see how that works out.  It was easy to work on, as the weekend was very cold and windy.  

Despite the weather, I managed to go for a walk each day.   They weren't overly enjoyable, but it felt good to get out. Once I retuned and warmed up, I planted some seeds: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, leeks, bunching onions, basil, parsley, and rosemary.  
The set up includes my seed box, planting station, and laptop for record keeping.  I am sure I will be rushing home each day to see what sprouts.  Maybe I will plant some lettuce, spinach, and pak choi in the greenhouse next weekend.  Last weekend, I cleaned out the front flower beds and the rose bed. Spring has to come sooner or later.  
There have been elk on my drive home every evening.  They are such amazing creatures.  Once the cows start dropping their calves, they will disappear.  I am lucky to live somewhere with such diverse wildlife.

The picture below does not do justice to the moon the other night.  It had a beautiful ring of colors around it.  My husband and I are enjoying our tradition of going outside every night before bed.  We have seen and heard some wonderful things.  
Do you and your spouse have any daily traditions?  Have you started gardening yet?  Is it warmer there?  I've seen both a bluebird and a robin, so spring has to be close.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Slow down...

 It was a pretty quiet weekend.  I put a border around the quilt.  I planned on doing more, but time seems to have escaped me.

I like how it is turning out.  Next weekend I will put the back together.  Then let the quilting begin. 

Sometimes a person needs a quiet weekend.  We enjoyed the good weather and took a couple of walks.  I cleaned out a few flower beds and mulched the roses.  The birds are sure chirping.  I had a few house finches and redpolls wander through.  Spring is around the corner. 

I hope you had a relaxing weekend.  Are the birds starting to come alive there?

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Time Marches On...

March came in like a lamb for one day and is already burgeoning into lion status.  We went from warm and sunny 45 degrees to barely 30 and a cold biting wind.  We still managed to get out and walk.

Saturday felt like spring, so I made a springlike treat.  Angel food cake, strawberry sauce, and cool whip.  

Strawberry Sauce

1 pint Strawberries
1/3 c. Sugar
1 t. Almond or Vanilla Extract

Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes stirring constantly. Run through the blender until smooth. Great with angel food cake, on pancakes, on ice cream, or in lemonade.

I am not going to think about seed starting until, I am closer to being done with my quilt.  I do have an orchid and Easter Cactus to keep my spirits up. 
I bought the last fabrics for the graduation quilt.  Next weekend is cutting and sewing and then putting it all together.  I wasn't liking this one and now it may end up being one of my favorites.
Sooner or later winter has to end.  I have faith.  I got a lot done despite only having a weekend to get things done.  

How is the weather in your neck of the woods?  Is it warming up?  Are you getting things done?   What are you looking forward to most about spring?