MTWaggin Photos & Blog: Blog https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog en-us (C) MTWaggin Photos & Blog mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 28 Mar 2021 15:24:00 GMT Sun, 28 Mar 2021 15:24:00 GMT Camper Update, Road Trip, Projects https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2021/3/camper-update-road-trip-projects And here we are at the end of March already.   Hard to believe but time does march on with or without us for sure.   It is really trying to act like Spring here but oh my gosh it is SO DRY!    If it gets as warm today as they say I may drag the hoses out and see about getting some water on my gardens at least and probably the trees.   

The crocus are doing their best to visit and my allium once again as poked its head up way too early and I'm pretty sure the 20s the next few nights will end that.   I've only seen them bloom once since I planted them.

We've had a few more enjoyable days on the deck but the 60s we are supposed to see today are coming in with 50-60 mph winds so unless those are from the North I don't see deck time happening this weekend either.

Ahh but it is so lovely when the sun is out to just sit and decompress out there!   Still too cold to do anything out back and the sun is still too low to get much warmth back there but give it another month or two!   I'm amazed sitting in the living room at night to see how much the sun has moved when it sets.

The hawk couple are still super busy patching up their nest.   My new binoculars arrived this week and boy is it cool to be able to really see them now and how big they really are!   So glad I got all the small dog protection up and taken care of.

Projects also continue.   My knitted rug gets a few rows a week done.   Progress is slow at best.  I try to work on it in the evenings when I need to get my bad leg up for a rest.   Am loving the yarn but not sure how it will hold up as a rug.  Guess we will see!

I finished my shelf for under the TV in the trailer.   Am not sure it will stay though as I received a birthday gift that may work better for that situation and have decided that truly the TV needs to come off the arm for travel anyway.   Still - it is done and in.  We shall see if it stays.  With a shortage of "flat space" in my trailer I might just still need it.   

Of course the corner isn't actually at a true 45 degree angle so that was dicey!

My friend also came over one of our warm sunny days and helped me get the pattern laid out for the truck window  covers.   With my stupid knee issue crawling up on the hood wasn't going to happen and luckily she volunteered to help.  We have  the pattern basics done, it will be 3 pieces not 1 and now I need to get the pattern finalized and decide the tabs and all before I run off ordering fabric.  The plan is that I will do some mesh material on the top part of the sides so when the windows are down air will circulate.   This all will help tremendously when I'm traveling with the dogs and they need to stay in the car for stops, not to mention helping just generally keeping the inside of the truck cool and frankly, secure.

The other trailer item finally checked off the list is a way to secure the expens and the steps on the shelves in the back of the trailer.   I was going to make some sort of box to put the pens in so they'd stay put but  honestly, that meant lifting and rigging them into it.  I also didn't want them rubbing the back of the couch and they needed to stand on their sides.   I "think" I have a workable solution.  Those heavy buggars are honestly the biggest pain in the rear when it comes to figuring out storage.   The stairs then sit in front of them for easy extraction.

Still lots more to do in the trailer but I'm very slowly also getting things loaded back out there (the stuff that won't freeze anyway).    Had hoped to have it ready for a trip to Freezeout to see the geese migration but it's just been too cold and slow going.   So a friend and I loaded up this past Friday and did that trip as a day road trip instead. 

The geese numbers have been pretty sporadic and they were spread out all over the WMA so we really didn't get to see anything fantastic.  We actually say a very small flock closer up down at the end of my road in a neighbors yard!   So these were the only 2 geese photos from this year and then I'll plop one in from a previous (better) trip so you get the idea.  Plus there were BOATLOADS of people up there.

Now here's from years past.....

We even drove up on the bench to see if we could find any feeding - absolutely NOTHING!   There are however more swans this year than in years past - again, spread out but still fun to see and we spotted 5 bald eagles on the one swan pond as well.    We still did the auto loop around the WMA and had a WINDY stop to just get out and stretch our legs (and cow poop snacks for the dogs - ick).  Scared up a pair of chukars while we were there in the hedge row as well.

Since the wildlife viewing was a bust and it was getting towards lunch time I thought we'd head up towards Teton Pass (there is a ski area up there so I knew if it was open the road would be plowed) and see what we could see.  Maybe scope out some boondocking spots for this summer (we can always camp at Freezeout  if they don't work out).    I also hoped we could find a spot out of the wind to have lunch.   We did but the small breeze there was made it too cold to eat lunch out of the truck.  No problemo.

Even with the frigid temps of this water (all out of the snowy mountains) Epic cannot HELP himself - he has to go in.  Crazy dog!

We didn't go all the way up to the ski area but we weren't far from that turn.   We got quite a ways up past the snow line but even up there, just not nearly as much snow as they should be up there in March.   It had more like a "normal" year would have in May.    Sad but true.   Still I have to say that drive was probably the highlight  of the trip.   Pretty quiet and of course scenic.

I was in DIRE need of a day out in nature with the cameras.   I just didn't realize how much and I'm really looking forward to doing it more.  But for now, back to projects and house stuff so that I can go do that!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2021/3/camper-update-road-trip-projects Sun, 28 Mar 2021 15:20:01 GMT
In Like a Lamb! Where Does the Time Go? https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2021/3/in-like-a-lamb-where-does-the-time-go But boy I finally feel like we are headed into Spring - even though the temps aren't breaking 50 very often.   Needless to say I'd rather be outside when it is warm enjoying the sunshine (yes even 45 is warm) rather than writing blogs on the computer - obviously!  But I digress....

I have been energized by the sunshine and a few warm days.  Even if not outside working on stuff I have gotten a couple of crafts going.   I did finish my knitting board first ever double knit hat.  I wanted a had with ear flaps and ties and found a pattern  in my beginners book that was the ticket.  I do have a few adjustments to make but I was happy with how it turned out.  Some yarn I had purchased and dog out the knitting board (that allows you to make a double knit - as in thicker) and away I went.

Next go I'm going to make it a bit smaller around though so I wrote that into the directions and we'll see how it goes.   Someone will get gifted this one I think.    I have since then started a rug on the big loom which I have to do just a row or two at a time as it does (as does crochet or traditional knitting) bother my computer wrists/arms.  Too many years working on the computer.

I am feeling like I'm actually getting some real work done though.  Still haven't fired up the new sewing machine but the weather got warm for one of my long weekends so I got out into the trailer and got that project started.  No more thinking it out - let's see if my measuring was right!   So for your entertainment here is a link to a time lapse video of what I've gotten done so far (let's call it oh 1/2 done).    Watch it - it is kinda funny actually.

TRAILER RENOVATION 2021 PART 1
 

The furniture came the day before I started which was lovely.  Now 1/2 of my garage is full of the crap I pulled out which I'll have to dismantle, find new places for and some will go back in.   This is the wall I left the paper on - because 1, I was sick of painting and 2, so far this is staying on better than the other side did.

This was the poopy (forgive the pun) part of the new flooring.   Trying to fit around all the bits in the bathroom.  It isn't perfect but better than the last time I did it! 

The new furniture is the same as the sectional I have in my house.  From Home Reserve (online) ordered and delivered looking much like this  and all needing assembly.   I love the stuff though and even better, every piece has storage in it.  So now I'll have either 2 beds (as seen below) or I can move one of the ottomans and have a big full size bed when it is just me.

Once I got all the furniture out of the boxes I decided I really needed to get the immense pile of cardboard I had accumulated the past oh 9 months off to the recycle bin.   Let's just call it what it is.  Covid Cardboard!

Meanwhile the dogs were out enjoying the lovely sunshine and getting enough fresh air so they really crashed every evening.

We of course  got to deal with incredible mud and some lovely sunsets!   (and the road below wasn't nearly as bad as the bottom of my driveway)

This past week was full of appointments (or felt like it).   One was Teddy's acupuncture and he still was fighting it a bit but did crash on the way home.   He also had a birthday this week and turned 16!   Where does time go?

Everyone else is doing good.   Oliver had a couple Kodak moments and others where I wanted to strangle him.   I finally figured out that my issue with my knee is from him continually sucker punching me in the back of my knee.   Finally injured that little tendon in the back of my knee by repetition.   I'm still fighting it and am literally CRUSHED that I can't go walk like I was before it went to heck.   So cute he may be but.....

That's kinda all I got.  Wanted to get this out before the weekend fires up as it is supposed to be warm again so I want to spend the weekend working some more on the trailer and maybe work on the pattern for the window cover for the truck that I want to make (the pattern stuff has arrived and a friend has offered to help as there will be climbing involved).   Hope everyone reading this is well and I'm going to do my best to catch up on blogs in the mornings when it is still too cold to be out working!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2021/3/in-like-a-lamb-where-does-the-time-go Sat, 13 Mar 2021 02:28:42 GMT
Bring on Spring https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2021/2/bring-on-spring Well we can hope so anyway.   Based on today's weather (Sunday) with its windy and cold nastiness it is hard to tell but hey, they keep promising 50 the end of the week.   I'm counting on it as I really want to get out in the trailer and start that project.

There is still lots of this going on in my house.

Teddy seems to have overcome his two nasty falls last week and I have put added protections on all of the couches so that when he does get up there he won't roll off onto the hard floor.   New uses for the poodle big dog beds - floor cushion.

I cannot believe the weekend is almost over but I am VERY much looking forward to a long weekend the  end of next week.   I'm just not ready to go back to work tomorrow but oh well.  Suck it up for 4 days.    Saturday I did pick up a knee brace (honestly it is my knee that hurts but I don't think that is the origin  of the issue)  and the stability allowed e to take Epic for a short walk (albeit slow) down the road and back.   I'm so ticked off that I'm losing physical ground by having to sit around with this thing.  Not to mention that honestly, my walks are my "stress reset".  Luckily the mud was mostly frozen as it is amess when it thaws right now.  I took the car to town Wednesday and wasn't sure I'd make it down my road the mud was so bad!

We've had snow coming through here and there all weekend and Epic and I made it back just as this was moving in.

We got a "skiff" of big flakes from that but it didn't last.   Meanwhile the thawing and freezing has made the back yard a poopy ice rink.   With the ground still frozen and it being the north side of the house, when it does thaw it is a swamp and almost too deep to do poop patrol, when it freezes there is no chopping THAT out.   I know, TMI.

So today was another pancake morning (yum) and I definitely will be going to get more acorn squash tomorrow so I can roast, puree and freeze it for the future.   I don't think I can go back to flour pancakes (which were never a big fave anyway).   I also got bone broth stock on the stove (since I'm not going out in this yucky weather).   

Last of my trip camping reservations are now done so I'm happy to say my big trip is now secured.   That is a total relief to be honest.   So as soon as I post this I'm off the computer for the day.   Think I am going to see if I can find a pattern for a knit hat (using my knitting boards) and reading the directions for my new (oh happy day) sewing machine which arrived this week.   My poor little old White machine served me well but it just wasn't up to anymore heavy duty sewing and I have a number of projects (one is a window cover for the truck) that require some heavy duty ability.   That little cheap machine though sewed a LOT of warm windows and dog collars and fleece boots let me tell you!

This doesn't have the fancy stitches but honestly, I don't do fancy stuff and if I did I'd get a specific embroidery machine for that (no plans for yet another project tho).   Basic stitches and the ability to sew through quilt layers and outdoor upholstery type fabric is my need.  Wish me luck on that one!

That's all I got folks.   During the week am barely able to get through the insanely busy work days (they go fast but suck the life outta me) so the weekends are project time.

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2021/2/bring-on-spring Sun, 28 Feb 2021 18:46:16 GMT
Nutrition 6 Weeks In https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2021/2/nutrition-6-weeks-in Skip this if you really don't care about my nutrition journey - this is as much for me as all of you so might be kinda boring.  I'll insert some non-topic photos just to make it pretty!  LOL

I haven't shared what counseling I'm getting and probably should.  I signed up for a program with East West Healing (www.eastwesthealing.com).  It is all remote which is nice (don't get me on the local opportunities for holistic health).    I was turned on to it by a long time friend who, when we talked about my health scare in October was like "that is EXACTLY what happened to me"  (and she and I are the same age).   She recommended looking into this program and see if I was ready to try something like this.   I am glad I did.   I am 6 weeks in and already am noticing changes and figuring out why my body was yelling at me (it has been yelling for a LONG time I just wasn't paying attention).    So couple things I've learned:

  • We as a society do not give STRESS the attention it deserves and we do NOT generally understand the toll it takes on us physically.   I for one could tell emotionally what it did but I didn't have in my head how that was depleting my whole physical body.
  • My Grandad had it right - that man lived to 95 and I that wholesome eating and exercising (he was an avid walker after he quit farming) was bang on.    I remember his breakfast as toast with butter, 2 eggs, cornflakes and milk and Mogan David wine.    Remembering he hit the ground running every day and understood how important breakfast was.   
  • Slow and steady wins the race.  Making changes to your routines (that has been my hard task) as well as adjusting what you eat needs to be SLOW.  This is why diets fail (okay we all knew that).   I love this program as they really coach you in little enough bits that it feels doable and I can say I have NEVER been shamed about what I'm doing (I'm stubborn that will make me just say no).   I kinda feel like this last week has finally found me understanding what is going on.    

Is it tough - for me yes!  The hardest hasn't been the foods (it wasn't a huge change there just looking to balance them all) but the timing.   My body wants more meal type fuel more often (so more like 4-5 meals a day) and needs the support between those in little bits (snacks).   What have I noticed - well I think I mentioned I feel much more emotionally STABLE than I was - even when work stresses me out.   Over the last few years even the task of going grocery shopping would just give me anxiety.   I find now it doesn't really.   Makes me understand more those Mom's who look to nutrition to help kids with autism or ADD or....    My energy isn't like, over the top at this point but it is also more stable.  I don't have the "h-angry" instances and I'm also not craving the sugar like I used to.

Part of this program is more roots and fruits.  I right now am REALLY finding how much I enjoy (and my body loves) having cooked apples (with cinnamon) and I finally hit on a bone broth that I can stand (do NOT buy the prepackaged stuff - it is gross).  I first tried beef - YUCK, but I love chicken soup so went that route and made my own and bingo!    Part of the roots is squashes and potatoes.  I have enjoyed spaghetti squash before just didn't make it a priority - so now I switch that out with actual pasta.   Butternut squash was another try out - well that in soup didn't work so I got to the internet and found the below recipe for pancakes and YUMMO!    Sweet potatoes here are hard to find but I did start some experiments with yam chips in my air fryer oven.  They aren't too bad!   I'm gonna bet I can also do pancakes with those.


I make 1/2 of this recipe and get 4 good size pancakes.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH PANCAKES

1 cup cooked (I roast them and remove the pulp and freeze) and pureed butternut squash

4 eggs

3 tablespoons maple syrup (pure) or raw honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup tapioca flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix the first 4 ingredients and beat for 1 minute (I just did this with a whisk you don't NEED a mixer).  Then add the rest and blend well.

Cook as you would other pancakes - couple minutes on each side depending on how hot your skillet is (I cooked with butter in my cast iron skillet).


I also am learning how important the vitamins and minerals we can get from bone broth are (and especially in winter how comforting - like that chicken noodle soup for a cold/flu is) for you.   As I mentioned try 1 was a fail but 2 was a success.  You can either do this with a whole cut up chicken or like I did this last time - I bought chicken quarters (will probably get whole chickens moving forward).   The less fatty the better of course.   I have good size quarters so I can only fit 2 at a time in my big Corning Ware dish (yes I have those).   Cover with water, add spices (I just dump in rosemary, thyme and a teeny bit of cayenne pepper).   Put on the lid, bring to a boil then turn down to low and simmer 4-6 hours.   Strain the broth and let set to let the fat go to the top and get solid.  Remove the fat.   I fill and freeze mine in pint canning jars.    Use it in cooking or drink it with a meal.  Very warming.

I have other friends I know have found bone broth to be very good.  The collagen has HUGE benefits (I also do powdered collagen in my mocha and some of my other fluids during the day) not the least of which is digestion.   I'll admit I'm a menopausal woman and my digestion took a BIG hit when that all kicked in.

So there ya have it - lots of stuff but good stuff.   Food for me has always been problematic.   Bad eating habits as an adult, bad exercise (or no exercise) and just letting the stress of things eat up what stores my body did have.   So looking forward to turning that around.

 

 

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2021/2/nutrition-6-weeks-in Fri, 26 Feb 2021 15:47:59 GMT
Will March In Like a Lion https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2021/2/will-march-in-like-a-lion Hard to believe it is the end of February but based on the weather it sure is true!    Amazing how we  skated by literally all winter and then BOOM in February we got all the winter weather and then some.   I personally was happy to say good bye to the below zero stuff!     Since then we've had snow, rain, 50 degrees (so my back yard now looks like a frozen swamp) and today mud.   

Sadly as soon as we got above zero I got one walk in and after time on the elliptical machine during sub-zero found out that I messed up one of my knees (or rather the muscles and tendons above and below most likely).   I got care for it and a few days later was feeling well enough  Epic and I went for a walk.   I made it to the turn around and that knee started yelling.   Still he was having such a good time even though wee started out in a blizzard!   Glad he had his boots on and I had my gaiters.   Honestly it was a lovely walk up, just not back.   Still he keeps me motivated and it is still "all about the stick".   (sorry about the phone photos bad exposure)

At that point I realized I needed to stay on "knee  rest" till this sucker felt better.   I babied it, sat on my butt with my leg up, massaged, rolled my IT bands, rested.   It is driving me BONKERS (now 10 days in).   Of course it now starts to feel better when it is too freaking muddy to walk but I guess that will soften the blow.   I did finally a few days ago, get my bike out and the stationary stand for it, did some bike repairs and got it set up to start building strength up  on the knees.   Seems to be working as it does feel better.

So over the weekend I did start some projects (and did some laundry).   Far Side got me "hooked" (as in crocheting) on making some fake wasp nests.   She said they worked well for them so I'm going to give them a try and see if they deter ours this summer.   I also marked off the list the sewing of spare dog booties!

You can see the blue one where Epic has gone through the bottom of it.   So extras for him and for Josie.   I also got plans laid out for another heavy duty sewing project which I really decided (and with all the trailer DIYs) that I needed to replace my machine.  It will be donated as it is a good basic machine but won't work for anything heavy although we've limped by so far.   This little <$100 machine has sewed a LOT of warm windows and dog collars and dog  booties for sure!    New machine is on the way and more about that project in the future.   Yes, I am itching to get out into the trailer but it is still too darned cold.   

Teddy got acupuncture last week and it didn't go nearly as well as it did last time (pic below).   I am really cherishing the days left with him but I am seeing more and more issues cropping up.   Dr. Lindsay also commented that when she adjusted him "most of my clients  don't crunch when we adjust".   His fusing spine is getting worse (no surprise) and I am noticing more issues in his rear.   He also crashed on the floor  now  twice during the nights so now  I will be blocking off the couches so he can't be up on them at night.   He sleeps so deep and when he tries to get up loses balance and last night crashed so badly on the hard floor he screamed and  I flew out of bed.  He wasn't moving but was screaming so up and into bed with a shot of Herbaprin and me worrying that he might have broken something.   God love him he  didn't but I was awake from 3:30 on soothing him.   By morning he was moving, walking and ready to eat.   I don't freaking know how he hasn't broken any bones!    Like I said - am cherishing all my moments with him especially because I don't think we'll have him with us much longer.

The only goal is to keep him comfortable and happy (and he's still excited for food and begs popcorn) and SAFE!

That really is kind of a downer post but sometimes life throws us curve balls.   I was happy to not suffer the consequences  of weather like my coworkers in Texas last week and am happy that the knee is getting better.  My food program/coaching is going pretty well as we keep tweeking things.   My hardest issue is getting in enough substantial meals early in the day to keep my body going.    Growing up on that 3 meals a day routine is hard to change!    Am excited though to start feeling the difference.   I definitely am feeling more stabilized in my emotional state and my energy is definitely more balanced than it has ever been.    Things that would have "sent me over the edge" before no longer seem to do that and Lord knows I can use more calm!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2021/2/will-march-in-like-a-lion Wed, 24 Feb 2021 01:06:12 GMT
What a Week of Subzero Looks Like Here https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2021/2/what-a-week-of-subzero-looks-like-here I have to say that I am glad that they gave us full warning that the cold was coming and I am very glad I heeded the warning of it.     I am thrilled to report it appears that the thermometer is finally headed in the upward direction this week and honestly, we "can" still get cold like this the rest of the month but there is a light at the end of Winter for sure.

What did we do?   We did not leave the property (and won't till Monday) for over a week.   I think the fact that I was prepared helped that to be sure.   Thank God for the wood stove!   If not for that, 1, I'd probably have not even gone outside and 2, I'd owe my soul to the electric company!

I was out every single day though.  Yes it took 15 minutes to get all the clothes on for the 30 minutes of outside chores but it WAS really nice to get fresh air.  Yes I had to dig the Carhart barn coat out of the back closet (glad I still had it) and yes I'm pretty scary looking but hey it did the job.    First job - fetch wood in so we aren't running out int he middle of the night.

Then feed the wild birds - they didn't get any water but I was able to keep them in seed (high fat sunflower).  About every 36 hours the feeders were empty!

All the while running the cars in the garage.   The little car was NOT happy (no plug for it) and the truck got started only a couple of days as it is plugged in. 

Back and forth back and forth I went, but that kept me warm.  I made it down the road and back 2 days as  I was REALLY missing my walks.   Weird walking by myself and honestly the air was so freaking cold that down the road and back was all I could muster.

Meanwhile I got to take a few days off work (so I don't lose them).   My  goal was to stay warm, do chores and get the next sign done for my friend and finish the Christmas project I started in January so I could get that all put away.   Both were accomplished.

Saturday we did break 0F so my hope was that Sunday I could bundle up Epic and and myself and get even a short walk in.   As soon as it was close to 0 and the wind  had not picked up it was time.

Epic was doubled up - a fleece coat under one of the new coats we got from our friend in Hawaii (needless to say they don't need them there).   He is now the second owner of these coats which Auntie Sue told me have been up a number of the Colorado 14ers!   I really love how they fit!   I definitely took the brunt of him not getting any exercise in over a week though as he was "full of it"!  Then 2 layers of boots on feet.  Fleece and the new boots I bought for him over those.  Interestingly he was able to kick off the two back purchased ones 1/2 thru the walk, so less than impressed.  I just need to go get fleece when in town tomorrow and get the sewing machine out and sew  new ones for him and for Josie as once it starts to warm the snow is going to be too sticky to walk without them.

We came back from our walk feeling very refreshed and had a great time spotting tracks in the snow.   Until I found this one just up from the garage.

That is a good size "cat track" and not a domestic good size, a wild good size.   So we will be on the watch for more of those tracks.   Sneaky though as I couldn't find any other tracks from it HOWEVER I suspect it was stalking deer and was following in their trails.   Spooky.   We know there are mountain lions up this hillside and of course, I've not seen any but you normally do not.   This cold spell will move them down to easy pickings and we have a boatload of people up here with free chickens  and the like.    That is the reason I don't spend time outside much after dark to be honest.

So that's it for us for the "subzero  week".   It wasn't pleasant but it wasn't horrible.   I look forward to warmth and the  unfreezing of my shower drain for sure!   But that one thing was a known (does it when it gets below zero for many days) and I have heat and power and water.   All good things!  Next projects, Far Side Wasp Nests and finding a new winter hat.

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2021/2/what-a-week-of-subzero-looks-like-here Mon, 15 Feb 2021 02:59:30 GMT
Hunkered In https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2021/2/hunkered-in Yup, after months of mild weather, winter unleashed her fury this weekend (and apparently next week) with below zero temps, big wind and  snow (the latter combination of course making lovely drifts to shovel through).   Not complaining, we've had it too easy for too long and when we get cold this late in the season it "usually" is the last bout.   So we are really just sticking to home, feeding the wood stove and working on indoor projects as much as possible.   It has of course limited what I do outside but things like shoveling and moving wood up for the stove still has to be done.   Will add to that starting the cars over the next week to let them run.  

Enough weather news as I know there are other areas in way worse shape. 

The past few weeks have been fairly busy.   My nutritional changes, dare I say, seem to finally be taking hold and I'm feeling better and my energy is slowly coming back.   I also am noticing things that sent me "over the edge" before (like a Costco run) are no longer having the ill affects they did over the past year.   I've got a lot of changes yet to make but am taking baby steps.   The hardest right now is scheduling all these times to eat.   That is really the key to keeping my body happy and my blood sugar stable of course and I'll admit it just proves how horrid I have been at that (as well as what I eat).    

Last weekend my friend came over to help me move the very large and heavy kennels out of the back of the truck and in to the house.   She is such a champ and we got it done without straining too badly.    Girl power!   She then agreed to go for a walk with Epic and I and again, what a champ, we ended up doing 5 miles, up and over the top of the mountain.  It was SUCH  a lovely day, warm (as you can see by our jacket situation).

The neighbor up on the corner has free ranging chickens, thank goodness I saw them before Epic and got him hooked up on leash.   Pretty and plump little buggars.

I have a new route that I walk that is much more quiet and avoids the interactions with the IDIOTS up on top of the hill that will NOT move over or slow down when they go by us.   The other thing is that it is much more shady so snow  hangs out longer.   With the warmer temp, the snow was very sharp so I was glad I stuck booties in my pocket for the poodle.

There is a cistern up there right where the now identified, elk skeleton is.   Made getting his shoes on much easier and he was so much more comfortable with shoes on.

See - hardly any tracks.  The only vehicle I've encountered on this section  is surprisingly, the FedEx guy!

So we ended way up on top, winded but feeling pretty good.   This is an old little knoll that I used to go up to in the summers and sit and look  over the river (you can see it in the left hand corner of this picture) many years ago when there wasn't a driveway there and the trees were very much shorter.

Pretty isn't it?   I actually took last Monday off and was very glad I did.  I got some serious house cleaning done (desperately needed)  and just was nice to have the time.    I have so much vacation  time (also our sick time) to use now that they are changing their policy for carrying it over, that I am just darnit, going to take it.

Work is still insane and extremely busy every single day, but oh well.  Is what it is and the time really flies by.  Nuff said.   This past Friday did my Costco run and yesterday started on another craft project that is on my ever growing list.   Figured since I couldn't be outside I needed to just DO IT!  A friend asked for a couple of these signs and bribed me with fresh macadamia nuts.   I won't be able to seal it though till the weather warms up considerably but the biggest part is done.  I have another in the works today (after doing the artwork for it last night).

I sucked it up and got on the eliptical machine today instead of going for a walk.   Now that the sun is out, I probably could have bundled up and walked (no dogs too cold) but thing I'll call it good for now after being out early this morning.  

Hope everyone stays safe and warm.  I'll admit, working on camping reservations for the summer (which is proving to be extremely difficult) is keeping me going right now.   I've read that finding camping reservations (especially online) were going to be difficult this year but I'm really also wondering more and more about ReserveAmerica being invaded by "bots" that are booking weeks at a time as I'm finding that at least some of the state parks on there are ENTIRELY booked full (not one open spot) as soon as the booking window opens.  Hmmmm.....so it is requiring some creative thinking and I think we will look to boondock more off in the mountains.   We shall see.    

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2021/2/hunkered-in Sun, 07 Feb 2021 19:28:22 GMT
Looks Like a Post Every 2 Weeks... https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2021/1/looks-like-a-post-every-2-weeks So my hope of a post a week just isn't going to happen right now.  Honestly because life isn't that exciting and because I am not that anxious to get on the laptop that often - sad but true.  After being overrun with work and LOONG days on the computer doing it - I just have to force myself to get on and do personal stuff.   So here we are.  

My favorite part first.   Walks/hikes.  I'm not sure what to call them, still up in my area on the roads but it so feels like being in the mountains and now that I'm actually now walking one of my loops more backwards - even less traffic (specially important with the a-hole drivers from up on top of the hill that will NOT slow down or move over when they see us).   Epic and I did a few walks trying out the trekking poles and getting him used to them.  He's still not convinced.  We did some desensitizing and even some tug which seemed to help.  

He'd rather not mess around with that stuff, give him his  stick and let him go.   The biggest issue I have with him is getting him to walk ON leash out in front.   A lifetime of teaching him to walk  on a loose leash and on my right or left side is  biting me in the butt.   So I decided one of the things we are going to try is a skijoring harness (to encourage the "pull") and a hip belt for me.   I just really want that stability I get with the poles while not tangling up him.   It's a process.

We had some lovely days to walk and actually today did our first 5+ miler.   Holy crap that about did me in but we did it.  Even Epic was dragging by the time we got back.

Yup I even got brave and took both with me since we've not walked in 2 days (I was not feeling great Friday and Saturday was just too freaking busy).   Josie continues to LOVE these walks and she explores like crazy, that nose of hers is something.   I don't think I ever showed you guys the long long ago poached deer up the back road.

At least I think it is deer but now looking at the pictures looks too big.  I dunno.   I don't normally let the dogs go explore but needed to catch my breath and honestly I know it is a long time ago as there is nothing left and they never even veered that way to smell it.

Josie also got (or maybe it is that I got) a new pack.   She likes to go but needs to have the chance to rest those short legs after about 3.5 miles.   Not only is she short but she puts on probably 4.5 miles for our 3.5.   We did some experiments in the house with lots of treats and today, as she pooped out, I found a spot to put her in and hauled her home to see how it  would  go.   I love the design of the pack, especially the part that the dogs go in (they face forward over your  shoulders not backwards) and she was really secure.   I however found it isn't terribly comfortable.   Because she is a small and the pack is the "small version" it rides so far up my back and on to my shoulders that it wasn't all that easy or comfortable to carry her.  Oh it is way easier than carrying her in my arms but they have some design flaws.  A longer pack with a hip belt would be significantly more comfortable for human.  Still it worked pretty darned well and she took to it very nicely.

I tell you it really bothers me days I can't get any walk in but I'm trying to just honor my body.  I will say this much, Epic and I walked down to the mailbox this past week one day and that uphill on the way back that always just filled me with dread, was a piece of cake after hiking up the mountain behind my house all these days this month.

My nutritional program is going sort of  okay.   The  first week was stressful and very overwhelming and I told my coach as much.   She just hit me with toooooo much that first visit.   So I backed off enough to do what I could handle right now.   If I stress out over this and get too overwhelmed I won't do  it.    This past week went way better with that mindset  for sure.   I will say, the trying to get more  "logs" on my fire during the day has been way more challenge, I think because one, I'm not that keen on spending precious time in the kitchen cooking and two, I am more of a grazer so I would rather just put things in one at a time.   Work in progress.   But I finally did manage to get my squash cooked off AND have decided my best bet for the sweet potatoes is making them into chips.

Those ones on the bottom were perfecto.   I need to find a mandolin slicer (a bit worried after I managed to slice of a bit of my pinkie  finger tip just with the new veggie peeler). 

We've had some insane weather.   We had a super high wind event one day - as in 60mph sustained at some point.  Lots  of damage in town and around.   Many trees down, power poles, things blown over in general.    Lost some super old  trees in town people lost.   I was rather shocked when I walked up back and found that one of my young trees, not even one that was standing out along was down, ripped up the roots and all (lets face it pine trees have really shallow roots but still).   More shocking is that the old dead tree with the treehouse was all still standing (see it behind the downed one in the photo).

But we've had some lovely days as well - just no moisture which really didn't help the wind event.

We also have had some stunning sunsets although they've been odd, nights  I think they will be spectacular, I set up the time lapse and they are blah.   

There has also been planning and computer time (more of it) to do things like  figure out how to get my drivers license renewed (what a pain in the rear) as well as the much more exciting trip this summer to go pick up my Mom and bring her back here to visit.  I'm super excited to be able to have her visit this summer after missing the last 2!   Since I have loads of vacation  time to use, am stir crazy not having camped much I told her it would be safer for her and no problem for me to just hook up the trailer and come get her.   I have 2/3 of my camping reservations made and the last one is at a state park that doesn't open up their reservations for another month or so.   We'll see how it goes but I'm excited.

Okay kids, I'm all about Masterpiece Theatre on Sunday nights so this is gonna get wrapped up and published so I can make some popcorn and sit down and watch PBS!

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2021/1/looks-like-a-post-every-2-weeks Mon, 25 Jan 2021 02:03:49 GMT
Let's Catch Up https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2021/1/lets-catch-up So sorry I missed posting last Sunday.  I honestly just didn't have much exciting to report or show and I didn't want to be posting just for the sake of posting.   I also had a couple of days where I was busy with friends.   Needless to say we are still here!

As is the case with many I am sure, work this past week was INSANE.   Everyone (and there were a lot) that took off the last 2 weeks of 2020 returned in a frenzy.   Blech.   So it goes.   Things be a changing yet again in my team - I just try to stay out of the fray and get my work done.

I can say I am increasingly happy as the daylight hours also increase.   It is so nice to still see that ball of sun in the sky as late as 5 p.m. these days.   It'll only get better from here (even when we can't see the sun).   I has generally not been sunny here but gray and brown and dry.   That was until this pas few days and as much as there was whining that it snowed - it  seriously was nothing.  We got oh 4" or so here and anything pavement didn't stick.   It was almost a spring type snow though as it was so warm and now we are dealing with fog rolling in and out as the temps ground level up are so weird.   Glad it had moisture in it for sure though as we desperately need it.   Even the mountains are dry.

Probably the best part of the past few weeks was a lovely package from a friend in Hawaii who sent me a gift of macadamia nuts off their  tree.    It was nothing short of  magically yummy!   She had already dried them and vacuum packed them and sent with directions  on how to roast.   I tossed them in some rosemary olive oil I had, salted and roasted per directions.   They were gone in 24 hours!   Nope I will not apologize for snarfing them so fast!

I have a real mix of  photos to share.   Some before the snow, some after, all either here at home or on my walks.  Hopefully it won't bore you too much.

You can see above the ski hill in the distance and how bare everything else is.   Even the ski areas base snow at summit is pretty pitiful so far this year.  They have snow but when you see 36" at the summit of a ski hill it is bad.

Halfway up the hill one of the neighbors has a 3 flag post at their driveway.   I just liked the folds in the flag and it makes me happy.

I always wonder what critters  might find homes in these masses in the tops parts of these trees.  You don't see tight bundles like this often and I have no idea what causes it.

One of my intrepid walking buddies.   He is so different when carrying a stick but I think that day he had and lost about 3 of them in our loop.

I am REALLY bad at selfies (my arm isn't long enough) and even more so when it isn't with the phone.   Oliver again keeps going "ape crap" every time we leave to walk so I bundled him up and took him again for a 1.25 miler this time with Josie to see if maybe having her along helped his attitude.   Nope, by 1/2 way he was dragging behind and unhappy.   No naked walking buddy for me - check!   He'd rather be doing this:

As I mentioned we got snow the past few days.  I did take a "snow day" from walking the day it was snowing actively but got back on the trail the next day. The snow day though did see ONE quick venture out to the front yard for 3 of em - sometimes you just gotta run amuck in the fresh stuff.

 I took both Epic and Josie with me  walking the day after and I'll just say it was like dressing 2 toddlers to go sledding - I think it took me 20 minutes to get them both dressed (much less get ME dressed) to go.   Booties and coats were in order as the snow was very wet and sticky and I didn't want them chilled.   

I still need to rough up the bottom of Josie's shoes  though as she went flying out the front door, hit the snow on the sidewalk and promptly skidded nose first into the snowy lawn.   Yes I laughed.  I tried to get both of them to understand that they needed to walk IN the snow not in the road tracks so they had traction.   Not as easy as you would think.  But they were ready to go and happy to  run a bit on our way up the back to the road.

See how foggy it was?   We were in and out of it in waves the entire walk.    So we headed up the hill.....

I was trying to be very mindful not only of them slipping around me ME slipping around not  to mention the possible cars going  by and low and behold we just got headed up and this 20something in her beater front wheel drive car thought she'd  go up the hill (lives up there believe it or not) and made it less than 50 feet up the road and stalled out.   I shook my head, stopped and walked the dogs down into the trees and watched what she was doing.  I wasn't going to be on the road for her to slide  backwards into us - let her hit a tree.   Oh  my gawd.   She couldn't for her life figure out  why she was sliding sideways down the road and what to do.  I finally started gesturing to her (as she kept sliding sideways back down  the hill) and she finally rolled down her window and yelled "I can't go there!"   I was like turn your front wheels down the hill, she did, now let off the brake (why she was sliding) and it all straighted out.   We walked on and I don't know HOW but as we crested the top of the hill (3/4 mile farther up than she got stuck) I heard a car and a beep beep on the horn  as she FLEW past us.   I have no freaking idea  how she got that car up that very slick road.

We wandered on, dogs on leash because people wouldn't be able to slow or stop and we managed to get some fun photos (I so love new snow).

At the top of the hill some neighbors have this light post (and old Christmas wreath) at their driveway.  I couldn't pass it up.  Epic's opinion is obvious if you look!   But then we got on top and I got this shot  with my phone and I have to say it was my favorite of the two of them (and boy were they tired from all the slipping and sliding).

Almost looks like it was in a studio doesn't it?

I didn't do the loop but came back down the quiet shorter loop and was amazed at the amount of turkey tracks across the road.  I was saying to myself that it looked like a major interstate crossing in a couple spots but so fun to see.  Imagine my surprise when about 20 of them ran across the road ahead of us!   I of course was wrestling dogs and leashes and trying to get out the camera.  Missed those and then boom - another 20 ran across and if you look close below you'll see 2 of the stragglers.    Not much farther from there I looked up in the trees and there were another oh 10-15 of them.    I knew we had wild turkeys but had no idea there were that  many hanging out.

Josie's boots and coat did great and looking at the oh 1/4" of leg that was showing after we got home was really glad I took the time to dress her.

It wasn't a fast slog  by any means - about 90 minutes to do 3 miles but boy lots of excitement.  HA!    Saturday I decided that the  two buddies would stay home.  I honestly was a bit worried how sore they might be with all the slipping around so off I went on my own (weird to be honest).   Same loop but decided to take the opportunity to try out the trekking poles.   New old  gear actually.   I have these for snowshoeing and they ride in the camper but never saw the light.   I hoped they'd be good for the slippery trudge and I have to say, they were.   I want to try using them more but needless to say, don't think I can manage that and a dog on leash.  First impression is that it takes a bit to get the  hang of them (watched Youtube first) but it did seem easier going up the hill using them and what I really noticed is that I wasn't as worried about watching where I was going (i.e. looking down the whole time) and really was able to spend more time gawking around.   Just gives you that extra stabilizing point for sure.   It did seem to help going up the hill as well.    It also helped going down the steep section and when I did slip a bit they did indeed save me wrenching my back to keep my balance.    Did have to lengthen them when I started down the hill and I also found the when I got on the flat and and was a bit more tired, just carried them and walked.     More testing to be done but  I sure see why trail hikers use them.

Oh and I dug out my gaiters as well.   My pants got so wet the day before and the moisture wicked UP (go figure) and made  for some cold legs that I was like - duh - use your gaiters (which I always use  for snow shoeing.   Much better.

Now I'll leave you with just a few more  frosty shots.   We had fog overnight and it left a crispy crust on top of the snowy stuff.   Will end with our neighbors Anatolian (one of 2 they have) who has to of course do his job and bark at us the entire length of his property (they have cattle so he is doing his job well).

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2021/1/lets-catch-up Sun, 10 Jan 2021 23:00:00 GMT
Happy (I hope) Holidays https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/12/happy-i-hope-holidays I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and I will say ours was quiet as it always is.   Generally speaking I think I'm more excited about the days getting longer and having an extra day off than I was about Christmas.   Alas once it was here I actually started feeling a bit more like I wanted to participate.  Sad but true.   

The week was uneventful (after the sick dogs incident of the week prior that was fine) and although the weather started out horrid (the wind was awful) I picked up the walking pace and got out every day after Monday.   The 3 mile loop down in  the subdivision below me was accomplished every day.    My walking buddies were up for it and both tried out their new booties....at least for part of the walk.   Both were less than impressed and I definitely got the feeling that given the choice between shoes and staying home they would pick the latter.

Josie's required additional velcro reinforcement to stay on and although she was a trooper about it she was quite crazy about how slippery they were on the snow.   Once down the hill farther it was melted enough we could take them off.   I need to work a bit more on  keeping them on and I think I'll rough up the silicone on the bottoms a bit with some  sandpaper.    I really like Epic's but he too thought they were a bit too much (and honestly until it gets really cold he doesn't need them).    They definitely will last longer than  the fleece but they DEFINITELY don't like them as well.

We had some darned cold frosty mornings though and at least one where I realized I needed to dig out the mittens to replace mu gloves.   Mind you  once I get walking by the time I'm headed home I'm usually sweating.   I saw this pine cone spike in the road and was fascinated that with all the traffic we have that it was still standing like that in the frozen mud.   

Two puzzles were completed over the course of the week but I have found that they are SO addicting that I do tend to spend too much time on them.  I REALLY loved the finish and the pieces (not typical interlocking) in the Cobble Hill one and the second one I didn't get a picture of (sorry) but went really fast with fewer and bigger pieces.

Can you tell I'm dreaming of camping season?

Christmas Day I was out watching YouTube Christmas videos (old classic cartoons, History channel videos on Christmas thru the decades and crafts).   Far Side (you can find her blog on my Other's Blogs link above) had shown a super cute fabric star she had gotten and I was like "I can make that" so off to YouTube  university I went.   Oh yes, another rabbit hole.   I did find a number of tutorials and made some up out of old dog collar strips I had precut (but am not making anymore).   Super fun and as with most, once you get the hang of it, it goes really fast.   I also found a number of other "no sew" type ornaments to do that I've not previously tried so off to yes, wait for it, Hobby Lobby on Boxing Day to get supplies.   Sadly the Christmas fabric was already gone - literally so I'll be using my creative juju and using non red and green for what I make.   Hey!  At least this way I'll be ahead of the game for next year.

Saturday after errands I got up the courage to try going straight up the hill behind my house for my walk.   It is super steep and many years ago (before the subdivision arrived) that was pretty much the way we walked.   It is my goal to be able to do that hill and the 3.5 mile loop without having to stop but maybe once.   Needless to say I had to stop and catch my breath probably 6+ times and it was slow going for this first go.  The 2 mile loop took about as long as the  same time as the 3 miler down below.    I have decided though that I much prefer that walk, up in the trees, without the traffic and all the freaking fence running barking dogs, to walking the subdivision.   Less noise, more calm, much prettier.  That's  incentive enough for me.   Even short legs (Josie) enjoyed it (less stressful for my walking partners too without all the insane dogs down below).  

As we rounded the loop we began to see TONS of turkey tracks.   I know we have wild turkeys around as they are sometimes  down as far as my house.   In addition to the usual deer, snowshoe hare and mousey tracks it was kinda cool to see these.  I thought we might see them about but no suck luck.

Well that pretty much does it for our week.  Looking forward to a lovely QUIET work week ahead (and only 4 days) and it looks like fairly mild weather too.   Going to do some more crafty stuff while I'm in the mood as well.   Oh and the dogs are all healthy again.  Got them all back on their raw food and things cleared right up.   I am always amazed when I can get them  back on all raw....honestly it costs 1.5 times more BUT I forget that the poop production is 90% less and doesn't smell and they generally seem to feel better.    Am hoping for the same transition when I get on my new nutrition program in January.    

Here's to better health and well, just generally a better year for everyone in 2021!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/12/happy-i-hope-holidays Sun, 27 Dec 2020 16:25:08 GMT
Counting Down to Christmas https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/12/counting-down-to-christmas And after this past week I can tell you all I am incredibly happy that I only have 4 days of work for the next two weeks!   Utter chaos I tell you.

We had snow early in the week (honestly I  don't remember what day) but it wasn't much...just enough to have to use the truck to go to town but that's okay, it needed the exercise.   It kind of made it pretty and clean outside again as well.  But it did require more "snow  gear" to get our walks in and it meant Josie  stayed home most all week.  I don't have any booties (or didn't) made for her right now but found a stash for Epic so boots, coat and away we went.   You can see how pretty the snow fell, with no wind - too bad the "no wind" situation didn't last - it's been blowing gale force for 2 days now.

Stick in mouth (and over the week we recovered about 3 others he's dropped before) and we were off.  His lovely coat is actually 20+ years old and belonged to my beloved wheaten terrier Tara back then.  Fits him perfectly and I love it as  it isn't over warm but fleece lined and the top is water repellent.    That day was actually really lovely to walk since not many folks had been out so it wasn't slick.   I did have to wear my spikes one day this week and it was a slog.  They make you walk differently so not the most comfy for longer walks - but oh so much better than falling on my butt!

Here are a few more new snow shots.  I love when we are one of the first ones out and get to see all the critter tracks.  Any thoughts on what they are from? I'm thinking birds and mousies.

Another of the sets of decorations that makes me smile.  Not only because well they are Mickey and Minnie but because each day it seems there is a variety of "inflations issues" so one day Minnie  was  all bent over like she was  picking something up, some  days  the snowman is melted, you just never know.

Yeah zoomed in with the phone so not the most clear by any means especially on a cloudy day.

My puzzle was finished early in the week and sadly with 2 missing pieces  (not my fault) but oh well.  Find that is very often the case with the 1000 piece ones.   I did find out that my table by itself is really not quite large enough for that many pieces.  Sure made the time go fast but also  caused a couple of late bed times.   Super fun to do though but definitely not one I could do without the box top.   Any puzzle purists out there that don't use the pictures off the lid?

We got warm weather mid week and the snow as of now is pretty much gone (will be by tomorrow with 50s predicted - that's  why we have wind).   I discovered though that Epic's fleece boots weren't doing so well as the snow was sticking on the bottoms - just as it would feet so he needed them.   Okay, time to consider buying some ready made booties.   He now has a pair of pure silicone ones (only thing I don't like is they aren't lined) that we have yet to try AND bonus found  some for Josie.  She has more trouble with snow feet and getting cold which is why she was home.  The little itty bitty blue ones there are silicone dipped socks that I think will work fabulous - assuming they stay on her feet.   Have some more ordered - a set for Oliver and another more snow type set for Epic.  The fleece ones I made also don't last long when we are walking every day so the new ones will be a bit more heavy duty.

 

Tuesday we trudged out again with the 4WD and Teddy went for an over due acupuncture appointment.  This was his third one and the Dr. and I were so thrilled with how well he did.  His first 2 he didn't really tolerate too well, just wouldn't settle this one went fabulous and seems to have done great for him.  He'll go back in January for another.  He just needs something to help him with his very old creaky bones and his hips.    He'll be 16 in a few months.

The week ended in not just work chaos but with no less than 6 dogs throwing up in my house!   I am convinced that I got a bad bag of kibble and it was awful.  Not only were they puking everywhere  but I was up 1/2 Friday night with Sterling as he wasn't throwing up but was really bad with upset tummy.   I'm  happy to report as of today (Sunday) things  seem to be back to normal - or as much  as it can be).   I already had the plans in the work to switch all of them back to raw food (delivery the Saturday after Christmas though) but with this new development I made a screaming run  to  Bozeman yesterday to get a week's worth of raw picked up to get us by.    To say I slept like a stone Saturday night after all that is an understatement.   I  needed some of THIS by the time it was done (a gift from my brother):

Looks like our walk to day is going to be blowy but happy to report we got our first 3 miler in on Friday!   Not sure if I'll suck  it up and go or wait till dusk and go when the wind lets up.  May just plop on the headlamp and go after dark.   Right now I'm off for some coffee and to hang up the first of a load of laundry.   Also hope to get the FitPaws obstacle  course set up in the dog  room - I know this nice weather isn't going to last forever and Josie and Oliver really could use some more brain work.  Mom just needs to get her butt  in gear and work with them!

Epic was less than thrilled carrying my ear muffs but he says to tell everyone to have HAPPY HOLIDAYS no matter what holidays you celebrate this time of year!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/12/counting-down-to-christmas Sun, 20 Dec 2020 17:48:22 GMT
Cold Again https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/12/cold-again Well we lost our nice warm days come Friday although I'm going to say this....it is still  really mild - in the low 30s during the day and that isn't bad.  We've lost some of our "sunny days" though so the Happy light is in full use right now!  

I really don't feel like I have a ton of interesting news really.  The week at work was a short one as I had one more day off I had to use before year end (not going to just  give it back to them).   It was wonderful to have Friday off I have to say!  My immediate boss has quite - taken another job which SUCKS for us, great for him.   I really liked him once we got our juju going but that only lasted a year.   Head down and keep doing my thing and make sure  I'm keeping MY stress under control.  That's all I can do.

I also took the initiative (with a recommendation from a trusted friend) to get some nutritional coaching next year.  So I did a consult with them, really liked what they said and I like even more that it is  totally geared towards healing your body and I liked the basis of their coaching program.  So we shall see.  I'm tired of being tired and feeling like my poor boday is fighting a war all the time.  Hey, I'll admit it, my eating habits have pretty much sucked all my life but I'm also not going to go to someone that thinks everyone is the same and whose program is based on "do this, do that" and everyone does the same thing.  That's called a diet and I know they don't work.   Wish me luck!

My walking continues and honestly I'm seeing some progress in that my 2.5 mile walk loop isn't ALWAYS  feeling like I'm slogging it which is good.  I'm going to miles not time simply because I have never been of the mode of faster is better, just want to enjoy it and I really do!    This popped up in the  decorations down in the subdivision and honestly it made my heart SO happy to see.  Sorry it is a bit blurry but the phone doesn't zoom that  great and I didn't want to go trotting up their driveway!   You may not be able to see but they have the scotties putting the lights on the tree.

My day off had a bonus in the arrival of a friend of mine who came into town to spend the night and do some crafting stuff (got her hooked on dotting rocks), dinner and then Saturday morning we loaded up and went to the lake to rock hound.   Both of us came back with a bag of paintable rocks even though we had to deal with digging beneath the snow to find them.     Yes the crazy poodle went with as did the the little adventurer (but she got cold feet pretty quickly and she is going to stay home now till we get her RECALL firmed up as her nose seems to come first, Mom's calling come is second!
 

Guess which shoes I was wearing?

It was actually much nicer out than it looked and the sun always makes it feel warmer than you think it is.  I was just glad the wind wasn't blowing!

Today I have a puzzle laid out to start as I'm needing a break from the rock painting (and have a bunch that need to be varnished).   Nice quiet afternoon with the fire going and everyone right now is konked out  for their afternoon nap!

HAVE A GREAT WEEK EVERYONE!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/12/cold-again Sun, 13 Dec 2020 20:54:36 GMT
First Week of December - already https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/12/first-week-of-december---already When they guy on the radio pointed out on Friday there are 3 weeks to Christmas I may have panicked a bit to be honest.   This coming week I MUST get the family gifts in the mail!  YIKES.

All in all though it was a rather quiet and very lovely week.  The weather has been wonderful although dry but the sun is out most days even for the very short time it is allowed!   The wood stove has been going as well, I'm just tired  of listening to the furnace run all night and honestly the heat from the stove is just a nicer heat.   Plus with it being in the 30s during the day it means  I can open some windows and get some fresh air in the house  as well (so the stove doesn't run us out).    

Our walks have been nice and I think I logged just over 11 miles for the week and did take today (Sunday) off as I needed all the daylight hours to groom some dirty hairy dogs finally.   We are getting into a groove I think, the days I do the 2.5 mile loop I take Epic, the days I do the 1.25 mile loop I take Josie (sprinkled in with Oliver when it is warm enough).   Sterling managed the "forced march" for 1.25 miles on time.  He so very much was all about it for oh 1/4 mile then he was so over  it.   

There was even a day or two that the sunshine was just too inviting and the dogs and I had to take a coffee break or two for some outside time.

My cleaning continues and I was thrilled to find a friend who knows a 5 year old little girl that is going to be gifted the big box of Barbie dolls and hand made clothes I had for them.  All mine back in the day.   I believe they are going as Christmas gifts and she took out every piece of clothing and ironed them.   This is just a sample.   Lots of memories in that box for me for sure!   I am just tickled pink that they are going to go to a little girl that will play with them as they should be after sitting in a box on a shelf for the last oh 40+ years.

Saturday night 2 close friends came over to finally do our tapas potluck night that I screwed up back on Halloween.   It was such a lovely evening  to catch up with friends.   I should have taken photos of the entire spread as it was pretty freaking magnificent but here are shots of some of what I cooked up.  I'm definitely doing the sweet potato rounds again (roasted with salt and a touch of maple syrup - but also going to try good honey).   YUM.   The dates stuff with goat cheese and a pecan were also yummy but those suckers were PRICEY so not going on a regular menu.   The Spanish style tomato bean  dip was also very good and the girls loved  it, me not  as much.   We all got a bundle of leftovers (food for today) which was an added bonus.  I knew we'd not be  short on food!

I also got an early gift for myself in the form of a new pair of slippers which arrived this week and I love them!  They have actual real soles (because I will end up outside).

I also got the sealer coat on the first set of painted rocks.  I'm really having fun doing them and it is very meditative and honestly, no pressure - because you know, they are ROCKS!    I think next weekend a trip to find more is going to be in order.

I also started a puzzle but I'll be honest, it was a cheap "combo puzzle" of 4 from TJ Max and the whole thing went into the trash.  The printing on it was so bad and the pieces were so bad that it wasn't going to be any fun to do.   So another one  is out to  work on when I'm ready....that is mucho better quality.    No more "deals", I'll spend some money on decent ones (altho in fairness we got some high quality ones a few years ago from Costco and I think all but one of them had at least one missing piece - also annoying).

So on to December week two.  A short work week for me as I have one more day of time off I have to use  before the  end of the year (and before the  entire rest of  the team is gone for the holidays).   Looking forward to seeing another friend of mine over the weekend and who knows what trouble we'll find.

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/12/first-week-of-december---already Mon, 07 Dec 2020 00:52:09 GMT
Thankful and More https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/11/thankful-and-more Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and found an abundance of things to be thankful for even with the current state of the world!   Me---well thankful for friends, family, dogs and hearth and home.   I was blessed to be able to go spend the afternoon with a long time friend in Bozeman  who I haven't seen in well over a year.   Her family had taken off on a camping and climbing adventure and she was home manning the farm.  Chores have to be taken care of as we all know.

I decided that I'd take off a bit early on the gray cold day and hope that the wind we were seeing at home wasn't going to persist for the entire trip.   I had a plan...I wanted to go back to a spot we found the previous weekend and pick up more rocks (with a bonus of a stash of new fetching sticks for Epic that will stock the truck).    I was thrilled that we got to the lake and although it was cold there was no wind.   Epic, Josie and Sterling were riding shotgun.   

What a difference a week makes in the scenery.

This poodle cannot for the life of him stay out of  water - no matter how cold.   I was NOT going to entertain the idea of swimming though so he waded around being whiny.

They were both sure there was stuff in the bag (it was rocks) they should check out!  

Josie meanwhile immediately was on the picnic table out of the truck!   Goofy girl.

We wandered around the campground and the lake edge trying to avoid some weird guy who was riding around the campground loops on his 4 wheeler.   Honestly he was giving me the creeps as it seemed like he was following us - so we headed closer to the lake to avoid him.   He persisted then had to make sure we knew that he'd seen a moose down there the past few mornings (with a comment that he had a photo  from 5 feet away - THAT I doubt).  I said we'd not seen any sign of moose and we headed back to the truck.

It was a glorious visit with my friend and we made it home just as it was turning dark.

Meanwhile I'm keeping up my walking.   Finally mapped out the distance on my local walks I do in the neighborhood.   As always some aren't as far as I'd thought BUT I also get the bonus of up and down hill for the entire walk.   Now I know.   Epic hasn't been thrilled at having to walk on leash but when we do the loops he has to and right now, with construction on a house going on down the road from us we have to watch out the the builders who drive like maniacs and do not pay attention as they should - or slow down.    We did have one morning where there was a snow something so there was a few pellets left on some of our cactus (we gotta watch out for those when we cut through the back). 

Started a meditative painting project with those rocks I collected.   I am going to contribute to the happy rocks that people do and just place "around".  I want to do some for camping next year and wouldn't you know it when I went to the bank the other day, there was a penguin painted on a rock sitting on one of the driveup posts!  Made me smile.  My understanding is you are welcome to take the rocks (and I think campground kids would love that) if it makes you happy and then when you are done, place it for someone else to pick it up.   I'm practicing dot painting on them right now and will work towards doing some dot mandalas in the future but for now they are pretty basic and great practice!  I'll share when I get some more done.

For now though, I am trying out Sue's Eggnog Pumpkin pie (in the oven and smelling yummy), going to watch some TV and oh - I forgot - what I saw in the photo in the previous post - a triceratops skull!  

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/11/thankful-and-more Mon, 30 Nov 2020 01:15:00 GMT
Weekend "GetAway" https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/11/weekend-getaway Well we didn't get away very far but honestly, the weather was supposed to be fairly decent and I was really feeling the desire to go get out in nature so my Adventure Buddy came  in and we took 4 of the dogs and headed out to walk somewhere.   Colors on (it is still hunting season) we went down to one of our favorite spots at the lake to walk.   It was really lovely and I even hauled the big heavy camera along and we walked for a couple hours!   So here's some photos to share with you.  Next time we will likely leave Sterling  home (this really is NOT his thing) and Oliver only goes if we have shoes for him (his poor naked paws got pretty cold even though his coat was keeping  him warm).    Oliver really isn't that impressed with the "hiking  adventure" stuff either though to be honest.

Epic's auntie found his this really cool stick.  I think it was about stick #17 as he kept leaving them places but the sentiment is still a bonus!

The required group photo - for which they actually cooperated more than usual!

Their auntie even obliged us with a photo (and the "outtake")!

These two had their noses in SOMEthing gross I am sure.

This photo was our "what do you see"?   shot.  Leave your visions in the comments!

After our long walk we went looking for a place to have lunch (picnic) out of the cold wind which we walked into the whole  way back to the truck.   Our first choice had some guy sitting there with his rifle and binoculars looking for deer.  On to one of the campgrounds where hunting isn't allowed and we found a lovely spot to have lunch and wander around a bit more before heading  home.

Let's be clear it is the END OF NOVEMBER but this dog cannot stay out of the water.   He was so upset (whiney) that we wouldn't throw sticks in the water for him to swim but it freaking is too cold.    Notice the other adventurer off to the right?

It was a lovely time to be sure and back early enough (remember it is getting dark by 5 now) for my Adventure Buddy to get her in town errands run.    A nice de-stressing walk (and visit) to be sure!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/11/weekend-getaway Thu, 26 Nov 2020 01:45:00 GMT
Quick Week In Review https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/11/quick-week-in-review It was a pretty non-eventful week here and ya know, that's just okay.   Work and rest and well, rinse and repeat pretty much.

I was able to get out and walk every day although a couple days it required getting out as early as we could to try to avoid the mud.   At least with the snowy roads I can put on my micro spikes and walk, mud not so much and some of that stuff is slippery!

The  lower you are to the ground the more you collect as is apparent by Josie's harness.   White feet don't help either.   It has been dry most all week so things are drying up quickly and I did manage to do the short loop (rather than my out and back) mid-week.   We left with sunshine  and then returned headed to the clouds of doom - but alas they went around as often they do.

Friday things at work were pretty quiet so I took my lunch hour and got all cocky and  decided to do the long loop (about 3 miles).    While my partners seemed to do just fine it took the stuffing out of me.  My hope is though that I can at least get that in once a  week in my hope to build back my poor beaten, lazy, fat body.   It was pretty nice though to be out enjoying the sunshine.

My partners are the lucky ones as they didn't have to go back to work when we got home - instead both konked out and took naps!

Meanwhile I have started some more cleaning in the spare room.  I have a couple totes of stuff in there that I've not sorted through in years.   In it I  found a stash of cloth handkerchiefs (remember those?).  Some were my grandmothers, some from my Mom and I think a couple I had.  Anyhow, I had seen a Sewing with Nancy show not long ago where they took those (or  doilies) and made table runners with them, so I'm playing with them to see how to get them laid out to do that - then guess I'll dust off the sewing machine.   So many projects and trying to get my ambition back!

IMG_3077.JPGIMG_3077.JPG

Really that pretty much shoots it for the week.   Looking forward to a very short work week next week and extra days to just enjoy being off for Thanksgiving. As usual - no plans for that but honestly, that's fine too.

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/11/quick-week-in-review Sun, 22 Nov 2020 01:25:36 GMT
Firewood, Snow, Mud, Walks, The Week That Was https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/11/firewood-snow-mud-walks-the-week-that-was Am feeling a little more human every day so this week I did get some things done.  Not as much as I want but I've decided that I'm going to honor what my body is telling me and if it says to rest I will.    Still dogs want to be fed and house needs to be picked up and well, work (yuck).   Priority now is to destress and yes, ye ol blood pressure cuff came and NO I do not have consistently high blood pressure which the PA was all over when I went in to the doctor 2 weeks ago (duh  I was in pain, freaked out about having been in the ER anda).   So good news on that front.  My week this week will be work with  my holistic folks on getting back on track.    Since I heard ZIP from the doctors office on any of all the tests they took (yeah I'm less than impressed).  Enough complaining.

I got a lovely box of parrot toy parts and started on some new hanging toys for Iago after depositing the last of her purchased toys in her cage a few weeks ago.   

Then since it got cold (yup we ran the wood stove all week)  I also decided it was time to fix the holes in my beloved slippers.   It isn't my best work but it is strong and that is what was needed.  No more toes poking out the front.

The wood deliver was all split and stacked.   I did it in spurts which is how I always manage it.  I go out and do a few hours then come go back out when I feel like it.   There were some seriously hefty pieces that I actually split into 6 or 8 stove size parts.   

It was also a good chance to let the dogs out to play in the snow.  Epic was so absolutely thrilled with the snow last weekend.    He does the same thing with balls and sticks in the snow he does in the grass and keeps himself occupied for a long time.   Sterling was out for a bit but his goal outside anymore is just to ingest as much wildlife poop as possible so his time out is limited. 

Josie was out 2 different days and in trouble both times for running off and not coming when called.   That girl is a mighty hunter and she gets on rabbit trails or deer trails and doesn't pay attention to where she is.   Here she  was wabbit hunting as we have a cottontail living behind the stuff up against the wall and she KNEW it was/had been in there!

There were some really cool colors in some of the split wood - in fact I think this was almost  the last log I split.   Amazing and boy does it ever smell piney now in the carport. 

Part of my new improved (I'm over being tired and sick) is to get my butt back out to walk.  Every day.  Right now just down the road and back but I generally feel so much better after that I gotta go.   Josie and Epic are normally my walking buddies but Sterling went one day.  He always WANTS to go but then by the time we are 1/3 of the way done he is over it.    The ones on leash are the ones that don't want to come when called.

I think Oliver should have been named "sun spot".  He's apparently going to be my replacement sun worshiper (Elliott was all about that).    Kinda keeping an eye on him though as I was sitting in my chair one night and he was out on the floor walking around in a circle, not like on purpose, and when I called him to me he couldn't come straight to me.   I see him with weird quivers in his legs quite often but that was new so I'm a bit concerned.    

The past 2 days we've had horrendous winds so we have been waiting to walk till sunset to go (as the wind usually dies down then).   The light was sure pretty.    See Epic with his stick?   

Really long shadows for like 4:30!   Boooooo.

Almost home!   This really didn't capture the pretty colors in the sky but hey I got a dog!

That pretty much shoots it for the week past.   Oh and Far Side gets a honorable mention - I bing watched Queens Gambit  on Netflix - I don't know chess either but it was pretty darned good.   Thanks everyone for the well wishes and well, I'm getting well-er (I know not a word).   

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/11/firewood-snow-mud-walks-the-week-that-was Sun, 15 Nov 2020 22:44:53 GMT
That 2 Weeks Flew By https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/11/that-2-weeks-flew-by ...and here we are in November already.    Yes we survived that snow storm and I am very happy to report my truck is back in the garage where it should be and I am NOT shoveling that stupid driveway again!  To Far Side, you know I've thought about one of those shovels and may just have to consider it.  In fact I think it was one of your blogs that put me on to those!

To my friend who sent me her super secret (haha) recipe for a new version of pumpkin pie - haven't tried it yet but I have the stuff for it!  YUM - maybe for Thanksgiving.

Thought I'd share with you a very pink sunset we had after the last big snow two weeks ago, as the rain/snow starts here again tonight.    We had freaking GLORIOUS weather the last 2 weeks - warm lovely dry weather.   Looks like by the weather man though we are done with that business.   Looks much more like normal November for the next week or so.   Oh well...can't control the weather, just roll with it.

I had all intentions of writing last week but ended up sick and just really haven't done much until the last few days when I was finally feeling human again.   It has been quite the experience going to the doctor during this covid business (as Far Side and Far Guy can attest).   Still waiting for test results but the general thinking is gall bladder nonsense.  Something I had about 9 years ago after a prolonged period of stress.  YUP there is connection.   While waiting for them to figure that out, I am working  on some diet changes for one and will as I did last time look back to Bezt and acupuncture and my chiro to get past it (I  hope).   Luckily my PA I saw said that they no longer jump right to surgery to deal with it (which I wouldn't do last time either).   We shall see, maybe it is something else.   She also said she can't prove or deny that I didn't have some serious viral something or that it isn't something totally different.   In the "rule stuff out" stage I  guess.  Nuff of that crap.

Meanwhile my wood was delivered and I've felt at least human enough to get out there and start splitting and stacking it.   It is good mindless physical stuff that oddly enough, makes things feel better.  I just don't over do it.    It is also another stress reliever to have it here  and don't have to worry about that (and we'll be firing that up tomorrow).

I got the spare room cleaned up and look at this cactus - which has been the most amazing one I've every had.  It'll generally bloom off and on now thru spring.

Oh and remember by Hobby Lobby walk about?   I could NOT resist this guy who now watches over me while I work.  He's kinda rolling his eyes too which is what I do a LOT while working.

 The poodles (and the two baby brats) spent some good outside time today while I split wood this morning till Josie decided that the neighbor's shed was too interesting to pass up.  Then it was down to the poodles and me.    They look like I feel a lot here.

Amazing what sunshine does for our souls!    

I have even managed to dig back out my dulcimers.   I decided first to get back to trying some work with my mountain dulcimers  -  I have a book that teaches how to play chords with fingers but honestly, I just seem to drop back to my drone.   At least for now.   The hammered dulcimer is also back out/up and I really hope this winter to get back to that and STICK WITH IT!   I am so out of practice with all of these and we just need more music in our house!

We shall see.  My "stick with-it-edness" has been just plain CRAP for the past few years.  I honestly am not at all sure  why either.  Something I guess I need to figure out so I can work out why.   I'm gonna say lazy, focus, scatter.....don't know.    Hoping that the cozy of winter will help me get out of that mode.    

Hope you all are well, loving getting comments and hearing from friends as always!   Now I'm gonna drop this puppy and go catch up with my blogging friends while I pretend it isn't snowing out!  HA!

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/11/that-2-weeks-flew-by Sun, 08 Nov 2020 00:56:02 GMT
Shovel Break https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/10/shovel-break Yup because as I said earlier this year - Mother Nature is just pissed off with us!    That little skiff we had last week - was nothing!   

I took a long weekend from work this weekend and even though the weatherman kept saying we were to get snow Wednesday, it came and went - nothing, then Thursday came and went - nothing.   Yeah it was just building up power apparently.   Luckily I got to town for a short shopping trip (yup got that Hobby Lobby wander around done) Friday early.   Friday late afternoon it started and it snowed and snowed and snowed.   By the time it let up Saturday the wind picked up and we had 2 feet of it.  ICK!   See the wind blowing it over the house?

Now normally that wouldn't bother me much, I had my wood in for the stove and I really didn't have to go anywhere but with my only vehicle being the very low to the ground Scion I knew I would be shoveling - a LOT!    Normally I'd just fire up the  truck and drive up and down the driveway and know I had it to get around.   Nope, still at the shop (yes I'll be calling them on Monday to see if they are getting on the repairs!).

Saturday I got out twice and shoveled - with "help" of  course!    Epic was beyond thrilled!  He loves this crap I'm telling you.    I have 3 actually that love to go out and help shovel - or rather make me stop and say "you guys are nuts".  I knew I really needed to at least get a path to the wood pile shoveled.

Needless to say there were puddles of snow all over the house when we went in!

Sunday dawned sunny but not warm.   I decided though I really needed to get started on the driveway.   No way the car would be able to get up and down it even if it melts some.   I am writing this during my coffee break!

I neighbor has plowed on the road which is lovely but that just means more for me to shovel out at the bottom.  Oh well, I'm off work yet tomorrow so will likely finish up then.   It's just going to get more heavy as it melts.   I will cancel my chiro for Monday I think but I have to be able to get to town on Wednesday.  

To think 2 weeks ago I was saying good bye to my brother after we spent almost every evening hanging out on the front  deck!  What a difference 2 weeks makes huh?!

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/10/shovel-break Sun, 25 Oct 2020 21:20:44 GMT
Weird Few Weeks https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/10/weird-few-weeks But I will say generally things seem to finally be looking up compared to the previous weeks.   That said, I am excluding THIS!

Yeah it sucks and even more so the predictions for below 0F coming in the next few days.  BOOOOOO!   We normally have a cold snap and snow on Halloween but this is 2 weeks early!   What the heck.   Regardless the fire fighters will be glad to see it and well, we need the moisture.  I'm just not quite ready to hunker in yet although I sure have more than enough inside stuff to keep me occupied for a long long time!   I did this week get the rest of the agility equipment put away and tarps on the remainder of the patio furniture.  Not sure how the pergola roof will hold up but time will tell.  My only remaining prep is to get the battery out of the riding mower and brought inside.

Since the weather SUCKED last weekend I knocked off the dog grooming from the list.  They weren't thrilled but I can tell by how they are acting they feel a TON better.   They were just filthy!    Poodles now look like poodles, cresteds look like cresteds and well naked Oliver, looks the same clean or not.

Even in ordinary iphone photos they look better!  haha    

Good news on my truck although I think it'll probably be Thanksgiving before I get it back.   So this girl is hoping for little to no snow till that happens.  

Work is still a bit crazy but I'm taking a few extra days off (so I don't lose them) which I hope will help my attitude. 

I'm happy to report at least 2 of my old facebook friends have found me back and made contact.  Luv you guys! 

Oh and thanks for the comments on the sourdough post.  Lori, I've copied off the Turkish bread recipe and am going to try it as yup, my starter went bad so before starting more will give that a go.   First though I have a date set for a tapas potluck with a few of my friends on Halloween so I've got some recipes to work up for that.  Kinda excited and am taking a cue to step outside my comfort zone as one friend is a vegetarian so need to lean that way.   Will let ya'll know what I do and what turns out!  

Meanwhile my whole TWO Halloween decorations went up a few weeks back - you remember the skeleton and dog from last year?  Well I'm not ordering anything delivered by UPS till this goes down but I absolutely love the idea my brother had to get a kids UPS costume.  Next year I'm going to cut a hole in the pants and put the fabric in dog mouth.   My UPS guy is a bit "uptight" so am sure he won't see the humor but it makes me laugh.  It also makes me double take as I look out the window and keep thinking I see more than just a skeleton.   The little kids costume fit PERFECTLY!   Yes I'm a sick woman.

I really don't have anything else exciting to report.   Looking forward to a long weekend, have plans for some errands in town (the mouse traps have been depleted) and I'm feeling the need for a Hobby Lobby look around (and I need to get cord to fix one of my dining room shades).   I've dug out my music and my dulcimers and am starting AGAIN with my Mountain Dulcimer Field Guide in an attempt to learn to finger chord.   Haven't gotten on the hammered dulcimer to tune it up yet but it is up on its stand where it stares at me asking for exercise.    With company coming over next weekend I also have some house cleaning to do and Iago is totally on my list for a clean.  That will be around bringing in wood for the stove since it's gonna get cold enough to fire  it up.   

It's gonna be a LONG WINTER!

 

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/10/weird-few-weeks Fri, 23 Oct 2020 00:23:36 GMT
Sour-Puss https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/10/sour-puss I am probably dating myself  saying that.  Anyone else remember that term or used it?

On the topic of "sour" this past Spring I decided to try my hand at sourdough.   Something I'd never done before.   Off to the internet I went looking for recipes for starter.  What a rabbit hole that was!   Not only that but finding yeast or even flour during the hording  that was happening was all but impossible.   I tried a number of recipes but finally landed on a starter recipe I thought made sense.   I tried a few with yeast but just didn't have luck with them and it didn't make sense to me that "back in the day" that they would use yeast.   I landed on a recipe that didn't use yeast and that actually did what it was supposed to.   I was true to the recipe for the first few goes at it but now  go more by the look and feel of it.   Here's what I started with and yes it is by weights and takes a week to get your usable  starter.   It doesn't make much (but bread doesn't need much).

 

STARTER

Each day your discard 1/2 before feeding (but wait keep reading!)

Days 1-3

25 grams whole wheat flour

25 grams all purpose flour

50 grams warm (not hot) water

Mix in a jar, keep in a warm spot (more on that in a bit).    It will be a bit lumpy - if it is smooth you've got too much water)

Days 4-5  (this is also the general amounts for feeding from this point on)

50 grams all purpose flour (this is about 5 tablespoons - I got tired of weighing)

50 grams warm water (this is a scant 4 tablespoons)

What did I learn?

  • My house isn't always warm enough to get a good ferment on.   I leave it on the stove (where I have the tea kettle that I use to make coffee) and when it is colder I'll run the microwave EMPTY for about a minute and then sit it in (this works really well at night)
  • You don't HAVE to feed this thing every day but you DO have to do it every other day unless you want to stretch that time longer which  you can do every 3-4 days (after the initial  week) in the fridge but let it come to room temp before feeding.
  • I no longer measure the water but go by the look of it when I feed.   Little lumpy but the flour has to be absorbed.
  • If it isn't "cooking" like I think it should - replace part of the all purpose flour with whole wheat - that whole wheat flour has the "good stuff" in it to ferment.
  • I don't always use the full 5/4 tablespoons feeding, it depends on how much  I've tossed out/used as I don't want it fermenting over the top.

I have had success doing bread but am still working on it as I really want it to be less dense than I am getting,  I have a current recipe that is a 2 day bread, I bake it on my very old Pampered Chef baking stone and to get the crust I flip my big metal mixing bowl over it for the first 1/2 of the baking time.   But I digress and if I ever get one I like I'll share.

What I DO want to share is an amazing recipe a friend shared with me for Crumpets.   This is my go to for not having to toss out so much starter all the time.   Bonus - they are YUMMY, easy and don't need added flour and I can/do make 1/2  for just me (P.S. they are a great breakfast for camping  too).

Crumpets (you'll need to have some english muffin  rings or similar to make these) - the pictures below are my 1/2 recipe but the list of ingredients is for 4+ crumpets.   If you use the starter recipe above though a full recipe of this will take virtually all the starter - so reduce the discards so you have enough to refeed.

1 cup starter

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon (I don't use that much) salt

3/8 teaspoon baking soda

Mix up the ingredients (and let them puff up) before you heat up your pan.  See how the 1/2 cup starter puffed up below?

My tip is to cook these in your  cast iron pan but it works equally well in a non-stick pan.   

3-4 minutes on side one

2-3 minutes on side two

Pre-heat your pan (med high) with a little bit of oil and butter (you don't need much or they will be greasy).   The butter is more for flavor but isn't required either.  

Butter or spray your muffin rings before you put  them in the pan, drop them in then fill them.  Now my rings aren't super tall so to keep it from cooking over the top I do 3 for my 1/2 recipe.  Play with it and see how it works.

I cook mine on medium high but you gotta watch em (too low of heat and they won't rise and cook in the middle).   Remove the rings before flipping them over - again 3-4 minutes on side 1, 2-3 on side two depending on your stove (my propane in the camper is way hotter so I have to adjust).  You'll see them start to bubble much like pancakes as they cook.   I also found using two forks or a fork and knife is easiest to get the rings off.

You'll want them a little darker than the above on side one.  These ended up a big doughy in the middle.

Don't forget to get those utensils in the sink in water, sourdough is also known as CONCRETE if it dries!  LOL

I like mine with butter and syrup but ALSO love them with peanut butter.   They don't really split like English  muffins but you CAN use  them in that manner.  Honey butter would be yummy and some savory options might also be good.

That's  my share for you all, now that I'm off Facebook I hope it will get my butt back to blogging more (even if it is boring).   Good to have goals!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/10/sour-puss Fri, 16 Oct 2020 17:30:00 GMT
Chilly Chores https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/10/chilly-chores Those of you that live "north" understand the long list of  "getting  ready for winter" chores.   Mine have been rolling along with the packing up of the patio furniture (still to be tarped) and gradually the moving of items on the front deck (swing, dog beds, rugs) but with the exception of the grill which I'm not ready or willing to give up at this point (and it may just stay out the winter we will see).   I've  moved the liquids and lithium batteries from the garage to the spare bedroom as well.   I still have to get the stuff out of the trailer that will freeze but it will get done this week as well, there was a sneaky little snowflake on the weather report!  But look in the photo, there is snowing in the mountains already!

The tree has lost its leaves but the crazy caragana are hanging on for dear life.   Yup still have some agility stuff to also put up and get under cover.   I filled the feeder in the front tree this week and have had a bunch of migrating blue jays (we don't have them here normally) feasting on it as well as the chickadees.  I think the families of nuthatches, flickers and woodpeckers are still gathering natural seeds and nuts for their winter stores.

But we did have some fabulous sunsets a week ago -- before the 3 days of "wind events"!

The other ongoing fall chore actually started almost a month ago with the start of the traplines for the mice that have decided it is getting too cold outside.   Bait and switch has happened because I did find  that some of the little suckers were able to lick the peanut  butter off the  trap without setting  it off.   I guess I gotta up my game but I am so glad I've figured out the box trick and don't have to see any "remains".   Cut small hole inbox, hinge the lid with tape, set the trap in box in the back and close lid with weight on top (so nosey dogs don't get in them).   Lift box, shake and if the trap snaps, no mouse, else to the trash can we go to dump it all out.   That said, I  do need to get more traps....Ace Hardware here I come!   (you can see the corner of one of my trap-line below).

Never to be outdone the "quiet one" of the dogs decided that those food bins were really well, tempting and when I heard this kind of knocking out  in the utility room (thinking  it was the mousies) I discovered it was Louie out there  flipping the latches on the dog food and bird food bins that are on the floor.   So, Mom had to get clever and turn those puppies around (note the one above is  the  right direction).   Little stinker!

Yeah, don't think these are innocent either, I've just not caught them coming up with crazy ideas yet!

They are already bored but until Mom is done with the outside  preps (and in a few weeks splitting firewood) they need to get over it.

Did I mention my marvelous brother helped me clean out the gutters a few  weeks  ago?  He did but  I'm thinking the 3 day "wind event" probably just filled them up again.   I love my pine tree  but  honestly  I am kind of considering having it taken down now that the ones over on the other side of the fence are big enough to shade the house.   It doesn't help the hawk netting either!

One more thing on a long list of "to dos" don't ya know.   Honestly though it will require having someone come do it professionally as it is that big and it is really too close to the house as far as fire goes as well.

So how are all your "Fall into Winter" chores going?   

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/10/chilly-chores Tue, 13 Oct 2020 23:17:30 GMT
Rough Week and Facebook is GONE https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/10/rough-week-and-facebook-is-gone What a poopy week, even though the weather has been lovely and my wonderful brother has helped me knock off a number of projects, it still ended with a BOMB!

So let's review the GOOD stuff.

A friend of mine has moved and had fencing that she offered to me that is like what I have in my front yard.   I decided that would look mucho better than the expen and gate I had where the back bird netting ended (to keep dogs under the net).    It also has a much nicer wider gate so getting laundry to the clothesline is considerably easier as well.   

Then we took some of the extra panels and again, replaced my temporary (but working) fencing around the poop bucket and the windmill area as I have a couple of puppies that still think throwing the wood chips out is acceptable!

Still have a boatload of "fall cleaning up" to do out back and front but am taking a long weekend in a few weeks to hopefully wrap that all up.   Brother though also helped me get the tarp on the trailer for the winter as well.

The other project we've been working on was an "improved" (after 26 years) entrance to the crawl space.   It turned out really nice and is finished!  Yeah the horrible plywood is so warpy that I am using two stones to just hold the door in front tight.   Extra airspace and a cleaned out "hole" definitely will be better.

Work has been spectacularily AWFUL with stress so of course then more stress with life things.   My truck is in the shop with very expensive repairs needed and a friend is fighting brain cancer.   Then the inevitable that my brother is heading home in a few days as well, all which must make me stressed and sad (and I'm not good at that). 

I did also receive finally, the new crate I ordered months ago for the truck (which now doesn't really matter).  It is pretty gorgeous though.


Now for the last bit....yup, I am dumping Facebook.   After discovering a number of friends were systematically "restricted" from posting (my friends are NOT that controversial) under the new "terms and restrictions" I actually went and read the updates and when I did I was like "nope - I'm out" - I don't want to participate on a platform that, after all the privacy breaches and oh how everything posted there belongs to FB not to you, all now has decided to censor things my friends would post (yet you all know the trolls and groups out there that really ARE harmful) and what I can see from them I am going back to blogging and email/text with friends.  We'll see I guess how many friends figure out or care to get in touch when it isn't just the ability to scroll and hit a like button.  Oh well, probably good riddance in the end......if you are a friend that made it here but wants my email contact, put a comment below and I'll get it to you privately.

Now for a more relaxing end.....

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/10/rough-week-and-facebook-is-gone Sat, 10 Oct 2020 17:30:00 GMT
Fall Splendor https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/10/fall-splendor My last trip for the year with my brother was great fun (I am so going to miss him).  We took off to do a bit more campground recon and just see some Fall colors.   We got both done and were home in time to feed my hooligans (and he treated me to steak he BBQd for dinner as well).  Win Win.   This trip only included poodle 4 legs and Epic as you'll tell from the photos was THRILLED to get wet yet again.    Probably some of the last water he'll see this year as it frankly is getting colder by the day.

First stop was at York's Islands a small fishing access site on the Missouri River.  The University of Montana tells us:

"The islands were first named by the Corps of Discovery and noted in Clark’s drawn maps of the Missouri. The islands were named for Clark’s slave, York, who accompanied the Crops of Discovery. Although the name “Yorks 8 Islands” appears on Clark’s 1805 map, the name was not officially recognized for 195 years until the U.S. Board on Geographic Names approved “Yorks Islands” in 2000."

It is a lovely spot but only about 2 spots to put the trailers AND the place is crawling with cockleburs.  NOT conducive to poodle hair at all!

I am really starting to see the slow down with Sterling.  He's 10 1/2 now and although he never has been a huge fan of long walks or hikes, he does still like to "go".

Yhis made me laugh, brother had spied a frog (which Epic scared off before I got there) and Sterling looking at who knows what.  Opposites?

We rattled the Scion over the 15 miles of construction on the highway and down to Three Forks (named for the confluence of the 3 rivers that are the headwaters for the Missouri River - those rivers are the Gallatin, Jefferson and Madison).   There is also a small state park campground there.  VERY tiny but we did find a few spots that we'd like to try out.   We then drove up the road to the picnic area and had a little lunch!  "My boys" after lunch.

We took a quick trip over to the Lewis and Clark Caverns (not open right now thanks stupid covid) and checked out that campground as well.  It was "okay" but won't be on our list of places to stay simply because if we want to tour the caverns it is only a short drive from home down and back.   On the way home one last potty stop at the poodles favorite walking spot for a short potty and a few snapshots.

The photo below was a surprise how the colors worked out when I pulled it off the camera.   So even tho my composition isn't fabulous I had to share.

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/10/fall-splendor Thu, 08 Oct 2020 02:45:00 GMT
Bye Bye September https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/10/bye-bye-september Actually what a MONTH (or is that what a YEAR?).    I can say I am not sad to see September gone.  With the exception of vacation, work has been horrid, stuff at home has sucked and I am starting now to feel the pressure to get things buttoned up for winter.  My tree out front is really dropping leaves and while it is warm I'm trying to get trees watered really well before it freezes.  Did my last lawn mow (except maybe for one more to pick up leaved) of the season this week.

It was a busy end to the month.....my truck has a mechanical issue (my brother my hero says it appears there was a short somewhere in the DEF system).  I'm learning more about diesels than ever, and wish I'd probably learned some of it in the past year.  Go figure.   Things like I have two batteries, the DEF system is a piece of &%# (even the dealer mechanic said, after it is out of warranty to get rid of that part if I can) emissions stuff, there are 2 fuel filters and oh duh, diesel doesn't "burn" like gas so I have no spark plugs.   Anyhoooo am now praying to the warranty gods that this is covered.

I did get my outside faucets fixed this week.  The plumber did great and I don't have THAT to worry about this winter.  I knew when I turned them on this spring they'd need to be fixed so check!   Bonus was that when he was in the crawl space he also got me back the sledge hammer and pry bar that had fallen in there when we replaced the kitchen floor!

No more work yet  on my crawl space door project, that is high on the agenda for this coming week but the digging and blocks are done.  Need to paint boards and get them installed.

Yesterday we got the trailer water system winterized.  Since the truck is dead, no point thinking I'll be camping any time  now.    Kent will help me cover it this week and then I'll need to empty out the stuff inside that comes in the house for winter.   Always kinda sad when I have to do that, like an official end to summer.  

We did a small fencing project as well.   I had a friend who had a bunch of the lovely 3' sections of aluminum fence (like I have out front.   We now have a prettier end to the yard where the bird netting covers.   Also blocked off and boxed in the poop bucket and for now the windmill (since a certain terrier likes to go fling all the wood chips out of it).

I also started learning how to fly a drone.  No it isn't a big goal but Kent had a cheapo one we'd played with a few years ago and he offered it up so I could see if I could even do it.  One nice thing - you don't think about work stuff when doing it as your focus has  to be on flying!   It does however totally piss off Oliver and in its first flight, he grabbed it mid air and ran off.    It flies a bit more crooked now and he still HATES IT!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/10/bye-bye-september Sun, 04 Oct 2020 15:28:32 GMT
Canyon Ferry Road Trip https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/10/canyon-ferry-road-trip About a week ago my brother (who is here visiting) and I decided to go see what kind of camping opportunities there might be closer to my house.   We decided to do the big loop around Canyon Ferry Reservoir and we actually were pleasantly surprised.   Took lots of notes on sites that would work for us and a few photos and also just enjoyed the drive.  Took 1/2 the hooligans with us and they too enjoyed the trip.  So here are some phone photos (sorry the good camera didn't make it in the car) from that lovely Fall drive!

This is York Bridge on the Missouri River.

York Bridge on the Missouri River

 

An old abandoned farm/ranch on the "backside" of Canyon Ferry Reservoir.   If you look close to the right you can see snow on the top of the mountains.

This old cellar was the tumbleweed collector.

This is down where we had a snack break.   It was quiet and not windy so we had a great place for a pause.

We couldn't be THIS close to the water and not let the dogs enjoy the beach!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/10/canyon-ferry-road-trip Sun, 04 Oct 2020 15:13:31 GMT
Camping Surprise! https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/9/camping-surprise Now I have to tell you a tale of 2 years ago...when my brother and I hauled trailers up to the NW corner of the state.    We camped in the same campground we did this year and were lucky enough to get some great star photos while there.  One of the things I said to him while there is how this area of the state was known to have the elusive Pileated Woodpecker (the largest) and that I'd love to get to see one.   To no avail I waited and then had him come over from his site to say that late one night he was out by his trailer and saw one.   I was like "sure you did".   haha

So this year I again hoped to see one since he had already (but he had no proof - see how I am).   No really I believed him but was disappointed to miss it.   Well it paid off, we were sitting around camp listening to the birds, ducks, bees and heard this weird sound.  Looked up and there it was.   It mucked around and even had a buddy with a couple days later.  So even though the background isn't "perfect" (they are pretty flighty) I got proof and am so thrilled!   Hopped on a bush with berries on it between our two sites!   So fun to see and now identify by their call (which they use a ton).

These birds range from 16-19" which is pretty big considering and yes is the largest woodpecker in the US.

If that wasn't enough (altho I have no proof other than my brother) we also sat and watched a king fisher perched on one of the dock lights fishing the lake one evening.  We heard him another day but never did see him again.   Ahhh my birdwatching was a complete success!

Logan State ParkLogan State Park Logan State ParkLogan State Park Logan State ParkLogan State Park

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/9/camping-surprise Wed, 30 Sep 2020 19:00:00 GMT
Camping Stop #2 https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/9/camping-stop-2 We agreed we didn't want to do the 6 hour slog back home all in one day so decided to "try out" another state park along the way.  Made reservations and took a shot.  Well it was "okay" but I think we decided if we stay again, we go for the "higher up the hill" spot reservations not where we were.  It was super tight and not one site in the entire campground was even close to level (for you campers out there think at least 2-4 blocks).   We also discovered that the great majority of the sites were way shorter than was listed on the reservation site.  NOT COOL!    Don't know that Placid Lake will be a planned stop again if we can avoid it.   Now the area is nice and the scenery was lovely but....

With all that the hope was to put the boats in the water the one day we were there.  The weather had other ideas and with the drizzling rain off and on we turned our sights to exploring in the truck instead.  Boy did we!  We got WAYYY up in the mountains in search of lakes (Lolo National Forest gets our vote for best signage - L&C national forest could take some pointers).    We found a campground we DO want to stay at (sadly not reservable though) and a couple boondocking spots for our list as well - that reminds me I need to get those noted in my camping notebook.

So here are some photos from our explore - most were from the phone so don't judge and yes, rainy and smokey!   PS I have one more "surprise post" for you next.

Hidden LakeHidden Lake towards Jocko Lakestowards Jocko Lakes towards Jocko Lakestowards Jocko Lakes towards Jocko Lakestowards Jocko Lakes Hidden LakeHidden Lake Lower Jocko LakeLower Jocko Lake towards Jocko Lakestowards Jocko Lakes towards Jocko Lakestowards Jocko Lakes Hidden lakeHidden lake Hidden LakeHidden Lake Hidden LakeHidden Lake Hidden LakeHidden Lake

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/9/camping-stop-2 Mon, 28 Sep 2020 06:45:00 GMT
More Camping Exploration https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/9/more-camping-exploration See that is the beauty of staying in one spot for a bit (and this is our second time up here).   There are almost always new places to explore (knowing WE like to do a lot of off the beaten path/backroad stuff).   The day before leaving our week long camp we took off the "other direction" to poke around some lakes we saw on the map (the Gazateer/landscape one - that is why I'm a 4wd girl).

We hit up two different locations and checked out the options of course for camping and recreating.  The first one was pretty much a bust, the shores were all hillside and the camping area we found at Bitterroot Lake were well bad.   So I didn't do any photos there.   We then took off up to Ashley Lake which we'd sort of passed a few years ago on our trek up to the wildlife refuge.  We found an absolutely perfect pull off spot, had the place to ourselves, had lunch and let the dogs stretch their legs and play in the water.  Pretty sweet.

Ashley LakeAshley Lake Ashley LakeAshley Lake Ashley LakeAshley Lake Ashley LakeAshley Lake Ashley LakeAshley Lake Ashley LakeAshley Lake

Happy poodle with the tree he wanted to fetch with.

We were throwing rocks in the water - another game he loves.

Ashley LakeAshley Lake Ashley LakeAshley Lake

Nosey Josie even got her feet wet.

Ashley LakeAshley Lake

Oliver was trying to understand the rock throwing game.

Ashley LakeAshley Lake

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/9/more-camping-exploration Sun, 27 Sep 2020 06:45:00 GMT
Exploring NW Montana https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/9/exploring-nw-montana Our camping mojo is that after we arrive we ALWAYS take the following day to just sit around camp and do things near the campground.  Which we did!   Once rested up though we decided to find a drive to take and explore (so much to see so little time).    We decided to go scope out the Lake Koocanusa area and drive up to Eureka (not far from Canada).   We found some camping spot gems and then took a "short cut" back.  More on that later.

This is taken along the Kootenai River.   Yup that is how it is spelled, don't believe everything you see on google search (the Kootenay you see is from those Canadians)!   I wish I had taken a picture of the historical marker/information sign but I'll try to fill you in a bit.  This was our first stop on our way north (yup smokey hazy) but the river is crystal clear and running well for this late in the season.

Kootenai RiverKootenai River

The Kootenai River is the second largest tributary to the Columbia River in terms of runoff volume, third in terms of drainage area and has its origins in British Columbia's Kootenay (yup there it is) National Park in Canada. From there it flows 485 miles into northwest Montana and then into northern Idaho, then back into Canada and Kootenay Lake. Ultimately it joins with the Columbia River.

The river is held back north of here by the Libby Dam and we made a pit stop there both above and below to see it.  The reservoir behind the dam is called Lake Koocanusa.   I was all like "that must be another Native American name".  Well reading the brochures we found out otherwise.   There was a contest held to name the lake and a lady from the one town they moved (Rexford, because the dam flooded over it) won!   She took the first 3 letters of the river KOOtenai and first 3 letters of CANada (because the river and lake go into Canada) and then USA.   This thing is gigantic!

The dam also screwed up the railroad (big surprise).  

In 1970, the construction of the Libby Dam formed Lake Koocanusa, flooding the towns of Rexford, Montana and Waldo, British Columbia and the railroad line. This required the relocation of more than 60 miles of track between Stryker and Jennings and the building of Flathead Tunnel which, like the dam, was constructed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Part of the original main line from Stryker to Eureka is still in use as the Mission Mountain Railroad. Before the construction of the tunnel, the Empire Builder also had a station stop in Eureka.

The only visible remnants of the original route are a stub track at Jennings, where the unused original track still remains close to the current main line, and Northwest of Eureka the original mainline is now a trail that meanders over towards Lake Koocanusa, with the old right of way eventually diving into the reservoir.

 

Koocanusa Dam on the Kootenai RiverKoocanusa Dam on the Kootenai River Koocanusa Dam on the Kootenai RiverKoocanusa Dam on the Kootenai River

I'll just let you read the sign here for information on the lake and the bridge farther up from the dam.


Koocanusa BridgeKoocanusa Bridge

We then meandered thru Eureka and found the paved (according to the map) road (not highway people) to get us back to our campground.  It started out all rainbows and roses, but the last oh 30 miles of it were gawd awful and I was totally exhausted by the time we got back.   We however just a short way in, found a historic site (talk about off the beaten path) called Ant Flats and of course we stopped to wander and do a few dog photo ops!

In 1902, Fed Gerrig came riding through this area on his black stallion with a Russian Wolfhound (I found that cool) by his side.  He was commissioned to find the best place for a ranger station for the Blackfeet Forest Reserve.  This was it!   He was going to name the station Lilac Hall for as he had brought a bunch of lilac bushes with him from the east but his friend, Byron Henning teased him saying "you should name it Ant Flad for all those gol-durned ant hills in the meadow."  The original structures are gone but the white house was built in 1922 and the log barn finished in 1925.   It was a ranger station from 1902 to 1963.  

Ant FlatAnt Flat Ant FlatAnt Flat Ant FlatAnt Flat Ant FlatAnt Flat Ant FlatAnt Flat Ant FlatAnt Flat Ant FlatAnt Flat Ant FlatAnt Flat

Shortly after that the road got icky as we followed along the railroad.   After we passed through Fortine (a teeny tiny mountain town)  was a railroad building of some sort with "stay out" signs and cars parked around.  I have yet not been able to find out what that building is for but we did see active trains coming and going in that area.

A long day driving and I was shot so was happy we spent the next day out on the lake paddling around and dock diving the poodle WHICH HE LOVED!  This wet poodle was a very HAPPY poodle!   He's not gotten to dock dive in over 2 years!

 I also took the time the following day to do another try with my Omnia stovetop oven.  I love this thing.

More tales to come next post.

 

 

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/9/exploring-nw-montana Fri, 25 Sep 2020 17:15:00 GMT
Finally A Get Away! https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/9/finally-a-get-away As most of you are probably also experiencing, ALL of my travel plans for 2020 were toasted by well, you know.   That said, I just really needed to get away from home, work, electronics and disconnect.  That I did and it was marvelous.   The dogs and I loaded up with the trailer and went camping with my brother for a week up in NW Montana.   The drive was long to get there (about 6 hours) but worth it knowing we could just stay in one place for 5 days and that we'd split the trip home so we had 2 nights about 1/2 way.   Utterly fabulous and one of my favorite spots to camp (yup will be going back).    We managed to snag 2 spots near the water and near the docks so that launching the kayak (my brother) and SUP (me just once) was easier although it isn't bad from any of the spots.

It was smokey/hazy the entire time but honestly I didn't care.  I just took care of my sinuses and allergies as best I could and enjoyed the time away.  Not one lick of cell service which was also marvelous!

Logan State ParkLogan State Park

Many people are shocked that I take all 6 dogs with me camping but really, I've been showing/traveling with MANY dogs for so long that it really isn't a big deal and I certainly don't want to leave them home or in a kennel.   That is why I have the trailer after all!  Of course finding a place to sit in my tiny trailer can be a challenge sometimes.     We have ex-pens outside (I wish more RV people would get how easy that makes things and how safe it is then for MY dogs and others) and are set up so they can go in and out of the trailer.  They aren't ever outside without me there.

Logan State ParkLogan State Park

This spot was a favorite especially for the poodles so they could look out and see the goings on.

We watched the coots and the ducks (an armada of them every night and morning) and the bees that were super busy on these weeds out back of my site.

Logan State ParkLogan State Park

Logan State ParkLogan State Park That's all for this post but I'll share more of our adventures in posts coming up so stay tuned.

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/9/finally-a-get-away Wed, 23 Sep 2020 16:03:11 GMT
In Memory - Elliott https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/8/in-memory---elliott The end of last week I said my final good-bye to my xolo Elliott so I just wanted to share some of my favorite photos of my red-headed meekat boy.   He wasn't a snuggler with me but always with company and especially my Mom.  He was 14.   LOTS of great memories and for my "title heads" he had titles in rally obedience as well as being the first ever xolo to get a title in musical freestyle.   He was a great tracker and a stubborn little red-head to be sure.  The house is very quiet and we miss him a lot.   He's running free and healthy with all of his pack now and I can only hope to see them all again someday.

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/8/in-memory---elliott Tue, 11 Aug 2020 18:59:09 GMT
Trailer Ta-Da https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/8/trailer-ta-da As the kitchen remodel is wrapped up (pretty much - still a few trim items I just need to do) it has gotten HOT here!   I literally didn't even put the air conditioner in the window last year and this year I've used it a lot already.    Alas, we are getting cooler nights and I know Fall is around the corner.   Which gets me even closer to my camping trip.

I've only had the trailer out once this year - a long weekend in May.   Bummer as this was to be my big travel year till all those plans went down in ashes, as many of you also have found.   I'm also an "edge season" camper.  I don't find camping with tons of people and kids enjoyable.  Just what it is.  So even though kids may not be actually IN school this Fall, they will be back in that swing of things so I planned a week of time off.   Honestly, this summer has been so busy I'm really kinda excited!

In that vein after my trip in May where I tried out the latest inside renovations I found  that it wasn't really working for me or the dogs.  So once again, I took out all the insides and started again.  Actually to go with a version that has parts of a number of my plans that I liked and of course winging out some new ones.  Here is pretty much what it looked like before.  Lots of floor space (which the dogs hated and only a tiny bit of additional storage (under the benches).

Most of you know I have a toy hauler...and it is tiny.   The inside width is a whopping 70" and the length of the area I have to work with for bed, dining, dogs and storage is abou 10'.   Even though small, the blank canvas is really nice in some respects, in others, has its own difficulties.  One is that, due to the structure of the trailer being ALL aluminum (including studs) there really isn't any wall you can attach/anchor  anythingt o.  The up side is that there are 3 sets of "etrack" in the floor (you know to tie down all those toys).

I really wanted my "garage" space back to stow things  for trips.  The canopy, the camp stove (to burn wood - I  do have a kitchen), the grill, bike, paddleboard  and as always, the dog pens.  Those were traveling tied to one wall which limited my ability to put in places to sit or sleep.   I also wanted my bigger bed back.  While a single is nice when you have a herd of dogs that REALLY REALLY want to sit with you, it isn't enough.  I had that setup 2 years ago and liked it but wanted a setup where I had a couple seats and a table (which was my last version).   Taking my cue from the van-lifers I got busy building a platform bed.  I spend quite a long time figuring out the platform - the one before was all PVC which was fine but didn't allow me a good way to stow the freaking ex-pens.   My current pens for the dogs are 48" high and HEAVY so I needed a spot to put them that was easy and didn't require a bunch of lifting.   I also wanted the mattress to be flat, which meant a thick memory foam I could cut down.   Metal shelving was the answer to the issues and it is secured to the one bed rail (from the lift bed that came with the trailer) and the floor (e-track).   You can see now I have space to put stuff!  YAY!  Not in the truck and not in the living area.


 

Matress from Amazon and then cut with my cheapo electric carving knife (used only to cut foam not food).   Bed ended up 70" by 50" wide.   But boy that sucker is high!   Because I wanted to bee able to get the folding bike in the garage there had to be 28" of  "head room" under, plus then boards for the mattress.  I'm tall but not that tall!  haha

As I sat and admired that work, I still didn't have any way to attach my table the way I wanted.  Plus once again, no place if someone comes to chat (not many do but sometimes).   I did a bit of measuring and holy moley the benches I had in previously would fit in front of the bed and behind the other lift bed support (important).  Those are farily high as well, because they are made to sit over a stacked pair of under bed drawers.   Looking for storage (always need more) I put them back in and although  I took the drawers out of one of them (no way to open them with the dog crates where they needed to be) that particular bench has a top that lifts.  Plus I'm still able to use my lovely cushions and that makes into another bed if needed.  I got my dining table back!  

A few versions of the storage shelves between the fridge wall and the one seat were tried, just wasn't happy with any of them.   I discovered there was just 36" of space to work with so the metal shelves to the rescue again.  The drawers are repurposed from another little tall table I had and was using (really don't have any other use for it right now) and it again, gives me flat space which is in seriously short supply in this rig.   The crates underneath are secured in and along with the back, I've got styrofoam under them to protect from the inevitible cold that comes up through the floor.  Again, all aluminum - gets hot and cold so we need additional insulation in some spots.  The garage because my bed will suck up that cold from the underneath.   We'll see howwell it works, more may be required.  

As I sat admiring that work I was trying to figure out how/what to use to get up to the bed for me (and dogs of course).   The slats that make  up the middle of the single bed (between the dining seats) set on the rails are perfect so that is what you see.    I also recycled a set of drawers that fit just perfect in the middle (again, more storage as I really do need a place to put some of the dry food goods.  I think the seat that is open will be used for dog food and laundry.  Amazing the things you need space for!    I don't know that the boards will help Teddy to get up but we'll see how it goes.   I was pretty proud of myself for figuring that out.

The quilt across the back is for insulation and for protection against the rough texture on the drop down tail gate.   Funny, I've built my stuff around that quilt for years but always put it on the bed.  I was like - dummy - that doesn't get seen at all down there (and it makes me so happy) as we cover the bed with dog stuff usually and I always worry it'll get filthy.   I cannot believe it took me this long to figure out it belonged on that back wall!

So here is the "somewhat" finished product.  I still have some things to get cleaned up and put back in but generally, this is my ta-da.   I cannot wait to go camping and the poodles have already approved it.   We'll see if I got everything secured once I get down my road!


And last but not replaced, when I re-did my shades, I decided to make one of them my "pin shade".   I had all these great pins that I don't really wear anymore and I missed them.  We rarely roll up that shade so I decorated it.  It makes me happy and has many memories.

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/8/trailer-ta-da Sun, 09 Aug 2020 01:21:56 GMT
So Close https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/7/so-close Thanks everyone for the kind comments on the remodel work and for Elliott!  I am happy to say that the remodel is all but done and I'll share with you some before/afters of that today.   I also wanted to ask that you keep the good vibes coming for my oldsters (Teddy has also hit a "bump in the road" right now).   I had myself in prep mode to say goodbye to Elliott this week but as I started watching him, I just don't think he is ready to go.   We've landed on at least a somewhat level spot in his management of the licking and although I know that his health isn't going to get better (short of a miracle) he's not in pain and I seem to have found herbs and topicals that are helping the irritation he has  from his tumors.    Doesn't mean next week it may go to heck but that is where we are for now.

So here are the before's for the kitchen - sorry but they weren't the staged "befores" but you get the idea.

WHAT A MESS!    As of now I'm back into my kitchen, the spare bathroom is back to being what it is supposed to be and it is GLORIOUS!   I do have some trim work I'm finishing this week - the floor transition to the dining room and the wall transition to the same.   The toe kicks and a couple pieces of trim went in today.    I'm incredibly happy and proud of how it turned out.   It feels gigantic in both the kitchen and laundry which is so very nice.   The upper cabinet I thought I was going to use in the kitchen went in then out.  I hated how it looked.  I'll find somewhere else to utilize it.  Still working on the conditioning of the counters and the big one isn't fastened down yet but at 110 pounds - it isn't going anywhere.   

The dogs and I are all very happy to be over the hump and getting back into a normal house again. Everything isn't in its final spots yet but close enough.  Now for a bit cooler weather as it is too hot to even be out enjoying the summer weather and doing some training but I am hopeful.  I also got a notice on FB that this time last year I was packed up living in my trailer in the driveway of my friend Jeanine as we were evacuated for the North Hills Fire.   I am so very glad that is behind us as well.   Blessed!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/7/so-close Tue, 28 Jul 2020 23:11:09 GMT
Project Progress & Other Stuff https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/7/project-progress-other-stuff Buckle up people it's gonna be a long post.  Apologies that I've been late in posting, it is summer and things are busy at work and home even with the other craziness of the world.  I still am hole up here and honestly, just puttering away.  Not a whole lot different than most summers with the exception of no dog events or family visiting which does indeed make me very sad.   Enough of that!

We are headed into our summer heat and the gardens are showing their hot flowers.  I honestly didn't have great flowering in the gardens this year.  We had a really odd spring and early summer and I think that is why I had little to no iris blooming this year which was odd.  The grasshoppers have now eaten the remaining rhubarb and even the day lillies aren't showing much budding.    Here are a few shots of what we see right now tho.

The baby hawks left the nest in the last few weeks seemingly somewhat permanently.   Once they had their first flights they still hung around the nest for about 2 weeks.   Screaming and yelling for food from parents (which didn't arrive) every morning.  In  the past week they've not been around much.  They fly over quite a bit but are not returning to the nest at all.   Ball-sy little buggers though as I saw them tailing a young bald eagle one day that had flown over our back yard.

We've had some deck time but now that the hawks are gone and I feel we can play out front (agility practice at least and only if I am out there doing something) - it is too hot.  So it goes.   The pack and I are very stressed as we see Elliott starting to fade (he has cancer) and I do my best to keep him comfortable.   I resorted to trying a cone for him to keep him from licking his open lesions - but 4 days of that only resulted in him shaking his head so much he wore sores into the back of his ears.   So I am now just keeping an eye on him, reminding him to not lick so much and giving him some herbaprin to help with pain and calm.  He is losing weight quickly as well.    Sadly I think we are nearing the end but we will see.  He still loves laying in the sun alternating with indoors for cool and he does occasionally come lay with me on the couch or swing.

My poor dogs are so bored right now (we'd normally be busy doing shows and training and stuff) so I broke out the food treat balls for the poodles to eat their breakfast a few days last week.   They enjoyed it.

I love being able to sit out front or in the back patio with my coffee with them some mornings and some evenings (before it got hot).

Okay so now on to the project....are you still with me?    I am over the hump (thanks Linda).   It has been a rock and roll time for sure.   The cabinets arrived the week after the 4th and they delivered them.  Well they had one of their new employees drive them out without any help!   So that college student learned the art of working smarter not harder.  I dug out my hand truck and we opened the boxes on the truck so we'd have something to grab on to, put each on the cart and brought them in the house.  Check!

Installation was next.  Nope never done this before.  I treated myself to a new laser level to help.  It did but not nearly as "easy to use" as the magic I was lead to believe it had.

Got my lines drawn on the wall for the tops (because the floors are not level in any house).    Next was to install my EZ-Level cabinet leveling system.  I'd found this online and will say it does make things really nice.   The lesson I did learn though is that for my situation, I really should have had 2 sets on each  of the cabinets over by the sink because my sink cabinet needed to be lifted over the plumbing it wasn't realistic to attach the run of cabinets together  then level them (which is how we did the other wall of cabinets).   Regardless I did get them installed and it is a super slick system for doing base cabinets.   Made in the USA and shipped from Florida.  Worth the $120-ish.

As with most projects, I have to do things by myself so I also learn to improvise.   Tape helped hold them in place while I screwed them on to the cabinets.    Each of those little boxes has a little flipper in it that as you turn the screw rods will move up and down.

So cabinets went in in about 8 hours  with Linda's help and her great suggestions on how  to get  the sink cabinet down in its spot correctly (after I drilled out the plumbing holes).

I absolutely LOVE the drawers and was able to move all my crap scattered around the house into them.  Yes I'll need to unload some when I put the counter tops on but it is worth it.   Drawers ARE THE TICKET.  They are full extension and soft close.  No more having to get on my hands and knees to get into base cupboards.   If you ever do your own kitchen  I highly recommend going that way!

In the past week one of my counter tops arrived.  If you remember I had all planned out that I was going to order stock, cheapo laminate counter tops and just do the Leggari epoxy on them (you saw the samples in an earlier post).   Well, while the counters I wanted are available, apparently those of us in Montana cannot have them.  Once I set "my store" (required to get the free store pickup) to Helena, the counters I selected were not available - not even to deliver to my home!   WTF!   I was so ticked off!   Change of plans then, based on the total cost of that and epoxy I was able to order butcher block for about the same amount.  Apparently the Universe thought that  was a better choice.    Over the weekend I sucked it up and cut the pieces for the sink wall including the sink cut  out.  I will tell you that first cut is hard when you know if you screw it up you are out $300 of counter!   Also cutting through 1 1/2 inches of hardwood is not for the faint of heart.   I ordered ash (cheapest and lightest color) and spent a week researching finishes.   I've landed on using oil and oil/wax conditioner.   Yes, there are more plastic durable top coats but I don't think something I need to use a respirator to apply is something I want in my kitchen.  Actually that was good because I ended up doing the sink cut out in my kitchen and therefore am finishing it there.   I did a sample of the oil on the bottom of one, turned out too dark, landed on one coat of Annie Sloan Old  White chalk paint as a wash on it first, sand it, then start using Howard Butcher Block Oil to season it, which will then be coated with Howard Butcher Block Conditioner (oil/wax) to completely seal.   Praise God the sink cut out worked and the sink fits!

Oh and I got the hardware on the cabinets.  Still have to find 2 more glass knobs (hopefully Hobby Lobby will restock) and again, drilling that first hole in my expensive cabinets caused me some stress.

So there we are as of right now.   Oiling the counter I have, waiting for the other to be delivered (apparently it is in Butte but I've not heard a peep on delivery).  Then sink install and plumbing and the big stuff is done.  Trim will happen after that.    Hope by mid August this project will be in the books - fingers crossed.  It's been a learning experience!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/7/project-progress-other-stuff Tue, 21 Jul 2020 22:08:55 GMT
Being Abstract https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/7/being-abstract Okay some probably think I am already abstract (aka weird) already but I'll be honest, it isn't in me naturally.  My crafting generally up until this past year was all by direction and patterns.   Digging into my own creative soul isn't easy for this very type A, analytical detail personality.   The kitchen remodel is getting me there.  A bit by force, but more by just wanting to do things and make things that make ME happy.

The painting of the utility room got me started. Yellow is just not something I'd normally go for.  Now that it is done I'm in love.   Being cheap also got me going.  The upcoming pouring of my counters in epoxy still freaks me out but doing the samples really helped get me out of my comfort zone and just go for it.    The chalk painting (see previous post) also is helping.  Change is in the  air.

Along the lines of the epoxy pouring has led me to a newer hugely popular acrylic paint pouring.   Now this is NOT for the detail oriented nor is it everyone's "thing" but what it does for me is helps relax me (you never know what you'll get) and make me just let go of my control issues.   And I have a large helping of those!

Besides it is a much cheaper way of playing with colors and flow than epoxy.    I also found that most of the people on YouTube doing it really keep reminding us that "it is only paint" - if you hate it, scrape it off and start over.   Well I didn't want to invest a ton in something I may not enjoy so off I went, got about 6 colors I liked and decided rather than starting  on canvas (it is pricey) I'd start on ceramic tiles.  Super  cheap!    I knew I was enjoying  it when I finished the first few with a dutch pour technique then started scouring the garage for other things to use to try other techniques.

Did they all turn out - heck no!  I  found that the silver I mixed wasn't mixed to the right  ratios and disappeared.  I also  found that the blowing is way harder than they  make it look and I think having to wear glasses while doing it does also hinder things.   It is also SUPER MESSY!   But just like your finger  painting as a kid - thatis part of the "letting go".   

This is also good in helping me learn more about mixing colors together.   But you don't know what you'll get.  So  here are some of my  examples.  No haters!  Remember this is my  first time ever and if abstract isn't your bag, don't look!

Here are my first attempts.....funny how I HATE seeing cells in the epoxy pours but they are kinda growing on me for some of these.  

 

Next I wanted to try not doing a puddle in the middle but a line thru the diagonal.

Then started playing with different backgrounds.   Remember all of these were done with the same 5 colors.

Then I tried a bubble wrap reverse  pour.  Basically you pour the paints on the bubble wrap  and press the tile onto it.  One was meh - okay, the other I tossed as it was icky.   Mind you I had no idea what I was doing on this one, just guessed.

This one was my attempt at a string pull.  I kinda like it.   

Again, some were epic fails and bad enough I didn't want to keep them.  Others I just wanted to let grow on me.

Ya know what they remind me of?   The geyser basins in Yellowstone.  You know, where the different bacteria grow in different colors.   Now at the end of it all I was tossing out the paint leftovers and decided not to waste it and scraped and re-poured one tile using a "dirty pour" technique where you pour all the colors into one cup and the pour it out.  Something the epoxy people do a ton of but I really just didn't feel confident to do.  Well with paint leftovers why not!   I  admit though it uses a LOT of paint.   I was pleasantly surprised at the result.   The first is before I applied heat and I think I like it better.  Next time will leave it and see how it dries.   The colors don't render well here, it is prettier in person of course.

The skins (puddles) left on the plastic are almost as pretty or more so than the tiles.

My thoughts.   It was a blast.   I have some more things I'd like to try and just have fun with.   Did it make me let go of my control....oh  yeah.    Were there surprises - oh yeah.   I do need to figure out the mix ratios but definitely am doing that.  Do I have ideas for things to do?   You bet I do.   It is a fun distraction, I think it will help me to just relax when I get ready to do my counters.   It's a summer only project as I really think it needs to stay in the garage.   Hope it inspires some of you to even just to out and search on YouTube and watch some of the cool stuff they do and how  out of the box they think.  I  love creative people.   

If this isn't your bag, well not everything for everyone.   

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/7/being-abstract Mon, 06 Jul 2020 14:55:34 GMT
First Chalk Paint Project https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/7/first-chalk-paint-project A long long time ago in a galaxy far away a girl continued to dream about all of the cool crafty projects she would like to do one day....

Well check one more off the list!  Woohoo!

I have always been intrigued by chalk paint and milk paint.   Just how I am.   In the pandemic YouTube watching bonanza I have started (that smart TV can be dangerous) I was able to get a bit more information on just how these work.  Chalk paint seemed like the ticket for redoing some of my old brown furniture.  When they said "no sanding of old varnish" I was like "SIGN ME UP!"

I got online and  found The Purple Painted Lady out in New York and glory be they had, yup, you got it - a sample kit!  You know from my kitchen adventures so far how much I love that idea.   So I ordered one and waited and watched her tons of FB live videos on using it (and some other things).  I also got on FB and joined a couple groups of crafty designers (honestly they put me to shame) - one is the Annie Sloan group and the other the Prisma transfers group.   I was blown away!     Now I had/have lofty goals of eventually chalk painting the hutch that my Mom gave me years ago.   

Forgive me if I already covered this story....This hutch has been in my life since day one.  It is one of those pieces that you ALWAYS see in your home and that every time you moved (we didn't move a ton but we did relocate), it didn't feel like home till it was in its place.   My Mom always had a china tea set and some other china cups and saucers on the shelves and my Dad always had his pipe and tobacco in one of the drawers.   So great memories and I asked to have it when my Mom sold the house years ago.   I was a bit worried about broaching the subject of PAINTING it with her to be honest.  I knew  it was old but didn't remember the history.    She told me that she bought this way back in the early 60s from a family friend for $19!   Oh and that the family friend had bought it used from someone else.   So we pretty much figure it is 60+ years old.   

Now I've had this for over 20 of those years and I always wanted it in the spot above BUT I have a light/fan switch there and I was not going to rewire stuff to put it there.   In comes one of those books I bought for redoing my kitchen (off AbeBooks.com - cheap!).    I saw a sideboard they had taken and lifted the top shelves onto turned legs and put it in a corner.   Why hadn't I thought of that before????   Just take the top off - duh.   Now I could put this where I wanted and hey, use it while waiting for my cabinets, and get it out of the spare bedroom!

I digress....but you get the idea.   Back to the Chalk Paint.....

I wasn't going to tackle this piece right off with no experience with the paint or techniques.   I'm an analyst by trade and I overthink freaking everything!    That can quickly turn into stress.  So the sample kit fit the bill.  Little teeny cans of 3 colors (I picked and that was another thing that I struggle with - too many choices), clear wax, fabulous instructions, a brush, stir sticks, etc.   Perfecto!   I continued to see the amazing stuff the people on the FB groups created.  Wowsa!   I also found there is a whole line of rub on transfers people use on their refurbished furniture these days.   So I ordered a couple of those too.   My flowers arrived last week.

In addition to the hutch I also have a set of my maternal Grandmother's silver that my Mom gave me.   It was the "good silver" (those of you in my age range understand that).   If I remember the receipt I found, gotten back in 1928.   It sat in the silver chest in the bottom drawer of that very hutch until a few years ago when I was like - USE IT!   It is silly to have that stuff hidden in a drawer where I cannot enjoy it.   Out it came and in with my other sets of stainless flatware.   With the remodel of the kitchen I am pairing things  down substantially - the flatware was one of them, knowing I wasn't going to have a ton of space for it.   I decided the "good silver" would stay and the rest got donated.    As I was messing with the hutch's new location I thought - why no use the silverware chest to store it - on the "new sideboard"? 

Here is the original chest:

You can tell it is a bit battered (as is the top of the hutch).   A perfect SMALL piece to try this chalk paint!  I had ordered 3 colors - Old White (a white staple color is always good as it can be used to lighten anything), Emile (a really pretty lavender) and Amsterdam Green (a forest green).   Oh what to do - oh just freaking start!    This was almost but not quite as stressful as my first go with the epoxy last week.   Quit thinking it over and go.  I did!  I lightly sanded it and wiped it down to remove some of the years of grime.   It does have a crack in the bottom (living in dry climates does that) but you cannot see it so no biggy.   Off I went.

First a layer of the Emile (lavender) even though it is hard to tell in my great garage lighting.   The videos and Annie Sloan herself basically says "slap it on" and so I did.  Man that stuff is thick and dries REALLY fast!

Like my fancy brush dryer?   Within less than 1/2 hour it was dry, ready for the second coat.  I thought about a second coat of the Emile but also knew I wanted to try distressing this piece thru the white.   So I thinned out the white a bit and slapped that on a bit more carefully.   Lesson 1 - shouldn't have thinned the white as I got some bleed through.   Lesson 2 - work with it or if you hate it, sand  it all down and start over!  Sorry didn't do a pic before I started sanding through.   I sanded and sanded and sanded.  Wasn't quite prepared for that and was really concerned that I seemed to not be seeing any of the lovely lavender color.   Because I needed to do more light sanding now around the deep distressing.

I spend a good amount of time with 2 different grits of sandpaper working to get what I wanted to see.  Now I can check that technique off the list.  Not sure I'd want to do a large piece that way unless I was seriously in a mellow, take my time kind of mood.  We shall see.    Sanding done it  was in the house to decide on what transfers to do on it.   I loved doing rub ons when I was young so this was a hint back to that childhood memory!   Again though, TOO MANY CHOICES.   The two sets I ordered were totally different, one very bright and one pastel.  Pastel it was and also because the flowers were a bit smaller.  I put on the first two then really couldn't decide if I wanted more or to keep it simple.  A quick post to my very craft FB friends and lots of suggestions later I decided to add a FEW more and balance it out with the butterfly on the top.  The voting was for a bee but the bee wasn't a cool nice yellow bee but rather a brown kinda dorky looking one so went with butterfly instead.   Then I took my sand paper and distressed them just a tad.   You can also see I ran them over the front and side edge a bit as well, I think that look is so cool and wanted to try it.    Was able to get the first coat of wax on without messing up any of  the transfers and the second will go on 24 hours later.   Since it will be used every day may even do a third we shall see.   Below is the final product.

All in all I'm super pleased and have yet one maybe two more smaller (but bigger than this) pieces I want to tackle before the big hutch.   Besides I really don't want to decide on colors for that till my cabinets and counters are in if possible....but at the slow rate that seems to be happening I may just go for it.   Meanwhile I was thinking (surprise surprise) about the top of the hutch.  I really don't want it on the wall above the bottom as it is in kind of a weird  spot and really breaks up the flow of the open-ness I'll have now in the kitchen.   Today I kinda paused and think I "may" try it in  the space above the stove (where the painting is right now).   No final on that till cabinets are in and I can test my theory though.   Guess I'll get the paint for the nightstand instead - looks like a trip to Bozeman to the stockist there might be in my future.....we'll see.  I may just order from The Purple Painted Lady!

 

 

 

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/7/first-chalk-paint-project Sat, 04 Jul 2020 15:57:06 GMT
Where Did Time Go? https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/7/where-did-time-go So hard to believe it is July 1 already and the year is 1/2 gone.   I'm just now able to pretty reliably put 2020 in the date fields.    Summer solstice came and went and honestly if not for a friend posting on FB I would have missed that too.   We've definitely had some summer weather although it has rained constantly for the past 4 days which is unusual.   We'll take the moisture but I think when the sun comes out the end of the week my long weekend will be MOWING cuz that grass is growing fast.

Speaking of growing fast thought I'd catch you all up on the baby hawks.   We still have 3 which I think is pretty remarkable for those parents.   Rarely do we see all 3 because of the position of the nest but I did my best.   So these first shots were of fuzzy babies back on June 9.   There is a parent off to the left in some of these.

The last photo above is to give you an idea just how far away this nest is.   This was at 400mm (my wildlife lens) and with the camera crop ends up at 600.   Because of how height the tree is, if you go down my drive and shoot up, you really can get close but not see them as well.  So from the house it is.

Now these were from July 1 (yup the sun peeked out just a bit that morning).   The second shot is your "Where's Waldo" shot - there are all 3 babies in it if you can find them.

Crazy how quickly they fledged.   I haven't seen them forced to take off yet but they sure appear to have all their flight feather so probably really soon.  

Meanwhile last weekend's kitchen remodel project was a test run of the epoxy sample kits I got (that is my plan for the counters).   I wanted to see which blue I liked best and get a feel for the product.   I have since decided on which blue (the lighter one) and the technique I like so ordered one more sample kit to do a final board for practice.  I have about 20 feet of counter to do (3 pieces) and I don't want to mess it up!   I also found that my sensitive respiratory system definitely requires I wear a mask when doing this - even with the garage door open.   Has taken me 3 days to get my airways feeling better.   Duly noted!

Mind you I tried to do a "veining" on the dark blue one as well but really didn't like it.   There is also a mist on top of White Diamonds to give it a little more sparkle (done on both).   The technique was to mix in white and make that feathery/cloudy effect and that is what I'm going with in the light blue (hoping I can recreate that)!  Still waiting on the arrival of my base cabinets so for now we are still on pause BUT my leveling system for them has arrived.   We shall see how that all goes.  LOL

The epoxy was scary but really fun.  I definitely will be enlisting some help when I do the big ones just to make sure I have someone that can mix while I pour the first part since  you do have limited working time.   I also will better prep the garage by making a tent situation so dust and crap doesn't fall in them while they set up (I did get some in the light blue and can see those streaks).   May not eliminate it all but less is good.

That's pretty much all I got for July Day 1!   

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/7/where-did-time-go Wed, 01 Jul 2020 17:44:32 GMT
Pandemic Project PAUSE https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/6/pandemic-project-pause My remodel is going pretty smoothly but now is to the point that really I need to wait for my cabinets to arrive to do anything more.   Besides that the universe very clearly last week told me I need to slow down and just pause - apparent by things like a fall while weed whacking, getting bitten by Iago (it was my fault for not paying attention) and treating myself to an Italian soda that when stirred exploded all over me and the inside of my car and THEN to add insult to injury the 1/2 that was left when I got out of the car the lid popped off and it entirely spilled out on the ground.   Okay - message received.

We had predictions the end of last week (June 26) that we were to get a serious bout of rain storms starting Saturday afternoon.  I really REALLY wanted to go for a drive in the mountains - somewhere, anywhere - so decided to do a short trip closer to town so if it did start pouring rain in the afternoon (we couldn't leave till 11 because of other commitments) we'd be closer to home.  I say "we" as my ever intrepid friend Robin decided to join me and the dogs and spend a girls overnight so we could do a crafty thing on Sunday (you'll read about that next time).

I found a back road that I didn't remember ever being on and we headed out.  Needless to say after looking in my old gazateer I HAD been on it but have no recollection - so it's been a while!   With friend, cameras and dogs loaded up with a picnic lunch off we went.    

Two of them just really HAVE to have the window down so they can see out.   (Sterling and Oliver ride like normal people - haha, but they are in there too).

It was a lot prettier up there than I thought but admit, there were roads on the map that really didn't show up off the road (mind you a magnifying glass to see all the off shoots is kind of required) but who cares, I knew if we stayed the course we'd come out SOMEwhere and if not - we always keep an eye on the road situation and the ability to turn around (which now requires more road than with the small truck) and go back the way we came.  We came across a lovely little wide spot in the road and a small creek with a small cascade so we stopped for a potty break and to let dogs explore. Yes I know Epic is out of focus but forgive my photos - it has been WAY too long since I've been out with the camera!

We also did pretty good hitting the timing of wildflowers which you will also see.

Epic had a grand time playing in the water (of course) and Josie got her feet wet (she idolizes Epic and really wants to be a poodle).   So got a couple fab shots of the intense poodle boy!   Yeah I need to get back into practice with my depth of field.   Geez it has been too long!

We puttered along down the road and dropped out at Corbin.   A teeny little lovely town (I'd retire there) with probably oh 20 houses.   Most of it's traffic (and I bet many of the residents) these days is back and forth to the Montana Tunnels mine that is back there (my understanding is they are pulling out gold from that location).   Here is some history about it (from https://montanahistoriclandscape.com/tag/corbin-montana/ ):

Another good example of the early railroad development is at Corbin, where a major ore concentrator operated by the Helena Mining and Reduction Company was located in the 1880s.  The concentrator handled 125 tons of ore every day. The concentrator is long gone but the foundations, while crumbling steadily, remain to convey its size and location.  The tall steel train trestle overlooks the town, a powerful reminder of the connection between the rails and mines. It is part of the historic Montana Central line, first built as a wood trestle in 1888 and then replaced with the steel structure found today in 1902.

Apparently the Alta Mine was the largest most productive back in the day and the ore was silver.

The train trestle is insane!    I found these facts about it (it is of course now abandoned but still stunning) and I hoped to find the height but didn't.  

Abandoned Deck plate girder trestle over Corbin Road/Trestle Lane on Great Northern Railway
Built 1902
Total length: 700.0 ft.


All that steel and they even built a curve in it.  It was super cool driving under it and really seeing the supports. 

We also came across an old homestead (quite a large one) that had THE most fabulous old log barn.  Again, sorry these are kinda dark but it was a gloomy drippy day by that time and I am finding editing these on my laptop is probably not ideal as if you move the monitor up or down it changes the lightness of what I'm seeing - time to maybe get a real monitor for it!

As we left Corbin we had the option to pop back to Jefferson City and head home or turn right and see what was down the way.  We of course, went right and towards Wickes.   So here is some more history from https://www.werewoofs.com/ghost-towns/wickes-montana/

In 1864, an unknown prospector identified the first mine which was called the Gregory at Wickes. It is believed the mines here are among the oldest within Montana and in 1867 Montana saw the birth of its second silver smelter, whose location was where the Gregory had been located previously.

The Alta was the other mine that was discovered here in 1869 that became one of the richest silver mines within Montana. A group of capitalists from New York led by William W. Wickes acquired the Alta in 1876. Later on, the same year, this cartel put together the Montana Company and platted Wickes in 1876 or 1877.

Though the camp of Wickes was already booming by mid-1880, it remained somewhat quiet but there were several establishments that had been put up including a stone structure erected by Vawter & Wickes and a public library was also in place. The Alta Mine grew to become the most profitable and by 1889, it was the largest producer within the Wickes-Corbin Mining district.

Alta Mine was the highlight of this town and had a total of 3 tunnels with the deepest being 250 ft (76 m). Finally, the mill owned by the Alta Company was burnt down by fire in 1882 and the company sold out after the incidence to Sam Hauser, who was one of the company’s stockholders. Afterwards, Hauser was able to offset the debt that the company owed and built the whole of the silver mill.

In addition to this, Mr. Hauser added 6 new charcoal kilns and 2 new concentrators. He was able to do all this through the Helena Mining and Reduction Company (HMRC), which went on to put up a new smelter, the largest in Montana in 1884. The smelter had 3 large masonry smokestacks and as a result of the viability of this project, Mr. Hauser convinced the Northern Pacific Railway to establish a branch line connecting Helena and Wickes.

...

This mining district kept going strong until 1889 after which the smelter was dismantled and moved to East Helena by the HMRC and shipping of the ore to East Helena or Butte for processing, began.

After this, the Alta Mine continued operating for a period of 7 years and thereafter closed down. The year that followed the Northern Pacific Railway stopped operating the line to Wickes, which was almost destroyed completely in 1901 and 1902 by fires. The Boston and Alta Mining Company later acquired holdings in the district from HMRC and later the same passed through the hands of several other owners thereafter.

Interesting huh?  Well it gets better.  Right along the road is a superbly preserved beehive charcoal kiln.   What is that you ask, well these were used to burn pine trees to create the coal used in the smelters and such for the mines.   A burn could last up to 10 days and create over 1500 bushel of charcoal.   When they were built of course there was almost always a cluster of them, but only some have survived.   Of course the shape (and see the little air/draft holes) and the materials used is what makes them heat up appropriately.   It just amazes me the brick (or stone) work needed to make that domed shape.  You today can find some pottery artists that use beehive kilns (or that shape) to fire their wares.  These however were purely industrial!

 Yes that is a little bit of snow still hanging on up in the mountains.

We got to the junction at Wickes shortly thereafter and couldn't decide where to go.  We headed down what ended up as kind of a single track behind some people on their SUVs (the back country was crawling with them).   Then to our surprise we found this open flat spot and a bunch of the SUVs parked there.  I was like - oh look a spot where people camp (or party or whatever).   Nope.   Then as I drove by I saw this tunnel entrance. 

Here is a video of guys taking their SUVs through it (apparently that is a "thing") - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71kFiM3kbFA

 

Now for a boatload of history about it:

Here's some great info from our friends at The Heritage Center in Boulder:

THE AMAZING AMAZON RAILROAD TUNNEL
(Also called the Wickes or the Boulder Tunnel)

In 1887 the Montana Central Railway let the contract from Helena to Butte; which included building a big tunnel through the mountain from Wickes to Boulder. Crews worked from both ends. The north end was called Portal and the south end Amazon.
While being built the train ran over the “Skyline” tracks of the Northern Pacific.
The tunnel was started May 1887 and completed October 1888.
September 11, 1888 there was a dynamite explosion where 60 men were working and 10 were killed and 5 seriously injured (read all about this in “Montana Central Railway” by Jan and Bill Taylor page 109).
Great wooden doors were placed at each end and were kept closed in winter to keep snow drifts out and the warm air in. These doors had to be opened, first at the end the train was coming from, then the tunnel was walked through and the second doors opened. After the train had passed through the doors needed to be closed.
Trains started running immediately while rock and shoring continued inside.
At the time it was built it was the longest railroad tunnel in Montana at 6145 feet. Later the Kalispell Tunnel was built which was 6 miles long.
The first train through the tunnel was October 24, 1888. Boulder hosted a barbecue.
Great Falls Tribune dated October 27, 1888 excerpts from article follow: “The Wickes tunnel was formally opened on Wednesday. Many prominent citizens from Helena, Boulder and Butte passed through the tunnel in a train of six coaches. William Bird was the conductor. On arriving at the east approach of the tunnel, a photograph was taken of the train… The train entered the tunnel at 1:10 and arrived at the other end at 1:28, consequently taking 18 minutes to pass through. Upon arrival at the west end the whistles of engines were blown for five minutes…..This shortens the trip by nineteen miles. Incandescent lights are placed 200 feet apart through the tunnel. It cost $1,500,000.00 to build. They intend to line the tunnel with stone and brick, which, when completed, will necessitate an additional outlay of $250,000.”
Due to the tunnel caving in 1891 it was decided to re-line it. They began lining it on Jan 6, 1892 and completed it in August 1893.
As locomotives got larger it created problems in the tunnel because hot stack gasses eroded the 1893 brick arches so they removed the brick ceiling and replaced it with a new material, “Concrete.” Between 100 to 150 men were employed to do this. They started in October 1901 and ended in the spring of 1902. They only lined 2500 feet of it and the rest was granite with granite blocks installed in the roof and inside both portals. At that time the floor was lowered 18 inches which made it 21 feet high and 15 feet wide.
A Nov. 7, 1901 article in the Jefferson County Sentinel Newspaper reported that” it was necessary to erect boarding and lodging houses and a plant for the manufacture of the concrete, and generation of electricity for lighting up the tunnel. There would need to be some business house and residences. The railway built a nice depot, and stationed E. O. Foster as agent. There are about thirteen buildings at present composing this lively little town.”
J. Otis Watson was the manager of the Amazon Mercantile company, which carried a full line of men’s furnishing goods and notions and did a thriving business as did the company store and the boarding house.
V. E. WIlham, ex-county assessor, was the deputy sheriff of Amazon, but there was very little trouble from the unruly element.
An article in the newspaper states that a new school was built in 1910 and our records show that this school ran at least until 1935.
There are no known pictures of this little town and there is nothing remaining of it.
Speed for passenger trains through the tunnel was 20 mph (took 4 min.). Freight trains went 12mph (7min.)
Water pours from the tunnel year round because part of the tunnel was cut through glacial debris.
There are some emergency bays built into the tunnel for a person to get into and be safe, if a train came along.
The last train ran through the tunnel on January 9, 1972.
The Montana Central Railway became the Great Northern Railroad in 1906.

Information is taken from numerous copyrighted materials for which we give credit: Boulder Newspapers (including The Boulder Monitor), The Montana Central Railway by Bill and Jan Taylor, The Great Northern/Montana Central Railway by Fr. Dale Peterka, and Boulder: Its Friends and Neighbors by Olive Hagadone.
Researched, compiled and written by Ellen Rae Thiel – The Heritage Center, PO Box 51, 210 N. Main, Boulder, MT 59632
The Heritage Center is a non-profit organization preserving local and family history. It is located at 210 N. Main St. Po Box 51, Boulder, MT 59632. Telephone 406-422-9879. They are open 7 days a week from 11am to 3pm. You can also visit their Facebook page: The Heritage Center.

Too cool right!   As we heard from the SUV people (they need a cooler label) that the road got pretty narrow farther on, we went back to the junction.  Do we go back to Corbin or try the other road?   Well there were Forest Service signs saying there was a 5 mile trip (remember you aren't driving fast here) to the Occidental Plateau and/or Wood Chute Creek Road (that's the way we went).   We were getting hungry and after passing the back of the Montana Tunnels mine was a big open valley that we kinda thought would be a good lunch stop - except we kept going (not far).   You can see the tailings piles in this photo.

I just loved how you can see the jagged tops of these mountains (because back at some point it burned).   We found a little protected gully that had a place to pull off, let the dogs out and photograph wildflowers (while dogs ate cow poop and stuck their noses in marmot and gopher holes).

This is the ONLY way to "tailgate".

No Josie isn't lost but she is wandering around exploring (which required I put on her harness with the bell to keep track of her).   

After a nice break we drove a bit farther up the road, came across a lovely creek with more wildflowers and then turned around when we saw a parked truck with a bunch of doors and windows open and my gut just said there might be up to no good (and there was a weirdly large amount of odd SUV traffic driving by us at lunchtime - they went up, then went back).   I'm all for trust your gut and I didn't want to get up there and not be able to get around them OR find them doing something they shouldn't.
 

This last photo above is of wild pink pussytoes (see why it is called that?).  One of my favorites and you don't see them often.   I have as always discovered that taking photos of fields of wildflowers is very difficult.  You just cannot see with the camera the dimension and color you see in person but I did my best.

We headed home and literally got home 30 minutes before it started DUMPING rain!   These guys and us humans had a MARVELOUS time and some more areas we'll probably explore in the future!  I think we hit a lot of SUV traffic honestly because it was mid afternoon.  I'm a fan of leaving early to explore like this so we are kind of headed OUT before most of the SUV-people are up and moving.   There were some pleasant surprises and it is always fun to explore with friends and dogs!

Josie LOVED riding like this!

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/6/pandemic-project-pause Mon, 29 Jun 2020 16:20:37 GMT
Pandemic Project Progress https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/6/pandemic-project-progress You cannot tell from the  photo below but this is how you storyboard.   Oh and 2 of the paints were picked (one was adjusted a bit) and neither of the wallpapers is going up at this point.   I will say, I got both my paint colors in the pearl finish from Benjamin  Moore and the coverage was FABULOUS!    I'm known for cheaping out on paint from the big box stores and have never gotten great results (worst ones were outdoors).   I got Lemonade (toned down 25% with white) for the laundry room and bought 2 gallons figuring I'd need em.  Nope - didn't even use up one gallon.   Guess something else will be painted yellow!   The kitchen ended up as Ice Mist and took about 1/2 gallon for 2 coats.   Realize I didn't paint all the way to the floor where the cabinets are going in.

Oh then there is my floor.   Not sure if I mentioned that I got a great deal on some Florbo Click & Loc.   I've done a TON (as in literally the rest of the house sans one room) of click together floor and this did not disappoint.   It went down really easily and really well.   Thanks to Robin  who came over to help one Sunday it was all knocked out in < 8 hours.   Much to be said for the word "finesse" though as this isn't stuff you can play "whack a mole" with and force together.     

While I had Robin here I also got one set of shelves back in the laundry room which meant  at least SOME of my clutter around the house was reduced!   Sadly my very very OLD hammer couldn't take it anymore (had issues getting the cheap China-made shelves apart to adjust them) and it was lost.

Here is a photo of the not trimmed out yet laundry room.   I had those hooks for over a year, found them at Lowes in a bin one day I was there and picked them up - without any plan for them.   Now they have a home.   The shelf was my answer to wanting a place to hang up (not on my clothesline you see in the upper left corner) the dog towel and pee pads when they aren't used.   I had the brackets from a failed project in the trailer so a little spray paint and a dowel I had laying in the garage and got my wish.  The rug runner fits pretty nicely there as well, which helps with the tracking in and out of the dogs and human.   It isn't the final version but the one I had on hand.   Ruggables to the rescues again!   I love those things!

The laundry now has its additional shelves, some pretty stuff to add some zing and the trim and baseboard is all up as of this weekend.  Not sure  yet if I'll paint the corner trims but I do have that option.   I'm also THRILLED to have my clothesline  back up!   It rained almost all last week and even though my washer was hooked back up I couldn't hang out my laundry!   Some new bins will be here this week for dog and bird food  and  there is still some other clutter to sort out but honestly this was a big step!

Below is the current state of the kitchen.   Just because the cabinets aren't in doesn't mean I couldn't do some "decorating".   Got the window trimmed out as well as the door and baseboards as much as  I can do till  cabinets  are installed anyway.   Put one of my other rugs on the floor as it is new, slick and I was sure a dog was going to get hurt (since they run through there like utter idiots)!

I cannot tell you how happy I am to be done painting!   Everything now is done to the point that I have to wait for the cabinets to arrive (hopefully in the next few weeks).   Still deciding on switch plates and considering possibly changing out the light switches as they are old, yellow and grungy.

Meanwhile the dogs and I had a little down time out front - resting my foot which I sprained while weed whacking (yup the weeds and lawn wait for no remodel).    They are really sick and tired of this whole business honestly so I am going to do my BEST to spend some actual fun time with them will the final phases get rolling.

I have done NO gardening this summer but honestly, sitting out on the patio having coffee, this corner was bugging me - it was messy, needed some more mulch and I just wanted to get my hands a LITTLE dirty.   So I got 4 plants along with mulch and my trim boards at Home Depot and got to actually FINISH  a project!   

I also got my chalk paint books in the mail I picked up!  Thanks to Abebooks.com (my favorite used book store) I have numerous Annie Sloan books to help spark my imagination.    I have plans for a final piece of my remodel and it involves some refinishing of an antique piece I already have.   I had her kitchen book and in there saw the fix to a problem I have had forever for that piece.   I will however be starting that adventure after everything ELSE is done and will try it out on a smaller nightstand  first.

That is life in the fast (or slow) lane right now.   I'm sad to say that each time I go to town, I see less and less people in the stores wearing face masks or following the 6' rule (so magically this virus apparently has disappeared).   I continue to wear mine (with the cute poodles) and honestly, have no desire to be around many people usually anyway.   While I miss the dog shows I was  to attend, I just literally decided that this year I wouldn't do any and will see where things stand next year.   That said, I give kudos to Hobby Lobby - probably the only place in town where ALL their staff are wearing masks (them and some of the small businesses).   Low and behold, one of the counties in eastern MT went to Phase 2 with everyone else and a bunch of idiots just threw caution to the wind - 25 cases in 3 days.   Sigh.   So here's hoping you all are staying safe, especially if you have contact with high risk "others" or are high risk yourself.   Nuff said!   Bak to my hermit life.

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/6/pandemic-project-progress Mon, 22 Jun 2020 03:57:23 GMT
Pandemic Project Part 1 https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/6/pandemic-projects As is the case for many of you, my vacation plans basically got trashed because of the current virus situation.  I will not lie, I was so very disappointed since I haven't had a vacation since May 2019.   Montanans that don't "go south" for the winter tend to spend their winter-time snowed in dreaming and planning fair weather travel.  My beach vacation - toast, my RV get together to learn new stuff - toast, my dog shows - all toast.  

Now I'm not one to sit on my whiny laurels and upon discovering that I had a suspicious soft spot in my floor in front of my kitchen sink, my vacation refunds was destined for a home project.  

A little background.....I have been thinking about redoing my kitchen for probably 10 years but other priorities (as all homes can throw at you) kept that from happening.   A soft spot in the floor yelled at me "LEAK"!    As I dug deeper I discovered the leak was BEFORE the shut offs for the sink.   Dang.   In my house all the plumbing is run under the house and up through the floor so I knew it was not good and I also knew that meant ripping up floor which meant removing cabinets (mine were really not REAL cabinets so the whole wall of them had to come out).  So just as well push up the plans for the remodel.   Fair enough - my house is 26 years old and since it is a manufactured home, not the highest quality materials in certain areas (cabinets for example).   These are the general "before" pictures.    The trick is that I have a very limited budget (read what can I put on the credit card) so research research research and lots of pricing things out.

Planning was started and I knew this entire project would be DIY.  Yup I am learning a lot!   I initially figured I'd be ordering cabinets online, unfinished and have to paint them on my own.  I just figured that would be the cheapest way to go.    I knew I wanted maple and white.  Easy.   What the online place I landed in did provide me was some ideas on what I could get for sizes and options.   Okay honestly, I wasn't planning anything fancy anyway.  What I did know, I wasn't replacing the upper cabinets and all the base cabinets would be drawers.  I am old and tired of crawling into cabinets to try to find the stuff that gets shoved in the back.    My advice - spend the time tweeking and talking and thinking about plans, draw them out and tweek some more.  I had thought I'd have a cabinet for my trash can slider....didn't till right before ordering remember that the cabinet size - while that would fit it -- with the door face frame the slider wouldn't fit.   Little stuff that will trip you up.   Ultimately I did decide to go see if anyplace locally could come in under my budget with the items I picked.  They did and I don't have to paint the buggers!  Bonus.   The cost of paint (have you seen THAT lately?) and time, they came in at about the same price and I was able to find a marvelous gal that helped me with the planning and who computerized my design for me.  BONUS!

As of this blog MUCH progress has been made and I'm pretty proud of that.  I have a few very lovely friends that have helped with some items I just couldn't (or wouldn't) tackle on my own.   But give a girl some tools and see what happens.  This reciprocating saw has been a life saver!   I've pretty much used every power tool in my garage including some I've never used yet.

Demolition is done, the leak has been fixed, all sticky tile and linoleum is removed, the subfloor replaced, cabinets gone, a closet and cabinets that were in the laundry room are gone and the walls are primed.   While that doesn't sound like much - the place is GUTTED!   Both the kitchen and the utility room.   Demo filled a 12 yard rolloff trash container (which they have now picked up) and only two tools (and no dogs thank goodness) were lost down the hole in the floor.    The broken dishwasher is gone as well.   5 gallon buckets are also a girls best friend in demo as is the shop vac!

My cabinets are ordered and should be here in July and my new floor (which I'll install) arrived.   I still am working on picking countertops and paint colors for the walls.   The current washer, fridge and stove luckily are staying!
 

I've learned a TON about my home doing the demo on my own.  I continue to learn a ton about tools, options and how-tos as I go along.   Does it suck having to do dishes in the bathtub and having all my kitchen/laundry contents in 5 rooms in my house?  Oh yeah but it isn't THAT horrible.  It is just me and the dogs, I don't  have a family to cook for so there is minimal cooking (paper plates, lots of pasta, microwave popcorn and cheese and crackers) and therefore minimal dish washing.

As of this writing we are about at this state (one coat of primer in this pic) and honestly I'm just enjoying a few days this week of pause to let my sore body heal and rest, see my chiropractor and have some quiet from all the fans, vacs and crazy.   A friend and I spent much time working on the walls after I spent a week of evenings carefully removing wallpaper, paint, and more wallpaper borders.   BAD ON ME.  Not to self, don't be lazy and paint over and wall paper over wall paper you already have up.  As my Mom would say "Take the time and do it right".  So that's what I'm doing this round.   Isn't that new floor and plumbing BEAUTIFUL (thanks Dennis and Terri).

 

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/6/pandemic-projects Mon, 15 Jun 2020 20:23:32 GMT
Botanicals https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/6/botanicals

My purple iris were first to bloom this year (and most years) but they took a beating from the hail storm that came through after they got started.   

To be fair and show you the good and bad, this didn't  turn out nearly as cool as I envisioned it!

I thought the rhubarb leaf below looked kind of like a topo map, rivers and mountains!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/6/botanicals Fri, 12 Jun 2020 17:57:02 GMT
Cool Clouds and my Neighbors https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/6/cool-clouds-and-my-neighbors We have had some really cool cloud formations come across the valley and you know what a weather watcher I am.  I cannot help it living where I do.  Yes these were taken late Spring when we had a dusting of snow.    I also wanted to post an update on the hawk neighbors.  I knew they were on eggs by the activity and figured oh about Mother's Day we should have chicks.  Remember though the nest is so high up the tree that it is hard to get good photos....well, the first week in June I confirmed 3 little white fuzzy heads up there and boy those parents are BUSY keeping them fed.   Both are hunting so I think chicks are probably about 3+ weeks old.   I can stand by the house and watch with the binoculars but if I move out into the open in the front yard (all of 10 feet) parents start screaming at me.   So photos are as close as I can get with my long lens (so not terribly clear) but the binoculars are much more clear which is fun.    I dare any of the gophers "thinking" they might move back across my driveway to poke their ruddy heads out of THOSE holes!

You should be able to see all 3 heads in the photo below.

Proof that mama was NOT happy with me pointing "stuff" at HER tree!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/6/cool-clouds-and-my-neighbors Wed, 10 Jun 2020 16:12:00 GMT
Bitterroot Camping Part 2 https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/6/bitterroot-camping-part-2 Finally I got the rest of my photos off the cameras.  My quail were not very cooperative and I was trying not to scare them.   I took the time to just wander about and do some macro shots as well.  Some you  will see here some you'll see in the botanical post I'm doing for later.  Enjoy!

Some different takes on some very cool metal I found.   I love the textures and the colors.

This reminded me of patchwork quilting - in metal!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/6/bitterroot-camping-part-2 Tue, 09 Jun 2020 16:35:44 GMT
Bitterrot Camping Part 1 https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/6/bitterrot-camping After being stuck at home all Winter and then all Spring and having all of my vacation plans smashed by a virus  I took the chance to get away over Memorial weekend for a few days of camping - me and the dogs.   

There was lots of sitting outside enjoying the sun (we lucked out it only really was wet one day of our 4).  Some walks around, watched wildlife (deer, quail, harriers, heron and many birds plus some marmots).

All these  photos are from the phone and sorry about the quality, my phone flipped to HDR at some point and those never load off the phone correctly.   Our one day that we walked down to the river (I should have done more) I only took the phone.

There was macro and close up practice (didn't take the big long lens and of course I should have).   The wildflowers were going good!

Epic cannot help himself, the MINUTE he saw water he had his feet in all of it....till we got to the river and I hooked him up because it was in flood and running super fast.

Wild turkey feathers.

Josie never did get through the fence, but not for lack of trying!

There was even some stovetop baking (first attempt) in my new Omni.   Rhubarb crisp turned out AWESOME!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/6/bitterrot-camping Fri, 05 Jun 2020 15:41:18 GMT
Like the World Crazy isn't Enough https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/3/like-the-world-crazy-isnt-enough These two idiots are taking up residence in front of my house!   While love the pictures I now have to figure out how to get supplies to put a lid over my entire back yard so the dogs can go out and potty on their own (right now I have to keep them in and only let them go pee when I can go with them).   This is truly how my life rolls!   Booooooo....

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/3/like-the-world-crazy-isnt-enough Fri, 27 Mar 2020 02:07:36 GMT
Macro Crocus https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/3/macro-crocus

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/3/macro-crocus Mon, 23 Mar 2020 17:00:42 GMT
Morning Chirps https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/3/morning-chirps

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/3/morning-chirps Sat, 21 Mar 2020 17:33:38 GMT
Icicles https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/3/icicles When it is zero degrees out and you just need to get outside for a moment.....weird I know but hey at least the camera was out being used!   Better I have some cool ideas for flower raindrop photos this  spring!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/3/icicles Thu, 19 Mar 2020 23:00:00 GMT
And Then It Was Winter! https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/3/and-then-it-was-winter No I still haven't used the shovel though, but let's back up a tad since I'm a couple weeks behind.

The first week of March was GLORIOUS weather wise.  We had sunshine and even the days it was only in the 50s we managed some time out on the deck in the afternoon soaking up the rays.   Things were going well with our walks even and the first Friday of the month we broke a record high hitting 70 degrees.   I took that day off and really enjoyed it.

Last weekend also brought this surprise (watch the time lapse it is pretty cool).

Little did they know....

On Monday this week I took the truck in and it received its new truck topper and I am happy to report that, although it was touch and go, it still fits in the garage (with < 1" to spare).   Thanks to my friend Robin for coming to help me eyeball it and get the poodle crates back to their rightful home.  I was glad to get it done with the predictions for the weather later in the week.

Otherwise the week was busy with work and trying to not get all caught up in the media frenzy about viruses  and how we are all going to die!   Seriously, at this point people - use common sense - this is serious but is there REALLY nothing else happening of interest in the world for the past 2 weeks - cuz if there is we sure aren't hearing about it.   Nuff said - stay safe people AND HEALTHY.

I am happy to report that for the first time in a couple years I manged to walk the entire 3 mile loop here on Thursday.  Honestly my back and shoulders have been in such bad shape and frankly the wind has been nasty - so we had a small bit of calm and off I went with Epic and Josie, the day after we had a skiff of snow - which resulted in this--check out the muddy feet.

But she had a blast and what a trooper.  I wasn't sure she'd make it with her short legs for that far but she  did!

Good thing too because Friday temps dropped and the winds HOWLED (like all night it raged with 60mph gusts) and snowed (cannot imagine the drifts they have where it really snowed).  We woke up Saturday to this.

I swept the walk as I wasn't ready to brave the cold wind to go get the shovel out back and I needed to go get more wood for this:

Yup I'd put the cart away thinking we were on the warm side of winter.   Nope!  Single digits Saturday and below zero expected during the night.  Wind chill is well below zero!

So we are hunkered in from the virus but mostly because of the craptastic weather!   I'd much rather remember these days where  the storms sat over in the mountains (as they often do then go  around  us).   These are actually from February.  Yes I should check my big camera cards more often!

The bird feeder is super busy and I did also get out there to give them all seed for this miserable weather.  Friday I actually saw for the first time this year the pygmy nuthatch  pair, our juncos turned up and shockingly the bluebirds (not the mountain ones though) are also on their way through as there were probably 10 trying to hunker in under my deck.  My understanding is the bluebirds eat insects only so they are really going to suffer  during this cold spell.  None the less I took the big camera out and tried to get some shots.   Out of  20 I managed 4 because I am SO out of practice!

Yes baby it is cold and freaking miserable outside so am very glad I have no plans.  Will expect that we won't be doing therapy dog next week either as I'm going to hedge that the assisted care facilities too will be on "lock down".   That's okay we will catch them after the crisis.   

I do hope you all are well and to Lori who asked about the microgreens - they did FABULOUS and so easy and fast.  Within a week I had greens for sandwiches and whatever.   I need to get another batch going - probably a good thing to do since we are hole up.   My knitting is also plodding along.  I really want to be done  by May and I'm now working on stripe number 6 of 8 so am hopeful.  Will hope  to do more than my 2 rows a day this weekend.   Time to go feed the fire!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/3/and-then-it-was-winter Sat, 14 Mar 2020 18:58:55 GMT
Been a Bit https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/3/been-a-bit All phone fotos again for you - we've been a little busy the past 2 weeks to say the least.    I am happy to report I still am at my record low level for using the snow shovel - although it did snow (and thunder and lightening) sideways one night leading to the most interesting snow on the fence posts - all one sided - right  before it melted.

There's been a lot of THIS while we had the short cold spell.  Where's Oliver?  and Teddy?

Then it turned really nice outside!   So we did a lot of this after work hours.   I'm even tempting fate and sort of uncovering the porch swing, although it doesn't quite yet get enough sun so sitting in my little beach chair happened way more.   The dogs LOVED it.  I was even able to let them out before I got off work so they got "extras"!  LOL

Teddy will be 15 next Tuesday and is really doing pretty well.  Of course I knock on wood when saying that.   I'm sure those old creaky bones really love the vitamin D!    

Apparently when I went to town on Saturday without any dogs (doesn't happen often) the "good poodle" had to fend off robbers with knives!   (don't judge the floor)   He led me to believe they wanted the all of our riches and he couldn't let that happen!

Now take a look at this sunset.  On my way home from town one evening.  This is from the parking lot where the poodles and I walk a lot.   I have NEVER before noticed the skull (gotta pay more attention).

Taco Tuesday was a calling though this week after the chiropractor!    YUMMMO!    And yes, I tortured my Mom and brother by sending them a text with it!   They don't have Taco Johns and both love it.    Yeah, I'm evil.

 

This week has been full on hurricane winds - for THREE DAYS!    I was just getting in the habit of walking at lunch every day but I'm not fighting THAT!   Today, Thursday they finally let up...some.   So I decided to give Oliver a go in his new harness AND hook him to Josie.   Thank God Epic can walk off leash because walking these two was worse than herding cats!    I have discovered though that truly, Oliver isn't that interested in "walkies" - he loves playing agility and in a controlled area but he just isn't an explorer.   Josie on the other hand is all about THAT!   So as Teddy was my hiker and boater (jury still out on the latter with Josie) I think Josie will be the one to go with Epic and I.   Sterling of course also isn't into the walkies.   That's fine and good to know.  Since hooking Oliver to Josie didn't improve it, best that he'll just generally stay home.

Wish I had anything exciting to report but honestly I really don't.   We are just rolling along here, looking forward to a long weekend and hoping for nice weather to go for a walk and work in the trailer.  I just about have the curtains back up in there and this afternoon, move out the car and Epic gets a good clipping - he is WAY overdue and then I'll bath him (works better in reverse and I sacrifice the clipper blade because his coat is so dense he doesn't dry).

Cheers!

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/3/been-a-bit Thu, 05 Mar 2020 20:36:31 GMT
Falling Behind Already https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/2/falling-behind-already But to my defense, the weather was so nice last week that I'd rather be outside with the dogs and doing projects than on the computer writing stuff.  Nuff said.   As I mentioned we had some really nice days weather-wise last week (that ended Sunday night) so I got my buns outside as did the dogs.   Some of us managed a number of lunch time walks down the road and back. 

Epic loves the chance to go walk - tail up and he needs the exercise.  What I've found over and over again though is that he does best if he is able to carry something.  Sometimes he finds his OWN something along the route.

Epic had some company a couple days.   Josie is a sniffing nut and honestly it was SO cold (the wind was biting) the day Oliver went that he didn't enjoy it even with his coat on.

You can tell based on the weather you see why the wind was pretty cold!   Still we enjoy the sun when it shines!

I got busy on the weekend while it was sorta warm (50F) to get a few more items ticked off the list with the truck and trailer.  It also meant a chance to load up the truck with all the cardboard and get it to recycle (I think I may order too many things online!).    Once done I was able to sweep and get the Bed Rug put down in the bottom of the back as we wait arrival of my new topper.

I am hoping it will help keep the dog kennels from sliding around - regardless it will be easier on my knees if I have to get in there.  I also got under the trailer and removed the old horrible step and installed new ones.   Of course the instructions were that it should take like 10 minutes - but as all my projects seem to roll - it took 2 hours!   I'm very happy with them and think it will make life easier on my old knees and the old dogs.  Will cover the steps with my trusty yoga mat covers (the dogs slip too easily on the metal) and may have to do a bit behind them so the old dogs that cannot see well dont' fall between the trailer and the first step.  We'll see how that goes.

I also got the wallpapering finished inside and am started on the curtain rod installations I'm doing.   Then it got cold so no more till it warms up.   Still a lot of projects to do before camping season starts!   

Sunday night the wind HOWLED and we had "thunder snow".  It snowed horizontally it was blowing so bad and I was shocked how much thunder and lightening we had!   But Saturday night we had a glorious sunset and I'm going to focus on that not the snow/ice on the ground.

 

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/2/falling-behind-already Mon, 24 Feb 2020 17:26:27 GMT
A late Valentine https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/2/a-late-valentine

Hope you all had a great week last week and if you got a long weekend this past, that it was full of fun.  I can't say I did much exciting last week but you know, sometimes that happens.  We had fairly warm weather and some sun which was welcome and I am counting down the days of Winter to be sure.  I'm not sure how but my valley is still without snow cover but literallly all places surrounding us have snow.

Notice that Oliver has his OWN methods for getting warm.   I swear that boy has NO personal space and NO respect  for anyone else's.   He is lucky here that Sterling is as easy going as he  is.  The other dogs don't appreciate his nonsense nearly as much and usually tell him so.

Good news though I am now about 1/2 way done with the baby blanket knitting project.   Am really feeling it in my arms though.   Still I think it will be cute.  While my friend is having some difficulties I'm using this as my positive vibes to the Universe that all will turn out well with her and her baby.

This was an evening shot of "abstract poodles"....

My Valentine's Day was spent with a friend as I took the day off and we went and wandered through the "RV Show" at the fairgrounds.  While it wasn't much and only about 90 minutes to go through most  everything, it was mostly indoors and I just like getting in them  to see what is new.   Got to see a 5th wheel with a front (up top) kitchen and a couple really cute and smart small trailers.   Also got me in the mode to find new steps for mine.  I have some on order and we'll see how they work.   My trailer sits 24" from the ground when level and I have ONE step, it is way too much "rise" so I've got a 2 step replacement coming that actually then has feet that make it solid to the ground.   I also got a chance to get into a couple of cab over campers which was something I was considering for "someday".  Like I said, great for ideas and to see the stupid things RV manufacturers still do - while they have figured out (mostly) not to cut off access to bathrooms when the slides are in - they haven't figured out that it is  equally as important to have access to the bed and kitchen sink and fridge.  The other amazingly dumb thing I saw was floor furnace vents literally in the middle of living areas.   All that does  is make a place for "crap" to fall in them.   I know, I have them in my house and hate them (although mine  at least are by walls).   There's my pet peeves from the RV show - haha.

We then went off to lunch and I ran errands.   Nice to be able to do some things on a weekday - like get the topper for my truck ordered!  Super excited to get that off my list.   Now the caveat - I don't know if I will be able to get the truck in the garage once it is on.   Yeah, I know!   I have options for that and I have to have the topper so I can get the dog kennels back in the back and get it covered.   

Oh and my Valentine to me was found at the grocery store.  Don't laugh, but I saw it at checkout it was like 4 bucks and as much as I do NOT buy chatzkies for my house anymore, it did come home with me.

Saturday brought on  poodle grooming.   Bath, blow and cut for Sterling until I started to feel weird, like flue weird sick to my stomach.  I quit at that point and tried to figure out if it was the flu or something I ate or what.   Lots of things can make me sick to my stomach sometimes.   So I ended up postponing Sterling's therapy visit (don't want to risk  germs).  Luckily I can report - not flu, think it was either hormone induced nonsense OR I pulled out my ribs/back bathing  the poodle and it spazzed out.   Took it easy on Sunday but was able to finish his groom and bath/blow/groom Josie.   The black poodle monster is still outstanding and dog nails all around are in the plans as soon as the dremel charges  up.

Oh and to boost my hopes of Spring....I'm trying a new thing....microgreens (yes to eat).   First batch is sprouted and uncovered and should  be ready for their first haircut by the end of the week.  Second batch was started today.  Kinda looking forward to how it turns out and it IS fun to see green things growing right now.

That's pretty muuch all I got folks.  Sterling is rescheduled for this Sunday TDog visit annd I have a dinner date with a friend this week as well as chiro so things to look forward to.  Meanwhile, I will signoff this for now and try to knit a few more rows.   Look forward to some future updates on my RV Pages as well, once the weather warms up!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/2/a-late-valentine Tue, 18 Feb 2020 00:29:01 GMT
February Ramblings https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/2/february-ramblings I honestly am still processing that it is 2020 much less that we are already in February.   Time is flying by which is always a bit interesting to me as when I'm making plans for things like vacation - they seem so very far off but then BOOM the day has  arrived.   Staying busy definitely helps and since I had no proof last week that progress IS being made on my knitting, here ya go.    I have 5 more color bands to do and at the rate I'm going figure it is going to take another couple months but honestly I'll be happy if it is done before the baby arrives (and at my current pace of a couple rows a day it will).

It actually is kinda fun and the way it is done  you can't really see all my mistakes.  Okay so *I* can but that doesn't count.   I figured out a long time ago that mistakes are part of things being "handmade".  As long as they aren't huge mistakes.  Fake it till you make it?!  LOL

We had some lovely 40s weather this week and actually are seeing sunshine  which thrills the 4 legged ones.

I pulled one of the big dog beds into the office as that is really the only place that gets rays this time of year.   They are as happy to see sunshine as they are for me to light the fire in the wood stove.

Needless to say that didn't last but I digress.   I did get my buns out with 4 of them on Friday during my lunch break and worked on some agility with 2 and some fun games with 2 out front while it was warm.  The good thing is that then in the evening they look like this.

I had to back up on some agility weave training with Epic.  He just isn't reliable in his weave entries (they  have to enter with the first pole on their left always - no matter what direction they are coming from).   Took that opportunity to back up a bit on Oliver's weaves as well and honestly, he caught on faster than Epic did.   Oh well, always work in progress.  I'm still not sure *I* will be able to run agility so we'll just see how it goes in the meantime.    It was lovely to get outside and enjoy the sunshine.

Saturday morning brought about 1/2" of snow when we got up.  I had grand plans of running errands (needed groceries) so seeing the sunshine first thing, I just paused and decided to wait and see if some of it melted off (since it rained prior there was ice underneath).   That was fine but I got cocky and decided to take the little car to town.  Before I made it to the interstate the road was throwing it around so badly that I detoured, came home and took the truck instead. 

I did so love how quiet it was outside first thing in the morning and really liking the morning light so I did some photos to share with you.

Also dragged out my macro lens for some work.  Honestly I am gonna need to just get back to a happy place with my tripod I think.  I can't seem to get steady enough anymore to get really nice clear shots.  But here were some of them.

I had hoped to get some bird shots but honestly the chickadees apparently were not impressed but finally after some time standing in the sunshine (but cold) my one white breasted nuthatch showed up.  I've seen this one and one of the hairy woodpeckers at the feeder this winter but not really much else.

Even grocery shopping wasn't a total boring bust.  I found that my favorite brand of instant oatmeal (that I love taking camping in particular) is now available at WinCo (for now anyway).    I will be interested to see how they taste.  Often times when a company goes "large scale" quality suffers so we shall see.

Now the weekend is again almost gone.  Things are busy at work but am kind of hoping to get a day off sometime in the next few weeks.   Maybe we'll get another warm day or too (hope hope) and I can work in the trailer - or better yet, spend some time bathing and grooming dogs.   Sterling has therapy next week so he's gonna get it sooner rather than later!   

Have a great week all!

 

 

 

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/2/february-ramblings Sun, 09 Feb 2020 17:30:50 GMT
Morning Coffee Post https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/2/morning-coffee-post Sunday already!   Thanks all for the comments and Sue hope you got the recipe link!

I honestly haven't done a lot in the photo department this week but I'll throw some in anyway.   Honestly after the week with the trial Cesky we rolled right into a week of layoffs at work.   400 families were affected by these - the second bunch in as many months.   I had a number of friends here in MT that were laid off which, while I am glad I was spared (this time - it is corporate America today - you are never safe and are just a box on an org chart) my heart and prayers go out to those that were not.   It was tough just getting anything done and getting to the weekend.   Needless to day not a lot got done at home either, it just sucks the life out of you.  This pretty much sums up the week!

My knitting  project continues very slowly but sorry no photo  to prove it.   I kinda do a couple rows at a time as the knitting and crocheting anymore end up bothering my wrists.  Too many freaking years earning a living on a computer.

It has continued to be warm outside which while lovely, resulted in Red Flag warnings  the last few days.   It is SO DRY which is not a good sign for summer either.  Is what it is at this point.   I used that warm though to get outside with 4 of the dogs and do some training on Friday afternoon.   That mostly proved how out of shape their Mom is!   Josie and I were watching video of our wonderful trainer Nancy - inspiring us to get out of the recliner!

Saturday the winds REALLY kicked up with 50mph sustained and 70+ gusts.  I took the opportunity to do some laundry (because I hang all of my laundry) and it took me longer to secure it to the clothesline than it did to dry!   Everything had to have an extra clothes pin and that wasn't even on the side of the house where it was the worst!

Since it was warm though my plan was to take advantage  and get out and work in the trailer.   I've had partial projects piling up in the spare room waiting for some warmth  to get them done.   One was to see if the new dog ramp might work for us.  I have hopes that it will based on this.   It is light weight and I think I may put some additional 2X4s on the bottom to raise it up a bit more.   My old boys just cannot do the step as it is.   Work in progress, still struggle with  finding a step/ramp situation that will work and still allow me to fence off under the door (to prevent escapes).

I then pulled out some of the garage storage items so I could do some work inside.   I found  that storing the lawn furniture cushions in the trailer prevents the possibility of mouses eating them but I needed the space to work.  You know, it isn't that big inside.   My main goal was to get the "curtains" off that I had hanging in the back and put up the new back door covers.   That involved Gorilla tape and velcro (the ones I sewed back in Nov/Dec).   The middle section is left loose so I can roll it up when  I'm loading/unloading.  Still have to put the straps to hold that up but with the wind I wasn't opening that back door.   My benches fit SO tight I also had do do a little tweeking on those to get them back in their spot and then got the little red covers put on the front of those (to cover the drawers that are underneath.  Didn't turn out  too bad.

The benches make into a bed and the table can be removed and/or moved to the side.   My rolling cooler (used for dry good storage and a foot rest) also fits in that middle space to ride.    I also started the wallpapering of the wall on the  right.  Had to order a couple more rolls though as I'm as far as I can get with what I had left from the other side. It will have the same stuff that is on the other side as it lightens up the inside considerably!   Still have some work to do with the window curtains - hanging them not  doing new  ones - and I got the new crates strapped together and inside as well.   A shelf to be installed under the TV is on deck for today if it is warm enough.  Need to go to town and pick up some more supplies to do that.    Generally I am working my way from back to front so when the time comes it is ready to go.

So that really about sums up the week.   Not a football fan so the "big game" isn't even on the agenda for today.  Have laundry in, my coffee half drank and I'll get dressed and get going.  I see the wind is STILL howling and I'm pretty sure we are still getting some earthquake shaking from the one earlier this week.

Onward.....

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/2/morning-coffee-post Sun, 02 Feb 2020 16:19:03 GMT
Time Continues to Fly https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/1/time-continues-to-fly I will admit that last post took me way longer to do than I thought it would but now I know.  It was fun putting all that ancestry stuff in a more story form though!   Glad I did it when I did though as you might have noticed, didn't have any time to post anything else last week so here ya go, catch up!

That out of the way - wanted to share that THIS is what true friends bring you when they come over to visit "because they of course thought of you".   I'd almost bet that even if she didn't want to have french vanilla coffee she'd buy it and drink it anyway!  LOL

I finished a kit a few weekends ago and made myself a pair of these - seriously cheap and I'm kinda loving them!

Anyone but me remember the old Tandy stores?   I kinda miss them but so many arts and crafts have fallen out of favor with kids - video and phones are more the norm.   Oh the smell of leather!  They aren't fancy but they do the trick.

I took a couiple of days off last week to get away from the crazy at work and to be able to take on a visitor.   We were seeing if she'd be able to stay longer term and sadly that didn't happen, but she caused one heck of a lot of stress and chaos while she was here!

IMG_1776.JPGIMG_1776.JPG

Josie was especially stressed by the visit but we are back to more of this now.

They all were excited though to get to see their Auntie on Monday night when she came for movie night.

We didn't really do movies but ended up surfing Youtube.  The Science Channel has their stuff out there and we found a channel call Stringdom.  Since she also plays ukulele we watch those videos on all these cool obscure stringed instruments.  It was really interesting.

I'm on to my next craft project, knitting a baby blanket for a coworker who is expecting.  I'm not a great knitter but it is all garter stitch so I work on it a few rows at a time till my arms get sore then put it down.  It will take me months to make I am sure!

The long weekend (and a visiting friend) also got me baking.  I saw this recipe on Cooks Country and it sounded pretty yummy and very interesting as the crust is made with saltines not graham crackers.  The North Carolina Pie is lemon and super easy!

Yeah and it's gone now!  haha   I also got Iago all cleaned and a new toy or two installed.

There was also some crested grooming - poor Teddy just cannot tolerate the combing to keep long hair so he was on my radar.  Then was so cold he is now wearing a sweater but mucho happier.

He looks pretty naked and certainly not "pretty" but at almost 15 he doesn't care.  Comfort is paramount.

Last but not least - rearranging and cleaning the dog room.  Also involved getting rid of some items in the back closet.   I was finding where the dog crates were at just wasn't working that well and I wanted the grooming table back by the window where the light is better.  Here are the before and after shots.   Yup I was busy but boy it felt good to get some chores ticked off!

The weather has stayed pretty warm which means it has also been really windy.  None the less I just decided that with the ground bare I really could use the time to get some agility practice in with Epic and Oliver.   We also have gotten some "Back 40" time.   Here's a couple minutes of video of that fun.   You can just click on it.  Yup, I'm finding this Zenfolio just isn't really good for videos so youtube it is.

https://youtu.be/wDZxvjXvV0U
 

Supposed to stay nice so I'm going to try to continue to get out with them.  THEY are in fabulous shape and doing well, Mom kinda sucks.  Too fat, too slow so needs work!  HA   Now I think since this is also finished I'll poor a bit of Bailey's and celebrate getting my taxes done as well!  Woot!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/1/time-continues-to-fly Tue, 28 Jan 2020 01:46:16 GMT
Ancestors - Dorothea (Dora) Caroline Furhman Gogolin https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/1/ancestors---all-in-the-family Today I'm going to share some information on my parental side of the family (my Dad's lines).    In particular my Great Grandmother Dorothea Caroline Fuhrman Gogolin.   She was my Grandma Rand's mother and is the lineage that gets me back to my Scandinavian (Danish) roots  that I see in my DNA results.

Honestly, almost all of the ancestors on my Dad's side are more of a mystery than most  simply because my Dad and his parents all died at fairly young ages.   In that arena though that is the side of my family I have done the most "digging" into in my research.

This photo is I think my favorite of Dorothea.   have no idea where it was taken or when.  Maybe it is the coloring on it but I generally think it is just that she looks relaxed and happy!    Ignore the little id on the bottom - it is wrong!

Dorothea was born May 1, 1880 in Davenport, Iowa to August and Maria (also noted as Mary).  She was the oldest of 3 girls as far as I can tell.   Her sister Emma was born in 1883 (in Iowa) and her sister Theresa was born in 1890 (in South Dakota).  By the standards of the time, Dorothea's parents was "older" (as in 29) when Dorthea was born but more about her Mom in a later blog post.

She moved to South Dakota with her parents and sister in about 1883 when she was only 3 years old.   They landed in Hutchinson County which is in the southeastern corner of the state.

The SD census dated June 1, 1885 shows the family living Hutchinson County, SD, Township 100, Range 61.  The household shows her Dad was farming, her Mom was listed as Land Lady with the 2 girls.  Also listed in the household was H. Fuhrman who was listed as Father and is 75 years old.  That would be Dorothea's Grandfather on her Dad's side - Heinrich.   Both of Dorothea's parents and her Grandfather are listed as being of German descent (just goes to show not all information given to a census taker in those days was accurate - and probably was dictated by the head of the household).

This is a later picture of Dorothea and her parents and sister.

 

On November 10, 1897 at age 17, Dorothea (also called Dora) married Karl Gogolin.  We assume they were married in Hutchinson County.   Karl was 27 and had immigrated from Poland.

On October 22, 1898 at 18, Dora  had her first baby.  A girl they named Martha Theresia.

On May 23, 1900 Dora had her second baby girl.   They named her Amelia Emma (also known later as Millie).

The next bit of information I find on them is from the 1900 Federal Census taken in June 1900.  Here we find Dora and Karl living near Howard township in Charles Mix county SD not terribly far from where Dora grew up.   Karl is working as a farmer and they own their own place!  In that census is our first hint of Danish ancestors in that Dora's father's birthplace is listed as Germany but her mother's birthplace is listed as Denmark.   It also has listed the first of the couple's children Martha and Emily (Millie).   It also shows that Karl's parents Paul and Eva (both in their 50s) were also living with them.

Also on the 1900 census household 122 and 123 are Dora's sister Emma (married to Karl's brother Andrew) and Dora's parents and her youngest sister Theresa.   All also farming on their own property.   

On June 3, 1902 Dora had her third baby girl.  Hannah Fredrica.

I actually just came across this photo of the whole family at Dora's parents place in 1902.  I was really impressed at the beautiful brick house.   Wonder if it still is standing.

So there you see on the left Dora's very pregnant yet holding another wee one, sister Emma and her husband (Karl's brother) and their two children, Dora's parents int he middle with her youngest sister, and Dora on the far right with new baby Hannah next to Karl and his Mom (remember in 1900 that Karl's parents were living with them) and the two girls.

In 1903 based on census records Dora had yet another baby girl (#4), named Joehana but I think truly this was Helena who was born August 17, 1903.    Spelling gets  crazy in some of the census records.

June 12, 1905 brought daughter #5, Adela.

Remember that Dora married at 17?   Well here she is at 25 years old (1905).   Mind you she has 5 young/baby girls by the end of 1905.

June 13, 1908 brings along Karl and Dora's first son, Harold F (baby #6).   I am sure that was a very happy day in that house.  

 

Still living and farming in Charles Mix county, Howard township in South  Dakota in 1910 the Federal census shows Dora and Karl's location # is 124 and they own their farm.  Interestingly  the 3 oldest girls (11,9 and 7) are listed as farm laborers as I am sure all the children were in one sense or the other. 
 

That same census shows us they are living right next door to Dora's sister Emma who has been widowed (she was married to Karl's brother remember) and her 7 young (<1 to 10 years old) children.  Emma sadly is only 26.  Based on the census data she does own and still works their farm.  Her husband sadly had died on May 19, 1908.

Here is a 1906 map of land ownership that shows where the two families farm property was.   

On May 22, 1911 a girl named Ester Marie was born.

Then on April 26, 1912 sadly, Dora lost her father.

Hang in there with me - this couple had lots of children!

April 8, 1913  (Dora was then 32) brought along son #2 named Vernon Arthur.

Finally, March 1, 1915 my grandmother was born and named Ruth Eleanor.

On June 22, 1917 Dora gave birth to a son but sadly lost him the same day.  We don't know if he was given a name or not.

Son #3 was born on May 20, 1919 and was given the name of Martinus (which showed with numerous spellings over time).

On October 30, 1919 just 5 months after the birth of her last son, Dora lost her mother.

The 1920 Federal census now shows the family on a farm in Wolsey, Beadle County, SD.  There is no occupation listed and the census doesn't have the detail of the previous one.   I wonder how/why they moved?   I wondered where Emma would show up  (often family dictated where people moved to) and in 1920 census she is now in Harrold, Hughes County, SD with  8 children (including a son-in-law) and a 22 year old boarder.

Then on August 26, 1921 at age 41, Dora gave birth to her last child, a girl named Marion D.

I know that Dora and Karl lived in Wolsey a very long time as my grandmother Ruth graduated from Wolsey High School.   The 1930 Federal census shows them still farming and working their own property.  By then all the kids were gone except for Esther, Vernon, Ruth, Martinus and Marion.

In all Dora, bless her heart birthed and raised on the farm 12 children starting when she was 18 and birthing the last one at age 41.  Holy COW!

Dora lost her husband Karl on September 28, 1939 when she was 59 years old (told you I lost many on my parental side at a young age).  Dora  also outlived her daughter Amelia Emma (Millie) who died August 30, 1951.  

Dora died June 10, 1957  at 77 years old, and is buried with her family at St. John's Lutheran Cemetery in Wolsey, SD.

I wish I could have met her.  Looking at the photos and knowing my grandmother, I bet she was just a kind and gentle soul.  There was always a relaxed smile in her photos.   

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/1/ancestors---all-in-the-family Mon, 20 Jan 2020 21:37:14 GMT
The Deep Freeze that Wasn't https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/1/the-deep-freeze-that-wasnt But I am NOT complaining!   It missed us by about 50 miles and while we did have below 0 temps it wasn't horrible and didn't last.  We hunkered in and the daily chore was  getting in wood.   Not much was moving outside.  I do have a bunny that is leaving some tracks on the back sidewalks and of course some other rodent I can't identify the tracks for.

The work week flew by which was fine.  Not without drama but oh well - apparently that is just the way things are going to go.  

I was able to get out for dinner with a very good friend that I've not seen in a couple months.  We talked dogs for 2 hours which was lovely.   She is very common sense and helped me through some decisions about competing  this year as well.   Epic and I are still struggling with CDX work in obedience and I know that distractions are horrid for him so I think I'm going to go back and do some more Rally with him and see how it goes.  Also have plans to do some agility (we've not done that now for oh 3 years) and at least try to get that last Q in Novice.   I reall ythink that Oliver's game will be agility so it will be good to try some stuff with him as well.  Friend also has some ins with practices here in town that I'm going to tag along to at some point as well.     We will see and wish us luck.

Meanwhile to keep up our  interest  I got to watch a live stream of the Rose City Classic on Friday night which was fun.   I had a number of friends showing in the  groups so I was virtually cheering them on.

Yup that is how we role!    I was so happy to also see a few days with sunshine - not all day but it does make it feel warmer.  The dogs were pleased as well.

I  am taking an extended weekend so I don't lose my time off at work and adding on to the holiday on Monday.   Sure made it nice to sign off work Friday knowing I didn't have to fire it back up till Thursday!  LOL   Not  that I don't have a very long to-do list not the least of which is cage cleaning for Iago, getting tax stuff lined up, errands in town to support the latter and a pickup of dog food.   I also got a burr in my bonnet and bought a mix for hot  buttered rum a few weeks back so I needed to go get rum.  You can count on like 2 fingers how many times I go into a liquor store in a year (yeah big drinker I am not) so am writing this while I am sampling it.  Not bad but I think I need more spices even with the spiced rum.  May try to make my own batter at some point instead.

My tax stuff is  as ready as it can be now till I get "stuff" from a number of companies including the one I work for.  Check!

Am  going to start a knitting project (yeah we'll see how that goes) so those supplies are in the house as well.  Monday I have a friend coming over for movie night so I think I'm going to kick my butt in gear tomorrow and try a new pie recipe.

There  ya go, not all that exciting but geez time is flying by it seems.  Still going with SLOW DOWN in my new 2020 year!

 

 

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/1/the-deep-freeze-that-wasnt Sun, 19 Jan 2020 01:19:13 GMT
Back Up & Running https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/1/back-up Yup, my internet took a dive over the weekend so now to do a bit of catch up on other's blogs!   I did however want to share this link to my 2019 in Review (yeah I know it is a little late).   Video runs about 8 1/2 minutes so sit down with a cuppa something and hope you enjoy.  There's some stuff in there you have seen but also some that you haven't during my time addicted  to Facebook.  If it doesn't look clear change your settings to HD in Youtube and just remember since it is long it will probably take a bit to load.

2019 in Review

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/1/back-up Tue, 14 Jan 2020 01:31:50 GMT
Where'd the Week Go? https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/1/whered-the-week-go It was an incredibly busy week at work with everyone coming back after taking time off over the holidays.   I will say even those of us that didn't take time off were reeling by Friday and very glad to see the week over.   That said, it freaking FLEW by.

There is threats of horrible weather coming on Sunday and for a good part of next week so I took the opportunity Thursday to leave work a bit early (I'd worked 2 nights as it was) and head to town for provisions (groceries) and a stop for items to finish a craft project I made for a friend.

I had these two buttons that showed up in my sewing box when I was working on the trailer stuff a few weeks ago.  That is the one at the top and I wanted to use them for something so after spending a ton of time staring down the jewelry isle - thinking I was going to make a pin I found this leather key ring tag and the paw button and then added a crystal to well, cover up the button holes.   It looks better when not this close up!

I also came across this pin and how could I NOT have it!

I have a plan to embellish one of the window covers in the trailer with a variety of pins that I have.  We'll see if it turns out the way it is in my head (many of my projects do not).

We've been fairly decent here weather wise with even a few days of sunshine.   Teddy appreciates that!   I will say that I walked into Hobby Lobby on Thursday with sunshine and some wind and left in an all out blinding blizzard!   My stop at the grocery store was quick as I wanted to get home in case it decided to settle in.  It didn't thank goodness!

We haven't really had any fantastic sunsets lately but I captured this at sunRISE on Friday morning.  It was really cold out but clear and this was the view to the west (a reverse sunrise so to speak).

The wood pile is shrinking by leaps and bounds but it is so nice to have that option.   I will be fine I am sure for the winter but I see  us using a lot of it next week as it is supposed to be below zero for about 4 days (let's just hope they are wrong).  Still no snow though but it has been snowing around us which frankly is fine by me.  

Since the weather is to change Sunday, Saturday I ran to town with the poodles in the car and hopes that the wind wouldn't be TOO terrible to get a walk in on the way home.  We ended up at the same spot as last time, we just walked a different area of it.

Yup my view most of the time is just that shown above.  Butts and tails!   They were having such a good tiime and it was at least warm enough I wasn't in as big of a hurry.   I found SOME proof that not every single part of plantlife is brown here right now.

Still, the textures you see when everything is dull and brown is still interesting.

Sorry all phone photos so not all as cool as they could be but you get the idea.   

I am pretty sure that the poodles will be throwing up "stuff" for all the places they had their noses and were picking up things to snack on during their adventure.   Will just have to leave the dog door open tonight I think.    

Doesn't that shot just make you wonder what they are smelling?  It sure does me and frankly because this is all normally swampy land, it is pretty stinky.  That is why we can walk the area this time of year as the ground is frozen - as are the otherwise open water areas.

We actually made it out to one of those spots, can you tell Sterling wasn't quite sure what he'd gotten himself into out there on the ice - and don't worry, this stuff is like 6" deep and frozen solid.

I  was going to insert here the video I took but stupid Zenfolio wouldn't upload it so I'm going to share with you the youtube link (which will open in a new window so you can get back here).  I'm kinda done with video and Zenfolio.

SATURDAY SWAMP WALK VIDEO (click here to see)

We also did our civic duty...

...and Epic and I had a bit more discussion about minding the boundaries (and I see I missed a tuft of hair when I clipped his face).

It was a good walk when this is what I had within a couple hours of returning home - nice quiet napping poodles (you know Epic is tired if he is letting the monster child sit on him like this).

Sterling is resting up before a comb out and bath as he has therapy visits tomorrow!  Stay warm everyone (or to my Aussie friends, stay safe and cool and we are thinking of you all right now - sadly we know too well the horror of wildfires).

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/1/whered-the-week-go Sat, 11 Jan 2020 22:32:39 GMT
Ancestry DNA https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/1/ancestry-dna I thought it might be nice to do a little blogging on some of the genealogy adventures I've been on over the years and am still doing as I feel the urge.  Mind you I did my first family tree back BEFORE the internet when I had to write letters and visit with family to get information.  Not sure anyone else might relate to that - it was back in high school and honestly it kind of was a start to my analytical bug and fit well with my interest in history which has always been a "thing" for me.   I was very blessed on my Mom's side that one of her aunts had already done a bunch of research on my Mom's paternal line - no small feat back then and she shared a great deal of it, which I have since added into Ancestry.   It helped me a lot!   

My Mom also shared a bunch of my Dad's family photos and information a few years back which not only was super fun to see (I love love love old photos) but helped in much of my research.  That line of my ancestors back in my high school days didn't go far especially on my Dad's paternal.   But more on that later.

So has anyone else done the DNA testing?   I did thinking it might connect me to someone that might help me over the hump with my paternal great great grandfather's birth and childhood information.   It hasn't at least so far.  

What it did do for me was confirm what I already had found based on my data searching.


 The "Sweden" threw me until I zoomed in on the map and found it included Denmark, which I knew already.  When I did come across the Danish information I was a bit surprised but it all lined out.   The German of course I knew.

Now the thing about me and Ancestry is that I don't go out and just assume every hint is valid, and by looking at what others do it appears I am among the few that actually want cold hard facts.  It's the analyst in me!    I love the marketing - oh a leaf popped up and we aren't German we're Irish....NOT!   So if someone has something in a tree that might relate to mine, I have to see that it is validated and makes sense.  Kind of why I'm stuck going backwards.   I also in general don't have every single twig on my tree documented.   My focus has been going backwards and when I can putting in siblings of some of those direct ancestors.   Realize I have 3 grandparents that had anywhere from 7-12 siblings so I'm not going through putting in all THEIR kids.

Anyway that is what my DNA shows.   Interesting that the US part doesn't go as far West as I thought since all my grandparents were raised and raised their kids in Nebraska and the Dakotas.     The lineage stuff in Ancestry based on DNA, while interesting really has only shown me a bunch of cousins of one type or the other, most of which don't have any trees built or have stuff out there they've just saved from others.

I think what I'll do here on out is just kind of pick some folks and stories to share in no certain order then if anyone out there happens to be related they can then comment and tell me I'm nuts or share stories as well.   

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/1/ancestry-dna Wed, 08 Jan 2020 22:32:28 GMT
Crazy Continues and Crate Review https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/1/crazy-continues-and-crate-review But I am hoping we are over the hump.  Sterling was sick Saturday night, Epic Sunday night and Teddy is just generally having times where he isn't eating either because he hurts or tummy isn't good.   That is ongoing but the sick big dogs wasn't fun.  I am hoping that the others are going to miss out on it as often this works like your kids - when one gets sick the others do in succession - not all at one time but one at a time to make Mom suffer more!  Monday night things finally calmed down and Teddy was enticed to eat with the addition of some of my spaghetti burger juices (before sauce thank you).  This was the after dinner "coma" shot.

Monday deliveries included a set of new dog crates I ordered for the travel trailer.   I ADORE my Impact dog crates (purchased for in the truck) and the size was perfect (my brother calls them the "bank vaults") but I don't want to constantly have to move them in and out between truck and trailer when we are traveling.   I could NOT for the life of me find crates that had those dimensions - all were either too small (too skinny and short in height) or as big as the wire ones I have in the house (which truly could fit 2 of the little dogs).   I just wanted the dimensions of the Impact crates but not the cost.  Laugh all you want but additional inches of floor space in my trailer does make a difference.

Now I don't know about you but do you find that the internet search engines do a REALLY poor job searching for an item with specific dimensions?   Days and days I looked then came across a crate that is really new to the market (like in the last year or so) and was the right dimensions.   I decided to give it a go and order them.    They arrived yesterday and here are the photos....my first impressions are below as well.

Super cute packaging (the boxes) and because they are a hard plastic (not like normal plastic crates that have some give) I was worried about them arriving in the cold and getting broken.   I still believe that "could" happen.    The last picture is how it looks all folded for transport (which we won't use).  It is light weight and the handles do not go all the way thru, which means you have to carry it in your hand.  No biggy really.   Remember these are marketed for the "dog showing people" but more for the occasional traveling person with one or two dogs.   It is not marketed nor would it be impact resistant (for cars) however is more "dig/chew proof" than a soft crate would be.   

All parts, as with folding wire crates, are folded together WITH THE EXCEPTION of the top which is separate.  It was a bit tricky/finicky to get together as well (I had seen comments about that).  Again, for me, since they will go up and stay up not a big deal.   If I were assembling and disassembling all the time - it would be a big thumbs down, too futzy and time consuming.  

Once together my impression is - not as sturdy as a wire crate for sure.   Most surely only for dogs that are crate trained.   I was not impressed with the door mechanism.  It doesn't latch as securely as I think it should (let's be honest that is where dogs will look to escape from first).   I also am not 100% sure that my ripping and shredding terrier terror monster will be using one of these or will get another "bank vault" (let us remember he has destroyed the plastic trays in the wire crate bottoms).  We just have to see how it holds up.  These also are NOT stackable (although I will stack them in the trailer I'll have to do some creative securing to make sure they stay put).

Now all that said, these were NOT cheap, are made in China and had I not been looking for very specific dimensions - I would not have gone with these.  If I had been a millionaire I would have invested in some more Impact crates but I got 4 of these for the cost of one of those.   I would not get these for toting back and forth ringside at shows either for the time needed to assemble AND I just don't think they'd hold up.   We will use them this year in the trailer and just see how they hold up.

Now that you are all bored here is some funny for you - I don't know if I mentioned that Oliver has truly come into his own in the "Adolescent Boy Dog Monster Child" realm.   So when I stopped at World Market in their holiday clearance isle I found this.   HAHA!

dupdup

So that's my story for the day!    We have enough trips planned for this year that really the upgrading of things for the trailer (and the stuff for the truck since I traded) are high on the list.  Yes my house improvements are too but hey, can't think about that in the cold as easily as "vacations".  

I am thinking I may start trying to do some history blogging on some of my ancestry stuff I've done here and there too.  I'll try to title those blogs somewhat the same so you can find or skip them.  :)

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/1/crazy-continues-and-crate-review Tue, 07 Jan 2020 18:01:42 GMT
Ended and Started with a Bang https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/1/ended-and-started-with-a-bang I really don't have much to post simply because the week got incredibly crazy.  I ended the year by damaging the top knuckle on my left index finger, making typing a bit tougher.  That happened the last day of 2019, then the second day of 2020 I was moving a table with my hand weights on it and one rolled off and landed on the top of my foot.  Got a nasty bruise from that but not nearly as problematic as the finger.   I think I am now back on the mend and hope that gets all the "accidents" out of the way for the year!   Hey a girl can hope!

I did still get some training done, outside no less and have taunted Mother Nature by getting my channel weaves out - 1/2 are outside to use (need that for Epic especially) and one set to get some work with the baby dogs, inside cuz it's gonna get cold!

If you are a dog training junkie, you can watch our outside session here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVMW8NQnzqY&feature=youtu.be

I did brave  the winds and threat of snow and went to Bozeman to have lunch with a good friend of mine on Saturday.  Was a great chance to get the truck out of the garage for a run and just get out of town for the day.   Had a lovely lunch and then again, tempting fate, started my errands (2 stops) and got stocked up on some dog supplies at Bridger Feeds and I wanted to go look around World Market.   Arrived at the latter about 2 and the sun was shining but the wind was howling as it had been all day.   I just wandered around, lots of restocking going on and they are rearranging so really didn't dawdle too much.   Checked out and looked outside to see a full on blizzard!   Couldn't see across the parking lot so I hustled my bum and we skidattled out of town.  Luckily that storm came from the southeast so by the time we were 10 miles towards home the snow stopped and all I had to deal with was the wind - and it was BAD!   

I was pleased with the truck, it rides so nice but still feels like I am driving a tank it is so tall and wide.   I had a whole 20 miles where there was no wind and that sucker got about 23 mpg, then we hit the side and headwinds, back to like 15 mpg.  Is what it is! 

Sunday was just a queit day with a run to town for groceries is all.    Deep breath and back to crazy on Monday.  Everyone will be back from their holidays so I am sure it is going to be NUTS.   I am however sticking with my 2020 goal of - SLOW DOWN and this stuff is not an emergency!

Hope you all are well and your 2020 so far is starting better than mine did!   

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2020/1/ended-and-started-with-a-bang Mon, 06 Jan 2020 02:01:15 GMT
TWTW - The Week that Was https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/twtw---the-week-that-was As always am staying busy as the days crawl at a snail's pace growing longer.   I know I need to keep busy as it really helps with the January/February downers!  Lots of projects on my platter and lots of trips to Hobby Lobby, spending way more than Far Side is on her two skeins of yarn!  LOL   I think it may be a bad thing that it is on my end of town as well.  All good regardless as it also helps just get me out and about.  I could easily become a hermit if not for my projects and appointments and stops at the bank to pay bills.

There was more drawing practice...

...and a poodle wander on our way home from - you guessed it Hobby Lobby (and some other errands).

 

Here is a very short video of some very happy poodles...

...and then I had the supplies needed to get a couple of the travel trailer sewing projects out of the way. 
I got the quilt cut up that I'm using for the 'back door' panel.   It needed to be in 3 pieces so the center area can be rolled up to allow access through the back for loading and unloading (between the benches).   I also want it to be velcro'd to the top and sides to hold it tight.   That went fairly well, with only a couple of arguments with the temperamental sewing machine.  It has  ALWAYS been temperamental and  thread will come out of the lift arm which ends up with knots, jamming and some cursing.   

 

...and then I got really brave, washed the fabric I want to put on the front of the benches to cover up the drawers underneath them.   I was feeling apprehensive to be honest but decided to see if I could remember how to gather.  Well #1 went pretty well, #2 I started pulling the gathers  and snapped the threads.  I had a sense I had some setting wrong so out came the manual - settings were right but there is a special foot you can use to help it out.  It worked okay but next time (HAHA) I will use heavy duty thread.   But hey I got-er-done!

...and then morning coffee and drawing practice and heck a little coloring of designs  I'd done.  I have a vision for another floral drawing before I move on to the next set of lessons.  I am finding that I need to find a better technique for pencil drawing and inking and erasing.   I find I cannot always find the lines I've already inked over the pencil.   More trying....

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/twtw---the-week-that-was Tue, 31 Dec 2019 00:04:36 GMT
It Was a Lovely Day Off https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/it-was-a-lovely-day-off Not sure how I feel about these mid-week holidays but I'll take a day off any day I guess!   Please let it be quiet at work the next few days!

Morning coffee found me finishing up my first flower drawing and color that I started the day before.   The book had a drawing started with completed flowers (and frame) and then some flowers with just outlines for us to add details too and then big space to practice doing our own flowers.   I did the stained glass parts in colored pencil first and decided that it needed more pop so used marker to make them really black.  I didn't fill in the entire area with drawings so added a bit of text.

Coffee and a shower and by then it was nearly lunch time (yup slow start this morning).   I had gotten some home-made salsa at a favorite restaurant last week and had some corn tortillas in my fridge that needed to be used.  So I cut them up, popped them in the Ninja and ta-da - tortilla chips!   I LOVE this new oven and even more the air fryer part if for no other reason than it has a very large tray to lay things on!  

The day dawned with clear skies and serious frost on the ground, soon to be melted off with a few rays.  By early afternoon the clouds started to roll in but we squeezed in some fun out in the way back before that happened and the dogs were SO happy to get out and stretch their legs and just RUN!    I wandered around with them as generally speaking, they get clingy and don't explore more than oh 50 feet.   No worries, I needed the wander as well!   So the remainder of the post are some this and that photos from our fresh air wanderings....

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/it-was-a-lovely-day-off Thu, 26 Dec 2019 20:30:00 GMT
Quick Happy Holiday! https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/quick-happy-holiday Still busy here but hey, no getting bored that is for sure.   I wanted to pop out a quick post since I actually have the day off for Christmas even though it is mid week.

As mentioned the weekend ended with some marathon dog grooming.   I didn't get to do it outside (which is more work cleaning  up for me) but I did get hair off all but one.  Honestly, he's so cute and old and how do you break it to this face (waiting for his dinner) that he really is on the agenda for a bath and groom - soon?

So here is some entertainment for you - a really short time lapse of 3 hours I will never get back.   I also did another  2 hours on Sterling, but you'll get the idea.

One does not dress up when doing dog grooming as you can tell!  The poodles spent 2 days shaking heads and acting generally like I did unfathomable harm to them.   Josie is pretty sure she'll freeze to death now.

Oliver is just extremely happy he has no hair!

Today, Christmas Eve we woke up to a little bit of snow so since I actually had time for a break from work this morning I went out for some scenery.   Always need more practice with the macro lens.

See not TOTALLY brown although it was by mid afternoon when it melted off.   We'll take the moisture although not as joyous as my friends in Australia that are finally seeing rain!  

I just finished another online lesson of Inky Art School and my book arrived yesterday.   I'm working right now on flowers and trying to make sure to practice practice practice.   I'm not yet doing anything in ink but rather doing pencil in my sketch book (where my Zentangles also live).   The flowers force me to work on circles and shapes that are not straight lines - which I lean towards as they are easy for me.  I'm really enjoying it and already have some ideas for actual pictures.

I think some of this will also be happening during my day off.

So I hope all of you have a chance to be creative during the holidays.  I am going to leave you with the only song I got recorded for the holiday.  Honestly I've NEVER liked playing for people and apparently the  phone video qualifies as "people"!   Anyway - Happy Holidays!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/quick-happy-holiday Wed, 25 Dec 2019 01:49:53 GMT
Wild Whacky Week https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/wild-whacky-week In my attempt  get at least one post a week in I am sitting here with my cup of coffee on a windy Sunday morning hoping the sun actually does come out today (I really would like warm enough to groom poodles and Josie in the garage - we'll see).   No I don't have a rash in my hands but the camera picked up some weird reds.

So forgive some of the photo qualities, I'm back to the little camera that sometimes I get along with other times I don't and the phone as they are just easier to haul around for blogging - NOT that you aren't all worth better quality photos!

We started the week at home with Sterling going in for dental work.  I thought just cleaning but Dr. Cathy found a broken tooth that couldn't be saved and believe it  or not, a retained baby tooth!  He's almost 10!   He was slow to recover from the anesthesia but came home the same day although a bit wobbly.  Put him in his  favorite recliner and he is  doing much better now.

Teddy and I got our chiro adjustments after picking up Sterling.  Teddy looks a bit like this before

But looks like this after ...

... and he feels so much better.  As most of you know his spine is fusing together which  puts him out of alignment easily as his body tries to adjust.  He typically has his  neck out and ribs so in addition to nightly massage and working his lumbar region he gets weekly adjustments now and it makes SO MUCH difference.  You can easily tell when he "shakes" if he's stuck (he will have a hard time turning his head and it won't shake through to his  tail).    He still gets Inflapotion every day and I am happy to say still leaps a little every time food is on the agenda.  We just try to make sure he stays  out  of the "fray" of the other crazy dogs as much as possible.

I spent some of my evenings, where my poor brain was just fried, working through a couple of Zentangle  tutorials getting back to some relaxing drawing.   I do enjoy that.

While they are fun, I am just not feeling the love and kind of want to do something a bit different.  Enter Inky World and this lovely Scottish ink artist who has a book and tutorials.   You have seen her work most likely in adult coloring books like Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest to mention a few.   So I have her book coming but am practicing using  her online tutorials on drawing botanical type stuff.   Easy and fun.   Hopefully I'll have something to share at some point.

My craft juices are still flowing though as they do most winters when I have time to sit and do something creative.   I think I had like 2  trips to Hobby Lobby this week.  Oh and while there - TWICE I passed up this  canvas that was on sale.   The 3rd time, after not being able to get it out of my mind, I decided to buy it, because it makes me smile!  Sorry about the glare - but you get the idea.

That led to what some might call my "scrouge" moment  where the chaos in my house just was making me nuts so a week before Christmas, I took down the tree in an attempt to put furniture back and start some cleaning and re-ordering in my house.

Snowflakes are boxed up and I have to say, they don't take up much storage space!   Not that I'm totally out of the Christmas spirit.  I got a number of lovely cards and gifts this week  as well.  Not the least of which was this AMAZING turned wooden bowl from my friend in Oregon.   

I love nature - the highlighted veins are naturally occurring in the wood and well, I just am in love with it.  She told me she found the guy that makes them vending at a car show of all things and that she had a really hard  time picking which one to get.   This is the same friend I did the glass blowing class with a few years ago on the coast.

Let's see, oh yeah, Friday I took the day off since I am the one covering in our  group the next two weeks so will be working all but the actual holidays.  I got to have lunch with a friend who then went along with 2 of the dogs and myself (Sterling stayed home, still not 100%) over at the river.   The day was like 55F and sunny although really windy, but you cannot pass up days like this in December in Montana.    Lots  of monster pictures and some scenery.   Josie is getting braver and her trust better....

We wandered down to the very nicely groomed beach and  well, ruined it!  haha   We also found a swan family still hanging out on the river.  I was really surprised!   Luckily there was a stick handy, mind you it is hard to get it "end up" so one can pick it up in his mouth without a snoot full of sand!

Told ya it was a pretty day!   More monster photo ops were done....

That last one is of course, more typical.  Just like bratty kids!   Then we wandered down to the boat launch where there was just a little bit of snow that MUST be utilized!

Silly poodle but boy was he enjoying it!   Josie of course thought he'd lost his mind!   Another photo op as I really like the background it  provides, yes the wet spots are from poodle feet as he had to go wading first.

They were busy looking at Robin as she is ultimately way more interesting than the camera!  HA.  And then this happened, yes I had to call him back out.  December 20 in MONTANA and this dog  wants to go swimming.

Come on Mom throw the stick!  NOT.   Back up the hill and over to the truck we wandered just enjoying the day.

Both dogs knew we were going to the truck when we crested the hill (no pun intended) and while I could call Epic back (didn't need them running out to the road) Josie  isn't that predictable so she had to have a ride.

 

We drove down around the corner (literally) to the other campground to just get a few more steps in for the day and another few photo ops.  Robin decided that this log was just CALLING for another photo shoot.

Such a lovely afternoon  with dogs and friends!

Saturday was equally as warm and windy (that is the deal in Winter in Montana  - chinook winds are how we get our warm weather).    I however HAD  to get chores done and while it is warm AND windy laundry is top of the list, especially dog laundry and bedding as then it can be hung outside to dry.

Dishes, vacuuming and dog baths ensued!   No point bathing dogs to put them  back in dirty beds.   Got 3 of the hairy ones bathed, two combed out and today will be grooming them (as soon as I get this post done).   Dinner with another friend was on schedule and thankfully she likes to go early (retiree time - 4:30).   We had a lovely Mexican dinner and then decided to go tour some of the Christmas lights.   I remember that every Christmas Eve  we did that on our way to and from church, back in the day when Christmas Eve was when the Sunday School kids  had their nativity show.   I haven't done it in years and neither had my friend.  I did an attempt with phone to get some photos and video for you.  None of them do justice.  The first one got our vote for best display.  Those santas, snowmen and reindeer aren't the blowup ones either.   It was freaking AMAZING!

We liked the one above just because it was so "traditional"  looking on that lovely brick house and not over the top.  We did find some super cool new lighting - one was icicles that actually look like they are dripping with the lights in them.   May need to find some of those.   The other was the tree in this  video - it was at the place that had their HUGE display to music, but the tree that flashed different shapes was my favorite. Oh and you know those light scenes that they do on houses with a spotlight, we saw something like that which they put on their leaflless trees.  It was like stars in the trees - something I (the person that took her tree down a week before Christmas) thinks would be cool on the tree in the center of my driveway.  Hmmmmm....

So not sure how good the videos will be but here they are:

Off to get some breakfast and groom dogs!   Today's exciting events - haha.

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/wild-whacky-week Sun, 22 Dec 2019 18:00:21 GMT
Super Saturday https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/super-saturday But first we had maybe one sunny day this week and I couldn't pass this up.

Saturday of course dawned cloudy and windy and with temps all over the map all over the valley.  I tell you there was 20 degrees variation from home to town to the reservoir.   Not unusual and as I write this I see a snow squal coming across Scratchgravel Hills.

I got up and enjoyed my cupa coffee before heading to town.  I had a mission for some travel trailer projects.   I am really going to try to get it a little more "together" inside.   It will involve some sewing, some cutting and I still have an art project to either buy or make - just couldn't settle on what for that yet.  So loaded up 3 dogs as we would go for a walk after errands and off to Hobby Lobby I went.   I wandered around in there for a very long time let me tell you.  It was so quiet when I got there at 9:30 but I think I wandered around like 90 minutes and boy it was busy when I left (It is only 10 days till Christmas remember).  Good news is I not only settled on some fabric but I got to see an old dog show friend I've not seen in a while.  She is working there now and it was a joy to see her.

So the print is the pillow sham for the quilt I have in the trailer.  I knew I wanted to do some recovering of my cushions to match something in it and landed on the fabric below it.  Upholstery fabric that was on clearance and was cheaper even than cotton!  YAY!   Then I wanted a color to make some flounces for the benches to cover my drawers under them.  That took me freaking forever but landed on the burgendy (didn't want a green as my window covers are green).   I won't be sewing official covers but will rather cut them so I can wrap (like a package) give the sides a little extra and will fuse hems on all 4 sides for each.   I  have a new back wall cover coming that I will be attaching tight with velcro to the inside of the door and then making 3 pieces, so I can roll up the middle one to walk  between the benches.   It  will also provide insulation.  I'm praying that what I ordered will also match the colors in the pillow sham above.

Off to the reservoir for a walk  although MY BAD because we were late enough I had to make a couple spot checks before finding a place we could walk alone.   Today was both poodles and Oliver's turn.  Sterling doesn't normally go because he just isn't that "in to it" but I wanted him to get to have some fun too.   Besides it was icy so I wasn't walking fast (and I'm in horrid shape so I'm not walking fast).

I don't think I ever remember seeing ice skaters out there.  It made my heart happy to see and there was a pretty large group of them!   There were ice fishermen as well.

We made a quick detour down to the shore first for a photo shoot that well was meh....by that time Epic had already spotted the geese out on the ice and Sterling, at almost 10 years old, is really over the whole photo stays thing.

Onward we went and Oliver was being really brave out front for a while!

Oliver had his bells on but when we saw this he had to go on leash for a while!

Tested the full zoom out to get that so sorry if it is a bit grainy.   Yup, still lots of brown!

You know though, so many interesting textures that you wouldn't notice otherwise I think.  We stopped as the sun came out and tried for some more shots of dogs.   Little better me thinks.

Let's just call it what it is - practicing stays!  Yes there were cookie rewards all around.

He thinks I forgot his - or that cuteness gets more.  It didn't!    Off to more exploring, macros and scenery.

We left just as another person/dog headed out so perfect timing.  I was also getting windy and cold and Oliver definitely was looking at me like he was done.  Home we came, started a fire and just hung out.   It has been just chaotic and dramatic at work this past few weeks.  I'm blaming the full moon but know better.  Dogs have all been out of sorts with the moon and not enough outside time.   This walk was heavenly!

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/super-saturday Mon, 16 Dec 2019 00:15:00 GMT
Making Brown Better https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/making-brown-better I am finding that one thing doing blogging does for ME that FB never does is that I make more effort to go out and do things with my cameras.   One of those was my decision to get that fancy macro lens out (you know I love my macros) even in the brown and white of winter and see what I can find to do photos of.  So these are some things hanging out in my front garden taken during one of my lunch times when the wind wasn't blowing.   I had a lot of fun doing some artsy fartsy stuff with them as well.   See if you can guess what that second to the last photo is of (or any of them for that matter).   Do you go out and just see what is out in your garden in winter?   Maybe you should go take a peek!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/making-brown-better Fri, 13 Dec 2019 20:00:00 GMT
Lebkuchen https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/lebkuchen Anyone else know about this cookie (especially my midwestern readers)?   I had never heard of it but when a mysterious magazine showed up in the mail that I'd never seen before, I started cruising through it and found actually a number of Christmas cookie recipes that looked interesting.   I love spice cookies and this one I'd never heard of so off to the store I went to replenish some of my spices (you know how those go old) and I have to say, I LOVE that many I could find in the bulk isle at WinCo so didn't have to buy so much.

There was a comment about the cookie that of course caught my eye when they said, don't worry, they end up hard like "milk bones" but store them in an airtight container with an apple slice and all will be perfect.   The other interesting thing (wonder why more cookies aren't done this way) is that you mix it all and put it in the fridge for TWO DAYS to let the spices all ripen.  Okay, you have to keep your fingers out of the dough (it is pretty yummy) but if I can you can.

My "helpers" were really not much help - this is what it looks like when they are in helping bake cookies (especially roll out kind).   Actually they all hang in the kitchen underfoot any time I am in there cooking.  My own fault for that training!

Additional spots free of charge!    Yes these are roll out type and I didn't do any fancy cutting out!

They did not tell a lie when they said as they cool they become like milk bones (not for dogs tho).   So off to the container and the apple slice and yup, they become soft again.   Pretty yummy and fun to try a new recipe.  If you like ginger snap type cookies you'll probably like these (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and lemon).   They would make pretty slick little different gingerbread people I think.

I am not going to type in the whole recipe here - you all know how to use google recipe search!  LOL   I may have to try the Anisette Buttons some time as well.   I love that flavor too.

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/lebkuchen Thu, 12 Dec 2019 16:19:31 GMT
Holiday Therapy Sunday https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/holiday-therapy-sunday Well I did NOT manage to get poodles bathed and groomed as planned - darned donuts didn't kick that in, rather made me take a nap!  haha

I did get Sterling cleaned up though and even though the snow started rolling in Sunday morning, we did get to town in the little car even though it was dicey on the slick roads.  

I will say - in therapy dog land, sometimes our visits are super short either that everyone is napping after lunch or ya know, just not in the petting mood.  Today most everyone was upbeat and happy and chatty.  Even one of our favorite ladies who was hurt and in rehab for a while was back which was a thrill!   It is always great to see upbeat energy in all these folks during the holidays which can be difficult for some.

Sterling was also in great form, really sucking into the petting and lovin today.  While others don't really notice I do know that there are visits when he is present but also more disconnected.   We all have those days.  

Sorry for all the poodle and hands photos but that is for privacy sake you know.    

The other thing he and I always do is go get fries at McDs after we are done.  Not only does he like it, I like it and it  helps me explain to the ladies why he doesn't get to have cookies (from them) while there.   

Yup, we finished the box by the time we got home!  

The snow is still rolling through and then not.  It almost looks like it wants to clear off now that late afternoon has arrived which means it is probably going to get even colder tonight (the wind has been howling from the north all day).  I did bring in wood and started a fire this morning so the old naked dogs are parked in front of the stove awaiting their dinner.    Now to just chill (no pun intended) for the evening.  Maybe I'll get busy and practice my dulcimer or get really energetic and do dishes - haha.

I'll leave you with this really fun decoration they had at the assisted care that just made me happy.   I loved the simplicity and the colors really made me happy.   Plus it doesn't take up any space!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/holiday-therapy-sunday Mon, 09 Dec 2019 22:30:00 GMT
Josie's Turn https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/josies-turn Last week before the storms, Oliver got to join Epic and me out for a hike.  This week it was Josie's turn and it was good Oliver didn't come.  I am sure his naked feet would not have done well on the ice and snow.   MY feet didn't do so well on the icy trails so next time I need to remember the micro spikes for my shoes.  Duly noted!

I only took the phone and was glad just in case I did slip and fall but I needed to lighten the photos a bit as it was pretty gray and gloomy.  Once again though we had the place pretty much to ourselves at least on the path.

Josie went NUTS running when we first got there but I will tell you, by the time we were headed back she was asking to be carried which surprised me.   She'll figure out the pace.   Yes that little green spot on her harness is a bell - much easier to make sure I know where she is that way.  I did a little video shot of her following someone else's tracks.  I think this girl is going to be my nosework prospect.  I'd like to track with her but honestly that is so hard to train and we can start some scent work this winter in the house.  Sterling would be happy he likes that game too!

She also had to do a little bushwhacking.   One of the things I like about getting my dogs out here to walk is that there is a lot of terrain we can try to negotiate.  She's not the most confident in that department so this is good for her to try to figure out.  And she did!

Epic just runs amuck but I have to say he went on leash TWICE because he was thinking "come" was optional!  He does better with a stick in his mouth  but after losing two of the ones I found for him he thought THIS was better.  Yes it IS as long as it looks and I let him have it for a while, till he started to try to "pass me" and was taking me out at the knees.

A photo shoot at the turnaround point.....I was proud of Josie, that was a skinny branch and about 3 feet off the ground.

One last test of Josie's core strength and of her learning to trust that I won't let her crash and burn.  Super skinny but she did it and 4 1/2 feet up no less.  Good girlie.

It is winter in Montana, the only green we have are the pine trees otherwise photos are brown or white or both!

 

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/josies-turn Sun, 08 Dec 2019 22:10:07 GMT
Finally Friday https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/finally-friday OMG it has been one of those weeks.  Super swamped busy at work to the point that I'm so freaking exhausted (mentally) when the  day is done that I can barely function.   I however, prevailed!

Made it to the chiropractor for both me and Teddy early in the week.   Those treatments are helping him so much that I'm now just taking him every time I go.   Pain free and healthy is my goal for him and he's had a fabulous couple days since then.   Then I got to have a lovely dinner with a long time friend who has moved away but gets down here on occasion.   Ate at a place I've never been but it made me so sick that I was up at 2 a.m. and all night feeling miserable.   Thank goodness by mid day I was better.

Honestly though, this is how most of my evenings go.  I brought the recliner back out as there are just times I want to rock, these two see that as their sign to plop.   Josie makes me chuckle as I swear she has Magic up in heaven telling her were to park.  He always laid in that spot.

I've had the wood stove going pretty consistently except when I need to pause it to clean it.   It is right at that temp outside though that if I keep it going I do have to open windows.   Nice and cozy at night though and I have discovered this year that my allergies are actually BETTER with it than with the furnace. 

I am proud to say though that even in my exhaustion I managed to pack and get the big box of Christmas gifts off to my Mom today.   It was 20+ pounds (don't ask about price).   Short time to get things in the mail this year though and I was thrilled again, to know about the small town post office I can get to just as quick as the local one and the girls there are SO helpful and pleasant.   I also have almost finished Christmas cards.  They arrived early in the week and since I don't have many to send (yeah I don't have a lot of friends) I got busy getting letters written for some and ready to go in the post tomorrow!   YAY ME!

So did you all shop Black Friday or Cyber Monday?   I don't normally and I admit, I did NOT shop in town but Cyber Monday did find me out shopping for a replacement oven.  My little toaster oven has been toasting badly for a while and the other day I tried to bake something in it and it wouldn't heat up.  Now remember I said, one thing out if one thing in - well I decided TWO things out for this.  The broken toaster oven AND the air fryer - replaced by the new Ninja Foodi oven that well, appears to do it all.  I make pizza in it tonight and that puppy preheated to 400F in like 3 minutes.   The big oven may never get used again - okay it will for anything TALL.  The air fryer on the right is the #2 going out (the broken oven was already in the trash).

Yeah that wasn't the ONLY thing I splurged on.  Merry Christmas to me I got this.  It is in short a fire pit.  Portable that I can use camping or here at home.  I suffer greatly from campfire smoke and this supposedly cuts that back considerably.   Guess we'll find out.   My brother travels with the inside of a top load washing machine for his fires but it too really smokes.  I'm hopeful cuz I love the heat of a campfire and the light, but I cannot do the smoke.

I'll let you all know if it works as advertised.  Not cheap but should last forever especially if it works.  Definitely is going to require me to get smaller wood split.

I didn't get nearly as much dulcimer practice in this week since I was so burned out in the thinking department but thought I'd share with you a "sound only" video from a few weeks ago when my friend that plays ukulele came and we did a very first attempt at putting the two instruments together on the fly.  We were so thrilled it came together.  Sorry you have to look at the wall.

Tonight I am just feeding the wood stove, sitting here writing and taking a very deep breath.  Work was a bear this week and I am looking forward to the weekend even with poodle baths and Sterling's therapy visit on Sunday.  I'm thinking I may have to do a Dirty Dozen donut run in the morning to get me sugared up to do baths and grooms though <wink>!

Have a good weekend everyone!  Below is the sunset I got to see on my way to my chiro appointment - taken down by the train depot.

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/finally-friday Sat, 07 Dec 2019 00:40:41 GMT
One More Day - Say What? https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/one-more-day---say-what It is Saturday evening and I just realized this long weekend off is almost over already.  It just cannot be possible!   NOOOOooooo I'm not ready to go back on Monday!  Oh well, live in the present Sherry!

I have to say, yesterday, Friday was a horrible weather day.  The wind blew, it snowed all day and the wind chill was below zero.   I was SO glad that I had gotten in enough wood that I didn't have to go outside in it and I can tell you that the little dogs were not interested in going outside to potty either.   We just didn't leave the house (or my jammies to be honest).  I did manage some laundry, doing the Thanksgiving dishes (hey, I wasn't going to do it while I had company here) and fed the fire. 

My Thanksgiving guest isn't a pumpkin eater and I have had this pumpkin pie  in the freezer for months.  Decided since it was cold - great time to fire up the oven.  Oh my lordie, it smelled so good in my house!

I've been feeling like I wanted to get back to doing some Zentangle so I decided to pull the pens and such out of the drawer and setup  a table and did a couple one offs and then back to putting together a mandala.  I honestly, am still fascinated by them.

This morning (Saturday) the wind had  finally died down and it actually was about 10F out!   Before I even fed the monsters and let them out of bed I knew I needed to get out and shovel in the back yard or they weren't going to have anywhere to go potty.  I also had the urge to get to town today, just to get out so that meant I also needed to plug in the truck (it is a 4wd day).  So sidewalks done, some potty paths created and the dog ramp cleaned off, out front to shovel the front walk (about 6" by the way) and we could start our day (yes I went out in my flannel jammies and snow boots!   Advantage to living in the country.

Still feeding the fire, had a lovely cup of coffee, watched some TV, got breakfast and well by 11 was about ready to get going.  Loaded up the poodles, warmed the truck up a bit and off we went.   I had a mission to find a better solution for my Zentagle stuff, the basket I was using wasn't set up for pens (they were falling all over) or my books.  My first stop was the dollar store, I ended up with some metal pencil holders as an option (and some Moon Pies) but wasn't finding the solution I wanted.     Next stop was TJMaxx to see if I could find some containers that would work AND I wanted to see if I could find my 2020 weekly planner (they didn't have any last time I was there).    I also wanted to see if I could find a gray throw blanket to use on the front seats of the pickup - since Epic finds it "necessary" to always hop up front and guard the truck when I'm gone.   I found my pen solution, found my planner, found a blanket AND jammies for Oliver, a new coffee mug on clearance (look how could I NOT have it?), and a book.   Also ended up with some new glass containers for on my counter for coffee "stuff".   Yeah I went a little nuts.   But....

One of the promises I made myself that when I'm bringing in something new, for the most part I get rid of at LEAST one other thing that goes "out".   So the new coffee mug was incentive to get into my cupboard and get rid of a bunch of the water bottles and coffee mugs I had around that were - too old, too small or missing lids - also got rid of a bunch of lids I couldn't match to anything.    Now though I realized that I should be using my wonderful Christmas dog mug that my friend Adele gave me!   YAY!

Isn't that freaking adorable?    Oh and the other thing I got today (in the mail) is my new yummy slippers!   My old slippers were pretty much toast and falling apart.   All of em!  So out with 2 pair of old ratty slippers and now I have my toasty feet in these.....yes, I love Etsy!

They are made out of old sweaters and felted with suede soles on them.   They make me very happy.   

Meanwhile, the sun came out for a bit today so even though the nekkids were here...

Teddy found the best spot....

Yes that is Oliver stuck in behind him.  My poor old dude is going to be 15 in March and we just make sure he stays comfortable, safe and happy.   Chiro at least twice a month, his Inflapotion and some CBD along with me nightly massaging him and a weekly dose of some light therapy (when I remember) seems to keep him motoring along.   He has spondylosis (where his spine is fusing together) which isn't a first for me so pretty much have the routines down.   

The other routine we are getting back into is the humidity control - especially with the fire going.  Pot on the wood stove, humidifier on the table and Oliver and I make sure to lotion up every night.   I absolutely adore the solid lotion bars my friend Nancy makes and sells.  I know there isn't anything allergenic in them and they work GREAT on Oliver - the only hairless that needs it right now.  Also love it on my hands.

The sunshine definitely made the day brighter and we are supposed to get warmer weather this week.  I am hoping that will allow me to get the wild bird feeders situated outside my office window for the winter.  Yup, little behind the ball on that one.

So to end the day, going to just relax, watch some videos (I'm really digging YouTube on my TV actually) and tuck in.   Here is some video of the sunset we got tonight on the snowy terrain.   About 25 seconds from oh 90 minutes.  Time lapse on my phone.

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/12/one-more-day---say-what Sun, 01 Dec 2019 19:00:00 GMT
Long Weekend, Craptastic Weather https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/11/long-weekend-craptastic-weather Well we made it to MY long weekend (4 days off what a joy).   Of course, the weather turned horrible the Wednesday before the holiday and I as usual wasn't traveling and very glad of it!     

I took the time to get the tree up and decorated.  I didn't sit and crochet those 100 different snowflakes for nothing but I tell you, finding a garland that would mix with them was a trip.  I was unsuccessful with finding pastel colored lights so basically lights come on when it is too dark to see the colors anyway!   In an entire aisle of ribbon that could be used as garland - not ONE pastel type.  Bright colors and traditional colors yup, no go for mine.  So off to the sewing  department.   Figuring I'd go with the white tree skirt I had last year if I couldn't find  anything I liked, I was able to find a cheap velvet looking dark purple and another cheap lace to go over it in the yard goods.  As I was wandering while the material was being cut low and behold - YARN - the big chunky stuff in colors that matched snowflakes and on sale to boot.  So there is my garland.   The colors here aren't terribly accurate but you get the idea.

Then I had this brilliantly stupid idea to try to get the dogs in a holiday shot to possibly use on a Christmas card.  That was a nightmare and I've not resigned myself to cards of some other sort.   They hated it, I hated it and well - sometimes you just have to let it go.

With the turn in the weather I now have proof that my mice and voles are enjoying the tree decorated out on the deck from our crafting at Tizer Gardens.   No birds but I've not gotten my feeders out either.....I'm still fighting with the jays.   That's okay but I have found that my dogs  cannot go out front till the food garland is gone - Epic thought the popcorn was all for him!

Thanksgiving day was a wonderful quiet day spent with my friend and Tinker's Mom (and Tinker too) coming to us for a dinner.  Traditional fixings, a Netflix movie and just hanging out.  It was fun and I sent home a load of leftovers and then picked the turkey and am making stock.

So the weekend is pretty much going to be tucked in, going out for wood for the stove (so nice to have that) and we'll see if we can sneak in a walk at some point MAYbe).   I have plans to get the Christmas boxes that have to be mailed put together so they can get to the PO in the next week or so since we are short on mailing days this year. Hope you all had a great holiday, ate more than you should and are enjoying your weekend!

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/11/long-weekend-craptastic-weather Sat, 30 Nov 2019 18:15:00 GMT
Spectacular Sunsets and a Sunrise (some of what I'm thankful for) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/11/spectacular-sunsets-and-a-sunrise All from my yard and one from the valley on my way home one night.    All off the phone.

I caught this sunrise one morning - see how cool it is lighting up Scratchgravel hills?

So I have used slo-mo on my camera quite a bit this year during dog training but I'd never done anything with the time lapse.  So I've been trying it out on some of the sunsets the past few weeks.  It really is fun and kinda cool.  While the color changes are super I REALLY like watching the clouds!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/11/spectacular-sunsets-and-a-sunrise Fri, 29 Nov 2019 01:30:00 GMT
Tizer Winter Fun https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/11/tizer-winter-fun Our local botanical gardens (that you've seen before) had a great event that they do each year before Christmas.  It is Christmas for the Birds where you pay for a cool potted pine tree which they then provide all the fixins for decorating for the birds to eat.    It is billed as an event for families and honestly Robin and I were the only two there that didn't bring kids (we brought each other instead).   After you do your tree garland then you can go make a bird suet and have the chance to make some cool kid friendly crafted ornaments.   We had a lovely time, each have a tree outside for the critters, a pine cone suet in the fridge for the birds and snagged some lunch on the way home.  The weather was horrid out (big winds and cold  coming in) so perfect time to go do some holiday fun crafting.

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/11/tizer-winter-fun Thu, 28 Nov 2019 01:15:00 GMT
Mish Mash and Catch Up https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/11/mish-mash-and-catch-up I thought I'd insert here a post of just some miscellany that really doesn't fit any specific item.   So here goes, some thisnthat.

Yeah aren't these two somethin else?  This was shortly after Josie got her last hair cut.

Even after splitting the big couch ino two sections, I still cannot find a place to sit!

Then there are the sun worshipers.   The sun right now, when we do see it is so low that it comes in my office window and boy the minute it  does, these guys find it!

I also recently did a bit of remodel in my office.  I love my adjustable sit/stand desk on rollers as I can move it anywhere but I was finding that it was really becoming a problem in my office room when I had to constantly move it if I needed in my cabinet or whatever.  So off came part of the original desk top and I slid it in that spot.  I can still raise it, sit or roll it out if I don't want it in that spot.   The old desktop was just allowing me to lay more crap everywhere so this is a win win.

The 'babies' got a couple new toys at the shows this fall.  Mini bones for them to work on.   This was their first try.

Some more this and that shots - of dogs of course!

Okay enough of the riff raff!

 

 

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/11/mish-mash-and-catch-up Wed, 27 Nov 2019 01:30:00 GMT
Impromptu Pups https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/11/impromptu-pups We had a nice day back about a month or so ago where the dogs and I were all out front enjoying the sunshine.   For some reason I got a bee in my bonnet and decided to try to do some group shots as I haven't taken any since the two pups arrived last year.   Not that the babies have ANY type of stay but hey, why not just go crazy! 

I started small....just poodles who I know can stay!  Do you think there is just a tad bit of "intense" in that black dude?   Okay so the light kinda sucked that direction but it was a start, camera and tripod would be required.

Then add in the two babies and see if there is ANY hope they will stay put.   Hoping the "stay-zen" from the poodles will work!

Then I tried one of the group against the fence which didn't turn out too bad.   Still I knew I could do better with light and yes I was doing this all by myself and yes, Louie looks like an ungroomed hippie boy.  L-R are Elliott (13), Louie (13), Sterling (9), Josie (1.5), Oliver (1.5), Teddy (14), Epic (6)

Turned em all loose and set up in better light - super happy with this except for the power box in the back but hey, at that point I was more worried about them all staying put not what was way back there.  I have learned for sure that you put those that will tolerate each other together and the stable stay ones in the middle.

Yes there may have been some threats and maybe some promises from their Mom.

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/11/impromptu-pups Tue, 26 Nov 2019 01:15:00 GMT
Let's See How This Goes https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/11/lets-see-how-this-goes Hey out there?  Anyone left reading my blog?   I wouldn't blame anyone for dropping off since my posting has been SO bad!    I realized a couple things the past few weeks - one Facebook has sucked me in so I'm now going to ditch that indefinitely.    I found that not only was I starting to be a button clicker (I try not to as I feel if you want to say something, say it in a comment not just barely acknowledge  it with a click) as were almost all of my friends.  That said, FB was easy, especially as I have been taking most of my photos on my phone.  So there was problem number 2, my phone photos were problematic at best, to get into my Zenfolio albums to put in a blog post and when there, often had rotten quality.  Well I found Zen now has an app which I downloaded to my phone today and am using to upload directly from my phone (before it was upload to Icloud, then download to computer, then upload to Zenfolio - see why I didn't bother?).    I'm not sure what the quality will look like for you out there in blog land but we'll see how it goes.   I also missed writing about "stuff".   I enjoy writing and FB is all just snips of this and that.   FB other blast was the new way it was screwing up my posts and not showing all my friends posts in my news feed was kind of the final straw.   So here I is!

We'll give this a go with some photos from a walk I took with two of the boys yesterday.   This past year and the new job which hasn't exactly been as fabulous as I had hoped, in fact it has kinda sucked the life out of me.....I've dropped a lot of the things that outside of work make me happy.  I'm working hard to remedy that now.  

It was a cold and cloudy start to our short walk.  I was suffering badly with a migraine but really wanted to get out and DO something.  Pulled in and we were the only car in the lot - one guy walked by with 3 of his hunting dogs but that was it.  So out we headed for what I knew would be a fairly short walk but I knew Epic for one would be super happy!

He WAS super happy, and recognized the place immediately.   Oh poodle joy!

Oliver has never been out here much less out to walk off leash.  Had to bundle him up in his fancy snowsuit, it was that cold and I think his feet did amazing considering.  He did have nose to ground the entire walk and really isn't an "off road" guy, I think in part that he has nothing to save his face/eyes from pokey weeds.  Therefore the trail made more sense.

Even brown stuff can be rather pretty.

I actually got the two of them to stand still for just a few very quick shots.  This was the keeper!  Yup, Oliver has the head tilt down pat (my friend calls it his cryptonite) and Epic felt put upon to have to sit with him (now Epic knows how Sterling always feels about him)!   

A lovely walk even with major head pain.  I got us home, Oliver undressed and I got meds, shower and crawled into bed with my very painful head for 4 hours.    

For those wondering the entire pack is doing really well and I'll post an impromptu photo shoot pictures next time with updates on everyone. 

Let me know how the photos look to all of you.  I'm pleasantly surprised on this end and know everyone's computers are different.

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/11/lets-see-how-this-goes Mon, 25 Nov 2019 00:51:50 GMT
Have I Finished my Projects? https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/9/have-i-finished-my-projects Heck no I'm still getting thru lists!   But the house baseboards are done for this season, two short ends to do in the Spring and I have the boards for those, will prime and paint them so they can just go up when the weather warms.  Slowly I'm getting some of the required "every Fall" items taken care of.  My wood is ordered to be delivered this week, my chimney will also be cleaned this week  and I got some piddly stuff done in the carport to clean things up and get things secured to the wall.  Still have a mess out there but it will be taken care of before wood comes as that will be a cord and a half of stuff I need to split!

Meanwhile I wanted to take a break from REQUIRED work to do something fun.  I've spent many hours looking at people's van builds for ideas for my trailer.   While what I had in there was working,  when we evacuated in August and had more stuff and a parrot, well it was pretty tight.   I also have never been able to come up with something that would  work for more than one person to just sit and visit (we just stuck a lawn chair in there) and nothing table wise for eating or to have a nightstand.  Well my purchase of a Lagun system helped that but still felt like I wanted more floor space.

If you remember my trailer "living space" is 10' long by 70" wide with my toyhauler gate at the back.   I can sleep side to side but then it blocked using the gate for loading and such and that just wouldn't work.  Using the drop down door for unloading/loading expens and the cooler and such, is just so much easier.   So I got an "idea"!  HA!   Yeah and that percolated for weeks, and more weeks of measuring and sitting out there just trying to figure out if it would work.  Then - what did I need to build it as I just could not (and I tried) find anything that would do what I wanted or needed and fit in the space.  If I had a full 72" side to side or more it would have been a different story.  

One of the things I'd seen years ago was a slatted sliding bed solution, used in many vans.   I really didn't need anything THAT fancy but the premise was good.   I considered  just sucking it up and building custom drawers to use as seats as  I have to have storage  for our stuff (clothes and the like) as I have very few cabinets.   As I pondered and  my other projects piled up  I ditched that idea and decided to not be silly and use those drawers (super deep ones meant  for college kids under bed storage).   I also wanted to reuse the mattress on the bed as it is really comfy.   

I considered going and buying baltic birch plywood for the seats but 1, it is pricey and 2, then I had to deal with trying to cut straight pieces of it or decide before I started the sizes of EVERYthing to have them cut it (I'm not a straight line cutter at all).   Plus the only place with it is only open 5 days a week.  Second  plan, if I used 1x boards it would probably be more sturdy, put on the same framing system I had planned anyway (2x). Plus then I could just use the chop saw (my favorite saw of all times) and cut the lengths.

Yup, that's it, but I still needed a rough plan on design so I could reduce  trips to town.   Yup, all you builders out there know how THAT goes and when you are 15 miles out it is a bigger deal.

I planned on 1X4 boards for my "slats" but after seeing the price decided on 1X3 and actually I think that was better.  2X6s for the legs, well for 3 of the legs on each bench as a 2x6 wouldn't work between the back wall and the plug in on one side and the vent on the other.  2x4s worked perfect there. 

Design challenges - I wanted each bench to minimum be nice and tight to the drawers especially for height and width and I wouldn't be putting fronts on those.   2.  I have only 2 outlets in my entire living area, one  is way back by the tailgate on the left side.  I had to figure out how to still be able to use that while making the bench tight to the wall.  3.  My lift bed rails (bed has been removed but they remain) were my "front" limit  and I wanted my benches both tight  to those to help hold them in place.  4.  On the right side down in the corner by the floor is the vent, I needed to be able to reach into the bench from the top or back and get to that.

Hauled my doubled up drawers into the garage and started cutting.   The first bench went fairly well....and I did at least remember to dry fit the wall side as I went.  Chop saw and nail gun were on fire!  

Not too bad but the back side needed better support  and I couldn't use my 1X3s back there or it wouldn't all fit in space to the bed rail.   I discovered a stray piece of 1/2"X 6" craft board and it worked fine - yup another trip to the lumber yard cuz I only had one.    Then the final fitting and discovered the nails really were not holding very well so also got screws so when both were done I'd screw it all together - especially important for traveling in a bumpy trailer.

Next day I started bench #2.  And I got cocky!   Never a good thing.   I decided it wasn't going to be the same size as the previous.   I wanted 2 things, space enough to put the tri-fold dog gate that and a flip up top to put that in and out and get to the vent.  I also hoped it would be a place to stow the middle support boards for the bed.   I started sawing, got it part way together and realized I'd cut a bunch of pieces TOO SHORT!  This is what happens when you are building on the fly!   Luck would have it though I did  have enough 1x3s to fix that issue but the second  bench, I kid you not, took 2.5 times longer!   I also discovered that hinging the lid made those screws I bought even more important for stability.  Problem with hinging the lid though was that the 3 sided situation allowed it to move out of square, so one of my spare L brackets on the front underside of the lid fixed that issue.   Hey a girl needs to be creative!

Got both in the trailer for fitting and for determining the length of 1x3s I needed to "span the middle".   This would allow me to create a bed or couch across the back but remove for  access to the open tailgate for loading and unloading.

Wood work DONE, next was the painting.   By the time I brush primed these "slatted" benches I'd had enough and used a spray paint to do the final coat.  (Yes we all thought I learned my lesson painting the slats of the deck right?)

Oh and I ALSO needed to make sure I could slide the food box or the cooler between them!  That was the easy part.   The boards for the middle span needed to be secured when on - accomplished by stapling velcro to them and the benches.  If only it had all been so easy.  My hinged bench worked and the gate fit nicely and bonus the little teeny tiny metal table also fit!

Next up the mattress.   So the twin on the bed was 75" and as you know I had 72ish.   I also needed it in 3 pieces.  I  knew an electric carving knife  would make it super easy.  My Lord the Helena shopping bites again, I went to 3 stores (including Bed Bath and Beyond which I was SURE would have one) before getting online and finding Walmart had one.   I undressed the mattress to discover not only foam but a gel topper - that was a surprise but no biggy.  The knife worked SPLENDID!   Now I needed to make covers for each of the pieces.  I wanted something durable and cute but as you know yard goods are pricey and upholstery wasn't required.  Amazon to the rescue and bed sheets - a king set was $20, they were super cute and should be pretty durable.  I got REALLY lazy (I'll admit it I was ready to be done) and did not want to monkey around with sewing covers so quilting safety pins it is.  No one will see em as I just wrapped the foam up like a package and pinned.  And if it bothers  someone, THEY can volunteer to sew em!

The bigger bench  works great too because that is where the middle mattress part goes as a "back rest".   Pillows will be the perfect backrest on the other bench.

The next part of the project is the table.  My Lagun table I had was actually the top of my grooming table and  I didn't like the rough texture.  So the thinking started about a new table top.  I don't need a big piece but wanted something that would be wood.   Hmmmm maybe I could scour the thrift stores and find a nicely topped end table - that'd be about the right size.   First stop and BINGO - there sat a little bitty old all wood school desk and the top was in great condition - $20.  No finishing required (less work less $).   It is ready to go.  My other hiccup in the project is that I could not in any way shape or form get the stupid mounting bracket for the table system OFF the metal bed frame I put it on (guess I put it on there real good)!   So ordered a new one, no  wait 2.  I am pretty sure I can use 2 brackets, one on the bench seating and might look to mount one up towards the kitchen to allow for a bit of extra counter space when needed.  Will see about the latter but here are the shots of the completed project and some of the configurations WITH the new table.

The last shot is probably how things will ride with the table keeping pillows in place and the center cushion helping to keep the cooler in its spot.   It gets really bouncy back there so I will try it and adjust if needed, I figure I can always use the bed rails on each side to strap in a barrier if needed.

This is pretty much how I feel right now

My dogs are paying the price for my many projects to be finished - no time no training and then they make ME pay the price by being total brats!    Hoping we all can hang in there without  killing each other till midish October then back on track to train!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/9/have-i-finished-my-projects Mon, 16 Sep 2019 22:15:00 GMT
Tizer Gardens 2019 - Last One https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/9/tizer-gardens-2019---last-one

I haven't ever seen this many colors all together so I put my diffuser behind it and then added some texture in On1 to give it some character.

Okay the one below was another favorite really, and kind of a surprise.

Another super cool ground cover that I didn't look for a label on it - down in their demo garden where they have trees and ground cover selections.

This is a variegated leaf maple that was just WOW.   Robin about fell over when she saw this.  I believe it is a version of the Norway Maple.   Google tells me that these leaves turn yellow in the fall.   I would love one of these but maples just can't handle my open climate but I did get some great suggestions for out front where I will once again next year attempt to plant a couple more trees.   Am now thinking Candian Chokecherry and probably Hawthorn.

Tools of the trade, gardening is not finished till the snow flies!

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/9/tizer-gardens-2019---last-one Sun, 15 Sep 2019 19:15:00 GMT
Tizer Gardens (6) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/9/tizer-gardens-6

You get the unedited picture of this as I am going to have some of this next year to try at my house.  You see it everywhere in the old sections of town and I really just love the color it brings.  I am thinking initially to try it out back by my windmill and see how it does (Virginia  Creeper).

Now this is I think year 3 for the Demo Garden they have across the road and through the greenhouse area.   It was MAGNIFICENT right now.  I think Robin and I might have squealed a bit when we saw it!   Photos don't do it justice but I tried.  LOTS of ghuilardia
and coneflower all of which I love, again, hope to get some new varieties for my gardens (me thinks they'd like where the old raspberry patch was).

A cool looking ground cover - no idea what it is but I liked the structure.

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mtwaggin@mt.net (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/9/tizer-gardens-6 Fri, 13 Sep 2019 19:00:00 GMT
Tizer Gardents 2019 (5) https://www.mtwaggin.com/blog/2019/9/tizer-gardents-2019-5  

It was a rose love-fest (and yes I put them that way).

If I had to pick a favorite the one below is it.  Reflected light of a gold back really made this pop.

Hollyhock blossom that landed in a leaf bed (and no I didn't place this one!).

This below was another favorite.  Just loved the delicate pink color.

Caught this worker nap