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Archive for the ‘Worthy & Weird Quotes’ Category

  Spring is here.  The bees are buzzing, the pastures are full of new calves and the trees are blooming.  Spring also means it will soon be time to get my campers hitched up and out on the road again and I can’t wait.  If you’ve read my previous post (Sept 2016 – yes, it’s been awhile) you will have seen photos of the major parts of the ’72 Nomad (Nadine’s) overhaul.  But since there are always lots of ‘little things’ to finish I have been working on her most of last winter – whenever the weather was nice enough to be outside.

I have added additional cabinets, hooked up the water tank which is now mounted on the trailer hitch, found her an adorable kitchen sink, finished the cabinet front under the bed and added shelves and storage everywhere I could.  Just when I feel like I’m getting close to finishing I come up with something new to add.

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A home for the fly fishing rods and reels.

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A galvanized sink.

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And the storage space under the bed.

But all of that will come to a screeching halt soon, because in one short month I will be hitting the road to join the Sisters On The Fly for the biggest camping trip I have ever done.  We will be following the Lewis and Clark Trail from St Louis, MO to Astoria, OR.  The trip will take us about 4 weeks to complete and it will take me an additional 3 days to get to St. Louis and probably 4 days to return home from Astoria.  Round trip, I will travel over 4,400 miles but some of the Sisters will have many mores miles than that.  There are 59 Sisters planning on doing the whole trip with more joining for parts of it so it should be quite an adventure.

It’s freaking me out a little bit that there is so much to do before I leave – the work on the camper & the planning and packing.  And of course sometimes I have to wake up in the middle of the night to worry and wonder “What the hell was I thinking?”  But the sun rises and my worries evaporate in the daylight and I remind myself to take it one day at a time.   The important stuff will get done and if I forget something it can be replaced.

There are 13 stops along the way where we will spend 1 to 3 days & nights before moving on and our biggest day of travel is still under 400 miles so I know I can do that.   And if the worst happens and I have to pull out the trip part way I will find my way home with wonderful memories of the part I did see.

We have an amazing lady in charge of the trip and she has lined up hostesses for each of the stops.  These gals have been hard at work setting up fun and interesting things for us to see and do such as a paddle wheel cruise at St Louis, campfire entertainment, social events, catered meals, museums and historic sites, a chance to see the original journals of Lewis & Clark and lots of fun (and sometimes unusual sites along the way) such as Ladies night at the Sip & Dip Lounge in Great Falls, MT where mermaids and mermen swim in the pool behind the bar.  OK, I admit I am really looking forward to this stop not only for the mermen but also for their signature drink – ‘The Fish Bowl’.  I’m not sure what’s in it but I’ll let you know how it is, if I can remember.  Ha!

For now, it’s back to the camper to see what else I can work on.

Happy Trails!

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Hello everyone.  I am sorry for such a long delay between posts but my computer suddenly didn’t like my Word Press blog.  I’m not sure what happened but I put off purchasing a new computer until a well placed lightning strike finished off the old computer and forced me to do something.  Now things are back up and running so lets see what you’ve missed.

First off I quit my job.  It wasn’t what I had planned when I went to work that morning last January but things had been going bad for almost 9 months and it was time to say “enough.”   I was being blamed for everything – even the mistakes my boss was making so it was time to go.  I didn’t realize how stressed I was until I quit and slept for almost 2 months.  But life is good and I am much happier now.

Especially since the birth of our first grandbaby in June.

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Dierk arrived on a very special day – it was my mother’s birthday (and her twin brothers as well) and also our daughter-in-laws grandmother’s birthday.  He’s almost 6 months old now and is full of smiles and moving around more every day.

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Of course the summer wouldn’t have been complete without several trips across the state to see our grandson and even a couple of camping trips with the girlfriends.

The Sisters On The Fly had a big campout at Deadwood this year with almost 100 Sisters attending and 90 campers – some new & some really old.  We rented the entire Fish N Fry campground just outside of town and had a blast.  The campground owners and staff were wonderful and their beautiful campground (with a creek running through it) was fantastic.  I had set up a scavenger hunt in some of Deadwood’s haunted buildings and shared some of the history and stories of this small town.  The Sisters also picked up charms for a bracelet at each stop and when finished had a great keepsake of their trip to the Hills.

There was also a camper tour and poker run where we dressed up as some of Deadwood’s famous Soiled Doves.

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Of course I released my inner slut and bought her a drink.  It was a lot of fun.

I also camped with the local gals a couple of times this year.

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We camped at the Rapid City KOA and attended the Kountry Junking sale at the fair grounds last spring then went to Sheridan in September for “Born in a Barn” antique/repurposed sale.  I bought several fun things and saw lots of stuff I could do with the ‘junk’ we have around the ranch – if only I took the time to do it.

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The bees have also had an interesting summer.  Last winter I failed to put on the mouse guards I had purchased and last spring found 4 hives killed and destroyed by mice.  Dirty buggers!!!  They eat the bees and also make a mess of the honey comb (and honey) in the process.

I have since revamped my hives to include hardware cloth at the entrances so hopefully there will be no more mice problems.  I split one of the remaining 2 hives and the other hive swarmed while we were gone to see our new grandbaby.  Morgan happened to see it resting on the fence and sent me a message.  With a quick phone call that included a lot of begging and pleading on my part he finally agreed to put on my bee suit and try to capture the swarm.  He is about 6 inches taller than me so it sounds like the suit was a little snug.  Morgan did great job but he says he will never do that again!  We passed that swarm onto a friend near Newcastle who had lost both colonies she ordered so she was grateful to Morgan as well.

Even with all the problems we still ended the summer with 3 strong hives and harvested one box of honey – roughly 2 1/2 gals of golden goodness.

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I also met the 2015 American Honey Queen at Bee College in Cheyenne this year.

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It’s been a great (and busy) year and it’s nearly time to start a new year filled with more adventures but for now I better get the Christmas decorations out!!!

Hope your enjoying the winter.

JoAnn

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It has been a very eventful weekend in my little apiary!

Matillda and half of her hive decided Sunday was a good day to swarm.

In the spring it’s common for bee hives to split when they become overcrowded.  The worker bees will prepare for this split by raising a new queen.  They will choose around a dozen eggs which will be fed Royal Jelly exclusively.  This special diet will allow the eggs to grow into fully formed females complete with all the reproductive parts needed to mother a whole colony of bees.  It will take 16 days for the queens to mature in their specially built honeycomb cells which are large and look something like a peanut.  When the first queen hatches she will start making a piping noise which makes all the other possible queen candidates start piping too.  Hearing the un-hatched queens in their cells, the first queen will make her rounds – killing the other queens before they can hatch or fighting to the death of any others that may have hatched before she could get to them.  Common belief is that each colony will only have one queen but it appears that is not always the case.  Studies have shown hives can have 2 or more queens.  Survival of the fittest at its best.  But before all the power struggle for the crown starts the old queen (Matillda) and half of the worker bees will just pick up and leave.  They will form a cluster or swarm somewhere as the scouts venture out looking for possible nesting sites.

Fascinating, don’t you think?

I knew this would be a possibility since both the hives had survived the winter so I had split my first hive – Bee-A-Trix and was getting ready to split the 2nd one when the bees got tired of waiting for me.  So after a morning spent rooting around in the garden, I was in the process of getting cleaned up to go to a wedding – blissfully ignorant of what was going on outside.  At least until I glanced out the window and saw something caught in the fence.

I had just stepped out of the shower and didn’t have my glasses on so at first I thought it looked like one of my poor hens hanging upside down in the fence.  This type of thing has happened before.  Thomas, our turkey tried to fly over the fence one day and somehow managed to get his feet caught in the wire.  He was hanging upside down like Thanksgiving dinner ready to pluck when I saw him.  I’m not sure how long he had hung there but by the time I found him he was totally exhausted and a little ‘loopier’ than normal.  Of course seeing a brown mass caught in the fence – I panicked.  Shoving my bare feet into my fuzzy slippers I ran out into the back yard.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – It’s a good thing we don’t live in town!  I did mention I had just stepped out of the shower, right?

By the time I got close enough to see that it wasn’t a chicken I realized it was a beautiful swarm of honeybees clustered onto the boards and wire of the fence.

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It was exciting and beautiful!!!  I stood there in awe – my jaw slack and agape till I realized I had way too much exposed skin to be dealing with something like this.  I high-tailed it back to the house in a mad dash.

You should have seen the chaos that ensued – a buck naked blur of glow-in-the dark white ranch wife flesh which hadn’t seen sunlight for the last 8 months of the longest winter in recent history!

There was no time to waste.  I was throwing on clothes and gathering bee gear as fast as I could before the bees decided to move on.  Of course this was a long, three-day weekend so all the kids and their dogs were home but thankfully it was only me and the dogs at the house while all of this was going on.

I’m not sure if the dogs will ever recover…

They still look at me funny.

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But at least I’m not writing this from a padded cell which I would be if the kids had been home (or the dogs could talk).

Any-hoo.  I managed to get dressed and find everything I needed before whipping the table-cloth off the dining room table and running out the back door to the shed where I grabbed extra hive parts which I tossed into the back of the pickup.

Since the cluster was mainly on the outside of the fence I had to drive out of the yard and around to the other side of the fence.

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I misted them with a couple squirts of sugar-water from my handy-dandy spray bottle and right away their hum dropped down a notch as they went to work cleaning the sticky substance off each other.  I snapped a few pictures and then just knelt there beside them – watching as two bees waggle-danced in the mass.  I assume they were giving detailed location information for possible new housing they had found.

Right then Hubby and our son, Morgan showed up so I ran to them and asked them to keep an eye on me while I tried to gather the bees – you know – for safety purposes.  Needless to say they were less than thrilled and failed to see how they would be able to help if things went wrong.  It appears I might be willing to run into a swarm of wild bees to save them but I’m pretty much on my own if I’m dumb enough to venture in on my own.  Finally, I talked them into keeping an eye on me (from a safe distance of 1/4 mile) and calling 911 if things went bad.  But I shouldn’t have worried as the swarm seemed very calm.  Even the one bee that found its way inside my shirt didn’t even sting me.

 I tucked the table-cloth over the bottom board and gave them another light spray of sugar-water then using my bee brush I swept the cluster of bees onto the cloth.  Some remained on the boards but the majority of them came off in about 3 swipes.

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Using the cloth, I flipped the ball of bees into the box and then opened one corner so they could find their way in.

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Worked like a charm!!!  It didn’t take them long to figure it out.

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A little bit of wild, gaudy canvas and a box of sawdust on top for insulation and the bees seemed happy to move in.  As it turned out it was just in the nick of time.  I added the top cover as the last of the bees found the entrance & the heavens opened and rain poured down on us.

Matillda and her subjects spent the night right there on the soggy ground but early the next morning I was able to move it to the other side of the greenhouse where it will probably remain.  I think I should add the cover with Matillda’s name on it as this is the old queen from the original hive and I will have to come up with a name for the new queen which will hatch out shortly.

Oh, what will it bee?

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Well, it’s official.  Summer must be here because the fire season has started – right in our ‘back yard’.

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This was the view from our front porch earlier today.  We had heard the lightning hit close by but didn’t even know we were on fire until our neighbor John stopped by to let us know.

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I had to drive down toward my in-laws house before I could get a good look at it.  The lightning had lit up an old snag – a dead tree that had already burned once several years ago when the mountain burned off in one of the previous fires.   It always amazes me that Elk Mt continues to burn even though there isn’t much left to burn.

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Thankfully, it appears every fire department for miles around are ready and just waiting for a call.  We were very lucky to have trucks and firefighters from Elk Mt Volunteer Fire Dept., the Forest Service and the Weston County Volunteer Fire Dept. – they even brought out a dozer (which I failed to get a picture of) just in case things got out of hand.

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But the guys were quick to put the flames out.  Even the horses were impressed.

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Thank you to all our friends and neighbors for coming to help.  We know this isn’t the easiest country to fight fire in and we really appreciate it!

And just check out the four-legged firefighter in this photo…

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That’s Hubby’s horse Smokey earning his name with a chain saw strapped to the back of his saddle.

Thank you all!!!!!

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Merry Christmas

I only have a minute to wish one and all a very merry Christmas! I hope you are spending this holiday season with the ones you love and are able to eat delicious food till they have to roll you away from the table… just like me!
Merry Christmas and all the best for the new year.

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Summer has gone by really fast.  The local kids are back in school and tonight you can almost smell a touch of autumn in the air.  It has been awhile since I cleared off the memory card in my camera so I thought I would just see what was on it.

We have never had as many flowers in the garden as we have this year. 

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And what can I say about the veggies?  It is amazing what a little rain and a few happy honey bees can do.

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These are some of the veggies I picked last Friday for the Farmers Market. 

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Amazing!  Just check out that BEA-UT-I-FULL box of tomatoes.  I was so impressed with them that they rode to town Saturday morning on the console beside me so I could admire their beauty.  And I did…  right up till the moment I turned down into the narrow road through Hell Canyon and a sweet little speckled white-tail fawn jumped out of the ditch right in front of me!

I slammed on the brakes…

Our eyes met in wide-eyed horror…

Time stood still…

And foul, four lettered words spewed from my dainty, pink lips.

With white knuckles I clutched the wheel and waited for the impact of tender flesh against hard, cold metal…

I missed the fawn – Thank goodness!

But before I could heave a sigh of relief all hell broke loose in the pickup.

In one felled swoop all the veggies and supplies which had been in the back seat unloaded onto the floor – wedging themselves into a jumbled mass between the seats.  In the bed of the pickup it was even worse.  The pumpkins, beets, squash and gourds which had been neatly stacked in lovely, hand-woven baskets slid forward followed closely by the little red wagon, tables, shelf unit and canopy (complete with the 4 cement blocks I use as corner weights) which slammed into the front of the pickup bed leaving a pile of damaged veggies and busted wicker.  I can still see their multi-colored veggie ‘faces’ pressed against the back window. 

And last – but not least, that whole flat of luscious, BEA-UT-I-FULL, red-ripe tomatoes hit the dash causing them to jump out of the box, and cascade down the side of my leg onto the floor where they rolled around like a class room full of kindergarteners hyped up on cherry Kool-Aid and sugar cookies on the first day of school.  They frolicked around my mud-caked boots before finally lodging themselves under the gas and brake pedals.

It wasn’t pretty.

Hell, it wasn’t even funny.

I pulled over and put the pickup in park before lifting my feet out of the tomato soup on the floor.  I picked up the split and bruised tomatoes that I thought I could salvage then opened the door and kicked out the ones that were beyond hope.  I tell you, there is nothing sadder than smashed tomatoes on the side of the road – unless it is a smashed baby Bambi.  I was glad he had avoided the bumper and hoped he had at least learned a lesson about fast-moving vehicles.  

Yes, I was thankful I had not hit him – at least until I came home later that day and noticed that all the tomatoes I had left bleeding on the side of the road were now gone.  The greedy little deer.  I don’t know how he knew which vehicle to jump in front of but I’m convinced that was his evil plan all along.  Nasty little bugger – I’ll be watching for him this week.

Now, one week later,  there are still tomato guts on my floor mat…

and the dash…

and console…

But even after all that my little booth still looked pretty good and I sold more veggies last Saturday then I ever have. 

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I even sold a bag full of mangled tomatoes.  Am I a salesman or what?

But last week’s trip wasn’t my only memorable trip to the Farmers Market – in fact – the trip the week before was a bit bazar too.  I was just glad I had my camera handy because no one would have believed me without the photographic evidence I now have.

Flashback to Saturday, August 17th –  6:47 am:

It was a beautiful summer morning.  The sun was shinning brightly, its brilliant golden rays glittering across the rain-soaked highway – which was still wet from a storm the night before.  There were no deer in sight and I had almost made it to the outskirts of Custer when I topped a hill and saw this:

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Yes…  Those are vultures!!!  Yes… 24 vultures all in a row!!!

One vulture on each fence post as far as the eye could see. 

I had coasted past them before my groggy brain cells registered what I was seeing.  I grabbed my camera and turned into an approach, checking the traffic from both directions.  I would be late to the farmers market but I had to go back.  Really, how many times does a photo opportunity like this present itself?

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You should know – I am a rather superstitious person so coming across 24 vultures, lined up in a row beside the highway next to a speed limit sign could be taken as a warning or even worse – A REALLY BAD OMEN!!!  Especially to someone like me who has seen every Final Destination movie they ever made.

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It looked like a Highway Patrol commercial meant to scare teenaged drivers into following the speed limit.  All it needed was camera men filming the scene and subtitles printed across the bottom of the fence:

“Go ahead and speed.  We’ll be there to pick up the pieces.  Bahahahahahahahaaaa!”

I looked around.  There weren’t any camera men.

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Frankly, it freaked me out – especially when every one of the birds stayed put and let me move in close enough for some good (and creepy) pictures.

The thunderstorm the night before had been pretty nasty so the logical part of my brain knew they were just enjoying the morning sun, perched there ‘spread-eagled’ (LOL – I crack me up!) to dry their feathers off.  I had seen lots of vultures do this many, many times before. 

The superstitious part of my brain wasn’t so sure.

That part of my brain reminded me that I had never seen a grand total of 24 vultures all in a row, near a busy highway with no sign of road kill and only a speed limit warning sign in the middle of them for good measure!  It also didn’t help that I was the only one out on that lonely stretch of road that early in the morning. 

Talk about your Twilight Zone moments.

Needless to say, I have followed the speed limit ever since and so far I haven’t seen the vulture patrol again. 

After the last two weeks I’m not sure what to expect this week but I’ll be sure to report back to you if anything out of the ordinary happens on Saturday. 

Otherwise, I’ll see you at the Farmers Market…

I hope!  Bahahahahahahahaaaa!!!

 

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I can’t believe it’s the end of February already.  I have been a busy woman – the tomato and pepper seeds are planted & sprouting.  The garden plan is drawn up and the hoop house is ready to go.  I was in full garden mode and fully focused on my gardening mission when BAM! in the middle of everything I got a phone call from a man I had never met…

“I hear you restore old campers…”  He started.

“Yes?”  I answered wondering what kind of weirdo made crank calls like this.

“It’s free if you’ll drag it away…”

Not every woman would fall for a line like that.  But I did. 

Apparently, this very nice man had purchased a house and property on the outskirts of Newcastle last April and was ‘blessed’ with the old camper that had been a permanent feature for some time.  To tell the truth, I’m not sure he realized it was part of the deal when he signed the papers.  Now, after nearly a year of looking at the old beast he had decided it was time for it to go – one way or another.  Of course I offered to stop after work the next night to check it out. 

When I first saw it – I gagged.

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NO WAY!!!  ARE YOU KIDDING ME? 

This thing is huge – 24 feet long!  I want cute, little campers not carefree mobile home living!  Besides, the thing fairly screamed “Drag me to the junk yard!”  

I considered turning around and quietly driving away at a high rate of speed but I had told him I would stop so I did even though I had already made up my mind.

The very nice man who now owned this treasure met me at the door.  (I didn’t even have time to knock).  He knew nothing of its origins but had already offered it to several people.  From what he said I got the impression that every single one of them had run screaming into the woods!  Obviously I’m a little dumber than the rest as I was still standing there.  

One or two of them had actually stopped long enough to inquire about striping out the ‘good stuff’ before they high-tailed it down the driveway but no one was insane enough to consider taking it home.

I was desperately trying to think up an excuse to leave.   

Good Grief – I haven’t even finished the two trailers I have and you know, Hubby would probably divorce me if I drug that thing home. 

But I should at least look inside – just to be polite.

So I stepped through the only door that would open – did you notice it has two?  I walked past the rotted wood on the inside of the door and the one single board that was all that remained of the screen door.  I was trying to remember when I’d gotten my last tetanus shot when I stepped onto a solid floor!  

No Way!  I bounced on the threashold then I bounced my way around the room and down the hall (I’m pretty sure the very nice man thought I was nuts).  The floor was solid.  This thing has been open to the elements for roughly 15 years and the floor is still good?  That can’t be.

The arctic winds whistled through the trailer like a wind tunnel at an airplane test sight, chilling me to the bone as I bounced past the bathroom.  OK – that’s scary but at least there wasn’t the smell of rot and decay or mold and mildew or the stench of mice poop rotting in the corners.  The old girl was as fresh as the great outdoors.  Of course she had been airing out for 15 years.

So she’s solid underneath and smells good but I still shook my head –  No Way! 

Then I noticed she was actually pretty clean inside.  No rubbish piled up – no junk stored inside – no furniture or mouse infested upholstery to deal with.  Considering the winds in Wyoming everything had probably blown out and across the pasture years ago.

We moved to the kitchen – me, still bouncing on the floor.  He looked at me – a glimmer of hope in his eyes that he could pawn this thing off on the crazy lady but I stuck to my guns.

 “I’m sorry, but this job is way beyond my skill level.  I don’t think……I can……..Ahwwww.”

I looked up…  my jaw hung open, slack and agape.  I’m sure he could see every filling in my mouth.

Above me was the most beautiful ceiling of honey-gold birch I have ever seen in a camper.  It glowed like the setting sun.  It’s warmth filled the room.  I fell to my knees to worship at the Holy Shrine of Heavenly Birch.  How could this be?  Her roof was still sealed.  Through the tears in my eyes I could see there was very little water damage.  The worst of it – an area about 2″ square on the corner of one ceiling vent.  In hushed reverence, I reached up with a trembling hand and closed the vent.  Really? 

The freaking vent was open!!!

I took a deep breath.   The very nice man drooled in anticipation.

“Well, she’s got potential but – no.”  I shook my head…

And then I saw the kitchen cabinets – honey gold birch radiated a soft glow, gleaming in the light from the busted window.  Rounded corners and classic details from the 50’s.  Original appliances – the stove and fridge were both clean inside and in good shape protected by a layer of dust.

I smiled and heaved a weary sigh. 

“No, sorry…  I can’t”

I got in my pickup and drove away…

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You should be proud of me…  Hubby was…

 

I went home ate supper and tried to sleep that night. 

But she wouldn’t let me.

I spent the next two days trying to talk myself out of it. 

But she wouldn’t leave me alone.

For 3 nights I didn’t sleep because that nasty old camper wouldn’t stop whispering to me!

She crept into my thoughts – at night, at work, at all hours of the day. 

‘Pearl’ haunted me.

I should never have given her a name.

Dopey from lack of sleep I finally gave in.  I called the very nice man – the offer still stands. 

Now she’s mine. 

The very nice man thinks I’m totally nuts. 

Of course, Hubby has known that for years.

I spent $40.00 on used tires to fit her rims and another $40.00 on duct tape and silicone.  With the old sheet of plastic from the greenhouse I should be able to seal up the windows till I can get them fixed but first we have to get her home without a major mishap…

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Heaven help me!

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