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Posts Tagged ‘crazy ranch wife’

Mom…

I’m sorry it’s been so long since I have written. 

When I started this blog I swore I would never write those words but my mother passed away January 7th and I suppose in my warped and twisted mind I felt that seeing it in print would make it more ‘true’.   That could explain why I purchased all the local news papers but still haven’t opened one up to read the obituary. 

My Mom, Ellen was a beautiful lady.  She had a wonderful singing voice (1st soprano in the All State Choir) and was usually singing or humming. 

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She was an artist that loved oil painting, was very active in the church and raised 3 wild and crazy kids.  She was a great mom with a sense of humor who lead us on adventures and made holidays and birthdays special.  She gardened and loved to travel and was always ready to jump in the plane and go.

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She was only 72 years old but she has suffered from strokes for many years.  Her first stroke was while I was still in school.  She bounced back from that one but the next one she had, in the spring of 1985 left her unable to deal with numbers.  Then the strokes, the dementia and finally Alzheimer’s slowly took her from us, a little at a time. 

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Even though we’ve been saying goodbye for 25 years I don’t think any of us were ready when it happened.  But it did and we miss her.

*******

I sing because I’m happy.

I sing because I’m free.

For his eye is on the sparrow,

And I know he watches me.

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Sorry I have been away so long – here we are at the end of another busy summer and I’m not sure where it went.

I know I promised you some photos of my tatted lace but my camera has decided it doesn’t want to work anymore so I guess it is time to go shopping once again. 

I’ve been busy gardening.  The garden has done fairly well – even though we haven’t gotten much rain.  It has been a strange summer with the plants only setting on a few ‘fruits’ that haven’t gotten as big as usual and things ripening up extra early.  I started picking winter squash in mid July – which is unheard of here but I guess if the plants are stressed they figure they better Git-R-Done as soon as possible.

Our youngest son, Morgan moved back home for a month or two.  He was working 6 days a week as a welders assistant on the new pipeline west of Newcastle.  He was lucky to get a really good welder to work with so he learned a lot and had a pretty good time too.  He just left this last weekend for school where he will be taking welding.  He was ready to go but will miss his dog Steve (probably more than he’ll miss his mother).  Steve will be living with us while he’s gone.  This should give me plenty of time to spoil the short little, 4-legged sweety pie.

We’re all missing that kid of ours but we know he’ll do well.

We also have news on our oldest son, Dalton and his wife Dani.  They are now living in Eastern SD where he is working as a welding instructor at the Vo Tech where he went to school.  What a great opportunity for them but we’re missing them as well.

And what have I done all summer beside garden?  I joined Sisters on the Fly – I am now sister #2831 – thank you very much!  And I have been working on my little campers – Nadine and Ruby.  Ruby is the one that has made the most progress.   

Besides doing a whole lot of cleaning I have ripped out and replaced some of the bad paneling, greased wheel bearings and discovered she has electric brakes, cleaned up mouse poop, started sanding cabinets and resealing them, cleaned some more mouse poop, wall papered, bought new tires, screwed her back-end back together where it had come apart after I cleaned up even more mouse poop, and pretty much patched, fixed and refinished everything I touched on her.  I also found a wonderfully talented lady near Custer who re-upholstered the seats and sofa for her too.  You just gotta love those red & white stripes!!!

Check out that new silk wall paper too.  It looked good on the computer but inside Ruby the first thing I thought of was an old-time Western House of Ill Repute.  Yep, looks like the finest little Texas Whore House you ever did see – don’t she?  Oh well, once I get all the photos and stuff hung up and screwed to the walls it should look real pretty.  And even though the curtains aren’t sewn yet the fabric looks very nice with it so I guess it has to stay. 

I hitched up Ruby and went to the county fair a couple of weeks ago and she performed flawlessly except for a few drops of rain that managed to get past all the silicone caulking I forced in around her ceiling vent.  I guess that still needs some work.  She is a work in progress but she is slowly coming along. 

Ruby is up in Rapid City this week getting her propane checked out (which has not turned out so well) and hopefully getting a new water tank and tubing.  The guys in the Service Department are almost as tickled with the old girl as I am.  The kid who parked her in the lot said he figured she was the oldest one they’d ever had. 

I do have to tell you about one wild adventure I had with Ruby early on.  One of the first things I fixed on her this spring was her door.  Someone had tried to pry their way inside at some point in her life so the bottom and top corners of the door were ‘sprung’ and wouldn’t fit snug like they should.  Of course that meant that rain and snow had managed to find their way inside and messed up the wood on the inside of the door.  I removed the door, took off the door latch, buffed off the old paint and primer, polished her up, repainted the arrow (International Red – Sweet!) and added some black pin stripping before replacing the wood with new paneling painted with chalk board paint.  I saw that in an issue of Mary Jane’s Farm magazine – so you can write messages on the door – Way too cute.  Once things were fixed up I replaced the latch and screwed the door back on and after a few minor adjustments (skillfully made with a large hammer) the door shut much better than it had before.  In fact, it shut so well that I couldn’t get it open again.  If I had been thinking at all I would have realized before now that I should have been inside the camper when I shut it the first time just in case but I didn’t happen to think of that until the door was firmly stuck shut. 

I wiggled the latch.  I cussed.  I begged the latch to open.   Then I cussed some more – with gusto – but it still wouldn’t open.  The key was no help either – first because it wasn’t locked and second because she hadn’t come with a key.  There obviously was something else ‘amiss’ with her security system.  I thought – no worries – there are little cubby doors all the way around the outside of the camper so I should be able to pick the lock on one of those and get inside – no sweat. 

I’m afraid to report that as a thief I would not make a very good living.  In fact, I would probably starve. 

Even though old campers come with pretty basic (cheap) locks I wasn’t able to get any of the 3 cubby doors open.  No problem (I thought again) there were screws all along the top of the hinge holding the doors on.  I would just take them off, remove the door and crawl right in.  I chuckled to myself as I picked the largest door to work on.  Heck if the spare tire could fit through it, so could I.  It took me 30 minutes to remove the 20 small screws along the top of the hinge then I stuck my handy-dandy screwdriver in to pry the hinge loose only to find out that the 20 screws on the outside weren’t the only ones holding the door on.  Inside the wall, locked up safe behind the stuck door were another 20 screws holding it from the other side.  This led to another 45 minutes of lock picking attempts and much more cussing.  My lock picking skills didn’t work any better the second time.  Finally, I was down to my last option.

The cubby door that was already bent: 

You guessed it – it is the smallest cubby door on the whole camper. 

Since the door was already bent I could reach my hand inside without causing any more damage and with the help of a screwdriver and a few skinned up knuckles I was able to remove the screw on the back of the lock.  Unfortunately, that didn’t release the lock.  In fact I’m not sure what that screw really does, if anything.  I’m beginning to think it’s just a ‘decoy’ screw and some kind of sick joke to make you think you could actually break in.  Either way, after lots of feeling around inside with my hand and trying to picture the inside of the lock in my mind I realized there was a clip that slid into the back of the lock to hold it in place.  A pair of pliers later and I had the lock out of the door and the hatch open. 

Success!!! 

Then I looked at the opening…

It is even smaller than the door…

I measured it… 

Thought a minute…

Then I measured my ass…

Hmmm… 

I measured the door again…

Pulled off my belt…

Took off my hat…

pulled the tape measure a little tighter around my ass…

Maybe… 

Just maybe…

By this time, my beloved Hubby – who has shown no interest in Ruby at all – till now – realized what was going on and had pulled up a lawn chair for the show.  I glared at him but refused to be intimidated by the smirk on his face.  I knelt beside the door, pulled out the heavy electrical plug and extension cord along with as much of the garbage, mouse poop and dust I could reach.  Tightened my mask down over my face (safety first) and started in – looking like a demeanted yet determined bank robber and wondering how I would explain this to the paramedics who would eventually have to come rescue me. 

After seeing how determined I was, Hubby did jump up and help by holding the door as I wiggled my shoulders – one side then the other through the small opening.  I had made it halfway through when Hubby suddenly yelled,

“STOP!!!  HOLD STILL!”. 

I stopped dead in my tracks trying to figure out if I had caught myself on something or EVEN WORSE if a snake had appeared.  Of course since I was stuck half-way in and half-way out of the camper I feared the worse.  Trying to keep my rising panic in check I calmly (Ha!) asked him what was wrong.  “Nothing,”  he answered, “I just want to get the camera.” 

Ha, Ha, Ha!!!

Damn man!

But I have to admit this did give me the added incentive I needed to wiggle my backside through the opening in record time. 

I had made it…

Well, sort of… 

My boots were still sticking out the side of the camper.

  But since this was obviously a very lucky day for me, things just continued to go my way.  The cubby I had chosen to crawl through opened up to the storage space beneath the sofa/bed so there wasn’t very much extra space and worst of all I realized at this point of the misson that the door I had  just crawled through wasn’t the only door I had to crawl through.  As luck would have it, the inside access door was a couple of inches shorter but thankfully a foot wider and just for added icing on the bundt-cake-of -life –  it was also closed!

Of course it was!

  Damn – I love a challenge!

 But there is a God in Heaven and he loves me – you see that door has a loose latch that I hadn’t gotten around to fixing yet so I was able to smack it a couple of times with my fist and it popped right open.  Yes!!!  Then I looked at the size of the opening and thought about the size of my head.  A short time and two scrapped up ears later I managed a few more sideways wiggles in a 1/4″ of dust, dirt and mouse poop and a sharp 90 degree turn to the side and I was able to squish myself through the last door and out onto the floor of the camper.  

Yep – 50 years old and I am born again.  Can I get a Hallelujah from the choir?  Thank you God for not making me one of those ‘full figured girls’.  Amen!

I laid on the floor covered in dirt, dead bugs and spider webs, with an old receipt stuck to my elbow and crap running the full length of my front but I was in.

  I was sure Hubby would be worried sick about me as I laid there, trying to catch my breath but as I rolled over I looked up to see his smiling face pressed against the window, watching me and laughing his fool head off. 

Let’s just say it’s probably a good thing, at least for the sake of our marriage, that I was ‘locked’ inside the camper at that point.

I am proud to announce the door latch has been fixed – it just needed to be moved back a little bit and I have taken the latch and cubby lock to the lock shop in Rapid City and now have new keys to open the doors on the old girl.  I have also learned three very important lessons:

1.  Always be inside the camper with screwdrivers, pliers and a large crow bar when testing out a door latch for the first time.

2.  When you buy a used camper the first thing you HAVE to do is clean all the nasty stuff out of ALL the cubby holes & storage spaces.

and

3.  Never ever crawl into a camper cubby hole while your husband is home.

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If you’ve been following my blog you might remember that I don’t really enjoy shopping.  In fact I hate it and I usually put it off as long as I possibly can.  I’m actually fascinated by the women on TV who go shopping every day.  They go to the malls and department stores where they seem to spend hours trying on clothes, shoes and makeup.  They buy new appliances, sheets and bedding and new towels for the bathrooms.  I hate to admit we’ve still got a few of the same towels we received as marriage gifts 27 years ago.  Some of these women even trade cars faster than I swap out socks!  Amazing. 

My idea of a wild shopping spree is picking up two new pairs of Wranglers and a pair of Ariat boots at the feed store when I go to buy a load of feed or vet supplies.  I don’t even take the time to try on the pants anymore.  Yep, I’m not what you would call a shopaholic.

I don’t really have a specific reason why I don’t like to shop but I do have a theory – perhaps shopping is more fun if you actually have money to spend.  Since this is rarely the case around here I’ve decided shopping is basically a waste of time.

But sooner or later I do have to go shopping and last week I went…

I spent a bunch of money…

But I didn’t go to the mall or a department store…

I went shopping at a small ranch south of Hot Springs.

As with most of my shopping sprees, this trip involved a trailer to haul home my purchase.  This time I took this one.

I bet you’re trying to figure out just how many pairs of Wrangler jeans and Ariat boots it takes to fill this trailer – aren’t you?  The world may never know because this time I didn’t buy clothes or boots or even new appliances.

 I bought a Pistol.

This time the ‘Pistol’ is a horse. 

In fact she is an 8-year-old registered quarter horse mare who stands about 14 hands tall.  She is sorrel colored with only a narrow strip and snip on her nose and I love her already.

 

Her full name is Leo Sans Pistol and she is quick.  She has some cutting experience and loves working cattle so I’m betting that this combination will probably add up to me ending up in a pile on the ground a couple of times before we get used to each other.  But that’s OK – I still bounce pretty good for an old lady.

She’s a sweetie and very curious with a great disposition and a lot more git-up-and-go than I’m used to so she can definitely kick it into warp drive when needed.

And you know what?  I think I could get used to this whole shopping thing.

 

 

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Hi everyone!

The new floors are coming along nicely and so are the Christmas decorations but I’m not ready to post any photos just yet.  Be patient – it will be worth the wait I promise.  So, in honor of the upcoming election and all the politicians we are seeing (everywhere we look) I would like to offer not only a Worthy and Weird quote but one that is also Wonderful.  This one came direct from one of our past presidents – Mister LBJ himself.  I came across it the other day while surfing the web. 

From 1963 – 1969 Lyndon B. Johnson was our 36th president.  I don’t remember much about that time as I was pretty young and I’m afraid my concerns didn’t go far beyond the fact that my bike had a banana seat and Barbie and Ken were way cool!  Needless to say, I didn’t have a clue as to who was in the White House or what they had to say unless it interrupted my Saturday morning cartoons.  But apparently LBJ was my kind of president.  From what little I have read about the man he had a way with words and the ability to ‘cut to the chase’ when it came to other politicians. 

I am unable to find anything about why he said the following words but I get a smile on my face just picturing the expressions on the faces of some of the elected officials of today if someone spoke to them like this:

“Boys, I may not know much but I know chicken poop from chicken salad!”

I love this!!!

Are there any politicians running like that today?  I haven’t seen one yet but I’m still looking.

OK – I’ll get back to work.

 

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I know – you’ve all been wondering what’s happening with Nadine – our favorite camper in the whole wide world.  I have been working on dear, sweet Nadine but things are moving kinda slow.  The weather has not been cooperating very well and it has been too cold and wet to do somethings but I will show you what I have gotten done.

First off – remember that hole in the floor by the door?

 

 All patched up and solid as a rock thanks to Nadine’s new best friend – water putty.

I’m not sure what they put in this stuff but I certainly wouldn’t want to confuse it with pancake flour!  This is gooooood stuff.  Just like it says – it sticks, it stays put and it will not shrink.  Sounds like my idea of a great guy.  (Git your mind out of the gutter!)  Mix it with a little water and you can fill holes and cracks in just about anything – knot holes in wood, nail holes in walls, cracks in plaster and you can use it to tighten loose joints in furniture.  I know for a fact you can even fill the finger holes in a bowling ball with this stuff if the mood strikes. 

(I’ll tell you about that someday)

 I have used this stuff for years and I highly recommend it (as does the local hardware store) and not just because of the picture of the ‘stud’ on the front – Mister Durham’s Rock Hard All Around Champ, himself.  Admit it – he’s a stud and he knows it. 

Just looking at this label made me run to my computer and check out their website.  Usually, things with advertising like this are either really good or only sold in specialty stores (if you get my drift…) but there’s some very interesting stuff I didn’t know – like the Champ’s name is “Rocky”.  (of course it’s Rocky – what else would it be?)  I also learned you can fill empty egg shells to fool large exotic birds in zoos and cast replicas of ancient Native American pottery. 

Who’d a thunk? 

 And I won’t spoil it here but if you wish to see a new and ‘beefier”‘ Rocky complete with hairy arms and legs you’ll just have to check out the web site yourself.   www.waterputty.com   Then you too can impress your friends with your amazing knowledge of water putty just like me. 

(sometimes I’m so weird I actually scare myself)

Yep – from the looks of things, Nadine just might develop a ‘solid’ relationship with Rocky by the time we finish this project. 

On to the next problem.

I’m not sure if even Rocky can help with this one… 

We seem to have a small hole in the bathroom floor. 

OK –  half of it is missing.

When I peeled off the linoleum, the particle board underneath was very, very rotten.  And by the time I cleaned out all the rotten stuff I had a pretty good view of the septic tank.  Lovely – isn’t it?  I’m not quite sure how I’m going to fix this one but I’m working on it.  The main thing is that it has to be solid enough to support me as I’m sitting there contemplating the meaning of life.   I would really hate, in the middle of the night, to end up in the tank. 

A thing like that could really spoil your whole outlook on life. 

I’m sure we will figure out something but until then I must admit there have been a couple of ‘redneck’ repairs going on too.

The window was broke…    I fixed it…

Duct tape is a wonderful thing.  

Can I get an ‘Amen’ from the choir?

I’m really surprised Martha Stewart doesn’t use more of it. 

Come to think of it, I don’t believe I have ever seen duct tape mentioned in her magazine or on her show.  She obviously hasn’t researched the vast and varied uses of duct tape.  Perhaps someone should drop her a note and let her in on this little secret.  I’m sure her whole Christmas theme would take a detour into the wonderful world of duct tape next year and just imagine what she could do for Halloween.

Sorry – I kind of took a detour there myself. 

Meanwhile, back to the window –

Don’t panic, this really isn’t the final repair for the window.  I wouldn’t do that to Nadine but at least it will keep the moisture and snow out until I can get her licensed and pull her somewhere to get it fixed right.  It’s not permanent but it will work just fine for now.

Nadine also has new ‘redneck’ lawn furniture too! 

What makes it ‘redneck’ lawn furniture?  You ask…

It’s ‘redneck’ because I found it in the road ditch last night.

No – really…  I did.

Looks pretty good for road kill. 

It must have flipped out of the back of someone’s pickup and obviously, it didn’t ‘bounce’ very well because the parts were scattered on both sides of the road.  It was beside a very busy Wyoming highway but I risked it.  Fortunately, it was after rush hour. 

Ha Ha Ha!!!   Rush hour in north-east Wyoming?  Ha Ha Ha!!!

That’s a good one!!!

I had just enough time (about 37 minutes) to gathered up the pieces before anyone else drove by and called the cops to report a crazy lady in the road ditch, wandering aimlessly and looking lost and disoriented.

(Hey, it’s happened before)

Once I got the parts home I took out the twisted screws and put her back together with shiny new ones.  Now it looks pretty spiffy sitting next to Nadine.  Maybe next week I can find an old toilet to plant herbs in. 

 Yes, (I hang my head in shame) I’ve done that before too.

Now, I don’t want you thinking I’m the only one in this family who drags home ‘interesting’ things, this is also parked in front of my garden shed and I didn’t put it there.

She’s a classic!!! 

It may not look like much but it runs like a scalded dog. 

Our youngest son found this treasure and he has plans to fix it up. 

I say all it needs is a couple of cans of spray paint then we could hitch her up to Nadine and hit the road.  Heck, we could even strap the new lawn chair to the flat-bed and I could ride in style –  just like Granny Clampet.

“A little faster, Jethro.  Yee Haw!”

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Coming home from work in the evening is usually uneventful.  It’s common to see deer, antelope and turkeys but once in a while you see something that makes you stop and reach for the camera.  That’s what has happened to me the last two evenings.  When I turned down our driveway I saw something I had never seen before in our pasture. 

 Thursday night I didn’t have my camera (believe me – I tore apart the pickup looking) but last night I made sure I had it and this is what I saw.

Elk on Elk Mountain.

We’ve had this group of 24 elk hanging out in our ‘front yard’ for the last 2 days.  I can even sit in the easy chair in the living room and watch them move around.  This is very unusual.  My father-in-law lived here for over 80 years and only saw elk in our pastures once in all that time.  

 Occasionally we will see elk north of here and the turkey hunters have found shed antlers on top of the mountain so we know they are around but elk are shy creatures and they usually don’t stay in the open very long.

This small herd appears to have moved in and I’m not sure why.  Maybe they have decided they like the easy water they can get at the stock tanks or since it’s spring maybe they are just looking for a place to have their babies.  I’m more inclined to think that all the reports of wolves in the area true and the elk have been run out onto the prairie where they can see what’s coming.   

Another reason could be that because of all the snow this winter there has been a lack of feed.  I talked to one rancher in our area who has had a herd of over 200 head of elk hanging out with his cattle for the last month or so.   Every time he feeds his cattle the elk move in and eat too.  It’s impressive to see so many elk but also very expensive to feed them but he’s a nice guy and he puts out extra bales to make sure everyone is fed. 

Elk are impressive animals.  When you see them up close they are huge – the adults are taller and heavier than a horse.  And if you accidentally hit one on the highway your vehicle will be totaled and you’ll be lucky to walk away with your life.  I’ve seen cars that have hit elk and it ain’t pretty. 

In this herd there is a good mixture of animals – there are a few of last years calves along with a few very old animals that you can pick out by the color and rough appearance of their hide.  It’s hard to pick out the bulls as they have lost their horns and from a distance they look a lot like the cows.

As soon as I stopped to take a picture they would turn tail and run but if I kept the pickup moving they would stop and stare at me – the crazy woman hanging out of the window of a moving vehicle snapping photos one-handed and steering with my knee.

Elk must have a sense of humor too.

I tried not to scare them over the fence but they decided to jump it anyway.

I could hear the wires ‘ping’ as they popped staples loose and stretched the wire as they tried to clear the top stand so I’m sure there is a fence to fix now.

But that’s a small price to pay to see something like this when you come home.

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