Think Pink

Sometimes you don’t have the tools for the job.  Maybe because you forgot to put your own tool box in your truck to go to the job site.  So, you just have to make do with whatever tools are available.    

My tools are small and pink and they come in a cute little pink carrying case.  I keep them in my SUV in case of an emergency.  I have noticed a pattern over the years.  If you have pink or flowered (yes, I did have blue flowered ones) tools, people who borrow your tools (especially men) return them to you right away.  In fact, they almost fling them back at you like they are contagious, after they have used them.

The men also complain about my tools – the color, size, etc.  I have heard negative remarks from all the men in my family (husband, son, nephew, brother) who have ever used my tools.  My brother once said “It looked like Mickey Mouse came in and left his whole tool box.”  I don’t think he meant that as a compliment, sorry Mickey.  Nevertheless in spite of all the disparaging remarks, the job(s) did get done.  Because – this is the important part – I have my pink tools with me when they are needed.

My Lists

I am a list person.  I make grocery lists and things-to-do lists and things-to-pack lists and questions-to-ask lists.  I have been mentally making two lists ever since we moved here to, as Megan so delicately phrases it, “the middle of nowhere.”  Some things I love about living here, some things not so much.  Since a big list is not very photogenic, I am including a few of my favorite fall pictures of our ranch.

Things I Love: 

In no particular order.

1.  We have no cell phone service here.

2.  You cannot see another man-made structure from our property.

3.  It rains here more than four inches per year (about 24 times as much).

4.  It is not dusty here and the air is fresh and clean (see item 3 above).

5.  There are four actual, distinct seasons here, and you can tell which one it is by looking around.

6.  The river(s) here actually have water in them all year round.  And there are two within a mile of our house.

7.  There is no stop-light in our whole town.  In fact, there is no stop-light within three towns.

8.  In the summer it stays light out until 10 pm.

9.  We have a beautiful view of trees, mountains and glaciers.

Things I Love – continued:

10.  We have great tasting, naturally pure, clean mountain water with no chemicals.

11.  We have made some wonderful new friends.

12.  Most of the time, it is just the two of us.

13.  You can drive about an hour and be at the water.  There you get on a ferry and cruise through the San Juan Islands or all the way to the Canada.

14.  Fresh seafood.

15.  We have time to do what we choose to do.

16.  You can grow tulips here, and the blooms last for weeks.

17.  You get your regular seat every week in church because everyone knows where everyone else sits.

Things I Love – continued again:

18.  You only have to remember the last four digits of phone numbers because everyone in town has the same prefix.

19.  It is so cool at night the flannel sheets on our bed feel wonderful all year round.

20.  Fires in the wood stove with snow on the ground outside.

21.  Wonderful, edible things grow wild here – mushrooms, berries, etc.

22.  Most people who have lived in Washington their whole life have no idea where Marblemount is.

23.  There is so much beautiful scenery and nature around you try to remember to carry your camera in your pocket at all times.

24.  You have to drive into town to get your mail, and when you go to the window Kathy the post office lady knows you on sight.

25.  The sound of rain on our metal porch roof.

26.  No matter how or when it was mailed, Next Day Air, or OverNight Express, etc.,  Fed Ex only comes on Thursday.

27.  You have to drive on a bridge over a flowing river teeming with salmon to get to town.

Things I Don’t Love:

Again in no particular order.

1.  There is no Dewars here (a wonderful ice cream and chocolate shop in Bakersfield for those of you who don’t know).

2.  We don’t get to see our children very often.

3.  You have to get out of your vehicle and unlock our gate to get in or out of the driveway – even when it is raining or snowing.

4.  We have trespassers; hunters, bike riders, quad riders, mushroomers and just general up-to-no-good trespassers.

5.  In the winter it gets dark at 4:30 pm.

6.  Digging fence post holes, or any other kind of hole,  in rocks; some of which are the size of a boulders.

7.  We don’t get to see our old friends very often.

8.  Rogelia doesn’t come to clean our house – I really miss her!

9.  The tourists who drive 32 miles an hour sightseeing (in a 55 mph zone) are on the same highway as you are when you are trying to get somewhere on time.

10.  There is really no point in getting a pedicure when you are only going to put your work boots back on.

11.  I miss my sewing room and my big kitchen.  It is ironic that when I had the big kitchen – and a full barbecue kitchen – I didn’t cook much.  Now that I have a tiny kitchen I cook a lot (by necessity – not that I’ve gotten any better at it).

Autumn Scenes

Though it felt like summer in Texas, here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest it is definitely fall.

 

 I love the autumn colors, the scent of woodsmoke in the air and the crackle of leaves that drift through the trees when a breeze comes up.

The maples are my favorites.  Leaves that show so many colors.

A striking contrast against the darker evergreens.

 Some scenes are so beautiful they seem to be staged – but no this is just a stump in front of a vine maple at the edge of the woods.

 A view down the driveway with the fallen leaves almost covering the gravel.

Montana Trip

We have done a lot of traveling lately and covered many miles, and I need to get you all caught up.  Here is another episode from our trip to Montana a couple of weeks ago.  We stayed on a real working cattle ranch.

I can understand why it is called “Big Sky” country.  It is a wide-open place and you can see for miles and miles.

While we were there David and Karen, our hosts, needed to move some cattle to the next pasture.  Their pastures are huge, so they move their cattle on horseback and Rick got to go along for the ride.

 

The cowboys and girl headed out over the hill to find the cattle.   I am not a horse person so I graciously volunteered to stay behind and take pictures – it is a tough job but someone has to do it.

Not too long after the riders disappeared over the hill, a herd of cattle wandered into view.

They must have been curious about what I was doing out there, because they came closer.  Actually I was just taking pictures of the mountains in the distance.  You’ve gotta love mountains called “The Crazies.”  I’m sure there is a story to go along with that name, but I don’t know what it is.

Anyway the herd decided to come closer.  Unfortunately towards me was not the direction they were supposed to be going.

Karen and her horse came over the hill.

She quickly got them all turned around and headed to the new pasture.

After the cattle were safely moved to the new grazing ground, David and Rick rode back into view.

The purpose of our trip was to see the Muddy Creek grass-fed beef cattle operation.  High quality grass-fed, grass-finished beef is our goal and David and Karen have been working on their operation for years and their beef is in production.  They were so gracious to share their experience and knowledge with us and we learned so much it made my head hurt.

My favorite part of the trip was the scenery; we had never been to Idaho, Montana or Wyoming so it was all new to me.  This is the Bridger Valley near the Muddy Creek Ranch.

We stayed at the guest house on the ranch and there was a lot of wildlife to see.  The deer were frequent visitors to the pond.

And my favorite picture from the trip, an old homestead.  I love old buildings (and most old things).  I’m sure if I had actually lived in one of these little houses in primitive conditions I might be a lot less enthusiastic, but to me they are so interesting and filled with history.  Don’t you wonder who built these buildings, and when and what they have been used for over the years?

As usual, Rick found a new friend.  Pedro is half heeler and half Rottweiler – a combination I had never seen before and David said made him a “rottonheeler.”  He is a big dog, just a big pup really and has a friendly personality very similar to our heelers.  I bet he would have a lot of fun playing with Molly and Grizzly.

And finally, a reminder that things are different out there in Montana. It is perfectly legal and acceptable to ride your quad to town.

College Life

We’ve just returned from a visit with our daughter who lives in Aggieland aka College Station, Texas.

She is a senior at A & M this year, which is amazing to me – it seems like just a few weeks ago I took her to her first day of pre-school.  Anyway, I believe I have previously shared with you that Aggies are a fanatical group.  They have their own versions of school pride, life and most everything else as well.

They are FANATICAL football fans and the original home of the often imitated 12th man.

They have the most awesome marching band – made up of members of the corps of cadets – that I have ever seen anywhere.  You truly have to see their marching maneuvers to believe it.

Too bad their football team isn’t as good as the band and the fans.  They have a saying “The Aggies always win halftime” and that is true.  The rest of the game – not so much.  Anyway, we won’t dwell on unpleasant facts from Aggieland any further.  We will turn our thoughts towards wholesome, good things – like fried pickles.  I admit I was quite skeptical when I first heard of these, but they are surprisingly tasty.  Good for you –  umm, no.

We did the usual Aggie things, went to the tent sale where all things Aggie are available.

Got pedicures.  These are Megan’s toes, not mine.

Visited with Megan and her boyfriend Brandon.  And generally took care of all those little things college kids save up for when the parents come to visit.  It must be item #1 in the college student handbook that when your parents visit you must be:  broke, your pantry, refrigerator and freezer empty and your kitchen sink clogged.  Your car must be: dirty, out of gas, in need of an oil-change, new tires and windshield wipers.  So, after (numerous)  trips to the grocery store, home center, gas station, tire store, oil-change & wiper installation, I believe Megan is set for a little while longer at school.

As we have visited the past three years we have become a bit blase about the (incredible / unbelievable / amazing) sights you see in a college town.  When I passed the girl going to class in her pajamas with her hair dyed blue, I did not even do a double-take.  When the boy in front of us hit a rut and went flying off his skateboard – and managed to land upright – I didn’t even look back.  The guy in his four-wheel drive truck driving over the parking cones while talking on his cell phone – didn’t even glance up.

Some things though I just couldn’t resist taking pictures of and sharing with you all. This is the actual mailbox of actual college students where they receive mail on a regular basis.  I can’t imagine how the mailman gets mail into it, because the post is no longer anchored in the ground.  The entire post and box are simply perched on top of the ground and wedged between the paving stones and if those become dislodged – which happens frequently I am told – the whole thing falls down.  And, obviously, the door does not close.  I guess mail blowing down the street is not a concern?  And the part of this whole scenario that is the most amazing to me:  this is the mailbox of three male senior engineering students – all of whom are very capable people.  None of whom are apparently at all concerned with home maintenance.

College students and their driving habits is a topic far too broad (and scary) for this humble blog to explore in-depth.  Let me just say we have seen some amazing displays and – so far – lived through them all.  But this parking job was incredible even for a college town.

I wonder just how fast you must go in reverse to get your car that firmly planted in the ditch?

And do they plan to get it out?  This photo was taken on a Tuesday about noon and no one except the grade school girls seemed interested at all. I’m thinking the pictures of the friends who show up with their big trucks and chains to try to pull it out might be even more entertaining – but alas we have left Aggieland so I guess we will never know what happens.  It could still be sitting there when we attend graduation.

Three Bucks

On our trip through eastern Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming we saw a LOT of deer. I am not into hunting – except with my camera – but even I recognized this awesome trio.

I have no idea if they were mule deer or white tail or black tail – I really can’t tell the difference.  They all just looked like deer to me.

They seemed pretty content hanging out in the field – it must not be hunting season yet.

A Squirrel in the Tree

I was walking out to the lower pasture one afternoon last week, past this big maple tree when I saw a squirrel darting up.  As soon as he saw me he (or she) stopped and froze.

I took a picture and walked closer.

I expected the squirrel to scamper away at any moment as I got closer.

Maybe he was too scared to move, but he stayed put.

I was able to get quite close and he still sat there.  But when I got to the base of the tree he decided that was close enough and he darted off up into the high branches of the tree. He seemed a little indignant that I had interrupted his winter preparations.

I also saw a woodpecker pecking away at a tall cottonwood tree, but alas he was too far away for my little point and shoot camera to capture.