Friday, March 17, 2023

A Couple of Turkey's Stop by for a Visit!

 It's been a couple of weeks since we have posted anything about our house projects. Everything we have to work on at the moment is outside work and, well, it has just been too cold for me work outside. So, what have we been doing? Ice fishing of course! 

I went out twice. Once with Ron, a friend from Custer and again with Barb. Both on the same lake which has some nice sunnies in it. Ron and I caught a few but did not slay them. Barb and I, on the other hand, did pretty good getting enough for a nice meal in a couple of hours. 

We also had time to drive through Wind Cave NP and Custer SP enjoying the scenery and some of the wildlife. It is so nice driving through when the roads are not lined with tourists. 

6 more weeks of winter? 
This guy definitely saw his shadow!

We ran into two Buffalo Jams. In the summer these would have held up traffic for hours as gawkers stop to take pictures and are too afraid to drive through. But if you go slowly and ease your way through, they move out of the way. Until you stop to say hi, then they start licking your car, or Jeep as it were. Nothing like a buffalo car wash in South Dakota!

On the home front, the girls are just hanging out. Dakota on her bed and Zoey anywhere she can find a little sunlight to keep her warm. Both seemed to have an oral fixation on this particular day.

Other ranch creatures have been making appearances as well. We don't see rabbits very often as they typically only come out at night but the other morning, I was able to catch this little guy just before the sun came up. 

It was such a beautiful morning that I could not resist starting the day off with an early morning soak.

But the biggest surprise of the week was when Dino and Harry stopped by for a visit! Imagine our surprise when we woke up and saw these two turkey's strutting around the front of the porch. It was such a sight that I just had to take a video of it!

I did not get the names of the other turkeys along with these two but if I were to guess, I would say that at least one of them was named Steve and another was named Bob. 

Finally, it warmed up enough for us to get outside and get some work done! We have 3 major projects left and we decided to take on one of them. The ceiling on the porch. Not horrible work, a little tedious at times while working around the lights. This steel was special order, and I cannot afford to make a mistake. I can do the prep work by myself. but when it comes to lifting the steel panel into place, I need Barb. So far, we have 55 feet done with 80 feet left to go. Once all the steel is up, we will be installing accent beams on each of the joint lines. 

The warm weather only lasted a few days, so the rest will have to wait at least another, maybe two weeks before we can get back at it again!

Monday, March 13, 2023

A Look Back to Barb's Past

 Barb had a lot more pictures for me to scroll through than I did, many of them being quite interesting. I was able to look through then through your eyes as I have no personal attachment to them other than the fact that they contain pictures of the love of my life. 

What I found interesting was the contrast in our upbringings. My dad was born 12 years before Barb's dad who was 20 when she was born, my dad was 37. Being the first child, there were many pictures of her. Me, being the 6th was just another mouth to feed. 

Because there were so many pictures of Barb as a baby there are plenty of opportunities to see what her house looked like back in the day. 

Her mom must have really been into tinsel as their trees were just COVERED in tinsel! This first picture is of Barb and her brother Shorty in 1978. The next one was from 1962, before shorty was born. Someone looks like they were spoiled!

Apparently, she was just not spoiled at Christmas as this picture illustrates. Not sure what the occasion was as her birthday is in March. Check out that TV in the background!

I wished I could have met Barb's mom (Carol) but unfortunately, she died at the age of 39. She looks like she would have been a lot of fun to hang out with. 

Her dad (Norm) was into cars, he looks like he could have starred in Grease or American Pie. Just by looking at this picture you can imagine his personality and you would not be wrong.   This first picture is probably around 1943 when he was 5. The other one, we have no idea. Like someone said in our last post, it is hard to age people in older pictures with no context. 25?, 35?, 45? It is really anyone's guess, but I'd bet my last dollar he has a comb in his back pocket!

Here are some of his cars. Oh, how I'd love to have these parked in the garage now!

Look at those car!

Barb did not remember those old cars, but she did remember this old airstream! I wonder if it is still on the road somewhere. She also remembers an old VW bus where she used to ride on top of the engine compartment in the back. 

I shared Barb's first grade picture during her birthday post but I just could not pass up this one from her second grade! Check out the background, the hair styles, the shoes, the expression on the kids' faces. Especially the girl on the right side in the front row! I am sure she grew up and was an expert at giving her husband the look of disappointment. She probably married the kid to her right who has an expression that shows him reflecting on why he ever married her!

As she grew up, her fashion sense did as well which is demonstrated by this awesome hairdo!

Last but not least are a couple of pictures of all of us many years later. This is a picture of us with her dad who was 52ish. That would have put Barb and I at 30 and 26 respectively. Check out those white socks!

Here is one of the few pictures of Barb and her brother Shorty and families. We were in our early 30's. Living so far apart we did not get together as much as we would have liked. He passed away a few years later. 
Barb and I along with Forrest, Jessica,
Norm (Shorty), Kelly and their kids Holly and Heather
That's it for the trip down Barb's memory lane.  I hope you found it as entertaining as we did. It was an emotional journey that brought wonder, smiles and tears. Hopefully years from now our grandkids Lily, Dylan and Kendall will look back at these posts learning a little bit about their ancestry and know they have relatives somewhere out there, probably on the west coast. 

Saturday, March 11, 2023

A Trip Down Memory Lane

 While scrolling through pictures for Barb's birthday post last week, I could not help but stop, look, wonder and reflect on some pictures I saw. Pictures of our parents, our siblings, pets and some scenery from 'back in the day'. So, I thought I would share some here. Some brought back specific memories, others, were well before we were even born. You may not find the subjects of the pictures as interesting as we do, but I thought you might get a kick out of some of the peripheral items in the photos. 

Like this one. This is a picture of 5 of my 6 siblings. I am guessing somewhere around 1965. Based on the poinsettia, I would have to say it is a Christmas picture. Starting on the left it is my sisters Beth, Becky, Carol, Judy and my brother Bob. 

I of course do not remember a thing about this picture, but what I do remember was that ashtray next to my sister Carol. What do I remember about it? I remember it because it met its demise when my sister Judy broke it over my head several years later. (I know, that explains a lot, right?)

This picture of is my brother Rod and me. Probably the same year, maybe the same day as the picture above. I am on the left and was probably 3? Check out those toys we got for Christmas!
This picture is a few years later, same house. As a matter of fact, I only lived in this one house in Roseville MN until I moved out on my own. What stands out in this picture, besides my sister Becky, is the radio right behind her and the orange cookie jar on top of the cabinet. We used to wake up to that radio every morning listening to Boone and Erickson. It is also the radio we would huddle around listening for school closures on snow days. The cookie jar on top of the cabinet? Mom used to keep it on the top shelf so Rod and I could not reach it. We used to sneak up there anyway and steal a cookie or two despite my mom's best efforts. Sadly, it too met a tragic demise when the lid was dropped during one of our cookie theft adventures. 
I am jumping all over here, but this one is of my dad, in the 1930's. I know nothing of the picture other than that it was my dad. 
My dad again, he is probably in his 50's in this picture. We used to spend hours downstairs playing pool. That ceiling was eventually pockmarked with blue chalk from us kids getting too careless and hitting the ceiling with our cues. 
I only have a few pictures of my mom, I am guessing they are in their 40's here. Maybe my sister Becky's wedding?
Patches, our first dog. She and I used to spend hours walking the fields in the neighborhood just exploring. I still have her collar which is hanging on my memory wall. 
My dad's place up in Shell Lake Wisconsin. That's me in the yellow stripped shirt. I used to spend hours on that sailboat and have not sailed since the early 80's. The cabin is long gone, having been destroyed in a flood, but my brother still has that canoe somewhere. 
The last two from my side of the family, here I was 18 having just graduated high school. After graduating, I set out on a hitchhiking trip from Minnesota to Washington and back. The next picture? That was a woman who picked me up, I think it was in Glacier. She was traveling with another woman. I am sure they have long since passed by now. Looking at it now, they probably thought it was a great adventure picking up a hitchhiker on their vacation. Something that neither of us would think of doing nowadays!
That's it for this week's trip down memory lane. Next time I will share some pictures from Barb's childhood and pre-childhood days. Hopefully she can add some context!

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Happy Birthday Barbie!

March, it has got to be my least favorite month of the year. Except for one day early in the month. But as a whole, by the time March rolls around we are tired of the cold and snow. There is no football, there is no hunting to speak of. Ice fishing is not as good as earlier in the season. It is generally too cold to work outside. So yes, March is my least favorite month of the year.

Except for that one day, when some 60 something years ago, changed my life forever. The day Barbie was born. Was it fate?  Was it predetermined destiny? Did the good Lord plan on us meeting 26 years later from that date and start this world-wind life the two of us have? Afterall, it would be years before I was born. Was my destiny already in motion before I was even born?  What would my life be like if not for this one day in March? This is the earliest picture I could find of her a few months after she was born. 

Over the years I have shared various pictures of her growing up. From her roller-skating era to her barrel racing days, but this series of pictures display her hair fashion sense and some gymnastic skills I never knew she even had!

Can you guess which one is her?
Update: One reader noticed a case of vodka in the closet to the right of the teacher!
Sometimes I sit and wonder, what have I ever done, to deserve even one, of the pleasures I've known. What did I ever do that was worth loving you or the kindness you've shown. While those famous lyrics from Kris Kristopherson's song Why Me were aptly asked to The Lord, I cannot help but ask those same questions of my wife of 37 years. In no world did I see myself deserving such a wonderful woman. 

A fresh blanket of snow welcomed Barb on her special day. As did a breakfast of banana waffles and bacon. She nervously sat on the couch awaiting what could be her worst breakfast of the year. Anyone who knows us knows that me cooking breakfast is a scary proposition.  But I did it! The waffles were a perfect golden brown and the bacon was thin and crispy. No floppy bacon in this household!

I could never give her the birthday she deserves; I can only hope she knows what she means to me and how without March 3rd, my life would be totally different. Sadly, the presents I got her did not arrive in time for her birthday but the dehydrator she ordered did arrive. I tried to pass it off as a birthday gift but apparently it does not count if the recipient orders it themselves. 

She did get several messages and phone calls from her children and friends. Two of which I wanted to share here. First there is this one from Jim and Brenda. Our former neighbors and partners in getting rid of thousands of prairie dogs, they know all too well that these little rodents are Barb's nemesis. 

Then there was this one from Dino. Be warned you cannot unsee this! That is me on the left and Dino on the right.

Cheryl gave her this picture of the cattle that we owned together very briefly. We may have a love/hate relationship with Highlanders, but we love this picture!

We spent supper alone where I out did myself again with a couple of ribeye steaks, onions rings and potatoes. She insisted on making her own potato as apparently, the potato can make or break the entire meal. All in all, it was not the day she deserves but it was a good one, nonetheless. 

Backing up several days...... after being gone for 6 weeks we were excited to get into our home and get back into the swing of things. We were excited, but not as excited as the dogs. Both of them were obviously over the top with joy to be home. 

The first thing that Dakota did was plop down on her favorite bed and just smiled and wagged her tail. After 6 weeks of sitting under the dinette in the camper, you could just see the joy in her eyes. 

Zoey went straight for the toy box. She went through the entire toy box, took each and every one of them out and scattered them across the living room. Once she made sure they were all present and accounted for she started zooming around jumping from couch to couch then off the couch to a bed, then the other bed where Dakota was laying then back onto the couch. She ran this circuit about 5 times before stopping and just staring at us. Ah, there is no place like home. Now that she is home she is freezing. She is either laying by the fireplace or any sunlight she can find on the floor. 

That night, we brought some of the essentials in from the camper and then just relaxed and enjoyed the evening which was finished off with a soak in the hot tub. Did I mention it was nice to be home?!?!?

A few of the essentials we bought on our journey.

The next day we finished emptying the camper, backed the truck into the garage and took off the camper. I could have sworn I even heard the truck sigh a sigh of relief when that weight was finally lifted off of it!

The neighborhood critters came by to say hello. They were very happy to have us home as well!

Our social lives have been busy as well with a burger night with Dan, Bonnie, Kevin and Cheryl. A couple days later we got together with Jim and Carmen. A night that got a little carried away resulting in me taking a sabbatical from me drinking alcohol for several days. Barb took this picture of me during the festivities over at Jim and Carmen's.

Instead, we concentrated our work in the garage getting the board and batten on the walls around the workshop. It turned out great if I do have to say so myself!

Barb sanded and stained the border boards for the top, bottom and around the doors. 

All done!

With this done I was finally able to get some keepsakes up on the wall. I call this my Memory Wall; it warms my heart every time I look at it. It has been years since this Russian Boar has adorned one of our walls. For some reason, Barb says we don't have room for it in the house, so it now has a home in the garage.  I still have a few more things to get up but, each and every one of the items on the wall bring back a special memory.

 I have plenty of work to do outside, soffit, facia, ceiling on the porch, steel corners and of course the stonework, but as of right now it is too cold, snowy or windy to motivate me to get out there. Instead, I find reasons to work inside and putz on stuff.  I did manage to get out to burn a pile while the snow was still deep enough.

So, with that, another birthday has come and gone. I wonder if all those years ago she had any idea what her destiny would be. I tend to think not, as sometimes late at night when she thinks I am asleep, I hear her uttering those same words; Why me Lord?, but probably for totally different reasons.