Friday, July 24, 2020

My Wife is the Most Wonderfulest Woman in the World

Apparently, calling your wife a cow on social media is not a good life choice. Who knew? Time to do a little damage control…..I don’t know what I ever did to deserve such a wonderful, thoughtful and FORGIVING wife. I am not worthy. 

I am hoping that is enough so she will go off strike and I can again have a meal consisting of more than saltine crackers and water. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, crackers…. Except Wednesday nights when we get to go to the Pringle Bar for burger night. Now she says “This cow isn’t going to give her milk away for free.” I am not sure what that means because she knows I don’t even drink milk. But I do like it in my malts, that must be what she means and apparently she is going to start charging me for them?

We had big go’ins ons here in The Hills. First off it was Gold Discovery Days in Custer! This is a huge event that included a craft fair with 10 tents and carnival rides. Compared to big cities some might consider this event lame but it is exactly why were moved here. I mean how do you beat a 1970’s era rides and games! Walking through the “midway” and rides brought Barb and I back to our teenage years. 

We also tried out a new market in town, the Wild Spruce Market, which happens to have a number of beers on tap so we just had to get a flight!
The next big event is that Kevin and Cheryl moved out! Kevin sold out his majority partnership in his construction company, Cheryl put her house on the market and now they are fulltime South Dakota residents! Their arrival is the culmination of years of dreaming and preparation. We could not be happier for them and are excited to have them here. Over the next few months we will be working hard on their house to get it ready for the winter. 
Barb and I, along with Kevin and Cheryl, Dan and Bonnie at the Pringle Bar for burger night!
Monday marked the arrival of my good friend Doug from Wisconsin. Doug and I met in….probably 1987 or ’88 and have been great friends ever since. We have one of those friendships that endure time and distance.

He retired from his professional career a little over a year ago and now has time to do what he enjoys. He is also one of the most talented taxidermists you will find. All of the head mounts, fish and skins you see in our pictures were mounted and prepared by Doug. The additional bonus of him coming out is that he delivered 3 more deer mounts to us! These mounts were particularly special to me as these were my South Dakota archery deer from the last three years! 
He was only able to stay out for two days so we spent our time 4 wheeling and Jeeping around the area. Oh, and working on fence. We were able to get some T posts along about 1/4 mile of the west edge of our property. Sadly, I did not get one picture during his visit. 

Our big project this week was tackling the tongue and grove on the south wall. This was probably be our most challenging wall for a couple of reasons; one is the fact that we are laying out these boards diagonally rather than vertically or horizontally as with all the other walls. The other reason is that we have to work around the two large trap windows.

One would think that starting out would be the easiest part right? I mean all you have to do it figure out the proper angle to have each end of the boards perfectly horizontal then lay it against the ceiling and nail it down right? The most important part of doing T&G is getting the first few boards right, that makes the rest of it so much easier. Sounds easy in principle. In reality not so much. Getting the proper angle was not too bad. We did a few practice pieces. The first on was at 17°, too much angle, the next was 10°, close but still too much angle. 9° ended up being the perfect angle.

So now we just need to cut the first board to length and throw it up. And it worked fine up to a point. The diagonal board fit perfectly up against the ceiling the whole length except 3 of the ceiling boards were about ¼” higher than the others leaving a ugly gap between ceiling and our first diagonal board. I spent over an hour trying to draw those 3 boards down to fit tight against the diagonal board without any luck when I had an epiphany. “What if I went up into the attic and pounds those three boards down to meet the other board. Genius! The only problem was that it was like 90 outside which means it was like 150° up in the attic plus there is only 4’ at the peak up there so I literally had to crawl over the insulation from truss to truss to the far end of the house. With Barb below, she helped me locate the proper boards and I gently tapped them down into place but it worked like a charm! Day 1 ended with 2 boards up on one side.

The next day we did the starter boards on the other side. Luckily those fit perfectly and did not require me going back up into the ceiling. Once those were up we could rock and roll on the rest of the boards on either side of the traps. Once we got to the bottom of it was the moment of truth. We needed the next board full length board to fit perfectly with the T&G boards on either side of the traps. It did take some minor adjustments but eventually, it fit like a glove!

The other challenge was getting the boards from both sides to line up perfectly in the middle as just the slightest variation will make a big difference over 10’. We left a 5½” gap between the two sections where we will put a decorative board. This not only adds to the overall look it also hides any imperfection if you don’t happen to have both sides meet up perfectly in the middle. As it turned out, ours did match perfectly!
Progress after Day 3
So we took our time leveling every layer to make sure we were as accurate as possible. 5 days later we were done and are thrilled with the way it turned out! I realize this is a lot of info on just one wall but it was quite an accomplishment for us.
One thing you will notice about that picture is that there is no scaffolding! It has been a fixture in our living room for over a year. We are finally done with the high work (for now) and we took it down. We will put it back up when it is time to do the trim and the stone on the fireplace. 

The weather has been hot! Well, hot for us. Highs have been in the upper 80's. We have taken the dogs for a swim in our waterhole a couple of times. We throw the duck dummy out there for Dakota and she would go it, drop it at our feet and want us to throw it again and again and again. I think she could do it all day!  
"Wait for me, wait for me!"
Daisy would swim out and try to get the duck as well but Dakota is just too much faster. One time when I made Dakota stay, she actually went out and retrieved the duck as well!
"I got it, I got it!"
Last but not least we got our J bar B Ranch sign on the garage......
We love it!

This coming week looks like more hot weather, we have a mix of project planned here as well as over at Kevin's. Hopefully we won't melt!

Saturday, July 11, 2020

My Wife is a Cow

This could very well be my last ever blog post. If I were you.  It's been a good run and I have enjoyed my 57 years on this earth but it is time to move on. I would watch the news to see if there is a segment about a woman who killed her husband over the title of a blog post. I, on the other hand, will never see the segment as I will sadly….well, I’ll be dead. Then there will be a long televised trial where Barb will get a sympathetic jury who return a verdict in favor of her saying that a husband calling his wife a cow in a blog title is certainly a justifiable homicide. So remember me fondly,….. So, why is she a cow? More on that in a bit.

When we had last left you we were heading north along the Oregon coast and made a right turn on highway 20 starting our 3,365 mile journey towards Boston.
This is our first time on 20, a recommendation from our friends Jim and Diana who had worked at a light house in the area last year and had traveled the same route. We were not disappointed. 20 starts out in Newport Oregon and winds along the Yaquina River towards Corvallis. We did not get a lot of pictures but take our word for it, it is breathtaking. We spent a hot night in the Fred Meyer parking lot in Corvallis Oregon.
That next day we drove about 6 hours before stopping at a remote Yellow Pine Boise National Forest Campground. It was about 2:00pm and were ready to be done for the day. We found a nice quiet spot nestled amongst the pines. We set up camp and were ready to relax! We also broke out the hammock that our daughter Jessica had given us for Christmas.

Barb and the dogs went for a walk while I relaxed in the hammock and read a book. She was gone for about an hour and when she returned we sat there talking about the rest of our journey to Boston when Barb said “Let's carry on to Boise and stay in the Cabela’s parking lot.”
So off we went! Although the Cabela’s parking lot was not as nice as Yellow Pine we were a couple hours further down the road. The next night made up for it as we stayed in a great boondocking spot outside of Jackson Wyoming with a great view of the Tetons!
The drive outside Jackson east on 20 towards Dubois again provided amazing views as we reached elevations over 9,000 feet.
Still on 20, we drove across the flat lands of Wyoming. As we were driving along Barb was staring at the phone laughing. I figured she was on Facebook and found something funny but what she showed me was this….
You see, one of the things that she and Lily did was play with the filters on Snapchat and now she plays with it once in a while to see what new filters have arrived. Here are a few of her recent favorites.

While Barb was amusing herself laughing at the phone I continued to drive on Highway 20 through Casper, Douglas and eventually Lusk Wyoming. In Lusk we were about ½ way to Boston when we took a hard left and in a little over an hour later we were pulling into our driveway! We had enough of the travel chaos and canceled plans for a while and it is time to stop, regroup and see how the next few weeks play out before we decide where our next adventure will take us.

I could not let Barb have all the fun so I took a few pictures of myself as well. 

OMG, that is just wrong!

Our first few days back at home were filled with getting caught up with the friends we missed. First up was Jim and Brenda who, even though we are neighbors, we had not seen them in almost a year! The first order of business with Jim and Brenda was to have a beer tasting with them. Each of us had been collecting beers on our travels for just this occasion. Of course since everyone likes dark beers except me they had about ½ dozen dark beers to try while I had just one. 
As much as we were looking forward to seeing them for the beer tasting, there was one other reason we were happy to meet up with them. Since they were in Florida last winter they have been dragging around a case of Tony’s Clam Chowder for us! This case has been from Florida, west to Arizona, north to Washington and then east back to South Dakota where we finally crossed paths.
Next up was Dan and Bonnie who we met for burger night down at the Pringle Bar. It was great to see them and catch up. We have seen them several times since then including a night where we went to their house and had an awesome meal of ribs, corn on the cob, shrimp and sausage. It was so good we just kept eating and were uncomfortably stuffed when we left there. We took these lovely pictures of them when we were there.

Speaking of ribs, Chris and Holly traveled south from The Farm in North Dakota to take in the sights of the Black Hills for a few days with their new 43' fifth wheel.
They stayed one day with us where we had another fantastic rib dinner. We spent the day visiting, riding the 4 wheelers and Barb got her fill of kid time with Gavin, Chase and Calvin. Those three can keep you running and by the end of the day she was exhausted!
We did not get a lot of pictures of their visit so I stole this one from Holly’s Facebook page.
We did not spend a lot of time working on the house this past week. Instead we opted to work on fencing in our new property. Drilling holes, setting posts, running wire and pounding T posts. We got all the H posts set some of the lines run but still have about ¼ mile run on the west side to run wire and pound T posts.
Last but not least we had a visit from Fulltime RV friends Don and Ginny. They have been on the road for... I guess I don't know but it has been a long time and have no plans to stop. They are the ultimate volunteers spending their time volunteering from one place to another. 
The days have been hot, we have only been able to work 4-5 hours a day before it gets too hot outside. The nights, luckily, have been very cool with some rain storms mixed in. One day we got almost 2" of rain which willed in our pond which was totally dry just the day before. 
With a little over a week under our belt back here and we are now ready to start working on the house again. I think we are going to start with some T&G on the south wall as we really want to get that wall done so hopefully our next post will show the progress on that wall.

So, why am I risking life and limb by calling my wife a cow? Well, you can blame Snapchat. As soon as she showed me this Snapchat of her as our favorite breed, the Highlander, I just knew I had to use it!
But if she were to name the title for this post I sure she would have used:
 "My Husband is an a$$!" (She actually wrote that line)