Saturday, December 25, 2021

Did Someone Say Cake?

 Well, Christmas 2021 has come and gone. Our 2nd Christmas in our new home. We spent it home alone, just the 4 of us. It was actually a great day. The Pringle 6 Pack were supposed to go over to Kevin and Cheryl's for supper on Christmas, but they were not feeling well so Dan and Bonnie went up to Spearfish to spend the day with her brother while Barb and just spent a quiet day at home.  

Barb even got a special cake. The dogs were just as interested in it as I was!

Did someone say cake?!?!

Santa was good to all of us. The girls each got a stocking of their own and really enjoyed opening their presents. Here is a short (2 minutes) video of them playing with their new toys. 
Plus, we got to FaceTime with each of the kids which was a bonus!
Somer, Lily, Forrest and Jack

Kendall and Dylan
(Apparently Jessica and Shane were camera shy)

It has been a few weeks since I have shown any projects here at home. Somedays are more productive than others but we try to make a little progress every day. Barb's big project was making a couple of barn doors. We need a total of 4; one for the laundry room, 2 for the closets in our bedroom and one for the opening leading under the stairs. 

She wanted to make them out of some leftover bug wood we saved. First, she varnished the individual boards, then she put them together and put another couple of coats on......


Next up was staining and varnishing some 1x4's for the edges and center.... and the last touch was to put the rollers on the top and hang it!


Meanwhile I worked on the windbreak and siding outside in the grill area. When the north wind is blowing it whips right down the side of the house and chills Barb as she is grilling my steaks...and we cannot have that! I also got the siding done on that west wall so now all the lower siding is done! I need the skidsteer over to finish the upper siding.
Not to be out done Barb got to working on the wall behind the toilet in the bathroom. She wanted to use the old fence boards from the horse corral to build a 1/2 wall behind the toilet. Actually, it was a joint effort as I had to cut the edges straight and plane the boards to a consistent width.

Barb had to then painted the wall black so no white would show through any holes put several coats of varnish on and put up the boards with glue and finish nails. Top it off with an L shaped cap and it is done!  

I pulled all my trail cameras except one. After butchering the deer, I left the carcass out in the woods for the meat-eating critters out there to pick away at it. Then I put a camera on it to see what came in. I was expecting coyotes and crows for sure, with luck maybe that bobcat would show up again. 

Well, a coyote did show up, but it just sniffed around and left without eating anything. I guess they are a little more cautious than I gave them credit for. 

There were a ton of crow as well. We could see and hear them from the house as they cawed and circled the trees above the carcass. What we did not expect was the number of Magpies that showed up and..... a couple of bald eagles. How cool is that?!?!?

Had I left more cameras out I might have gotten some shots of the 70+ elk that visited our property for a couple days last week. Instead, I got this one picture that Dan took and several broken strands of fencing. When there are that many animals, they seem to just go right through the fence instead of over it. 
All those little specks are elk!
Last but not least, any of you who take pictures of your fur babies know how hard it is to get them to behave so you can get halfway decent pictures like the ones we posted in our last blog. Well, here are a few that did not make the cut..... We had experimented with ears in, ears out... We tried to get Dakota to sit instead of lay but she wanted nothing to do with that!

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Christmas Memories

My earliest Christmas memories begin around 6, 7, maybe 8 years old. With 6 other siblings, it was the most exciting time of the year for us. All of the kid’s bedrooms were down a long hall. We were not allowed to come down that hallway until we were summonsed. My brother Rod and I the two youngest, could hardly contain our excitement often getting admonished by our older brother and sisters as we crept down the hallway to take a peek into the living room to see what mom and dad were up to.

When everything was ready, my dad would ring a bell. It was a little handheld bell that only came out on that one day a year. We would then all come down the hall into the living room in an orderly fashion to the sounds of Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, and the like playing on my dad's reel to reel. When I say orderly, I am not kidding, no running, no rushing, we had to walk calmly into the living room like the Von Trapp family. Once we got to the living room, we were blinded by the light bar on my dad’s movie camera. This lightbar bar had 4 or 5 huge bulbs on it that threw enough light and heat to melt plastic!

We would then march up to our Christmas stockings take them off the wall above the fireplace and sit down to see what Santa brought in our stockings. Every year they were filled with mixed nuts in the shell and on the bottom, a tangerine! Next came the presents! My dad would sit at the base of the tree, grab a present, announce who it was for and watched as that person opened it. Once it was opened, he handed out the next present for someone else, we watched them open…. This process was repeated until all the presents were gone. I specifically recall one present, a remote-control helicopter. Well not remote control as they had not been invented yet. It had 4 D batteries in the handle with a button on it and a plastic cable that led to the helicopter. When you pushed the button on the handle it sent power to the helicopter, and it lifted into the air tethered to the power cable. I was walking around the living room flying the coolest toy ever amongst my 8 other family members, as I approached my sister Judy, something went amiss, and it turned sideways allowing the propellers to get entangled in her waist long hair! Screams were everywhere! From Judy, who was running around with a helicopter hanging from her hair and from me running around as my dad was whooping my butt! Good times…. I don't have any pictures from back then and even the home movies my dad made have gone M.I.A.

For Barb's part, her memories involved heavily tinseled trees and spending the day with her mom, dad and brother. Ironically the pictures below were taken in Klamath Falls only a few miles from where Forrest lives now. What are the odds of an Oregon girl ending up in Wisconsin and having a son that ends up in her hometown some 2,000 miles away? 

Barb at 2 years old

Barb and her brother

Christmas’ during my teenage years were a blur but my first Christmas with Barb, I will never forget. I was 22. You should have seen the look on the face of my family when I showed up to Christmas with an older woman and her 4-year-old child I met less than 2 months before! “Look what I found dad; can I keep her?!!?” They accepted both Barb and Jessica into our family and the rest is history.

The very next Christmas Barb showed up like this… Now how did that happen?!?! Since then, Christmas’ were our favorite time of year. Just thinking back on the joy and wonder of Christmas brought to our kids makes our hearts glow with love.

Looking back, we were not very good at taking pictures during Christmas, but at least we have these to look back on and reminisce.



Here is a short video of our 1992 Christmas. It leaves a lump in my heart and tears in my eyes every time I watch it. I wish I could go back and relive those years with Barb and the kids. 


1998 maybe?
I know it was not 94, we did not build this house until 97


As the years passed by the kids got older and older, eventually moving away. Since then, Christmas pictures have pretty much disappeared except for the occasional pet picture.
2003 Bailey's first Christmas!

Daisy's first Christmas

Dakota's first Christmas '17 (with us)

                                         And of course, this year, Zoey's first Christmas
                To all our friends and family, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a joyous 2022!

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Work Week!

Well, it has actually been two weeks but who is counting? And what a difference two weeks made, it went from sunny and 60 to snow and lows in the single digits. 

This picture was taken about a week ago showing a beautiful sunrise in the hills. A week later the landscape is covered in snow.
12 deer, 6 turkeys and a Junco

24 turkeys!
With the snow cover the local wildlife showed up in droves to take advantage of the alfalfa and seed we had put out for them. Thankfully TBO did not show up to taunt me. Although I still have my archery tag, I put everything away for the season. Not too far away just in case he does show up!

When the weather has been nice, we have been working outside, when it is cold, we work inside. The outside work consisted of getting a scratch coat on the north and west sides of the house. We are going to put stone on the lower part of the house, so I needed to put a scratch coat on to give the stone something to adhere to. It is not just as easy as putting it up though. First I needed to put up some J trim then, a moisture barrier....
                                           Putting up J Trim                    Moisture Barrier             

Next comes the lath that the scratch coat adheres to and then FINALLY the scratch coat! The weather has to be at least in the 40's for 24 hours so I took advantage of what might be my last opportunity for the year. 
                                                    Lathe                                  Scratch Coat!
The upside is that I have 20 or so feet done, the downside is that I have over 100' left!

Next up was some wood splitting. It is inevitable, winter is coming so I need to get some wood in that storage area. Earlier this fall when we were in Michigan Kevin called me and the call went something like this.... Kevin: "We got a log splitter!" Me: ""We" as in you and Cheryl, or "we" as in you and me?" Kevin: "You and me!" Me: "How much to I owe you?" And that is how I became part owner in a new log splitter!       

I got one wagon load in there and have about 5-6 loads left before it gets full. 

I did get over to Kevin's to help him roof a hay shed/animal shelter he is building. He was shingling and I was hauling packs and handing him shingles. 

His friend Earl was there too and we looked up one time and saw 4 extra horses in the driveway... on the wrong side of the fence! So we wrangled them up and walked them 1 1/2 miles down the road to the owners. But when we got there their horses were already in the pasture. Well, whose horses were these? Ends up they belonged to a neighbor a mile in the other direction from Kevin's so we walked the 1 1/2 miles back to Kevins, then another mile to where the horses belonged!

Barb for her part has been busy in the house as well. She painted the bathroom. I was in there a good 30 seconds before I even noticed! She has also been rather crafty when she used the feathers off of a couple of pheasants I shot earlier in the year to decorate some bulbs for the tree!
                                 Cutting and gluing the feathers            Finished product!

I promised a couple pictures of the dogs in this post as the last two did not have any. But they were not too active as poor Zoey is on bed rest. She got spayed this past week and has not been quite herself. The first couple of days after surgery she just kind of moped around and rested. Dakota was very curious when she returned from the vet and paid special attention to her....

But after a couple of days, she was back to her normal self and running through the snow!
With less than 2 weeks until Christmas, I need to get busy and get buying gifts for Barb! Any ideas? I have no clue what to buy the woman who has everything she could ever want sitting right next to her on the couch!