Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Call of the Wild

 We have run into a lot of wild creatures here at home and on the road. By now we have seen pretty much every creature there is to see and many we can recognize just by sight. Some are cute, some ugly, some are harmless, some are scary. But this last month, Barb started hearing a creature that she had never heard before. It started in Oregon shortly after she went shopping and bought a crepe pan. Strange right? Well, after buying it we would be laying in the camper after waking up and we would hear this creature make it’s call. Some days it would sound like an 34 year old adult male creature, sometimes it sounded like a 9 year old (almost 10) female. It was a soft melodic sounds that started out soft and got louder and louder as the morning went on, repeating every few minutes. It sounded like the creature was in or near Forrest’s house and went something like this….. “🎝Crepe…..crepe….crepe🎝”.

 The longer Barb heard this call the stronger her urge to make crepes. Well, it appears as though these creatures reside in South Dakota as well, as upon our return she started hearing that familiar call again. Although the creature here was not nearly as melodic or cute, she eventually made crepes just to shut the damn thing up!

They have officially replaced waffles as my go to breakfast and this is what they look like each and every time, she did not make these pretty for the photo op. Life is good!

For those of you who did not really understand the beginning of last week’s post, it was kind of an inside joke between us and our infamous friends Dino and Lisa. We are always harassing each other in a lighthearted manner. Even Lisa read the post with a puzzled expression on her face until Dino pointed out that “Asil” was her name spelled backwards! And true to form Onid even sent me this picture of his grotesquely disfigured right foot with a dandelion between his toes just to show my description was fairly accurate.

Oh, I am sure there will be retaliation at some point!

This week we had some special guest stop by for a day. Our friends Judy and Larry from Minnesota were in the area with their horses and took a day off of trail riding to spend an afternoon with us. 

We had not seen them since.... I actually don't know but it has been a few years. Judy even brought the mak'ins for Root Beer Floats! But know us like she does she brought the variety that is all alcohol and no ice cream. It consists of Not Your Fathers Rootbeer and Rum Chata!

We spent a few hours catching up and telling tales. Before we knew it, it was time for them to head back and take care of their horses. 

Thursday night was the annual summer fund raiser for the Pringle Fire Department and since Kevin is now a member we of course had to attend. Kevin wore the new shirt that Cheryl bought for him. Special K  is one of our many nicknames for Kevin......because he is so special to us, or at least that is what we tell him!

Friday was a fun day when Kevin and I went to our friends Richard and Cheryl's place in Rapid City to pour some concrete. Nothing like doing concrete in 90 degree weather! What was supposed to be an easy pour with the truck backing up and dumping right in the form turned into a sh#t show with us having to wheel barrel it in as the truck could not fit in the gate to get to the form. Richard and I would take turns on the wheel barrel as we would start to get dizzy after doing our 3rd or 4th in a row.  It took an extra hour or so but we got it done!  

Somethings you just cannot unsee!

On the home front, now that the floors are all in, we could get the trim in! We focused on door trim getting the trim on the bathroom, bedroom, entry and sliding doors all in. We just keep pecking away at it and one day.... we will look around and have nothing to do. Well, at least that is the day I dream about anyway!
Front Door

Bedroom/Bathroom Doors

Kitchen Window

As exciting as it was to get some of the finishing touches done inside, what we did outside was doubly as exciting as we started our porch! This work is way over my paid grade and thank God for Kevin. The porch will run over 140' on three sides of the house. Using 8x8 rough cut logs for both the posts and beams using mortise and tenon construction. Between the meticulous cutting, the heat and the weight of the posts and beams this is killer work.
This is what the east side looked like before we got started .......
The east side is 96' x 8'

First two posts!2

First Beam!

By the end of the day we had 4 posts and 3 beams up...... 
4 posts, 3 beams at the end of day #1

This will be quite the project but when it is done it is going to look amazing!

It has been raining almost every day sometime in the evening. I think it has something to do with the hills and the cooling of the evening air but it does leave some incredible light shows and this rainbow. Maybe, just maybe if we find the end of the rainbow we will find our house all finished with nothing left for us to do but relax and enjoy......someday......

Sunday, July 18, 2021

The Adventures of Onid and Asil

We ran across a lot of people on the road. Some are "normal" while others....well, let just call them Abby-Normal . This tale is about one of those couples. You can decide which category they fit into. We have not talked about them a lot as we just did not know how to describe them but today I would like to introduce these two characters; Onid and Asil.  As a disclaimer I want to mention that these two characters are completely fictional and in no way depict the actual lives of any friends of ours...or does it?!?!?

The scene unfolds something like this……

It is 7:00 in the morning. Onid and Asil are sitting outside of their cabin enjoying the quiet of the early morning in their super-secret undisclosed location. Both are drinking their preferred morning beverage. For Onid that means a warm can of Blatz beer from the case that sits within arm’s reach of his chair. Asil is more refined, thinks warm beer is disgusting. Instead she picks up the ½ bottle of Schmirnoff  Vodka off the concrete where she discarded it the night before. “Chilled by the night air” she thinks as she presses the bottle to her collagen infused lips and takes her first of many swigs of the day straight from the bottle. Sadly, ½ of the swig missed her lips and spills onto her 2 sizes too small tank top marked with the past three days of vodka and various food stains. She internally curses the do it yourself injection kit she bought at “The Walmart” the week before that left one side of her top lip as plump as a strawberry while the other side is a flat as cat in the middle of I-90. Although Onid likes the look it is hell on her drinking. But this is the life she chose for the last 32 years and truth be told she loves that man to death.

Letting out a big belch Onid yells “Make me some breakfast woman!”. Asil looks over at him, sitting in the lawn chair in his yellowish?, “once-white” tighty whities. His hair is rumbled and the strap marks from his CPAP machine are still etched across his face. An engorged mosquito whose blood alcohol level is now well over the legal limit is impaled itself just below Onid’s unibrow, right between his eyes. She has an urge to throw up as she looks at him. “Please don’t let this be morning sickness” she thinks hoping upon hope that it is just the sight and smell of him that is making her retch.

Onid scratched himself, looks down at the cracked concrete littered with empty cans and bottles, and using his toes, plucks the head of a dandelion growing between a crack. He then belches again, laughs and says “I dun the weed’in for the day, let’s go have some breakfast”.

Oh, how she loves this man. They hold hands as they walk into the kitchen to see if the cats have left them any canned cat food they can spread on some toast….. 

Well, that is it for this episode of the Adventures of Onid and Asil. Do they have any cat food? Is Asil really pregnant? Will Onid pick any more weeds today? Stay tuned for the next addition of this adventure to find out!

Meanwhile 622 miles to the southwest Barb and I have been busy working on the house. We had picked up our flooring in Rapid City last week and this week was set aside to install it. Kevin came over and helped us get the first few rows going as like many things, starting out straight it critical.

Day 1 got us ½ way through the living room and dining room area. On day 2 we were able to finish the kitchen and living room

Day 3 brought us through the bathroom.

Day 4 and 5 were the bedroom and laundry room.

It is slow, tedious work but only about a 5 on the difficulty level and we save a little over $2,000 doing it ourselves. Barb probably did ¾ of the work herself. She came and got me off the couch when she had a difficult cut that had to be made or when I needed another beer. Actually, I was working on other projects....really!

Like fixing our pellet grill. For those of you who have one NEVER leave it out in the rain. If the pellets get wet, they swell then harden like concrete totally clogging up the auger mechanism. I had to take the whole thing apart and basically chisel the hardened pellets out of the auger tube.

We finished working by 5:00 each day which allowed us to get out a few evenings. One evening we were invited over to Jim and Carmen’s (our neighbors to the west) house for happy hour. They invited our neighbor to the east as well. We spent over 4 hours together and had a great time!

Monday night we went to dinner with our neighbors to the south. Tuesday, RV friend Richard stopped by with his girlfriend Linda and her two granddaughters. Richard and Linda brought all the food and we cooked out of the grill. We had not seen Richard in about 3 years when he helped us pull fence and install the underground plumbing pipes. We had never met Linda. They are traveling with her grandkids (7 and 8) for a month. Although they are great kids, they are full of energy! They played with Zoey most of the afternoon and actually wore Zoey out!

Rick, Linda, Angie and Gwen

Gwen with Zoey

It was great seeing Richard and meeting Linda, they are welcome back anytime!

Once the flooring was done we put in the bedroom and bathroom doors. For the last year or so we have had nothing but a shower curtain on the bathroom door. Finally, a door we can shut, no more 4 legged critters pushing through the curtain to see what we are doing in the bathroom!

Speaking of bathrooms, Kevin formed and poured the shower pan in the main bath. First he put a thin layer of mortar in the shower area, sloping it towards the drain in each direction. Once that was dry, they laid down the rubber matting on top of that and about 1’ up the walls. Then it was time for the tile backer to go on the walls and a second layer of mortar on the rubber again sloping towards the drain.

Kevin laying the shower pan

Then it was my turn to take over putting shower tape and a liquid rubber sealant on all the joints. We are now ready for tiling! After 6 weeks of waiting it finally arrived this week!

Waterproofing almost done!

On the dog front, both Zoey and Dakota are glad to be home. Zoey was the perfect dog in the camper. Not running around, sleeping through the night and not waking up until 7am. Now that she is home she is running around like a puppy possessed and waking up at 5am! .She is forever stealing our tools while we are working.....

No, I have no idea where your pencil is!

Barb was trying to take a cute picture of her out in the wild flowers. Every time Barb would pose her next to a pretty flower and try to take the picture, Zoey would look at the flower and eat it! 

She's also a little sneakster as well and is always trying to dart through your legs to get outside whenever we open the door. She thinks it is a game as Barb chases her around the yard. After a while Barb just gives up, comes inside gets the treat bag, crinkles it and Zoey comes a running! She had her 5 month birthday this week and is now 17lbs.

Another trick Zoey has learned is to jump on Dakota’s bed each night when Barb drags it into our bedroom each night. Once Barb starts dragging the bed, Zoey stops whatever she is doing for a ride. I will try to get a video of that for next weeks post. 

After my editor and attorney reviewed this post they insisted that I include the following disclaimer:

The events, characters and firms depicted in the first few paragraphs of this blog post are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual firms, is purely coincidental. Really!

I have no idea why they wanted me to include it but just in case, we are going to hunker down here in our "undisclosed" location standing guard fearing paybacks for the completely fiction story above!

Friday, July 9, 2021

Grandma Goes Kayaking!

Over the years Barb and I have read 100’s of books while traveling around the country. Some of our favorite authors include Patterson, Koontz, Crichton and others. We tend to gravitate to the murder mysteries and the like. I am amazed at how these authors can write books with so many plot changes, twists and turns. Now we have another author to add to our "favorites" list: Sobieck. For those of you who had read our blog for a while you have heard me mention the Sobieck clan more than a time or two. Bob Sobieck was my best friend in high school and his son Chris is partner of the Finken/Sobieck farm we frequent spring and fall. Bob has 3 other brothers who I have hung out and hunted with quite a bit over the years. The book I am referring to was written by Dan Sobieck last year. He and his wife Jeannie own Prairie Smoke Ranch outside of McClusky North Dakota.

Dan has written columns and articles for various publications over the years, a couple of which I have been honored to be part of. Last year he wrote and published Mad Grass: A Warrior Returns based on actual events that took place in that area of North Dakota in 1851. Previous to reading this book I had never heard of the Métis People. After learning about them, I can see how they struggled to fit in in that era. 

Beyond the fact that a friend of mine wrote it I was enthralled with the history of the area recognizing many of the towns and landmarks. Since it was based on actual events, it was evident that  Dan did a ton of research to portray the story accurately but also with character plots that captivated the reader. If you like to read I would highly recommend this one, you will not regret it! By the way if you are in the market for a waterfowl ranch in North Dakota, Dan and Jeannie just listed their place for sale as well!

We have been gone from Forrest’s for over 5 days now and have made it all the way back home to South Dakota. Our original plan was to take our time and fish our way back through Montana but two things prevented that from happening. Well, one thing….the weather. First it was too darn hot to leave the pups in the camper for any length of time while we fished and the second was that Montana enacted “Hoot Owl Restrictions” and some full closures on several of the areas we were going to fish. What are Hoot Owl Restrictions you ask? It is where they close a river or stream to fishing from 2pm-midnight due to drought resulting in low waters levels or extreme heat. If a fish is caught during the heat of the day the likelihood of it being successfully released after being out of the water diminish significantly. Why they call it that I have no idea. At any rate these two factors prompted us to head straight home instead of taking our time.

Before we left Forrest’s though we had time for one more adventure when he took Barb on a kayaking trip down a section of the Williamson River! He and I had floated it last year and we both thought Barb would enjoy it so away they went.

The first section has a few rapids so I stuck around to watch/video them going through thinking of the $100,000 I could win if I got a good wipeout on video.

But as you can see they made it through successfully and Forrest caught another nice Rainbow (no picture) to boot!

We left Forrest's on a Monday with one goal in mind. Get home. Barb and I talked it over and we both decided that we would rather drive in a truck with comfy air conditioning rather than sitting in the camper and being stationary whether we had A.C. or not. So off we went with no destination in mind. We took the southern route which would bring us through Nevada and into Salt Lake. We made Salt Lake after 11 hours of driving but it was still in the high 80's so we decided to keep on a truck'in. After 13 hours of driving we finally stopped for the night at a Walmart in Evanston Wyoming where the temperature was a comfortable 70 degrees. 

The next day we were off again bright and early. After a stop in Casper to do a little shopping we carried on and made it home about 5:00pm. 22 hours of driving in 34 hours. Driving is different when the weather does not cooperate and you are excited to get to a destination!

The next day was Wednesday and you know what that means.... Burger night at the Pringle bar! We met up with Dan, Bonnie, Kevin, Cheryl and Kevin's mom Martha who was visiting for a few weeks. We spent 2 1/2 hours catching up. Dan and Bonnie's house is coming along. The exterior is almost done. The rough plumbing and electrical is about done as well. The most exciting thing that happened was that Kevin and Cheryl had a baby! 

Cheryl bought a horse last September and over the months it started getting bigger and bigger. They were suspicious so they had a vet out and yup, she was pregnant. Then last week Cheryl woke up and there was a baby in the field standing next to her mother!

So, they basically got a free horse. Well, those of you who have owned horses know that there is no such thing as a "free" horse!

The other thing I was looking forward to was checking out the trail cameras posted throughout our property. Spring is such as great time of the year as you get to see the baby animals!

And for only the second time we had an elk on camera on our property!

But wait, there is more...... The momma elk had a baby on our property! At least this calf looks newly born to me. 

They hung around for about 6 days and took off to join their herd again. There were a few other critters on camera as well.....including a coyote and a red tail hawk visiting our water tank.

Ah, it is so good to be back. We had a great time with the kids but home is home and it is good to be back!

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Keep on Dream'in

 You ever wonder what dogs dream about? They bark, they whine, they “air run” so what is going on in that head of theirs? Does Dakota dream about Daisy? Do they dream about steak dinners and chasing cats? Do cats dream? I tend to doubt it, but if they do I am sure they dream about killing their owners and eating their remains.

Zoey is a big dreamer. Barking and growling in her sleep. Which is great for Barb as Zoey tends to sleep with her head on Barb’s neck or right next to her head. How Barb can sleep like that is still beyond me! If I were to guess, I am sure Zoey dreams about endless fields of mushrooms and deer droppings, or chicken droppings, or cat poop, she will basically eat anything.

Speaking of dreams. When Barb and I first got married we had lots of dreams of the non-sleep variety. Through the years we have fulfilled many, changed some, added more. Dreams are what motivated us through the years to work towards an end goal. Barb and I are lucky to have similar goals and dreams but some couples are not so lucky. I have one friend who dreams of nothing but an endless supply of Old Style or Busch Light beer while his wife dreams about having a husband with a body like The Rock. See the issue here? Although he may weigh as much as The Rock, the sad reality is I doubt her dream will ever be realized.

What are our dreams right now? Pretty simple actually,  Now, as we get older, although we still have dreams like me shooting a big moose or finishing our house, our main dream is seeing our kids to be happy and healthy. It brings a glow to our hearts seeing our kids work hard towards and achieve some of their dreams. Forrest is doing really well as a Real Estate Agent and Jessica's career as a Nurse Manager over the Family Birthing and NICU is going great.  

We had two incidents this week. The first one was funny, the second was potentially tragic. I was walking out to the camper to find my lovely bride. She disappeared 30 minutes prior and had not returned. I figured she was relaxing and enjoying the A.C. in the camper so I was going to roust her. As I was walking to the camper some movement caught the corner of my eye. I looked over towards the shed to see this…..

The picture does not really show what I was seeing. The bag was actually moving up and down in the crack of the door. I walk over and open the door to find this……

You see this shed has a gate latch on it, you know the ones that self-lock when they close? Well Barb went in there to get the dog pool because it is so hot and yup, the door closed on her. She said it was hot in there but knew someone would come look for her eventually. Probably about dinner time. Nothing like a 30 minute sit in a shed sauna to sweat out what ails you!

The second incident was very scary. Barb was walking the dogs in the yard. Zoey was on a leash and Dakota was off running in the brush. She was watching Dakota when she noticed Zoey bend down to sniff something. Since she is always eating everything in sight Barb looked over to see what she was up to in time to see her a rattle snake lunge at Zoey. She pulled Zoey so hard she flew backwards and just fast enough to avoid her from being bit.

Frantic and traumatized Barb came and got me and after walking around a bit we found it. That snake has now been permanently relocated and will not be a danger ever again. Forrest said it was the 3rd they have found in their yard this year.

Zoey did make a new friend however. Whenever the neighbor’s horse sees Zoey coming over that way it walks over to the fence and they smell each other through the fence. You have to wonder what is going through each other’s minds!

The week was filled with more house projects. We have finished working on the loft and stair railing and installing a new front door. But with the unbearably hot here in Klamath Falls. 90’s all week, one day a high of 108! It really hampers the motivation to work but we carry as with the little motivation that we have.

If you look closely at the picture below you can see 2x4 & 2x6 railings going up the stairs as well as a wall at the top of the stairs. 

We removed the existing 2x4 & 2x6 railings and two half walls replacing them with aluminum balusters and wood handrails. 

After we leave they are going to finish painting and replace the carpet. They are getting there slowly but surely!

To escape the heat we went to Lake of the Woods one day. It is about an hour west of here in the mountains. Just what the doctor ordered! We found a nice spot right on the beach and in the shade. 

Dakota and Zoey played in the water all day. This was Zoey's first swimming adventure and she jumped in with no fear in the world. We put her life jacket on her and she swam, waded and sat on the bow of the kayak as I paddled around the lake. 

Another day Lily had a sleep over at a friends house and we went out to a The Falls Taphouse and sat up on the patio taking advantage of the views on the patio.

Saturday was still hot but we ventured into town to take in the annual car show. There were hundred of cars. Here are a few of our favorites.....

An old tow truck!
I thought our friend Greg in Spring Valley Wisc. when I saw this one!

With our time here coming to an end it was time for Forrest and I to have our annual archery shoot. If you will remember we fold up several bills and pin them to the target. Forrest was looking to avenge my victory from last year.  For this challenge a $20 bill was folded fairly small at 30 yards. I had the yellow fletching and Forrest has green. As you can see I won the first round and put $20 in my pocket. 
Papa wins at 30 yards!
We then moved back to 45 yards and used a whole $20 bill. It only took one round for Forrest to claim victory at that range.

Forrest wins at 45 yards
So the 2021 archery challenge ended in a draw with both of us recouping our $20. Forrest will have to continue his dream of besting me in archery, my beer drinking friend will continue to dream of the endless keg at the end of the rainbow and I will dream of a 60" moose with my name on it. Happy 4th everyone, keep on a dream'in and carry on!