Wednesday, March 29, 2023


 One day it is 40, the next is snowing. Then it's 40 again. That is the cycle we have been on this week.

 Looking at it glass 1/2 full, we need the moisture. Our pond is getting fuller and fuller. We have had years it is totally dry and years it has been over 8' deep. Right now, it is probably 2' deep. 

But according to the calender, spring is here. The turkeys are strutting, the bluebirds have returned, and the cows are dropping their calves. So yes, although it may not look like it every day, spring is here! Barb and I went for a walk so we could enjoy the springness (yes, another word I made up) in the air. 

These turkeys sure are strange looking birds. I've never really noticed but each of them have unique faces and characteristics all to their own as can be seen by these different birds. 

A couple of mature toms

A younger tom and a hen

We have about 7 toms and 40 hens that hang out on an almost daily basis. 
Turkey season opens here on April 4th. I have not gone out the last few years but I am thinking about it this year. No, I am not going to hunt these birds and to make it more challenging, I am going to use my bow. 

Barb and I have gotten out on a few walks around the property. We walked over to the neighbors to see the baby calves just in time to see this one taking its first steps! Sorry about the shot of the backend of the mother, but, that's nature at its finest!

Speaking of nature at its finest, check out this tree.  See those four individual trees in the center? Each are about 20' tall but are not individual trees at all, if you look closely they are actually upright branches coming off a tree that is bent over. Pretty amazing!
Our property is at 4900' but is also considered arid, well, maybe not arid by its strictest definition but it is drier than most of the other areas around. As such, we have cactus and yucca's throughout the property. Here is a shot of one of the many yuccas we have scattered around. 
We also have 4 bluebird houses scattered around. This past week, each of them have new residents. I cannot help but wonder if they are the same pairs year after year, or if they are random birds that just happen by. 
One day after working on the porch ceiling, we got out on a ATV ride into the National Forest. Not a long one, just long enough to enjoy what was left of the afternoon. 
We are always on the lookout for elk and deer antlers when we are out and about. Almost all the bulls and bucks have lost theirs but there are still a couple of stragglers out there like this guy who stopped by for a brief visit. 
We did manage to find one tiny little antler, about 4" long. Of all the antlers out there in the forest, we managed to find one of the smallest ones out there!

Work on the porch ceiling has been slow. We are getting there but I will save photos of that for when we are further along. 

What have the girls been up to lately? Well, Dakota loves to get out and explore with us. Well, except on the ATV which she is not a fan of. But she loves running around the woods. 
Zoey, although she loves getting out and running around, seems happiest on the couch snuggled up to a patch of sun. 
Meanwhile, out in Oregon, our granddaughter Lily got a backpack for Chloe who we affectionately just referred to as "The Doodle"
Have a great week!

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!