Saturday, July 30, 2011
Colorado is such an amazing place, well at least the little corner of the state that we got to view.
We stayed in a 2 room cabin with a kitchenette and a deck that overlooked... a camper, but beyond the camper the rocky mountains majestic peaks shined. This trip has been a whirlwind, and I have to say that if given the choice, I may have stayed in the RMNP longer. We hiked, we ate, and we laughed alot. Yesterday morning we started our day (6am) with a breakfast ride on horseback to a breakfast in the mountain. Although I am far too out of shape to sit on a horse for 2 straight hours, the trip was perfect otherwise.
Then we came back to our room and got our hiking gear and headed into the park (here is where the national park pass really has paid off) and took a small hike at 8,000 feet, to Alberta Falls and Bear Lake.
We then showered and headed to the highest peak that the road travels and viewed MANY elk and marmot. On the road out of the park this morning we got to see Longhorn grazing on the weeds alongside of the road. Then... we headed to Nebraska. Driving by the many (many many many) missile silo's for the minute men nukes was interesting. Admittedly it took me a few silo sites to realize what I was seeing. After all, we are in the southwestern corner of the state where from what I understand the majority of Nebraska's silo sites are located. Other than that, Nebraska has been very anticlimactic. I would never recommend coming here AFTER such an amazing place as Colorado. Tomorrow Devil’s Tower~
Thursday, July 28, 2011
The last 2 days have been such a blur. To start with, we got up super early yesterday morning and headed on the road for our 5 hour trek across the state of wyoming with the goal of getting to Rock springs which was just about half way to Estes Park Colorado. We were halfway there and I decided that I just could not do another bed bug motel so I called and cancelled our room and got us a great room at the cutest/cheesiest hotel ever. The Little America hotel in none other than Little America was like a oasis to us with its spotlessly clean pool, meticulously manicured lot and the very clean rooms. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it? It’s kitschy because the room was originally decorated circa 1975. I think actually the entire state of Wyoming is stuck in the 70’s judging by the style of just about every place we have been in. Honestly though, it has been the nicest stay we’ve had thus far so if you find yourself in the middle of the high desert Wyoming, seek it out.
Then this morning, with much grog, we hoisted our expanding and exhausted asses out of bed and back on the road at about 8am. We were on the road until about 3pm. At around 12:30, we entered Colorado and our spirits lifted with the landscape. I think there is a certain beauty about the desert but after so many hours of the same sagebrush, it was a welcome change to finally start seeing mountains in the distance.
As a side note let’s discuss gassing up shall we? We rented a very reasonable Nissan Sentra that gets outstanding gas mileage compared to my FJ Cruiser (I love that frigging truck so hush). The problem I seem to be having is this: EVERY freaking time I try to fill the tank, whether it be top off the tank because who knows how long it will take for us to get to another gas station, or filling from almost empty, EVERY TIME I do this the fuel doesn't just automatically stop when the tank fills up. It actually OVERFRIGGING FLOWS all over the side of the car and on a few occasions, my flip-flopped clad foot. This is not okay.
Let me just say that our stay in Estes Park so far has been a outstanding pleasure. We rented a KOA Deluxe Kabin and we are very happy with it so far! The town is full of shopping and reasonably priced food. We headed into the park for a quick drive too, at about 12,000 feet, when I thought I was going to die of a heart attack from lack of oxygen, we turned around and headed to town for some high elevation noshing. Seriously folks, don't try to light a cigarette at 12,000 feet because you told someone you would smoke one for them up on the highest drivable peak. It’s just not going to happen.
Tomorrow I surprised Number One with a breakfast horseback ride for 2 hours in the park. I am sure once she stops being pissed off that I had to wake her before 7am, she will be thrilled at riding in the morning hours. After that, we will eat and then take a short EASY hike in the park. I am sure there will be many pictures and stories for me to tell then. Now, I rest. Oh and besides Miami Ink is on in a few minutes. A girl has her priorities!
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Today we were still in Driggs Idaho. I don't know if you are familiar with the area. Let me just put it out there if you are not, there’s nothing here but scenery. Really this is why we came though, to see the things we would not normally see, the rolling fields, the grand Tetons and the farms. It is beautiful country here. I think one night would have sufficed though and for that, well I will be sorry. We really should have made our way closer to Estes Park instead of being here because now we have 200 miles to cover tomorrow and 270 the day after. I was afraid if we spent all our time driving, we would not SEE and well we ended up driving today anyway.
Driving to go see Yellowstone Bear World. This is a zoo and really goes against most everything I believe in but after talking to the people there, they tell me the bears were once rehab bears that could not go back to the wild and they just bred them to make more bears and well here we are, with bears. There are also other random animals, elk for example, and a pair of bison. I guess they are hoping to breed the bison too? slightly off topic but has anyone ever seen a baby bison?
Anyway, so here we are.
Last night as I laid in my bed, a bug literally crawled into my ear. Yeah that’s right, a bug. I joke about bed bugs but now I wonder… so we stripped the mattresses and no sign of bugs in the bed. I also have the piece of mind (ha get it?) knowing that I could hear it buzzing, quite well actually, so i think it was a gnat or some bitey little beast. It went on for about 30 seconds of pure hell, maybe a minute and then I put water in my ear and it stopped. I put water in my ear a few times and now I feel like I have a water full of ear. I am not sure if my ear feels weird because I have put water in it several times, because I stuck a q-tip in it last night or because now I have a psychosis about there being a bug in my ear.
Tomorrow’s long trip prevents me from staying up late and worrying about it. I couldn't do anything about it at this point anyway.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Sunday morning, bright and shiny early Tarynn and I jumped into the rental car and enthusiastically headed towards Wyoming for the second day of our very busy itinerary. We rented a budget cabin at Old Faithful in Yellowstone for 1 night and one night only and we wanted to take in as much as the park as we could. We stopped when we felt like it and we saw whatever our hearts desired. Complete with Bison, Elk, Deer and some other stuff too.
The budget cabins were great and nestled in between old faithful and some other boiling sulfur spraying earth gas hole. Other than the elevation making us unable to catch our breath, the stay was quite lovely. The stars are amazing out here! Its the people that make the stay unbearable (PUN!) with pulling over and literally chasing down elk to get the better picture. Hey ahole thanks for scaring the wildlife, next time I hope she turns around and tramples your behind. I also had a really hard time with the amount of people there were. It was actually shocking. You literally had to share space with hundreds of people to see Old Faithful go off. Since I have had a hell of a time adjusting to the time zone, I actually got up at zero dark thirty and watched the eruption with 2 other people. Now THAT was neat.
Before bed, a wayward baby squirrel chased Tarynn around the parking area for the cabin’s which really was worth it. No, I didn’t try to help her.
This morning we headed down towards the tetons and Jackson Hole WY. Jackson Hole was another touristy ridden hell hole. I mean its beautiful and fun but then someone cuts you off or is rude and it just takes away from the experience for me.
Now we are in Idaho, in the middle of nowhere Idaho. no crowds, the Tetons are outside of my very inexpensive bed bug special and I have wireless and a full belly. I have to say this place is gorgeous but I couldn’t live here. It isn’t that the town is rural, it’s the dryness and the lack of trees that really gets me. Its a fantastic place to visit, that’s for sure but I wont be writing my husband with a future home suggestion today.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
As I write this, we are flying over NH finally. I say finally because we actually prepared for this flight over 3 hours ago. In true rockstar fashion though our flight was delayed a few hours. It wasn't delayed until we were on the plane. Then you know, the rules are that they can keep us sitting on the plane for an hour or so before they have to let us off. Andddd they did.
Now we are headed to Chicago for the first leg of the trip. Sadly we are not sure where or when we will be headed next since we already missed BOTH our connecting flights to Montana. United Air wonderfully pleasant ticketing agent tells me as we reboard the plane- “I dont know if your flights were rebooked. You need to either stay here in NH and I will rebook you within 48 hours or you can just “wing it” and get on the plane”.
I did not appreciate the pun.
Well now I write at approximately 4pm Mountain Time as I sit in my billings bed bug hotel of which I will not name. We have a full belly (thank you Applebees) and we are ready to drive around and get to know the local scenary maybe pop in a few stores. I have to tell you, there is alot to see here for someone who has never left the east coast (other than Vegas but c’mon that does not count). We will only be here overnight. We have to buy towels and some sundries we refused to pay for with large luggage fees. Not to forget the cooler for our road sodas!! Anyway will check in tomorrow.
Incidentally, with the weird stuff we’ve seen already, if I were playing vacation bingo, i would have already won. I mean Amish in MT? BINGO!
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Once we did, it was on.
I will spare you the gorey details and the sweat (literally) that was involved with bow drilling and getting SO close. So many times we got a coal yet were unable to turn that coal into a fire.
Tonight we suceeded finally!
You can see in this picture that we have had MANY attempts previously and FAILED.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Yesterday while I was double checking our flights (4 of them!!) to Montana, I noticed a separate (and very small) note about extra fees that United charges for baggage. I guess I don't really mind the additional $30 for extra bags but what got me was the $100-$175 that they want to tack on if your bag is "oversize". Dude, what? After about 20 minutes of searching I found the definition of what over size is. I actually saw TWO different descriptions. Not only do they slam you for a bag that is larger than normal, but they will slam you for a bag that is too heavy. That means don't pack any warm clothing because it will put your suitcase over the allotted 40 (or 50 depends on where you look) pounds.
Andrew was on and off the scale about yesterday holding my bags to ensure that I could get on the flight without having to pay up to $300 extra for the baggage weight. Not sure how we are going to get it home but I will have to be super careful with all the gifts I buy. Sorry Andrew :)
5 days to go.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
This is really cool. I can update on where we have been, including photographs of the two of us and our locations! The itinerary is something like this:
Montana ---> Wyoming ---> Idaho ---> Wyoming ---> Colorado ---> Nebraska ---> Wyoming ---> South Dakota ---> Home
This is something like 1,300 miles over 10 days which is as follows:
Day One: flying no driving MT
Day Two: 155 miles – about 2 hours 59 minutes (uhhh 3 hours) WY!
Day Three: 150 miles- about 3 hours 20 minutes (lets note the fact that its less miles but more time here shall we?) Grand Teton’s! ID
Day Four: Zero Day ID
Day Five: 208 miles – about 4 hours 1 minute (yeah take that minute and add it to day two) WY
Day six: 314 miles – 5 hours 16 minutes (lets also note that this is driving clean across Wyoming CO
Day Seven: Zero Day CO
Day Eight: 184 Miles - About 3 hours 8 minutes NE
Day Nine: 241 miles – 4 hours 17 minutes WY
Day Ten: 108 Miles – 1 hour 52 mins SD
Roughly 16 hours driving.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
This weekend was incredibly nice out (finally) but I am not sure if the warm was enough to melt away all of that snow that was at Swood just a few weeks ago. We are ready for it when it does though and eager to get up there and spend some great time getting back into the swing of things. In the mean time, down here at Swood south, we have gotten the ball rolling on a few projects.
One was as you remember a few weeks ago, we cut down on the number of chickens that we have. We went from 13 to 7 and that means that there are 6 in the freezer. We actually have NOT eaten any of them yet but it has been out of pure unadulterated lack of time and not that we are afraid to eat our own chickens. It is actually the opposite.
Another project we have going is our seed starting. Right now we have about 20 tomato plants (heirloom and hybrid), Cukes (white and regular), Green Peppers, broccoli and cauliflower all going under the lamp. The Broc and Cauli are due to go out into the garden somewhere around may 1st, and the rest will go out June 1st. Some of the other seeds we have ready to go are corn, squash and potato. I am looking forward to a fruitful summer and possibly we will grow enough to can this year!
The family is good, one of the kids will be 18 next weekend! Other than that life is the same.
I hope you are all well and I look forward to hearing about all of your early spring projects!
Monday, March 21, 2011
Andrew and I baked tonight once again its all about the cupcakes really and here is what we came up with:
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 extra-large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 cups grated carrots (less than 1 pound)
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
For the frosting:nocoupons
- 3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 pound confectioners' sugar
DirectionsPreheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat the sugar, oil, and vanilla together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add the grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts to the remaining flour, mix well, and add to the batter. Mix until just combined.
Line muffin pans with paper liners. Scoop the batter into 22 muffin cups until each is 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and cook for a further 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack.
For the frosting, cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar and beat until smooth.
When the cupcakes are cool, frost them generously and serve.
Friday, March 18, 2011
How does one acquire a crane?
Let me back up.
Before we built the house on our lot, there was a hunters cabin already placed there. It’s a cute little 10 x 20 un-insulated cabin with a small wood stove up on cinder blocks. We literally spent a year of weekends in that cabin with our dog, and eventually 2 dogs. When it was a “kid weekend” they kids would pitch a tent down on the field. I love that little house yet when the big house was officially ROOF ON we eagerly moved all of our crap into it and never looked back. For a time, the children slept in the little house still while we were in the big house. This worked out fine until the spring came and tilted the little house on its axis in the form of EROSION. Then they moved to the big house on their weekends.
Having served its purpose for the time being, it has become spider and mouse ridden. It also is in the wrong spot. Harry and I would like to move it to a different location on the lot (really only about 40 feet away) and turn it into a future chicken/goat barn. I think we are actually considering doing it this summer in fact which makes me very excited to get back to the swood planning! We are stuck though… how does one move a little house?
Do we move it like the ancient Egyptians?
Do we take it apart and move it 40 feet and rebuild it?
Stay tuned for the next installment of moving a small house…
Saturday, March 12, 2011
If you click on the picture you will see a MOOSE NEST!!! I was so excited! We have a MOOSE at our house!!!! how neat!
(dont mind the date on the photo, i can't figure out how to update it to 2011 lol)
Anyway, here is a picture of the house as it stands today with all the snow which as melted considerably. I am thinking there was at least 2 feet of snow still on the driveway and that is right in the sun.
(thats harry strapping on his snowshoes to join me on the trip down the hill.)
I also took some video.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
In my head, I think wow that would be so simple to live like that. I would love to care about the Apple iPad 2 or the new Nook that I got. Instead, all I can think about are gas prices and when my chicken order will arrive or if my started seeds are germinating.
I think Harry and I are totally on the same page, we are really gearing up for some Shmoopywood time this summer. I think the puppy will LOVE being up at the cabin because we all know that *I* do! We have some things to do up there to make the place perfect. You know, like walls and running water.
I try to get my kids to understand. To pay attention to the world around them. To care for other people and to be good hard workers. I feel like that is not happening lol. I often wonder if my kids care only about themselves? I have one child who will sit and watch the news, and I think he probably knows more about the world than I do at times. That is fantastic, but when it comes to helping out, when it comes to making sure that Mom and Steppy don't have to do all the work to provide for the family, well he just always seems to be missing. The other child is constantly grouchy. Anything you say to her she just snaps back at you and OMG dont tell her that because if you do... it could be a long time before she will talk to you again. It is just at their age, they should be more aware of their surroundings, the government, money... things are way worse in their time than it was in mine! I just can't seem to get them to do that, they care more about the iPad2 and trips to Boston...
What about you guys? What have you done to prepare your family for what is going on in the world?
Monday, February 28, 2011
We also ordered new baby chicks in fun varieties! We got anything from Speckled Sussex to Auracauna! They will come to us in April hopefully when the yard has melted (we got another foot yesterday thank you very much) and the coop has had its spring cleaning. We have a brooder area inside the coop and therefore the little fluffers will only be inside the house for a week before getting shuffled out to the brooder area. This,w e have found, also makes the transition to full coop MUCH easier with the larger hens. (Also, I suspect our trouble makers are now in the freezer.)
Also, our incredibly sweet Roo, Mike the Jersey Giant has taken a turn over to the dark side where he now is in the KILL THE HUMANS camp. This is not acceptable. Hopefully he will get over himself or he may find himself ruling a different roost or joining the freezer camp. Can't have a 15 pound rooster coming at you. NOPE!
The family has been sick, with cold after cold. Hopefully we are on the way out of that now, Harry has caught my cold (sorry hun) and Noah has had to have surgery (noah the great dane puppy) but other than that we are ok!
Yesterday to combat the sick and to make people smile I found a quick recipe online for coffee cake which my family loves. Since I am now trying to make everything from scratch, I had to bake it myself! I found this recipe. I really dig it. I would say though the cake is a bit dry so don't overcook it (i suspect i may have).
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 6 tablespoons white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 inch square pan.
- In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender to the size of small peas.
- In a separate small bowl, beat the egg well, then stir in the milk and vanilla. Add the egg-milk mixture to the flour mixture all at once. Stir carefully until just blended.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Drizzle top with melted butter.
- In a small bowl mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of cake. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Monday, February 7, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
**Lets stop right there for a second. Anyone who has teenage boys knows that if your son tries to directly communicate with you, its not going to be good. So imagine my blood pressure raising quite a bit at that point.**
Apparently the daughter couldn't get up our driveway so she tried to go up the street, turn around and then race down the street (downhill) and take a 90 degree right hand turn on ice. Physics is not her strength. So now we have half a Chevy Malibu (dubbed the Chevy Malamute) in the driveway and a tweaked out light post.
You know its going to be a great week when it starts off with your daughter playing chicken with a lamp post. No worries, the daughter and the son are ok.
The lamp post however is in critical condition.
Luckily the whole thing happened in my driveway and not god forbid on the highway or with another car.
Also, did I mention the temps? This was after sunrise already... can you believe that?
The peep, ladies, chickens, flock... no worries, they have a "sun lamp" and a heater for these few days only.
Friday, January 14, 2011
I've missed you, my blog. I've missed updating and telling you my stories of daily life. Some funny.
This one is not.
I think you've established over the years you've been with me (if you've read back that far) that my life revolves mainly around my dogs. I mean its weird but its true. My husband and I share that. I think I have also posted at some point maybe on the other blog about Django and his dilated cardiomyopathy. I can't really go into this all at great length but I do want to share so I can get this out of the way and go back to posting.
Django became very ill. He had symptoms of DCM but when we took him for his echo the cardiologist with whom we trusted our dog's life, told us there was not any change and he was fine. Over the course of the next few weeks he got worse and we got a second opinion. The second opinion basically told us we were throwing a hail mary pass and gave us HANDFULS of medication. He quite frankly couldn't understand how he was still alive. I can't continue to talk about this much longer so I will say it.
Django lived a comfortable, happy and peppy final 2 weeks and then we lost him, in his sleep, 45 minutes after I had seen him happy and wagging his tail.
I am (needless to say) devastated as is my family. Django was an amazing dog. He made everyone happy, most of all me. He was my best friend, my "heart dog" and my confidant. I have been struggling since Thanksgiving with this loss. I am not sure when or if I will ever feel better. I know that some of you are probably thinking that this is weird or whatever but to those who think that way... you never met him. He truly was amazing.
He helped me with great dane rescue. He helped people. He was wonderful. I have to stop now, can't talk about it. Next post i wont mention this... This was taken a few weeks before he got sick. I love it because I was so happy. Django is in the middle.
We love you. You took my heart with you.