Sunday, May 31, 2009

Last Day of May

What a beautiful day it is today - just the kind of weather I love. A sunny morning (and no wind). Then it clouded up and we are having a really nice rain right now. I could live with this kind of day for the rest of the summer!

Barrie and Kasey went to check out the Farmers' Market this morning. I didn't go, as I was working on a painting (in my pajamas) and wanted to do a little vacuuming. Barrie must not have been very impressed - she said it "was kinda cute". I don't know what that means.

She brought her dad's other dog up and gave her a bath. She is still in the back hall, drying out. It started to rain, so Barrie didn't get her clipped.

I did a little cleaning in my upstairs room, but not much. Barrie cleaned the kitchen, dining room, and her bedroom, and did some laundry. She gets ten times as much done as I do, and in half the time.

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The barn cat at the Murdock Ranch

My feeble attempt at puffy clouds and Fremont Lake. Something is wrong with the blue paints on my palette. They seem to have granulated, and I can't get a smooth wash with them. I have tried to paint this scene several times, and none of them were successful. I have already started another one. Lynn had a good point when she said that is what is so nice about oils. - when it doesn't go right, you can wipe it off and paint over it.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Finished a Painting

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I finished this watercolor of an old log cabin today.

I'm still reading my Mom's diary. I am up to 1975. I am married to Chuck and teaching 1st grade in Pinedale. My dad had died a couple years before. We went to Alaska in my Mom's Winnebago - Mom, Chuck, me, Tracy, Barrie, Kelly and Lane. A little crowded, I guess, but we didn't mind. My Mom had such a good time on that trip and enjoyed everything we saw.

She mentioned us shopping in Syd's store in Shoshoni several times, and I guess we did go there a lot. Syd had his store in several different buildings in town, and this is it's last loction. It was two buildings. One of them was the old movie theater, so the floor sloped. It was like a maze in there. The ceilings were tall, and things were stacked on shelves clear to the ceiling, and I don't think anything existed that Syd didn't have, except groceries, I guess. The fire marshall finally shut it down. I'm not sure it even had a back door.

A recurring theme in her diary - the wind blows, cars won't start, machinery breaks down., and the wind blows some more.

Barrie is grooming dogs today. Her dad asked her if she could groom their two dogs, so she has them up in my yard. I think she has bathed both of them, and is now using the clippers on them.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Summer Day

Friday, May 29

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This is a small pencil drawing I just did of an owl. I sure got mixed up on the feathers.

Shorty, enjoying the summer weather in the back yard and chewing on an old antler.


Sure is a beautiful warm day today. I am almost fooled into thinking summer is here to stay, but I know it's not. My lilacs are just beginning to have a few buds, and they freeze almost every year. I think I have lived in Pinedale about 40 years, and have only seen the lilacs bloom a couple of times.

I cleaned out part of the little ditch in my back yard that helps drain the water away from the back of my house. It gets leaves and grass in it, and if I don't keep it cleaned out enough to keep the water running pretty well, I get water in my basement. I always have standing water at my back door during irrigation season, but don't usually have a problem with it getting into the basement.

I'm going to do more practice painting skies and clouds this week. I used to be able to paint really nice skies, but something is wrong. I think part of it is my paint. It has little granules in it, and that doesn't work very well. Time to clean up that palette and start with fresh paint. I have new paint of a brand that I'm not familiar with, and this might be a good time to try them.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


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I think I have probably posted pictures of Hobo before. Here he is after a haircut. Barrie and I picked him up along the highway out by Warren Bridge, and never found the owner, so he became ours. Susie and Sally will recognize him as a "Bitchen' Frizzie" and one of Susie's Bichon Frise puppies. He had run away from home (not Susie's), and we were happy to be his new owners.

I wish this was my picture, but it's not. I found it on the Internet some time ago and saved it. The cat's name was "Fluffy", and I think this photo was taken in Alaska.

I am such a sucker for kitchen gadgets, and this is one I just got. It's an indoor grill/cooker, and will do everything except peel potatoes, according to the advertisement. I have looked through the recipes that came with it, and am wondering if it is worth it, but will give it a try.


I always enjoy our Wednesday art group, and started another new watercolor today. For some reason, I start them and then it takes me a long time to finish one. I think I have six paintings started right now. It's time to finish something!

If any of you who read my blog are interested in doing plein air painting/sketching, The Green River Valley Land Trust is organizing a group for June 11. I don't know yet where they are going, but if you would like to take part, please call them.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pony Ride

Barrie and Kasey and I went out to Murdock's yesterday. Barrie is a friend and co-worker of Caroline, whose husband is the ranch manager. They have a great little pony, and Kasey rode him.

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Kasey wasn't at all anxious to be put up in the saddle, but Barrie held onto her and talked her through it.

After just a moment or two, Kasey said "let go Momma", and was riding around with a big smile and waving at me.

And THEN the pony snorted, and that was it for Kasey. It really scared her, and she wanted down. Barrie wouldn't take her down, but led her around a bit more while holding onto her and got her calmed down again.

I'm not sure, but I think Kasey was mad at us for a while. She wouldn't come in the barn with us to unsaddle the pony and turn him out. I thought she looked kind of pathetic and so little - standing in that big barn door and watching us. But she sat down in the corral and played in the dirt. After this we took her to the creek and she threw rocks in. So she was cheerful again.

Monday, May 25, 2009


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Kasey opening a gift from her Aunt Kelly this morning

Barrie is planning to run the Stage Stop Race this year, and has all her forms ready to mail. I took many pictures of her this morning, and this is the one she finally settled on to send in.

I'm still reading my Mother's diary. In 1959, I bought my first car, a blue Ford. I paid $350 down and my payments were $65 a month, which included the insurance. I was pretty proud of that car. When I moved to Casper, I had it parked in front of my apartment. In the middle of the night a kid (drinking) had come down the street and hit it, knocking it up onto the neighbor's lawn. Later, someone pulled our from their parking space and got me as I was going by. A couple years later, I was rear ended at a stop light in Tucson. Poor car got beat up quite a bit. I later traded it in on a Jeep Wagoneer in Arizona,

I didn't deal well with the winters in Casper. As soon as I was able to get my horse moved to a place where I could leave her, I moved to Tucson.

My mom put in her diary that she spent $15 on groceries, a ham and some whiskey. Pretty funny. It was just before Christmas, and I guess the ham was for dinner, and the whiskey for Tom and Jerry's.We usually had about 20 family members for Christmas.

Lynn and Judi asked me about my plans for the diary. It is just too long to copy, it would be a monumental project. I plan on taking it back to Bill and Alice's house, as they have all the other things that Mom had - photo albums and scrapbooks. It should all be kept together.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


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Barrie and her dad went to Jackson today to watch the parade. When she got home, she said it was going to rain, so she grabbed the lawnmower and mowed the lawn. It rained just a bit, but I hope it will rain more. i don't know why, but grass seems to green up much more from the rain than it does with water from the well.

This is the reason I am not getting any painting done and am staying up too late. And it's all Alice's fault! She told me she had extra space in her bookshelves and wondered if I had any of the notebooks. Sure enough, I still had my mother's diary, and have started reading it again. She started it in 1948 when we moved to the homestead along the river between Riverton and Shoshoni. I was about 9 at the time, and don't even remember the hardships. We had no water, no electricity, no phone, no money, and lived about 15 miles from town. The land had just been cleared of sagebrush. I remember living a pretty carefree life, but my parents worked so hard, and my brothers were old enough to work pretty hard too.

She wrote about how cold it got, or how hot it got, and how bad the mosquitoes were. We took baths in the irrigation ditch. The machinery broke down, I think we did laundry in town, and mom would sometimes iron 21 shirts! She baked bread and sewed and mended and grew a huge garden and canned what she grew. Then the Shoshoni school needed a teacher so she went to work teaching first grade and drove the school bus. Sometimes old friends or relatives came to visit, maybe a dozen at a time, and would stay several days. Mom always had something to feed them, and made beds for them somewhere. We had lots of company, and of course they usually just showed up unexpected because they couldn't call us.

I estimate I have read 300 pages of the diary, so you can see by the photo how many pages it is. It is printed on both sides of the paper. Mom wrote by hand until later years when she got a word processor - then she typed it all.

Friday, May 22, 2009


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I have nothing to write about today and no pictures, so I am posting some photos Tracy emailed to me. They closed on the condo in Florida and have been there getting it set up and buying furniture. I was pleased to see she used the quilts I made her for the beds.They bought beds with drawers in the bottom because she thought the bedrooms were too small for a dresser. She also sent photos of the living room, dining room and kitchen with new furniture. It looks so nice and I know they will enjoy it. I don't know how much time they plan on using it. Is this what you call "Life styles of the rich and famous??"

I went to Ridley's this morning, and am so glad that is over. What a disgusting place to shop, and it even smelled bad in there. I only saw one person I knew the entire time I was in the store.

Kasey will be 2 on Sunday, and I mainly went to get ice cream, cake mix and frosting. I bought a few canned goods, and there were many bent-up and dented cans!

A woman started talking to me, and I finally got away from her. She is 85 years old, has never paid $3 for a can of soup in her life and never will, and the price of everything is too high, and her prescriptions are so expensive, and that guy Obama is going to make them even higher.

I think the town of Pinedale will enjoy the "farmers' market" that is planned. If it is good, maybe between that and Bruce in "Specialy Meats" we will be in shopper's heaven!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


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New Paper
I'm trying a new surface for watercolors. This is a watercolor canvas, and is quite different from paper. I'm not sure if I will like it or not. The paint behaves very differently on it. This is a small simple painting done on 1/4 of the sheet of canvas, so it is only about 5" x 8". I will keep trying some different techniques on it.

Kat has found a new perching spot. I have seen her get involved with attacking her tail and fall off her cat tree, so I wonder how this will turn out! That's a long way down.


Alice, my sister-in-law called this morning. She has been busy redecorating one of their bedrooms. My brother is spending his days now riding the bus back and forth to Casper every day for radiation treatments. Fremont County has a bus that picks up passengers at Lander, Riverton, and Shoshoni and takes them to the hospital in Casper for treatment, then brings them back. What a wonderful service this is for those people who have to go every day.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Topless Dancer

The Topless Dancer

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Here is the topless dancer who performed for me this evening. First she danced with a bear, and then with Kat. At one point, she began to pull on the tabs of her diapers, which were sticking out the top of her jeans. Looks like she has designs on being a stripper!

I turned off the TV tonight and am playing my ipod. I have to remind myself sometimes how nice it is to turn that stupid TV off and enjoy some music. Or even just enjoy the quiet and listen to all the birds outside.

The birds are especially vocal this time of year. They are courting, I guess, and are not into the heavy duty job of hatching and feeding yet. They are too busy to sing much then.

A friend of Barrie's gave her a nice heavy duty stroller - the tires are as big as bicycle tires. She is taking it to the dog lot, and she and Kasey go for walks every evening with a couple of the sled dogs.

Last night I turned on a faucet and we had no water. Barrie checked in the basement, and the power to the pump is hard wired, no switch. So she checked the fuse box and found that the switch had tripped. We don't know why. I used the well to water the lawn for over an hour today, and it was fine. We had kind of brown water for a while last night, but it is clear now.

Both the pump and the pressure tank are relatively new. My well went out right in the middle of the big attic remodeling project, and Joe pulled all the old pipe, put in a submersible pump, and installed a new pressure tank.

It was a beautiful day today, sunny and warm, but not too warm. I thought it got too warm yesterday, but it's not as hot today and there is a nice breeze.

Monday, May 18, 2009


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My next drawing project


I didn't even know I had this - it is an unfinished pastel portrait of a friend's daughter. I think this girl is now a grandmother, so that gives you an idea of how long ago I started this. It was clamped onto a large drawing board with a pad of bistol board on top of it. I had no idea it was there.


What a beautiful day! I should be working in the yard. I slept with my bedroom window open all night.

I spent some "quality"? time in my basement this morning with the box cutter, flattening more boxes for the recycling center. I have let the pile of boxes get totally out of hand. Both Barrie and I have been flattening them, and I took one load to recycling last week.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


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My lawn probably looks better now than it will all the rest of the summer! Freshly mowed and not all dried out. I am trying to water it with the well now, and don't always keep enough water on it. And being on the southwest slope of the hill, it dries out quickly. A few years ago, the quakies went nuts, and put up suckers all over the lawn. I left the lower part of the lawn and it will be a quakie grove with tall grass.

Kasey and a new book.
I have been taking some free Online classes from HP on Office 2007. They are offering classes in both Word and Excel right now. I have finished the beginning Word class, and am struggling with the beginning Excel class now. A spreadsheet filled with numbers can be confusing to me!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Owl Drawings

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I kind of got carried away last night with my experimenting drawing on toned watercolor paper, and completed two owl drawings. They were fun to do. The background of the first one was sprayed on with a small bottle with the pigment in it. The paint was brushed on in the second one. i think I like the uneven mottled effect of the second one best but the sprayed on paint didn't go on quite right. They are also two different colors.

My lawn mower had not been started in two years, and sitting outside. How bad is that? Barrie is mechanically inclined, and she got it started and mowed the front yard yesterday. What a gal!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


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This is McDonald Pass, looking toward Helena Montana. I merged two photos together. The elevation here is 6300 feet. A really pretty view from the top.


Barrie will probably kill me for posting this "glamour" photo of her cleaning her dog lot and getting a kiss from one of the dogs. The top photo shows her summer training rig which she uses when she is waiting for it to snow.


The pot roast in the new pressure cooker was a success. I browned the roast first, got the lid on correctly, set the little knob on top to "pressure" and turned it on for about 50 minutes. It really does help to read the directions! After it was done and out of the pot, I used corn starch and water to make gravy. It was really good, but now we have enough leftovers to feed an army.

Yesterday was art group. It was so great to have Judi back from Texas! I made some good progress on my painting of an old cabin. But now I am itching to start a new pencil drawing. While browsing through the "Wet Canvas" site last night, I saw a pencil drawing of a dog that was wonderful. It was done on hot pressed (smooth) watercolor paper, and the sheet had been painted with brown tones to make it look old. The drawing was done with a mechanical pencil and a white pastel pencil.

The day started out sunny and calm, but the clouds have come up and it is breezy. The forecast says cloudy and windy, chance of rain is 30%.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Nothing Works

Yesterday I decided to print a few 4 x 6's of our Montana trip. I got out my little HP photo printer, and put a new cartridge in it. It has been so long since it's been used that I knew it needed a new one. When I tried to print a couple of pictures, they came out all yellow. This morning I took the cartridge out and shook the heck out of it. This time I cut up some plain paper so I wouldn't waste the photo paper. And this time my pictures were blue! The cartridge was fairly old, even though it was sealed up tight, it may have congealed or something. I have ordered a new cartridge and will see if that works. Sure hope so. The printer was not very expensive, but has done a great job on photos for me in the past.

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Pressure Cooking? NOT!

This is the new cooker. I decided to use the pressure cooker feature to make rice pudding from the recipe that came with it. Put the ingredients in, stirred, put the lid on and pushed the little "high pressure" button three times for three minutes. Couldn't be simpler, right? Well, I didn't get the lid on right, and didn't get the adjustment knob on the top set right. Yes, I know I should have read the directions more carefully. Well, the thing never did come up to pressure, and I boiled the rice dry and burned it on the bottom. I scraped the top part off into a bowl, and we might eat it.
I have a roast and vegetables I planned to make tonight. We have a pizza in the freezer, just in case.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Just Another Monday

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This is the only photo I took yesterday when we went to Jackson. This old cabin is along the highway, somewhere near Pape's ranch, and I have driven by it hundreds of times and always meant to get a picture of it.

We saw lots of deer and antelope, but I didn't even try to take pictures of them. They are not very photogenic this time of year, and haven't seen any babies.

Once again I planned to do something constructive today and get the flattened cardboard boxes to the recycling center. And once again I got sidetracked and will probably not get it done. I hadn't moved all the April photos to my hard drive yet, so I got that done - from three cameras. Also moved what I had from May, which could all go into the Montana folder. Then I formatted the cards when I put them back into the cameras.

I purchased Microsoft Office Professional 2007 on EBay. It is the Educational version (which is no different from the regular version). I sent the seller a question three times asking if I was eligible for the educational price, as a retired teacher, and he finally answered me and said I was. So I got it for $120. I had a 60 day trial version of it on my laptop and it would have cost me $400 to activate it - on just one computer. The information I got was that I was entitled to install this version on two computers. I installed it on my laptop, my desktop, and Barrie's laptop, and had no problem activating it on all three.

I have been using the 2003 version, and there are many changes and lots of bells and whistles. Hewlett Packard offers many free lessons and tutorials on computing, and there is almost always a class going on some aspect of Microsoft Office. I just finished the one on introduction to Word 2007.

Sounds like Judi and Rolli are finding many adventures and interesting things to see and do on their way home.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day


This is Snickers, "sort of" my granddaughter. Isn't she cute? My stepdaughter from my first marriage, Leslie (Tracy's sister) called for Mother's Day, and I had a nice visit with both her and Bobby. I always feel kind of special to have such a close relationship with them. We have sort of poked fun at Tracy and Paul for years for being so attached and attentive to their dog, Bogie.

Well, now Leslie is "eating crow". She and Bobby got Snickers a few months ago, and they are both acting just like Paul and Tracy. They are "Mom and Dad". Les said they were putting her in her crate at night, and Tracy made a $50 bet with her that Snickers would be sleeping on the bed before summer. Leslie said she owes Tracy $50. Can't wait until I get to meet Snickers.

Paul and Tracy have just purchased a condo in Florida. How exciting! She just shipped a bunch of furnishings for it to Leslie, Melita's daughter. She and Paul will be flying there to buy furniture soon. Silverthorne , where they live in Colorado, has pretty harsh winters and lots of snow. They like it there, and Paul likes to ski in the winter. But I think they will really enjoy a place to go to warm up once in a while.


Barrie and Kasey and I went shopping in Jackson today to celebrate Mother's Day. It's always a drive I enjoy especially when Barrie is doing the driving. We took my truck today and she drove. We went to KMart. I didn't get much, a new pair of tennis shoes and a cooler. Kasey got sunglasses and a swimming suit. Then we went to Smiths, and it is such a nice place to shop! As Lynn said in her recent post, it is a nice change from Ridleys. Barrie and I both bought a lot of groceries.

My new multi cooker came, and I bought the ingredients for a pot roast to cook in the pressure cooker today. I bought in on Amazon, and there were lots of positive reviews from people who had purchased it, so I am expecting it to be a great replacement for my slow cooker and rice cooker. Lots of good recipes came with it, and I also ordered a couple of new recipe books, one for pressure cooker and one for slow cooker.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Montana's White Crosses

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These are some of the white crosses that mark the sites of fatalities along the highways of Montana. This highway safety program was begun more than 50 years ago by the American Legion in Missoula. The idea was so good that it eventually became a state-wide program, and is still maintained by the American Legion of Montana.. The program was not meant to be a memorial for victims, but we saw several of them that had been decorated with pictures and plastic flowers. The sight of these markers must surely remind all drivers of the dangers of the road and hopefully cause them to drive more caretully

We came upon this group of markers after we left Three Forks. Besides these, there was another group of two across the highway.


I'm not sure where I took this picture. We were still in Montana, and stopped at a gas station and convenience store at a junction after we had gone through a beautiful canyon with a creek (running north, by the way!) All those darned rivers in Montana run the wrong way! I thought this photograph clearly showed how hard the wind must blow there.

Jarvi enjoyed the Missouri River very much!


The cow moose was in my driveway yesterday, munching on the willows and the wild gooseberry bush. One of my little bobtailed cats was very curious, and watched her from behind the log.

Friday, May 8, 2009


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These photos are of the cottonwood trees along the Missouri River. There's something about Montana cottonwoods - to me, they don't look quite the same as what we have in Wyoming. These make me think of Charlie Russell. His paintings often included cottonwood trees, and they look just like these.

This is where the Missour River begins, north of Three Forks. The Madison, Jefferson and Gallatin Rivers run together here to form the Missouri. The Missouri is an impressive sight.


We stayed at a motel in Three Forks Saturday night. As we were loading up the next morning, I noticed this little sign stuck into the ground beside a flower pot on the side of the motel office. I walked over and noticed this poor little guy's head had been ripped off. It will be kind of hard for him to smell the flowers!

We had an experience at this motel. The lady who runs the motel called our room about 10:00 to tell us that the guy in the next room called her to complain about Barrie's coughing. He wanted to call us, and she told him she would call. She was all concerned, and wanted to know if Barrie needed anything. Then she told me what a nuisance that man was, and she would be glad when he was gone. Evidently he had stayed for a length of time. And she told me if he called our room, to hang up the phone, and take it off the hook.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


We had a tough couple of days around here. Barrie had filed to have her ex-husband appear in court because he has not paid the cash nor given her the property that was specified in the divorce settlemet. She filed three weeks ago. She and the judge sat there and no one else showed up. The judge finally did some checking and found that the depupty had never served the papers. So they had to start all over again, and another court date will be set.

Then Barrie went out to take care of her dogs, and on the way home, stopped to check on her horse. She found her horse badly wire cut. She had to go get her horse trailer, and got the horse to Brent. Brent did what he could at the time, but told Barrie there was no guarantee that the horse would not be crippled, and that it would take a very long time to heal, that she would have to be kept inside, and the bandages would have to be changed every day. Barrie spent the night debating which way to go, and yesterday she had Brent put the horse down. A hard decision for her to make, and she felt pretty low.

Bar Hopping in Montana

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This is Trixie's Bar and Grill , in Ovanda, Montana. Barrie worked as a bartender here for a while. Trixie McCormick was a trick rider who performed during the 1940's.After she retired, she built this bar. There were pictures of her in the bar. She died quite a while back, but the bar doesn't seem to have changed much. Several people live in little run-down campers and vans in the parking lot. The town of Ovanda has only a couple dirt streets, and not much in the way of anything going on. Belle was the only dog we saw!

This is the Copper Queen Bar in Helmville. The owner, Tammy, is a friend of Barrie's. We watched the Kentucky Derby on the TV here. It seems to be the only business in the vicinity of Helmville, and Tammy sells gas, farm eggs, and more. Kind of like a convenience store with a bar in it.

This is Belle. She hangs out at Trixie's Bar and makes sure everyone who comes in pets her. She doesn't live here, she lives somewhere down the road, but comes up every day to spend the day. Kasey loved her.
Another cool and windy day here today. I spent all morning cleaning and picking up the house, and plan to do some painting this afternoon. Yesterday was video day at our art group at Rendezvous Pointe, so I didn't get any painting done. I would rather paint and visit than watch a video.