Wednesday, June 30

evening projects

before i moved into my house, this is what the laundry room looked like.

pretty empty, and in desperate need of updating and cozy-fying. nothing about this space says 'i want to spend time there.' it's more like 'throw the clothes in the washer and leave asap.'

this photo i took this morning. it's still not cozy-fied, but, i count it a success that it's back to looking like it did before i moved in, because for a while it's been the landing spot for anything random for upstairs. at least now the floor's swept, things are stacked neatly, and at some point i will tackle this big project. i was thinking that will probably entail taking up the tiles and putting down new ones, and getting rugs to put down so it's more fun to walk in there. also, it needs ceiling tiles, the tiles taken off the wall behind the machines, and repainted.

i'm telling you. it's going to be a chore, when i get around to it. for this week, though, i simply organized, and that's a good start. i think i'll leave my counter-height table, which is leaning against the wall, still without legs because i need to find the screws to attach them, in there as a laundry folding table.

but the inspiration for organizing this week was to move the wood shelf from the back of the laundry room, seen in the before moving in photo, to this cubby under the stairs. it just so happens it's the perfect dimensions, so i had scott help me put it here and it's a good use of that dead space. it's mainly the cat space, with the litter box on the second shelf so the pups can't get in it, and the food on the top shelf so they can eat in peace. i wanted to get it moved over and set up before coworker jody looks after the kittens while i'm away in iowa this weekend.

otherwise, yesterday i went to 374685702 stores in casper, on two different expeditions, to find a garment bag for the iowa trip, because i'd like to go ahead and starch my shirts and not have to worry about doing it in iowa. i finally went back to the second place i stopped, jc penny, to pick up this one, which was 50 percent off, but still more than i wanted to pay.

it was kind of like the fuzzy dice expedition i was on two winters ago, looking for them for a friend. they're hard to find in casper, too.

and lastly - do you see how stiff those starched jeans are? i was going to the cleaners with several pairs of my own jeans, so scott sent along a few of his as well, with instructions for the stiffest starch they have, called bullitt starch. i hope the first times he wears them he doesn't have to sit much. :-) i got mine done the next level down, so i think i'll be a little more comfortable.

so those have been my evenings so far this week, just working on preparing to go on vacation. it's a lot of work! but we head out of town tomorrow afternoon, and very much looking forward to it.

Tuesday, June 29

the flower tub

so i finally quit procrastinating my wonderful wash tub and it's now full of flowers and sitting on the stump on my street corner. i like how cheerful it is in the morning light.

this is the street heading north from my house, and my gubernatorial candidate sign. ron micheli is a rancher from fort bridger in southwest wyoming. he's been director of the department of ag, and i think he's a good bet for wyoming's next leader.

when i bought the tickseed flowers for the tub i also bought some daisies, which for now i've placed on either side of my lower concrete steps. and if you look close, both of the rose bushes are blooming. the small one by the concrete steps will be red, and the big one to the left of the wood steps is pink.

so this is what i had leftover after planting the tub.... two daisies, daylilies and some moss roses.

i've had this old red wheelbarrow from boss dennis for some time now. he gave it to me to use at the barn for my horses, but it's a little small to be practical, and short to push, so i'm thinkin i'm going to drill holes in the bottom, fill it with dirt and plant flowers in it. i've been doing that a lot lately. :-) (the old blanket on it is a recent garage sale gift from friend jamie for the pups' outdoor bed.)

speaking of pups, the youngster foxy is still doing well, and seems to have gotten the hang of going out the dog door to pee. she's a lot easier to get along with now that she's got a grasp on that, and now that she's quiet in the crate at night.

how can anyone resist these sweet faces? i love my pups. ok, our pups. foxy is still technically scott's. :-)

Monday, June 28

the weekend

the last weekend of june 2010 included a celebration of mr and mrs michael dwyer! saturday evening i attended the wedding here in town at three crowns golf course with scott, as well as fellow roundup coworkers and assist editor heather, who was also the wedding photographer.

as you can see, the weather held for the ceremony, even though it looked like we were going to get it from a small raincloud. instead, it went around us, and the whole thing went off without a hitch.

coworker paula has been with the roundup since last august, but she fits into our group so well that it doesn't seem like that short of a time. :-)

their wedding colors were orange, pink and yellow - a combination i would have chosen myself. i loved her orange bouquet.

and instead of raining on us, the cloud went around and we were treated to a pretty rainbow, and i'm anxious to see heather's photos, as i'm sure the combination of the pretty bride, green scenery and the rainbow came together for some good ones!

otherwise, the weekend wasn't too busy, with the paradise valley-wide garage sales on the west end of town, where friend jamie and heather live, on saturday morning. i didn't purchase anything, but i did gain a few chairs after the sale that are ideal candidates for slipcovers from friend dorothy, but i have yet to pick them up.

following garage sales i trailered my mares back in from the ranch before the wedding. sunday i bought more flowers for the galvanized wash tub i've intended to put on my street corner, and i planted them this morning before work, and it's just what the corner needed.

sunday evening was spent adjusting and readjusting the sprinklers coworker jody gave to me, and i think i got the job done. with all the rain we've had, this is the first time i've had to water this summer. in the 90s this week, though.

otherwise, the free time this week will be spent getting ready for the trip home to iowa on thursday. planning to take several pairs of jeans to be starched today, and scott will shape my new seratelli hat for me so i can bring it along and show it off, along with the spurs he had made for my birthday. :-)

Friday, June 25

'garbage' scrambled eggs

in my old college town of ames there's a popular restaurant known as hickory park, and their specialty is burgers and barbecue. it's the kind of place where, when i was still in highschool, whenever my family was in town we'd stop there to eat, usually enjoying one of their wide variety of burgers and onion rings.

anyway, they have this one burger on their menu called the 'garbage burger' that my dad would order occasionally, with all sorts of toppings piled on it and several kinds of bread. thus, whenever i make anything that lends itself to using up ingredients, it falls in my 'garbage' recipe category. this post is about the garbage scrambled eggs that came into being several evenings ago.

it all started with a package of side pork from the big sack in my freezer that came from scott's mother. now, some of the kind folks out here prefer side pork, which is uncured, to bacon, but, being raised on the delicious, thick cured bacon from the local locker in iowa, i think it's a little bland. but anyhow, i thawed a package and fried part of it up, and that was just the beginning.

then i found leftover green onions in the fridge, so they went under the knife.

some wayward eggs have made their home on my refrigerator shelf for too long, so out they came.

after the side pork cooked down - and i drained out all the grease - i added the green onions, and also grape tomatoes that were on the back of the lower shelf.

then it occurred to me that my herbs could use some trimming, so out i went with my scissors, returning with parsley, chives and basil. it was at this point that scott came in the kitchen - he'd left me in charge of making something out of the sidepork - and asked suspiciously about my leafy green herbs.

combine it all together with some cheddar cheese, salt and garlic powder (for scott. he loves garlic) and we were ready to go. looks good to me!

again, this dish was too fancy for scott. after asking about the herbs, holding his plate, he says 'are those tomatoes?'

'sometimes i like just a plain dish without a bunch of stuff added in,' he says, in the kindest way possible. another thing - when i make my food i do the best job possible to get all the flavorings and seasonings just right so you don't have to add anything to it when it's on your plate, but scott is very fond of putting ketchup on his eggs, no matter if i dress them up or not.... so he knew he'd be in trouble if he slathered my little side pork masterpiece... but i told him he could use ketchup if he wanted, and i enjoyed mine with the flavors just as they were, and didn't look at his plate. :-)

it brightened my evening considerably

last night i left work at 5 and headed to the house. i had just sat down on the couch to take a break after finishing up this week's editorial for the paper. i also spend a good part of the afternoon trying to work out a plan for the next two weeks that will cover the few days i'll be on vacation in iowa.

so there i was, eating a piece of cold pizza and looking through a new catalog when scott called and asked if i wanted to join him and trav at the beacon. i figured, why not, because i needed to head that direction to give friend jamie our garage sale stuff (community wide garage sales tomorrow in paradise valley). so i hurried over there after getting all the stuff together, and, already being tired and worn out and stressed about taking time off, was a little miffed that i didn't see his truck in the parking lot when i got there. so i went on in to find trav and ordered my drink, times two (happy hour!).

a few minutes later scott texted: 'can you come outside? i need your help with something.' being a good girlfriend, i was confused but went outside anyway. 'you really need to get all your crap out of my truck' he said. i was still very confused. then he opened the back door of his truck, and there sat the hat box pictured above.

and before i opened it i knew it was the seratelli hat in the new 'dirt' color that's been on my lust list ever since scott and i went into lou tauberts the night he bought my new palm leaf. he'd stopped by to purchase it before heading to the beacon, and there i had been upset that he was late. :-)

this hat makes three that he's given to me, actually all the hats that i have now have been gifts from scott. these photos don't do the color justice. it's a gray/brown shade.

i'm a big fan of bound edges - my other hats also have them - and scott will help me reshape it a little before i wear it, right now the brim is way too narrow, it feels like it looks pointy when i've got it on. but it's pretty classic, and now i have a light-colored felt to add to my black felt and palm leaf. :-)

as promised (a day late)

sorry, i got busy filling a hole in our special county fair section in the paper yesterday afternoon, and didn't get to post these photos. but this is my newest find from the greatest store in casper - odds and ends:

scott went with me to pick it up, and all along he said 'this better fit down into the basement.' there are three pinch points heading into my basement: from the kitchen getting around the cupboards and down into the stairwell, around the corner in the stairwell, and then through the narrow door into the finished area. but, thankfully, my new mini loveseat made it through all three - the first was a little tight, ok a lot tight.

$50 price tag! i stopped by the store wednesday, and saw it there, and saw the price, but walked away. and then thought about it that evening, and the next morning, so i stopped by on thursday, deciding if it was still there i would get it. my plan is to paint the wood a coordinating color with whatever fabric i decide to put on it. recovering might be a challenge, as the cushions are attached. i'll have to find some tutorials, and maybe use a fabric that's not too expensive in case the first attempt is a flop.

but i couldn't resist getting it for the sitting area i'll set up in the master bedroom downstairs. it will contribute to a perfect cozy corner.

and link likes it too.

speaking of my cats.

at 1 a.m. i missed a phone call from a person telling me my cat was in their house.


turns out it was lexus, and she'd wandered through an open door. i got her back this morning before i came to work. apparently she packed her kitty bags and decided to find a new home.

Thursday, June 24

summer mornings

i haven't posted anything so far this week, because just the normal things have been going on - mowed the grass, been working, did some candidate interviews, things like that. this is what my house looks like this summer - not much has changed with it.

i'm still in love with how sunny my kitchen and front room are in the morning. it's quite cheery, and perfect for morning coffee and browsing a decorating magazine (or writing a blog post) early in the morning before showering and heading to the office.

one of my containers of johnny jump ups on the front porch. i got several of them this year for the first time, and i really like them.

this is one of those tuberous begonias that's also doing very well, and more jump ups.

my purple vine that has little white flowers. i never can remember the names of these things, but they're pretty. :-)

there are a variety of pots going down my front steps. some of the flowers aren't open yet from the night, and others, like the dahlia, are still coming back from the rain and cold we had a week or so ago.

the pups were wondering what i was doing outside without their assistance.

this is the lovely outdoor thermometer/clock/humidity measurer that coworker jody got me at hobby lobby. i really like it, and it will go perfectly with my patio decor.

my herb garden, in the side patio.

and the vine containers in the patio.

maybe this weekend i will have the chance to plant the galvanized tub i found for the stump on the corner. either that or finish hanging shelves in the bathrooms - i found three more that i need to paint at salvation army for 95 cents each. i'll be around most of the weekend, with coworker paula's wedding to attend at the golf course saturday evening. i still need to dig through my skirts and figure out which one i can stand wearing. it's been a long time. :-P

oh! and another great find at odds and ends that i brought home yesterday and had scott help me carry to the basement. i will take a photo and share with you later today. :-)

Monday, June 21

the weekend

the two days of this weekend were pretty busy, as my plans changed friday, with heather taking care of the chris ledoux dedication event in kaycee, so i left the office mid-afternoon friday to pack up some clothes and the puppies and retrieve my horses before heading up to the association.

turns out retrieving the horses was a several-hour affair, as friend jake had kicked them in the pasture up top of his rimrocks, and they're in a rowdy band of horses that's fond of running. let's just say the pups and i walked a lot. i did finally catch up to them, got them haltered and tied them to the hooks in my truck bed and trotted them back to the house to get the trailer, which, of course, had fallen off its chock block.

the faithful pups. for some reason foxy likes to sleep stuffed down around the center console, instead of stretched out in the back with plenty of space.

lucy's favorite thing is sitting on my lap and looking out the window.

i arrived at the association just as the sun set, and started watching 'yes man' until all the others got back from looking at pathfinder dam, which has been quite the draw over the last week. after not spilling for 26 years, and now spilling at a rate of 6,000 cubic feet per second, it's quite the novelty.

saturday morning we got an early start. our task was to gather a group of cows in a pasture and move them up on top of the rim - the same group of cows we'd brand the next day - so that another group could be trailed through the lower end to another pasture.

most of the cows were in this meadow, but we still had to ride around and check the corners and holes to gather the odds and ends. this meadow is in an area cut straight through by the oregon trail. you can still see the ruts heading up one of the bigger draws. it's something else to stand on those ruts and look around and imagine riding through there in a wagon with a team...

scott, jamie and i started out riding together.

jamie and i didn't know we were on a guided trial ride until we stopped on this hill and scott started pointing out all the mountain ranges :-)

scott and jamie in the bottom, waiting for a small bunch to catch up.

this is when we had the cows bunched and headed in the right direction.

after they were in the right area of the pasture we took a break before riding back down to the trailers.

the larson's cows moved through the bottom after we had everything else out of the way. the larsons, members of the association, run a stock contracting business, raising bucking bulls and horses. the bucking stock cows and calves summer at the association, as well as some of the horses. donna larson is harry vold's daughter. harry vold is well-respected among stock contractors and has been in the business for years.

our trailers were parked down at willow springs, a stage stop and key watering point for the oregon trail. it used to have three springs, and a journal entry on a little plaque said it had flowers and trees and was an oasis. no longer so, and all that's left is this tree and the foundation for the stage stop.

after getting the cows put where they needed to be on saturday scott and i left the ranch, swung by pathfinder so i could get some photos of the spillway and stopped for ice cream and a six-pack of bud light lime in alcova before heading to casper. in town i cleaned up and we headed to meet bob and becky at a favorite mexican restaurant - not sure how to spell the name - before heading to the short go of the college national finals rodeo. i had four tickets from the roundup, and scott used one and our meeteetse friends buck, shelly and their grandson courtney used the other three. they were also staying up at the association and helping with cows over the weekend. i got in on my media pass, and bob and becky had purchased their own.

after the rodeo scott helped me load up the roundup's newspaper stands, and we dropped them off and picked up some branding irons from trav's house, so by the time we got back to the ranch it was 11 and i went straight to bed, and was awakened to clouds and mist at 4:30 saturday morning. we were doubtful about the weather at that point, but ate breakfast and saddled and loaded the horses and headed back out to the pasture to bunch the cows again.

when we got to the edge of the rim the view looking off was kind of pretty. the big lump on the right is the west end of casper mountain.

here's the temporary corral set up for the branding, still lush with green grass.

the meeting of the minds. the pile of old fence posts was brought along for the branding fire.

my truck and bob's were the first in place as corral braces.

after an hour or so the fog and clouds did burn off, and the range up there was really pretty. it's very open and empty up there. i took this picture as april and i were riding our circle to close in on the cows. speaking of april - she had a fling with bob's redneck stud colt over the weekend - intentionally, on my part - and we'll see if she takes. i'm really hoping she does, because that's a pretty good match. still don't know the status on jazz, and won't know for a while yet.

got the cows bunched and headed toward the corral, with horse trailers set up as wings to funnel them inside.

the photos are a little crooked, as they were taken at a high trot or lope.

then we took some time to sort some cows out of the pen to make a little more space. scott and fiddler were in charge of roping escapee calves, of which there was one.

they brought the wayward calf back to the pen.

jamie's son kolby and buck's grandson courtney supervised the operation.

the fire was set up in the middle of the corral, and the vaccine cooler, eartags and other supplies were added to the mix.

jamie was kind enough to take some photos of me and scott when we got toward the end of the day.

i started out vaccinating, but soon paired up to wrestle calves most of the day. most of the time i wrestled with either bob or scott. this is their friend ryan, who works for a nearby ranch and came over once they'd finished up some lamb docking earlier in the day.

time to coil up the ropes. it was a long day, with inexperienced wrestlers and only two ropers. we could have used a few more hands, but it got done slow but sure, and the sun was shining and there was a slight breeze to keep the dust and bugs away and the temperature down, so it really wasn't all that bad. sure beats sitting in town, and there's nothing i would have rather done with my weekend.

the last task was sorting out the riff raff that must have come through a hole in the fence. then we loaded all the horses and equipment up, took down the panels and headed down to the ranch house for bbq beef dinner. i left my mares up there since it was late in the day and i still needed to do some work at the roundup office before heading home, and putting them back at jake's would have added another hour and a half. scott looked after them for me, so i left and finished up my stuff and headed to the house for a shower and went straight to bed.

it was a busy weekend of work, but full of sunshine and good company and rodeo and cows and horses, and it can't get much better than that.