Update to what was written below:
My son, Wilson was a close contact through work and had been home on quarantine since the 7th of November. He called me last week and asked if he took a test and continued quarentine - could he come home for Thanksgiving............Yes! So now we will need to add Grandmother's Famous Fruit Salad to the menu and I am so happy, I could just, oh gosh I don't know what I could do, but I'm happy!
Well, I'm not going to lie. We are downgrading Thanksgiving this year. We are hibernating at home trying to avoid the Corona so it will just be Craig and I. So, although I want an easier menu to cook, I do want to do some festive things like zoom friends and family and set a beautiful table.
After dinner, I am super excited about getting all the Christmas decorations out. Then the presents wrapped and ready to send. Then Hallmark movies and crafting. What a glorious long weekend! And the leftovers. Really looking forward to those.
What are your plans? How are you trying to make this year special with all of the limitations?
Every day, I get to go for a little walk. There are over 80 miles of trails throughout my town of Bozeman. Here is the map of trails in case you are in the area! I plan on checking out every last mile at some point. Right now I like the more open and less bushy trails because the bears are trying to overstuff themselves before hybernating. And I am a tastey treat, lol!
The snow will fall soon. In fact we will have 2 days next week with below 0° temperature. I'm not sure I am ready for that - or the ice. What do you guys do in the winter for exercise. Are you changing anything this year?
Reading the paper, I learned that a fairy village was set up on the Gallagator Trail here in Bozeman, Montana. Oh, how exciting! I couldn't wait to see it. 10 houses made by area artist out of natural items sounded wonderful.
I printed out the map and we were on our way.
On top of getting some exercise and being in nature, each house was a discovery. And then more discoveries, because there were so many elements to each fairy house. I could go everyday and find new things to discover about each house!
If you are in the area, I would highly recommend taking a look. You won't regret it, I promise!
Here is some of what we got to see:
This day began with chores outside the home on the early side because my husband wanted us to both get our oil changes. We planned our grocery store pick up at 9:00 so that we could coordinate the oil changes smoothly.... Only when we got to the oil change service store, they were not open. Their website said 8:00am, but the person there let us know they would not be open until noon.
My husband chose to find another oil changing service station and we would plan what to do then. As I waited forever at grocery pickup, my husband called and told me where he was. I let him know it could be awhile and he said he would walk back to grocery pickup.
A little while later, groceries in the truck, I called Craig. He let me know that he was right at the turn where people often beg for money. I told him, “well, get us some!” We get home and wait for his car to get done to take mine in, but the call doesn’t come before I need to get to my little side hustle of taking care of a wonderful woman with Alzheimer’s for a couple hours each day.
I open the garage door and happily ride my bike with its purple tires down the street to “my lady’s” house. Right when walking in, I get a call from my husband. He is telling me that my dog must have gotten out and that I had not shut the garage door. CRRRAAAAPPPPP! “But oh!”, he says, “I think I see a lady bringing her home. Yes, it’s her!” Oh, thank you baby Jesus!!
It looks like “my lady” is going to be easy today! I go to get the car out and pack up the recyclables. Then I go to get her. She was giving me a little grief about coming out the garage door, but I am thinking how much easier it is than getting her out the door and then the gate of the front door.
Only, when I get her in the car and look out the rear side mirror, I see their dog across the street. I do not want to call it over unless it is FOR SURE their dog, so I go back through the garage and the door is open to the house. CRRRAAAAPPPP! I run out to the driveway and call to him. “Gabby, come on boy!”
That dog just darts into the backyard of one of the houses. I jump in the car and take “my lady” four wheeling down the alley. I see the dog, jump out, open the back door, call to him....And he takes off running again! We chase him all over the block like this until he finds an open garbage can next to someone’s house. I am able to take him by the collar and put him into the back seat.
I get him home, open the back door – and you know what that dog does? It jumps into the front seat on “my lady”. She starts doing this cry – the one where someone takes something away from a toddler and so it does not sound like a pain cry. I decide to get the dog into the house and then do a thorough check on “my lady”. When I get back to car, she is singing a song and seems happy. I tell her, “I think you deserve a Pepsi after all of that”. She said, “yes, I do!” So, we sat in line at McDonalds for a good long time.
We then drove to the trail head that I wanted to walk. On the way, “my lady” said, “Where is everybody?” - meaning her friends (I think). I said they are already there! So, while on our walk, “my lady” talked to EVERYONE walking by. Everyone has always been very understanding when “my lady” starts a conversation but doesn’t finish a sentence lol, and say things back like, “it was nice talking to you” or “have a nice day”.
Upon entering the parking lot after our walk, a woman was standing at the trail head with a cardboard multipack of coffees. Lightning fast, “my lady” grabbed one and said, “Thank you so much!” I took it out of her hand, put it back in the holder, and said, “your coffee is in the car, “my lady”. I apologized to woman with the coffee. She looked a little shocked to say the least.
We arrived back at “my lady’s” house a little after 5. I turned on the news. Usually, this is the hour where “my lady” is running all over the place, but this day, she sat down for a bit. A commercial came on for a local hardware store, and “my lady” asked if we knew any of these people. This was HUGE to me because she did know someone in the commercial and she had to have memory of seeing it before and knowing she knew someone in it. The person we knew was in two frames of the commercial. The second one, he waves. Even when I am at home, I start waving at the first frame my friend is in, and then it is like he is waving back. So, I did the same this night at “my lady’s” house. I ask Terri to wave at our friend, but she does not. She starts clapping. And she continued to clap the rest of the commercial – I think because she was so happy 😊
Now it is time for “my lady” to start her running around and picking up. She goes to her bedroom and brings out a pile of laundry. She neatly flattens out a pair of her husband’s underwear on the middle of the living room rug. Under each leg hole she puts a flattened sock. The undershirt was just a heap above the underwear. IT WAS A PIECE OF ART!! But I did not think her husband would appreciate it for that when he got home (which would be very shortly now).
Apparently, “my lady” agreed when I mentioned this, because she picked up the whole pile and was on her merry way. After a bit, I checked on her. She was in the guest bedroom. The socks and undershirt were nowhere to be found. Neatly on the bedspread laid the underwear.
At this point, I felt somewhat embarrassed, so I did what anybody would do. I took a picture with my phone and sent it to my husband. I asked, “Do I hide it somewhere or do I just act like I never saw it?” I mean, I already must tell on myself that I lost their dog earlier. How much can one woman take?
In the end, I lightly mentioned it. Lol Cannot wait for another adventure with “my lady” tomorrow! – Oh, by the way…. My oil still is not changed.
The crisp air of fall always makes me excited for comfort foods. After trying to cook on the grill on in the crockpot all summer, I just love the smell of our gas stove making something is delicious as well as sticks to the ribs.
This is the perfect stew recipe. Just the right amount of meat and liquid. Tastes soooo good with artisan bread or just as good with regular saltine crackers. Dress it up with dessert or down in a lunch box - ALWAYS tastes better the second day. Enough to have people over or to freeze for later meals. Appeals to gals and guys. Oh, I just love a stew!
First you want to coat your meat.
While meat is cooking, chop up other ingredients. When meat is done, put on a plate to rest while preparing other ingredients.
Caramelize the garlic, carrots, celery, and onion. Add all other ingredients except cornstarch, water, and peas. Bring to a boil, then turn to simmer for around 90 minutes.
Mix the cornstarch with the water and pour into stew stirring occassionally. Add peas 5 minutes before serving. Vala! One great stew to enjoy!!
According to Virginiacity.com - The very much alive ghost town, Virginia City, Montana, is frozen in time. It is a remarkably well preserved old west Victorian gold mining town just 20 miles west of Yellowstone National Park (90 miles by road). When the gold ran out, there was still enough left so that homes and businesses were occupied, but there was not enough wealth to remodel the buildings. So it froze, and now represents the whole Victorian era. It is the true and original Old West. It is a gem, held within an incredibly rich area of natural beauty, recreation and history.
And when it says history - oh boy! do they mean it. The Vigilantes of Virginia City was quite the story. The sheriff of the Bannack Mining District in May 1863, Henry Plummer, was hung after the Vigilantes decided that Plummer was the leader of a group of road agents called The Innocents. All in all 22 people were lynched between 1863 and 1864.
Some researchers believe the entire ordeal was a cover-up for the vigilantes who were actually committing the many crimes occurring in the area.
It is just the most wonderful place to visit! All of the stores on the main street have incredible collections of period items. Walking along the wooden sidewalk feels like being a part of a western movie set. I want to go back next year and ride the train to Nevada City.
If you ever get the chance, this is a wonderful place to visit. Find more information here.
When my husband proposed to me, he took me to this beautiful cabin near Big Timber, Montana. The property was loaded with choke cherries. We started going every year around Labor Day and picking loads and loads of the choke cherries. That lasted about 7 years and then we no longer had kids at home and really didn't have a need for 25 pints of choke cherry syrup and jelly.
Last summer, my husband and I moved back into a house that we had leased to other people for the previous 5 years. We began a long year of renovations - adding a shed to the back yard, replacing and widening the driveway, adding a door to the back of the garage, and gutting and redoing the kitchen were just a few of the projects we tackled :)
This summer, as I was finishing up some yard work, I became aware that a tree in the back corner of the yard was a choke cherry tree. Whaaaat?!? How did I never notice that before? So I picked all the ones I could reach (eight cups worth) and left the rest for the birds.
This I headed over to pinterest to find a recipe for just the right amount of syrup. I found this one by Hilda and guess what? She even used Montana choke cherries! Hilda's Choke Cherry Syrup Recipe
There were a couple of things that I did differently and I will do my best to explain them.
The first thing that I did differently that Hilda was that after mashing the cherries for 1/2 an hour and not getting as much juice as i wanted, I put the cherries in muslin and twisted it to get the juice out. This was much easier and much faster without as much flesh in the juice.
The other thing was because I was just making a little, I just froze it instead of canning. It was easier for us, but if I was gifting it, I would have canned it.
I just realized the neighbor down the street has a bing cherry tree. Have you seen the beautiful color that juice is? I keep hoping to catch them outside to see if they would let me pick some, but no luck as of yet. I'll keep you posted!
I'm not going to lie. This Covid 19 thing has REALLY thrown me for a loop. I know it has really affected many people. I am just beginning to realize HOW much it has been messing with me.
My husband's company has had him working from home during the pandemic and let me tell you....I knew that was really changing the way we went about things. Really, in the beginning, I just thought he was in my way a lot. Just in the last month, I realized what was really going on.
When my husband used to leave home to go to work, he would wake up at 5, have coffee, shower and head to work, making it there by 7am. I would then wake up, get ready for my day By the time we met up after work, both of us had accomplished a good deal and could enjoy our evening.
Well....Now that my husband works at home, sometimes he gets up as late as 9am. He works from his computer and phone and when he gets a small break, he showers. I'm been completely in my routine waiting for him. UGH!! It could be 11 before I entered the bathing phase - and I am not doing anything until I am bathed. HALF of my day was missing EVERY day and I was becoming a not very nice person.
When school started, I began waking at 7am, bathing, then getting on with my day. I start laundry, run the dishwasher, and do all the necessary things that feel like a mountain to do (for me) after noon. And I feel so MUCH better. I just needed to get my own groove back. The house is cleaner, I am nicer, I started not wearing a messy bun EVERY day lol! I started walking again - I just can't tell you what a difference it has made with my attitude to have things completed in a timely and orderly fashion!
It's a new day! Let's seize it (while remaining safe - social distancing and mask wearing!) There are lots of things to mess with us right now, but we need to take every opportunity we can get to enjoy the things that we can! And I am going to!
I've been cooped up for too long!! Feeling like I am going bat sh*t crazy some days! But, my wonderful friend Kelly had an idea for us to try! Hammer & Stain in Belgrade, Montana.
The first thing that I liked was that we had a private party at their location, so at least I knew whose germs I would most likely get....And I don't mind their germs lol! The owner was very kind and ushered us straight over to the hand sanitizer (however, I brought my own - because - you know - I don't want to touch anyone elses).
You can bring your own food and wine! The owner even had glasses for us to use! I brought a small charcuterie box to share and Kelly had all sorts of wonderful things. I felt a little bad about removing my mask to eat, but my need out weighted my nerves.
I have tried painting signs using stencils before and on my own. What a disaster! For example, I made this one.
That really doesn't look so bad, but take a closer look :)
I won't be gifting this sign anytime soon! That was what I loved about Hammer & Stain. We received wonderful instructions on how to apply the paint correctly and turn out beautiful signs!
The other thing that was very appealing to one of the younger women in our party - Power Tools!! There is a whole rack of them to chose from. Again, with wonderful instruction on how to use them.
The decor was creative and fun, the instruction very helpful, and the company just couldn't be beat! Take a look at the gallery to see how our afternoon was spent. I would highly recommend attending a class or booking a private party - or if you are not in my neck of the woods - finding a similar business. So enjoyable!! I just love having my self made flag on my front porch!!
Have you ever made a recipe that just hit all of the sweet spots? This is one of them! It is healthy (spinach). It is decadent (cream). It is earthy (pesto). It is comfort (macaroni). It is international (cheese). It is versatile. It is easy. It is polished.
I can't wait to hear what you think!
I am a recently retired small town librarian living the dream in Montana in my boujee yet redneck kind of way. Married to a mining engineer and mother to two wonderful young men.