Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dreaming of those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

Ooh!  This is sooo much fun, Grandpa and Grandma!

I am dreaming of those warm summer days.  Sunshine and hot afternoons when you have to look for a shady spot to rest.   Or the days when I can just watch one of my grand kids play in the fountain.

Those lazy days at the beach.

Remember days like this? 

It's the last day of February and we have had some sunshine but very cold temps and eight inches of fresh snow.  Old Man Winter was just taking a nap.  Now he's awake.  It's snowing again this morning and our forecast looks like a wintery mix for the next ten days. 

I see that Lady Isabella is missing Montana  today.  I am not missing Montana as it's probably snowing there.  I only want spring.  Warm temperatures and flowers sprouting up from my garden beds.  (No weeds, please)  If you're going to wish for something, you might as well go for everything. 

And I wouldn't mind winning the lottery jackpot..... 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Landscape Design, the Maggie Version.

How is Miss Maggie doing you wonder?  Well, she is still kind of a plump little thing and she does love her food.  She hasn't given up on chewing everything in sight but we have given up on buying and giving her new toys to chew or play with.  It only takes her about 30 minutes to entirely demolish a new toy and then leave tiny bits of it all over the yard. 

Since she does not have toys to chew up, she has decided to take up landscape design.  It's something to do while waiting for spring.  She goes to Retired Mountain Man's wood piles, which are always covered with lengths of plastic to keep them dry.  She proceeds to pull off the plastic and drag it into the front yard.

Then she returns to the wood pile and drags a piece of firewood to the yard.  One piece at a time I think but I'm not sure. 

She artfully places the pieces about the yard.  With the plastic draped here and there.

She prefers to use bright colored tarps, but we won't let her have access to them anymore.  She decided the pieces of firewood needed something more so she brought in an 8' dead white fir tree for an accent.

Once every week before our jam sessions either Retired Mountain Man or I go out and pick up all of the landscape materials so that this is not what greets our band members or other visitors when they pull into our driveway.

Do you think that Maggie has kind of a guilty look on her face?  One that says, "OK, I'll pick it up.  I didn't mean to make a big mess.  I thought it looked kind of nice?"   

I think it's time to put on my coat and get the wheel barrel.  

Friday, February 24, 2012

The American Dream, Our Version. Part II

Two years after logging the property and deciding to sell our house logs, The American Dream, Our Version, Part I. we finally secured an owner/builder loan.  Retired Mountain Man had spent several summers working for Kenny Walrath.  It was a given that we would hire our and good friend, Kenny, who was an excellent carpenter, and his assistant, Chris Riffe.  Retired Mountain Man worked with them every day.   I was the go-fer who made sure the needed materials were there every day.

Pouring the basement slab.  Kenny, Glen Nordgaarden and Retired Mountain Man.

Basement Wall-East Side.  Jamie, Kenny and Jon.

7:00 a.m. Concrete Pour

Baby Dave watching the event. 

Oops!  Too much concrete.  They had to quickly make a form to pour a slab for our shed?  barn?  where should it be?  Quick!  Decide!  Where do you want the barn?  The concrete truck driver won't wait and it's too expensive not to use somewhere!

The extra concrete slab.  Formed and poured in 30 minutes.
Glen, Chris, Kenny and Retired Mountain Man. 

It rained only one time during construction but it was a muddy mess the next morning.

Once the basement walls were finished, we were on to installing the main floor.

Dave was one of our main nailers.

Now it was on to framing the walls on the main floor.  The plan was to frame the north and south walls, put on the paper, the log siding, install the windows and oil the siding.  We would then go to our favorite neighborhood bar, Murphy's, and ask whoever was in the bar at the time, to drive up to our house to help raise the walls.  We offered free beer afterwards.  The owner of Murphy's, Ms. Dale Snodgrass,  didn't mind us emptying her bar.  She knew her customers would be back soon. 

Kenny is getting ready for us to lift the first wall.  Retired Mountain Man is very nervous.

As you can see in the photo below, the windows are installed in this wall.  We did not want the wall going over too far!  It was very heavy with the siding and the windows already installed on it.

Greg, Cami, Omar Brashear, Glen Ford, Jon, Victor, Billy P., Billy Chatum, Dave F. Andy and ? on the end.

Now we are ready for wall #2.

Left to right: Clifford, Greg, Kenny,Cami, Alma, Jon, Glen Ford, Victor Ford, Billy Powell, Billy Chatum, Andy McChesnie

The next day they finished the east and west walls and we emptied the bar once again.   Unfortunately, the windows for those walls hadn't arrived in time.  The carpenters were just working too quickly!

Left to right: Clifford, Kenny, Alma, Andy, Chris, Cami, Jon, Billy, Victor and Bruce Napsinger.

What a beautiful wall!

Kenny, Clifford, Andy, Alma, Cami, Billy and Victor.

East wall:  Bathroom window and pantry window between Cami and Jon.

 Lunch time. 
Jon, Bruce, Chris and Kenny

 The chimney in the kitchen.  Marvin Stutzke of Hope built the chimney. 

 Bruce Napsinger did all the drywall.  He was very talented on those stilts.  He did all of our textured ceilings walking on the stilts.


Our kids helped whenever they could.

The trusses arrive.

 We worked every day, including Saturdays and Sundays.  We took one day off for the Super Fool's Olympic's Competition in Clark Fork.  We couldn't miss that.  We were a team for Murphy's Bar.  We won several gold medals. 

Our hours were 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p..m.  Then it was beer o'clock.  We provided our carpenter's favorite beer every day.  I know one of them was Olympia Beer or Ole, as we called it. 

 Kermit back-filling the basement and foundation.  It took us 45 calendar days from start to the day we had our final inspection and closed with the bank.  Hard to believe, but we did it.

There was no lawn that fall.  There was lots of mud.  There was no garden or flowerbeds.  As you can see, there was no deck on the west or north side of the house.  Just a small porch.  The shed hadn't been built or what was to become the barn and chicken house.  The basement was unfinished.  There were no fences.  There was still a lot of work to do.  We had planned, waited, planned some more and dreamed of this house for eight years.

 We were so happy!  We finally had our dream place and we were going to make the most of it!

And finally, my first flowerbed.  In the very front is the beginning of the grape arbor.  I brought the grape canes from the Loman place.  Three of them survived.

And after 32 years, they look like this.

The barn was built on the extra concrete slab that we poured and my gardens started to multiply.  I don't know how that happened?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fat Sunday

King Eric and Queen Britt looking down on the Little Princes.

Two of the Little Princes

Thanks to Mandolin Gal and Recorder Man, we have enjoyed this great party for five years now.  It's a fantastic way to beat back the February blues.

 The Second Line tries to get in line.

The leader of the Second Line

Captain Bruce, Maid Marilyn and Mr. Trombone Man

Happy Fat Tuesday revelers!

The Third Little Prince and The Count of Mardi Gras

Saxophone Man, Captain Bruce and Maid Marilyn

The flambeau carriers and the Grand Master with her trusty steed lead the way.

Retired Mountain Men and the Grand Master of the Parade, Miss Julie.

Krewe of Cougar Creek Float Driver

Saxophone Man and Trombone Man warming up.


The crowd waiting for the throws


The King makes a proclamation.

Mr. Trombone Man.  Will he be ruled by King Eric?

The King and Queen enjoying the festivities

When the parade was over, we all moved inside for the feasting and other festivities.

The Menu

Shrimp Remoulade

Crawfish Etouffée


Seafood Gumbo

Red Beans and Rice

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

King Cake

The food was divine!  You couldn't possibly eat any food in New Orleans or Mobile that was better than this!  The lucky ones found "a baby" in their piece of King Cake, which means they will bake a King Cake for next year's party.

They are so happy they found the baby in their King Cake.

More beads, please.

There must be girls our age here somewhere.

Dinner was followed with our version of Mardi Gras music by the Krewe of Cougar Creek Band.

The morning after.  Hmmm.  More snow.  Come on Spring!

The clean-up Krewe moves in today.