Hoo Yip Hoo Yip Hoo

It’s late afternoon, I’m sitting in our office, the portable air conditioner is blowing a moderately warm breeze into the tiny room. It’s difficult for our portable air conditioners to counter the second half of the day, when the sun beats down on the back of our home, which is lined with windows. Fortunately, we purchased another a/c unit this year, so instead of it remaining as hot inside as outside, we are able to stay pretty comfortable. Not necessarily cool, but not, “Did you know you could sweat there?” either. It would likely be even more comfortable if I’d take my hoodie off and stop drinking hot chocolate.

Not long ago I went outside to check for Muggabee, which is what we decided to name the little grey cat. He hasn’t been around for the last two weeks. Before that, he was looking a bit rough. I hope he’s okay. Occasionally he disappears for a while so let’s hope that he’s just adventuring. He hates the other cats who come around, so it’s possible he’s just avoiding them.

There are a lot of cats now. There is a black tortoiseshell with a fat, stubby tail, a black one with a long bushy tail, a grey one with long fur and a bald patch on his side, a short-haired grey one with a white face, and two giant cats we’ve named The Little Raccoon and The Big Raccoon. I’m done naming them. To name them is to adopt them emotionally and I don’t want to have six cats in my heart. I don’t even like cats.

Pickwick, on the other hand, is here every day again. He’s a little skinnier than when he emerged from wherever he was holed up over the winter. He’s growing on me a bit but his moodiness is absurd. A few days ago he bit me, swiped at my arm, then proceeded to rub against my legs as though he hadn’t just morphed into a fluffy feral monster. Let’s hope he doesn’t have rabies.

The sun is finally dropping behind the hills. The warmth of the day is fading. The weather in Montana is amazing. While it’s occasionally blazing hot, the heat is dry, and the evenings are cool. Tonight, for example, we should drop to 52°F. How can you not love a summer where you can open your windows in the evening and listen to the coyotes howl?

Title From:
by Don Edwards

Returning to the Wilderness

I am never going to be a regular blogger, I might as well just admit it and be done.

Now that’s out of the way…

A lot of people like to say they’ve been busy when they’ve been absent from something for a while, and maybe they have been, I don’t know their lives. I do know that usually when I say, “I’ve been so busy,” it means I’ve been binge-watching Grace and Frankie, avoiding anything that might require me to put on pants, and staring off into space while I contemplate what the color blue might taste like. However, recently… Okay, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. Not gonna lie.

There are so many things that need to be done, but I haven’t felt motivated.

Fitbits are really great for monitoring your activities. We bought one for my sister two Christmases ago and had to get a couple for ourselves soon after. I thought it would be motivational to track my steps and meet the default daily goal of 10,000. Instead, I’ve lowered the daily goal, which I still regularly fail to reach, and almost exclusively use it to depress myself with monitoring my sleep.

The picture at the top of this post is a cropping of my sleep report screen. If you don’t own a Fitbit: dark blue is sleeping, light blue is restless, hot pink is awake. This is how almost all my sleep reports look. It’s a miracle I have the stamina to get out of bed to pee. Anything beyond that is just icing on the cake. I actually don’t like icing on cake, so that’s incorrect, but I can’t expect anyone to know what “anything else is just chips on the ice cream” means.


What’s Done

  • The shed has been cleared of all rubbish, a new floor has been put down to make cleaning up a little easier, and new half walls have been installed. No roosts or nesting boxes yet. The outside run hasn’t even been started. At this rate we’ll have chickens three years from now.
  • A riding lawn mower has been purchased, and used, which cut yard work down from three days to one. It also cut Brian’s steps down from 30,000+ to a beatable number.

What’s Not Done

  • So much:  Painting, chopping, planting, constructing.

At the end of this month we’ll be taking our planned annual vacation. Rather than spend a week camping down in Ten Sleep, we’ve decided to tromp around Montana, exploring ghost towns. I even purchased a map of them, assembled by Jolene Ewert-Hintz, which I am excited about. So serious are we about this exploration trip that I’ve scheduled us both for a tetanus booster. That’s commitment there, folks, because I’m definitely going to have to wear pants to CVS.

Remaining in Montana might also give us a chance to complete some of the tasks on the list, assuming I’ve run out of Grace and Frankie episodes by then.

Title From
Running With The Wolves
by Miner

If It’s a Job, Do It

Tomorrow we are going to start clearing out The Shed. It’s extremely important to me that we start while it’s still chilly because the nonsensical part of my brain believes that’s going to help prevent any hantavirus issues. This is the same part of my brain that believed the doll I once feared would come to life and murder me, would not come to life and murder me if I put it under a cardboard box in my closet. I’ve tried reasoning with myself but I’m very stubborn.

It’s going to be a lot of work because the people who lived here before us left a ton of junk inside. There’s a big orange tube? I don’t know what it is. It looks like a giant rubber fire hose. There’s a desk, shelves, a bunch of welded horse shoes, and poop. I don’t think the poop was theirs.

After we chainsaw the junk that can be chainsawed, I have the privilege of mopping the whole thing down. Everywhere I look it’s being recommended that I use a bleach and water mixture to disinfect it all, so I’m going to use vinegar and pine essential oils. See? Stubborn.

Title From:
Cowboy Logic
by Michael Martin Murphey

Tomatoes on the Vine and Onions

I’ve been experiencing a growing desire to live a more environmentally conscious, self-reliant, healthier lifestyle. We cut processed foods from our diets a few years ago. There is still the occasional craving for Hot Pockets, I’m not going to lie, but for the most part we eat wholesome, local, organic, non-GMO foods. It’s not cheap. I don’t even want to tell you that our grocery bills run around $350 per week, but I will, because they do. My first apartment was only $450 a month. Good grief.

To help offset some of that, we’re planning to grow a lot of our own produce this year. We have plans for rutabagas, four or five different types of peppers, potatoes, carrots, onions, radishes, parsnips, cucumbers, watermelons, and a full potted herb garden. We will also be converting the goat barn without goats, sometimes referred to as The Shed, into a chicken coop, so we can stop spending $5 for a dozen eggs.

It’s going to be so much work and I’m genuinely excited.

Title From:
I Love
by Tom T. Hall

Little Lights in My Heart

I just deleted nine drafts — nine drafts of posts I attempted to write over the last five months. I am still at risk for bursting into tears, so I’m going to make this return to the blog a list that doesn’t really go into any detail.

1. On September 29th, Reyka was put to sleep. I have to write that out without much thought or this will become the tenth draft.

2. The day after Reyka died, a tiny kitten showed up. His innocent joy and desperate desire for love helped to temper our sadness and pain. I would have loved to keep him around but fear Levee’s chasing drive would have gotten the best of her. Now he lives with one of our vet’s assistants. I think about him from time to time.

3. Pickwick was missing for months. I didn’t know if a coyote got him or someone took him in, but he was missed. A few days ago I heard the familiar thud of his jump from the porch railing to the floor. I was glad to see his pudgy little face. Wherever he was, he was cared for, and I’m glad he was out of the bitter cold.

4. The nameless grey cat is still hanging around but we haven’t made any progress. I’ve accepted that this may be as close as we will ever get.

5. A large black dog has stopped by our place multiple times. The first night it was 12°F. We didn’t have any place he could stay inside, but we couldn’t leave him outside either. We ended up putting him in our well house overnight with the electric smoker running (without wood) to heat the room up. He wasn’t very happy but at least he was safe and warm. He was here again two weeks ago, hanging out on our porch all day. If he comes by again, he might be welcomed as a new member of our family.

6. Why is everything about animals?

7. It looks as though we might be stuck here another year. We’ve been approved for a home loan but cannot find anything that fits our must-have list: twenty acres, a small house, forty-five minutes or less of a commute, all at an affordable price. What can you do?

8. I feel like I have to reach 10 on the list and I have no idea why.

9. I am seriously contemplating chickens. Or a Scottish highland cow. We need more animals in our life and I need more excuses to wear my Sloggers.

10. Pictures will be missing for a while. I can’t bear the thought of looking through them and seeing her face.

Title From:
All The Little Lights
by Passenger