Thursday, August 31, 2017

Totality - Awesome!

We watched the total eclipse on August 21, 2017 from our mountain lot.

The eclipse was awesome.  I am so glad I got to see it!

Some of the group walked up the hill to the top where the main road is.  They reported it was packed with eclipse viewers!

Watching the eclipse.  Our friends from New Mexico joined us along with Son #1 and daugher-in-law #1.  Our friend, Steve, brought along all sorts of viewing equipment including special binoculars.  We learned a lot from him including to watch the 'shadows'.

The aspens were throwing waxing and waning shadows of the eclipse!  Who knew?
Best I can figure out the leaves were acting like a peep hole viewer and mimicking the shadow of the moon on the sun's face.

Shadows in the dirt by my chair.

Video of the shadows.

Getting dark!  Seconds to totality.

And there it is! Total eclipse which looks like a sun because my camera wasn't sophisticated enough to capture how it really looked.  AND my time on the camera was about 12 hours off.  Dang need to fix that apparently.

Son #1 with his dog trying to get a camera shot of the total eclipse.

Would I travel to experience this -- yes I would.  I found it AWESOME.

Monday, August 7, 2017

August 2, 1867 The Wagon Box Fight on the Bozeman Trail

Soldier Encampent on the Fort Phil Kearney fort site, August 5, 2017

Today we went with our youngest son, daughter in law, and grandkids to the 150th anniversary re-enactment of the Wagon Box Fight.  We had a really fun time, cool day in Wyoming, mid 70's with a breeze.  It was actually jacket weather!

In 1864, gold was discovered in Montana.  The trail to the gold fields became known as the Bozeman Trail aka The Bloody Bozeman.  Leaving the Oregon Trail west of present day Douglas, Wyoming, it went through prime Indian territory, full of water and game and the Indians were instantly hot about the intrusion of the white men.  Red Cloud organized numerous attacks against the outposts, especially Fort Phil Kearney near present day Story, WY. 

Established in 1866, Fort Phil Kearney was closed in 1868 when the Union Pacific reached far enough into the west that the Montana Gold Fields could be reached through Idaho making the dangerous Bozeman Trail obsolete.  The Indians burned the fort to the ground as soon as the soldiers left and when Hubby and I were in middle school you could still see burned posts on the site.  It was practically all that was there.  Now there is an interpretive center, museum, and some reconstruction on the site.

Soldiers encampment

The Fort Cemetery (square in the distance) as seen from the fort grounds.

Several teepees were part of the encampment.  The lady here was selling period consumer goods.
Indian saddles in front of the teepees.

In the case of the Bozeman Trail, there was an alternative, the Bridger Trail which was mapped out by mountain man Jim Bridger.  Rather than running through Crow, Cheyenne, and Sioux Territory, it ran through the Big Horn Basin in Shoshone and Araphao territory who were much friendlier and less hostile.  The Bridger Trail lacked the plentiful game, and abundant water of the Bozeman Trail/

It was used by around 450 or so emigrants in 1864-1866 at the start of the Montana gold rush with the trains being led by Jim Bridger.  It left the Oregon trail at Casper and went to present day Lysite, over the Bridger Mountains (south end of the Big Horns) and then up to Montana.

By 1866 however, most were using the Bozeman Trail and the commander at Fort Laramie hired Jim Bridger to attempt to lessen the hostilities on the Bozeman.  Which meant Jim Bridger was unavailable to lead any more wagon trains up the Bridger Trail.

The Bozeman Trail was part of what led directly to the Custer fiasco on June 24, 1876.

Warriors gather before the fight.

Indian Women and children

Indians pursuing a cavaryman.

On August 2, 1867, a detail of 26 soldiers and 7 civilians left Fort Phil Kearney to cut wood.  They were attacked by over 300 Indians led by Red Cloud.  Due to the fact that the soldiers had just been 
issued Springfield 1866 breech loading rifles and lever action Henry rifles, both of which fired much faster than the old ramrod rifles, they were able to hold off the indians with only 7 men killed.  

The soldiers and civilians were protected by heavy wagons they had placed in a circle and unhitched the teams.  The Indians drove off almost all of the horses and mules, however.  

Soldiers at the fort learned of the woodcutter's peril from the observation station on nearby Pilot Hill who was signaling the fort to send out a rescue operation.  Major Benjamin Smith led 103 soldiers along with 2 mountain howitzers to their rescue.  Major Smith began firing the howitzers at long range, forcing the indian warriors to retreat.

The Battle

Pilot Hill is on the right in this photo.  It's hard to see but you will note a 'bump' of something on top of the hill.  That's the observators signaling with a huge flag!

The Sneak - once these two entered that tall grass you could barely tell where they were!

Our family watching.  The grandson especially was Very Impressed with the performance.

Rescue on the Way!

Mountain Howitzers in place.  They were brought in by the team on the wagon and the howitzers were hitched together so it only took one trip.
If you have never heard one fired, let me tell you they are LOUD!

One of  the Artillery horses who brought in the howitzer along with a teammate.  There was soldier who rode one of the horses pulling the howitzers to guide them as there was no where for anyone to sit to drive the team in a traditional manner.

The group of reenactors from Crow Agency, Montana.  They did a wonderful job!

Many thanks to all of the state employees, volunteers and reenactors that made this possible.  It was such a fun day that our family will always remember.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A New Redhead

This spring we had purchased some new Galloway heifers and one cow, a 3 year old who had calved late in the year so was out of 'sync' with the rest of their herd.
The four 'new' cows are the four on the bottom.  They seem to always stick together.  When we first brought them home, two were red.  Now three are black and the one is only 'slightly red'.  The cow is the largest one in the middle.  The other 3 were yearling heifers.

Saturday, July 26th, the cow had a red heifer, much to our surprise!  She had been purchased as 'open'.  (not pregnant).
Her momma Loves her.

Auntie had to come over to inspect her (heifer on the right).

Welcome to 60 miles north of Nowhere, Lil Baby.  You will be kept here to raise more babies!

A name like Surprise or Bonus seems to be order or perhaps a bonnie wee name appropriate for a Scottish lass since Galloways are a Scottish breed of cattle.  I suspect this calf will also turn black as she gets older.

One of our friends commented that this cow had apparently not been 'decaffinated' when we purchased her.   LOL!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

July Stitches N Baseball

The unfinished projects pile has continued to dwindle during July.  In fact, I did not even photograph all of them I've completed.  But here are a few:
A beach cover-up, gifted

sweatshirt makeover, gifted

Hubby's denim work shirt

I also volunteered to sew for "Wrapped in Love" based in Douglas, Wyoming (but has chapters nationwide) which takes donated wedding dresses and makes burial gowns for stillborn infants.  A sad reality, but I understand the gowns are really needed.   I made micro and premie size gowns plus pockets for the really teeny babies.  If you sew you might consider donating some time to the organization.  Contact me for info.

And what would July be without BASEBALL?   We went in and watched the grands play several times.  Hubby (Grandpa) and I (Nana) really enjoy it.  
Catch it Grandson
Hit it! (and he did, he whacked it)
Granddaughter, run! (just hit the ball)
She's SAFE! (note the ball in upper left corner!)
#2 Granddaughter loves bugs.  She was enthralled watching these teeny ants crawl over the expose root of a cottonwood tree at the ball park.

Cows on hillside July 2017
They tell us even though we should get more precipitation with climate change, Wyoming will also be much warmer which is a net decrease in available moisture.  It seems like this July was hot, hot, hot after a cool spring with temps in the 90's most days.   Only the sub-irrigated pasture remains green, and our hillsides are burnt dry.   Fire danger is high and we have had several fires around us.

Friday, June 30, 2017

UFO's at the end of June!

Ha. Ha.  I bet you are thinking I am going to post about unidentified flying objects seen out here at sixty miles north of nowhere......well if you are a quilter you know a UFO is a Un Finished Object.

I finally ignored the lawn mower, dishwasher, vacuum, and other things to just spend a few days sewing!!!  I had one project I really, really, wanted to finish before July 4th for the grand kiddos plus I have a gazillion projects STACKED.

I started on finishing one of the orphaned projects when one of my learning to sew kids moved to Missouri.  I got the leopard print tunic done and gifted to a local kid, who was delighted with it.
Boom, done, outta here.  I forgot to a pic of it.....oops.

Then I started on this idea I saw on pinterest (gotta love pinterest, eh? tons of ideas, which I will NEVER EVER find time to do!!)  It was this cute little dress....
Red, white, and blue Bustle Dress tutorial
from pinterest  - orginally from and made in a knit fabric as a dress.

I had to figure out the pattern and there is a lot I would change from what I did on a second attempt.
I made it into a cotton skirt, eliminating the top.  Since cotton wrinkles, I interfaced all the ruffles hoping it would eliminate the need to iron them.  I also tacked them down every so often to the base fabric under them so they won't get pressed UP when the kid sits down.  I interfaced the bow also hoping again for it to retain its shape during laundering.  For granddaughter #1 skirt, I used a really stiff double sided iron on interfacing and I know that bow won't budge!

And here's what I came up with for #1 granddaughter (who is 9) and #2 granddaughter (who is 2 1/2)


The fronts of the skirts.

The backs with the bows and ruffles.  BOOM. DONE.  Outa here.

To determine how wide to cut the blue fabric I doubled the size of the girl's waist.  Then cut off a wedge at the bottom for the V at the back.  Length of the skirt was from the child's waist to knee measurement.   I gathered the blue fabric to the child's hip measurement plus about 4 inches, made a white casing, and inserted 1" wide no roll elastic with a width 3" shorter than the waist measurement.
2 1/2" Ruffles were interfaced, hemmed, and the top serged, then gathered.  Starting at the bottom on a white V, ruffles were zigzagged at the top and layered upward with a 1" space at the edge of the V to attach to the blue.  I tacked the ruffles down every 4" or so to avoid having them pressed UP when the child sits down.  Bows were made and attached center back.

WHAT  I WOULD CHANGE if I ever make it again:  I would put a underskirt with a white ruffle peeking below the hemline and eliminate the white V for the ruffle.  I would extend the ruffles to go about 3 or 4" on either side of the blue and not attach it all but let 'flow' over the ruffles.

And of course, grandson (he is 6 1/2)  wouldn't wear a skirt.   He got this shirt in matching fabric.  Rules for sewing for him?   No 'cute' factors and absolutely no Pink!! I pointed out to him his sister's skirt matched and he could wear both as an ensemble.  His response?  "NO WAY!"

 I used this Simplicity pattern #4760 for the shirt, View B (yellow).
It was well sized, and fit the measurements listed on the pattern back.  Grandson tried it on for me and it fit him perfectly!  BOOM DONE.  Outa here!

WHAT I WOULD CHANGE if I make this again:  Nothing about the pattern.  It was perfect. 

BUT I would NOT use my Bernina buttonhole stitches again.  I HATE the bernina buttonhole system.  It feeds the fabric at a different rate on the right side (reverse side) and looks wonky.  It took LOTS of tests to get the reverse side the right length even saving the buttonhole with the auto feature.  I had to find the 'right' tension to hold the reverse side fabric to get to feed to approximately the right length and then manually restitch EVERY blooming buttonhole so there were enough stitches to prevent raveling. The buttonholes look 'homemade.' PHOOEY on that.  My machine is due for a cleaning so I'm going to mention these problems to the technician.  Surely you wouldn't put that wonky system on a multi $$$$ sewing machine? It also quit doing the monograming well and it's wonky also.

I remember my mom's 1950's Singer that I learned to sew on.  It had a buttonhole attachment with a cam system that produced the most professional looking beautiful buttonholes each and every time.  I checked Ebay and they have them.  I'm getting one.  I already bought the attachment shank for the Bernina so it would work on it.  Good Grief.  If a 1950's was so much better, the people making computerized sewing machines couldn't have done something similar??????

My knitting projects continue on.  I usually have something on the needles - mostly socks.  I have discovered smart wool sock yarn and having been using it exclusively.  I read that if you insert a sewing thread into your knitting over the heel and toe it reinforces those areas.  Well that was much Easier Said than Done.  I tried on my current socks and found it was not so easy especially with two socks on a circular needle which resulted in four threads (2 wool, 2 threads) going to my needles at the same time.  Yikes.  Will see if it is now truly 'reinforced'.

Smart wool socks I knitted from a Mary Maxim sock surprise box.  I was well pleased with what I received for the price and will order again. I got enough for 3 pairs.


1) Do two more orphaned top projects from when the sewing kid moved.

2) Re-upholster the seat on a road cart and put on the new tires and DRIVE my mare.  OFTEN...

3) Fiberglass the water's getting thin and I would sure hate to lose it.  We use it for our swamp cooler and my 'tank garden'.

4) Make some denim shirts for Hubby.  At least 3....

5) Do the sofa pillows project that has been sitting in the sewing room for a L>O>N>G Time!!!

That should keep me busy for a while....

Next time I will try to remember to post the story of a True UFO (the flying kind) that happened to us when we were newly married in the 1970's.

Till then --- CRAFT ON!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The BIG Picture

Snow on the Big Horn Mountains in the distance from near our place. 
 All Photos were taken May 19 2017.

One of the things I notice when I travel back East, is once I cross the Missouri River and cross into timber/treed country, I miss my wide open skies from Wyoming.  It's almost a claustrophobic feeling like I need to peel back all that greenery and SEE what the land looks like.  I LIKE Kansas and Nebraska.

I also dislike driving to town for anything!  Intensely dislike it.  I think I burned myself out driving a 120 mile round trip commute for too many years.   After a snow on May 18th of this year, instead of driving the 120 miles, I opted for a quick trip of 76 miles round trip to a small rural grocery store.  (We had a later snow around the 24th also this year)

I took pictures of the drive and I'm sure you will see why I miss my 'vistas' when I'm in other states.

Pine Ridge from just after the Powder River crossing near Sussex.

This is Chalk Buttes near Sussex, Wyoming.
On the other side of the buttes the flat plain continues for quite some distance.  That was the location of one of the roundups in the open range days.  I sure would have like to have seen it then with over 100 roundup wagons and cowboys and who knows how many cows!!

In the distance is the North Pumpkin Buttes with snow on them.  Interestingly, Pumpkin Buttes were formed by water and wind eroding the soil around them, with the Buttes being protected by a rock cap.  I wonder how many millions of years that took!

The South Butte of Pumpkin Buttes with snow on it also.  

Road to home leading up to Pine Ridge.  Still snow on them at 3 pm in the afternoon!

Close up the snow on Pine Ridge.  Home is on the extreme left behind the ridge.

And that was my trip home from the grocery store on that snowy May Day.  It was a cold spring this year!  Snow till the end of May almost.  Now it's sunny, warm, and the grass is tall and green.

I took all the photos on my little LG Phone (not a smart one apparently) and discovered to my horror that you cannot download them with a USB cable.  It won't recognize the folder structures so I had to order a mini storage card, insert it into my phone, and then transfer all my photos to the mass storage card.  Then they would download.  Well wasn't that easy? NOT.  But I got er done!