A Vacation Day Morning

Enjoying the cool morning, on my vacation day.

Sitting in my porch glider, with my biggest cup full of Java, listening to the birds sing, and watching my silly puppies play. The trees are obscuring, from my neighbors, my still being in my pj's, and I'm happily flourishing on this beautiful summer morning.

So blessed!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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Celebrating Independence Day!

Isn't this just awesome!

Man made fireworks competing with Mother Nature's fireworks! This is the rodeo and fireworks celebration we have over the 4th of July in our little town every year….but with a little extra kick this particular evening. I wanted to be sure and share this wonderful photo since we're not too far out from the 4th. We do have some extremely talented folks that live in our town, and I borrowed this from Facebook to share with you all.

Here are a few more shots I took myself while just moseying around close to home, over the last couple months. Since it'll be Christmas in just a few weeks, guess I'd better share the few warm weather photos I've taken (kidding!…….but not really :-/ )

 

 

The park geese with their new broods, in varying stages – some have newer fluffy yellow babies, some are 1/2 way to looking like their parents.

 

This is the Crazy mountain range.

This is about 7 miles from the cabin. Such a pretty day it was!

About 4 miles from the cabin as you top a hill and look southerly, this is the Absaroka mountain range.

 

A golden eagle in a field near the road.

And a bald eagle on a telephone pole just above the golden.

 

 

 

Hope you all are having a nice summer, and are making the most of it!

TTFN,

Teresa 🙂

 

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Journaling the Cabin Progress

This is going to be a dry post. I'm putting up a ton of pre-renovation cabin pics just for documentation. Mr. Bruce has been up there the last 6 weekends working like a fiend. He also struck a deal with a too busy contractor. It is so wild in this area presently, with people buying property as quickly as it hits the market, then fixing it to flip, or live in themselves, that it is next to impossible to find a decent contractor worth his salt. All the good contractors/carpenters are lined up with work for months to come. I'm sure there are plenty of shysters out there, because when it's popping like this, those shady types are drawn in like rats to grain. But Bruce has known this fellow for years, and the man is a local that has lived here all his life. He has a good reputation, and is therefore busier than the dickens. But, after a bit of skillful finagling and bartering on my Mister's part 🙂 , the contractor said if Bruce will have everything lined out, and every bit of the lumber, cement, screws, nails, basically every and all supplies needed (including all the new Windows, and all the new flooring) sitting at the cabin ready to go, he and his crews will pop up there between their other big jobs as time allows. Anytime there is slack on the big jobs they're working on, or if there is inclement weather that they can sneak away from their outdoor projects and come up to work on indoor things for us, they'll shoot up to the cabin and try to bang out one project at a time. That's about as good as it gets right now for folks like us that have comparatively smaller projects. When it's chaotic like it is presently, in demand contractors don't want small jobs. Especially when they have to trek clear up into the mountains to do them.

Oh, good gosh, I hope this works out!! We've been burned by carpenters before, but we've also been lucky enough to have some excellent ones do big jobs for us at our house. I just want to get the big basics done on the cabin, then Bruce and I can tackle the smaller, more manageable ones. Bruce doesn't have the time, or number of men available that are needed to get windows and doors installed, the wood flooring laid, or the walls put in. He will still be doing the majority of plumbing and electrical himself, as well as all the trim and finish work; and together we can install the wood “tongue and groove” panels on the walls, sheet rock where needed (if we decide to use sheet rock in the bedroom and bathroom), building and rocking the new hearth for the wood stove, and installing whatever we decide to use for kitchen cabinetry. I can paint, wallpaper, tile, stain, make curtains, and decorate to beat sixty without any help. But for the big, heavy duty stuff, we need a crew of men to come in and hit it hard to get it done in short order.

Once the new windows are in place, we can contact the company that will sandblast the logs on the exterior (the company we looked into uses ground walnut shells to blast, then the shell dust and log dust can be left on the ground to naturally decompose). The blasting will basically sand away the discoloration and weathering, and leave a nice even tone on the logs to then stain and seal, making the exterior look brand new, hopefully.

The odd shaped windows on the top right will be eliminated. Then, all along the top, left to right under the pitch, will be framed in and probably covered with shakes, so it will be symmetrical.

 

This bay window is being replaced with a picture window. Same width and height, but flat in the wall.

 

The circular vent to the left of the window will come out as the furnace is moving to the hallway, resulting in dreaded log patching.

 

A larger window will replace the bathroom window, shown center, which will require log cutting and patching.

 

The kitchen window, left of door, has to be raised 1 1/2 logs higher, and the porch window, far left, will be eliminated. More log cutting, and filling. Not fun.

 

 

Porch floor must be laid, and an end wall built, since there will only be stairs to the front now.

 

 

This is the enclosed portion of the front porch. The 2 windows shown will be eliminated, and a big walk-in storage closet will be built, floor to ceiling across this whole end of the porch. There isn't much room for storage in the living area of the cabin, so we want to be smart with this space and squeeze every square inch to make it useful for hanging, boxing, shelving, leaning, and stacking. The window on the floor to the left came out of our kitchen at home when we remodeled and put in the giant picture window. This will be installed to the right of the front door entering the porch. We bought a nice, solid wood door with glass upper from Craigslist, saving probably $300 vs buying a brand new one. We got bids from 3 different companies on the window package we need. Only 6 windows have to be purchased, and I was shocked at the $5,500 price tag from the first company. The second company came in at $4,200. These bids were for aluminum clad wooden windows. We got a bid for vinyl windows next, which was much more reasonable (less than a third of the first bid), albeit not quite the quality we were hoping for – but we have to remind ourselves that this is just a cabin, not a full time residence. And we need to be careful not to dump in more money than we would ever be able to recoup on the little place. Having to build the new foundation, and crane the cabin to it, put a major dent in the budget right off the bat. We have to be very careful with our spending, being mindful to get the most bang for our buck. There is a very long list of things yet to do, and after the shock of the windows bids, we will have to be extra diligent in searching out the best buys. That shouldn't be hard with the decorating/furnishings (since I'm the queen of rummage saling ;-0) but building materials are a different kettle of fish.

As for the inside…..

We do have a plan roughed out. Bruce is wrangling in the plumbing right now. We're having a heck of a time trying to find the best options for hot water. We don't particularly want to go the heater tank route because, unless you plan to keep the propane furnace at 48 degrees all winter (which would be very costly) to prevent water in the tank and pipes from freezing, you must drain and winterize the tank each autumn. That means no hot water if you hope to snowmobile in for weekends in the winter. There are many tankless, hot water on demand options available, but high altitude, extreme temps, and not being there daily, really complicate the decision. I know there must be a good option because I've seen tv shows about hunting camps in Alaska where guides bring folks to a shut down cabin, walk in, flip a few switches, and they're fully functional for a week or so. They leave after minimal winterizing, basically in suspension til next trip in, which they do often, all winter long. We've researched on the internet; I even got a year subscription to Cabin Living magazine to look into that and other things, hoping to make the most informed and correct choices. We surely don't want to dump a bunch of $$ into things, just to have them be dysfunctional and have to be replaced for even more $$. Bruce has checked with other folks in our cabin community, and it seems bottom line up there is water heater tank – bite the bullet and leave the heat running; or rough it – winterize and do without hot water in the winter months. I'm sure there has to be a better, more practical option. We'll keep after it…if nothing else, Mr. Bruce is the prize winner in persistence.

 

The blue tape lines are wall placement markers for bedroom and bathroom. Bigger bed and bath than what was there before, but still mighty tight!

 

Such a dreadful mess - makes me want to pull my hair! Doesn't bother Bruce in the least.

All I know is summer is fleeting, and boy, do we have a lot on our plate! Between work schedules, my folks moving, trying to get as much as possible done at the cabin in the short season we have to do it, and regular old house chores and maintenance, we could all stand a few more hours in the day to be sure!

Anyhoo, not whining….even if it does sound like it! All these things are very good “problems” to have! And not problems at all! We just need to stay organized, and step it up as best we can.

Meanwhile, Pinterest is my friend – it gives me so much to aspire to!

TTFN,

Teresa 🙂

 

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Farm(s) Pending

This might well be the new “mini” farm.

Quite the view. Six and three quarters acres (80% less land than the farm), but just enough land to suffice. The house is about 1/3 less square footage to have to keep tidy and maintain. Close to town. Neighbors, but not right on top of you like living in town. Irrigated. These are the pluses.

The downside is; no barn or shop for hay and equipment storage. No small shelters for the little horses. Not a fence on the place. Close to the highway, so the 5 remaining barn cats coming with will have to be contained in some type of little building with a tall, screened in outdoor area, to keep them safe. (Being barn cats, they have always roamed free at the farm, so this will be a tough adjustment for them.)

These all are the realtors pictures. The inside is lovely, but quite small (compared to my folks farmhouse). But, that's all part and parcel of downsizing. It was a lucky break to have been able to JUMP on this place hours after it was listed. My folks tied it up as quickly as was humanly possible. The realtor had multiple, multiple inquiries in the days following the listing of this property. It's going to be a lot of work to get it ready to house all the critters, but that's part of the give and take. The land is pretty much a blank canvas. They are already contacting fencing companies, contractors to build outbuildings, moving companies, etc., just to get on the lists. I mentioned before how crazy wild it is right now with real estate in this area, and all types of companies involved are booked up weeks to months in advance.

So, God willing, it's upward and onward. Real estate dealings are are fragile and fickle; fingers crossed this will go thru without a hitch. I guess now would be the time to start stock piling super potent vitamins and coffee….the whole family's going to need them to get this show on the road!!

I'll take a minute now for some more sappy and sentimental sharing of farm pics. The gardens are so beautiful right now, due to my good little Mom's relentless efforts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Clover, the tamest barn kitty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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Farmward – Ho!

The saga with my folk's farm continues. It looks like this time the sale might be the real deal – possibly. It's been a long drawn out process, drug out since last fall. A couple with 4 little kids want to buy it “for sure”……..contingent upon them selling at least one of three properties they own. And then comes all the hoop jumping and red tape with appraisals, inspections of every sort, what is included in the sale, etc., etc. At least these people don't expect my folks to include furniture, pictures, garden decorations, clothes, shoes, and the family bible in the sale, like the last yahoos did. (Maybe a slight exaggeration, but not by much!) This potential buyer did want them to throw in the backhoe with the sale, which may, or may not, be considered. Depends on what sort of place my folks can find to move to. If they have to start from scratch with a place with no fences or outbuildings, my Dad will need all his equipment to get the job done. Hopefully a place will come up not needing everything from soup to nuts to get ready, before they can move in. I cannot tell you how absolutely insane the real estate market is in this area right now; very little to be had, and a king's ransom in pricing for what is available. We've all been searching like mad, trying to catch things that come on the market immediately, as homes and land are snapped up, literally, within hours after being listed.

I stopped at the farm on the way back from the cabin the other day. I feel like you can't soak in enough of the place, when you know the chance is great that it will belong to someone else soon.

 

My Mom brought me upstairs to see this cactus type plant that is in full bloom.

 

I got to visit all her babies while we were upstairs.

 

 

And get an upper view of the gardens from the bedroom balcony.

 

It will be a big adjustment for the little horses to have only a very few acres to live on. Hopefully it won't bother them too much. They are an elderly lot; the oldest one being about 34 years old, the youngest I think around 22. There are 15 left, and my folks just want to keep them fed and happy til they go to the happy pasture in the sky. Their whole house search is revolving around finding a place where it will work for their old horses, and old barn kitties. Some people call that crazy, I think it's mighty admirable.

 

From last fall

 

Hopefully the geese will get to stay on the farm, as many of them are 30+ years old

It's a beautiful place, and I sure hope the new people will love and care for it as much as my folks have. It will be nice for their little kids to grow up there; the perfect setting for playing and memory making.

As stressful as it is, I guess we just have to remember that the good Lord has a plan for us all, and we need to keep the faith and move forward knowing it's in His hands.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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A Vengeful Spring Storm

The pretty little mama robin came back this spring. She reclaimed the nest she and her husband built last year. I was so happy to see her flitting to and fro out my kitchen window. The lilacs were in full bloom, as were the apple, Schubert's chokecherry, buckeye, and cherry trees in my yard. Spring was springing!

Then, Montana being what it is, it hit.

And this year, it was particularly bad.

A horrible, heavy, wet snow that weighed down the trees made fragile by the sap freshening in their branches and trunks, and the new leaves holding the snow, which further pulled the branches down. The next morning was disastrous in our little town. Whole trees downed, and broken branches everywhere. I heard there were homes damaged from falling trees and limbs, as well as fences, vehicles, and anything else that happened to be in the way as the snow laden trees were torn to bits. Working where I do (at the City's refuse transfer station, recycling, and green waste drop spot) I saw first hand the carnage the spring storm produced. People brought pick up truck loads, trailer loads, and some dump truck loads full of broken branches, crushed bushes, and whole trees that had fallen. It was fairly chaotic at my little scale house, to say the least. After 6 days of people hauling load after load to the green waste pile, over 200 TONS of green waste had been brought in by folks. And that doesn't even count the the BIG City dump trucks that were running full loads (which were not weighed) out of town to a spot of land where they can deal with the massive amounts later. Boulevards and alleys are still littered with stacks of branches and bushes as they wait for the city crews to make their way through the town to load them all and haul them away.

Comparatively, I got off fairly easily with just one large branch broken off my apple tree, and a medium sized branch off my Ohio Buckeye. The lilacs and pussy willow were flattened, and are just starting to try and pull up again. Bruce wrapped a ratchet strap around the willow to get them off the ground.

My little Mrs. Robin couldn't take the whole ordeal, and flew off, leaving her one cracked and frozen egg in the nest. I wonder if she'll be back, or if she's packed and headed for warmer climes, where you don't have to worry about our unpredictable Montana weather.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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Spring Time in the Rockies

This is a pretty time of year around these parts. The snow is just starting to come off the mountains because it's a bit warmer during the day, but there is still plenty of it to shine against our big blue skies on these early spring days. So, here's a little mountain photo overkill for you –

 

 

 

 

 

Big Spring storm rolling in

 

A hint of a rainbow

 

A meandering Yellowstone River, before the Spring run off

 

Everything greening up

 

 

 

Plenty of snow up there yet

 

There are lots of new baby calves on the ground, magpies building nests with zeal, bunnies chasing each other with abandon, robins feasting on big fat worms that are emerging, and shoots, blooms, and tiny green leaves unfolding at every turn. Yup, it's Spring time in the Rockies for sure!

TTFN,

Teresa 🙂

 

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A Bright Spot in a Dreary Winter

This has been the craziest winter. The weather has been so cold and stormy, it seems like one day just blends into the next. Where usually that makes things feel like they are dragging, this year it is zipping by. I kind of feel like I'm sleep walking thru this season!

Anyway, one of the oldest projects on the honey-do list at my house has finally been completed, so thought I'd share! We remodeled the family room and kitchen about a year after we moved in here. That was a long time ago! For all the years since we finished, there has been no hearth mantle around the wood stove in our family room. I've begged, whined, and belly-ached for so long! I even shopped around trying to find something ready-made that I could slap up there on my own, but had no luck finding anything that would fit in the space. I do know how to use power tools, and I did take wood shop in high school, but I'm not brave enough to tackle a project that is a really prominent, and permanent fixture in the house. Something like that needs to not be done by an amateur, but by someone who is a craftsman. Bruce is more than capable of building a mantle, but it's that darn time thing again, and there just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything he needs to do done. So, I told Mr. Bruce I was going to start searching for a carpenter to get the dang thing built and installed! As it turns out, we were lucky enough to have the perfect fellow agree to do the project. Mr. Z was a shop teacher when I was in high school. When school was out during the summers, he and a few other teachers would do carpentry projects, even house building. When Bruce moved here from Nebraska, he was fortunately hired by Mr. Z to be on their summer crew! They became great friends. Bruce worked for him off and on over many years, until finishing college and finally giving up carpentering for full time engineering.

Mr. Z is an extremely talented wood worker, but has all but given up the craft because he struggles with severe rheumatoid arthritis now. But Bruce pleaded, and thankfully Mr. Z consented! I would have settled for a simple 3 board, faux beam looking mantle just to have the project done, and not have that ugly, unfinished space showing anymore! But he came over to measure, and see what all it would entail, and he asked me what I would truly like to see up there. I showed him a quick sketch of the super simple 3 board method. He said “Now, if I'm going to take the time to do this, I want you to have what you really want!” Well, with a green light like that, I proceeded to pour my heart out! I told him how much I like arts&crafts/mission style, showed him a few pictures in some of my American Bungalow magazines, then drug out my stash ……

Several years ago I took an Adult Education pottery class our local high school was offering; 5 weeks, one evening per week. My Mom, my “other mother” Roxy, and myself, all signed up and were excited to go. Unfortunately, we had a “teacher” that was not interested in teaching. She said she was turning us loose to do whatever we felt was creative, and she would mentor us if we felt it was needed. :-/ Maybe some of the others in the class were familiar with pottery, but the 3 of us had never worked with clay before! So, we did the best we could with what we had – It wasn't too difficult for my Mom or Roxy because they are both extremely artistic, but I'm another story! Back to my good old American Bungalow for reference, and I managed to churn out 10 tiles, and several long faux branch tiles for a border. Our “teacher” did not take good care when she fired our clay works, and we ended up with all manner of round bottom rather than flat tiles, and other deformities on Mom and Roxy's projects. But it cost $100 to take that class, and I hoped I would someday be able to use my finished products, given that terrific cost.

So I pulled out my box of tiles, and worked with Mr. Z on incorporating them into the design. I chose 6 tiles to use, not wanting to overwhelm the woodworking, and he left with a plan.

A few weeks later, he came back with a beautiful, artfully done mantle; solid oak, stained a rich golden brown, and in the mission style that I love so much. He and Bruce carefully installed it. I could have jumped with joy! It was my job to place the tiles in the spaces he had designed to hold them. I knew it was going to be a bit of a challenge since they were round bottomed and out of square from the firing mishap, and I was terrified of messing up that phenomenal mantle. I got some epoxy glue, and a tube of grout and went to town! I'm very happy with the finished product because of the wonderful woodworking, and it is such a relief to finally have it done! It's also nice to have a little offering from me built into the house, because this house sure owns a big chunk of my heart!

 

 

 

 

 

Now I just need to re-black the stove pipe, add a fresh coat of satin sealer to both the rocks and slate hearth, and it will all be fresh and finished! Makes me so happy when something can be checked off the mighty to-do list!

TTFN,

Teresa. 🙂

 

 

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A Good Old Fashioned Christmas

This is a pic of a painting by local artist David Swanson, borrowed from Facebook, of our town at Christmas time.

Merry Christmas, all! It feels like Christmases from years back around here, because we have had blizzard conditions in the last few weeks, just like when I was a kid.

Photo borrowed from Facebook.

The street crews were working round the clock for a few days because the wind was blowing so fiercely they couldn't keep any streets or roads clear.

 

We won the “lowest temp with windchill” game! It was wretched! I had never in my life had a “snow day” before last Monday, but they closed where I work, and kids weren't required to attend school if it was too difficult for them to get in.

Pic posted to Facebook by a local.

 

Another area pic posted to Facebook by a local.

 

This was at the beginning of the rough weather late last week. I took this photo as the deer came in to forage from the green waste pile at work, where it is easy pickins. A local brewery dumped their many bins of spent grain, and there were at least a dozen and a half deer having a smorgasbord there for several days. They just love it.

 

 

We all stayed snugly warm in the little scale house. Piper enjoyed watching the deer out the window, and Declan stayed all tucked in her blankies.

I didn't end up putting a lot of Christmas decorations out after all. The small storage room where I keep my holiday decorations is currently where all the more fragile, and non-mouse proof cabin goods are being kept. And there are bins upon bins stacked in there. I have beautiful Christmas stuff, and hate skipping a year of seeing it all, but it would have been plain old self abuse to try and man-handle all of that cabin gear to get to the decorations, to then man-handle all those tubs, boxes, and bins that hold the decorations. Then, in just a few short weeks, it would be time to go thru the whole process again to put it away. So, hopefully, next year the cabin will be finished enough to have all those tubs back where they belong at the little mountain house.

Here is what I did manage to scrounge up to add a little holiday cheer.

I kind of have a little “farmy” theme going here this year, because these do-dads were easily accessible. Santa and his jingle bell sheep, with a few pine trees, and an old plaid camp blanket.

Santa and his reindeer, just landed in the barnyard.

 

An old toy truck (from Bruce's boyhood), filled with bottle brush trees, and towing the cute little bird house trailer my Mom and Dad made me for Christmas a few years ago. (I will never put that sweet thing in the yard for the birds – selfish me……. Don't tell Santa shhhhhh.)

And the pretty antique deer family (that really belongs to my big little son, but I won't relinquish guardianship of them until he OWNS his own home, and I'm sure he couldn't give a hoot one way or another how long I keep them 🙂 ) nestled in a bed of pine boughs, with a deer shed antler candleholder. I have a few other things scattered here and there, but not much to speak of compared to what I usually put out. I will be grateful for such a small amount when the time comes to “un-decorate” because it will take about 1/8 the time it normally takes me.

We will all be going to the farm for Christmas dinner. My poor Mom keeps getting stuck hosting all the Holiday dinners, even tho I argue and try to get them to come to my house. I'm sure she thinks that each holiday we are upon may be the last one spent at the farm, because they are still in the process of trying to sell it. It is a heart wrenching experience, and they are finding that potential buyers can be very mean and demanding people. They love their farm with all their hearts; it's not just a piece of property to them. That makes the whole process even more difficult. So, we will make more good Christmas memories at the farm; eat, drink, and be merry!

Merry Christmas and Glad Tidings to you all!

TTFN,

Teresa 🙂

 

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Full of Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Now we jump into the thick of the holiday season, and as hectic and wonderful as it all is, it's done in a flash, so enjoy and appreciate every minute of it!

Thought I'd toss in a quick cabin update. We did make some progress this Summer – big ticket items, so although it doesn't add much curb appeal, it is a big step toward getting to the finished product. First, a brand new septic system was plotted, permitted, and installed. This is “part one” in getting the much needed plumbing in place to facilitate kitchen water and a nice little indoor potty once again at the cabin.

This is the septic drain field, and lids to the underground holding tanks

The horrible, smelly, rotten old floor and foundation were demolished and hauled away. The old septic system, which had been inactive for years, was opened up and filled with dirt. Then, the whole area was somewhat smoothed out and left to fill in with native plants.

 

Even though it is still torn up, it looks 100% better than before. We have 1 burning pile left to take care of, and I'm sure Bruce will do that on New Year's Eve (prior to the big, annual New Year's celebration), when the fire risk is very low with the cold and snow.

This is all that is left to burn.

He rented a trenching machine to prepare for electrical and propane lines to be run over to the new cabin site. It was hard going as it is very rocky ground, and required much hand digging to remove rocks when the trencher couldn't get past them.

There was a bit of winterization that needed to be done, so Bruce took the time last weekend to go up and tie up as many loose ends as he could.

I had Election Day off work, and was having such an awful, anxiety ridden day from this horrendous election, that I decided to toss my poochies in the truck, shut the darn radio off, and take a “back roads” road trip up to the cabin.

This is up Brackett Creek.

 

 

 

This is the old Sedan Church, refurbished, and all decked out with Christmas lights, ready for the Holidays.

Such a pretty drive went a long way in soothing the senses. When we got to the cabin, I sat on the deck in the sunshine, read some cabin decorating magazines til about dark, then went in and popped some popcorn. I put in a DVD, sat in the middle of that gosh awful mess of a cabin with Declan and Piper, covered us up with a fuzzy blanket, and proceeded to watch a crazy sci-fi movie. Then we locked up, loaded up in the dark, and hit the trail for home. I felt lucky to have a nice escape day with no TV or computers.

I only put a dab of Thanksgiving decorations out this year. Trying to conserve energy to really get after the “Christmas Extravaganza”!

 

 

 

Already had my Native Americans out. I just love these Skookum dolls.

My big little son is at his new job 200 miles away and can't come home for just one day, so Mr. Bruce and I have been invited to the farm for dinner. My good Mom is cooking, and I will bring a salad and a pie. My Dad is going to BBQ steaks for he and Bruce. It's supposed to start storming tonight, so hope the roads won't be “slickery” for all the Holiday travelers.

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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