i have company

2015-07-29 035Here is my 4 year old grandson surveying the lake for the first time.  He’d arrived fifteen minutes earlier.  After a very long ride (2+ hours) from the airport–and after a very early flight from his home in Texas–he and his parents were very, very happy to be here.

But he was the only one who, after a quick glance at the house and his new Star Wars quilt, stripped naked in the kitchen and demanded his swim trunks and water sandals.

He hustled down the hill and right into the lake.  And to think we’d wondered if he would be afraid of the water….

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summer colors

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the summer so far

Summer update, without photos:

We’ve had a heat wave, but I think it’s over.  We had a break from the heat, but then again…it might be back.  I am not complaining.  I like it.

Because this was only five months ago and I remember it!!!

snowstorm map

I will not complain about warm summer weather!!!

I planted two tomato plants, 4 basil plants, parsley and mint in my garden pots.

My shoulder is still “frozen” but I have been swimming a few times and my shoulder likes swimming.

I have made a peach pie.   Due to the heat wave, the peaches have arrived early this summer.  I have been to the Peach Man three Thursdays in a row and have bought 2 cases of apricots and 4 (or was it 5??) cases of peaches.

The Bachelorette has been boring and unwatchable.  My French Friend Janou and I have resorted to swigging refreshing alcoholic beverages every Monday night.  We also start watching the show 45 minutes after it begins so we can speed through the commercials and the boring bits.

There are a lot of boring bits.

Banjo Man did not find a banjo to purchase while on the road so we have spent five hundred and twenty seven hours shopping online and/or talking about what he should do.

Today I took the Banjo Bull by the horns and ordered a tenor banjo from Amazon.  It was under budget, will arrive in two days and can be returned if he decides it clashes with his sensitive ears.

There comes a time when you just have to make a decision and hope for the best, right?

I have been cooking and canning and freezing–all of those good things–and the freezer is filled with yummy meals and bags upon bags of sliced peaches ready to be turned into pies and cobblers.

If I had a bumper sticker, it would say:  PEACH PIE FOR LIFE!!

Because spending the rest of my life eating peaches seems like a very good idea.

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Happy summer, everyone!  I do have lots of pictures to post, but not a lot of time to upload, download, upload and upload again…..and it’s quite a process.

Book reviews comin’, too.  An injured bald eagle.  Plus pictures of jam!

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this year’s parade

I’m really late getting these posted, but Banjo Man’s family was here for the Fourth of July parade and festivities (it’s an annual tradition) and I’ve been really, really busy (but I can’t tell you what I’ve been doing exactly, but sitting at my desk just hasn’t happened very often).

It was 97 degrees on the 4th of July.  After the parade–and it was **hot**–I ate a hot dog next to the foot races and then came home to take a Tylenol and a three hour nap.

Parades are not for wimps.  But they sure are fun.

Neil proclaiming his joy with the decorations this year.

Neil proclaiming his joy with the decorations this year.

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i’m back

Sorry for not posting.  As you can see, I’ve been very busy.

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This is summer. This is what I do.

I was with two of my peeps, celebrating the beginning of summer and the resumption of Lessons With Doug.  This is like “Tuesdays With Morrie” except with Doug and with musical instruments and without the philosophy.

We love Doug.

After 2 hours of singing and making merry and trying desperately to learn a new song in the key of B, we needed a drink.

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And food.

2015-07-08 006We are going to do this every afternoon after Lessons With Doug.

You are welcome to join us.

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day 10: the road trip ends

The last morning we pack up the car.

The last morning we pack up the car.

The last time we gas up before heading west.

The last time we gas up before heading west.

The last time Banjo Man scrapes bugs off the windshield.

The last time Banjo Man scrapes bugs from the windshield.

The last bag of sunflower seeds.  Banjo Man eats thousands of 'em.

The last bag of sunflower seeds. Banjo Man eats thousands of ’em.

3281 miles later…

Two steps away from the first swim of the summer.

Two steps away from the first swim of the summer.

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day 9: montana at last

Last Saturday we left Cody by 7:30 AM, with a quick stop to peek inside the doors of Buffalo  Bill’s famous Irma Hotel.

The main street through Cody at 8 AM.

The main street through Cody at 8 AM.

Inside the Irma.

Inside the Irma.

And then we headed north again, to pick up I-80 and head west.

We stopped in Bozeman for lunch and some banjo-shopping and Music Villa.   They had a 1920’s Vega tenor banjo that made Banjo Man’s heart beat a little faster but, alas, it needed a bit of work and cost more than was in the Banjo Man Budget.

But there was this, one of my favorite on-the-road restaurants:

Can you see the sign?

Can you see the sign?

Three heavenly words:  lemon blueberry pancakes.

And then it was my turn to drive, so in a post lemon blueberry glow, I got behind the wheel and headed West.


We would be staying in Missoula, right next to our favorite pizza place.

Pizza is  my favorite food.

Pizza is my favorite food.

At dinnertime we were about three hours and 170 miles away from our summer home.



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day 8: cody, wyoming, hurray!

2015-06-26 029We arrived in Cody Friday morning, and of course the first thing Banjo Man wanted to do was eat.  So we parked downtown and treated ourselves to a Mexican lunch in a real restaurant.

2015-06-26 020 2015-06-26 019Then it was time to hit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.  We were especially looking forward to the Whitney Gallery’s collection of Western Art.  Once inside we decided to split up and meet in four hours.

Yes, four hours.  It would close in six hours and Banjo Man thought he would need all six hours to see everything.

I took lots of pictures on my Kindle but have yet to send them to this computer, so I’ll post the highlights in another blog post.

My favorite area was the Museum of the Plains Indians.  After spending over an hour there, I bumped into Banjo Man.  He had been in the new Firearms museum (the largest collection of firearms in the world) and told me he’d seen Zane Grey’s gun.  I was so excited and needed to take a picture of it.  He said I’d never find it and offered to lead me to it.

I declined, assuming I could find one measly rifle or ask one of the docents.  This turned out to be a stupid decision, because after an hour and a half–and two complete walks through the Firearms exhibits (a total maze) I still hadn’t found the Winchester 1895.

But I had lots of steps on my Fitbit.

I’d given up–temporarily–and was in the Buffalo Bill museum when I spotted Banjo Man again.  We strolled through that together and saw this:

2015-06-26 043It had once lived in Buffalo Bill’s wife’s home in North Platte, Nebraska.  Banjo Man’s sister and family had owned that home for many years.  Do you see us in the mirror?  Hey, Hall Mirror, we know where you’ve been!!

2015-06-26 048Banjo Man said they used to have a wrench for this on the farm, but no one knows what happened to it.  He sounded sad.  Does that mean he wants our next road trip to include this?

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I felt a cold chill run down my back.

Back to the rifle, which Banjo Man led me to.  By this time we were both staggering with exhaustion.

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His monogram is in gold.

2015-06-26 049 2015-06-26 052We limped out of the building and to the very hot parking lot after five hours.

And then we were off to our hotel, which turned out to be rather pricey.  I think I booked the wrong Best Western online last month.  Still, we had nothing to complain about.  Banjo Man unloaded his nine bags from the car and then hustled off to a local grocery store to buy more food for his endless, insatiable appetite.  We shared a steak dinner in the attached restaurant and I had a green margarita made from tequila, melon liqueur and cucumbers.

I feel it is my duty to try different margaritas so I can perfect them for my friends at the lake.

And then…good night.

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day 7: the sinking river

We got a late start on day 7, due to both of us having business to take care of.  I’d been sent a rather strange line edit of my novella (due out in November, finished in April) and needed to throw a mild hissy fit.  In thirty years of writing, I’d never thrown a hissy fit (except in the privacy of my office!!!) so I guess this was a case of “better late than never”.

I was still fuming and fussing when we finally got on the road and headed north.  Banjo Man wisely listened and said supportive things.

We’d been on the road for an hour when Banjo Man decided he was hungry.  We’d just crossed into Wyoming, so he pulled over at a truck stop with a Wendy’s in it and proceeded to eat a hamburger and a bowl of chili.

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And then we were on the road again, heading north towards I-80.

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Our destination was Riverton, Colorado.  Banjo Man wanted to go through Mountain Man country and see the Popo Agie River.

According to the Sinks River info, “Popo Agie is a Crow Indian word that most people believe means “gurgling river.” When the first white trappers arrived in the area the Crow people were here, and that is what they called the river.

It is pronouced: “Puh – Po Shuh” (two words).

The Shoshone Indians also were in the Popo Agie River Valley and they called the river Wuhnzee Ohgway which translates to: Wuhn-zee (pronghorn buck) Oh-gway (flowing river).

The Shoshone called the Lander Valley Wuhnzee Gahdtuhd which translates as:Wuhn-zee (pronghorn buck) Gah-dtuh-d (sitting).

Today the Shoshone and Crow people still come to the canyon to collect sage and pick berries.”

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Moving along on I-80 all afternoon.

2015-06-25 059So, here we are at Sinks Canyon.  Banjo Man is wearing his new hat and studying the sign.

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“The canyon gets its name from the fantastic geologic formation “The Sinks,” where the river disappears into a limestone cavern, reappearing at the Rise hours later. Dye tests have only answered some of the questions about the underground hydrology of the canyon. The geology is equally complex and Sinks Canyon is a great place to view millions of years of geologic history.”

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View from the Rise.

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Trout gathering to be fed by tourists. They are huge!

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It’s a good thing Story Man wasn’t with us.  It might have been too much for him!

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Story Man loves to fish.

Back to the Sinks:

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Here comes the river.

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And there goes the river, disappearing into the rocks.

2015-06-25 085 I was very happy to see this:

2015-06-25 073And the gift shop where I bought Banjo Man a present.  And bought a little something for my grandson.

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Me without coffee.

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Banjo Man looking for his next meal.

After all that excitement, it was time to get back on the road and drive through the gorgeous little western town of Lander, Wyoming.  And then on to Riverton, where we stayed at a brand new Hampton Inn filled with oil workers.  I spent some time alone in the pool, trying to exercise my shoulder, while Banjo Man worked.

FYI:  the hotel pools are usually empty after 8 PM.  I’ve thankfully been able to walk laps and do arm stretches without an audience!

And then to bed, because Day 8 will be in Cody, Wyoming!

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have basil will travel

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Every year I arrive at the lake and plant my garden.  My garden consists of two large pots by the front door, into which go tomato plants (I usually buy the last two tomato plants at Walmart) and basil (which every single store is out of).

This year I bought basil plants in Rhode Island.  I left them outside and bugs got to them and ate the leaves, but I was not discouraged.  Into the car they went, despite Banjo Man’s grumbling.  He swore they wouldn’t make it to the lake, would die after 3000 miles in the car, but they have survived quite nicely.

I think they like life on the road.  But like me, they’ll be happy to stay in one place for the summer.  My basil and I are ready to get off the road and settle down!

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