MTWaggin Photos & Blog: Blog en-us (C) MTWaggin Photos & Blog [email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sat, 06 Jan 2024 02:57:00 GMT Sat, 06 Jan 2024 02:57:00 GMT New 2024 - and a Walk! Some scenes from around home and on the walk I took with the 3 hooligans on New Year's Day.  Am finding more and more of my quiet nature walking spots aren't so quiet anymore.   I love hitting closed campgrounds as usually there is no one around but even on the holiday I found we were working to avoid people and cars.   Bummer.   It was a cool foggy day though and we needed the fresh air.   Left the nekkids and the senior poodle home though and I am very sure they enjoyed the quiet for a few hours.

I am also happy to report I accomplished my goal the end of December of 250 recorded miles in 10 months of walking.  I started back walking a month before that but didn't track it.   I was pretty surprised and very happy!

Epic hasn't been on a proper hike in a while so he was really enjoying this!  Meanwhile at home...... We are going to have a lot more of this come next weekend as we are slated for -20s so the wood stove will be burning.  Shout out for Louie though who  will be 17 or 18 next week (I say 18 as I  assume he was 4ish when he arrived here).   Still going strong even with some of his weirder senior moments and lots and lots of sleeping.    

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Wed, 10 Jan 2024 03:00:00 GMT
Christmas Scenes and Projects I finally got around to uploading photos  from my camera so wanted to share some Christmas stuff with you quickly and will get some more posts ready to go here in the next few weeks.   Things here at home are busy (more projects always) and are heating up at work so my brain and computer desire is gone by the time I get off work.

My holidays were filled, not with holiday fun but with deep cleaning and a big ol purge in my house.    The clutter was getting to me (when things fall off the shelves every time I wanted to get something out) so I put a big old pause on doiog anything crafty (or fun) until it was done.   I can say I'm pretty much at the end of it with maybe a bit more to do in the back bedroom but am feeling OH SO MUCH BETTER and have started catching up  on some crafting just this week.  

That said I did get some things done before that deep clean and I wanted to share those.

First was that I made 2 yucca pod wreaths right before Christmas.  One for me and one for a friend.   I had made one of these many years ago with a friend and decided on one of my trips back from Great Falls to stop and gather some pods and try to make another.   I got 1/2 way done with #2 and ran out of pods so back I went and I also stopped and got some photos on the way back.

I couldn't believe the number of deer out here but then remembered hunting season was over!

I did minimal decorating this year and decided  some outside stuff was okay.   My tree was the little one out front and I repurposed the Halloween decorations as well.   Solar lighting and plastic ornaments made it complete and didn't require me running extension cords all over.

Now they are all laying in the garage waiting for me to get them in the rafters which I think I'll do this weekend as we have a deep freeze coming next week.

I did get some quick fun ornaments done as well which are now stashed for next year.   I'm telling you - want some fun  ideas - youtube is the ticket.   The  little trees are from scanning toilet paper roll ornaments and well the little paper balls were just too cute to resist.   Pipe cleaner snowflakes used up the stuff I didn't use on the trees.   The pressed flowers are from my plants and ModPodge'd  onto the cheap clear disks I found.   The canvas is now hanging on my wall as well to remind me of Summer!

I'll try to get caught up here in the next post but that's all for now peeps!   Hope everyone is rolled into 2024!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sat, 06 Jan 2024 02:57:40 GMT
Crappy Roads and a Day of Adventures Of COURSE the first big snow storm we have started the middle of the week before we were scheduled to drive to Bozeman to get Cricket into some puppy class situations.  My good friend and trainer down there (who has been involved in almost all my dogs training over the past 20 years) allowed me to sign up the puppy for her Sunday morning class at her farm - yup - the snow.....and the cold (it wasn't that cold but you'll see Cricket in some of her winter best).

Thankfully my friend came along  (always good to have someone ride shotgun when the roads are iffy) and she got some photos of class for me!

It was her first time in booties and in a coat and she did well.  As with her experience the weekend before downtown, it took her about 15-20 minutes to realize that this wasn't all that scary and no other dogs were coming near her and her focus kicked in (the 15 minutes of treats helped too).  She works really well on stations (at home too) and did spin, twist, puppy pushups, some heeling work (that's still in progress) and bow.   I also want to work on the Viking arm hold as well but we aren't there yet.   She still puked up breakfast on the way down and I'm still convinced some of that is stress from getting in the car to go, since after she's been somewhere (and is tired out more) it isn't an issue, even with all the cookies she got at training.   That reminds me I need to get that puke towel out of the back of the truck!

We stopped for McDonalds for lunch and since Epic was with us decided to stop at Headwaters State Park on the way home for a short walk at the campground and let the  two dogs get some fresh air and exercise.   It was chilly but they had such a great time and the weather was stellar.   Also a new stop for my friend who had never been there before.

After we all got some air, wanted to run down to the next pull off and a bit closer to one of the rivers.  Now there are signs all over the campground we walked about watching out for moose but in all my trips down to the area have never seen any....but the type of surroundings would make sense.   No longer, as we pulled out to head home and saw this cow and calf!   Made the cherry on top of the day!

As usual I didn't have the big telephoto camera so the little one had to do!   I think this must have been my "year of the moose sightings".

The roads  coming home were almost worse because it got warm and slushy but am hoping the week ahead will clear up all the roads (especially the craptastic ones in town)!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sat, 11 Nov 2023 02:30:00 GMT
Day Trip to the Mountains (Ghost Towns, Mining, Scary Roads, Farms) I hope I am not boring you with ghost towns but we made it a mission to check out juuuuust one more on a day trip to the mountains near Helena.   Yup it was a BIG day.

The weekend before my brother headed home we loaded up 2 of the dogs and my friend Robin and headed south.   Robin had been to the ghost town of Comet before but I had not and neither had my brother.   It was a most lovely weather day and who knew where we'd end up.  I had my new replacement Gazateer with us and we'd use it (not  always with great success) and I'll tell you now, we tested the Beast Truck to the max.

Below is the first ruin we came upon on our way up to Comet.  An old ore chute and the view from there was also gorgeous.

Then we drove a very short way and there were old buildings everywhere (and a house that is occupied by the folks who now own this land - so yes it is private - be respectful and only take pictures away with you.

Comet, MTComet, MT Robin gratefully took the lead with Epic as she took photos as well.   I had my hands full with the puppy.

Then we walked up to the big was fascinating.  If you have any doubts how much they used gravity in mining this was proof!  :)

After wandering around the ore processing buildings we explored a bit more down the road around some of the old town buildings.  I love this stuff and so does my brother and friend luckily!   Boy you see some of these houses and realize just how comfortable we have it these days!  I cannot imagine winters in these up in the mountains.

I highly suggest watching this video on Comet:  Part-time Explorer: Comet Montana

We motored on with an idea (and the  map) that we might be able to get over the mountains to the town of Wickes, where Robin and I had been before and couldn't figure out how to get to Comet from that direction.  WELLLLLL....we started over the mountains and holy CRAP.  One of those roads that really is more for ATVs (read single track so once committed you aren't turning around and if you meet someone coming the other way you are both toast!).   It got so bad I chickened out and asked my brother to drive.  It was slow 4-Low driving and Bertha the Beast was put to the test.   She really was too big to be driving down that road.   But we did it and landed at the Boulder Tunnel where some ATV kids were prepping to go thru the tunnel and had seen us coming down that road and told each other we were nuts (yes we were).   The scenery was lovely and once we got off the mountain (still on single track tho) we stopped and let the pups out for a break and a break for the humans!

This is the Boulder-Wickes Tunnel located at the site of the town (long gone) of Amazon.  Here is a link to a GREAT write up about the tunnel:  Ghost Towns, Ghosts and History of Montana

Boulder Tunnel, WickesBoulder Tunnel, Wickes Then we headed off to try to do a cut-across (yeah remember the story above?) to Park Lake.   It didn't turn  out so well and we did turn around before getting into anymore trouble.  But there was some pretty Fall color!

Back we headed to Wickes and then took the road back to Corbin driving by one of the last beehive kilns.  These were used to make charcoal.

Beehive Kiln, WickesBeehive Kiln, Wickes We made a turn at Corbin and stopped at the old Corbin Trestle.   I love this thing - photos do not do it justice.

Tressle by CorbinTressle by Corbin We decided to try to go THIS direction and maybe end up at Park Lake.  Didn't happen but we did make the round about back to Clancy and home.  Along the way though we found this awesome old farmstead.

Between Corbin and Clancy Creek RoadBetween Corbin and Clancy Creek Road Even though we didn't get to all our initial destinations we sure had quite the explore, a great picnic and fun fun day!!!!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sat, 04 Nov 2023 00:45:00 GMT
Georgetown Lake Camping Finale - Southern Cross Ghost Town/St. Timothy's Memorial Chapel Sunday morning before we were to be outta the campground we got our coffee and headed up another mountain to see another "ghost town" (basically two buildings left with No Trespassing/Keep Out signs everywhere so I photographed from the road).   Honestly it was kinda a "non-starter" but the views were lovely and it was like 10 minutes from camp.   The other surprise up there was St. Timothy's Chapel.  A lovely chapel built on the mountains.    Again I wouldn't make the trip unless you maybe want to attend services or one of the events at the chapel especially since it is so un-welcoming!

Southern Cross information from Ghost Towns and History of MT:

     Tucked in on a mountainside overlooking Georgetown Lake (former mining camp of Georgetown) lies Southern Cross. Possibly named by a sailor for the constellation, Southern Cross was developed in the 1870s although gold was first discovered in 1866. Owner Salton Cameron began to develop the property sending the first ore to East Helena for processing. Cameron then built a stamp mill in 1884 which was almost immediately shut down after proving unsuccessful. The mine switched hands and produced 30,000 tons of ore that was treated in Anaconda.

​     In 1906 the property changed hands again and a wet-crushing mill was installed. The Anaconda Copper Mining Company purchased the mine in 1910 and extended their railroad from Brown’s siding to the mine. The mine was estimated to have produced $5 million in precious metals.

​     In its heyday the camp reached a population of 500 including many Finnish and Swedish miners. Buildings included boarding houses, stores, a dance hall, saunas, a post office and a school. The Southern Cross mine was active every year between 1909 and 1930 and intermittently until 1940.

Another website with a bit more information on Southern Cross is HERE!

And some information on St. Timothy's from their website:

St. Timothy’s Memorial Chapel, an ecumenical ministry high above Georgetown Lake, is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

The chapel was dedicated in and gifted to the Yellowstone Presbytery in 1965, by the Crete Dillon and John W. Bowman family of Sterling, Illinois, to the glory of God, and in remembrance of their son, Timothy Dillon Bowman, who died in 1956 at the age of eighteen. St. Timothy’s Memorial Chapel was constructed on a hillside six hundred feet above Georgetown Lake, at the ghost town of Southern Cross, near Anaconda, Montana.

Overall the camping trip was pretty freaking awesome as all of them are.   One more nice day of exploring would have been fun but as always it is also nice to come home.   The dogs were happy to have space again since being outside where we were camping wasn't much of an option as it was just too cold and not sunny.   We got a couple walks in but for them I think they were happy to be home.    I do so look forward to more camping in this area next year though and exploring some more!  Woot!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Mon, 30 Oct 2023 06:45:00 GMT
Georgetown Lake Camping #5 - Kirkville Ghost Town So after that harrowing drive up and down the mountain we took a quick turn at the bottom and ended up down at Kirkville which honestly, while Granite was interesting and probably would be more so if we'd made it to the actual mine, THIS was really cool and so much fun for photgraphing.    

Here's some of the skinny on Kirkville from the Ghost Towns and History of MT website:

The old company town of Kirkville, later known as Clark, lies along Douglas Creek a mile south of Philipsburg. In 1889 the BiMetallic (remember you saw that name up at the tramway in the last blog post), a 50-stamp mill, was built here because of insufficient water resources to run a larger mill at nearby Granite. Just two years later, 50 more stamps were added to the original structure which gave a 200 ton capacity. The mill was over 360 feet long and 150 feet wide. The mine and mill employed 500 workers.

​     Kirkville was connected to the Blaine Shaft in Granite by a two mile long tramway. Large buckets could carry 500 pounds of ore down the mountain to Kirkville and carry fuel back up. A 4,307 pound bar of silver bullion from the Bimetallic was sent to the World’s Fair at Chicago in 1893. This was a good representation of the area’s riches.

​     Dropping silver prices meant sure doom for most mining operations. However the downtime didn’t last long as the Bimetallic and Granite Mountain Mining Operations combined in 1898 to form one of the largest silver mines in the world, producing a million dollars of bullion a year.

​     Kirkville was mostly home to local miners and the population peaked at 125 and was home to many cabins, a boarding house, assay office and company offices. The U.S. Forest Service set fire to the mill in 1967 for safety reasons. The twin chimneys and stone portions of the massive structure survived. The company houses, assay office, retort building and boarding house also remain as a testament to the town’s past.

Now, here are some of my photos....

Photo below was what it all originally looked like (courtesy of the website).  

The Bimetallic mill at Philipsburg, Montana was built in 1888.
"The 50-stamp mill, 150 feet wide by 367 feet long, was rated at 75 tons with the capacity to add more stamps later."
The ruins of the mill can still be seen south of Philipsburg.

No photo description available.

These were what I call "not a dormer".  You could tell there wasn't floor but rather the roof rafters running through these.  My only guess is they put them on for light and then just took off the roofing in those areas.

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Thu, 26 Oct 2023 06:45:00 GMT
Georgetown Lake Camping #4 - Granite Ghost Town After lunch up in the mountains we decided to go scope out Granite.  A ghost town and "state park" (in air quotes, you'll understand more later) that is outside of Philipsburg.   Since it is a "state park" you'd think finding it wouldn't be nearly as difficult as it is and BOY WAS IT!  However, there is a reason that it isn't signed well!    The 4 miles UP the mountain (and it is freaking way up there) is single lane dirt trail (rather single dirt track) with limited pullouts and is signed to yield to uphill traffic.   It took me summoning up my courage to get the big bad Ram (aptly named Bertha) up that mountain trail AND it took 4WD to do it!   A smaller high clearance 4WD would have been a little less harrowing.   I believe in my heart the only reason it is designated a state park is to own the land and the fact that they went up there "in the day" and put in signs.

That said it was really interesting but Kent and I agreed not really worth the drive as it is spread out all over the side of the mountain (unless you have a really nice day and time/energy to walk around).  I took photos of the interpretive signs so you can learn about it there and will link more information at the end.   I would NOT make this a "destination" but as we were in the area we went anyway.

We did not take the road up to the mine.  Didn't feel like walking it and the road was way too bad for driving it, so I took these photos on the way down the mountain from town.

Photo below courtesy Western Mining History website - Granite ca. 1900.   The website also says (and go check out the link it has a great bit of information on the town):

"This was the richest silver mine on the earth, and it might never have been discovered if a telegram from the east hadn't been delayed. The mine's backers thought the venture was hopeless and ordered an end to its operation, but since that message was delayed the miners continued working, and the last blast on the last shift uncovered a bonanza which yielded $40,000,000.

In the silver panic of 1893, word came to shut the mine down. The mine was deserted for three years, never again would it reach the population it once had of 3,000 miners."

In the photo below that two story building mid picture built back IN to the mountain was the miners hall that still stands.  I'd suspect this was taken from the side where the mine actually was.


Granite, Montana ca. 1900

The tramway was kinda interesting actually.  I've never heard or seen anything like this in any other ghost town in MT that I've visited!   For more information here is the link to the Visit Montana page.   I'd also suggest going to the Granite County Museum in Philipsburg to learn more about mining in the area.   We didn't make it there but will plan to next time as well as stopping at the Montana Law Enforcement Museum also in Philipsburg!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Mon, 23 Oct 2023 06:45:00 GMT
Georgetown Lake Camping #3 - Skalkaho Pass After the dog exercise at the reservoir we headed out without a plan except to explore.  When we landed back on Highway 38 I took a left and wanted to go up the east side of this road (which connects Philipsburg with Hamilton).   Now don't get excited that this is a State Highway - it is but it is NOT!   This is paved for a bit and then turns into a backcountry road that is not paved, is in some spot single lane and a bumpy bouncy road (that said we saw more traffic on that road than any we traveled).   I had hoped of completing the part of the road to the waterfall since I'd been up the west side to that point (it is also nasty).   However once we got to the top of the pass (a few miles short of the falls) I was over it and we stopped and had a picnic lunch and headed back down as there were some ghost towns we wanted to go find.

Don't get me wrong it was beautiful but if you are planning to go over it, it will be an all day affair especially if you want to go both directions and honestly make sure you have a higher clearance car.   

The one thing that made it well worth while was that we saw these two boys right along side the road (as in take photos from the truck window my favorite option).  I mean come on!  We'd seen the signs saying there were bighorn sheep but generally you never see any and after the moose sighting I was shocked at our luck.  (Still no bear shots though - sigh).

On the way back down the pass I did take some time to stop and take some photos of the creek as well.

Here's more information on the highway from the Visit Montana website:

PLEASE call 511 for road conditions and closures along this highway before traveling Highway 38, a primitive seasonal road three miles south of Hamilton also known as the Skalkaho Highway, links Hamilton and Philipsburg.

Trailers are not allowed as there are narrow curves with limited pull-outs.

This drive into the Sapphire Mountains takes you on some of Montana's least traveled mountain roads. The road was once a heavily used trail for Indians. A road was built over the route in 1924 to link the mining areas in the mountains with the agricultural communities of the Bitterroot Valley. This is a narrow winding drive that offers some excellent views and takes you past Skalkaho Falls. There are two campgrounds along Highway 38, Black Bear Campground with 6 camping sites in the Darby Ranger District of the Bitterroot National Forest and Crystal Creek Campground with 3 camping sites in the Pintler Ranger District of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. Skalkaho Pass sits at 7,260 feet above sea level.  Since only the first 10 miles (on the Hamilton side) of Montana Highway 38 are plowed and this area becomes a popular snowmobile destination during the winter months. Skalkaho Pass Area offers 26 miles of groomed trails.

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Wed, 18 Oct 2023 06:45:00 GMT
Georgetown Lake Camping #2 - East Fork Reservoir Saturday promised to be a lovely weather day and it did not disappoint!    So we left camp and headed farther up Georgetown Lake Road (which you can loop around the lake on) and drove up to the East Fork Reservoir where we were greeted with some fishermen, geese and lovely views.  I also was tortured with the fact that I can no longer trust some of my dogs to play by the rules like they used to!   Sterling was first to get locked in the truck when he decided he "just couldn't hear me" when I called him to come.     Now in fairness he TRULY can't hear all that well, but I also swear I saw him give me the middle paw!  So no photos of him!

Epic saw water and so we HAD to go there and no swimming and no sticks around so we had fun just tossing some rocks in and splashing around.   Josie was off sniffing, Cricket was on the leash sorta getting involved and Oliver's terrier switch flipped and he started annoying Epic which resulted in him running off shore too far (in his jammies no less) and having to swim back.   Nutbag seriously, dumb dumb dumb.  After extracting him from his jammies he then decided to chase the waves down the beach - flipping me the bird as I went after him (switch flipped there, is "I can't hear you!").   So once I got him we went back to the truck.

Here's the shots of dogs being bad (although you can't tell - just trust me on that) and a bit of the view and my favorite camping shot of my brother and Cricket and Epic in his Happy Place!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Mon, 16 Oct 2023 06:45:00 GMT
Georgetown Lake Camping #1 I realized I have so freaking many photos from this camping trip (some phone and some not) that I'd probably better split this up a bit.  So here is the first post of our first time ever camping over at Georgetown Lake!    Kent and I enjoyed our short camp at Riverside that we wanted to squeeze in just one more camp before he leaves.   Of course Mother Nature was being a pain in the butt about it when Thursday came around and temps dropped over 30 degrees with highs in the 40s and lows in the 30s with rain and snow (GL is up at altitude) and this was in a "no services" campground.   

Check in wasn't till 3 and we only had a 2 hour drive so we him-hawed around that morning trying to decide if we wanted to just go somewhere closer to home.   By noon we had decided to just SUCK IT UP and go!   If it was too crappy or too cold we'd come home but there was a glimmer of hope on the horizon in that Saturday was supposed to be nice.   Friday was gray and cloudy and rainy but we'd see how it went.   MY main concern was taking the warm blooded feathered things with and being able to run the furnace long enough on battery during the night to keep them warm enough (and us frankly).    We loaded up with generators and all and away we went.    My first real test of the battery capabilities with the furnace!

I'm happy to report the trailer did well.  We had one small hiccup with the generator (it wasn't thrilled with the thin air) and the battery held to run the furnace all night (about 10 hours) once charged up.   It was able to keep the trailer at about 67 inside which is doable (yes Gizmo would prefer 72 but tough luck).   Jammies for some of the dogs and flannels for the Mom and we were fine.    Thank God for the generator though I'm just saying.  We're definitely going to go back hopefully next year and a bit earlier in the month!

Here was the view out my back window.....

Deer we saw on one of our trips out of the campground.

We took the gloomy Friday and loaded up to go to Philipsburg and poke around the downtown.  I knew I would be making a shopping stop at the Sweet Palace and indeed I did.   The flowers on the lights along the street were INCREDIBLE and we had a great time seeing what types of plants were doing well in all the containers and the color combos they had.

Here are some views of the lake on different days that we were there (when the sun finally appeared and when it didn't).   

The BEST thing that happened on that dreary Friday explore (okay the candy store was pretty amazing) was scouting out the picnic areas and campground along the lake.  As we drove in and around those areas, the last one we dropped down into was a boat launch.   As we drove down the road we heard this crazy chirping and decided it was either an eagle or an osprey.   Sure enough up in one of the trees HIGH above the others was a gigantic bald eagle nest with 2 bald eagle parents and over to the side in a snag, one of their youngsters.   Did I have my big camera with - NOPE!   All we had were the phones so you gotta trust us on that one.   They were sooooo beautiful.   So as we stopped on the road to check them out, Kent says - "Is that a moose?  Noooo, wait is it?"     It was moving in the trees (they are thick there) AND up ahead of it was a young one (a moose-let?  haha).  So we stopped, turned on the flashers (there wasn't a soul around) and we watched.  They both came out of the woods, crossed the road in front of the truck and proceeded to walk TOWARDS the truck to a tree not 20 feet from us. are phone photos and I'll link the two videos below as well.   It was 100% FANTASTIC!

Videos are HERE and HERE!  You can laugh as youtube closed captions  show um and music where Epic is growling!  LOL

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Wed, 11 Oct 2023 06:45:00 GMT
Riverside Camping - Canyon Ferry Dam Last year we camped for a weekend a whopping 30 minutes from home and enjoyed it so much we went back this year.  Same spots, same somewhat warm weather, generators and a busy place but still just as fun.    I'm definitely enjoying camping with the crew more in the bigger trailer and figuring out the systems to make dry camping easier.   The generator is a plus and we didn't have to use it as much since this trailer isn't an aluminum toaster over.   It also has much better air flow which helps.    Camping with my brother is always fun and honestly this was a weekend of literally just sitting around enjoying the views and the boaters and the other campers of course (once we got the people across the road to understand that their loose dogs were NOT going to be tolerated!    Even had a friend come down and visit and have cinnamon rolls with us!   Have I mentioned how much I love my Omnia stovetop oven?!   All phone photos here though and yes, Epic even got to get his feet wet (which he LIVES for mind you) even with the wrapped paw (cleaned and re-wrapped after).   Cricket's first camping trip and yes, she did manage to sneak escape which made me totally panic as she is NOT reliable to come back to me (she'd only been here a week and honestly STILL isn't reliable so no off leash).

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Thu, 05 Oct 2023 22:58:57 GMT
Oh Those Poodles Since having a long list of projects to do wasn't enough to keep my crazy life crazy, we also added a new member to the family.   I'd been planning on a puppy now for geez like 5 years and it just never worked out.   As I'm not getting any younger I wanted a puppy that wasn't going to be huge and well, needed to kind of "get on it" (planning the 15 years out type deal).   This girl came from the breeder of Epic's Dad and well, the Universe kind of tapped me on the noggin and said, if you are going to do it, do it.

Getting her here from TX was no small feat in itself and even though that ended up costing me some critical puppy training time with her, we are working through those hurdles and well, basically most of the pack still hates her although their tolerance levels are getting better as she learns the rules.  So, meet Cricket, poodle (most likely Epic size but maybe a bit smaller).

To say she is keeping us busy is an understatement.   One forgets (I won't now!) how you don't have a moment to sit as puppies get into everything!  LOL  She was supposed to start some puppy classes but alas, she has had a rough time with motion sickness so until that subsides, no classes (cramming her with cookies to then drive home).   Probably start those next session.   She has been swimming and did well and probably won't do anymore water work till next summer when it warms up.   She isn't afraid of it but swimming is another deal all together.   She has lots of other things to experience in the meantime.

Meanwhile the old man Sterling spent a long day at the vet getting teeth pulled and cleaned.   He is 1/2 way done and will have the rest finished in a few months (after my bank account recovers a bit).   He's doing great now (actually better than he was before now that bad teeth are gone) but it was a rough week to say the least.    If you don't remember he is now 13 1/2.   Thanks to our FAB vet Dr. Richardson for taking such good care of him.


Not to be outdone however, Epic at the same time as Sterling was having tooth issues, decided that ripping off one of his dew claws would be interesting as well.   Same day as Sterling went in so did he for an xray to assure there was no disease causing the issue since I really couldn't pin point a time when he "ripped it off doing whatever".    It looked good and aside from antibiotics and keeping it soaked and clean and wrapped, I think he's on the mend.   The nail may never actually come back as it was but since it was a dew claw won't be a problem.   Sigh....never a dull moment here!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sat, 30 Sep 2023 14:00:00 GMT
A Catch Up Post Oh the busy I've been this last 2 months so am going to try to catch you up and see how good my memory is.   Will also have some camping trip posts coming up so stay tuned for those.   Honestly, I literally just got photos off the phone and off the cameras last night and now that I think of it I think I have some on other cameras I need to get off.   I'll get those posted and blogged soon.   Favor though for you all, if you find in general my pictures are looking like they are under exposed (dark) on your computers, please drop me a comment.  I'm finding that when I edit on my laptop, literally having the lid open farther or closed farther makes a huge difference.   I think I have some that are way more dark than they need to be!

Okay onwards.   So first off my brother arrived mid August and that is mainly why I've not been blogging and such.   There are MANY projects that have been worked on and some still on the list.  Not sure if we'll accomplish them all as we are trying our best to do some fun stuff in between.   I think the Summer theme has been projects though!

One of the first was to do some remodel work in his trailer that he has here.   Since he works in there full time for the months he is up here AND camps in it, there were some things we talked about last year that might make is work time especially more comfortable.   I don't have any photos but suffice to say we ripped out the dinette and the jack-knife couch and replaced it with a desk/work area and a deeper couch that is long enough he can lay on and watch TV.  It also gave him more floor space and honestly more storage should he need it.

Of course I still had trailer items on MY list to do and other then doing some finish painting where we ripped out the two bedside hanging cabinets (that were worthless for storage) I think I'm really done in my trailer now.   VERY happy with it and how it works for my camping with the animals.   You can see below where the cabinets came out and were replaced by an overhead shelf which works so much better!

I took one of my old window covers and repurposed it into a bedside pocket for my phone, glasses, ipad and what nots that I want to have handy but secure.  Yes, I actually dragged out the sewing machine!

I really didn't think we'd get to the bathroom but we did!   Old plastic toilet OUT, lovely tall ceramic bowl one in.   Space sucking sink and cabinet OUT and lovely narrow shelves in (and covered up all the plumbing that runs under it.   Took the pegboard off the front wall and added some cute pictures as I just don't need that much pegboard anymore now that  have the shelves (no such stuff in the old toyhauler).    Also found a great place to store the rechargeable Shark.


After using the "projector" for a few trips for my TV watching (not that I do that much but it is nice to have), I decided a small flippable laptop would better suit me so the white roller shade wasn't a required option.   So the brighten things up I put some fabric and a quilt panel I had on it and I really like it!

We also spent one very warm weekend working on firewood.   I had a tree down up back that needed to be felled completely and another that needed to be cut up from 2 years ago.  The neighbor had trees taken care of as well so hauled down most of that wood and split it.  The plan is we will rent a big tow behind gas splitter to do the gi-normous pieces that still need to be done and plan to do that in the next few weeks before my muscle power goes home!   Yeah the carport is kind of a hot mess right now but will be so nice to have wood to burn this winter and not have to buy any.

Meanwhile my garden plants are hanging in there.   I've lost some, had some do well and had to get some of the beautiful zinnias/mums that Costco had to replace my entryway stands.   My striped garden spider by the water hose is still around as well and she is HUGE!   We've had a banner spider year this year as the bugs have been soooo bad!   I have a bunch of bulbs to plant now and still hope to get the back slope daylilies moved up front as well.

Here is one of my hostas blooming.   This particular one has never bloomed before but we had a great summer for hostas and luckily I didn't seem to damage them too bad when I dug them up and moved them to the new beds.

The below are Ganzania's that have been well, hit and miss.   They are supposed to like hot dry conditions but I think they like it a bit LESS hot than it has been up front.   They close up their blooms at night and open when the sun comes around.

The weather has been crazy, HOT for a few days then COLD.   It definitely is Fall feeling in the air though but I don't think we will see much "fall color" this year.   Too many extremes too quickly.   I could be wrong but so far things are looking a little yellow/brown not the pretty bright colors.   Fingers crossed though.  We've had some lovely sunsets though and it has been lovely spending time out on the deck and out back.

Speaking of out back, another project we tackled was moving the parrot aviaries.   I initially had put them against the fence back in the area where I have the patio between the garage and house.   Then I decided I really wanted to replace that fence and that the parrots didn't really seem to enjoy being back in a "hole".   So we took it apart and moved it to the area where no grass ever would grow so I had put down weed barrier and some of the left over granite as part of the path around the back door porch.    The parrots seem to love it and I like being able to just peek out the back windows and see them.

I'll plant up the raised beds back there come next year with something hopefully that will get some height.  We've also put some of the "river rock" in the cage bottoms after Gizmo decided it might be fun to eat the sandy stuff.   It really finished them off as well.   Yes, that is my brother and I am always and forever thankful to him for being willing to come help me with all these "projects" and to be my camping buddy!

It has been such a whirlwind of activity around here that I know for a fact I've forgotten stuff.   Kent has worked on a number of other things on his list of to-dos on his truck and such and we do still have some other items to try to finish (or not).   It won't be long and I'll have to really kick winterizing into gear to be honest.  Getting all the outside stuff put away and the yard put to bed.   

Till next time - ta-ta!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Mon, 25 Sep 2023 17:37:40 GMT
August 6, 2023 It has been a HOT few weeks here so not much happening other than just keeping up and keeping cool.   I even had to break down and put the a/c unit in the living room window but boy was I glad to have it.   I am happy to report though that the last 2 days have been spectacular as we got a massive cool down and even some rain!   I am actually sitting out on the front deck this morning with my coffee and a sweatshirt doing this post.   LOL   

My poor neglected back garden is actually producing some blooms though (it's getting water and that is about it as I know in the next year or so it will be getting an overhaul).   I was happy to see most of the daylillies out there decided to bloom (they are always later than most) and I now know what colors I have so when I move them out front I can take that into  consideration.

I have been oh so very slowly (it's been hot people) working on fixing some of my "mistakes" out in the front yard.   I decided that I really DO need to get landscape fabric under the rock that is under the trees.   It will let water through (although it takes more water in my opinion) but I cannot  keep spraying grass that insists on coming up without it.  I figure THAT is worse for the trees than the fabric.  Once I get drip irrigation run to them it water won't be a problem.   I finally finished around my little spruce tree and while I was cleaning up found this lovely little treasure way back in there (out of use).

It is now in my house tucked in one of my fake trees I've got.   Now I've managed to get one 3' strip of fabric laid under the big ash tree but there is much more to go there.   It'll get done, just in bits (involves hoeing out the rocks, putting down the fabric and putting them back.   But alas I wanted to switch gears and start getting some of the back yard items done.   I started putting up the raised bed sides around the big pine tree stumps over in the area that will eventually be veggie/berry gardens.  I have some digging and tweeking to do with it though.   It also meant doing a bit of rework of the granite path  under the clothes line.  Oh well work in progress.    That end of the yard is a "work on it as I feel like it" right now.   The other part of the yard is my focus.  I decided to extend the path I had to the clothesline and all those areas where I NEVER can grow grass, I edged off and put down granite.  I finished that project yesterday but here is a shot of "in progress".

I have one of the two planters together that will go in there and I am planning to move the parrot aviaries to this location (once my muscle arrives from Nevada!).   The thing about all the back yard work is any hauling in of dirt or gravel requires one wagon load at a time brought through the garage.   Kinda time consuming but went well once the weather cooled off!

I'm enjoying coffee mornings  out on the front deck (and some evenings) and actually broke out the big bad boy camera the other morning to photograph some of the birds that are coming to the feeders.   I'm kind of a scrooge when it comes to the feeders because they are all such piggies!   Once a week I fill them up but it is amazing how quickly the word gets out.

I have a family of pygmy nuthatches (my favorite) that come  in and are so fun to watch.

The gold finches are also still around as well.

And of course always have a variety of red faced finches (house, purple, etc.) and always chickadees.

I also have a family of white breasted nuthatches.  Quite a bit more flighty than the pygmy so harder to photograph.  This one is a young one and it is rather entertaining to watch the youngsters try to figure out how to get to the feeders and especially the upside down suet feeder.

Meanwhile the dogs have HATED the hot weather.  Well, Oliver likes it in little doses and will go out and sun bath but the rest say "nay".    Now that it is cooled off time for this Mom to quit writing blogs and go start dog baths and grooming which is the focus for the next few days.   One small bite at a time.

Oliver snuggled in on one of the cooler evenings.

Yes she still thinks she is part cat!

You'd think I bought that chair just for them? So on to the rest of August.  Looking forward to a camping trip later this month and some time away from all the projects BUT my brother is due to arrive shortly which in turn will increase the project load some while I have the help (trees need to be cut down, firewood to move, his trailer remodel, some mechanical work and finally redoing the back patio area - moving aviaries, new fence, etc.).    Most of all just looking forward to his visit and we hope to squeeze in some camping trips in between - hopefully. I am hoping the hot weather and smoke are generally over for the summer (hey a girl can dream).





[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 06 Aug 2023 15:36:43 GMT
An Amazing Biodynamic Small Farm My friend of over 20 years and her family acquired a piece of property 5 years ago that had been completely neglected and overwhelmed with negativity for over 16 years prior.   I remember when they moved in and she and I talked at length about how sad the property and home were but I KNEW that if anyone could turn it around this family could.  And boy have they!   Now I'm going to tell you all - this family is super special and I wish I had their knowledge (which they share completely) and energy and love for Mother Earth!

I would love it if you'd pop over to the farm page first and read about this amazing place before you scroll on through to the photos and read more about the 2 "tours" I attended this year.  Their page is HERE as is the introduction to this amazing family.  I'm so truly blessed to have had them as part of my circle all these years.

I signed up to travel down to the Bozeman area twice this summer and attend the farm tours.   The timing was great as I try to work on getting my yard and gardens squared away.  I knew that Nancy plants all their gardens in raised beds because basically they live on top of rocks so that was a bonus.   I didn't do photos the first tour but rather videoed on my phone so I have a reference to go back to.   It focused on the gardens and what was planted, why, compost, just sooooo much information.    The July tour  was focusing on their structures both in the garden and for their animals and greenhouses which was also extremely informative and gave me some ideas for the future.   BOTH times there was fantastic food, conversation, knowledge and the weather was divine!   

Since we have warmed up and the sun has come out I KNEW that the gardens would be in abundant flower for this July tour and took my big camera and lenses and used the opportunity for "practice".   You all know I've  not had them out much in the past few years and boy do I ever need that PRACTICE!   I was able to get a bunch of lovely photos -- most of them macros. I'll put descriptions below the photos.

I did also got to shop their Farm Store afterwards and came home with seeds, quail eggs (which Nancy introduced to me in pickled eggs and I'm loving those), duck eggs, a gourd bird house, teas and herbs.  YUMMMO!

Nancy, Spore, Renn and Piper - it was a JOY and privilege as always to come absorb your knowledge, work and love!   I can attest that the energy of your home and property has take an 180 degree turn for the best!   The Universe knew that it needed you all to turn it around.

Nasturtium - One of my favorite edible plants

Nasturtium - so many happy colors and a favorite edible flower.

Cosmos - oh so many lovely cosmos.

Calendula (I think) and Nancy uses this is a number of the balms she makes (and I love).

Corn Flower - I got some of these seeds!  YAY


ABUNDANCE  (and compost).   They create and manage all their own compost and look at these plants!  Yup, it's working!

Echinacea - this is one of my favorite plants and I will be incorporating more into my raised beds with my blanket  flowers.

Mexican Marigold (the 2 photos above) I was so enticed by these and I WILL have some in my garden.   I've been just stunned at the numbers of marigold species that are around now - remembering 50 years ago when you got the little orange/red ones and that was it.  Am falling in love with them again.

Every Quack Shack needs some class!  I love this so much.

Some of the Quack Shack ladies who were wondering why we were invading their home space and why we weren't bringing treats!?!

This young man had the ladies in his spell.  His Mom was saying he volunteers to come help at the farm and that the ducks are his favorite while the goats are the favorite of his sister.

Chamomile (I think) - on the end of one of the raised beds.  So cheerful.

Potato Blossoms - The seed potato fields as I drove down were also covered in blooms.

Such amazing hollyhocks out in front of their driveway.  I love the look but I won't have them in my garden again (unless I figure out how to not have them take over). 

Dill blossoms.  Thank you Renn for introducing me to the taste of these.  I would never have thought it would be so refreshing.  It literally cleanses your mouth!

Raspberries!   I  got rid of all mine and I am so so excited to find out that there is a thornless, great producing Zone 3 raspberry and when I get ready to do the gardens out  back, I'm putting some of these puppies in!

Squash - so many amazing squash all growing vertically.  Something else I will have in my future garden out back and yup, space will mean using this  T-post/hog panel system to grow them!

Cedum - another plans that I've got but mine is the ground cover variety while this grows up and I love the structure it has (and the rich dark color).   When I redo the back slope I'm going to add more varieties of this as well.


The many faces of the sunflower!

Glass Corn

Is this not the prettiest butter you'll EVERY spread on your fresh made sourdough bread?!


[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 16 Jul 2023 21:48:05 GMT
2023 Remodel Project - The Front Yard! After returning from vacation to a lot of yard work (we had a lovely cool and rainy spring this year) I decided that it was time to tackle doing something with my front yard.   Why you say?   Well honestly, the grass was in poor shape and full of weeds so I was tired of mowing it and watering it just to see more weeds.   I also have about 3 acres of my property that have to be mowed in addition to the front and back yards.   I had also spent 2 days bent over with my old back weeding out the flower bed on the end of the deck (even though I'd put preventative on it).   I adore having the flower bed but moving forward I didn't want to have to be on the ground weeding.....I also knew I needed to resurface it if it was to stay (it had big pieces of bark "mulch" on it - not ideal).   Time for a massive redo.  Goals:  Raised beds for the flowers and no more grass to mow (still have it out back for the pups though).

But first!   Not to get ahead of myself I needed to get the parrot aviaries finished so that the summer didn't get away from me and they had NO time outdoors.   I also needed all that stuff out of the way so I could actually use the back patio.   Luckily my friend Robin came to the rescue and helped me put these together (my brother had helped me build most of the panels last fall) and the parrots love them (when it is warm enough to be out there anyway).

I put pencil to paper and scratched out a design for the front, and another and another.   I knew this needed to happen in steps and would need to have some planning so I could get the things in place that needed to happen to accomplish the goals.  Well at least the basics (the final design is NOTHING like what I put to paper).   First was the raised beds and after pricing lumber and the effort to build them I went online and found the Vego containers.  Bingo!  

So here is the before (with some of the already purchased and assembled containers just hanging out).

I knew I wanted to save some of the plants in the garden as well, the hostas, the corabelles and if possible at least one of the daylillies and a few of the iris.   I knew they would find a home in the raised beds.   So my first thing was to get the bed area between the sidewalk and the house done so SOME of them could be moved.    But first....I needed to figure out my general plans and order hardscape AND garden soil to fill these raised beds.   While I pondered that it warmed up enough that I was able to get the west end of the house painted (since I'd be trampling many of the flowers that I knew I wasn't saving).   I still have the area under the deck to do to finish the FRONT of the house (yup it is a multi year thing) but hey - progress.

In the meantime decided I needed some flowers around to help motivate me (and see some color not just a big ol construction mess).   Hanging baskets were purchased and put up on the deck along with a hot deal of a fake tree for the corner.    They just cheered up the place.

I started in on the area between the sidewalk and house because I wanted to at least have SOMETHING I could say was finished (and transfer some of those transplants).   I got it as far as I could with pea gravel and filler in the beds before I ordered the hardscape and dirt.   I was very pleased with how it turned out.

Ahhh finally ONE piece done!    Not all my transplants are happy but I'm of the mind that they'll make it or they won't.  Kind of the way I think of all the plants (that is a new way of thinking for me).    Onward!    I decided I was NOT going to mess with cutting sod that wasn't any good so down went cardboard (in the places it could) and landscape fabric (the no-till method).   Many days of laying it out and pinning it all down meanwhile adjusting my plans as I discovered things that looked fine on paper weren't really going to work.    I installed an arbor at the end of the sidewalk (originally planned to be in the yard) - ignore the bungie at the top I did actually find the missing part.  Moved about 2K pounds of rock that was in the far west corner of the yard and installed my first HoseLink.  My biggest gardening pet peeve - hoses laying around and that kink every time they get warm!    I love this thing! 

I was finally at the point I HAD to make a decision on the hardscape materials.   Yet another trip to the sand and gravel place (also where I'd get my garden soil) and with the help of a friend, I finally picked the types, sat and figured out amount estimates and put the order in.   That same day all this showed up!   Suffice it to say I was saying to myself  "oh shit what have I done?".    Yes I had ideas of manually wheelbarrowing this as I felt like it even if it took all summer.  HAHAHA - what a silly old girl!

I filled a few beds by hand and wagon got my new windmill and some fencing installed in the center of the yard, originally planning to have my old windmill out back put there but the poor old thing just wasn't going to be able to handle the wind so a new one was acquired.

Time to rent the Torro Dingo walk behind (we used one to auger the holes for the RV building 2 years ago) and start moving rock and mulch and granite and dirt.  I needed to be done in an order from west to east and the west end had the most fiddly stuff.   My friend Robin to the rescue yet again (she calls this her ranch fitness program) and we went at it, I started alone on a Friday night, we worked all day Saturday together, I worked all day Sunday, part of the day Monday and finished up Monday night.   Realize the grand total of all the deliveries was about 50 TON and I clocked in over 6 walking miles on Saturday, 4 on Sunday and 3 on Monday night!    I have a dry creek bed, my raised bed flower gardens and some sculpture (yet to be installed).   I'm very happy with the results to be sure!    I will have to spray grass and weeds in the areas I didn't put fabric down (wanted the trees to get more moisture) and I also have the drip irrigation to do.

4th of July was another project day and another day Robin (bless her heart) came to help.   I had one more big planter in the back yard I'd set and needed to be filled and enough decomposed granite to do a bit of path and the area under the clothesline (there is still more that will happen back there - you'll read about that once it is done).   It was a shorter day than Saturday thank goodness and those items are now done.   I still also have rocks to move out front and back but will do that as I feel I can.   Am doing some planting as I can and figuring out what might live the rest of the summer.  Did mostly new annual stuff as I'm not sure how things will over winter.  Time will tell.   I've never spent this much time outside in one stretch - literally every single spare minute but I wanted to beat the heat.    Lord knows I still have other projects to get done just the big GIANT one is finished.  YAY!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Wed, 12 Jul 2023 19:55:41 GMT
May Trip to the Coast I realized I haven't shared our trip this Spring to the Oregon Coast so I'll try now to get these things caught up.  To say I've been busy since then is an understatement but you'll find out more about that later.

The new travel trailer had her maiden voyage this Spring and a long one to boot.   It did fabulous and was so much more comfortable to do long term with the dogs and parrots than the skinny trailer was.   This is especially helpful of course when it is rainy and/or cold and we are all inside it for periods of time.   The new setup for the parrots was a success for the most part (this was their first long trip) and both traveled in the truck with the dogs and me on drive days and hung out in their cages in the trailer when we were stopped.     I did find though that being out of their routine of having to get in and out of cages was tested (only by Iago) when it came time to get Iago out of her cage and she just didn't want to.   Rotten parrot.


I had my route planned with no more than 2 extra plans since it was our first trip with the new trailer and frankly, the snow in the Cascades was keeping a number of those routes closed.   No big deal.   Our first stop was our favorite and frequently used Boardman RV Park.   I stepped outside my box and picked a different spot and stayed there two nights as it is a really long drive (10+ hours) from home and I wanted the time to just pause.   The weather when we left home was cold and wet and we arrived there to hot and sunny (as is often the case).   Because I had the extra day there I was able to walk the trail around the park and down the road and discovered that there is an old tugboat and historic information to see.  Super cool.

Of course the sunsets over the Columbia River never disappoint either.   

We parted ways knowing we "might" or "might not" be back on the way home.   I had planned to take the South route home from our destination (via Hwy 20) and had reservations for that.  

We ended up NOT going over the Cascades to get to our next destination just because the roads looked rather horrid over the passes.  Instead back up and around Portland and down to Sweetgrass for our next stop of 2 nights.    My good friend Lori and her husband had helped me find a campground near their place (that wasn't overrun with homeless encampments) so we could have some time to visit.   The Waterloo Campground is run by the county and was really nice.   Located on the Santiam River it also has a huge disc golf course which also then provides some great trails to just walk around the campground with the dogs.   Lori and I and the two dogs did over 2.5 miles the one day wandering around....and because it was early in the season, the campground was pretty empty (which suits me just fine).    


I got a campsite at the end of the last loop and it had a lovely view out the back windows of the trailer (which I knew would often be the case and why I loved this trailer so much).  It was spacious and the county workers did drive through fairly often which is nice (you do notice the difference in how people camp and act if hosts are at least somewhat visible).

The best part of the stay was getting to catch up with my friend and her husband AND that she and I were able to go into Lebanon and have lunch at the bar there that has food trucks along the one side.   Lunch outside and lots of variety of menus to choose from.   YUM!   Thanks Lori!

We departed Lebanon late in the morning as the drive to our destination at Winchester Bay was going to be a short one.   It was a weekday (Monday) and the traffic was light as I meandered out to the Coast.   My brother and his friends were heading there from south and check in for the campground was late in the day.   I was thrilled to be able to pull off Hwy 101 for lunch at a very large pull out and have lunch and just pause to enjoy the ocean view and listen to the waves.

Our destination was another county campground at Winchester Bay.   My brother and I had found this place in our meandering around last year when we were down on the south coast.   We were so impressed we booked 10 days there as it is close enough to one of the dunes areas that he could bring his side-by-side and go ride and he also had friends that would be staying as well.   Needless to say there wasn't a ton of dune riding (it was cold quite a bit of the time and rainy) but I was very pleased with the area.   We even got a visit from a cousin and his girlfriend that came and spent a long weekend camping with us.    What a treat!    I was able to do a lot of walking with the dogs and we got some RV "repairs" accomplished as well, the one day it was really nice.    It wasn't until later in our stay that I found that there was a huge ocean beach just 5 minutes drive down the road so we pretty much went and walked there every day after that.    A shopping trip down to Bandon was also accomplished which was fun.  There was lots of good food, good people and fires to stay warm.   So now I'll just bombard you with a bunch of photos from that stay.

My plans to take the south route home (which adds about 200+ miles) changed about a week before I was ready to head home.   I realized I didn't really want to take 3 days to get home and would rather have the extra time once we got home to get unloaded and settled back in before work.   I got online and found that Boardman had 2 spots left for the Friday night I needed so I snagged one of them and called and cancelled my other ones.  I wasn't that concerned about the cancellations - remember this is early May and no place is booked solid (except Boardman) usually this time of year.   I left super early figuring I'd go back up around the bottom of Portland and to Boardman.  That is till I hit the same horrid traffic on I5 that I had dealt with coming in.   I made a snap decision to go over the mountains via Detroit Lake and then cut up to Boardman from Redmond.   Well, Sherry shouldn't be making snap travel decisions - ON THE WAY HOME!    It was a GORGEOUS drive, the rivers were full and waterfalls running but the drive was very very slow and what would have been about 6-7 hours turned into 11.   I did see a lot of new territory but I think the critters all sensed we were on the way home and they were not happy having that long of a drive day.  Because we were going thru the mountains and such, there weren't a ton of places to stop and rest either and frankly I was pretty much hauling a** to get to our destination.   Luckily my routine for set up and take down at the campground are greatly improved with the new trailer and we settled in for a restful night.  No walks just food for all and sleep and the sweet perfume of the lilac bust right at my back window.

I knew the next day would be another LONG one for driving but at least it was all roads and stops we'd done before.   Lesson learned but we made it home, everyone was VERY happy to have their space again as was I.    I have always realized I'd never be a full time RV person.   I enjoy the long trips but I do want to land somewhere, stay and explore not drive and drive and drive.   I also love having home to come back to so that is how I'll roll.

Another great Oregon trip is in the books.   Not sure what next year will bring for a big trip but am pondering a different destination.   We'll see!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Fri, 07 Jul 2023 16:49:43 GMT
Wildflowers June 2023 Well my consistent blogging fell apart fast.   Mostly there wasn't much TO blog but I'll admit I  got lazy and now the craziness of Summer  and projects and travel are catching up.  So since I was uploading these tonight figured I'd share.   From this past weekend (first weekend in June) south of town up one of the back roads.

Honestly we drove UP the road and were like "gee this is kinda a bust" but as we headed back (after some lunch - that must have done it) looked more closely and actually found quite a bit.   So here ya go!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Wed, 07 Jun 2023 02:37:24 GMT
January 23 - February 12, 2023 ...and the weeks just fly by!   Things here are very busy of course.  Work is still really really busy but I will say that with my new boss and new team I feel SO much less stress and therefore so does the entire household.  


I'm now 1/2 way through my mountain dulcimer class and I am very much enjoying it and learning a lot.   It has only been 3 of us max and usually just 2 of us.    We are averaging 2 songs a week although I'm happy if I kinda get the jive of just one of them at a time.    I realized this week that some of it seems to actually be getting easier and I do need to get on tonight and see what resources were posted for us from last week.

There has been some hanging about and for some of us even napping.

I am also trying my best to get back into some routines.   One thing I've been missing a great deal is getting out and walking.  Mind you it is horribly icy here and looks like it will be for some time but I'm determined to make it happen.   I did my first few days  with my micro spikes but have found that those throw me just enough off balance in my body to make things go out of whack.   So the past few days I've been picking my way around without them.   I try to get out at that sweet spot of time where the ice isn't slush and the mud isn't melted.     I'm also trying to get Sterling down the road and back at least 4 times a week although that crazy dog still doesn't get the concept of ice!  I don't want him hurting himself even more (old bones).   I've been happy that we've had a bit warmer weather to get out.

As you can tell we've had some sun and Sterling would much rather sit and watch the goings on via the front door.   None  the less, the two other crazy dogs and I did have a fun photo walk.

Josie doesn't go every day as her feet aren't as tough and honestly, spending 30 minutes dressing dogs and me to walk for 30 minutes isn't very productive.   Still she does get to come along  some days.  Epic has tougher feet so often can go without boots which makes it quicker.    We also acquired a new "toy" and the story is that I saw this laying on the road back last summer as I drove by.  Thinking some child probably lost it I put it up in the pine tree along the road at windshield height - seriously - not like it was invisible.

As we walked down the road I decided IF it was still there I'd give it  to Epic to bring home - which he very happily did.

Hoping to get back into the habit and my body and brain are thankful to get fresh air and some exercise - however slow.  It also makes the dogs happy (and tired).

Weekends have been spent (since it has been almost 40 most weekend days) firing up the heater in the trailer and working in there.   I got to pondering my table situation and had  gotten the parts for it (aluminum and connectors).  As I spent some time in the trailer thinking about what I wanted and designing in my head I just was constantly bothered by the jack-knife couch situation as it sat about 6" lower than the other bench - so problematic for the table situation.   I knew eventually it was going to come out as it was hogging up possible storage space under it that wasn't usable AND they are NOT  comfortable to sleep on.  The other reason I hadn't dealt with it was that I didn't want to have to commit to creating cushions for a replacement.   Then the revelation.......I measured the 5' space  and was looking around my house and realized that maybe, just maybe I could  use  some of the ottoman  cushions I had in "spare ones" in my house.   I found that a long one and short one fit PERFECT!   So out to the garage to determine if I had parts and leftover tubing I could use.  I did!  Halleluiah!   So jack-knife replaced - for "free".  Okay I did buy baskets to go under it.

I will say right now, I have more storage than I know what to do with although it won't last to be sure.   I still am unsure if there may end up being a crate under there.  Yet to be determined.    Dog approved.

On to the table.  I originally was thinking a drop leaf design, with a hinge but realized that since the table is in the very back  of the trailer, the bumping was going to be extreme so that wasn't a great idea to have that much bouncing on a hinge.   So decided to leave the leaf loose (it is a 2X3' piece) and figure out how to put it on when needed.  The back shelf is 3X1' and will be stationary.    Here's where I landed....and of course decided to have a lovely fake planter back on there just to make it a bit homey.  That is attached with magnets so can easily be removed.

Of course working out in the cold weather with aluminum is not ideal and I did  manage to break one of the hinges on the the leg (ordered a couple spares now) but it is in and I'm very happy.   There are wood guides on the bottom of the big part to straddle the leg and then ta-da! binder clips to the rescue to hook it to the back and stabilize it.   We won't  be sitting on it after all so am hoping they'll work.   The leaf will be put under my bed mattress when not in use.   I will say that my supervisory crew though felt I was taking too long working out there but they happily used the bed.


Other items completed were removal of the bathroom door.  I realized that if the door was shut you literally couldn't turn around in there (till the vanity comes out) and it opened  into the narrow hall right by the kitchen sink.  Not ideal.   So a white shower curtain, some magnets and a curtain rod and we now at least have flexible elbow room.   Love those earth magnets and good old steel washers!    I also got the ugly blue undercounter led lights out and wired in new let strip lights that run along the ceiling in the kitchen and across the back.   Also pulled the ones under the bed out and think I may see about wiring in a plain old DC outlet there as there aren't any of those in the trailer.  Yet to be determined.

Still have lots of storage organizing to do and have the wire shelving to cut up and hang in some of the cupboards to give more storage options.   Those are always my biggest obstacles - figuring out what goes where.    Then on to the outside storage issues.   As things warm up that is!   Good news is the propane furnace seems to work well and the thermostat works as advertised - unlike my old trailer which we never got resolved.    

Today I forced myself to stay OUT of the trailer and worked on things like taxes.  BLECH!  They are done and that is a relief.  Now I need to start working this week on just getting some things in this house squared away me thinks andddd away we go to start yet another week!




[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Mon, 13 Feb 2023 02:16:15 GMT
January 15-22, 2023 It hasn't really been that exciting of a week to be honest.  At least it doesn't feel that way but it WAS busy.  Work was incredibly busy, a bit chaotic and a bit stressful but we made it.   Working really hard to keep my work and personal life balance in check which helps with the stress.

We had a number of really foggy days as well this week.  Freezing frost as well of course but it was in the 30s during the day pretty much all week so it was kind of expected.


I've been having fun watching the suet eating birds return to the feeder this past few weeks.  I am going to probably do a new situation for the feeders so I can see them out my office window better.  A few years ago I put shepherds hooks up and tied branches to them and that worked really well.   It will also keep the bird poop and seed mess off of the deck and on the edge.  We'll see - can't happen this winter (ground is frozen) but will probably set it up this spring.   It will also be better for the birds when I have the dogs out on the deck - as they won't have to stress about being "eaten".

I have actually been practicing about 30 minutes a day on my dulcimer.   My class starts tomorrow out of a new music book which I got this week.  I'm REALLY a beginner so many of the songs in it right now are just too hard and I play super slow as my fingering isn't in muscle memory yet.  Not sure what songs our instructor will work on during class but I have gone  through the book and found some.    It is kinda fun though as he is teaching each song in 3 parts, one is just fingering the melody, one just playing the chords and the other doing them together.    Fingers crossed my Zoom all works tomorrow!

Meanwhile there hasn't been much outside time as frankly we had soooo much ice from the freeze/thaw  and the fog and a bit of snow to cover it all up so you fall on your butt.   There has been quite a bit of this:

I finally figured out how to not have 2+ dogs trying to find warmth with me in MY chair constantly (makes doing any other work a bit difficult).   So I took their heating pads and put them on the couch.   This is the result!  haha

A bit more work has happened in the trailer.  One is I got all the stuff that could be moved out there now OUT there but not put away (it's all sitting on the bed).   Just too freaking cold to spend time out there right now.  However I did last weekend get a start on building the frame for the cage stand I wanted to put Iago's camp cage on.   After moving all the crap out of the house and into the trailer, I was able to dismantel the old shelves I had in the other trailer (and in the spare room to hold stuff).   By doing  that and scrounging up in my bits of aluminum in the garage I was able to find the parts I needed to start it.

Nothing like trying to work with metal when it is freezing cold out.   Got it all sorted and marked but in order to cut pieces to length (I'm not using a hacksaw thank you) I  needed to have the truck out of the garage.   Coffee with a friend on Saturday accommodated that so even though it needs to be secured with some screws in the joints and screwed into the floor it is done!

I didn't really want her on the floor (the dogs like to harass her) and I did want a place  to stash her travel cage when we were at camp (I'd been hauling it out to the truck and hauling it back).   This fixes that issue.   Gizmo's cage will go on top and also be secured to her cage.    Iago travels on the bed secured in that smaller travel cage to help with bumpy rides and the like.   Giz wil probably also travel on the bed area but not sure about that yet.

We had a sick Gizmo this week as I sat one night and saw him on his favorite perch  tapping his toes.  It is a thing  where basically their leg goes into spasm and their toes when perching grasp then release.   I knew that wasn't good and had noticed too he just generally wasn't feeling well (no talking, was fluffed up a lot).   A bit of research and one of the causes is low calcium.  So off to the pet store for some cuttlebone and mineral  block which I now put on both parrots food in the mornings.   He's good as new again thankfully.   It will also help Iago if she decides (and this is the time of year) to try to poop out an egg again.   Always something!

Epic had his rehab appointment this week and Dr. Davis confirmed that he was as "tight" as we thought  in his front assembly.   The chiropractor and I had been working on that without much success.  We now have some exercises to help and I think much of it is caused by his obsessive "digging" for his ball in the snow.   Some is okay but he will do it forever.   He also got some serious acupuncture to help alleviate some of it (part can also be due to his neck issues).  As a bonus  she was able to order us our own Assisi Loop (we used that last spring to help Epic with pain and inflamation and healing when he had his bad episode).  Not cheap but I'm glad to have it as I think it will be good to have for all the old dogs.

Not to be left out Josie got some new clothes!   Since she and Epic typically are the ones to go with me walking (when I get back into that mode) I had gotten an bright orange one for Epic and I love it (it's Hurtta) so went looking for one for her.  Orange was twice the price so we went with Lemon Yellow.   Doesn't she look thrilled?

Time for me to close out this blog as I need to get out back and start picking up poop.   We are expecting more snow tonight and I need to get rid of what I can see.  Plus the sun is out right now so bonus.....after I stoke the fire.  Will leave you with a nekkid Oliver enjoying his sun yesterday (jammies were removed from the two nekkids since I've got the wood stove burning during the  day right now).


[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 22 Jan 2023 17:53:49 GMT
January 9-14, 2023 It has been a somewhat uneventful week here in MTWaggin-land.   I'll be honest, I'm okay with that.   Less drama, less stress.   The week flew by with a LOT of things to get done at work (we have project deliveries coming up soon and my co-worker and I are busting butt to get all our changes completed and some kind of plan together to do those deliveries).   Alas things can't JUST be quiet and calm and last thing on Friday afternoon our new director (2 levels above me) calls an all-hands meeting.  YUP, you got it -- that is never ever a good thing.    Not only that but of course it was Friday before our last long weekend now till the end of May.    Reorganization - oh I don't know #76 (it feels that way).    People shuffled hither and yon and my little "team" of two (me and my coworker who were the last 2 standing after the Summer reorg where they took the rest of our team of 5 and left them elsewhere), were again, split up.    Have no idea what that means or is supposed to look like BUT the blessing in all of it is I will now report to a new boss (#6 in the last 13 months) and I know her, love her and am very excited.  She is the manager of one of the the teams we were moved OFF of in September.  Since I've struggled this past 3 months I'm jazzed but super sad and torn about my team mate.   Time will tell how this all plays out....again.    Ah the road to retirement (God willing).

Enough on that front and it'll work out.   We've had some warm weather again the end of this week and of  course now are in an icy mess once again.  I won't complain about the warmth but OMG the ice is incredible.  I spent a couple hours I should have spent picking up poop in the yard, scraping ice off the sidewalks because it was too darned dangerous!  It'll freeze again tonight and probably have the same mess for future days.   I'm not even willing to venture down the driveway probably till I have too. 

I did put on my micro spikes and bundled up the poodles for one jaunt outside this week.  We all just needed some fresh air to be honest.   The spikes are a lifesaver but to be honest, when it is super wet/glassy ice, even they are no guarantee.   We wandered up back just to see what was up (easier walking in the snow) and back down the drive for a bit of leg stretch.   I think they enjoyed it and it definitely improves my attitude!

My single organizational purchase arrived from Amazon and I'm pretty happy with it.  Their toys have always been in fabric baskets sitting on the floor.   Problem is, if the toy they want is in the bottom, the whole thing is excavated and toys are everywhere.  It was time to weed out the toys  anyway and after looking at maybe little kids toyboxes this looked like a better alternative, and gains me some floor space.

Yup, like many kids, these dogs have more toys than they even play with!

I have been playing my mountain dulcimer almost every night and hoping my sore arm muscles start getting stronger.  I'm trying to be good about practicing but I have to say, strumming is my downfall - on that and the autoharp right now.  I put the latter away to focus on this and have actually signed up for a 6 week class starting the 23rd in hopes it keeps me motivated.   It's on Zoom of course but is  actually during my scheduled lunch hour from work so am hoping I'll be able to actually attend and not have to just do the recordings after the fact.  We'll see.    I also need to get my hammered dulcimer tuned back up and start working on that.    Yup, also have my Rally app on my phone fired up to start doing some work with my monster dogs.    

Trailer Update

It was finally warm enough (40s) to take the space heater out to the trailer and get some work done in there.   I have a long list of things to get done but really just wanted to feel like I accomplished something and get some of the crap on my dining room table out where it should be.

What I hoped to accomplish and what I DID accomplish include:

  • Get the shades put up - DONE
  • Get the new strip lighting in the kitchen/living area wired in - didn't get done, the lights  I got won't work so had to order new ones - will arrive in 10 days (yeah Amazon Prime is fake, people).  Did get the current light pulled out and unwired tho!
  • Remove the medicine cabinet - DONE
  • Put up the window film in the kitchen - not planned but DONE
  • Get the rub ons put on the front wall in the bedroom (decided on those as they won't be as affected by heat as other options) - not planned but DONE
  • Put up the pegboard in the bathroom - well it is OUT there but has to be cut so I didn't get that done.
  • Get the outside cover put on the furnace vent (the spring that came with it to attach it wasn't gonna work) - DONE (thank you aluminum zip ties)

Of course with all that I also ended up with 3 more things on the list but hey - it'll come together.   

So I leave you with photos of my days accomplishments in the trailer......


[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 15 Jan 2023 00:55:44 GMT
2023 - Already While some days/weeks/months seem to crawl by I know they are all the same length and I always look forward to a new year with some aprehension of "good grief another long year" but when it is over I'm always a bit surprised.   So there's my poo poo for the post.

We are still in Winter of course and honestly probably the closest to a real winter we've had in many years.  We got snow the end of October and have not seen bare ground since.  That said I could do with less of the ice mess on the road but I live out of town and our road doesn't melt like pavement does.   The truck (4wd) has been used quite a bit as I just can't make the last 1/4 mile home without it.   The car made it out once (in 2 months) last week before we got the latest round of snow.   We've also had quite a bit of freezing fog and some fog the first week of January that didn't leave for a few days.   Regardless am always happy to see the SUN and happy to NOT see below zero (I hope that week before Christmas was it but I'm a bit crazy anyway).

One of my goals this year is to get back to my bigger cameras and less with the phone.   Part 1 - download what was on the "hiking camera" - my little Canon that I have not only with me for short trips but on the table at home for around the house shots.   Yup you guessed it I had photos from last August/September on it so I'll share those really quick.   It was a quick stop at Pelican Point with my brother on a trip home from Great Falls.  Scouting out the camping possibilities and just a break for the dogs.   Because the river was running SO fast and currents so strong, dogs stayed on leash and that made Epic absolutely nuts.    So we did the flexi-lead and threw rocks for him to wade and pick up.    He was happy.

Nice to see those warm photos while it is white outside!

Honestly the year has started with a lot of staying around the house.   It is so icy outside that it isn't worth the risk to me or dogs to go out even into the yard or down the driveway.  Outside consists of poop patrol once a week and not much else as I almost biffed it taking the trash down the hill as it tried to run me over on the ice!    

As I'm mega busy at work right now honestly I'm just trying to keep my wits about me and the stress levels down.   That means more TV time than I should so also tuned up the mountain dulcimer and picked up my lesson book and am working thru some of those first lessons.  I've discovered that involves muscles in my arms that are less than happy about the "work".   Oh well.

With the past 2 full moons my parrots have gotten a bit nuts.   Iago especially is being particularly difficult so I decided some relocation was in order and she now is in her cage in my office.  She's not that noisy and she is bothered less by the dogs in here as well.   Honestly, this is also her "horror-mone" season so that doesn't help.    Gizmo continues to grow and I've found the full moon makes him a screaming cranky mimi!  He has about 2 days where he spends quite a bit of time in "time out" either in the sleeping room or with the cage covered.

Since Iago's home moved it also opened up some room in the dining area and I got that put back in an "order" that I like including getting the music out in that area (out of my office).  I think I'll be more inclined to use it out there AWAY from my office, which by the end of the day I'm sick of.   We will see if that is what pans out.  I am though making an effort to get the mountain dulcimer out for at least a bit every day.

Honestly I think Sterling has the best idea!  He continues to get his monthly acupuncture treatments and with the few crashes he's had on the ice this month it is amazingly helpful.    

On my "keeping sane" venture I did get the last of my Spring trip reservations made which makes me incredibly happy.    That will be our maiden voyage in the trailer (hoping to at least get a driveway camp in before that to test all systems once it warms up).    I'm going to get to spend a couple nights/day camped near a good friend and her husband on the way out to meet my brother which makes me incredibly happy.   It also has gotten me thinking about the possibility of getting things set up so I can work from the road if need be.   There will likely be a point where I might need to travel and not have the vacation time to take.   Oh my gawd is that ever a rabbit hole but I think I may have an option located just need to dig into it more (means talking to cellular reps which is not a favorite past time).   We shall see.  It would also be beneficial for being able to monitor things at the trailer if I'm out walking a dog or the like (temps, what are the monsters up to etc.).   

Anywhere there is sun,  Oliver will be located!   haha     I'm really chomping at the bit to get some more of the trailer projects done so I think I may have to load up the space heater and go out this weekend (a long one for us) and try to knock some things out.    I'll try to remember to take the camera out as well and show some progress.....maybe.   Will see how warm it gets.  I went out to refill antifreeze in the toilets in mine and Kent's rigs last week (it evaporates) and discovered his was dry but what was in mine was frozen.  Makes me nervous about how the water lines will hold up.   Time will tell.

Not a whole lot to report honestly.  I'm trying to get out of my lazy mode to be honest!   It's hard as it is so convenient to just plop in a warm spot and veg out after work.   That isn't helping my mental health state at all (because I have one of those minds that then just spins work items around in my head - must have better distractions)!  Meanwhile I sit at my desk and enjoy the birds (check out the one photo bombing below and do you see the one in the tree?) and keep up with the chores.   


[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Tue, 10 Jan 2023 20:50:09 GMT
Merry Christmas Oh my word I just looked and saw it has been 6 weeks since i wrote a post.  Okay I'm pathetic but he forgive me please.   It has been horridly busy at work and honestly you know, 10 plus hours on the work computer does not make me want  to be on here writing.   I also came down with a horrid cold the weekend before Thanksgiving which took me a solid 2 weeks to even come out of and about 3 weeks to feel human enough to do anything but the basics.   I wasn't thrilled to be sick over the Thanksgiving days off as it put my plans for projects on hold but I was glad to have the time off work to recover!  Gotta be flexible.

Accomplishments have been had though.  I got some honey from a friend this Fall and knew I wanted to bake honey cookies with it.  I finally got around to that!   They are a recipe from my Grandmother and Mom and a family favorite.  I remember them being baked in our house when Grandma Wagner came to visit and when Fall hunting season started as my Mom would bake and freeze them for my Dad and brother to take hunting.  Substantial quick energy!   They are a roll out cookie so they take some serious  time to make but so worth it.  They have anise and clove in them so those lovely fall flavors.

I also finally pulled the cloth that was ripping up on my work desk off of it and got it painted and put some transfers on it.   Brightened things up and while I though I needed my monitor up higher, soon discovered that wasn't the case.  So that bit is now gone.  But  I was glad to get that checked off the list as well.

Then it got cold and started snowing so the winter chores really kicked in.   First item was my truck which threw a code and ended up in the shop right after the first snows.  Lovely right!  It is my 4wd vehicle  and if it is snowy and the driveway is slick I can't get the car up the driveway.  Yes, I can walk it but that isn't fun if you have a load of groceries.  So not knowing how long it would be in the shop (it got some maintenance done too) and snow on the horizon I decided to go get a snow blower.   I do really like it but after now using it for about 3 snow falls I am finding that wrestling it on the hill and on the uneven gravel driveway is a challenge.  But it gets the job done and I just take ibuprofen the next day!  haha    I do like that it is quiet and it does make short work of the task.   It is a battery operated (yes I'm killing the planet with more lithium batteries but...) and I'll be honest I do wish it was self  propelled.  Lesson learned and I think maybe next summer my brother and I will see about a plow  either for the lawn mower or a used ATV with one.  I'm honestly learning the hazards of old age and while the steps and exercise are NOT bad for me I'd rather be doing  something fun to get those in!

Meanwhile it is nekkid dog jammie season for sure and this year I ordered some new ones for Louie.   In his  old age it becomes more and more important  to keep those old bones warm.

We had some really pretty freezing fog for a few days as well and I have to say while I was REALLY glad I wasn't driving into work (the fog in the valley stayed quite late) I enjoyed seeing it around the yard.  So I thought I'd share some of it with you.

That was one tough spider web for sure!

I am really hunkered in now with the dogs (mid December) as the week before Christmas it is supposed to go WAYYY below zero.   We got more snow this past week and  we had one really sunny lovely day where I was out moving snow  so I dressed up the hairy 3 in their snow gear to let them play while I shoveled and could burn off some of the never ending winter energy.    I will say the full moon the first part of December was  one  wild ride in this house - dogs  and parrots pretty much all lost their minds which in turn made me lose mine.  I was glad when that passed.  

It was just nice to be outside (it was 20ish) in the fresh air and getting snow taken care of (it was light so I was able to shovel quite a bit).

Yesterday I got wood up on the deck so we can run the wood stove in the predicted below 0 temps and I got provisions Friday so I shouldn't need to leave the house if I don't want to till after Christmas.  We have more snow  predicted and I'm hoping the below 0 (one night says -28F) predictions are wrong.   I do see 4 days of that and then 4 days later it is supposed to be highs  in the mid 40s.  Go figure.

I hope all of you still stopping by to visit the blog have a very Merry Christmas.   I didn't do cards this year  (being sick didn't help that motivation) and what you see here is the extent of the decorations I'm doing.  Yes I actually made a "set" of sorts to do the photo as it wasn't happening  outside.   The dogs did great and even Louie for the first time in his  13 years here - actually was  looking up and participating in a photo.  I'll share some of the outtakes as well.

Left to right with their ages come 2023 (as all are in the first 5 months).  Epic - 10, Oliver - 5, Louie - 17, Josie - 5, Sterling - 13.   Iago the macaw will be 23 and Gizmo will be 1 in March.    I'm not revealing my age!








[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 18 Dec 2022 17:16:48 GMT
November Already And it didn't take long for it to turn to Winter!  I will admit I when  I saw the forecast I got my butt busy getting some last minute things done outside while I still could.  First on the agenda was cutting dog hair from the scruffy monsters and I could check that off.  While they were cleaned up I hoped to get an "annual" group shot and while it didn't turn out nearly as good as last year I'll take what I can get since I also didn't have the prep time into it either.



I also had to say a bit of thanks that I was able to do that shot of all the same dogs as I had last year.  That hasn't happened in a while with our losses.   I also am thankful that Sterling is doing just fine now as well and that he faired well with his haircut time too.    I have discovered though that one of his favorite treats (all my dogs love it), popcorn isn't sitting well with him anymore so all are limited to 1 piece.   Much easier than dealing with a sick big poodle when it is below zero out.


I also wanted to get the parrots situated with a lighting project that needed to be finished before "winter".   With the darker days and especially now that we seem to have a lot of cloudy dark winter days.    Happy to report I was able to use all pvc parts I already had (which will be no surprise to most).   They are happy to have good UV light now (parrot lights actually) during the day!  The lights are actually designed to be attached to the inside of the cage tops but I really don't trust that so pvc to the rescue.


As things usually go when I'm most busy with work and projects, something goes awry and this month was no different.  We were happily enjoying the warm Fall days and letting the furnace  run at night.  I was sitting in my recliner one evening thinking it was quite a bit colder than usual.  I went to check the thermostat (to make sure I hadn't turned it off) and it was engaged - but no furnace.  What the what?   I walked into the utility room and I could feel heat around the furnace but no fan running.  Shut that puppy off breakers and all in a hurry.   Found one of the few repair places that will deal with manufactured home furnaces, they came out the next day and had to take  the motor home with them.  I was once again so very happy to have the wood stove and even more so that I realized the furnace had an issue before it burned up the elements or worse!    Happy to say they cleaned it up, replaced a few parts, put it back in and we are good to go.


The parrots were really happy to have the stove going (warmer) but they are even more happy that I got busy and got their Winter stock of food made.  This is their "chop" which they get every morning.  I will say they aren't as excited about it as the Summer version but they'll adjust.    I was so happy to see a video where someone used their cooler to do the mixing of everything.  That made it so much easier as the sink was going to be too small.


Okay and as it was getting cold I had some weird craving for chocolate chip cookies - from scratch.   Luckily I also had friends I could share them with after I was "over em".


They were pretty yummy but next round  won't have mini chips - those didn't work for me.  I've not made homemade baked  goods in forever, for the very reason as I don't have people to pawn off the remains with.   When I was working in the office I'd take them in and they'd disappear.   

My trailer projects continue but only one small one IN the trailer.   I got Iago's travel cage (dog kennel) in there and after many versions over the summer figured out how to put a bottom in it so she cannot eat the paper on the bottom.   My handy angle grinder, an expen panel and zip ties.   It works great in the place I wanted it as well.

Oh and I got the odd 12volt blue led light strip on the bed base replaced with one that has warm white lights.   It was my first somewhat electrical option and I'm pleased with it, it works and the red quilt tempers the light.   Next one will be replacing the one under the front kitchen counter.   I didn't want to just remove them as they ARE on a switch and I can utilize that.   Since it got cold the next thing for the trailer was finishing the window coverings.   I took the Warm Windows covers I had in my other trailer, took them apart and repurposed the backing (it's expensive).   The sale tablecloth made the last 2 for the back in red that matches the back red curtain.  Yup I also put my pin collection back on the ones in the living area.


Then I just had the one window left that is in the bedroom area.   Wasn't sure what I was going to do there.   Didn't want to just do another red one like the others with the cool quilted one on the other side.   As I was digging  around in the back closet I came across the pile of hankies I had (from my Mom, Grandmas and me) all iron up so I could use them for "something".   I figured out the something.

It was kinda fun to do really.   I now have the straps to hold up the curtain rods finished and hope next week it is warm enough to at least get those things done.   

While I was still in the project mode I also got my first big clean done in my house.   The two spare rooms had been just collecting crap all Summer and nothing was put away.   So first one on the agenda was the dog room/parrot bedroom.   Lots into the trash and lots organized and honestly - it feels SOOOO good!   Two piles of trash yet to go out sitting there but what a difference. Things  at my job are really busy right now so these projects are really nice to have as a distraction.   So I'm not spinning data analytics stuff in my head constantly!   All said progress is being made but this week, while hole up in the house now for a week, most of the work has been shoveling snow!

It's exhausting.....LOL

So I'll leave you with a few of the Fall shots I got at the place where Sterling gets his acupuncture.   It is up in the mansion district of town with lots of great trees.    Enjoy!


[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Fri, 11 Nov 2022 03:37:19 GMT
Fall Projects Always more projects than time but I promised I would share the big one so here goes (and no it is far from done yet).   

I mentioned that I got a new trailer (or hinted at that).   While I was sad to let my little aluminum trusty trailer go, I'm sure it will find a good new home.   I did try to sell it outright before I got my new one but I'll be honest, all the interest was from out of state and honestly I HATE selling stuff to people.   Everyone wants to low ball the price (even when it said the price was firm) and wheel and deal.   ICK.   So it ended up as a trade and that is okay too.

So now I'll introduce you to the Zinger.....yes that is the name.   I'm very excited about the floor plan and about the additional space but you know how I am - nothing was perfectly right.  I actually started looking at toy haulers like I had before and could "build out" but these days those are all too wide and too high for my building.   I then looked at bunkhouses thinking I'd take out the bunks for the parrots.   I also wasn't too excited about anything that was 30' long.  That really cut a lot out!   I was in many with slides which made them so very roomy but the flip side is that I couldn't use them in my building as guest quarters and frankly - one more thing to go wrong.   So the layout I got was this....

The inside floor length is 21' which is only 2 feet longer than my old trailer, but the width is 8' instead of 6'.  amazing what a different that makes - not only in the feel inside but in what I see in my mirrors towing it.   It's gonna take some time to get used to that.   What I loved the most was the rear living area which means 3 lovely large windows in the rear, 1 in the back and 1 on each side.   Something people don't think about often but "generally" you back into your camping spots and often that is where the "view" is.   I don't need a window up front to sit and watch people driving by or looking at the back of my truck.  Boring.   I also wanted something with decent windows on the camp side (or the side of the door).   Most slides and most trailers have the living windows on the other side, well I don't need to be watching my neighbors campsite either.   I literally never opened the window  covering on that side of my other trailer.

Here she is behind my truck.   Zinger is considered  a stick and tin built (not aluminum framed) which I was a bit leery of at first but my first Wildwood trailer was as well and it was fine.   It also will keep it a bit warmer and cooler as aluminum absorbs heat and cold really nicely  thank you.  Realizing my current age and just how long I'll likely be camping and that I do now have a building for it, I  didn't need something built like a tank either.  Don't get me wrong I fell in love with one of the Ember trailers (overland built) but I wasn't about to shell out 60K+ for one either.

So here are the 2 photos I got of the inside before I, of course, started making adjustments.  The color scheme is what I'd call a grayish taupe.   

Things I knew going in (and another reason for not buying a $60K trailer (not even close) is that the window treatments in any rig were going to go away and be replaced.   Dinette would ALSO be removed and replaced with something practical.  This one I also knew would get some lighter color treatments to just make it "feel bigger".    I knew as well (requirement for any trailer) that there would be a place to put the parrot cages and  wanted enough room that I wouldn't be tripping over dogs constantly (one can hope).  I also really wanted a fixed bed (either a murphy that  could stay out or a regular bed).   In my other trailer as you know, the couch was also the bed was also the eating area.  Not ideal.

Now you all are thinking "why did she start tearing it apart right away".  Well there is a reason.  One is that Winter is coming and the other is that I have a big trip planned for the end of April and I know our seasons enough that I cannot be guaranteed that there will be warm enough weather in the Spring to get the things done I wanted done before that trip.   Since much of it would involve things like building and such in my garage, that was important.

First item of business was to plug up any holes in the inside of the trailer that could ever be a possible mouse entry.  Steel wool and mouse foam were employed.   When they build these things they make giant holes in walls and floors to run plumbing and such.  When I did my pre-delivery inspection I made the poor guy remove every freaking false panel and drawer to find where I would need to do some work.   It also allowed me to see where plumbing fixtures and the like were located.   

Second item was the easy one - window treatments.  Those box valances are just stupid and the blinds were pathetic.   So out they went.

Amazing how the place felt bigger just with that.   Now on to the "big stuff".  The dinette had to go.   I wanted a bench/couch there that would have storage under it.   Couple of hiccups - the water heater in the back corner and part of the wheel well in the front corner by the counter.   I knew that going in.  What I didn't know is these freaks put a number of screws into the dinette seats that were from the backside and outside IN.   That complicated removal significantly but you know me - I have tools and a flush cut saw and the dremel fixed THAT problem!   I was careful removing everything and now have some of the right color of panels to replace some of the false panels these people put up that were a totally different color and type.   Sheesh.   The best part was that when I measured I discovered that the seat backs and bottoms of the dinette would fit perfectly lengthwise on the bench I was going to build!   That never happens in my projects!   

I did some serious repurposing of aluminum tubing and the boards I had used for the bed in my previous trailer.  The water heater (which is in the back corner) drove the depth of the bench which was about 4" more than I wanted but oh well.  That is where the blue foam comes in - scoots the cushions out enough to work.

I have since the photo above found a fabric to use as skirting on the new bench and will be installing that with snaps so it can be removed when I need to live the tops to get to storage.   Things that will go in there will be items I don't need often.  Same goes for the space under the jack knife couch on the right.   That one will likely lose the bottom front piece so I can put baskets or the like under it - probably a next summer project.  It's comfortable enough I'll leave it for now but eventually will replace that too - with something that uses the space better.   I don't expect it will last long with dog wear and tear.  

I have also just found a fabric to use on the windows.   Bed Bath and Beyond was a last ditch stop and I found some linen look table cloths they had for 1/2 price.   I wanted a red for the windows but not overpowering.   Found that and a gray to put on the front of the bench to tie together.  The curtains in back are done and I'll be doing warm windows (repurposing what I had in my old trailer) on the side windows and the ones up front.

I also removed the panels from the fridge which were solid black and painted those white.  Again, lighten things up.

See the hole down below there, that was a full false panel where there was opportunity for storage.  I've found a box that fits in there and will work for dog toys or pee pads or something.

Then on to the kitchen.  The walls are all a tweedy looking white/gray paneling.  I wanted something in the kitchen with the dark cabinets and darker counter to lighten it up.    Sticky back fake tiles to the rescue.

I've got some touch ups to do but was thrilled with the result!

Just inside the door, even the day we looked at it, my brother was like "trash can space"!   Something again, RV builders  seem to forget people need.  Now in my other trailer, because I have dogs, the trash  went in a  bag hung on the bathroom wall where they couldn't get into.   Well I was shopping and found this cute little trash can with a lid and knew it would live here (ride in the bathroom probably tho).   But there was still about 12" beside the door under the counter.  I hadn't figured out where I would put dog leashes, collars, and well, other junk I'd like to get to without walking thru the RV.   Tada!

I've screwed the stand to the floor and will find something to keep the drawers in while driving but it is perfect!  Dog leashes, dog  bags, etc. and not in the way getting in and out of the door.

The bathroom kinda sucks but I honestly reminded my brother and myself of the # of minutes a day in the bathroom.   I do have plans to rip out the medicine cabinet (because that is 4" of elbow banger) and next year will replace the sink with just a 6" deep cabinet of some sort.  That gives more floor space...and the awful plastic toilet will also be replaced with porcelain (which I think will be good as the floor I feel needs some reinforcing there).     

Can't get much more tiny!

Now to the front.  The "walk around" queen bed was great but in all honestly I was planning to change it down to a full to have room for the parrots.   Well as I was sitting in there one day I was like - hmmmm I don't need a walk around bed and once I removed the weird "end" of the walk around bed I discovered the space left would allow for a full size bed but sleeping across the width of the trailer.  BINGO!   That gained me almost 3' of floor space.  I need that for parrot cages.  I also needed a good color for bedding up in that area because it was kind of a dark hole.   No white with dogs so I found this awesome red bed spread and I'm in love with it!   The brown contact paper stuff on the wall up front trying to look like shiplap - noooo noooooo.    Got the paint out and made it white.   HUGE difference.

I had a lovely little quilt wall hanging from my old trailer that I just didn't have a home for in here yet.  Then I looked at the little window by the door and was thrilled that it fit perfectly.   I think the window across the trailer (still bedroom) is going to get one of my quilt block window covers I had from my previous trailer window covers 1.0.

I still have a hundred other little things to do but a bit at a time.   Sewing window covers is high on the list and I have new led light strips coming for under the bed (it came with these weird blue led lights under there and under the counter).   Will see if I can get some warm white ones on a dimmer up there.  I need to get Iago's travel cage situation built out and in there as well.   Some of my white peg board repurposed will go in the bathroom and maybe the living area not sure yet.  Finding containers that will fit in the skinny cabinets also has to happen but that comes with figuring out what goes where.  I have a large front outside storage that also needs some love, want to buy new stairs as these are over 10" risers and my knees HATE THEM.   The dogs have been in it and love all the places to hang out.   

I'll  keep y'all updated as things happen, you know I will but now the weather is turning and I'm kinda getting into nesting in the house for a while.   So glad the weather stayed nice as long  as it did.   Even better the dinette table has found  a home.   OHHHH and I almost forgot - all the icky handles inside were replaced so I'll end on that!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sat, 22 Oct 2022 23:10:33 GMT
July, August, September Oh man am I pathetic or what?   As you probably guessed just freaking busy (and a little pathetic).    The summer wrapped up and fall started and I can honestly say that, even though am still really busy am looking forward to a bit of quiet time come winter (we'll see if that holds or not).

I have a giant project to share with you in a later post that has been consuming most of my time but a little catch up first.

Once we returned from our camping trip, my brother and I were "all hands on deck" trying to get "stuff" done before he had to leave mid-ish September.  There was vehicle maintenance, cutting down trees, moving wood closer to where it could be dried, split and stacked (it is drying now).   Kent built me out an old fashioned video game station out of my little computer I had in the trailer, we had some fantastic deck time and well, worked around the horrid heat we had pretty much right up till September.

There was also progress made on the parrot aviary and although we didn't get it completed, only the panels for the top need to be finished and then put it together.  I was no small decision to figure out where it will be put but landed on it going on the back patio partially covered by the pergola - once it is finished.   New tools were purchased (I'm now the proud owner of a new angle grinder and power stapler) and lots of garage time was had.  It is being made modular so that it can be moved or expanded as needed and hopefully come spring I'll have some finished pictures to share.

We also got a fantastic mid August (yup it was HOT) weekend camping trip done - just 30 minutes from home.   Because of the heat I left the parrots home and came back over the hill to care for them each day (only one day actually).   They were happier and it just took that extra burden off.   Literally days before we were to leave my 8 year old battery on the trailer died.  Lasted about 5 years more than expected so got that replaced, then the day we were ready to leave Kent's also died so a quick trip to town resolved that as well.   While it was hot, being down at the river was nice, we found a great campground we really like (read quiet) and the views were fab.

They were letting full water out of the dam so it was actually really pretty (we'd had rain for a solid 4 days prior) and so good to see.   We don't see all 4 gates open very often.

We spent a LOT of time this summer shopping RVs.   Yes, I got a bee in my bonnet and decided I wanted to get a bigger trailer.  While I adore my little trailer and really wasn't convinced I was ready to let it go, I figured I'd look around anyway and see if ANYthing would work.   Our travel style has settled in and of course now taking the parrots along too kind of added to the complications in my little VRV.    There were trips out of town, hours and hours and HOURS of video watching and researching floor plans.   Much discussion about pros and cons of floor plans and builds and well, we looked at, I kid you not, HUNDREDS of rvs in person.   It was exhausting and by the end of August I was kinda over it all.    I was tired, but.....

There was more discussion and I found a floor plan I liked (totally not what I had started looking at) and we travelled to Great Falls to check it out.   The rv sales people at the place it was located were HORRID!   Pissed me off so badly that even if I had set my heart and pocket book  on that trailer I'd not have purchased from then.  On our way out of town (now that I really had narrowed down my choices of layout) we stopped at a place we'd been previously.  Got a great salesman, who showed me just what I was looking for and in all the "options".   We narrowed it down to ONE....and that is where I'll leave it as that is the future project blog I'll share later.

Kent headed home and we were all sad and that same time Sterling became seriously ill.   I've spent the past few weeks dealing with that and the thought that he might have to leave us.   We couldn't figure out what was wrong!   3 days before his vet appointment (because you can't get appointments with vets anymore that aren't 2-3 weeks out) he rebounded, we went to the vet and every stinking thing we checked, checked out.   Perfect xrays, perfect blood, almost perfect body condition.   I'm happy to report he is back to his "old dog normal" but I don't want that scare ever again!


Everyone else is doing fine - the October full moon made everyone more nuts than normal but that happens.   I managed to get 1/3 of the front of my house painted while it was warm enough to do so and I think the rest will wait till 2023.   So that's about it!


[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Wed, 12 Oct 2022 18:45:16 GMT
I Am Still Here! Just really busy - as you might guess.   With my brother's visit winding down we are scrambling to finish up projects and get some of the other things accomplished that we wanted.   Since it got blazing hot shortly after he arrived AND stayed that way, some of the items on our lists were put off - some indefinitely.

So hang in there with me peeps - I do have things to share (if my memory can go that far back) and photos but with Fall literally at our doorstep I'll just leave you with a few reminders of one of my favorite seasons (Fall and Spring).    I am so so so happy that the heat has finally broken but the smoke we are dealing with right now is not pleasant.    

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Mon, 12 Sep 2022 15:29:09 GMT
July 19-31, 2022 Yup lost a week but I have good reasons.    I believe I left off my last post with the impending arrival of my brother and Gizmo.  Well they made it and the result was well a little chaos in our world here of course.   

I got my brother all set up in his trailer and settled in for a week of work and I got Gizmo started on settling into his n ew digs as well.    He was a bit stressed with all the changes and the travel so we had a week of getting to know him, getting him on our feeding menu and schedule (which wasn't exactly his cup of tea) and settling him into his new cage for daytime and new local for nighttime.   See I've started putting both parrots in the back room where I can make sure it is quiet and dark for a set amount of time each night.   Helps keep them happier and healthier too (or at least that is the hope).    

Because crazy happens, 4 days after his arrival we did have a wildfire evacuation scare.   No we didn't end up evacuating but we did go through prep!    There was a fire literally on the back side of the mountain I live on and they did evacuate from the top down the other side so we weren't taking any chances and hey, just got some of the prep done for our trip - a bit early.

The week flew by as we also prepared for our annual camping adventure up to Logan State Park for a week of paddling and recharging (no cell signals, no wifi - YAY).  

Kent  took his trailer and I took mine of course along with all the dogs and both the parrots   This was Iago's second trip and Gizmo's first.   I was trying out version 2.0 of the enclosure setup for Iago which did end up morphing about 3  times during the week.  Gizmo did great but both were really happy to see their big cages and home routine  when  we got home.  

The week was fabulous but furnace blast hot!   Thank God for the a/c in the trailers and cool nights (we had electric hookups  for that very reason).    The drive up was long and the traffic was nutso as it also was on the way home.   Gas prices are not keeping folks home based on our and boats were out in full force!

We celebrated Kent's birthday on Wednesday and ya know, sitting in the a/c in the afternoons  just allowed for naps to charge us for our early morning paddles, some evenings spent at the boat launch letting Epic swim and a few games of cribbage.   The lakes were full and the biting bugs were out in force.   

We did take one hot afternoon and loaded up in the air  conditioned truck for a short explore around the area though.  The ONE thing I did forget was the MT Gazateer so we didn't explore off the beaten path as much as we normally do.  Still it was fun and we found a nice spot for a picnic.

Taking today (Sunday) and just chill-axing with the house a/c running (it is supposed to be 100 here again today and tomorrow) but blessedly it is cooling off enough to open windows at night - even though not  for long.   The gardens and the lawns are crispy so I'm watering like crazy now as the heat and the wind suck out every spare drop we had.   That said here are the last of our camping photos!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 31 Jul 2022 21:37:15 GMT
Week of July 10, 2022 Another week has FLOWN by and I can't believe we are past 1/2 way through July.   Not to worry, the hot weather finally caught up with us although I can't complain too much since the air conditioner is in and is working!    Anyone else find that their personal thermometers change as they age?

There were however some really lovely mornings where I got to spend some time on the deck with my coffee during a break. 

The first part of the week was busy running back and forth to town for appointments because apparently I can't spread them out.  Monday I had a BEZT appointment, Tuesday Epic had his rehab appointment (he's doing well but is THE worst acupuncture patient ever) and Wednesday I was back for a chiro appointment.   Did want to get them out of the way knowing my brother would be arriving on Sunday and we'd be busy this coming week getting things lined up for our camping trip.   

I was very glad I got most of the outside stuff done before the heat so most evenings were in the a/c in the house.   Friday afternoon I was tasked with the Great Blanket Rush at the college for the symphony the next night.  It is free but if you donate $5 to the Boy Scouts you can go find a spot for your blanket Friday afternoon.  I did that as a friend decided to come down from Whitefish to go with me.  I should have had the camera as it was quite the sight to see.   But I got our spot!

Saturday (after a harrowing trip down) I picked up my friend and we headed to the concert (Symphony Under the Stars) which is a benefit for our local Food Share.   We arrived and immediately saw the big dark cloud heading our way.   Now you need to understand - somehow in all the SUTS years they have NEVER been rained out.   Not this year!   Rain, thunder, lightening and WIND right when the concert was to start.   We stuck it out (knowing it wasn't going to stick around) and were drenched (and cold) by the time it was over.  But hey - it cooled off!   Concert started 90 minutes late (9:30) which we knew meant we wouldn't be done till midnight (rather than 10:30).   It was great fun and they announced they BEAT the 22,000 (yup you read that right) of food donations that were their goal - by 2,000 pounds - a TON PEOPLE!   Pretty freaking amazing.

See the blankets hanging on the fence after the soaking?  The fireworks after was as always absolutely spectacular as well.   Late night and I'm telling you now, this old lady felt like I was hung over the next day (since it was 12:45 before I got home and 1:30 before I got to sleep).   All in all it was great fun and the blanket rush wasn't nearly as bad as I had made it out in my head.  You just can't be picky about where you end up.

Sunday back to town for brunch with my friend before she left for home and running of a couple errands.  My brother (and Gizmo) were arriving that night.   They pulled in about 9 pm and I was glad I had Kent's trailer pretty much set up so he could nuke some food I'd made and hit the hay after a 15 hour driving day.   

This morning back to work and Gizmo is settling in.   I'll share this photo that his first Mom took before he left and will share more on his adventures in a few weeks (probably no blog next week peeps as we prep to go camping).     He's super sweet, got out and had coffee with me this morning (indoors) and is now hanging out in his new cage and apparently really likes the radio as he is chatting away out there right now.   Great big thanks to his Baby Mom, Carol for meeting my brother 1/2 way on Saturday to pick him up and HUGE thanks to Kent for doing transport and care for him (even though he has no parrot experience).   

Thanks to Sue for the note and all who are reading "incognito"!  <3

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Mon, 18 Jul 2022 17:09:44 GMT
Week of July 3, 2022 I will not lie, it has been another busy week but  honestly I can't complain.   I realize it is Montana and am trying to squeeze 12 months of stuff into 3-4 months...while the weather is nice.  

July 4th wasn't anything too exciting but I was able to get the BBQ grill put together.   Oh so many pieces but I got it done in a couple of hours.  I have decided after the fact to remove one of the side tables though as it is just a bit too big in the space I have on the deck.   Haven't gotten a propane bottle for it yet but that is on the agenda for the coming weeks.

The weather has been cool  (but that isn't supposed to last) and stormy.  The afternoon thunderstorms have been pretty epic with high winds in some,hail in some and heavy rains in most.  Not that the rain is bad mind you, this is the greenest I've seen our valley in July for probably 10 years.   However I did drag the air conditioner out of the garage in prep for the mid to upper 90s they are predicting this coming week (hoping they are wrong but hey).

We just won't talk about the mowing I am behind on at the moment!

I also ticked a few chores off the to-do list (yup gotta have a list but interesting it never seems to get SHORTER).   A run to the recycle with the months and months of carboard I had piled up.  Check.   New parrot playgym project completed one evening.  Check.   Also got a new T stand built as well with the "extras".  Youi know you have too many PVC projects when you go through all the parts you have and don't have to buy anything but some sticks of PVC to build all this.

Iago isn't as impressed as I am with it but we'll monkey with some of the toys and see how she does.  I have managed to coax her onto all of the different parts and have already found  I needed to adjust the plan and move that center post to the other corner for stability.    It'll give her something to move around on when in my office - if she so chooses (mostly she doesn't).

Dogs and parrot have had outside time pretty much every day. I bring them all in once it looks stormy or if it is just too hot out back with no breeze.   I makes for tired monsters.

Oh yeah AND I got two poodles bathed and groomed (over two evenings).  Since is it supposed to get hot they both got shaved down close to help keep them cooler.   They hate the process but I think feel so much better when all that hair is gone.   

The other item on the list was to get my brother's trailer uncovered and de-winterized and opened up for his arrival in another week or so.  Did that early one morning when it was cooler and not windy as that gigantic tarp is nothing to mess with in the wind!   Pat me on the back for remembering to mark the front and back sides of the tarp and put directions on the photo on my phone so we know how to unroll it in the Fall.    It's pretty musty inside but I do think we were successful avoiding mouses over the Winter.  YAY (wish I'd been that lucky in my truck where I had to run my trap line again this week).    Next week need to remember to start his fridge and then it should be good to go till we head out  for our camping trip.

Meanwhile I'm still tweeking Iago's cage in my trailer and decided to ditch the microwave I don't ever use (it is so tiny it doesn't work well anyway).   A good vacuum and shake oiut the rugs with all the pasture dirt and weeds and am starting another round of treating my water tank for the algae that is in it.   Think a hardware store run is in the future to get some plumbing supplies so maybe I can pump out the tank without having to run it through all the plumbing which will allow me to bypass running the bleached water through my water pump and faucets and the like.   We will see...bleach water is sitting in there now and then will have another round of bleach, see where we are then 2 rounds of vinegar and multiple rinse rounds before we camp again.   We shall see what happens.   I need to do some other tank cleaning anyway so that will be on the list for this next week....along with 4 days of other appointments to mark off.

That's pretty much the long and short of it this week.   Just keep chugging along and here we are 1/2 way through July and on the downhill side of the year already.  Wowsa.

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 10 Jul 2022 22:21:39 GMT
Week of June 26, 2022 I cannot believe we are through June already!   Eeeks!   After the craziness at work of last week I was so happy that I had plans for only working one day this week.  Instead I decided escape was the answer and escape I did!

I took off Monday night after work and headed to a friend's ranch about 3 hours from here for a few days of doggie games and just kicking back and relaxing.   I had signed up Thing 1 (Josie) and Thing 2 (Oliver) to participate in a workshop for NASDA (North American Sport Dog Association) and have about 3 tries at finding rats (safely in box cages) that were hidden.   I was hedging my bets thinking that if they were going to be interested in any of the 3 events held it would be rats (the others were finding personal items and hunting for shed antlers).

Yup we even loaded up Iago and took her on her first camping trip.   She road in her acrylic carrier (remember those training  sessions in an earlier post) and although it took me quite a while to get her in to leave we got it figured out by the time we came home.    It was strapped on the end of the bed over the wheels to eliminate bounce and then when we arrived she went in her camping cage.   Yes I did discover I need to do some tweeking to that but the travel crate worked well and I was able to use my sensor thermometer to monitor the temps back there as we traveled.   

We boondocked without hook ups out in my friend's pasture and I was so thankful for having brought the generator (only way to run the air conditioner) and extra gas.    I also discovered we still haven't fixed the trailer furnace - well we have but it doesn't work for cold MT nights.   More to work on there.

We had a lovely view and we had some SHOCKING weather.   It's MT and it is June and the thunderstorms that came through 2 evenings were no joke!   Thunder, lightening, dumping rain, driving wind and hail.   I was so happy I wasn't parked broadside to the wind (thank god) and that I had earlier put down the back stabilizer jacks (we were still hooked up to the truck).  I also saw the worst one coming so had stuffed things  under the trailer, closed up the truck topper and rolled in the awning.   It was a harrowing 30 minutes for sure and the temps dropped 20 degrees in 10 minutes flat.  

Still the views were pretty spectacular as you can see.    On to the dog sports.....

Tuesday we had  some fun games seeing what all the dogs (mine and my friend's dogs) might be interested in.  She and her husband have such a lovely place and a green area around their home that is fantastic (Epic wants to be adopted as they have a pond and a creek).   

Josie and Oliver took a go at finding my personal items (not tracking me - finding them where someone else placed them).   Both kinda got it.  On to antlers....they were less interested.   It was great as we were throwing them but neither were interested enough to even pick em up.  I'm calling that a fail.   Lastly we did rats.  We tried them together initially and while they were somewhat curious and Josie definitely "got how to find em" nothing like the Cesky Terriers.  Still there was enough that I was okay with practicing during our trials Thursday.   Just for fun I took Epic out while we still had a rat box out to track.   Epic is VERY visual and I just didn't even think this would interest him.  Well I had him on leash and as the rat box dragged on the ground his nose snapped down and he followed it so I turned him loose.  Well, as he does with his ball and being Epic, he definitely went and found the box but did it as a "drive by" not actually stopping to indicate the box.  THEN he saw the pond and he was done with rats!   I was very surprised (remember we are trying to find him new outlets with his injury diagnosis) and well, maybe we'll try something "nosey" with him too.

I don't have any photos of my dogs working but both Josie and Oliver went 1 out of 3 in their finds of rats during the trial.   It was fine.   Is this THEIR game - ummmmm not sure.  I do believe Josie gets it but as with everything I've done with her, she isn't convinced that cookies or praise makes it worthwhile.   She would really rather track the rabbit that crosses the course than indicate the rat, but she IS nosey.   Oliver is a different story.  While I would have thought some of his rat terrier instinct would kick in, it really didn't.   He was very very timid even going up to the box to sniff the rat/litter, almost scared and no convincing was going to change that.   He scented the 2 rats but he didn't actually indicate them - kind of like "oh yeah I smell it, it's  over there somewhere" and then was done.   The HUNT wasn't really his deal and I'm not convinced he wasn't also following Josie's scent.

All is not lost though as I learn every time I work with my dogs and in situations where they are in a new environment and asked to do new things, I learn more about them.   Didn't get a lot of "new info" on Josie but a LOT on Oliver.   He's gotten this tendency the last year or so where he losses his shit AT things (like a high energy dog out hunting, or Epic chasing a ball while he is restrained).  What I did discover is that isn't him being terrier is him being fearful and it manifests with him barking and snapping and sometimes going after whoever (canine) is nearby - even his family.   So I was totally reading that wrong.   I also discovered that at this point - he gains all his confidence around new stuff from Josie.   Not surprising but now duly noted so he needs more alone time with Mom in new situations.   So there is a lot of words about a lot of stuff but pretty much sums it up.

Now on to some more photos.   My friend has Cesky Terriers and I brought my big camera so I could do photos of her dogs and them competing so here are some of those.

After fighting with the furnace 3 nights I decided to leave after our runs on Thursday.  I had left myself the option to leave early or stay till Saturday but I was tired, the dogs were tired, Iago was pretty much done with it and I didn't want to fight the long weekend traffic on Friday on top of the construction I knew we'd have.  I was glad  I did.  Traffic was light, the temps were lower and it made me feel less rushed to get some things done at home.   We all slept like stones Thursday night even the dogs didn't say a peep till well after 9 a.m. Friday morning (they never make it past 7).

Friday and Saturday were the first 2 days of chores.   Because the county decided to water down one of the roads I had to drive over to get out of town my trailer and truck were covered in red dirt and I knew if it was left on them it would become concrete.  So rinsing off was required.   That took way longer than I had hoped.   Saturday I was planning on laying out the bird netting for the end yard so that when help arrived Sunday we could get it up.  Well it stayed cool long enough that once I figured out where the corners were I just went for it and we now have a single back yard again and room for the dogs to roam more.   Not that I don't have other work to do back there now but the big job is done and the little fence is down so I can more easily get to my clothes line which I also got put back up.

Saturday night Ias storms rolled in again for the second night and it cooled off I got busy starting some serious cleaning (i.e. throwing out) starting with the office.   I was considering putting Iago's cage back in the office (which back in the day was the bird room) but honestly I think she will be happier in the living area with us.   She was relocated because I'm still not happy with the arrangement in the living room either.   I still have "stuff" hanging around in places it shouldn't and I will have my work cut out for me in the spare room and the dog room.  All WILL be cleaned out by Fall and I can happily report that the trash is full for mid-week pick up, I have items not only for the re-Store but also the thrift store.

Here's a little "chop face" for ya till next week....


[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 03 Jul 2022 22:58:15 GMT
Week of June 19, 2022 Another busy busy week but I want  to first and foremost thank those of you that are reading  and commenting on my posts.   I know you are out there even if I'm not making it to your blogs to respond in kind!

Was really nice to have a long weekend but as usual that meant we paid for it with 5 days of work squished into 4.   Top that off with 2 days of full time headphone use while watching vendor demos and I was exhausted.  Oh and that wasn't enough because on the morning of day 2 we were told we were going to be reorganized (our small group which honestly is like family) and split apart.   Stress for sure but honestly this company does this every time there is a change in leadership (which seems to be often) so am doing my best to just roll with it.   It isn't all bad for me but it is very sad how it is being handled but not any different than it is anywhere else in corporate America anymore.  Sadly.   But good news, we all still have jobs and just different bosses.   Onward we go!

On to more interesting things - like LIFE!

The work week started off coolish but the sun came out and it warmed up and the dogs and Iago are spending more time outside in the fresh air!  Good for them all and as I have breaks from work I get to go out and hang out on the patio with all of them.   I will tell you when they come in for dinner and fill their tummies they are all CRASHED for the evening.   I have been too unfortunately not just from fresh air.

Another development this week is that we have a new addition coming to our home next month thanks to my brother who will be doing transport.   This is Gizmo, a baby Solomon Island Eclectus who is coming here from N California (don't hold that against him). Thank you to Kent who is doing the extra mileage to go fetch him and bring him up here when he comes next month.  Thanks to Carol who has been raising this baby since he hatched March 2nd.   Handfeeding is no joke people but also she  has been teaching him about flying and wearing a harness and have some manners.   I have lusted after another one of these boys (and a few others) for many years since I had my rescue pair years ago.  This is Scarlett and Rhett that were rehomed with me "back in the day".


Scarlet and Rhett (eclectus)Scarlet and Rhett (eclectus) I've learned so much since then and haven't had a baby parrot since 1991 when I got my first macaw (not Iago).  It'll be exciting I am sure and I'm looking forward to having a bird that isn't clipped (we've learned a lot in the past few years) and while I won't be "free flying" him I do want him to be able to do what he as a bird is meant to do - fly.   That of course means upping my dog management game but I think it will be fine.  I have 2 that cannot be out if I'm moving parrots or have them out - either the dogs are locked up or the parrot is - just how it has to be.   No more management than we do today.

My gardens are doing great and will have to start watering here soon.   Here are some phone photos I popped out and took the other night.  No  macros as again, we seem to have a breeze all the time and the iris are so tall they move around.   I discovered a new iris that bloomed that Mom and I think we planted last year.  It is the most gorgeous soft purple and yellow compared to what I had already.


Tiger lilies are kicking in and oh my the lilacs out back smell marvelous and the beautiful swallow tail butterflies are really enjoying those.

I am really busy (surprise) now that the summer weather has decided to settle in and it is warm, windy and dry.   Watering, mowing and all those items are always in the process of being done.   I'm behind on my big mowing (up back) but hope that the long 4th weekend will remedy that. In the photo above 2 are "grazing" but one has lost his ball which rolled under the cage and he can't figure out how to get it back!   That's kinda the story of our life!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 26 Jun 2022 22:40:27 GMT
Struggling with Titles Honestly folks I think I'm just going to put the publish date in these titles and try to then catch you up from the previous post!   It's summer and not only am I busy but my creative genes are all going to things other then titles for blogs - haha.

The week has been busy of course with work and summer stuff.   My main objective for the week was to get mowing done.  I almost did between rain storms (but the back isn't done yet).   It took me 2 days on the rider, plus of course the lawn push mowing.   Of course I got my gas for the rider and then discovered that the battery was dead.  Such fun - off to town again for that as we were on like 2-3 days of no rain.   As I was mowing the hood of my 25 year old mower fell apart so in between I had to get that fixed up.   Always something but man I LOVE that old mower!   I have to say 25 years of not being at all treated with "tender loving care" it still fires up for me each year thanks to my brother who helps me maintain it each summer.   

I was also blessed to be able to have coffee with a friend I've not had a chance to just visit with in YEARS!   i looked forward to it all week and it made my Friday.

Since I had a "long" weekend off work I of course had my list of to-dos.  Mowing was #1 and one of the other items was to get the framing up for the bird netting of the rest of the back yard (didn't get the clothes line back up yet though).   I had ordered netting but opened it up to discover it was too small (would have netted small song birds) and it was just awful so I have new netting coming (because of course I can't remember where I ordered my other net from.  Dang though PVC has gotten so expensive!   I did end up piecing together using some of my leftovers behind the garage and with parts that I already had (because the stores  didn't have all the right connectors either).   So looking forward to being able to use the whole yard again.  Thanks to my friend Robin for popping over for a visit and helping me get those top bars in and holding the ladder to get the eye screws in the house.


Our weather has been "bipolar" I swear.  The first of the week I was running the furnace, the  end of the week I was debating putting the a/c in!   Today (Monday) had to run the furnace again this morning to take the chill off (and I'm not a warmer is better person).   The two hotter days were sun bathing days and the dogs and the parrot spent most of the days outside.


With the two big projects done I had a few more tweeks to do to Iago's RV cage (I wanted it bolted down to the table I have it on, so that was done and since I really didn't have time to do much work with her during the week, once that was finished it was time to introduce her to the trailer and cage AND that involved also getting her in her carry crate and taking it out to the trailer (good practice).  She did really good but honestly by the time she was back in the house she was over the whole bit.   Not sure yet but think she'll ride in the 'vet crate' and hang in the RV cage then when we are parked.  We'll see how it works out (bribing with pine nuts and walnuts helps).


You know she isn't ever going to be a cuddly warm super friendly parrot so my promise to her is that if she just stays flexible and trust that I won't put her in danger that I won't go off "expecting more".   

So really that has been about all for the week.  Thought I'd leave you with some photos of my big hybrid iris that are now really starting to show off.  I didn't get one in here of the yellow/purple one but it bloomed literally the night after I took these.   My hostas are also really starting to get going and my lilacs out back are blooming like mad and oh my gosh how I love the smell they are sending down into the back yard!


Going to be another busy week at work - but kinda looking forward to the 3 days of just a single focus item.   Short week this week and short week the next two weeks including a new  type of dog event at a friend's place that I'll plan to take photos at as well (Iago's maiden voyage too).



[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Mon, 20 Jun 2022 19:53:09 GMT
Dogs and Friends and Parrot and Projects - Oh My And the rain continues!   I am trying my best to keep things mowed but with rain pretty much every day I will likely have to have to do 3 passes on the drainfield if it ever dries up!   Never fear I always have stuff to do and honestly we are grateful for the rain.

I have to share that the wild birds here this year are pretty spectacular.   After having the oriole visit earlier this spring, I now have also seen a Western Tanager and and Evening Grossbeak which I have not seen here in about 15 years.   This has prompted me to rearrange my living room now so I can sit and actually look out the front windows and watch the birds (and the neighbors drive by).

While my old timey purple iris out back are still going strong the Japanese Iris (or what we call wild iris) are just starting to bloom and I am just starting to see buds on my other big iris.    In between rain storms I was able to get out with the macro lens and get this photo of the wild iris and just to take a fun one of the now defunct daffodils.

Am still working hard at more interactions with Iago and this week her travel carrier (which cost WAY too much money for what I got) showed up.  While I'm disappointed in it we are still going to use it and if I don't get a new DIY one done before we start to travel again then I'll have it.   So I got the walnuts out and we started "crate training".   I didn't get all fancy with her and use the clicker as I was pretty sure I could just work with treats and praise.   For all her weirdness she really does catch on pretty quick.  It took her a while to warm up to it but within  about 15 minutes she was  going in and out both ends and getting on the perch following the treats.  I'll take the win for now.   Her camper cage parts should  be here this week so that will be next on the list of projects.

PVC has been purchased and the netting showed up for the end of the yard.   Am hoping I can maybe get away without the horizontal supports this time (cuz dangit PVC has also gotten expensive!)   

The Universe also gifted me again at the grocery store where I ran into a long  time friend who now lives elsewhere and is back visiting.    Dinner was had and the most marvelous catch up.

Meanwhile this is pretty much the dogs' life.   Louie tries to get every sun ray possible and is loving the option to go out front when he wants pretty much.   The rest of these guys - dunno what to say.


Last weekend was pretty quiet as I had registered for a bunch of online music workshops as part of Quarantune.   I have no fewer than 4 instruments I am slowly working on and want to get those opportunities in when I can and this is a great way to do it.   I took a super basic 101 of my autoharp, a couple new chord lessons for my mountain dulcimer, a great hammered dulcimer class and a beginner 101 Irish bones class.   All were super fun and I learned a lot.  Summer is hard though as I just have too many other things going on to get in the practice I need.   No problem though as I still have the materials and the contacts if I need to go back.   

The week did give us a couple days of sunshine-like weather where I booted dogs and parrot all outside.  Also mowing the lawns but didn't have time to get to the acreage sadly and now it is back to raining every day.  It's never gonna dry out!

My project THIS weekend was to get Iago's camping cage completed and I accomplished that!   Time is getting short before our next camping trip.   I also had a few odds and ends in the trailer to get completed and since it was rainy all weekend good time for those!

Of course it involved a couple extra trips to the hardware store and it isn't  professional looking at all but it fits her and it works so I'm good with it.  The sides are acrylic 1/4" pegboard, used so that I don't have to worry about her chewing on walls or anything in the camper AND she's a bit more secure from the dogs.  The top, bottom and door are recycled dog expen panels  cut to size and then used the dremel to smooth the exposed ends where I cut them.   The stand is a childs folding table which once I got it into the trailer think I may just remove the legs from it for easier moving.  I installed handles on the sides to not only carry (it's pretty heavy) but also to secure it  both to the bottom and then in the trailer as needed.   We'll see how it works out.    

Cage in, trailer sorta cleaned and some tweeking of the shelves and pegboard are done (and bed is now made.   Poodles (well one of em) supervised but the old man decided it was more fun to wander off and not come when called - so he got put back in the yard.

I did get some more flower photos (my iris are blooming like mad) but will share those and hopefully more of the gardens next time (if the weather ever cooperates).   One hazard of trying to use the macro lens is that if there is even a small breeze we get blurry photos.    There should be a bunch of bitterroot blooming as well once the sun comes back out.

I'll end it here instead with critter shots!  LOL




[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 12 Jun 2022 21:22:19 GMT
On To Summer (Projects Galore) I am totally realizing now why I am so freaking lazy all Winter - because Summer bring so many projects!   Sheesh (yeah still no excuse for the lazy).  I'll try and catch you all up here in some kind of orderly fashion but no guarantees.   Oh and the photo quality is what it is - the week was the week of the iphone and no editing.

The long weekend was super busy, then super rainy and wasn't as accomplished as I'd hoped.  No worries, I've been catching up all week!   Work was really heads down this week which honestly was a blessing.  I could focus on the single items at hand and once off work, take on the assorted, not so organized projects at home!

Tuesday I was minding my business at my desk and low and behold the tree people arrived to take down the tree on the west end of my house.  A bit 80' double ponderosa pine that while it gave some shade really was more problematic than helpful.   My gutters were always full of pine needles, they were rotting my shingles and that end of the yard was a nightmare.   It also was causing some issues even with the growth of my tree out front because of the space it was taking up.   Oh did I mention the fire hazard too close to the house?   This team was great and within 3 hours had it down, things chipped and cut up for firewood and the area on both sides of the fence are now cleaner than they have ever been!

Now I need to restring the clothes line (yes we left the trunk at about 10' high) and I am going to overhead bird net that end of the yard now so we can utilize it as it should be for the dogs.    I think this coming Sunday will likely be a PVC and hardware run to get the posts done for that project (which I'm kinda excited about and will use as an excuse not to paint -haha).    Looks so different but so happy I can clean gutters once and they'll stay clean longer.    Still have about 3 trees that my brother and I will need to take down this summer but they are small and then of course need to move the log pile and split those for firewood.

On the Iago front, progress is still happening.   Her food switch is going well, I finally got my office organized so she can come in here and be on the perch while I work (and the dogs are locked out).   Takes a little dog managing to make that happen but we make it work.   I have 3 that can't be out when I'm moving her around as I don't want any accidents or for them to freak her out!    We had great progress Friday on getting her to step up more on my hand than on my arm.  The arm just isn't secure enough but I've never really forced the "hand" issue so I can put my thumb down on her feet to keep her steady.   Friday she was in the office on the floor and I just didn't offer her my forearm.   She did great!    I also reassembled (a feat in and of itself) her other cage outside in the back yard to use as an outdoor space for her.   I mentioned I was considering an aviary but right now she just doesn't move around that much (never really has and at this age likely won't) so would rather repurpose.    It is now in location #2 and she loves being out there although not as much if no one is out there with her.   As the dogs spend more time in the back this summer and as I also spend more time out there on the back patio she'll be happy. scenery.

I'll try to get pictures of our back yard situation for next post!    Meanwhile we had sun just a few hours every couple days and Louie loves being able to go out front and just hang out without all the other crazies (Thing 1 and Thing 2).    The two youngsters got 2 rides down to the mailboxes on the bike this week and I am still taking the poodles on "forced marches" down the road and back most days.   The old man really tires out on these especially with the warm weather but he needs it and Epic just loves being able to go even though he can't be "Epic crazy" anymore.   Both poodles got adjusted this week which I think makes them feel better and of course the new summer haircuts are a bonus.

Lawn mowing was in high gear as well this week, second for the back but first for the front.  The front was so long I got double my steps in going to empty the mower bag.   Looks nice now though and the new baby pine tree out front survived the winter and is putting on new growth.   I also happily got my first picking of rhubarb now in the freezer as well.   YUM.   My iris out back are blooming like mad this year (amazing what a little fertilizer will do) and I see buds on my iris out front now.   The daffies are done and I see new daylily growth on the one that some sneaky deer chomped while I was on vacation!   

Oh and I did manage to get some of my trailer things done this week as well.  The doors under the bed now don't fall off - yay and I got my Lagun table mount put up although I still need to find a different table top for it which I'll do when I go look for the top and bottom for Iago's new camping cage (another DIY project I've not started yet).

Meanwhile Friday night and Saturday are booked with music workshops - even though I've not had time to even touch any of my instruments.   I signed up for these a few months ago and lost my mind and am taking some classes across 4 different music instruments.   What was I thinking?   It'll be fun, wanted some starter stuff on the Autoharp, need some inspiration on my Hammered Dulcimer, some chord work for my Mountain Dulcimer I just started back on (the drone style I was playing doesn't involve fingering chords) and just for fun a class on Irish Bones (go look it up - wink).  Fun stuff and looks like I may just take the laptop out on the back patio or front deck and go for it!    See my head explode??  LOL

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Epic Iago Poodles projects Sterling Fri, 03 Jun 2022 18:20:03 GMT
Crazy End to May Well what a month it has been too!   End of vacation :-(, dogs, vets, parrots, spring in MT and all that brings.  So let me catch you up on the past week or so (with some fill in as I've not written all that has  gone on in the weeks since we returned from our trip.


She is doing pretty well.   The food conversion is actually going better than I thought.  She's not quite as enthusiastic  about "chop" for breakfast as I'd hoped but she is now diving into the new pellets in the evening.   Still adding some "yum dust" to her chop in the mornings.   She isn't eating a lot but then I have also realized that I think she's a bit overweight (lack of exercise much like her Mom) as well.   Not to worry, she is eating and seems to be much calmer as well.  I'm taking the win on that one.    I did bake her up some birdie bread today (Sunday - and it is rainy and cold out) and will see if she likes that.

Yesterday a friend came over to help me with some heavy lifting chores and also then helped me get Iago out and do her  nails.  They were too long and way too sharp to be able to handle her to train or even move.  Sadly it does require toweling her at this point.  Friend was in charge of making sure she didn't bite me (keep track of the covered head) and I realize now that was a bad move on my part.   I was distracted enough with her worry of getting bit and my worry she'd get bitten that it resulted in MY getting bitten.   Lost a chunk out of my thumb and blood was everywhere.  My bad and my friend was a champ running to get band aids and clean up the blood bath after.   No worries, I'll live and by evening it was feeling better.   Lesson learned but we did get her nails dremeled.

Next item was to switch out her cage.  I loved the big one I got her except that it really limited where I could position her in the house.   I still had the old cage in the rafters so after some heavy lifting (again thanks Robin) we got the cage assembled and Iago in it.   Smaller and shorter but allows me to mover her around more and  also reduces the height which will help in training.  Never fear the old cage had to be disassembled to get it outside and I'll finish that and stash it for the time being.    The thinking is that she 1.  will be getting out time with me  for training and 2.  am still looking to get that aviary - but DANG they are expensive.

We did one really short touch session in her cage today through the bars with a target stick and clicker.   I'd say it was  a moderate success.  She reverts to that pissed off territorial stuff quickly (and let's be honest she's probably still pissed off about yesterday).     I'll take what progress we get.   At this point am not going to push it for a few more days as she adjusts to her new cage and to the new location in the house.    Meantime I've got her somewhere too that I can monitor Thing 1 and Thing 2 (Josie and Oliver) so they aren't at the cage harassing her either (lessened substantially by the new feeding system).


My silver handsome dude turned 12 this week!    He "celebrated" with a haircut (for the  one actual summer day we had) and he walked (he says "forced marched") 5 days this week.  I'm continuing to see issue with his mobility and loss of muscle tone so he is walking with Epic and me down the road and back most days.   I see his stamina  getting  better already.   He continues to do some inside stretching and rehab type work but I really think the walking helps him most.  He's never had a LOT of stamina and well, he's 12.   And he's still cute as all that....



Oh my so much to catch up on.   You know he was broken when we went on vacation.   I also spent that time observing a lot and determining what things caused his right front pain and lame issue.    We returned home and my vets and I (had to find a new full service practice as well) decided that a CT scan would be helpful to figure out why his neck was giving him so much issue and affecting his leg.   Kudos to my rehab vet Cathy who has been working on him diligently for months, my person chiropractor Terri who has also been helping adjusting him and finally Michelle and the staff in Great Falls at Big Sky Animal Hospital  that did the scan and are now my full service vet clinic.   Not ideal 90 miles away BUT I found out (and confirmed directly) that my local vet clinic that I've been a client of for YEARS with all my dogs decided to no longer do ANY after hours vet care.  I was pissed to say the least that they didn't even bother to notify their existing clients!   

So, CT scan.....the results came back and in a nutshell both Cathy and Terri were bang on in the location of the issue (in his neck vertebrae C5 and C6).   They saw "mineralization" on both of those but couldn't say much more than that.  With the help of Cathy and Michelle (who are also friends of mine) and Google I found some information mostly indicated for doxies and long backed dogs where this happens and mostly in their lower backs.   This mineralization is causing "root nerve" issues which causes the pain (read if  he moves wrong it irritates the nerve(s) that go down his front leg).   Was of course freaked out when I read that this is similar to herniated discs in humans and "can result in a ruptured disc and/or paralysis".   We cannot determine 100% if there is issue with his spinal cord but as he shows no neurological issues at this point probably not.   

Will be having long continued conversations with my vets but basically, some dogs if in stage 1 are confined for 4-6 weeks can get over it (read "over" not cured), other option of course - surgery.   My gut at this point says I really do not want to be doing neck/spike surgery on a 9 year old dog with all the possible complications that brings AND that is is at best 80% successful, serious lockdown recovery and rehab after.   Chances even with surgery are good he'll not be 100% again anyway.   Other option is continued rehab (walking, evaluating, acupuncture, sound wave, chiro, maybe laser) on a regular basis.  It also means the the things that I KNOW make him relapse (cause the nerve pain) are officially off the table forever.   This thing is not cured but I also don't want a bad relapse or worse cause something to rupture.  


Those of you that know Epic or of Epic know that too is not ideal but I know we have the ability to still give quality of life even though in his head if he feels good "do it".    He is officially retired from competition anything (because what we hoped to do was Rally and it involves jumping).   Walks are on leash with a bit of off leash maybe towards the end when he's tired.  Sleeping is heated.   No more fetching.   Training way more calm....when company comes, when the UPS  truck goes by, when we go up back to play (that will be the hardest).   Pain management as needed.    No more dock diving and probably no swimming as that required he pull his head up and back and THAT  my friends compressed those discs.   More trick training and training of stretches to just keep him limber.    Maybe time to get him off "visual mode" and into scenting mode....maybe tracking?  Dunno.    No jumping in and out of the truck (Mom gets to DIY a ramp now for him and Sterling.

Is it ideal - no but he doesn't know that and my responsibility is to keep him safe (even from himself) and comfortable.  Keep the conversation going with his  vets and go from there I guess.   Yes it is the shits!

Josie and Oliver and Louie

They are all doing great.   Oliver is back in jammies today as it turned cold and wet again.   Josie may be looking at a bath tomorrow if the rain continues (shhhhh).    Louie at 16 just keeps trucking along.  He has some serious old man moments and times he is fussy but generally eats, sleeps and poops.   Thing 1 and Thing 2 haven't been on the bike in a week or more due to weather and we ALL need to get back to some training games.

Till then rainy days at our house look kinda like this!


Everything Else

I eluded to a busy day Saturday (of the Memorial Day weekend) and thank goodness we did all the outside type stuff as rain is in the picture for the next 2 days off.   Bummer but the gardens are happy.

My lovely friend Robin came out after I ran to town, picked up food and dropped off food (for Tinker).   In prep I had moved the pickup truck dog kennels out of the back room and back out to the garage (they are about 150 pounds so no small feat.  I'd also gotten in the back of the truck to pull everything out.  In the process found a mouse nest and the mouse (ICK!!!!!!!!!).   That then led me to taking out everything in the front of the truck as well to make  sure there  were no other nests or riff raff.  The mouse didn't bail off the truck that  I saw so I'm guessing she's  still in there somewhere.   Double ICK!    Got the back emptied out and Robin and I headed to Power Townsend where I finally found  a propane grill I could afford (my old one  bit the dust this winter).   Got it home (still in the box however) and put the kennels in the truck, the tools and the generator  all lifted in and  ready to go.    The kennels were getting no use in the house and can ride in the truck and still have stuff put in them, be used for the dogs  or even for Iago.  Time will tell.

Reloaded all the inside stuff as well so that is complete.  Whew!

Then we did the bird stuff which took the rest of the afternoon (see above).

I've managed over the week to get the back lawn mowed but not the front (and now the back needs it again).   Got the tree guys to come out and bid removing my big double pine tree that is on the west end of my house...YAY.   Appointments, work, and all matter of other household stuff.   Got one gallon of paint to have on hand to work on the outside of my house  as time and weather permits and still have things to get fixed in the trailer before my next trip.  

Never a lack of things to do!    The trees are just now leafing out and the lilacs in town are blooming while mine barely have buds.  But my iris out back are blooming like crazy (amazing what a tad bit of fertilizer will do) and the daffies out front are done and I'm fighting a losing battle with the lily of the valley which I stupidly planted 25 years ago!  Oh well.  Picking rhubarb is next on the list though.



That's the week in a nutshell - haha.   Hope you all are well and happy!   BuhBye!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Mon, 30 May 2022 00:21:36 GMT
Project - Iago (first steps) Most of you know enough about me that I always have a few "projects" going especially in the Summer.   One of this Summer's projects is my taking a real initiative to build my somewhat tattered relationship with Iago my scarlet macaw.    

Iago's History:

Iago came to me in 2003 when she was about 2.5 years old (she was hatched in 2000).   She came to me from the breeder here in Montana that I got my first blue and gold macaw from back in the late 90s.   She and her clutch-mate actually had been to my house for a few days back in 2000 when her breeder had to evacuate due to wildfires.  At that time I hand fed them and took in a few other of her macaws.   Alas it was just a few days and I wasn't interested in having another big bird (and Rio was really my heart parrot).   A few years later I actually contacted the breeder about my possible interest in an African gray parrot.  As we had conversation she said she had this young scarlet that she really wanted to find a home for as her wasn't getting the attention needed in her aviary/home.   If I was interested she would love to have me adopt her.   I pondered for a couple weeks then said I would.   Now remember she had been hand fed however had very limited interactions past that.   She was a good friend for my blue and gold but I will be the first to admit, she wasn't as tame and therefore got less attention/training than my already trained and super lovable cuddly blue and gold.

So here is the truth:   I did work with her some but not to the relationship building work I should have done.   Life intervened and I lost my blue and gold (still a hole in my heart 10+ years later).   I also got busy with my house, relationships and my other animals - mostly my dogs and dog activities.   Since then Iago has really kinda just been in the background of the house.   Interactions outside of her cage are minimal as I just wasn't set up to manage having her out and the dogs locked up. 

So no one to blame for any of her issues but me.  :(

Starting Point:

Iago is very definitely a girl, we have had eggs to prove it!   Hormones for sure play a large part in her "attitude" (as I've gone thru the Horror-mones video with Bird Tricks).   She also is VERY cage territorial, even to feed a piece of something yummy in thru the bars of her cage results usually in a beak hit on the cage bars and grabbing what she can and dropping it.   She is very angry and I cannot blame her - much of that is on me the rest I'm putting on the hormones (no worries Iago - I personally know how that is).   What breaks my heart is that we've seem to have lost ANY relationship we might have had (and she shows it even in her talking when the pet sitters visit or company comes but not when it is just us).

She has been eating primarily Pretty Bird Macaw pellets and some soft cooked foods (which she really loves and I will hear her cooing as she eats that - now realize that too will play into the hormones - man those things suck).  She has also always had food available full time.  She has a large cage (6X3) indoors and is positioned in the family room by the sliding glass door or windows as she seems to enjoy being able to watch goings on outside.  She always has toys and (to my now realization) love loves having bags and paper to rip up (nesting) in addition to those hanging type toys.   She also loves nuts in the shell (walnut especially).   

We have had a few summers where I have also put together her old cage outside and put her on the back patio with us for some new scenery.  She seemed pretty indifferent to that but didn't resist and I think that outside time will be something she will enjoy.

Project Beginnings!

So here we go.   I now can't say all of YouTube's algorithms are bad.  A "recommended" video popped up from Bird Tricks.   I watched and discovered Jamieleigh and Dave using clicker training and targeting with parrots.   Oooooo I said, I can do that (since that is how I train my dogs and have been for years).  Why hadn't I thought about that!?!    So binge watching ensued and as with most of my training....motivated me!

They also focus a great deal on sleep and nutrition - another juicy bit for me (again I do it with my dogs but Iago has been on the back burner).

I ordered some of their courses, continue to watch videos as well as their pellets. 

And away we go!

Step 1:

Go to feeding twice a day (like I do the dogs duh) instead of leaving food in for her all day long for her to eat at her leisure.  This will help in tracking nutrition, weight, and training (why would she want treats and train if she can just go back in her cage and eat what she wants - treat value not withstanding).   Having that food sitting their also doesn't help with her cage aggression and territorial issues.

CHECK (and no she isn't thrilled but honestly is okay with it and I have oh so much less waste!)

Step 2:

Remove all that nesting type material from her cage to help with the hormones (nutrition and sleeping will also help).   While it was cute to watch her with the bags and all it won't help with her being territorial - PROTECT THE NEST AT ALL COSTS!

CHECK (and no she isn't thrilled - haha and has literally destroyed all of the wood toys that were newly hanging in her cage the past few days)

Step 3:

New and better nutrition.   She will be going onto the Season Feeding System promoted by Jaimieleigh and Dave (because it makes TOTAL SENSE) and on to their more balanced pellets.   This should help in all areas of her life honestly.   I spent a few hours (and a shopping trip for a new Ninja system - no worries, two of my other appliances are now headed to the thrift store) working on this.   Soaking beans, cooking those, then figuring out the ratios and cooking of the other grains, then massive food processor work with the fresh veggies.   This makes 4+ months of fresh food for her so that makes the time justification easier.   No bowls big enough so trash bag in the sink for mixing worked marvelous!

Am also trying my hand at sprouting some of the beans and have also gotten a new sprouting system to use but won't be doing that until I see she really is going to take on the new "chop".


ONGOING - started this week.   Day 1 - she wasn't thrilled but did at least have some tastes of the chop (once I added a bit of walnut powder in) and of the new pellets (they ain't sweet sugar anymore).    Honestly she is tricky cuz I have seen her literally go 2 days not eating pellets while I was gone because the sitter gave her nuts in the shells so she "held out".   Just gotta work on "out thinking her" and enticing her.  Day 2 I mixed some of the little bit of cooked package food I had left into the chop - she was much more interested in breakfast and has sampled throughout the morning.   I also added a few pellets in it just cuz.  

Step 4:

Better sleep.   Tough one especially summer in our house as it doesn't get dark dark till 10 and is light at 5.   At this very moment in time we make it as dark in her cage (remember getting her out is a problem at the moment) as we can but will be transitioning to a sleeping cage (may also be her camping cage as well - a DIY project is in possibly in the future).  She'll then be in a room where I can control the darkness so she gets that 10-12 hours of real sleep without interruption (dogs, menopausal Mom, company etc.).  Some rearranging in the household for that.


Step 5:

Way more baths.  I added a humidifier next to her cage already but I am going to really focus on getting her bathed to help that feather condition (as will sunlight and nutrition).   Anxious to see that all improve.


Summer Goals:

Once she has some time to get used to all the above changes we will start getting some training going.   I have a new stand/perch built for her and will be utilizing that.   (I do need to shorten it though and then add some weight bags on the bottom to stabilize.

Honestly once out of the cage (even to do nails and clip wings - the latter of which will no longer happen) she has never been nippy as she is in the cage.   I am so excited for that but I also know that at 22 I need to take this slow for her and at her pace.    She will also be getting some outside time this summer as well but I haven't got a complete picture of that.   I am considering the possibility of an aviary out back for her that is large and will give her the ability to stretch her wings.

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Iago Wed, 25 May 2022 16:44:18 GMT
Goodbye South Beach Hello Home

We really enjoyed our stay at South Beach but after 2 weeks the dogs (and I - sorta) were ready to head east again.   But we didn't leave  without a couple stops at the South Beach Fish Market for lunches (5 stars) and of course a visit to Bow Wow Meow and Fred Meyer.    We also enjoyed the down time and my brother started to teach me cribbage.   I'm pretty horrible and haven't by far, figured out the strategy but since I really don't care who wins it was fun.  He  bought me a cribbage "kit" and also Mexican Train as a late birthday present and both are now secured in the trailer.  The latter is more  fun with at least 3 people.   Kinda fun!

Before I get us headed home I'm  going to throw in a ton of macro type photos and misc. for you.  I was trying to see if my little hiking camera would do macro decently.  The ones it did get right were okay but I just need to have my big camera for that stuff.   Now I know.   It did however capture some great sunset photos  the single night we actually had a sunset!

And finally here is the broken poodle who joined us for our sunset walk and baby camera and all did pretty well with his photo shoot.

We headed home on a Thursday and I had plans to take 3 days to come home (with a stop back at the farm at Cheney) but by the time we got on the road I decided to cancel that and push it home the last day to give us 2 days at home before work rather than one.   Glad I did.

Our first day on the road was rain rain rain which was fine till we hit I5 headed north.   Luckily I was able to have a marvelous stop and visit with my good friend Lori before we hit the bad stuff.   Cray cray drivers I tell you.   There was a wreck at Salem (indicated by red on my GPS) which luckily didn't entirely stop traffic.   I205 around Portland went surprisingly well but it still poured rain and can I just say it was so very sad to see the  amount of homeless along that route.  I've never ever seen that in  years past so I can only imagine the encampments actually in Portland.  :(   I always breath a sigh of relief when we get on I84  and past about the first 30 miles.   Things thin out and I don't feel like  I have to have a death grip on my steering wheel.

We made a quick pit stop after we got out of the rain and the Columbia Gorge was beautiful.  The waterfalls we could  see were doing pretty well I must say and we had a tail wind - WOOHOO!

We filled diesel and got tucked into our really favorite spot at Boardman, did tank chores and tucked in really early as we had to make an early start for our last haul home (10+ hours and we lost an hour on the clock as well).   There was a cool sunset so again broke out the hiking camera and played with some of the weird "SCN" settings literally out the camper window (hey I'd showered and was in my jammies).   So to bore you to the end here ya go!

Special thanks to my brother - who as always is so fun to camp and travel with.   Also to my rehab vet Dr. Cathy Davis and my chiropractor Dr. Terri Hamilton without whom we would have never have gotten on the road.   To my very patient and now travel weary dogs who as always were champs on the road.

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 15 May 2022 22:15:00 GMT
South Oregon Lighthouses and South Beach (2 of 3) Since I haven't really explored much in this part of Oregon my brother and I took a day and went exploring.  Our main attraction was to visit a couple of lighthouses and do a bit of shopping in Bandon.   I found the shop Cranberry Sweets and I highly recommend them and will likely be adding them to my list of places I'll order from.  I went kinda crazy in there but oh my it was yummy AND they had samples of just about anything you wanted to buy.  While walking along the bay (and using the cleanest public bathrooms I've EVER seen), we found these great carvings and a couple calla lilies  I couldn't pass up.  We also had to make a stop at an Ace Hardware to pick up a new space heater as mine had crapped out and it was COLD at night.

We stopped by the Coquille River Lighthouse (est 1896) to take some photos and just have some time out of the truck.   What a sweet little lighthouse. We had a  great weather day though for our exploring.

We also made a stop at Umpqua Lighthouse (and Coast Guard quarters) est. 1857 as the first lighthouse on the Oregon Coast.    There  were no tours when we  were there so all we were able to get was a couple of photos of the lovely blooming tree in front and all the chain link fence around it.

As we always do, Kent and I scoped out campground options while we were driving around.   Since Riley Ranch  is now off the list we wanted  to see what other options there were that would allow access with the sXs to the Dunes.   We were thrilled to find a  number of camping options around the Winchester Bay area including Windy Cove (county run), Umpqua Dunes and Half Moon Bay.   Very excited to know we can reserve and hopefully do some more  playing off  season (I dunno is there really an off season there) at the Dunes.  Below is the fisherman carving at Winchester Bay (and if you look to the left in the back there is a fancy RV Resort.

It was great fun exploring and there is so much more down there to see.   More visits I guess!   On to our next camping stop at our favorite South Beach State Park where  we  scored what we decided were the primo spots (for us anyway) even though they are the farthest walk to the beach (G15 and G17).   Kent has a trailer that is quite a bit longer than mine but he fit in quite nicely as did mine and he was able to unload his side by side so he could camp with some space (no where there to ride but that was fine).   I was also able to get my Moon Shade out and figure out a way to utilize it.  My trailer awning just covers the dog pens so we have no where out of the rain to sit as you can see by pics 2 and 3 below).   I was very happy how the shade attached, set up and held up even during the downpours and the winds.

Meanwhile Epic was doing pretty well but I did have to figure out how to tell him that his favorite beach activity OF ALL TIME (fetching balls on the beach and playing in the ocean) wasn't going to happen.   I have to tell you that it definitely was also a damper on my beach time not being able to watch him (and Sterling and Josie all run on the beach off leash and just have fun).  He still got to go (on the longest flexi I have) though.   No matter, the first walk to the beach was cold and really windy but we still got our walk in!

This is my brother on a walk where we had virtually the whole place to ourselves  (must have been a weekday).

We had one day that we saw many surfers and paddle boarders out there.
This was  a huge tree that had  (obviously) washed up and had all these  creatures on it.  I have no freaking idea what these are so put in the comments if you know!   There were thousands and sadly I'm sure that if the log didn't wash back out they would perish.

The tunnel of trees we walked through to get to the beach.   Also skeeter heaven (as there is a lot of marshy area so walk fast)!

Since we couldn't walk and let the dogs go we did one trip where we just found a great spot in the sunshine to sit and hang out.   Interesting enough, Epic did great while just digging in the sand and of course Josie joined in.   My brother and Sterling have a super special bond so Sterling (who was exhausted from the walk already) stayed out of the way of the others.   I have to say though I think the  first photo is my all time favorite.

We had one spectacularly craptastic weather day where it blew and poured rain so no beach that day but a road trip with the dogs.  We loaded up and headed to Tillamook where Kent and I both wanted to stop at the Tillamook Creamery and do some shopping.  Well we also had lunch and the some of the best cheesy goodness you could ask for!   We also hoped to see the Air Museum but alas it was Monday and closed - so next time (I've been there but knew Kent would enjoy).  

That trip also involved a stop at Depoe Bay for salt water taffy (sadly it and the chocolate from the place I always go was so old it was pretty bad).   Not to worry when we tripped down to Newport Bay I got fresh stuff!

I'll leave you on this post with a little glimpse of camper life with 5 dogs and a small camper.   We had to make some adjustments because Epic wasn't able to jump off the bed without possible side affects.

I'll finish up South Beach and our trip home in the next post.





[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Thu, 12 May 2022 16:33:52 GMT
Helena to Oregon Dunes (long) 1 of 3 It's been a long 3 years since I've had a salt water "fix" so after MANY months of  planning the trailer made it's remodel shake down voyage.    I'll tell you we had a really rough start though so a little pre-trip information.    About 3 weeks before we left Epic started having issues with horrible pain in his neck, shoulders and ribs.   On top of that he also ended up with a raging ear infection (we suspect because of inability to shake his head due to the other stuff happening).   We did intensive rehab, acupuncture, soundwave and chiropractic literally  up to the day we left (more on that in a minute).  He was barely able to move without screaming in pain.   I cannot  tell you how stressful that was for me on top of all the work nonsense going on at the time (on top of trying to get everything ready for our trip).   I think I was as big of a mess as he was - I just wasn't in the physical pain.   So I stocked up on anything that would help his pain got helpful advice from the vet and our chiropractor and prayed he'd at least be able to travel and that being  in the truck for 4 days wouldn't make things worse.

I had planned to take the day before departure off from work but with all the added stress, appointments and such I took 2 days and am glad I did.   We left on a Thursday but again, the Gods were telling me to slow down.  As I filled the trailer water I had a hose leak in the garage.  As I went in to go shut it off, I slipped on the floor, hyper extended my left hamstring/leg and landed  on my right knee.   God bless my friend and chiropractor Terri who  offered to see me literally on our way out of town on Thursday at 7:30 a.m.   I am so glad as Epic  woke up that morning screaming in pain again and barely able to walk because his  neck was messed up.   She fixed us up and off we went - never so glad to get out of town  and away for vacation and praying we'd remain in one piece (honestly, I was really starting to wonder if  it was a good idea to leave at all).

This is a map of the first part of our trip.

The drive was uneventful to our first overnight spot.   It was sad to see how dry it  was all the way across to Spokane.   The rivers should be running high and muddy but they all looked like they do in August.  Our first night was spent at a HipCamp spot south of Cheney WA.   I've started using HipCamp as an alternative option for some overnight spots especially in areas where RV camping is sparse or crappy.   I've always wanted to have a location around Spokane that I could overnight easily on my trips to the West Coast.   The place was awesome and although I  was too tired to do any stargazing (that is one of their activities as they are out where there is no light pollution)  I still enjoyed that it was quiet, our host was lovely and the bonus was the acquisition of 1/2 dozen amazing fresh eggs for the rest of my trip!   Side note:  All the photos here are from either my phone or my little hiking camera - I had the big ones with but didn't dig them out deciding to try to see just how good (or not) the other 2 would work.  

They had chickens, ducks and kitties roaming around which of course really intrigued  my dogs in the camper and were just fun to watch.   Epic seemed to be feeling better and when he actually pulled a ball out of the toy box I had hope he was on the mend as he'd not even touched a toy (his neck was so bad he even had a hard time eating much less chomping a ball) in over 3 weeks.

Next day we took the "back way" down to Boardman where we ALWAYS stop and stay on our way as it is just a marvelous spot.   I stupidly had booked a site I'd had before (#15 which has great big lawns  and awesome views but...) not reading my notes  that it was a bugger to back into.  But we made it and honestly the trip down there (via 95 and Walla Walla) was quite pleasant.   We were rewarded with yet another universal slap in the face when my water pump wouldn't pump water.   Some trouble shooting on the phone with my handy dandy brother and discovered that at some point over time I'd gotten algae in my fresh water tank.  How did that make it through my fresh tank cleansing I did a few weeks prior AND  not  give me a problem the night before - dunno!  It sucked - or rather didn't and all we could surmise  was that it depended on the bumpiness of the roads and how much the stuff got stirred up.  Who knows.   Solution was to pull off the water filter, rinse it, run a bunch of water through the pipes (kitchen sink and shower) without their screens until it  was happy again.  Geez!  Should I turn around and just throw in the towel?

Once resolved though  we were rewarded with a lovely quiet evening (although cold - so glad I had brought the dog bed heating pads  for the two nekkids and two electric space heaters  for the rest of us (one of the suggestions our vet had  was to try to make sure Epic stayed warmer at night so he wasn't constricting those muscles curling up to stay warm).

Like my fun "Happy Camper" jammies?   A gift from Tinker's Mom Linda.  The next day Epic and I did a short walk at the marina where the trees were blooming and got his poop and Sterling's done (as for some reason they weren't getting enough movement in the expens to do it apparently).

Again, can't say enough about  Boardman Marina and RV Park but you must get reservations early if you want to stay there (the reservations open up online  for the season the first part of January).   Full hookups, great walking paths and quiet (this is  family friendly not party friendly) with super nice check in folks and the place is immaculate!

We hit the road headed to our next camping spot at Tumalo State  Park by Bend.   I had always wanted to see the John Day Fossil Beds Painted Hills Unit  so decided to work our way south with a planned stop there  to see what we could.  The research I had done indicated we would probably be able to park up at the Vista Point. What I didn't think about is that it was Saturday and everyone and their dog would be there.    The trip took us down 19 and through the most lovely and well kept small farm town I think I've ever seen.  Condon, OR.   After talking  with my OR expert (Lori you are the bomb) apparently Condon and John Day are pretty popular retirement communities as well.   I was so impressed.    The drive was very interesting with wind farms, what I think is a new ginormous solar farm, and lots and lots of just really cool scenery.   If you have  the chance to take that highway I highly recommend it.  It isn't the fastest drive but it is worth it.  It also goes through some great National Forest.   That said I did map out and take a cut across to get to Mitchell (207) that was okay but I think I'd have been better served with the truck and trailer to just take 19 down to 26.   Drive and learn.  It was a pretty narrow and really slow going road and not the best kept.   

I went up the gravel road to the fossil beds Visitor Center hoping to find a  ranger that might be able to tell me if the truck/trailer could go to the Vista.   None around and based on 1.  the amount of traffic we met and that went by the center and 2. the fact I barely found a place at the  center to park I decided it best to not go all the way up.  So no "iconic" photo from Painted Hills BUT we had passed a pullout that had some cool painted hills where not only could I fully pull off the road but the dogs could get out and stretch.    So we did and had the  pullout all to ourselves!

Since there was no one there I honestly believe it was a better stop than we'd have had with all the yahoos up at the "official stop".    After that onward to Bend/Tumalo where we ran into a raft of classic cars  who must have had a rally in Redmond and on to the off the trail Tumalo State Park.   Kind of confusing as the actual PARK is on one side of the road  but  you get to the campground entrance on the OTHER side of the road first and of course I missed it.  Lovely OR State  Park camp hosts (honestly I've rarely found any that were bad).  I drove up and the lady said "I hope you have a reservation?" to which I replied - "of course!".   Lovely park with quite a few tent  campers but again, some pretty tight backing.  The spots may be long enough  for the rigs but the roads to the spots aren't really wide enough.   Took some fanageling (and asking a tent camper dude to watch so I didn't hit any boulders  I couldn't see) and got in finally.   I knew we would have electric and water hookups  but was  surprised to also see sewer (although I didn't need it as I'd dumped tanks  at Boardman).    We were tuckered out and and another cold night was  upon us (and all the tent campers including the one with a 2 year old who was NOT happy to be cold the next morning).

Would definitely recommend the park but be careful with rig sizes and the spots you pull in.  We were in site 56 which had a big boulder across the road I had to avoid with the truck and a hillside of boulders behind (tricky when dropping the gate to pull the expens  out).   Next morning as I was loading the poodles into the truck (had brought along the dog ramp as Sterling too is having trouble getting his  rear in the truck) Epic had another episode and was screaming.  Got him into the truck, gave him some CBD and we left.

From there we headed to the Oregon Dunes to meet my brother.   I headed down 20 and cut across 58 to I5.  Again 58 was an amazingly beautiful drive, 2 lanes but plenty of pullouts and passing lanes.   Quite a bit of truck traffic but gosh the mountains and lakes were great.   We found a fabulous chain up area (they weren't in use this time of year and provide great spots to pull off and stop if you need to) where everyone got out for a stretch, potty and lunch.  Epic seemed to be better as I now was being extra careful getting him  in and out of the truck and always used the flexi lead as to not put pressure on his neck (we also put on his harness when we could).   I5 was exciting as always but only a short hop to get to 34 and head west to Reedsport.    Another lovely highway to drive and even more entertaining to watch the 100s (I kid you not) of toyhaulers, trailers with toys, toys on trucks heading home after a weekend at the Dunes (this was Sunday after all).   I arrived at Riley Ranch (an ATV people's campground Kent had stayed at before) that allows direct access to the dunes.  I was there right at check in time (2:00 and check out was at noon) and low and behold, both my spot and Kent's were still occupied and NO ONE around either spot.   Kent, who was probably only 20 miles behind me pulled in and we did the loop again, still no one around to even indicate they were packing up.   Now after making reservations 6 months in advance and driving 2-4 days to get there the LAST thing I want to find is that my spot is taken!  So I parked up in the entrance lot  and Kent went to every one of the 3 campground hosts spots - not  a  hosts to be found.   He also talked to someone picking up the garbage and was told basically "good luck finding one of those hosts".  He also stopped and talked to someone in one of the other loops who also indicated that there had even been a big domestic dispute the night before and not a host to be seen.  Great!   So we parked in a field not far from our assigned spots.   About 4 p.m. the motorhome finally pulled out of his spot but meanwhile we  found out the spot down below  that had been empty all weekend - and gee not reservation slips so I went up and parked in his reserved spot (the  idiots in MY spot didn't leave till after 6 that night) and by 5 p.m. decided that Kent would pull  into the one below.  What a cluster and after Kent revealed that the same issue had happened last time he was there we decided one of our missions would be to find someplace else to camp next time  we did the Dunes.  None the less, the spot he got was better than what we had reserved, not a single park person came by to ask why he was in that spot (and that mine was empty), no one came  by with reservation tags (altho a park truck drove the loop at least twice a day) and we never EVER in our 5 nights there saw any one of the camp hosts!  Whatever.   On our last day there some old lady who proclaimed herself to be the "manager" (Kent remembered she was the camp host that gave him loads of excuses last time he was there and his spot was taken) rolled by and asked Kent if we were leaving and was oh so surprised when he said we'd been there all week.   Bottom line - Riley Ranch, Coos Bay (run by the county I believe) - NOT RECOMMENDED - not because the place is bad, the sites were really nice but because it isn't managed at all (read "the wild  wild west for getting spots" even if reserved).   Okay enough whining - here's some photos:

I got my first side by side ride with my brother (actually we did a few) and oh my word the expanse of those dunes is just amazing (as is the opportunity to get lost).   It was super fun and I thank him for bringing it along so we could go play.  Last ride though I did end up with a grain of sand in one of my eyes that took almost a week to work out.  What I didn't know was he has no windshield so next trip I will invest in a full face helmet to wear!

I'm going to leave you here with a couple of videos from the side by side rides (youtube links) below.

Oregon Dunes 1

Oregon Dunes 2




[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 08 May 2022 22:00:52 GMT
Camping Wild Sorta We are back from a week long camping trip to NW Montana.   We loaded up my Mom and  the dogs to caravan with my brother to our favorite campground for his birthday (55).   We broke the drive up into a few hour  trips and did our first every HipCamp stay.   HipCamp is a newer online booking option much like a VRBO.   We stayed at a small farm outside off Arlee and actually enjoyed it very much.   The host was great and patient with our first ever attempt at this and their spot was dry camping in a pasture spot beside their house.  We were able to park nose  to tail and put the awnings out so both our doors  faced each other.   Made it nice for sitting outside.    I  also  used my new generator for the first time and was thrilled to have it since it was really hot when we got there and since it was dry camping no hookups.  This  way I could use the air  conditioner to cool off my little toaster oven  trailer.

We got moving the next morning a little later and headed out towards Libby.   We had managed just 4 nights but figured better than nothing.   It was smokey (as you can tell above) but not bad.   Just part of how the summer goes this year.    We spent the 3 days paddling, swimming dogs (including a lesson for Oliver), playing Mexican Train  dominos (my brother was teaching Mom and me) and celebrating his birthday.   Mom and I got a few walks around the campground in as well and okay there was also some movie watching and maybe a couple naps.

I came across this really weird insect exoskeleton out on some of the reeds.   Not at all sure what it is to be honest but maybe a dragonfly as I know they shed their skins  as they grow and there were a ton of em around.



This is what happens after an afternoon of swimming!

I am also happy to report that the adjustments made in my trailer after the trip to AZ were a big success.   Maybe just maybe I've hit on a good layout that works for the expens, door and stairs as well as a couple other items.   In the photo above you can see Josie laying on the removable shelf that encloses that area where I haul those when we are parked.   I  was able to convince at least some of the little dogs that it would  be better to lay up there  than take up all the couch space.  At least some  times.

We headed home with the intention of rolling through a few  first come  first serve campgrounds we knew  were on the way.   Of course most of them were full up (no surprise  really) or had switched over to reservations and we didn't know it.  I had one place left in my pocket before we called it and finished driving home that day.  We lucked out and found two really nice quiet spots to park for the night - in the woods, shade and dry camping.   Was also a great place for my brother to play with his new drone and for us to sit and listen to the two young eagles.

As always it is really fun to go but equally nice to come home.  Not fun to go back to work Monday though, just sayin.  Looks like my new RV port building kit will be here next week so that will be our priority for August.

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sat, 31 Jul 2021 19:51:53 GMT
A Tizer Experience We had a girls morning out and went to our favorite place.  Apologies to all that commented and I didn't see till today and thank you for patiently waiting while  I'm months between posts.   HOT HOT HOT here and not looking to let up anytime soon as is the case with the smoke.   LOTS of projects on the docket though so not much time for blogging or much entertainment.    So here are a host of flora, upside down trees, faeries, dragons and a teepee for you to enjoy.   Luv ya all!



[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Tue, 20 Jul 2021 01:02:44 GMT
4 States, 2000+ Miles, 12 Days The "big trip" is  done and we are happily home here with pups and family.    I took time off in June  and traveled down to Phoenix to get my Mom and bring her back here for a few months visit.   I haven't seen her in almost 3 years so was very happy we were able to arrange this trip to get her here  safely.  We also then met up with my brother on the drive back and he is also joining us here in MT (haha they thought it would be cooler) for a few months.  I don't have much for photos as we just were driving a lot and not really on a mission for "touring".   Besides the fact it was 100F or hotter the entire time so we  didn't even spend much time outside in general.   The 5 dogs and I loaded up with the trailer and we were off.   I know most everyone is interested in the photos anyway so I'm going to go short with the words here and just do a dump of photos for you to enjoy.



Willard Bay - SLCWillard Bay - SLC Dark Sky - KanabDark Sky - Kanab Dark Sky - KanabDark Sky - Kanab Dark Sky - KanabDark Sky - Kanab Dark Sky - KanabDark Sky - Kanab Dark Sky - KanabDark Sky - Kanab


Countryside - DillonCountryside - Dillon Countryside - DillonCountryside - Dillon Countryside - DillonCountryside - Dillon Countryside - DillonCountryside - Dillon

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sat, 03 Jul 2021 21:44:50 GMT
Camper Update, Road Trip, Projects And here we are at the end of March already.   Hard to believe but time does march on with or without us for sure.   It is really trying to act like Spring here but oh my gosh it is SO DRY!    If it gets as warm today as they say I may drag the hoses out and see about getting some water on my gardens at least and probably the trees.   

The crocus are doing their best to visit and my allium once again as poked its head up way too early and I'm pretty sure the 20s the next few nights will end that.   I've only seen them bloom once since I planted them.

We've had a few more enjoyable days on the deck but the 60s we are supposed to see today are coming in with 50-60 mph winds so unless those are from the North I don't see deck time happening this weekend either.

Ahh but it is so lovely when the sun is out to just sit and decompress out there!   Still too cold to do anything out back and the sun is still too low to get much warmth back there but give it another month or two!   I'm amazed sitting in the living room at night to see how much the sun has moved when it sets.

The hawk couple are still super busy patching up their nest.   My new binoculars arrived this week and boy is it cool to be able to really see them now and how big they really are!   So glad I got all the small dog protection up and taken care of.

Projects also continue.   My knitted rug gets a few rows a week done.   Progress is slow at best.  I try to work on it in the evenings when I need to get my bad leg up for a rest.   Am loving the yarn but not sure how it will hold up as a rug.  Guess we will see!

I finished my shelf for under the TV in the trailer.   Am not sure it will stay though as I received a birthday gift that may work better for that situation and have decided that truly the TV needs to come off the arm for travel anyway.   Still - it is done and in.  We shall see if it stays.  With a shortage of "flat space" in my trailer I might just still need it.   

Of course the corner isn't actually at a true 45 degree angle so that was dicey!

My friend also came over one of our warm sunny days and helped me get the pattern laid out for the truck window  covers.   With my stupid knee issue crawling up on the hood wasn't going to happen and luckily she volunteered to help.  We have  the pattern basics done, it will be 3 pieces not 1 and now I need to get the pattern finalized and decide the tabs and all before I run off ordering fabric.  The plan is that I will do some mesh material on the top part of the sides so when the windows are down air will circulate.   This all will help tremendously when I'm traveling with the dogs and they need to stay in the car for stops, not to mention helping just generally keeping the inside of the truck cool and frankly, secure.

The other trailer item finally checked off the list is a way to secure the expens and the steps on the shelves in the back of the trailer.   I was going to make some sort of box to put the pens in so they'd stay put but  honestly, that meant lifting and rigging them into it.  I also didn't want them rubbing the back of the couch and they needed to stand on their sides.   I "think" I have a workable solution.  Those heavy buggars are honestly the biggest pain in the rear when it comes to figuring out storage.   The stairs then sit in front of them for easy extraction.

Still lots more to do in the trailer but I'm very slowly also getting things loaded back out there (the stuff that won't freeze anyway).    Had hoped to have it ready for a trip to Freezeout to see the geese migration but it's just been too cold and slow going.   So a friend and I loaded up this past Friday and did that trip as a day road trip instead. 

The geese numbers have been pretty sporadic and they were spread out all over the WMA so we really didn't get to see anything fantastic.  We actually say a very small flock closer up down at the end of my road in a neighbors yard!   So these were the only 2 geese photos from this year and then I'll plop one in from a previous (better) trip so you get the idea.  Plus there were BOATLOADS of people up there.

Now here's from years past.....

We even drove up on the bench to see if we could find any feeding - absolutely NOTHING!   There are however more swans this year than in years past - again, spread out but still fun to see and we spotted 5 bald eagles on the one swan pond as well.    We still did the auto loop around the WMA and had a WINDY stop to just get out and stretch our legs (and cow poop snacks for the dogs - ick).  Scared up a pair of chukars while we were there in the hedge row as well.

Since the wildlife viewing was a bust and it was getting towards lunch time I thought we'd head up towards Teton Pass (there is a ski area up there so I knew if it was open the road would be plowed) and see what we could see.  Maybe scope out some boondocking spots for this summer (we can always camp at Freezeout  if they don't work out).    I also hoped we could find a spot out of the wind to have lunch.   We did but the small breeze there was made it too cold to eat lunch out of the truck.  No problemo.

Even with the frigid temps of this water (all out of the snowy mountains) Epic cannot HELP himself - he has to go in.  Crazy dog!

We didn't go all the way up to the ski area but we weren't far from that turn.   We got quite a ways up past the snow line but even up there, just not nearly as much snow as they should be up there in March.   It had more like a "normal" year would have in May.    Sad but true.   Still I have to say that drive was probably the highlight  of the trip.   Pretty quiet and of course scenic.

I was in DIRE need of a day out in nature with the cameras.   I just didn't realize how much and I'm really looking forward to doing it more.  But for now, back to projects and house stuff so that I can go do that!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 28 Mar 2021 15:20:01 GMT
In Like a Lamb! Where Does the Time Go? But boy I finally feel like we are headed into Spring - even though the temps aren't breaking 50 very often.   Needless to say I'd rather be outside when it is warm enjoying the sunshine (yes even 45 is warm) rather than writing blogs on the computer - obviously!  But I digress....

I have been energized by the sunshine and a few warm days.  Even if not outside working on stuff I have gotten a couple of crafts going.   I did finish my knitting board first ever double knit hat.  I wanted a had with ear flaps and ties and found a pattern  in my beginners book that was the ticket.  I do have a few adjustments to make but I was happy with how it turned out.  Some yarn I had purchased and dog out the knitting board (that allows you to make a double knit - as in thicker) and away I went.

Next go I'm going to make it a bit smaller around though so I wrote that into the directions and we'll see how it goes.   Someone will get gifted this one I think.    I have since then started a rug on the big loom which I have to do just a row or two at a time as it does (as does crochet or traditional knitting) bother my computer wrists/arms.  Too many years working on the computer.

I am feeling like I'm actually getting some real work done though.  Still haven't fired up the new sewing machine but the weather got warm for one of my long weekends so I got out into the trailer and got that project started.  No more thinking it out - let's see if my measuring was right!   So for your entertainment here is a link to a time lapse video of what I've gotten done so far (let's call it oh 1/2 done).    Watch it - it is kinda funny actually.


The furniture came the day before I started which was lovely.  Now 1/2 of my garage is full of the crap I pulled out which I'll have to dismantle, find new places for and some will go back in.   This is the wall I left the paper on - because 1, I was sick of painting and 2, so far this is staying on better than the other side did.

This was the poopy (forgive the pun) part of the new flooring.   Trying to fit around all the bits in the bathroom.  It isn't perfect but better than the last time I did it! 

The new furniture is the same as the sectional I have in my house.  From Home Reserve (online) ordered and delivered looking much like this  and all needing assembly.   I love the stuff though and even better, every piece has storage in it.  So now I'll have either 2 beds (as seen below) or I can move one of the ottomans and have a big full size bed when it is just me.

Once I got all the furniture out of the boxes I decided I really needed to get the immense pile of cardboard I had accumulated the past oh 9 months off to the recycle bin.   Let's just call it what it is.  Covid Cardboard!

Meanwhile the dogs were out enjoying the lovely sunshine and getting enough fresh air so they really crashed every evening.

We of course  got to deal with incredible mud and some lovely sunsets!   (and the road below wasn't nearly as bad as the bottom of my driveway)

This past week was full of appointments (or felt like it).   One was Teddy's acupuncture and he still was fighting it a bit but did crash on the way home.   He also had a birthday this week and turned 16!   Where does time go?

Everyone else is doing good.   Oliver had a couple Kodak moments and others where I wanted to strangle him.   I finally figured out that my issue with my knee is from him continually sucker punching me in the back of my knee.   Finally injured that little tendon in the back of my knee by repetition.   I'm still fighting it and am literally CRUSHED that I can't go walk like I was before it went to heck.   So cute he may be but.....

That's kinda all I got.  Wanted to get this out before the weekend fires up as it is supposed to be warm again so I want to spend the weekend working some more on the trailer and maybe work on the pattern for the window cover for the truck that I want to make (the pattern stuff has arrived and a friend has offered to help as there will be climbing involved).   Hope everyone reading this is well and I'm going to do my best to catch up on blogs in the mornings when it is still too cold to be out working!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sat, 13 Mar 2021 02:28:42 GMT
Bring on Spring Well we can hope so anyway.   Based on today's weather (Sunday) with its windy and cold nastiness it is hard to tell but hey, they keep promising 50 the end of the week.   I'm counting on it as I really want to get out in the trailer and start that project.

There is still lots of this going on in my house.

Teddy seems to have overcome his two nasty falls last week and I have put added protections on all of the couches so that when he does get up there he won't roll off onto the hard floor.   New uses for the poodle big dog beds - floor cushion.

I cannot believe the weekend is almost over but I am VERY much looking forward to a long weekend the  end of next week.   I'm just not ready to go back to work tomorrow but oh well.  Suck it up for 4 days.    Saturday I did pick up a knee brace (honestly it is my knee that hurts but I don't think that is the origin  of the issue)  and the stability allowed e to take Epic for a short walk (albeit slow) down the road and back.   I'm so ticked off that I'm losing physical ground by having to sit around with this thing.  Not to mention that honestly, my walks are my "stress reset".  Luckily the mud was mostly frozen as it is amess when it thaws right now.  I took the car to town Wednesday and wasn't sure I'd make it down my road the mud was so bad!

We've had snow coming through here and there all weekend and Epic and I made it back just as this was moving in.

We got a "skiff" of big flakes from that but it didn't last.   Meanwhile the thawing and freezing has made the back yard a poopy ice rink.   With the ground still frozen and it being the north side of the house, when it does thaw it is a swamp and almost too deep to do poop patrol, when it freezes there is no chopping THAT out.   I know, TMI.

So today was another pancake morning (yum) and I definitely will be going to get more acorn squash tomorrow so I can roast, puree and freeze it for the future.   I don't think I can go back to flour pancakes (which were never a big fave anyway).   I also got bone broth stock on the stove (since I'm not going out in this yucky weather).   

Last of my trip camping reservations are now done so I'm happy to say my big trip is now secured.   That is a total relief to be honest.   So as soon as I post this I'm off the computer for the day.   Think I am going to see if I can find a pattern for a knit hat (using my knitting boards) and reading the directions for my new (oh happy day) sewing machine which arrived this week.   My poor little old White machine served me well but it just wasn't up to anymore heavy duty sewing and I have a number of projects (one is a window cover for the truck) that require some heavy duty ability.   That little cheap machine though sewed a LOT of warm windows and dog collars and fleece boots let me tell you!

This doesn't have the fancy stitches but honestly, I don't do fancy stuff and if I did I'd get a specific embroidery machine for that (no plans for yet another project tho).   Basic stitches and the ability to sew through quilt layers and outdoor upholstery type fabric is my need.  Wish me luck on that one!

That's all I got folks.   During the week am barely able to get through the insanely busy work days (they go fast but suck the life outta me) so the weekends are project time.

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 28 Feb 2021 18:46:16 GMT
Nutrition 6 Weeks In Skip this if you really don't care about my nutrition journey - this is as much for me as all of you so might be kinda boring.  I'll insert some non-topic photos just to make it pretty!  LOL

I haven't shared what counseling I'm getting and probably should.  I signed up for a program with East West Healing (  It is all remote which is nice (don't get me on the local opportunities for holistic health).    I was turned on to it by a long time friend who, when we talked about my health scare in October was like "that is EXACTLY what happened to me"  (and she and I are the same age).   She recommended looking into this program and see if I was ready to try something like this.   I am glad I did.   I am 6 weeks in and already am noticing changes and figuring out why my body was yelling at me (it has been yelling for a LONG time I just wasn't paying attention).    So couple things I've learned:

  • We as a society do not give STRESS the attention it deserves and we do NOT generally understand the toll it takes on us physically.   I for one could tell emotionally what it did but I didn't have in my head how that was depleting my whole physical body.
  • My Grandad had it right - that man lived to 95 and I that wholesome eating and exercising (he was an avid walker after he quit farming) was bang on.    I remember his breakfast as toast with butter, 2 eggs, cornflakes and milk and Mogan David wine.    Remembering he hit the ground running every day and understood how important breakfast was.   
  • Slow and steady wins the race.  Making changes to your routines (that has been my hard task) as well as adjusting what you eat needs to be SLOW.  This is why diets fail (okay we all knew that).   I love this program as they really coach you in little enough bits that it feels doable and I can say I have NEVER been shamed about what I'm doing (I'm stubborn that will make me just say no).   I kinda feel like this last week has finally found me understanding what is going on.    

Is it tough - for me yes!  The hardest hasn't been the foods (it wasn't a huge change there just looking to balance them all) but the timing.   My body wants more meal type fuel more often (so more like 4-5 meals a day) and needs the support between those in little bits (snacks).   What have I noticed - well I think I mentioned I feel much more emotionally STABLE than I was - even when work stresses me out.   Over the last few years even the task of going grocery shopping would just give me anxiety.   I find now it doesn't really.   Makes me understand more those Mom's who look to nutrition to help kids with autism or ADD or....    My energy isn't like, over the top at this point but it is also more stable.  I don't have the "h-angry" instances and I'm also not craving the sugar like I used to.

Part of this program is more roots and fruits.  I right now am REALLY finding how much I enjoy (and my body loves) having cooked apples (with cinnamon) and I finally hit on a bone broth that I can stand (do NOT buy the prepackaged stuff - it is gross).  I first tried beef - YUCK, but I love chicken soup so went that route and made my own and bingo!    Part of the roots is squashes and potatoes.  I have enjoyed spaghetti squash before just didn't make it a priority - so now I switch that out with actual pasta.   Butternut squash was another try out - well that in soup didn't work so I got to the internet and found the below recipe for pancakes and YUMMO!    Sweet potatoes here are hard to find but I did start some experiments with yam chips in my air fryer oven.  They aren't too bad!   I'm gonna bet I can also do pancakes with those.

I make 1/2 of this recipe and get 4 good size pancakes.


1 cup cooked (I roast them and remove the pulp and freeze) and pureed butternut squash

4 eggs

3 tablespoons maple syrup (pure) or raw honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup tapioca flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix the first 4 ingredients and beat for 1 minute (I just did this with a whisk you don't NEED a mixer).  Then add the rest and blend well.

Cook as you would other pancakes - couple minutes on each side depending on how hot your skillet is (I cooked with butter in my cast iron skillet).

I also am learning how important the vitamins and minerals we can get from bone broth are (and especially in winter how comforting - like that chicken noodle soup for a cold/flu is) for you.   As I mentioned try 1 was a fail but 2 was a success.  You can either do this with a whole cut up chicken or like I did this last time - I bought chicken quarters (will probably get whole chickens moving forward).   The less fatty the better of course.   I have good size quarters so I can only fit 2 at a time in my big Corning Ware dish (yes I have those).   Cover with water, add spices (I just dump in rosemary, thyme and a teeny bit of cayenne pepper).   Put on the lid, bring to a boil then turn down to low and simmer 4-6 hours.   Strain the broth and let set to let the fat go to the top and get solid.  Remove the fat.   I fill and freeze mine in pint canning jars.    Use it in cooking or drink it with a meal.  Very warming.

I have other friends I know have found bone broth to be very good.  The collagen has HUGE benefits (I also do powdered collagen in my mocha and some of my other fluids during the day) not the least of which is digestion.   I'll admit I'm a menopausal woman and my digestion took a BIG hit when that all kicked in.

So there ya have it - lots of stuff but good stuff.   Food for me has always been problematic.   Bad eating habits as an adult, bad exercise (or no exercise) and just letting the stress of things eat up what stores my body did have.   So looking forward to turning that around.




[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Fri, 26 Feb 2021 15:47:59 GMT
Will March In Like a Lion Hard to believe it is the end of February but based on the weather it sure is true!    Amazing how we  skated by literally all winter and then BOOM in February we got all the winter weather and then some.   I personally was happy to say good bye to the below zero stuff!     Since then we've had snow, rain, 50 degrees (so my back yard now looks like a frozen swamp) and today mud.   

Sadly as soon as we got above zero I got one walk in and after time on the elliptical machine during sub-zero found out that I messed up one of my knees (or rather the muscles and tendons above and below most likely).   I got care for it and a few days later was feeling well enough  Epic and I went for a walk.   I made it to the turn around and that knee started yelling.   Still he was having such a good time even though wee started out in a blizzard!   Glad he had his boots on and I had my gaiters.   Honestly it was a lovely walk up, just not back.   Still he keeps me motivated and it is still "all about the stick".   (sorry about the phone photos bad exposure)

At that point I realized I needed to stay on "knee  rest" till this sucker felt better.   I babied it, sat on my butt with my leg up, massaged, rolled my IT bands, rested.   It is driving me BONKERS (now 10 days in).   Of course it now starts to feel better when it is too freaking muddy to walk but I guess that will soften the blow.   I did finally a few days ago, get my bike out and the stationary stand for it, did some bike repairs and got it set up to start building strength up  on the knees.   Seems to be working as it does feel better.

So over the weekend I did start some projects (and did some laundry).   Far Side got me "hooked" (as in crocheting) on making some fake wasp nests.   She said they worked well for them so I'm going to give them a try and see if they deter ours this summer.   I also marked off the list the sewing of spare dog booties!

You can see the blue one where Epic has gone through the bottom of it.   So extras for him and for Josie.   I also got plans laid out for another heavy duty sewing project which I really decided (and with all the trailer DIYs) that I needed to replace my machine.  It will be donated as it is a good basic machine but won't work for anything heavy although we've limped by so far.   This little <$100 machine has sewed a LOT of warm windows and dog collars and dog  booties for sure!    New machine is on the way and more about that project in the future.   Yes, I am itching to get out into the trailer but it is still too darned cold.   

Teddy got acupuncture last week and it didn't go nearly as well as it did last time (pic below).   I am really cherishing the days left with him but I am seeing more and more issues cropping up.   Dr. Lindsay also commented that when she adjusted him "most of my clients  don't crunch when we adjust".   His fusing spine is getting worse (no surprise) and I am noticing more issues in his rear.   He also crashed on the floor  now  twice during the nights so now  I will be blocking off the couches so he can't be up on them at night.   He sleeps so deep and when he tries to get up loses balance and last night crashed so badly on the hard floor he screamed and  I flew out of bed.  He wasn't moving but was screaming so up and into bed with a shot of Herbaprin and me worrying that he might have broken something.   God love him he  didn't but I was awake from 3:30 on soothing him.   By morning he was moving, walking and ready to eat.   I don't freaking know how he hasn't broken any bones!    Like I said - am cherishing all my moments with him especially because I don't think we'll have him with us much longer.

The only goal is to keep him comfortable and happy (and he's still excited for food and begs popcorn) and SAFE!

That really is kind of a downer post but sometimes life throws us curve balls.   I was happy to not suffer the consequences  of weather like my coworkers in Texas last week and am happy that the knee is getting better.  My food program/coaching is going pretty well as we keep tweeking things.   My hardest issue is getting in enough substantial meals early in the day to keep my body going.    Growing up on that 3 meals a day routine is hard to change!    Am excited though to start feeling the difference.   I definitely am feeling more stabilized in my emotional state and my energy is definitely more balanced than it has ever been.    Things that would have "sent me over the edge" before no longer seem to do that and Lord knows I can use more calm!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Wed, 24 Feb 2021 01:06:12 GMT
What a Week of Subzero Looks Like Here I have to say that I am glad that they gave us full warning that the cold was coming and I am very glad I heeded the warning of it.     I am thrilled to report it appears that the thermometer is finally headed in the upward direction this week and honestly, we "can" still get cold like this the rest of the month but there is a light at the end of Winter for sure.

What did we do?   We did not leave the property (and won't till Monday) for over a week.   I think the fact that I was prepared helped that to be sure.   Thank God for the wood stove!   If not for that, 1, I'd probably have not even gone outside and 2, I'd owe my soul to the electric company!

I was out every single day though.  Yes it took 15 minutes to get all the clothes on for the 30 minutes of outside chores but it WAS really nice to get fresh air.  Yes I had to dig the Carhart barn coat out of the back closet (glad I still had it) and yes I'm pretty scary looking but hey it did the job.    First job - fetch wood in so we aren't running out int he middle of the night.

Then feed the wild birds - they didn't get any water but I was able to keep them in seed (high fat sunflower).  About every 36 hours the feeders were empty!

All the while running the cars in the garage.   The little car was NOT happy (no plug for it) and the truck got started only a couple of days as it is plugged in. 

Back and forth back and forth I went, but that kept me warm.  I made it down the road and back 2 days as  I was REALLY missing my walks.   Weird walking by myself and honestly the air was so freaking cold that down the road and back was all I could muster.

Meanwhile I got to take a few days off work (so I don't lose them).   My  goal was to stay warm, do chores and get the next sign done for my friend and finish the Christmas project I started in January so I could get that all put away.   Both were accomplished.

Saturday we did break 0F so my hope was that Sunday I could bundle up Epic and and myself and get even a short walk in.   As soon as it was close to 0 and the wind  had not picked up it was time.

Epic was doubled up - a fleece coat under one of the new coats we got from our friend in Hawaii (needless to say they don't need them there).   He is now the second owner of these coats which Auntie Sue told me have been up a number of the Colorado 14ers!   I really love how they fit!   I definitely took the brunt of him not getting any exercise in over a week though as he was "full of it"!  Then 2 layers of boots on feet.  Fleece and the new boots I bought for him over those.  Interestingly he was able to kick off the two back purchased ones 1/2 thru the walk, so less than impressed.  I just need to go get fleece when in town tomorrow and get the sewing machine out and sew  new ones for him and for Josie as once it starts to warm the snow is going to be too sticky to walk without them.

We came back from our walk feeling very refreshed and had a great time spotting tracks in the snow.   Until I found this one just up from the garage.

That is a good size "cat track" and not a domestic good size, a wild good size.   So we will be on the watch for more of those tracks.   Sneaky though as I couldn't find any other tracks from it HOWEVER I suspect it was stalking deer and was following in their trails.   Spooky.   We know there are mountain lions up this hillside and of course, I've not seen any but you normally do not.   This cold spell will move them down to easy pickings and we have a boatload of people up here with free chickens  and the like.    That is the reason I don't spend time outside much after dark to be honest.

So that's it for us for the "subzero  week".   It wasn't pleasant but it wasn't horrible.   I look forward to warmth and the  unfreezing of my shower drain for sure!   But that one thing was a known (does it when it gets below zero for many days) and I have heat and power and water.   All good things!  Next projects, Far Side Wasp Nests and finding a new winter hat.


[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Mon, 15 Feb 2021 02:59:30 GMT
Hunkered In Yup, after months of mild weather, winter unleashed her fury this weekend (and apparently next week) with below zero temps, big wind and  snow (the latter combination of course making lovely drifts to shovel through).   Not complaining, we've had it too easy for too long and when we get cold this late in the season it "usually" is the last bout.   So we are really just sticking to home, feeding the wood stove and working on indoor projects as much as possible.   It has of course limited what I do outside but things like shoveling and moving wood up for the stove still has to be done.   Will add to that starting the cars over the next week to let them run.  

Enough weather news as I know there are other areas in way worse shape. 

The past few weeks have been fairly busy.   My nutritional changes, dare I say, seem to finally be taking hold and I'm feeling better and my energy is slowly coming back.   I also am noticing things that sent me "over the edge" before (like a Costco run) are no longer having the ill affects they did over the past year.   I've got a lot of changes yet to make but am taking baby steps.   The hardest right now is scheduling all these times to eat.   That is really the key to keeping my body happy and my blood sugar stable of course and I'll admit it just proves how horrid I have been at that (as well as what I eat).    

Last weekend my friend came over to help me move the very large and heavy kennels out of the back of the truck and in to the house.   She is such a champ and we got it done without straining too badly.    Girl power!   She then agreed to go for a walk with Epic and I and again, what a champ, we ended up doing 5 miles, up and over the top of the mountain.  It was SUCH  a lovely day, warm (as you can see by our jacket situation).

The neighbor up on the corner has free ranging chickens, thank goodness I saw them before Epic and got him hooked up on leash.   Pretty and plump little buggars.

I have a new route that I walk that is much more quiet and avoids the interactions with the IDIOTS up on top of the hill that will NOT move over or slow down when they go by us.   The other thing is that it is much more shady so snow  hangs out longer.   With the warmer temp, the snow was very sharp so I was glad I stuck booties in my pocket for the poodle.

There is a cistern up there right where the now identified, elk skeleton is.   Made getting his shoes on much easier and he was so much more comfortable with shoes on.

See - hardly any tracks.  The only vehicle I've encountered on this section  is surprisingly, the FedEx guy!

So we ended way up on top, winded but feeling pretty good.   This is an old little knoll that I used to go up to in the summers and sit and look  over the river (you can see it in the left hand corner of this picture) many years ago when there wasn't a driveway there and the trees were very much shorter.

Pretty isn't it?   I actually took last Monday off and was very glad I did.  I got some serious house cleaning done (desperately needed)  and just was nice to have the time.    I have so much vacation  time (also our sick time) to use now that they are changing their policy for carrying it over, that I am just darnit, going to take it.

Work is still insane and extremely busy every single day, but oh well.  Is what it is and the time really flies by.  Nuff said.   This past Friday did my Costco run and yesterday started on another craft project that is on my ever growing list.   Figured since I couldn't be outside I needed to just DO IT!  A friend asked for a couple of these signs and bribed me with fresh macadamia nuts.   I won't be able to seal it though till the weather warms up considerably but the biggest part is done.  I have another in the works today (after doing the artwork for it last night).

I sucked it up and got on the eliptical machine today instead of going for a walk.   Now that the sun is out, I probably could have bundled up and walked (no dogs too cold) but thing I'll call it good for now after being out early this morning.  

Hope everyone stays safe and warm.  I'll admit, working on camping reservations for the summer (which is proving to be extremely difficult) is keeping me going right now.   I've read that finding camping reservations (especially online) were going to be difficult this year but I'm really also wondering more and more about ReserveAmerica being invaded by "bots" that are booking weeks at a time as I'm finding that at least some of the state parks on there are ENTIRELY booked full (not one open spot) as soon as the booking window opens. it is requiring some creative thinking and I think we will look to boondock more off in the mountains.   We shall see.    


[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 07 Feb 2021 19:28:22 GMT
Looks Like a Post Every 2 Weeks... So my hope of a post a week just isn't going to happen right now.  Honestly because life isn't that exciting and because I am not that anxious to get on the laptop that often - sad but true.  After being overrun with work and LOONG days on the computer doing it - I just have to force myself to get on and do personal stuff.   So here we are.  

My favorite part first.   Walks/hikes.  I'm not sure what to call them, still up in my area on the roads but it so feels like being in the mountains and now that I'm actually now walking one of my loops more backwards - even less traffic (specially important with the a-hole drivers from up on top of the hill that will NOT slow down or move over when they see us).   Epic and I did a few walks trying out the trekking poles and getting him used to them.  He's still not convinced.  We did some desensitizing and even some tug which seemed to help.  

He'd rather not mess around with that stuff, give him his  stick and let him go.   The biggest issue I have with him is getting him to walk ON leash out in front.   A lifetime of teaching him to walk  on a loose leash and on my right or left side is  biting me in the butt.   So I decided one of the things we are going to try is a skijoring harness (to encourage the "pull") and a hip belt for me.   I just really want that stability I get with the poles while not tangling up him.   It's a process.

We had some lovely days to walk and actually today did our first 5+ miler.   Holy crap that about did me in but we did it.  Even Epic was dragging by the time we got back.

Yup I even got brave and took both with me since we've not walked in 2 days (I was not feeling great Friday and Saturday was just too freaking busy).   Josie continues to LOVE these walks and she explores like crazy, that nose of hers is something.   I don't think I ever showed you guys the long long ago poached deer up the back road.

At least I think it is deer but now looking at the pictures looks too big.  I dunno.   I don't normally let the dogs go explore but needed to catch my breath and honestly I know it is a long time ago as there is nothing left and they never even veered that way to smell it.

Josie also got (or maybe it is that I got) a new pack.   She likes to go but needs to have the chance to rest those short legs after about 3.5 miles.   Not only is she short but she puts on probably 4.5 miles for our 3.5.   We did some experiments in the house with lots of treats and today, as she pooped out, I found a spot to put her in and hauled her home to see how it  would  go.   I love the design of the pack, especially the part that the dogs go in (they face forward over your  shoulders not backwards) and she was really secure.   I however found it isn't terribly comfortable.   Because she is a small and the pack is the "small version" it rides so far up my back and on to my shoulders that it wasn't all that easy or comfortable to carry her.  Oh it is way easier than carrying her in my arms but they have some design flaws.  A longer pack with a hip belt would be significantly more comfortable for human.  Still it worked pretty darned well and she took to it very nicely.

I tell you it really bothers me days I can't get any walk in but I'm trying to just honor my body.  I will say this much, Epic and I walked down to the mailbox this past week one day and that uphill on the way back that always just filled me with dread, was a piece of cake after hiking up the mountain behind my house all these days this month.

My nutritional program is going sort of  okay.   The  first week was stressful and very overwhelming and I told my coach as much.   She just hit me with toooooo much that first visit.   So I backed off enough to do what I could handle right now.   If I stress out over this and get too overwhelmed I won't do  it.    This past week went way better with that mindset  for sure.   I will say, the trying to get more  "logs" on my fire during the day has been way more challenge, I think because one, I'm not that keen on spending precious time in the kitchen cooking and two, I am more of a grazer so I would rather just put things in one at a time.   Work in progress.   But I finally did manage to get my squash cooked off AND have decided my best bet for the sweet potatoes is making them into chips.

Those ones on the bottom were perfecto.   I need to find a mandolin slicer (a bit worried after I managed to slice of a bit of my pinkie  finger tip just with the new veggie peeler). 

We've had some insane weather.   We had a super high wind event one day - as in 60mph sustained at some point.  Lots  of damage in town and around.   Many trees down, power poles, things blown over in general.    Lost some super old  trees in town people lost.   I was rather shocked when I walked up back and found that one of my young trees, not even one that was standing out along was down, ripped up the roots and all (lets face it pine trees have really shallow roots but still).   More shocking is that the old dead tree with the treehouse was all still standing (see it behind the downed one in the photo).

But we've had some lovely days as well - just no moisture which really didn't help the wind event.

We also have had some stunning sunsets although they've been odd, nights  I think they will be spectacular, I set up the time lapse and they are blah.   

There has also been planning and computer time (more of it) to do things like  figure out how to get my drivers license renewed (what a pain in the rear) as well as the much more exciting trip this summer to go pick up my Mom and bring her back here to visit.  I'm super excited to be able to have her visit this summer after missing the last 2!   Since I have loads of vacation  time to use, am stir crazy not having camped much I told her it would be safer for her and no problem for me to just hook up the trailer and come get her.   I have 2/3 of my camping reservations made and the last one is at a state park that doesn't open up their reservations for another month or so.   We'll see how it goes but I'm excited.

Okay kids, I'm all about Masterpiece Theatre on Sunday nights so this is gonna get wrapped up and published so I can make some popcorn and sit down and watch PBS!


[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Mon, 25 Jan 2021 02:03:49 GMT
Let's Catch Up So sorry I missed posting last Sunday.  I honestly just didn't have much exciting to report or show and I didn't want to be posting just for the sake of posting.   I also had a couple of days where I was busy with friends.   Needless to say we are still here!

As is the case with many I am sure, work this past week was INSANE.   Everyone (and there were a lot) that took off the last 2 weeks of 2020 returned in a frenzy.   Blech.   So it goes.   Things be a changing yet again in my team - I just try to stay out of the fray and get my work done.

I can say I am increasingly happy as the daylight hours also increase.   It is so nice to still see that ball of sun in the sky as late as 5 p.m. these days.   It'll only get better from here (even when we can't see the sun).   I has generally not been sunny here but gray and brown and dry.   That was until this pas few days and as much as there was whining that it snowed - it  seriously was nothing.  We got oh 4" or so here and anything pavement didn't stick.   It was almost a spring type snow though as it was so warm and now we are dealing with fog rolling in and out as the temps ground level up are so weird.   Glad it had moisture in it for sure though as we desperately need it.   Even the mountains are dry.

Probably the best part of the past few weeks was a lovely package from a friend in Hawaii who sent me a gift of macadamia nuts off their  tree.    It was nothing short of  magically yummy!   She had already dried them and vacuum packed them and sent with directions  on how to roast.   I tossed them in some rosemary olive oil I had, salted and roasted per directions.   They were gone in 24 hours!   Nope I will not apologize for snarfing them so fast!

I have a real mix of  photos to share.   Some before the snow, some after, all either here at home or on my walks.  Hopefully it won't bore you too much.

You can see above the ski hill in the distance and how bare everything else is.   Even the ski areas base snow at summit is pretty pitiful so far this year.  They have snow but when you see 36" at the summit of a ski hill it is bad.

Halfway up the hill one of the neighbors has a 3 flag post at their driveway.   I just liked the folds in the flag and it makes me happy.

I always wonder what critters  might find homes in these masses in the tops parts of these trees.  You don't see tight bundles like this often and I have no idea what causes it.

One of my intrepid walking buddies.   He is so different when carrying a stick but I think that day he had and lost about 3 of them in our loop.

I am REALLY bad at selfies (my arm isn't long enough) and even more so when it isn't with the phone.   Oliver again keeps going "ape crap" every time we leave to walk so I bundled him up and took him again for a 1.25 miler this time with Josie to see if maybe having her along helped his attitude.   Nope, by 1/2 way he was dragging behind and unhappy.   No naked walking buddy for me - check!   He'd rather be doing this:

As I mentioned we got snow the past few days.  I did take a "snow day" from walking the day it was snowing actively but got back on the trail the next day. The snow day though did see ONE quick venture out to the front yard for 3 of em - sometimes you just gotta run amuck in the fresh stuff.

 I took both Epic and Josie with me  walking the day after and I'll just say it was like dressing 2 toddlers to go sledding - I think it took me 20 minutes to get them both dressed (much less get ME dressed) to go.   Booties and coats were in order as the snow was very wet and sticky and I didn't want them chilled.   

I still need to rough up the bottom of Josie's shoes  though as she went flying out the front door, hit the snow on the sidewalk and promptly skidded nose first into the snowy lawn.   Yes I laughed.  I tried to get both of them to understand that they needed to walk IN the snow not in the road tracks so they had traction.   Not as easy as you would think.  But they were ready to go and happy to  run a bit on our way up the back to the road.

See how foggy it was?   We were in and out of it in waves the entire walk.    So we headed up the hill.....

I was trying to be very mindful not only of them slipping around me ME slipping around not  to mention the possible cars going  by and low and behold we just got headed up and this 20something in her beater front wheel drive car thought she'd  go up the hill (lives up there believe it or not) and made it less than 50 feet up the road and stalled out.   I shook my head, stopped and walked the dogs down into the trees and watched what she was doing.  I wasn't going to be on the road for her to slide  backwards into us - let her hit a tree.   Oh  my gawd.   She couldn't for her life figure out  why she was sliding sideways down the road and what to do.  I finally started gesturing to her (as she kept sliding sideways back down  the hill) and she finally rolled down her window and yelled "I can't go there!"   I was like turn your front wheels down the hill, she did, now let off the brake (why she was sliding) and it all straighted out.   We walked on and I don't know HOW but as we crested the top of the hill (3/4 mile farther up than she got stuck) I heard a car and a beep beep on the horn  as she FLEW past us.   I have no freaking idea  how she got that car up that very slick road.

We wandered on, dogs on leash because people wouldn't be able to slow or stop and we managed to get some fun photos (I so love new snow).

At the top of the hill some neighbors have this light post (and old Christmas wreath) at their driveway.  I couldn't pass it up.  Epic's opinion is obvious if you look!   But then we got on top and I got this shot  with my phone and I have to say it was my favorite of the two of them (and boy were they tired from all the slipping and sliding).

Almost looks like it was in a studio doesn't it?

I didn't do the loop but came back down the quiet shorter loop and was amazed at the amount of turkey tracks across the road.  I was saying to myself that it looked like a major interstate crossing in a couple spots but so fun to see.  Imagine my surprise when about 20 of them ran across the road ahead of us!   I of course was wrestling dogs and leashes and trying to get out the camera.  Missed those and then boom - another 20 ran across and if you look close below you'll see 2 of the stragglers.    Not much farther from there I looked up in the trees and there were another oh 10-15 of them.    I knew we had wild turkeys but had no idea there were that  many hanging out.

Josie's boots and coat did great and looking at the oh 1/4" of leg that was showing after we got home was really glad I took the time to dress her.

It wasn't a fast slog  by any means - about 90 minutes to do 3 miles but boy lots of excitement.  HA!    Saturday I decided that the  two buddies would stay home.  I honestly was a bit worried how sore they might be with all the slipping around so off I went on my own (weird to be honest).   Same loop but decided to take the opportunity to try out the trekking poles.   New old  gear actually.   I have these for snowshoeing and they ride in the camper but never saw the light.   I hoped they'd be good for the slippery trudge and I have to say, they were.   I want to try using them more but needless to say, don't think I can manage that and a dog on leash.  First impression is that it takes a bit to get the  hang of them (watched Youtube first) but it did seem easier going up the hill using them and what I really noticed is that I wasn't as worried about watching where I was going (i.e. looking down the whole time) and really was able to spend more time gawking around.   Just gives you that extra stabilizing point for sure.   It did seem to help going up the hill as well.    It also helped going down the steep section and when I did slip a bit they did indeed save me wrenching my back to keep my balance.    Did have to lengthen them when I started down the hill and I also found the when I got on the flat and and was a bit more tired, just carried them and walked.     More testing to be done but  I sure see why trail hikers use them.

Oh and I dug out my gaiters as well.   My pants got so wet the day before and the moisture wicked UP (go figure) and made  for some cold legs that I was like - duh - use your gaiters (which I always use  for snow shoeing.   Much better.

Now I'll leave you with just a few more  frosty shots.   We had fog overnight and it left a crispy crust on top of the snowy stuff.   Will end with our neighbors Anatolian (one of 2 they have) who has to of course do his job and bark at us the entire length of his property (they have cattle so he is doing his job well).


[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 10 Jan 2021 23:00:00 GMT
Happy (I hope) Holidays I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and I will say ours was quiet as it always is.   Generally speaking I think I'm more excited about the days getting longer and having an extra day off than I was about Christmas.   Alas once it was here I actually started feeling a bit more like I wanted to participate.  Sad but true.   

The week was uneventful (after the sick dogs incident of the week prior that was fine) and although the weather started out horrid (the wind was awful) I picked up the walking pace and got out every day after Monday.   The 3 mile loop down in  the subdivision below me was accomplished every day.    My walking buddies were up for it and both tried out their new least for part of the walk.   Both were less than impressed and I definitely got the feeling that given the choice between shoes and staying home they would pick the latter.

Josie's required additional velcro reinforcement to stay on and although she was a trooper about it she was quite crazy about how slippery they were on the snow.   Once down the hill farther it was melted enough we could take them off.   I need to work a bit more on  keeping them on and I think I'll rough up the silicone on the bottoms a bit with some  sandpaper.    I really like Epic's but he too thought they were a bit too much (and honestly until it gets really cold he doesn't need them).    They definitely will last longer than  the fleece but they DEFINITELY don't like them as well.

We had some darned cold frosty mornings though and at least one where I realized I needed to dig out the mittens to replace mu gloves.   Mind you  once I get walking by the time I'm headed home I'm usually sweating.   I saw this pine cone spike in the road and was fascinated that with all the traffic we have that it was still standing like that in the frozen mud.   

Two puzzles were completed over the course of the week but I have found that they are SO addicting that I do tend to spend too much time on them.  I REALLY loved the finish and the pieces (not typical interlocking) in the Cobble Hill one and the second one I didn't get a picture of (sorry) but went really fast with fewer and bigger pieces.

Can you tell I'm dreaming of camping season?

Christmas Day I was out watching YouTube Christmas videos (old classic cartoons, History channel videos on Christmas thru the decades and crafts).   Far Side (you can find her blog on my Other's Blogs link above) had shown a super cute fabric star she had gotten and I was like "I can make that" so off to YouTube  university I went.   Oh yes, another rabbit hole.   I did find a number of tutorials and made some up out of old dog collar strips I had precut (but am not making anymore).   Super fun and as with most, once you get the hang of it, it goes really fast.   I also found a number of other "no sew" type ornaments to do that I've not previously tried so off to yes, wait for it, Hobby Lobby on Boxing Day to get supplies.   Sadly the Christmas fabric was already gone - literally so I'll be using my creative juju and using non red and green for what I make.   Hey!  At least this way I'll be ahead of the game for next year.

Saturday after errands I got up the courage to try going straight up the hill behind my house for my walk.   It is super steep and many years ago (before the subdivision arrived) that was pretty much the way we walked.   It is my goal to be able to do that hill and the 3.5 mile loop without having to stop but maybe once.   Needless to say I had to stop and catch my breath probably 6+ times and it was slow going for this first go.  The 2 mile loop took about as long as the  same time as the 3 miler down below.    I have decided though that I much prefer that walk, up in the trees, without the traffic and all the freaking fence running barking dogs, to walking the subdivision.   Less noise, more calm, much prettier.  That's  incentive enough for me.   Even short legs (Josie) enjoyed it (less stressful for my walking partners too without all the insane dogs down below).  

As we rounded the loop we began to see TONS of turkey tracks.   I know we have wild turkeys around as they are sometimes  down as far as my house.   In addition to the usual deer, snowshoe hare and mousey tracks it was kinda cool to see these.  I thought we might see them about but no suck luck.

Well that pretty much does it for our week.  Looking forward to a lovely QUIET work week ahead (and only 4 days) and it looks like fairly mild weather too.   Going to do some more crafty stuff while I'm in the mood as well.   Oh and the dogs are all healthy again.  Got them all back on their raw food and things cleared right up.   I am always amazed when I can get them  back on all raw....honestly it costs 1.5 times more BUT I forget that the poop production is 90% less and doesn't smell and they generally seem to feel better.    Am hoping for the same transition when I get on my new nutrition program in January.    

Here's to better health and well, just generally a better year for everyone in 2021!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 27 Dec 2020 16:25:08 GMT
Counting Down to Christmas And after this past week I can tell you all I am incredibly happy that I only have 4 days of work for the next two weeks!   Utter chaos I tell you.

We had snow early in the week (honestly I  don't remember what day) but it wasn't much...just enough to have to use the truck to go to town but that's okay, it needed the exercise.   It kind of made it pretty and clean outside again as well.  But it did require more "snow  gear" to get our walks in and it meant Josie  stayed home most all week.  I don't have any booties (or didn't) made for her right now but found a stash for Epic so boots, coat and away we went.   You can see how pretty the snow fell, with no wind - too bad the "no wind" situation didn't last - it's been blowing gale force for 2 days now.

Stick in mouth (and over the week we recovered about 3 others he's dropped before) and we were off.  His lovely coat is actually 20+ years old and belonged to my beloved wheaten terrier Tara back then.  Fits him perfectly and I love it as  it isn't over warm but fleece lined and the top is water repellent.    That day was actually really lovely to walk since not many folks had been out so it wasn't slick.   I did have to wear my spikes one day this week and it was a slog.  They make you walk differently so not the most comfy for longer walks - but oh so much better than falling on my butt!

Here are a few more new snow shots.  I love when we are one of the first ones out and get to see all the critter tracks.  Any thoughts on what they are from? I'm thinking birds and mousies.

Another of the sets of decorations that makes me smile.  Not only because well they are Mickey and Minnie but because each day it seems there is a variety of "inflations issues" so one day Minnie  was  all bent over like she was  picking something up, some  days  the snowman is melted, you just never know.

Yeah zoomed in with the phone so not the most clear by any means especially on a cloudy day.

My puzzle was finished early in the week and sadly with 2 missing pieces  (not my fault) but oh well.  Find that is very often the case with the 1000 piece ones.   I did find out that my table by itself is really not quite large enough for that many pieces.  Sure made the time go fast but also  caused a couple of late bed times.   Super fun to do though but definitely not one I could do without the box top.   Any puzzle purists out there that don't use the pictures off the lid?

We got warm weather mid week and the snow as of now is pretty much gone (will be by tomorrow with 50s predicted - that's  why we have wind).   I discovered though that Epic's fleece boots weren't doing so well as the snow was sticking on the bottoms - just as it would feet so he needed them.   Okay, time to consider buying some ready made booties.   He now has a pair of pure silicone ones (only thing I don't like is they aren't lined) that we have yet to try AND bonus found  some for Josie.  She has more trouble with snow feet and getting cold which is why she was home.  The little itty bitty blue ones there are silicone dipped socks that I think will work fabulous - assuming they stay on her feet.   Have some more ordered - a set for Oliver and another more snow type set for Epic.  The fleece ones I made also don't last long when we are walking every day so the new ones will be a bit more heavy duty.


Tuesday we trudged out again with the 4WD and Teddy went for an over due acupuncture appointment.  This was his third one and the Dr. and I were so thrilled with how well he did.  His first 2 he didn't really tolerate too well, just wouldn't settle this one went fabulous and seems to have done great for him.  He'll go back in January for another.  He just needs something to help him with his very old creaky bones and his hips.    He'll be 16 in a few months.

The week ended in not just work chaos but with no less than 6 dogs throwing up in my house!   I am convinced that I got a bad bag of kibble and it was awful.  Not only were they puking everywhere  but I was up 1/2 Friday night with Sterling as he wasn't throwing up but was really bad with upset tummy.   I'm  happy to report as of today (Sunday) things  seem to be back to normal - or as much  as it can be).   I already had the plans in the work to switch all of them back to raw food (delivery the Saturday after Christmas though) but with this new development I made a screaming run  to  Bozeman yesterday to get a week's worth of raw picked up to get us by.    To say I slept like a stone Saturday night after all that is an understatement.   I  needed some of THIS by the time it was done (a gift from my brother):

Looks like our walk to day is going to be blowy but happy to report we got our first 3 miler in on Friday!   Not sure if I'll suck  it up and go or wait till dusk and go when the wind lets up.  May just plop on the headlamp and go after dark.   Right now I'm off for some coffee and to hang up the first of a load of laundry.   Also hope to get the FitPaws obstacle  course set up in the dog  room - I know this nice weather isn't going to last forever and Josie and Oliver really could use some more brain work.  Mom just needs to get her butt  in gear and work with them!

Epic was less than thrilled carrying my ear muffs but he says to tell everyone to have HAPPY HOLIDAYS no matter what holidays you celebrate this time of year!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 20 Dec 2020 17:48:22 GMT
Cold Again Well we lost our nice warm days come Friday although I'm going to say is still  really mild - in the low 30s during the day and that isn't bad.  We've lost some of our "sunny days" though so the Happy light is in full use right now!  

I really don't feel like I have a ton of interesting news really.  The week at work was a short one as I had one more day off I had to use before year end (not going to just  give it back to them).   It was wonderful to have Friday off I have to say!  My immediate boss has quite - taken another job which SUCKS for us, great for him.   I really liked him once we got our juju going but that only lasted a year.   Head down and keep doing my thing and make sure  I'm keeping MY stress under control.  That's all I can do.

I also took the initiative (with a recommendation from a trusted friend) to get some nutritional coaching next year.  So I did a consult with them, really liked what they said and I like even more that it is  totally geared towards healing your body and I liked the basis of their coaching program.  So we shall see.  I'm tired of being tired and feeling like my poor boday is fighting a war all the time.  Hey, I'll admit it, my eating habits have pretty much sucked all my life but I'm also not going to go to someone that thinks everyone is the same and whose program is based on "do this, do that" and everyone does the same thing.  That's called a diet and I know they don't work.   Wish me luck!

My walking continues and honestly I'm seeing some progress in that my 2.5 mile walk loop isn't ALWAYS  feeling like I'm slogging it which is good.  I'm going to miles not time simply because I have never been of the mode of faster is better, just want to enjoy it and I really do!    This popped up in the  decorations down in the subdivision and honestly it made my heart SO happy to see.  Sorry it is a bit blurry but the phone doesn't zoom that  great and I didn't want to go trotting up their driveway!   You may not be able to see but they have the scotties putting the lights on the tree.

My day off had a bonus in the arrival of a friend of mine who came into town to spend the night and do some crafting stuff (got her hooked on dotting rocks), dinner and then Saturday morning we loaded up and went to the lake to rock hound.   Both of us came back with a bag of paintable rocks even though we had to deal with digging beneath the snow to find them.     Yes the crazy poodle went with as did the the little adventurer (but she got cold feet pretty quickly and she is going to stay home now till we get her RECALL firmed up as her nose seems to come first, Mom's calling come is second!

Guess which shoes I was wearing?

It was actually much nicer out than it looked and the sun always makes it feel warmer than you think it is.  I was just glad the wind wasn't blowing!

Today I have a puzzle laid out to start as I'm needing a break from the rock painting (and have a bunch that need to be varnished).   Nice quiet afternoon with the fire going and everyone right now is konked out  for their afternoon nap!


[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 13 Dec 2020 20:54:36 GMT
First Week of December - already When they guy on the radio pointed out on Friday there are 3 weeks to Christmas I may have panicked a bit to be honest.   This coming week I MUST get the family gifts in the mail!  YIKES.

All in all though it was a rather quiet and very lovely week.  The weather has been wonderful although dry but the sun is out most days even for the very short time it is allowed!   The wood stove has been going as well, I'm just tired  of listening to the furnace run all night and honestly the heat from the stove is just a nicer heat.   Plus with it being in the 30s during the day it means  I can open some windows and get some fresh air in the house  as well (so the stove doesn't run us out).    

Our walks have been nice and I think I logged just over 11 miles for the week and did take today (Sunday) off as I needed all the daylight hours to groom some dirty hairy dogs finally.   We are getting into a groove I think, the days I do the 2.5 mile loop I take Epic, the days I do the 1.25 mile loop I take Josie (sprinkled in with Oliver when it is warm enough).   Sterling managed the "forced march" for 1.25 miles on time.  He so very much was all about it for oh 1/4 mile then he was so over  it.   

There was even a day or two that the sunshine was just too inviting and the dogs and I had to take a coffee break or two for some outside time.

My cleaning continues and I was thrilled to find a friend who knows a 5 year old little girl that is going to be gifted the big box of Barbie dolls and hand made clothes I had for them.  All mine back in the day.   I believe they are going as Christmas gifts and she took out every piece of clothing and ironed them.   This is just a sample.   Lots of memories in that box for me for sure!   I am just tickled pink that they are going to go to a little girl that will play with them as they should be after sitting in a box on a shelf for the last oh 40+ years.

Saturday night 2 close friends came over to finally do our tapas potluck night that I screwed up back on Halloween.   It was such a lovely evening  to catch up with friends.   I should have taken photos of the entire spread as it was pretty freaking magnificent but here are shots of some of what I cooked up.  I'm definitely doing the sweet potato rounds again (roasted with salt and a touch of maple syrup - but also going to try good honey).   YUM.   The dates stuff with goat cheese and a pecan were also yummy but those suckers were PRICEY so not going on a regular menu.   The Spanish style tomato bean  dip was also very good and the girls loved  it, me not  as much.   We all got a bundle of leftovers (food for today) which was an added bonus.  I knew we'd not be  short on food!

I also got an early gift for myself in the form of a new pair of slippers which arrived this week and I love them!  They have actual real soles (because I will end up outside).

I also got the sealer coat on the first set of painted rocks.  I'm really having fun doing them and it is very meditative and honestly, no pressure - because you know, they are ROCKS!    I think next weekend a trip to find more is going to be in order.

I also started a puzzle but I'll be honest, it was a cheap "combo puzzle" of 4 from TJ Max and the whole thing went into the trash.  The printing on it was so bad and the pieces were so bad that it wasn't going to be any fun to do.   So another one  is out to  work on when I'm ready....that is mucho better quality.    No more "deals", I'll spend some money on decent ones (altho in fairness we got some high quality ones a few years ago from Costco and I think all but one of them had at least one missing piece - also annoying).

So on to December week two.  A short work week for me as I have one more day of time off I have to use  before the  end of the year (and before the  entire rest of  the team is gone for the holidays).   Looking forward to seeing another friend of mine over the weekend and who knows what trouble we'll find.


[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Mon, 07 Dec 2020 00:52:09 GMT
Thankful and More Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and found an abundance of things to be thankful for even with the current state of the world!   Me---well thankful for friends, family, dogs and hearth and home.   I was blessed to be able to go spend the afternoon with a long time friend in Bozeman  who I haven't seen in well over a year.   Her family had taken off on a camping and climbing adventure and she was home manning the farm.  Chores have to be taken care of as we all know.

I decided that I'd take off a bit early on the gray cold day and hope that the wind we were seeing at home wasn't going to persist for the entire trip.   I had a plan...I wanted to go back to a spot we found the previous weekend and pick up more rocks (with a bonus of a stash of new fetching sticks for Epic that will stock the truck).    I was thrilled that we got to the lake and although it was cold there was no wind.   Epic, Josie and Sterling were riding shotgun.   

What a difference a week makes in the scenery.

This poodle cannot for the life of him stay out of  water - no matter how cold.   I was NOT going to entertain the idea of swimming though so he waded around being whiny.

They were both sure there was stuff in the bag (it was rocks) they should check out!  

Josie meanwhile immediately was on the picnic table out of the truck!   Goofy girl.

We wandered around the campground and the lake edge trying to avoid some weird guy who was riding around the campground loops on his 4 wheeler.   Honestly he was giving me the creeps as it seemed like he was following us - so we headed closer to the lake to avoid him.   He persisted then had to make sure we knew that he'd seen a moose down there the past few mornings (with a comment that he had a photo  from 5 feet away - THAT I doubt).  I said we'd not seen any sign of moose and we headed back to the truck.

It was a glorious visit with my friend and we made it home just as it was turning dark.

Meanwhile I'm keeping up my walking.   Finally mapped out the distance on my local walks I do in the neighborhood.   As always some aren't as far as I'd thought BUT I also get the bonus of up and down hill for the entire walk.   Now I know.   Epic hasn't been thrilled at having to walk on leash but when we do the loops he has to and right now, with construction on a house going on down the road from us we have to watch out the the builders who drive like maniacs and do not pay attention as they should - or slow down.    We did have one morning where there was a snow something so there was a few pellets left on some of our cactus (we gotta watch out for those when we cut through the back). 

Started a meditative painting project with those rocks I collected.   I am going to contribute to the happy rocks that people do and just place "around".  I want to do some for camping next year and wouldn't you know it when I went to the bank the other day, there was a penguin painted on a rock sitting on one of the driveup posts!  Made me smile.  My understanding is you are welcome to take the rocks (and I think campground kids would love that) if it makes you happy and then when you are done, place it for someone else to pick it up.   I'm practicing dot painting on them right now and will work towards doing some dot mandalas in the future but for now they are pretty basic and great practice!  I'll share when I get some more done.

For now though, I am trying out Sue's Eggnog Pumpkin pie (in the oven and smelling yummy), going to watch some TV and oh - I forgot - what I saw in the photo in the previous post - a triceratops skull!  

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Mon, 30 Nov 2020 01:15:00 GMT
Weekend "GetAway" Well we didn't get away very far but honestly, the weather was supposed to be fairly decent and I was really feeling the desire to go get out in nature so my Adventure Buddy came  in and we took 4 of the dogs and headed out to walk somewhere.   Colors on (it is still hunting season) we went down to one of our favorite spots at the lake to walk.   It was really lovely and I even hauled the big heavy camera along and we walked for a couple hours!   So here's some photos to share with you.  Next time we will likely leave Sterling  home (this really is NOT his thing) and Oliver only goes if we have shoes for him (his poor naked paws got pretty cold even though his coat was keeping  him warm).    Oliver really isn't that impressed with the "hiking  adventure" stuff either though to be honest.

Epic's auntie found his this really cool stick.  I think it was about stick #17 as he kept leaving them places but the sentiment is still a bonus!

The required group photo - for which they actually cooperated more than usual!

Their auntie even obliged us with a photo (and the "outtake")!

These two had their noses in SOMEthing gross I am sure.

This photo was our "what do you see"?   shot.  Leave your visions in the comments!

After our long walk we went looking for a place to have lunch (picnic) out of the cold wind which we walked into the whole  way back to the truck.   Our first choice had some guy sitting there with his rifle and binoculars looking for deer.  On to one of the campgrounds where hunting isn't allowed and we found a lovely spot to have lunch and wander around a bit more before heading  home.

Let's be clear it is the END OF NOVEMBER but this dog cannot stay out of the water.   He was so upset (whiney) that we wouldn't throw sticks in the water for him to swim but it freaking is too cold.    Notice the other adventurer off to the right?

It was a lovely time to be sure and back early enough (remember it is getting dark by 5 now) for my Adventure Buddy to get her in town errands run.    A nice de-stressing walk (and visit) to be sure!

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Thu, 26 Nov 2020 01:45:00 GMT
Quick Week In Review It was a pretty non-eventful week here and ya know, that's just okay.   Work and rest and well, rinse and repeat pretty much.

I was able to get out and walk every day although a couple days it required getting out as early as we could to try to avoid the mud.   At least with the snowy roads I can put on my micro spikes and walk, mud not so much and some of that stuff is slippery!

The  lower you are to the ground the more you collect as is apparent by Josie's harness.   White feet don't help either.   It has been dry most all week so things are drying up quickly and I did manage to do the short loop (rather than my out and back) mid-week.   We left with sunshine  and then returned headed to the clouds of doom - but alas they went around as often they do.

Friday things at work were pretty quiet so I took my lunch hour and got all cocky and  decided to do the long loop (about 3 miles).    While my partners seemed to do just fine it took the stuffing out of me.  My hope is though that I can at least get that in once a  week in my hope to build back my poor beaten, lazy, fat body.   It was pretty nice though to be out enjoying the sunshine.

My partners are the lucky ones as they didn't have to go back to work when we got home - instead both konked out and took naps!

Meanwhile I have started some more cleaning in the spare room.  I have a couple totes of stuff in there that I've not sorted through in years.   In it I  found a stash of cloth handkerchiefs (remember those?).  Some were my grandmothers, some from my Mom and I think a couple I had.  Anyhow, I had seen a Sewing with Nancy show not long ago where they took those (or  doilies) and made table runners with them, so I'm playing with them to see how to get them laid out to do that - then guess I'll dust off the sewing machine.   So many projects and trying to get my ambition back!


Really that pretty much shoots it for the week.   Looking forward to a very short work week next week and extra days to just enjoy being off for Thanksgiving. As usual - no plans for that but honestly, that's fine too.

[email protected] (MTWaggin Photos & Blog) Sun, 22 Nov 2020 01:25:36 GMT
Firewood, Snow, Mud, Walks, The Week That Was Am feeling a little more human every day so this week I did get some things done.  Not as much as I want but I've decided that I'm going to honor what my body is telling me and if it says to rest I will.    Still dogs want to be fed and house needs to be picked up and well, work (yuck).   Priority now is to destress and yes, ye ol blood pressure cuff came and NO I do not have consistently high blood pressure which the PA was all over when I went in to the doctor 2 weeks ago (duh  I was in pain, freaked out about having been in the ER anda).   So good news on that front.  My week this week will be work with  my holistic folks on getting back on track.    Since I heard ZIP from the doctors office on any of all the tests they took (yeah I'm less than impressed).  Enough complaining.

I got a lovely box of parrot toy parts and started on some new hanging toys for Iago after depositing the last of her purchased toys in her cage a few weeks ago.   

Then since it got cold (yup we ran the wood stove all week)  I also decided it was time to fix the holes in my beloved slippers.   It isn't my best work but it is strong and that is what was needed.  No more toes poking out the front.

The wood deliver was all split and stacked.   I did it in spurts which is how I always manage it.  I go out and do a few hours then come go back out when I feel like it.   There were some seriously hefty pieces that I actually split into 6 or 8 stove size parts.   

It was also a good chance to let the dogs out to play in the snow.  Epic was so absolutely thrilled with the snow last weekend.    He does the same thing with balls and sticks in the snow he does in the grass and keeps himself occupied for a long time.   Sterling was out for a bit but his goal outside anymore is just to ingest as much wildlife poop as possible so his time out is limited. 

Josie was out 2 different days and in trouble both times for running off and not coming when called.   That girl is a mighty hunter and she gets on rabbit trails or deer trails and doesn't pay attention to where she is.   Here she  was wabbit hunting as we have a cottontail living behind the stuff up against the wall and she KNEW it was/had been in there!

There were some really cool colors in some of the split wood - in fact I think this was almost  the last log I split.   Amazing and boy does it ever smell piney now in the carport. 

Part of my new improved (I'm over being tired and sick) is to get my butt back out to walk.  Every day.  Right now just down the road and back but I generally feel so much better after that I gotta go.   Josie and Epic are normally my walking buddies but Sterling went one day.  He always WANTS to go but then by the time we are 1/3 of the way done he is over it.    The ones on leash are the ones that don't want to come when called.

I think Oliver should have been named "sun spot".  He's apparently going to be my replacement sun worshiper (Elliott was all about that).    Kinda keeping an eye on him though as I was sitting in my chair one night and he was out on the floor walking around in a circle, not like on purpose, and when I called him to me he couldn't come straight to me.   I see him with weird quivers in his legs quite often but that was new so I'm a bit concerned.    

The past 2 days we've had horrendous winds so we have been waiting to walk till sunset to go (as the wind usually dies down then).   The light was sure pretty.  &nbs