Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch May 18, 2018

A new week brings new projects!

Until it doesn’t.

Turns out that I have been to town  This is not the way I like to live my life, but sometimes it just happens.  I did, however, get several big items scratched off the “to-do-in-town” list, so all is not lost. And Friday brought a surprise hiking trip, full of blooming wildflowers.  Enjoy the pictures which are interspersed throughout this post!

Shooting Star. Isn’t that a fitting name?

Monday we had full sunshine and no pressing projects, so we took advantage of the good weather by loading our old futon into the back of our truck, and I drove it into town and donated it to the Samaritan House, which is our local homeless/transitional shelter.  That futon has served us well, and it makes me happy to know that it will go to someone who truly needs it.  BAM!  That was a big item off the list, literally and figuratively.  I won’t admit how long that futon has been sitting in the alcove of our living room since we moved it from the TV room. In late December.  Let’s just say snow happens, and it’s hard to transport a futon in an open truck bed when it is snowing or raining.

Belle loves a good hike!

Tuesday is my regular town day, when I run my weekly errands. I won’t drag you through all of them, but I will say Costco, Walmart, Natural Grocers, the bank, and the library are often involved.  I accomplished another town “to-do.” We have new neighbors, they bought the eighty acre parcel next to us.  Right now they live in Hawaii, and they were here to visit a couple of weeks ago.  They brought us a copy of the paperwork that states they have a deeded easement, but none of us could interpret where the easement lies.

A beautiful vista on our neighbor’s property.

All of the property in our draw is privately owned, and by all of it, I mean there are no publicly owned roads. So, the parcels come with deeded easements through the properties you need to cross in order to reach your own. Since they live out of town, I offered to go by Alliance Title to learn where the easement lies.  They were very helpful; Russ, one of the escrow officers, basically dropped everything to answer my questions.  BAM!  Another task finished.

The fun part of the day was taking my eggs to town and trading them.  Just over five dozen this week!  I traded some with my hair stylist for credit towards my next haircut, some with Zenna for a big bunch of organic oregano that is already growing in her garden, and some with Dawn for homemade laundry detergent, which I have wanted to try for years.  It works great!

I had fun trading eggs for this laundry soap and oregano.

Wednesday John had a doctor’s appointment, and I rode along.  Afterwards, he took me by the bank, and then we hightailed it home to get some work done before the rain began falling.


Arrowleaf Balsamroot, one of our harbingers of spring. All parts of the plant are edible, and it has a variety of medicinal uses.

That night, starting about 7:30, we had quite a rainstorm, and we lost power for a couple of hours.  Isn’t it striking how a power loss immediately slows and simplifies life?  I took the oregano to the back porch and stripped the leaves off the stems while enjoying the rain.  Then we sat quietly inside, John watching videos on his phone, and me reading.  “Dinner” was tortilla chips with bean and cheese dip and sour cream.

This sapling has been scraped by a deer rubbing his antlers on it. You can tell it was a deer by the height, about 3 feet off the ground. We have seen elk scrapes 5 feet off the ground.

Thursday was cool, rainy, and dreary, so we opted to stay indoors.  I cooked lamb stew in the instant pot (I will never use the crock pot again!) and baked fresh bread for John, and made an applesauce cake with brown butter icing to share with our life group.

Fresh elk track! I put my boot next to it so that you can see how big it is.

At Zenna’s suggestion, I made pesto with the fresh oregano.  If, like me, you have never had oregano pesto, you are missing out!  The only thing that kept me from eating it straight out of the food processor bowl was knowing how much olive oil it contains!  I spooned the pesto into ice cube trays, froze it, then popped out the “cubes” and put them in a ziplock bag.  When I need a serving of pesto, I put a cube or two in a bowl, which I set on the counter.  It thaws quickly.  Here’s the recipe:

Oregano Pesto

Put 1 cup oregano leaves (tightly packed), 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup salted almonds in a food processor and pulse to chop. Then, while running the food processor, slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup olive oil.  Voila!  Oregano pesto! Enjoy as you would basil pesto.

Could not find the name of this tiny flower. Don’t you think the name probably contains the word “star” or “snowflake?”


Now you can see the tiny white flowers dotting the hillside.

That night, back to town to meet with our life group.  This was our last study meeting for the school year.  Next week we meet for a fellowship, and then we break for the summer.

I like the light in this picture, filtering through the trees. Our property was logged sometime in the first half of the twentieth century, and the loggers left this trailer.

Friday, Jaren came again, and he and John spent eight hours clearing brush and debris, while I enjoyed the easy life and met a friend in town at Bonelli’s for lunch.  A quick stop at Lowe’s and back home.

After all their hard work, Jaren asked if we could do some hiking.  We were delighted to spend that time with him, just having some fun.  Turns out he has an interest in plant identification, and he was able to tell us a number of plant names that we did not know. We spent about three hours in the woods on our property and our neighbor’s. The weather was pleasant, overcast and in the 50s.

Our new friend from church, Jaren, helped John clear debris off/around this old logging road that runs behind our house. Clearing debris is an ongoing task, both for aesthetics and for fire mitigation. This is also where we cut up the downed trees for firewood this week.

I downloaded an app, “pl@ntnet” to help us ID a few flowers.  We stumped it twice, so if you know of any good plant ID apps, please let me know in the comments.

What I am reading, listening to, thinking about:

This article by  Colleen Mariotti at   Love these words: As you approach Spring cleaning this year, think of it in terms of curating what you choose to keep versus getting rid of excess. If you shift your thinking in this way, the excess becomes easy to purge.

Still working my way through the archives at The Simple Show, and through it found a new podcast that I am really enjoying,  The Nuanced Life.  Sara and Beth, the hostesses, recently interviewed Anne Bogel of the popular website, The Modern Mrs. Darcy about decision fatigue, and they inspired so much thought for me that I will write a post soon in my own insights and experience with this topic.  Here’s the interview

Finally, I read Kristen Hannah’s new book, “The Great Alone.” This book will go down as one of my top five reads for 2018.  I have so many words about this book, I will write a review soon.

What are you reading or listening to this week?


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2 Replies to “Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch May 18, 2018”

  1. Oh no, not my futon! But where will I sleep when Curt and I come for visits? Lol! Loving your weekly updates. So nice to be able to picture your activities

    1. Tracey, I don’t think I ever told you how relieved I was that you found it more comfortable to sleep on the futon than in the double bed with Curt. There are nights that John and I have a hard time sleeping in it too, and I end up going upstairs. It’s one of those “I thought it was just us” things. Don’t worry! Sometimes I sleep in the new loveseat recliner in the TV room, or, John bought a really nice comfortable cot for hunting trips, and we can set that up for you.

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