Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring is here!


While things are still brown here, I saw the first conclusive evidence of spring yesterday--several mountain bluebirds have arrived! I am not sure you understand how incredibly amazing that fact is and how much it makes me want to jump up and down and cry for joy.

Also, I turned the heater off in my house yesterday afternoon and haven't turned it back on again. Yes, it was warm enough under my down comforter to not have the heat on. Oh blessed day!

And, Bonnie made Easter reservations for us at The Grand in Big Timber!

Oh my gosh. I can barely breathe and I have butterflies in my stomach. All the drudgery of winter is justified in these giddy spring and summer days.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I scream, you scream...

We're going for ICE CREAM! A sure sign that summer's on its way. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last Month, in Wonderland

Jessi, Heidi, and I went down to Old Faithful for 2 nights in February. We caught a ride in the Pernod luggage coach and stayed in NPS employee housing, so the weekend was remarkably inexpensive. And mostly blissful. We had drinks and a few meals at the Old Faithful Lodge and spent time stalking geysers in the evening. We saw several go off, including Grand, which was one I hadn't seen before. Heidi and Jessi went X-C skiing on the full day that we were there but I, sluggard that I am, spent the entire day at the Lodge, sitting in front of the fire, studying. It was awesome. The only downside is that we had to ski back and forth from our little apartment. I actually like X-C skiing, except that it makes my feet hurt so bad, even after just a few minutes, that I want to fall down in the snow, curl up in a ball, and cry. Which really takes the joy out of something, you know?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bean porridge in the trash...

Icky. Icky, icky, icky!

Seldom do I made something that is totally inedible. But I spent over 10 hours doing so on Monday.

I ladeled up a nice bowl of my bean & ham soup last night for dinner, happy to finally taste it... and was revolted. I had a stomach ache afterwards. I am going to throw the entire crockpot of it away. That's how bad it was. The ham bone & cubed ham I had was from the honey-glazed ham at Thanksgiving and it gave the soup this nasty sweet undertone that no amount of salt could hide. I shudder.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The other blog obsession in my life...

Yes, is the funniest site on the Web, as I posted earlier. But my other favorite blog, which I am quickly becoming stalkerish over, is Pioneer Woman...she cooks! She takes beautiful pictures! She takes beautiful pictures of dogs and horses! She wins Blog of the Year at the Bloggies! Yay!

So very sleepy...

We had a St. Patty's Day brunch at work this morning. It was a potluck, so there was tons of food. I need a nap. Corned beef & hash, sausage, sausage cheese balls, scones, apples & carmel (my contribution b/c I ran out of ingredients last night and it was after 7pm so the store was closed), Irish soda bread, waffles...I feel like throwing up just thinking about it. But it was all so delicious.

On another note, I totally called it in my post of last week--after a weekend of good health, Ruffers was sick again in the wee sma's this morning. My bed sounds so incredibly comfortable right now...

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's raining, it's pouring...

...The old dog is snoring.

Just kidding, he's not. He's anxiously trying to lick up the broth from the soup that overflowed out of the crockpot. Problem is, it's in the back kitchen, which is carpeted. It's a hard-knock life for ol' R-dog.

It is raining, though. Snowing up in the mountains. Ruffers and I went for a brief walk around the block a bit ago and it was pretty miserable out. As only late winter in the Rockies can be. Cold, windy, muddy, and brown. Green up better happen soon. As Heidi would say, this is "slit-your-wrist weather."

I do like it, though, when it's miserable outside but inside is so nice and welcoming with some NPR, the kind light of shaded lamps, and the smell of soup that I'll get to eat...tomorrow. Actually, the wind was kinda pissy earlier and a few gusts shook the house, which is one of my favorite weather-related experiences. Such power in the wind, but even more power in the rocks and mortar that surround me. It's a small thrill to liven up a hermit-day.

I've done some studying, but as usual this semester, my brain can't really focus. I've seldom felt so distracted as I have recently. I read some of my papers to refresh my memory of the books I've read over the last two years, and was amazed at how well-written they were, full of insight and clever turn of phrases. I'm sure I couldn't put out that quality of work today. What happened to that girl?

Lucy braved the elements for about half and hour this afternoon. She's definitely not a rain kind of cat. She spent most of the day curled in her little red bed under the dining room table in front of the furnace. Sounds good to me.

And now...

Something to cheer me up:

Look at that grass! Last year was absolutely amazing out at the ranch! And the hood of the old Dodge truck, which Grandma bought just after Grandpa died 20 years ago. And the grasshopper smears on the windshield--I did my part in pest eradication that weekend. And look at that endless blue South Dakota sky. It will come again. Summer will be here.

Bean porridge hot...

I am making bean soup. I wish I could picture it, but Aaron's borrowing my camera. Figures that he would borrow my camera the week that I start a blog. Grumble. Anyway, I soaked the beans overnight and then kind of leisurely started adding ingredients this afternoon. And then...realized 2 bad things. 1. My huge crockpot is just barely big enough to hold the soup--this better freeze well. 2. This thing is going to take 10 hours to make. I started it at around noon. So I'll eat dinner tonight after I go to sleep.

Good thing I made cookies yesterday. They'll keep me going.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Yummy yum yum

Heidi just came over for dinner for the 2nd Sunday in a row. Last week she brought over her homemade wild rice soup and some buttermilk biscuits that were one of the best things I've ever eaten. Ever. I mean, wow. And I made a spec-tic-tacular potato & ham soup. Topped it all off w/ a pie that Heidi's been stashing in my freezer since summer--apple & cherry w/ homemade whipped cream. It was great, but I was so incredibly full afterwards that I wanted to die.

This week I made scallops w/ a breaded topping and a creamy risotto (out of a box) (shhh...). Heidi brought devine asparagas in a foil pouch. And steamed broccoli. So much healthier and I don't want to die. Although the 5 gingersnaps I ate (made them this afternoon--Betty Crocker is absolutely genius) are a bit ridiculous.

On a related note, I got up this morning and thought...hmm...what to do, what to do. So Ruffers and I went for a long 3+ mile walk. Before breakfast. We went along the old railroad bed that runs far above the Yellowstone River. Ruffers had to be on leash b/c it's Park land, but other than that, the walk out was very nice. At one point, we came around a bend and saw, in the distance, two Canada geese walking along the trail. Just kind of poking along, looking around. They eventually left the trail when they noticed us coming up behind them (an eager dog and human walk much faster than two Canada geese). As we approached the spot they'd "ducked" out, we all scared the heck out of each other as they took off in an explosion of wings and honking. Ruffers was very excited.

After we got over the goose shock, and tired of walking along the river w/ no views of the Gallatins, I decided that we should climb the steep slope on our left and catch the gravel road that should have been just out of sight. We climbed the steep slope, and then the one after it, and came out with no view of the road. Drat! So now were were going cross country in Yellowstone. And the other part of "we" is of course the dog. Which is a species not allowed off trail. So we hot-footed it further along and I breathed a real sigh of relief when we got within 100 ft. of the road and we were once again inside the law. It actually wasn't a good idea at all to leave the nice sheltered trail--out on the exposed highlands, the wind came whipping along, bringing desultory snow. I had an earache within seconds. And, we couldn't see the mountains b/c of the low snow clouds. Dang it! But it was good to get out and we saw pronghorn antelope, elk, and a snowshoe hare. Ruffers was particularly interested in the hare. All in all, a good thing to do on a chilly Sunday morning.