Outdoor Adventure

A couple weeks ago Lil B bought herself a pop up camper, so of course we all had to go test it out! I snagged what appeared to be the only open campsite in the Black Hills for the weekend, and The Engineer and I, his sister and brother in law, and Lil B and her girls all met up to have some fun in the sun and a few days without cellphone service!

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Lucky for The Engineer and I it didn’t rain, though for awhile on Saturday night it did look a bit dark and stormy.  We were just in a tent……a small tent once you put all our stuff……and Scout a Roo and her things…..into the tent.  The tent came from the premier retailer of outdoor equipment…..Menards :/

I wasn’t sure it would actually keep us dry if it needed to. I’m not sure that I’d want to be in that tent for anything other than a warm, sunshiney weekend….but for the $20 The Engineer spent on it it got the job done. Scout spent more time in the tent than anyone.  Having only briefly recovered from a 4th of July filled with death booms courtesy of our neighbors, the crackle of a nice campfire was more than her delicate nerves could take.  She spent the first night wedged between the tent wall and the air mattress, nose pointed as far from the fire as she could get.

My purchase for the trip was a percolator, and I was maybe more excited about it than a normal person should get! Come to find out, Lil Bs camper had several percolators stowed away inside, but better to have too much coffee than not enough! Actually, Lil Bs camper came with all sorts of forgotten camping accessories: roasting sticks, veggie roasting baskets…..it seemed like anything anyone had forgotten Lil B could scrounge up in her camper!  The cost of everything that was left inside the kitchen of her camper maybe totals more than she paid for the camper….it’s in great shape for it’s age and a bottomless supply of all things outdoor adventure related.  She found a great little buy!

Saturday morning we just made coffee on a camp stove……it wasn’t really my ideal camping experience, but it was fast and the girls desperately wanted to walk down to the lake. We all spent the day drinking and relaxing in the shade on the shore.  Well, the girls swam, and I did take my newly purchased giant unicorn float for a lap around the lake, but mostly we hung out and enjoyed the breeze. Our campsite, while it did have plenty of shape, did have a severe lack of breeze. Even Scout got in the camping spirit with several unforced dips into the lake. She doesn’t like to swim, but did spend some time walking around in chest deep water investigating things, so I was pretty proud! I became less proud when she discovered that campfires create lovely, crunchy, charcoal cube snackies and proceeded to hoover them up at an alarming pace.  Plus side it got her over her fear of campfires and she spent all of Saturday night out by the fire with us.  Down side…..she pooped…..a lot. :/

 

 

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Floating away from life’s bullshit on my mystical unicorn Misty!

I actually started a fire to make dinner that night, even though everyone said, “Just use the camp stoves, it’ll be so much easier.” No! We hauled The Engineer’s Grandma’s cast iron pan all the way out there, and God created cast iron so that mankind could cook directly over a smokey fire in nature!  So I made deer nachos over a campfire and they were amazeballs!  I think I’m just more down to rough it than maybe The Engineer is.  I’m willing to work a bit harder for some extra smokey flavoring!

Sunday morning I was the first one up, and I was determined to use my percolator over a fire……so I did!

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And then……I made bacon….and it was fantastic!  I think coffee tastes better slow brewed over a fire, but I will admit it does take some time. Having only used a percolator once, I spent several minutes in a panic and readjusting the pot over the fire being quite sure we had just experienced beginners luck the day before.  Suddenly…..percolation…..coffee was within my gasp! And, I only burnt one pan of bacon before I figured out the proper fire to pan placement!!

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We finished up our camping adventure with a trip to Lewie’s for beer and a burger for lunch, and I almost killed The Enginner making him hike up to Seth Bullock’s gravesite…..plus side he made his activity goal for the day in his new Apple Watch! I’m just trying to be helpful like that!  All in all it was pretty successful for our first camping trip!  The tent survived, Scout concurred some fears, no one got food poisoning, the camper didn’t roll spontaneously down the hill, and there were no major injuries!

 

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Prune at Your Own Risk

Granted, this isn’t about my townhouse, but it’s still home maintenance so I’m throwing it into the home section.

Learn from my mistakes people!!!!

Spring Clean-Up Week is still a thing in my hometown.  Everyone collects all the random junk that’s been floating around the house, and tosses it out on the curb for strangers….or the city….to collect.  This is a small town thing, and it’s sorta a sight to behold.  Just piles of stuff on curbs as you drive around town.  At our house this is always prime yard clearing time.  Everything gets pruned, raked, and dug into submission.  This year I came home to help do the basic yearly stuff, as well as take down two trees that were dead.  We got the big flower bed that runs the width of our backyard all cleaned up, and I even got a bunch of old tree stumps dug up and thrown out into the junk pile.  Once the back was all done it was time to move onto the trees.  Tree removal came with the promise of a chainsaw, however that plan didn’t really end up working out all that well…

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Needless to say….we were off to a great start…..

To start with, I know little to nothing about plants.  They are pretty much either alive or dead.  Anything that needs any appreciable amount of maintenance is not at all the plant for me.  Things like woody shrubs, boxwoods, yews and the like are easy.  You basically leave them alone, and prune them up a bit if they start to get a little out of control…..but that’s achievable for me.  Flowers, privets….which apparently grow a million miles a year….., and apparently trees which need constant pruning off the roof are not for me.  I was however, looking forward to using some high powered cutting force and putting it to work.  Usually, trimming and cutting down trees at Momma’s is a sawzall level activity….and it kinda sucks, in a brain rattling sorta way.  Yesterday though, I got a brain rattling that I wasn’t prepared for.

Like almost everything that we’ve inherited from Grandpa’s house in the course of my life, the chainsaw had seen better days.  Now, I’m not anything close to a chain saw expert, but I think the chain was too long, and possibly installed backwards on the saw.  At the very least, it was incredibly dull.  The saw only got through one branch, mostly by burning instead of cutting, before a massive intervention was required.

To our credit, we did really try and get it fixed, unfortunately, the Ace here in town doesn’t sell the proper chain for it, and the techs who do the sharpening of old chains are all off until Monday.  Skirting around the fact that it seems strange to have your machine techs all off during the weekend….ya know when most people have time to be wielding their chain saws around….Momma and I were still left with the slight issue of the two dead trees.  The clear solution was to obviously tear them down by hand.  Clean up week only lasts so long, and loading up the branches and then paying to toss them at the dump just seems dumb when you have the option of not having to deal with them past piling them up on your lawn!

Since they were mostly dead, I discovered that any of the branches I could reach I could mostly pull down by hand.  This worked fine until I had to start jumping to reach some of the higher branches, this again worked out just fine…but we started on the smaller of the two trees.  Eventually we got to the central, more vertical, thicker, trunky type branch.  This required some sawing…..the battery for our sawzall is basically shot, so we were left with the hand saw.  I now understand why people used to just crawl into caves, live in tepees and tents, and why the sod house had such an appeal…

CUTTING DOWN TREES BY HAND SUCKS MAJOR ASSBUTT!!!

These guys are badasses, and my hat’s off to them….but I’m apparently a weakling and I’d rather live in a tent than have to saw down trees and make lumber to build myself a cabin.  Anyway, that’s sorta besides the point, but we had to put in a fair amount of work to get these two, realistically small trees down.  The last branch of the smaller tree eventually gave way after one warning crack and sorta whipped Momma across the mouth on it’s way down.  We weren’t really prepared for it, but she was fine, and so we just sorta carried on.  Once we got that tree piled up on the end of the driveway, we turned our attention on the second, larger tree.

The obvious solution was to try and see what was dead and could just easily be pulled down.  So, I picked out a fairly small branch, although all of these branches required jumping to reach…..this will become important.  So I sorta hop up there and grab onto this little branch…..and then there was a crack…..then I was suddenly falling to the ground….and I landed, and took a rather large section of tree to the top of the head.  Apparently, the smaller branch I had been after didn’t feel like breaking, but the whole side of the tree felt like giving way.  So….there I am…..laying on the ground…..eyes watering….and somewhat trapped under a tree.  Momma sorta wanders over and pulls the branch off me, and I promptly declare that my arborist services for the day are done.  Fuck this tree and this whole situation….it can sit here until it falls down naturally.  10-20 years outta do it I think and that’s frankly fine with me at the this point…..

 

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The offending section of tree…I was attempting to break off that piece up the trunk and to the right……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For scale…..in case you think it’s more of a twig…..that’s my size 11….big enough to make even some men quake in their child-sized boots!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, my parents didn’t raise me to be a quitter….so I was forced to rally and show that stupid dead tree who was boss.  While Momma did some pruning of the branches I pulled down….apparently the city has strict length requirements on their pick ups…..I proceeded to saw and pull down the rest of the branches.  I began utilizing a sort of “half cut,” jump, pull, and move technique.  I was unwilling to spend anymore time than necessary using the stupid hand saw to try and get anything done.  So I’d saw just until I thought I could jump and use my body to pull them down.  It worked fairly well until I once again was down to the largest, central branch.  This involved having to scamper into the tree, sit on a couple of the broken off branch stumps….cuz that seems safe, and sawing most of the way through.  This was mostly unpleasant because I ended up down wind and at eye level….less than ideal honestly.

Eventually though I did get everything down, and we got everything piled up on the curb.  Hopefully, once the chain for the saw is sharpened, Momma will be able to get the branches cut into smaller pieces for pickup.  A working chainsaw should be able to make simple work of whacking the branches into chunks.  Eventually, we will have to cut the trunks off closer to the ground and then into pieces, but again….hopefully a working chainsaw will make easy work of that!  Momma has plans of turning the larger trunk pictured below into a sort of plant stand holder which I think should work well.

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A days worth of worth of hard work I suppose!

I Know this is Late, But Hear Me Out

Yes, yes, yes I know what you’re thinking……”You’re not even in school anymore girl….get your shit together!”  Okay, I get that, but I had a lot going on this weekend, I’ve worked late every night this week, and there was no way that this was going to get put together on time.  Epic things happened that deserved time and dedication!

On a totally random side note, I bought a cute keyboard cover for the MacBook….so I’m typing this out all stealthy and silent.  You wouldn’t even know I’m working, it’s amazing!

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Okay….so….onto the main event.

LIL B’ CAME TO VISIT AND WE HAD A HOUSE PARTY!

She got here Friday afternoon and it was basically all the food and all the drinks all weekend long.  Sometimes you’ve gotta let it all go I guess.  Friday night we all had dinner at the BFB and Hubby in Law’s house.  Then of course BFB made dipped strawberries….cuz that’s just how we roll…..FANCY!

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I take only the best pictures of my friends….it’s how they know I love them!

Post dinner we played board games….cuz we are adults!  #sorrynotsorry…..but literally, we played Sorry.  Does anyone else remember that game taking hours?!  I think we must have been doing it wrong cuz it took forever!  Also, everyone discovered that I have problems when Skittles are in my presence…..like black tar heroin level addiction problems if they appear within arms reach of me!

Saturday morning we had “Crepe Bar” at the BFB’s….like I’m really not sure you’re really grasping the level of fancy we roll with when we are together!

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This plus bacon and Crepe Bar….what could even go wrong?!  BFB even bought fresh flowers!

We girls went to the mall  after breakfast.  The mall on a Saturday is always a bad idea, but we did get through Sephora, Victoria’s Secret, and Pink.  If you’re wondering why we had to go to both Victoria’s Secret and Pink…..it’s because I’m a diva and insisted on it.  Under roos are cheaper at Pink, and this is important to me since the Scout a Roo continues to eat them given even the smallest oppertunity.  It’s a bit of a problem, but she’s old now so I doubt it’s going to change anytime soon honestly.  Plus side, I guess she is always keeping me in the season’s latest fashions, under roo wise anyway!

After shopping it was time to start cooking.  The cooking started with maybe the best question quote that has ever left Lil B’s mouth…..

Is your tomato sauce…..tomatoey?!  Like does it taste like tomatoes?  Is it like Prego?!”

WE…MADE…SO…MUCH…FOOD!!

I had 7 friends over for Pasta, Pino, and Pizza.  We opened up Maximus, the 5 liter bottle of wine I received for Christmas, and all went to town.  Between us, we drank most of it.  Probably about half of a normal sized bottle was all that remained the next morning when I was cleaning up.  To go along with Maximus….we made way too much food….which is a thing we tend to do every time.

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A busy stove top is a happy stove top!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The party begins!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Alright, the run down!

  • Erik’s Homemade Alfredo Sauce with Chicken
  • Red Sauce with Hamburger…..homemade by me!  (Yes, it’s tomatoey)
  • Chicken and Pesto Pizza
  • Pepperoni Pizza with Onions and Green Peppers
  • 2 Pounds of Dry Pasta
  • 1 Large Spaghetti Squash
  • A Whole Loaf of Garlic Bread
  • Gluten Free Pasta for the BFB

After we all got silent and shoved our faces full of yummy Italian and wine, we basically just bummed around, chatted and caught up with each other, and played a couple rounds of Cards Against Humanity.

Yes, you saw that picture right, Maximus required buddy system pours for probably the first half of the bottle.  He was just so heavy, it wasn’t a one man job.  Also, uncorking him wasn’t a one man job either.  Lil B had to help hold the base of the corkscrew while I leveraged the arm up.  Once the cork got started it went alright, but the initial part seemed a little questionable.  There was even a brief discussion of whether or not power tools might be necessary.  We were all maybe a little concerned about the quality of Maximus, but all things considered he wasn’t half bad at all!  The night was another successful dinner and booze party!

Sunday morning I made breakfast and we had our “Girl’s Morning Coffee Sesh”.  Sometimes it’s the littlest things you miss when your besties aren’t around all the time, and for us….morning coffee is that thing.  We also learned that pancakes made with coconut are delicious, but literally pancake flat!  They don’t puff up at all….and yes, before you ask, I did add plenty of baking powder.

After breakfast, we decided to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and go wander the boutiques downtown.  Between breakfast, the bakery, and lunch….we basically ate all morning long….and I’m totally ok with that!

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Macaroons and Ham Croissants anyone?!

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Jalapeño margaritas at my favorite downtown restaurant with my favorite people!

All in all it was an amazeballs weekend, and given the amount of alcohol consumed over the three days….it’s a Christmas miracle that no one woke up with a hangover!  I’ll take that as a win and get to planning the next bestie weekend.  Actually, the next bestie weekend is gonna be in a couple weeks, except that we will be short the BFB. :/

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