Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Yes, I fell asleep when I was wading through all of the entries written in that log.
Besides celebrating the Holidays, Hunters, Hikers and a couple on their Honeymoon stopped here.

People brought pets and children. Everyone had a grand time!
Unless the disgruntled folks didn't write their thoughts down for others to read.
I suppose that could be possible.

When I woke up from my nap I made chicken and dumplings for supper using a recipe from my
Mennonite Community Cookbook.

After dark the hunters came back to camp. It was getting cold and windy. The guys moved one bed out of the wall tent and moved a table in. Some of us sat next to the wood stove and others crowded around the table.

The forecast was for snow. . .  and wind.

We were thankful for a wall tent and heat inside it. (a wood stove cuter than a bug's ear and it really works! also a propane heater) There were wooden beds up off the ground with foam mattresses, pillows, sleeping bags and blankets for warmth.

Up in the *castle* the princesses had a propane heater that kept the room toasty warm even though the wind howled around the corners.

As I write I am thankful for Chili Soup and an onion and cheese sandwich for my supper tonight.
This reminds me of my dad who always made himself an onion sandwich when he had a cold.

Let me tell you!
A whopper of a cold caught up to me with all of the travelling
we've done in the last two weeks.

Vitamin C and onion sandwiches to the rescue!
November 16, 2016

Saturday, November 26, 2016


What a gift! A whole day to myself  - in a lookout -  at the top of a butte.

Everyone else went hunting. I watched two pick-up trucks drive away and thought about what I wanted to do first. At the top of the list was reading *The Log* we had found on the shelf, several stacks of yellow lined pages stapled together, mixed up with maps and books. They dated back to 2010.

Before that luxury I wanted to bake a cake. It is very distracting to look at the panoramic view out the windows while trying to concentrate on the recipe for Jiffy Feather Chocolate Cake. I didn't bring the recipe because I know it by heart. As I gathered the ingredients and cleared a working space I heard clomp clomp clomp on the wooden steps outside the door.

I looked out the window. A man looked in and said, "Do you work here?"

I couldn't hear him but I could read his lips. I opened the door and stepped out.

"Hi! We are renting this place for four days."

"What? You can rent this place? That's great!"

"Yeah, my husband found the info online and reserved it for this week."

He looked out across the countryside. "This would be great to bring the wife and kids out here!"

We agreed that it is pretty awesome. He asked what is provided and I told him about the fridge,

stove, heater and lights all ran by propane.

"Just look up *Diamond Butte Lookout* online and it will tell you everything you need to know."

                                                                  - - - - - - -                                                                                  

After the cake was in the oven I curled up to read the papers that tell the history of the lookout.
It was fascinating to read where people came from. Some from as far away as Spain and Finland.

Pack rats and mice came to visit and bother the guests. When one couple went hiking they met up with a rattle snake.

Descriptions of the scenery and the weather took up a lot of space.

The climb up the bluff was a challenge for everyone.

I found out what food was prepared and served.

People stay at all times of the year celebrating every major holiday from New Year's Day around the year to Christmas and the eve of a new year.

Some tales told about arriving after dark and struggling to open the gate using the code you are given.

Another whole set of stories tell of struggles to keep the pilot lit on the heater.

There have been new windows installed and maybe some insulation, too, because we had no troubles with the wind blowing out the pilot.
November 16, 2016 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Diamond Butte Lookout

“Rapunzel! Rapunzel! Let down your golden hair!” These were my thoughts as I climbed the hill to the lookout that would be our home for the next four days. Jeremy and Liz got there ahead of us and opened up the gate and turned on the propane for the cook stove, fridge, lights and heater. Liz sent a txt that said, “I feel like a princess!”

Elizabeth, our daughter-in-law with golden hair, waved at us from the deck. With much huffing and puffing we hauled our food supplies, cooking utensils, clothes and sleeping bags up the steep incline. The elevation is over 4000 feet at Diamond Butte Lookout. Before the week was over we were all wishing for a lift of some kind. All the wishing in the world did not produce an easier way to reach the sturdy room perched on top of this section of the world.

At some point in time this was a lookout for spotting fires. Now the Custer National Forest Service rents it out four days at a time to adventurous people. The very first thing to be done is cook lunch/supper while the guys unpack and set up the wall tent and the bunk beds. A little wood stove is set up to heat the tent. The guys cut some firewood in case it turns cold.

Liz, Chelsea, Krysta and I have the lookout for our bedroom. This room is square, 16ft x 16ft and has windows for walls. The door opens into the corner of the room. A table and a twin bed line the south wall. One cot is set up along the west wall. There is just enough room for the third cot to be set up with the head end by the window and stretching into the middle of the room. We had blue mats stacked on top of each other to make the fourth bed on the floor. Sleeping bags, fuzzy blankets and soft pillows add finishing touches to our sleeping quarters.

On the east side there is a refrigerator, cook stove, cabinet and a low coffee table piled high with our kitchen supplies. We really have brought everything but the kitchen sink this time. The fire finder stands in the very center of the room. It is now used as a book shelf and holds maps, books and the log book. Guests can write down their experiences to help newcomers know what to expect.

The very first morning we had a scrumptious egg bake made by Liz. I learned the fine art of making coffee in a French coffee press. We took the food, hot from the oven, down the side of the bluff to the waiting men. The ones who didn't care for onions and peppers dished up their food out of one pan. The rest of us had a pan all to ourselves with yummy onions and peppers mixed into the egg bake. 
It is the middle of November! What a gorgeous autumn day!
November 15, 2016

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Hunting Trip 2016

So, if a family has two nearly identical vehicles
(one is white and the other is forest green but otherwise identical)
and keeps one for spare parts to repair the other
it is a good idea to keep track of the paper work
and not rush off and buy tabs for the license plates of the parts vehicle
(and insurance too)
then notice that the numbers and letters on the license plate don't match
the numbers and letters on the paper/cab card.
Fortunately, we discovered this before we stuck the new tabs on the wrong license plate.

There is always, always, always something to be
                               thankful for
                               (quoting from a motto hanging in the home of a dear friend.)

Ellis transferred the insurance to the right van and endured some teasing from our insurance agent. Then he drove straight to the DVS office and found they were closed for Veterans Day. This caused some anxious moments because he is/was planning to leave on a hunting trip tomorrow morning bright and early.

After some phone calls Ellis found an office that was open. Krysta and I made a quick, unexpected run to Rochester and spent more hard earned $$$$'s to get the right tabs for the right van.
                       As Laura's Ma said many times, "All's well that ends well."

Ellis has been burning the candle at both ends the past few days getting ready. He worked on the van and he built bunk beds to put in the wall tent the guys are sleeping in. Now comes the job of fitting everything in the van so he can drive to MT tomorrow. Maybe he will need to pull a small trailer.

Here comes the surprise! Krysta and I took off work and we are heading out to join the hunters - leaving in the early morning hours Tuesday - between midnight and 1:00 A.M (If all goes as planned)

This marks the beginning of the story. This was written late last evening, November 11th.
I forgot to click on the word *Publish* so this didn't get posted until Saturday morning.
Ellis and Jorgan are on the way MT.  

(to be continued)