Night time thunderstorm with rain and the poppies begin to bloom.
This bunch must be anticipating tonight’s storm.
Purple Bearded Iris and purple Columbine.
Boulder, Colorado in Montana: Shazbat variety.
Ohio blooming in Montana.
A proto iris and a bearded iris, for taxonomic comparison. The skinny yellow iris were split from our pond in Coatsville last year (?), and the purple was also from SLC original to the house’ 1940’s owner- in a giant root bound mass that would put up just a few blooms. Now they are the entire South bed along the ice house, in the front bed, and up on the hillside bed (and still in SLC as well).
Boulder, Colorado blooming in Montana. The Nanoo Nanoo variety.
Lilacs have a few blooms remaining.
Original to the ranch butter and cream iris with some of the original to Coatsville purple.
Butter and Cream being showy.
Matching columbine volunteered among the P & C iris.
These giant white iris had 4 rhizomes among the SLC purple- all blooming now. They hadn’t bloomed in our 10 years at the house, out in their root bound purple patch.
Another emergent: micro clover is finally emerging. I spread it into the lawn last summer in a big way, and a bit more this spring. It will help revitalize tough patches like this, bring nitrogen into the soil for the grass, push out weeds, and amp up the drought tolerance.
After last summer’s springbox waterline fixes to the yard and house, I added this inline high-pressure filter for the yard. Now every little thing that slips past the cage up at the top of the line doesn’t jam up the sprinkler heads.
I also built this new high footing for the water bird.
The water bird is joined by this super-jet, with a 50′ range and 360 degree rotation- so it waters a 100 foot circle, and can even water from the front yard over the hedge and into the back poppy patch.
Missing the holiday traffic while finding a free day in E’s schedule meant a Tuesday departure, discovered on Monday; but we were out the door about 8am. Whelp, two acres of lawn are always growing so we can’t get there soon enough… a front porch sunset thunderstorm with double-rainbow washed away the long drive.
The butter & cream Iris were my grandmother’s- their new bed is a few years old now and they have gone from rootbound & nearly played out to filling out the new expanded porch bed with 100 blooms.
The tree swallows were getting pushed by the wren in May, so they built a mud nest on top of their bird house to foil her; then they moved back into the house.
The lilac bushes are 12 feet tall and 100 feet away, for scale.
If you wonder how long it takes to mow the lawn, then we need to discuss the concept of time.
The lawn all headed out and so I go with the mulching option so the lawn can reseed itself (my free mower from a few years back has a mulching blade!).
The big iris bed was in the last pic, just way down there… needs weeding, as always: but in full bloom! Back in SLC the Iris are long done and I even split a few overgrown spots to give away and in trade for other fancy Iris (Orange!).
The flowers have filled back after the ice-house redo of fall 2020.
While Feller’n the yard, E rounds the house asking, “Is this somebody’s foot?”. We determine it is not a “lucky rabbit” foot, but may be a “lucky” rabbit-foot.
3 mice (2 pictured) overnight on our arrival, and none since.
Feller project: put an exhaust fan in the upstairs window. Specialty widgets ordered in SLC and brought up: a> small window fan. b> storm window arms. This’ll be a cinch (many hours later…)
See how the arm ends in a little wooden nub on the storm window. That really didn’t want to happen, and couldn’t happen without that; but we got there.
The little fan blows air out, aiding the natural convection of the house.
Above the door to the upstairs is now a rectangular air channel. This way the door can remain shut and the hot air at the ceiling will draw right out while drawing in fresh air from all the 7 openable downstairs windows/doors to one of 4 openable upstairs windows. The only openable window was the kitchen screen door prior to Feller’n, so we may have reached maximum Feller’n in air circulation.
Here is it again, with a metal screen on this side.
This foam/foil cap fills the air channel in winter, inserted from downstairs (opposite the screen).
The poppies are just beginning to bloom!
The hummingbirds have arrived!
This hummingbird ate right out of my hand!
We tied a string to it, though Audubon Society says it may be a federal crime…
When E told me she’d never flown a hummingbird before, well, I found some string.
We left our one house guest in the company of the cats, who are consummate entertainers and conversationalists, while we attended to the gardening. Upon our return we discovered a real face-off murder mystery had occurred!
In the gentlemen’s smoking room the fellows were in their favorite chairs. Our clamorous entrance awakened them and they watched just as pictured while we discovered the body at the site this very photograph was taken. They both were, of course, aghast and appalled that such a thing could happen in the room while they fortified themselves with rest. They assured us it was a great mystery, and that our guest had stepped out of the room soon after our departure and they hadn’t seen him again…til now. Mortifying.
Such a devastating murder couldn’t even be mentioned in the company of this young lady. Why, we have seen her entertain both mice and rats. She carries them most gingerly from place to place, as they feign a great fatigue. She doesn’t mind that they will soon stir and leap about in animated conversation with her, then beckon her to carry them again, in their exhaustion. No, she cannot be told of the terrible deed that happened just outside her private room.
The whole neighborhood was abuzz with the gruesome deed, and many gathered to gossip. I hope we don’t become known as the “murder house”!
Storms begin to roll across the high valley.
The sun declines as the clouds build.
The winds pick up and the clouds race outward.
The storm front arrives with lightning and thunder, then long awaited rain closed with a double rainbow at sunset.
The entire second floor’s original footprint of the house has reached Tin-Woodsman level.
That must be the door to the Tin Woodsman’s empty heart.
If the Tin Woodsman had a vision of The Singularity, it resides here.
From the pink & jiffy pop room, looking to the remaining 16 feet of the original ranch house.
Wavy old panels. I’ve already removed the kickboard.
I peel a line with my j-bar, as the seams are fastidiously nailed- and this way I can pry the panels free.
All kinds of ranch weird was trapped behind the panels. I wore a head sock, N95 respirator, goggles, gloves, heavy shirt, jeans, boots; and all were blackened and hazed with fiberglass.
Cobwebs on the wall and nasty on the floor.
I throw all the panel out the window of the pink bedroom, and wagon it to the garage.
The floor gets swept and the wall/ceiling shopvac-ed.
Next I pull all the zillions of tack-nails that held the wall panel.
Then I spray foam all the seams between the planks, then cut the foam.
Now I can hit every structural nail with the framing hammer, then drill in a passel of tightening screws.
Then the 2 inch AL faced foam panel goes in. I also foam paneled the door to my dad’s childhood bedroom- it is the biggest room in the house, the size of the kitchen, bath, laundry.
The circle on the floor is the original stovepipe passage- I marked the corresponding hole on the ceiling (barely discernible here). I put the camera up in the little crawlspace/attic; about an inch or less of old blown insulation remaining up there (mixed with mouse poo).
I used lots more screws/washers this time, and will add more in pink jiffy pop as well.
Time to foam the gaps.
Foaming the gaps.
Keeping the light hardware tidy, yet sealed up.
This is where 3 planes of roof meet, and prior to the steel roof, was a leaky problem. I pulled the water ruined panels from the stairwell as well, across from this winter’s “magic door” fix that runs up this portion, through the room above, and on up to the roof. Enough birthday fun for one day- I’ll finish it out tomorrow.
Lunar Lander? Jiffy Pop installation art? Insulated vapor barrier?
Pink bedroom when fixing the windows in 2020. All of the wallboard from ceiling to walls are a laminate cardboard. The facing wall is wallpapered with pink on pink, and the rest of the room is painted hot pink. Yikes.
Two days ago, stripped of all the paperboard and shop-vacced clean.
Bug sprayfoam for all the seams, then trimmed to smooth with the panels. The panels are repeated on the other side of the house framing (and skinned with tarpaper and siding), creating an empty cavity. Filling the cavity would create dewpoint moisture in the winter, rotting out the wood and causing the outside paint to peel. So only an interior solution is possible.
Two inch foam panel on the ceiling and bump wall, one inch panel for the vertical walls. Then some of the angled seams are filled with expanded foam, but most are nice and flush. Then all the seams are taped over with AL weather tape. I’ll probably tape the seam at the floor as well.
The last of the pink is the sun-faded dividing wall to the rest of the original 1800’s 24×16 footprint. To the R of the door above the light switch is the glow lamp frame for holding a glass liquid filled tube (removed so it didn’t get broken in the demo). I don’t know if it was sunlight reactive, or radium- they are throughout the house.
That 60 watt bulb is more than bright enough now…
I removed the window framing, as the window is now inset from the wall.
An in-progress from resurrecting the windows back in 2020.
The windows for the pink room- a nice example of why everything needs to be done in stages over the course of years. These windows now slide open, and have a storm window that opens as well.
Dave dropped off newborn calves and their mothers and a pair of bulls prior to the cattle drive. The larger bull centered with the garage is a direct lineage from my father’s herd.
Feller fix at the garage continues from last summer- now trenched around the corners and far side. The hill behind the garage rolls a lot of water against the footing, and the dirt floor gets squishy, I hope this helps to dry it out.
Stones and tires keep the corners from collapsing via erosion and errant road cows.
A steel bar helps pin the tire in place.
An old mudflap off the Viking found afield, and now used to direct the gutter above. The trench line continues out past the garage and to the roadside drainage. I’d like to fill it all with gravel…
Newborn calves and their mothers get valet service; the rest of the herd makes a 15 mile hike.
The meadows are starting to green up- it has been cool and snowy up to last week.
Bear swatted or deer/elk bumped, this house a bluebird nesting level to the ground and sideways to the house. I fix it in place so she doesn’t fall out.
Bear or wind.
Possibly the bear is just a casual vandal, which would match other houses he’s swatted down.
Maybe the bear is blameless and wind waggled it back and forth, weakening the steel til it snapped.
Wired back up.
Saturday the 29th, and the cattle make their 15 miles from Dave’s ranch to ours, for our summer pasture.
A long trek for wee little new calves, but the older cows recognize the ranch and know they are heading to their first sweet grass of the season.
Riders push the last of the herd.
This big fellah didn’t mind the hike.
A neighbor’s fence was down along the way and their herd tried to mix in, so everyone has to get sorted in the corral and the few neighbor’s that folded in get folded back out and trucked back.
Cows low for their calves, as the excitement is over and its time for dinner.
Riders push the last through the gate.
The swarm of ATV’s arrives from the rear, as a single calf heads up for an adventure- pushing through the fence for one last little rodeo.
Drought has pushed hay prices, and the herd is reduced by about 1/3 down to 130 pair.
They will all end the day in the lower hay pastures, which aren’t hayed any more.
I’ve been up in the “pink bedroom”, original to the 1800’s section of the house. The mask was pristine a few hours ago.
This is all the pink that remains now. I pulled all the paper/board from the wall/ceiling to clouds of black ash, bug dust, and mouse droppings.
All the planks get hammered tight, plus a few screws here and there, then all the seams are sprayfoamed. The sprayfoam here is from an earlier triage sans demolition.
Before I foam the seams, I need to pull that window casing. This window used to slide up and into the small little space of attic above- which has been an insect access route problem forever.
Behind the top casing is a May 17, 1950 Great Falls Tribune with linoleum on canvas wallpaper, and a base layer of sprayfoam applied from below the thin black line of panel from my window fix in 2020. The panel was flipped up then, and I fiddled with it til it dropped in place. The newspaper fix had never been set in place, or the wind in the walls had blown it caddywhompus.
Directly above is the air vent for the attic, and til last year, an insect highway.
The paper disintegrates to powder, but a few pieces stay intact long enough for a picture.
A horizontal foam panel blocks of the attic, and a vertical foam panel refaces the removed planks. Then I sprayfoam all the plank seams in the room.
While the foam kicks off, I create these bird strike helpers for the two West facing upstairs windows. The bottom left panel has a mud-smack from a duck.
The kicked foam is cut smooth to the walls. No more dust, bugs, air, mice: next comes the foam panel.
Just a little trim board with holes drilled through, and cords with knotted ends.
The herd has spent the night in their new digs, and spend the day chillaxing and walking off the swollen heel-bites of an agro bad dog border-collie.
Through the twisties of Bridger Pass, and WeeOne erupts just shy of her usual sacred ground. We stop to clean her up, and I snap a few shots as E lets Nora out for a quick walkie break.
Panorama of Bridger Mountains, just past Bozeman.
Snow squalls through the West Gate of Yellowstone, now 200 miles further N and verga drops in columns like smoke.
The tiny town of Ringling sits at the bend of the road, with snow-capped mountains on all sides.
Finally on the dirt road near the ranch!
View of the highlands of the ranch.
On the road in front of the house…is that a bear print?
What else is that big, heavy, and clawed?
This poor Red Tail Hawk was lying dead at the base of the big willows in the yard.
Did he hit the power lines to the barn? Those lines are a way’s off though. He was loose and soft- it was hard to tell what might have happened. I put some tabs on the barbed wire fence around the back yard, I’d brought them up just for this possibility (too late), as the tabs let birds see the line. Maybe he was coming in hot on a rabbit and hit the barbed wire, then hid himself in the cover of the trees as he died. I think hitting the fence wire happened to a Sharp Tailed Grouse we found decapitated in the same area years ago- he had been doing his thumping ramp ups for a female that wandered around the yard like a tame chicken. His beheading is what inspired making the wire tabs, though a local falconer told us it might have been a weasel.
We buried him, and hope for his sake and all the other birds that it wasn’t bird flu. I only touched him with the shovel.

An aerodynamic front end on a truck isn’t a concern for manufacturers because the back end of the truck is a giant brick that drags backward in destabilizing alternating vortices. The design response on new trucks is a massive square and flat front end that pushes a giant wall of air much larger than the truck itself, utilizing the width and length of the truck to overcome stability issues for the rear end. The Tesla Cybertruck is the only truck that created an aero solution to the rear of the truck, and so also has an aero front end- a front end that augments the solution of the rear. My previous mods stabilized the vehicle at high speed, and increased mileage by an average of 50%, but didn’t address airflow from the front bumper to the windshield.

New aeromod concept: 30″ x 7″ platform with seven airtabs on front Shrockworks bumper.
The airtabs create rooster-tails of entrained vortices that rise 3 to 4 times the height of the tab- so about as high as the floodlights and angling back/up to soften the bumper’s tube risers and the flow over the hood. The black tabs at R are from the prior mod, and stabilize air at the front wheel wells/ tires.
The tabs are just behind a run of pipe- the round edge rolls the air to the tab, rather than leading with a hard thin edge. The underside of the pipe rolls air under and stalls it below. This is an important pressure variant for front end stability.
The multiple wedges below the platform are for more than structure, they also structure the ramming/stalling air and stabilize the dead air pushing in front of the bumper. The platform without the tabs is a small wing, with the tabs it is little engine of airflow. The five black tabs under the truck are from the prior aeromod, and structure the “dirty air” below.
Cardboard mockup.
I had thought I’d use the D-Ring holes, but decided keep those clear for the D-Ring instead.
I’d thought a wedge would be best, then reconsidered the air stall v lift and went with a modified wing to increase the airflow stability on the airtabs.