Society dictates that we show affection for and proclamations of love for our significant others on somewhat specific days:
-Other self-proclaimed days / Firsts
But love and adoration for your person should not be relegated to these days and therefore, if you don’t want a sickly I love my husband post, you are excused…
Okay, still here? Great!
Because The Dogfather is one of the most amazing men ever and the world deserves to know this. This is a man who will bust his butt seven days a week for twelve hour shifts if his work indicates that they need him as he is one of the most skilled tradesmen in his specialty. This is a man who I literally just learned will be going back to work night shift to better serve his company. This definitely makes for quality time for us harder to come by but the time we get together to complete the mundane tasks of adulating even better.
He bust his butt for us every single day, waking up going and working over 80 hours a week sometimes to enable us to work towards our dreams. These dreams of establishing a forever home for us and the puppers, a place that will forever be ours and a self-sufficient home that we can live as independently from society as we care to. After all, there are sometimes that you just have to get Taco Bell as the default because we can’t go to a sit down restaurant because of puppies and we know what to expect.
This is someone who without fail enables me to do whatever I want, within reason of course to use my judgement to take care of things around our home how I want and see fit. If I ask (nag) that we need to work on a fence, we go work on a fence, if I think we need X, we get X to enable me to do what I want. This is someone who enables me to develop my career and encourages me to pursue whatever option I think is best. This especially has been a stressful part of life for the last roughly year as being of similar ages and while he has been at his position longer than I have at mine, we both have come to career crossroads and so many distress end of day bathroom conversations have occurred.
While neither of us are at liberty to disclose career outcomes yet, things are looking up.
He always puts our family first as small as it is but also makes sure our extended family is taken care of as well. This means helping my mom navigate evil curbs, making trips to support family in hospitals where we can and helping ensure we spend quality time and vacations with them as we are all spread out and far between. We might not be able to be there for every event, accident or otherwise, but taking care of family is one of the absolutely most important things to him.
He supports my crazy schedule when volleyball seasons start up in the spring and fall and understands that it means more time away from him to pursue one of my hobbies that I am passionate about. But as I progress in that career, that means multiday tournaments on his precious days off where I’m not around to be with him or help with the home. It means that he stays and watches / takes care of the girls so I don’t have to worry about them. It means that I know how proud he is of the advances I’m making to help support the athletes of Wyoming as there has been more than one time that if I wasn’t able to help out.
There are so many other small moments like stealth play attacking and playing with the puppies, not forcing me to cook him a second dinner when I am content eating leftovers as there are very few meals that are leftover quality for him to consume, helping me around the house whenever I ask and that goes for anything for the most part. If he is capable of helping me he will, if he is capable of helping others, he will, often to a fault.
There are so many other small intricacies that make the Dogfather the love of my life, but this will have to suffice for now.
When we left off we had a chainsaw that only wanted to work sideways which is not ideal when you are looking to make vertical cuts. SO we came come and discussed in greater detail what we thought would be the best option for us and after doing some YouTube video research we decided that we would get an electric chain saw since when we use the saw, we will use it intensely for a while and then it will sit for a year or more perhaps. This lack of use is what likely killed our previous saws. We ended up getting the highly rated Dewalt 60v option.
By the time we got it home however, being mother’s day, we had to get over to my parents’ home for cake to celebrate.
Three days later…
It’s a nice day for the week meaning that hind wind warnings have subsided and we want to finish our corner post and then see how much further we can get with constructing the H posts. Of course we can’t leave puppies behind as we’ve already abandoned them for ten hours in the day so we load them up and see how far we can go. It’s always so entertaining to see the zeal and enthusiasm that Tikka especially has whenever we go up to the peak. From the moment we get in the car, she is always excited that she gets to come with us, but when she knows where we’re going she inches forward slowly on the center console, trying to get closer and closer to the windshield so you can obviously see better.
Until she sees the cows, Cows are her weakness. Once she sees cows that takes precedence and you have to move to the side window and then back window to keep the cows in your sights. Once cows are gone though, she’s right back up, head on dad’s shoulder licking in his ear. It’s called the ear game and when she licks his ear while driving that is a clear violation of Chapter 3, Section 46, (b)(iii)
Okay, quick side tangent on what ear game is; it’s something that started when Tikka was a little puppy that started more as a stare off between two parties. But when the stare down was over and play time would start, she’d go for the ears. Well it morphed over time to a mutual ear attack of who can stealthily bite the others ear first with the problem of course being the closer to biting her ear, the closer your ear gets to her mouth. Dogfather typically loses this game as Tikka and Dad are play time and Mom is WTF you doing mom.
We arrive up at the peak and collect our supplies for what we think we need and head over to the Southeastern corner to finish the corner post and maybe see how far we can get.
The new chain saw revs up and does beautifully notching the post as needed for us to finish the corner post and the wire bracing is installed. We finally have the first of way too many posts set and braced. It’s still nice enough that we decide to try and tackle our first H brace for mid fence line support. Auger excavates the holes for the uprights with ease and we tamp the fresh soil to set the posts. That being said, driving the nails for the cross brace shakes the posts we had just set to the core and tamping must carry on once again to solidify the posts into place.
At this point its approaching 7 pm and we need to get back into town for dinner and bed as we try to migrate upstairs around 8 pm to wake up for work at 5 am.
A few days elapse and before we know it, it’s the following Sunday before we can get back out and it is gorgeous, low wind, mid 70’s temperature wise and we want to get to work.
It’s a shame we only have 1 spike nail left. We now need to make time after work to try to find these spike nails as the first store we tried on Monday failed us and we have as of four birthdays to celebrate over the course of this week.
Until later, bye all y’alls
Clearly I jest on this title but after asking for seemingly months waiting for the weather to improve, on this past Sunday I was finally told that we could go up to the Peak and start working on the roughly 1.35 miles of fencing we need to get up to keep the cows off our property.
Per HOA code, as we are installing a wire fence, both the top and bottom wire have to be smooth for wildlife safety. When we took over the land, the previous owner had installed some fence posts, but we actually had to remove a lot of the posts as they were in the easement and not actually on property. Last Summer we removed the bulk of the fence posts which were in the easement and we decided when it was time to start fencing this spring, that we would start with the eastern border of the land for a few reasons:
- The neighbors to the north of us have a fence up already
- The hypotenuse of our triangle section has posts that are up on the property so we won’t have to do as much there
- The Landowners east of us are the ranch owners of the cows that frequent our land
- When we mess things up on this stretch while trying to figure things out and how to build a fence, no one will know except us…and now you…
On Sunday Morning after sleeping in on the one day of rest we venture up to the Peak to try and figure out what the heck we’re doing in regards to how to construct a fence. We know the theory and purchased a lot of the basic supplies last year, but now is the time to shine.
We recently brought the Backhoe back up to the peak after bringing it to our home over winter to keep an eye on it and had to unload it. The Dogfather got in the cab to drive it off the gooseneck and I was to make sure it stayed on the tracks to unload. What we both failed to remember is that when there is not a truck attached to the trailer and unloading a heavy piece of equipment that the front end of the trailer will tilt up. What the Dog father failed to think through is that the backhoe is heavy, pieces of wood to brace the weight are old and the ground is soft due to spring rains and snow.
This combination means that I had a panic attack and utter sense of helplessness as the trailer raised up, sound of wood cracking and backhoe tiling as the trailer started to sink unevenly.
Fortunately, the backhoe was unloaded and we drove it once loaded with the supplies we thought we needed over to the corner to start building our fence.
Step one was constructing a strong base for our wire to get strung on. Using the auger, we seat and get the first H brace set and strengthened. The problems started with the second side of the corner. The chainsaw we have is old, as in almost old enough to legally drink in the USA old. It started to complain after sitting for months on end and would only function working sideways. Not exactly a pro when you are trying to operate it in a normal capacity.
Therefore we had to abandon the work for the day on Sunday and either invest in fixing our existing chainsaw or getting a new one. After discussion, we decided that it would be best to get new and actually, which I understand why cognitively yet find highly ironic, to get an electric chainsaw.
We’ll continue with our progress next time, Bye All Y’alls
So we really want to thank you for your patience while we were waiting for weather to get ready to do more work up at the Peak. We finally have a small update for you. This past weekend our order from the conservation district came in.
What? The Conservation District? Yes, every fall for us in the Natrona County Conservation District area ( http://www.natronacountyconservationdistrict.com/ ) has a sale for seedling trees ( http://www.natronacountyconservationdistrict.com/seedlingtrees.html ) about 8 years ago, we did an order of these trees and shrubs for our backyard and we now have a border of huge trees and shrubs making for a park like back yard that we love playing with our dogs in.
Checking in with your local conservation district is something I would highly encourage regardless of your home or land status as they have so much to offer you as they have information and education relevant to your area and dependent reduced price testing for soils, water, etc.
From our experience and the variety that we planted 8 years ago ish we knew what we wanted and placed our order and we also knew what we absolutely did NOT want to order too (willows, they send out so many suckers that would take over everything if offered the chance) So in our order we placed an order for Prairie Apples and Prairie Apricots, Caragana, Black Currants, Chokecherries, Prairie Roses and trying out False Indigo.
These trees and shrubs come as bare root so when the time comes for delivery, we have to get them in the ground and watered as they are without nutrients or water. After coordinating with the Dogfather, it was decided that I would pick up the trees / shrubs on Friday and plant everything on Saturday. It was great timing as rain was anticipated to fall that afternoon as a storm was blowing in so I made sure to wake up and get up to the peak at a decently early hour and got out there around 9 am.
I brought the puppies with me for this adventure and while I was nervous about planting a bunch of sticks…with three Labrador Retrievers…that love sticks…Everything went really smoothly. After planning on where we wanted to plant the trees / shrubs we got started. We knew we wanted to keep the planting far enough away from where we think we want to build the home some day, but also wanted to start the development of a windbreak. So in the sagebrush we created three rows; one each of Caragana, False Indigo and the Prairie Roses and along some of the edges of our development the Chokecherries and Currants.
I felt so bad for Lady in particular as all she wanted was my love and affection by throwing the mud covered tennis ball for her as I’m guessing I had some mild allergies going on with a runny nose in the sweet earthy scent of sage, love that scent so much, I just wanted to get the 150 plants done before the rain came.
About three hours later and we had success, three rows and edging were planted before the rain started. But with the good weather starting, our big project of the year fencing would start on Sunday.
Still having some writers block and thinking about our upcoming vacation. One of our favorite vacations we ever took we actually took twice, a 14 night cruise through the Panama Canal. The photos below are from our first transit through back in 2017:
SO I completely acknowledge that I am having some writers block and we might take a week off of writing so in lieu of this and I’ll let you know if / when a break is happening but until then, Here are some of the most recent photos from our phone! We have a small project coming up that I am guilt tripping to get done for my birthday so updates on that will be upcoming!
The Guilt Trip Project, I want to construct a fire pit using materials we have on property-This is not my photo, I pinned it on Pinterest a long time ago and would love to give credit for it
SO We’ve been really busy with life recently and I just haven’t had the time / desire to write. That being said as we are still on the topic of wanting to go on vacations, we got to thinking of out favorite vacations, specifically the vacation that we have done three times already and want to do again…Alaska.
We went to Alaska for our honeymoon and we reminisce to this day about it discussing how much we want to go back after all the COVID shenanigan and regulations expire.
SO to keep things simple, here are some photos of the last trip we did to Alaska coming up on 4 years ago now:
I would be more than happy to elaborate on these photos if that is something you are interested in. Drop a comment or like if you would!
It’s Labor Day Weekend of 2019 and we brought in summer in a 2 bedroom villa at Copper Creek, We decided to enjoy a week by ourselves and the Food and Wine Festival by spending, you guessed it, eight nights in a studio at the Polynesian Village Resort. Just like our first trips in 2018, we had bought annual passes to use for the trip in May and this trip and this trip was certainly memorable for several reasons. Reason number one: It was our first trip that was completely by ourselves since our Honeymoon 6 years earlier. Reason number two: there was a little storm called Hurricane Dorian that was quickly approaching Florida.
We arrive to DIA and when we find our gate and wait to board, the gate attendant when she announces our flight indicates that there are only around 50 people on the flight so no one better sit in a middle seat (we almost always fly Southwest) We have a smooth flight and the airport is much calmer that we typically have experienced in the past. After our last trip we have invested in a sealed cooler that we are able to transport all of our refrigerated and frozen goods. As we are flying Southwest, we have another item of luggage packed with dry goods so we do not even have to go grocery shopping. This saves us more money and is incredible convenient for us as well.
On one of our first nights there, we go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party because of course Halloween starts in early August now and it’s a fun event / way to experience the park with less people and trick or treating! The one downfall of the night we chose to go…Well there is a hurricane expected to maybe may landfall later that night so no fireworks. Fortunately that evening the hurricane elected to swing up the eastern seaboard and not make direct landfall in Florida so we are good. That doesn’t mean however that I was awake most of the evening wondering if this is what a hurricane is. If it was, Casper has worse wind and rain at times.
One of the biggest reasons we booked our trip when we did however is there is a little new section of Hollywood Studios called Galaxy’s Edge, Batuu, Star Wars Land that indicated that it would open “Late Fall 2019” In typical planning fashion, Early December is technically late fall. We wanted absolutely NOTHING to do with the opening of this new land. Well, guess who was there for essentially opening weekend of Galaxy’s edge? That’s right-us. I think that it opened a week before we arrived so we were very grateful for that, but we just didn’t want to deal with the hordes of people we expected to come with the opening of this land.
Fortunately, we think that with the Hurricane that lots of people were scared off and the overall crowds surrounding the parks were fairly low. Another experience we decided to book last minute was in Animal Kingdom, essentially a 3 stop dining and beverage experience honoring the 25th anniversary of the Lion King. Essentially there is a train in the Harambe section of the park that at the main station, there were beverages and appetizers, you would board a train and arrive at the conservation station for more appetizers and activity stations along with a VR headset of being inside the lion enclosure and finally you would end up in the Harambe marketplace with each window offering a plethora of foods from Africa to try. Everything was incredibly unique and so glad that we were able to try it all, even though most of it was not our favorite.
We then enter the dark times…COVID.
Therefore we banked our points from 2020 into 2021.
We were of the mind set that we cannot allow the virus to control our life and where able, we needed to live. Therefore, we decided what better time to make a trip to one of the potentially more expensive locals of Aulani on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. This trip occurred almost exactly three years after our first DVC trip ever and will always I think be one of my favorites. We again traveled by ourselves to a new location that neither of us had ever explored, low crowds due to people not wanting to / uncomfortable with traveling and we got a convertible for the week we were there for a base rate for those 8 days of something like $240.
For this eight night vacation we stayed in a one bedroom villa even though it was just the two of us in the effort to save money on dining and we learned so much and experienced so much more than I think we ever could now due to the lower crowds of COVID and the ease of travel around the island. We truly drove everywhere from hiking Kaena point on the northwest portion of the island all the way to Makapu’u lighthouse on the southeast portion of the island where you could see Maui. Multiple trips to the Matsumoto Shave Ice in Hale’iwa on the north shore where we were recognized coming in earlier in the week. *we are tall and are fairly recognizable. We stopped by numerous public beach and flew our drone around after checking the rules / laws & regulations of the area.
At the resort itself, amenities I acknowledge were limited including its signature restaurant being closed. We did in turn schedule a dinner at Makahiki which was absolutely wonderful and it was so great to take such a leisurely pace learning all about the island. We can’t wait to get back.
The most recent trip we took was a “short” six nights in a one bedroom villa at Saratoga Springs. Roughly March / April 2021, Our oldest nephew who was getting married decided that after he US ceremony as they were going to get married abroad, that we should have a party for those available at Disneyworld. As COVID regulations were loosening, we knew it would be difficult to get a room and ended up getting the one bedroom to share with my parents who wanted to celebrate their grandson.
This most recent trip was so immensely different than any previous trip due to the changes implemented by new management and COVID which made things less enjoyable in a lot of ways, but the company more than made up for it. We also made sure that we did things we could to improve the experience. We did things such as make sure we attended the overpriced After Hours Christmas party to knock out a bunch of the rides that we knew we really wanted to get on and focus our attention on spending time with the family we don’t get to see often.
We helped and rode rides with our Great Nephews, rode the brand new Ratatouille ride in the France pavilion over in Epcot and the Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Hollywood Studios. We had the luxury for this most recent trip of experiencing the parks already and therefore didn’t have any MUST DO’s. We had the luxury of time on our side to focus on our family.
So new here we are, six vacations using our points down, 45 more years of vacations to go and our membership has already paid for itself. SO how will we use our points next? Remember how the Dog Grandfather was not able to join us on a previous trip? How about we take him to Hawaii and back to Aulani? I think that sounds absolutely fantastic and I cannot wait to share what we learned last time with him for this trip.
In order to finish up the block of vacation day dreaming, if you are interested in where we have gone and what we have been able to accomplish using our Disney Vacation Club points and adventures after having our membership for coming up on five years in July, thought it would be interesting and provide insight as to where we have gone, what we did and how long we stayed there.
Our very first trip using our points occurred in January 2018 when we still only had 125 points to our name to see if the 125 points would be enough for us or if we wanted more. If you haven’t read our previous post, check it out and you will know the answer to that question. Regardless, we originally planned to stay in a Studio room (glorified hotel room with kitchenette) for 8 nights. There was a DVC perk though that if you were a DVC member staying on property (the on property part made things easier) they will occasionally (read maybe 2-4 times a year per park, at least in the before times of COVID, but I have heard that they are starting to bring this back) a members only party. This event was set to occur the day before we arrived. Therefore, we decided to see how much adrenaline we could get going and ride the time zone shift and booked an extra night the day before our original arrival at Saratoga Springs resort.
As an added perk, my parents were also staying on rented points (explained soon) in Saratoga Springs so we were able to bring them to the party with us as on our membership, we could bring up to four guests. This foray into Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom would be my first trip back to the park since October 15, 2011 when the Tropical Storm cruise mentioned in three posts back was referenced, see told you that was a pivotal point, hahaha, and the Dogfather’s first trip into the parks EVER. I was excite as this would be my first experience as a DVC member ourselves and excited to share and make memories. The only “Problem”…This event STARTED at 10 pm and ran to 1 am. My parents are on the older side and while they appreciated the party, did not appreciate the late hour. Regardless, we get to the park and watch the new firework show, Happily Ever After on the bridge to Tomorrow Land and the park begins to empty to those persons who only have special wrist bands indicating that we registered for our event. The evening is a huge success as anyone who knows the parks can and will get crowded. To be able to have the Dogfather experience Disney’s Magic Kingdom for the first time ever with less people, low wait times, etc-it was absolutely perfect.
My parents lasted until around midnight which was an admirable achievement for them and we shut down the park. At 1 am, we worked our way back to the buses and our room and crashed hard in our bed. The remaining portion of the trip was similar in the essence that it was important to me to have as many in park experiences with my parents as possible knowing full well that it could be one of their last times going into the parks. We would spend the mornings with them and around noon daily, they would retreat back to their resort and enjoy the rest of their day in peace as we walked more than a half marathon daily. Some of my favorite memories from that trip include convincing my mother to go on Flight of Passage with us. My Father loved it, she said she would never trust me again, Tower of Terror, with the father, she stopped trusting me at this point remember, and my mother yelling at us for rocking the car in the mine section of the Seven Dwarves Mine Train. We thought it was hilarious.
There true are so many more memories that we were able to gain from this trip and the Dogfather saw the value of the vacation club. With his blessing, in May of 2018, we added the 175 points. We knew that we wanted to take two trips using our points within a year and purchased Annual Passes to save some money but also wanted to start creating memories and spend vacation time with our families. Therefore in December of 2018, we planned our first trip to our home resort of Copper Creek. We decided to book a one bedroom villa and invited the Dogfather’s sisters to join us as the room slept four and neither of them had ever been to Walt Disney World either.
As we went in December, we had the privilege of booking early with home resort preference at one of the prime Christmas decorated hotels, Copper Creek at Wilderness lodge. The younger sister and owner of Pancake Flats (see our early posts from January / February 2022)fully embraced the trip donning Mickey ears, meeting and greeting her favorite character of Stitch and as she was not 21 at the time, yearning for the day she could drink around the world at EPCOT. For our time in the one bedroom, we ordered InstaCart groceries and worked our time hard and fast as they “wanted to experience everything”.
HAHAHAHAHA…that’s just not possible in the eight nights that we were going to be there. Eight nights is going to be a trend that you will see that we do as to travel most economically we have to drive for 4-5 hours from Wyoming to Denver to catch a flight to wherever from Denver. As the Dogfather works 10 hour days, that means he doesn’t “have” to work Fridays so we use that as a travel day down and then we typically return the following Saturday to have a travel recovery day on Sunday prior to returning to work.
Regardless, the trip was successful and Pancake Flats Sister turned 21 in the middle of the COVID Shenanigans and we haven’t been able to make a trip down for her again yet. We did as much as we could showing the two of them the basics of the four parks and scheduling their fast passes for them early in the day, but halfway through the trip, we left them to their own devices. This trip however we did as their Christmas presents got them passes to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party which allowed them to enjoy the park with a lower capacity like the Dogfather had experienced. In addition to that experience with them, the Dogfather and I wanted to be sure and have something for us to remember also so we booked an After Hours party for just the two of us and established so many awesome memories and started some of our own traditions as well.
The next trip we took on our points was intended to be a trip with the Dog Grandfather and we booked a 2 bedroom villa at Copper Creek again at the end of May / first of June 2019 and coordinated to go with The Dogfather’s older brother, and his family as well. Again, this would be a trip of firsts as we understood it and were ecstatic to share the knowledge we had and the experiences we had with them. Unfortunately, the Dog Grandfather had to back out and instead it was a trip with just Older Brother and family. This trip was so fun and memorable for us as on this trip we would have younger kids with us in the range of a new birthday four year old to an almost 10 year old.
In this trip in our two bedroom we like every trip before it, took everyone up to the Top of the World lounge for the seven layer cake and fireworks as we had been taken for the first time 2 years before at this junction in time. It appeased our guest so much that we went back for seconds and we might have even coordinated a third trip. On this vacation, I loved our fancy dinner to Ohana at the Polynesian Village Resort that we had and the Boys varying reactions to rides. This trip we slowed down in comparison to previous adventures and spent several afternoons in the pool at the lodge and the slides were thoroughly enjoyed. Meals at Geyser Point with adult beverages were had and we considered ourselves so lucky to be able to have created these memories for ourselves, taken much needed vacation time off and be able to create memories for and with our families.
But that’s only our first three trips, we’ve taken three others on our points and are about to embark on our seventh in the very near future!