Fried Green Tomatoes

We had the best summer here in Cody Wyoming, and it had a lot to do with the FABULOUS co-workers/neighbors we spent the summer with. Our co-worker’s, Bob and Becky Yockey, arrived here at Buffalo Bill North Fork campgrounds shortly after we did, and from the moment we met them we knew we were in for a fun-filled summer! Bob and Becky are so laid back and easy-going, and just a delight to be around. They have the same work/camp ethics as Bill and I, and while we all know we have to get our assigned jobs completed during our working hours…, we all worked the hardest at just making our workday fun! After all, we are all retired, and only work/camping to help us get around the country with the least amount of expense to us!!

Bob was an engineer for Ford Motor Company before he retired, and Becky sold insurance. Like Bill and I, they came from a work world of meetings to plan meetings… workplace drama etc., and are now just relaxed and ready to enjoy life as it comes. We would hold our own “mock” meetings between the four of us in the mornings and they were the best “work” meeting’s I ever attended. I’ve never laughed so hard in all my working years as I did this summer working with Bob and Becky.

One of the things Bob and Becky did shortly after they arrived at our campsite, was plant a tomato garden at the entrance to the condemned house that sits on the property where are motorhomes were parked. They worked hard all one morning clearing out the weeds and getting the space ready to plant their beautiful tomato plants. They even planted some pretty flowers that are supposed to keep bugs and other unwanted creatures away. They also enclosed the space with chicken wire to keep the rabbits out…

Unfortunately, Bob and Becky never got to enjoy the fruits of their labor. No, they left this past Friday to get to their next destination leaving behind their beautiful tomato plants that are just overflowing with green tomatoes… Before they left Bob and Becky told us to help ourselves to the tomatoes… Just look how pretty and healthy their tomato plants are…

 

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Now anyone that knows me, knows I can’t grow anything, and I can in fact kill even the hardiest of plants… But I love fresh, homegrown veggies. And since Bill and I are pulling out to head back to Arizona this coming Saturday… I thought it would be such a shame to let all those beautiful tomatoes go to waste…So I decided I would pick some and make a batch of fried green tomatoes. These are the big plump green tomatoes I plucked from Bob and Becky’s tomato plant.

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I never made fried green tomatoes before so I Googled how to make them and came across the original recipe for fried green tomatoes from the woman who ran the cafe and made them in the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” I followed the recipe exactly (something I rarely do) and they turned out perfect, and I don’t eat fried food very often but these tasted delicious.

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I served them up with meatloaf and roasted carrots, potatoes, and onions. Big shout out and THANK-YOU to Bob and Becky for all their hard work planting the tomato garden and allowing us to “help ourselves”. Wish you were here to enjoy them with us. We miss you, but we know we will see you in Arizona, and maybe we can do fried green tomatoes there… 🙂

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Another neighbor and co-worker, Sam the lawman, also planted a tomato plant. His is a cherry tomato plant and it is overflowing with little cherry tomatoes. Sam said anyone that wants some of his tomatoes can help themselves too. So I picked a few of them, and WOW, are they ever good. Little, but very sweet and you just can’t beat that home-grown taste. Thanks Sam for sharing your hard work and crop of tomatoes with us too. 🙂

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Now for a little update: Bill continues to get our rig ready to pull out Saturday. He has all the bay areas under the coach all cleaned out and reorganized. Now he moved on to washing the entire outside of the rig because a clean rig gets better gas mileage… He even washed the dolly that pulls our SUV behind our rig. What a huge job it has been for him. He said he is really glad this only happens twice a year!!

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We received our new work assignments for the 2016-2017 winter season at McDowell Mountain Regional Park. We are assigned to work the entry Fee Booth and Nature Center, mostly the entry Fee Booth, and we were told “to start out” we will work 40 hours combined between the two of us, and we will work Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s. We knew we would have to work weekends for now because we are new to this park and the newbies have to work their way up the ladder to get weekends off… But, it’s all good… 20 hours per week per person in exchange for full hook-up, and free propane isn’t so bad… As long as we are work/camping we are not paying park fees, or diesel fuel, so we can save all that money for having fun on our day’s off, and having fun is what it’s all about now for us… 🙂 🙂

Stay Tuned!

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A Change Is Coming

Our cat Carmen can feel it…

 

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Our time here in Wyoming is quickly coming to an end. In two weeks we will start our motorhome up, pull out, and head back to Arizona for the winter months. What does it take to get one of these big rigs ready to roll down the highway you might ask…? Well, it takes some planing, time, and a lot of organizing. Bill is already hard at work pulling everything out from the bay areas under our coach.

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Once each bay area compartment (six in all) is completely cleared out, everything is organized, and anything that can be put into traveling crates is so the contents shift as little as possible while moving down the road.

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Even my handy-dandy PVC pipe clothes line Bill made me will be taken apart and packed into one of the bay areas.

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As well as our zero gravity chairs we sit in when we want to relax outside, or watch TV outside when the weather cooperates…

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My part of getting ready to move out happens the morning of the move. Early that morning I will pull everything off that you see on any counter top or shelf, and pack it all into a special traveling basket I have that fits perfectly under the dinette table. Then, when we pull our three slides in, everything is snug as a bug, and nothing moves or gets broken…

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Even the foot stools, in the picture below, will go up on the reclining chairs. They have a special “seat belt” that holds them in place while the coach is in motion.

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Pictures, flowers, pillows, throw blankets etc… everything that makes our motorhome our home…, will be packed away until we reach our final destination in Arizona.

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When we arrive at McDowell Mountain Regional Park, near Fountain Hills Arizona, where we will be camp hosts for the winter months, I will put everything back in its proper place, including our welcome log that will be placed just outside our door to welcome our family and friends into our home…

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But my part of packing won’t happen for another two weeks, and I have it down to a science now, so it only takes me about forty-five minutes to one hour to have the inside ready to roll on down the road.

For now, my job is to continue the laundry, and watch to make sure the Italian beef I have slow cooking in the crockpot for dinner keeps slow cooking… OMG, it smells so good in here.

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Bill and I so love this traveling retirement lifestyle. We have enjoyed our time in Wyoming, but are ready to get back to Arizona for the winter and see family and friends there, and we are very much looking forward to our Oregon gig we landed for next summer. We will be relief lighthouse hosts at Bullards Beach State Park. Neither Bill or I have been to Oregon before, and we are so thankful to our co-workers here in Wyoming, Bob and Becky Yockey, for hooking us up with the Oregon gig for next summer. They spent a summer there and loved it so we know we will too. Bob and Becky are pulling out this Friday and heading to Colorado. We will miss them but will see them again sometime in Arizona.

Stay Tuned!

Time Well Spent

A couple of weeks ago our daughter, little Katie, and her family came to Wyoming for a long weekend vacation. They brought a tent and camped in the campground that Bill and I work in three days a week. I was not able to spend but one evening with them because I was in Arizona attending a funeral. Bill stayed in Wyoming because we did not want to have to cancel Katie’s vacation that had been in the works for a couple of months. While Katie and her family were here, Bill took them into Yellowstone to see Old Faithful one day, and the upper and lower falls the following day. They all said they had a good time and really enjoyed their stay.

This past Friday, our son Pat, his wife Celina, their son Aiden, and their daughter Hope (shown in the picture below) came and stayed three days in our campground. Aiden has a twin sister, Bailey, but she was not able to come this time.

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Hope, shown below, is in the third grade, and wanted nothing more than to see a buffalo.

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So, we all piled in our SUV, and off we went to Yellowstone in search of buffalo’s. We made a pit stop in Cooke City, a small quaint little  town along the Chief Joseph highway that leads into the northeast entrance of Yellowstone Park.

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Once inside Yellowstone Park… we came right up upon just the sight Hope wanted to see… Buffalo’s a plenty!

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Is this up close enough for you Hope?

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This trip made the second time I’ve been in Yellowstone, and the third time for Bill. We’ve seen buffalo’s, grizzly bears, elk, and deer… but we had not seen any Big Horn Sheep… until this trip. Oh, what a thrill it was to see this big guy!

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We continued along our way to the upper and lower falls, a beautiful area I never get tired of seeing.

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Aiden thought it was a beautiful sight to see as well.

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As we were walking along the trail to get a better look at the falls, I captured this big bull elk just standing there among the trees. So beautiful!

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The beauty and power of the falls is just so amazing.

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It was a picture perfect day, and time well spent with part of our family. Nothing means more to me than spending time with family and friends. It’s like finding the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow!

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Pat and his family are heading back to Grand Junction Colorado today. Safe travels back home kids, we love you, and until next time,

Stay Tuned!

Wild-Fire Update

The wild-fire that has been burning all week just a few miles from where Bill and I live here in Cody Wyoming, is at last report 30% contained now.

Bill and I took a drive around the backside of Sheep Mountain where the fire was raging just a few days ago. Now the fire is burning further west, but the destruction it left behind will be visible for years to come. The areas where the fire didn’t reach is beautiful, thanks to the round the clock work of the brave men and women firefighters that are here from all over the country fighting to save this beautiful landscape.

Here are a few pictures to show how beautiful the areas are that remain untouched by the wild-fire.

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We saw beautiful ranches like this that were spared from the flames that burned most of the mountains in the distance behind this home…

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Don’t you know these people are truly thankful for the great work the firefighters did to keep the fire away from their families, homes, and livestock?

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But, as you can see by all the dark areas in the picture below, the entire mountain just behind many of these ranches has been burned.

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And if you look closely in the center (just behind the green trees) of this next picture, you can see where the field in front of a ranch home is completely burnt black, but the home is still standing.

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And the wild-fire is still burning, although it has moved several miles west from where Bill and I live.

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As the fire continues to burn, more and more firefighters are arriving to help fight it. Our North Fork campground looks like a small town within itself. This is just one of many areas the firefighters are occupying. We are so happy and proud to have them here with us.

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Just down the road from the campground where the firefighters have their command center set up, they have also set up a staging area for helicopters that dip water to dump on the fire to land and take off, and where they can park their water trucks for refueling etc.

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Hot Shot teams are here from all over the country as well. The green trucks in the picture below belong to the San Juan Hot Shots. This whole wild-fire fighting operation is just amazing. What an up close and personal education Bill and I are getting as we watch and learn what it really takes to fight a wild-fire…

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I will continue to  provide wild-fire updates from time to time if anything major happens, but for now I just want my family and friends to know that Bill and I, and all our friends/neighbors and co-workers, are all safe.

When you see the firefighters coming in after their shift fighting the fire, their faces are black with ashes, they look worn out and it just overwhelms you with emotion for them and what they do… So I will ask that you please continue to keep the firefighters fighting this fire, and all the great people that are here taking care of their needs, in your thoughts and prayers.

Stay Tuned

Fighting The Wild-Fire

A wild-fire is burning here in Wyoming, just behind Sheep Mountain seen in the background of the picture below, which is located right in the Buffalo Bill North Fork Campground where Bill and I are living and working for the summer.

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What started as a grass fire quickly reached the trees and spread into National Forests and has already consumed over 13,000 acres of land.

Ever wonder what it takes to fight a raging wild-fire? Well I captured a few pictures to share. Please know that the pictures are not as good as I would have liked because I was taking them from the inside of our work truck and I didn’t want to disturb the firefighters in any way.

Hundreds of firefighters poured into our campgrounds.

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Bill got a chance to talk to a couple of them. This young man said his team was from Oregon. But there are firefighters here from all over the country. Montana, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. Hot shot teams are everywhere.

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They sat up their main command center in one of our day use areas where there are tables and fresh water.

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It is amazing to watch how quickly they got their command area set up and to see how much support equipment is needed to fight a wild-fire like this.

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Even the Wyoming Homeland Security is here with them.

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Huge trucks brought in lights.

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Truck loads of food was delivered.

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Bob, our neighbor and co-worker (he and his wife, Becky are such great people), helped mow the fields where more trucks and supplies will be. The dead grass had to be cut short so no sparks from their catalytic converters would start yet another fire…

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And truck, after truck, after truck load of firefighters kept rolling in… Along with helicopters and planes that fly back and forth dipping water from our reservoir to dump on the fire.

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These men in the picture below just came in from fighting the fire. They told Bill they are hot and tired and all they wanted to do was get their boots off, get something to eat, and find a place to lay down and rest…

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Some were so tired they were not going to be picky about where they slept. They just popped up a tent in the middle of a field.

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Like I said, these pictures are not near as good as I wanted, but they are the best I could get under the circumstances. But my Frissy said she wanted to see firefighters so GG, this one is for you!

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Right now Bill and I and our neighbors are safe. We believe as long as we are surrounded by all these firefighters we will continue to be safe. Right now all we see is a lot of smoke. But rest assured, if we see even one flame at the top of Sheep Mountain, we are all out of here!

Please keep all these brave men and women fighting this fire in your thoughts and prayers.

Stay Tuned!

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