Friday, May 19, 2017

Small Town Living!

I’m afraid you only have the longer version this time.

I need to start out by thanking all of you who responded to my survey on shoes. Unfortunately Karl is a little sad. He said the only reason I was making a point is because all of those who responded were all female and there was not one male response. If a male had responded it might have changed the survey. I thought it was funny! But I guess he did have a point. I did have to point out that most of the males were probably only reading the short version. Hahaha! I’m sorry I crack myself up!

As promised I will fill you in on why it took so long to get a post out. As you know we live in Ranch 66-Missionary Village.  You also know where we live is very remote and rural. This is not an understatement. This is very, very, true. When the antelope graze along your home on a daily basis because it has been placed there among their plains grazing area then what is an antelope to do but graze on around this home in their way. Our TV with an antenna you maybe get 3 channels if you are lucky but usually maybe one and that is on a good day. The internet even with hotspot is very inconsistent and even non-existent on days.

But as far as weather there is always a great variety. You have already been introduced to some of it but I want you to know that a week ago Saturday it was 90 degrees in Casper. The rest of this week has been very nice and even T-shirt weather for a period of time during the day. When we would get home it was warm inside and Elder Sigmon started working on trying to start the air conditioner. Luckily there was a part broken which we had to wait until the next preparation day to get before being able to complete that job. You see where this is headed, right? More on this later.

Well the point I am trying to make there are 18 couples who are living here on Ranch 66 right now. I would consider it small town living. When something is happening around here the people start to gather. Twice this week we had unofficial gatherings but very exciting small town living gatherings. The funny thing is for one all the men are grouped together looking up with their hands on their hips. For the other they all gathered looking down with their hands on their hips looking very thoughtful and they have important duties to perform soon.  I have had Karl take a picture of me trying to show you what they looked like.
On Sunday the 7th of May we lost power. It was about 4 p.m. when it happened. Elder Waldmann knew right away what the problem was. He worked as head of facilities over a school district. The easiest way to describe it is to compare it to your electrical control panel at home. When something gets overloaded or for some reason is shorting out it trips a breaker and you don’t have power. Elder Waldmann could see by walking over to our power pole there were two things hanging down and not connected like they should be. This is like a breaker tripping. I lightened up the picture so you could make out things in the picture because it was getting very stormy and rainy.
The other thing I would like you to note is the pole I am pointing to with the arrows is the very last pole on the run. Like we are so rural no one else is connected. It ends with us. You can’t see it in the background of this picture but there is another electrical pole behind it with the same problem. So this picture was taken as we all are impatiently waiting for the electrical company to come out and fix our problem. Remember the closest cities to us are 1 hour away and that is if they leave right away. 

As we were all there waiting we got to noticing that there were about 2-3 couples still sitting in their houses. Now what is up with that? Someone suggested we should go carol to them so they could come out and join us in our fun. We were successful in quilting them into joining us to go and sing to the others. As we were headed over to another area for one last couple the wind started up and the rain started coming down and we all took off in different directions getting out of the weather and heading back to home. I guess we are only fair weather friends.
Of course all of our problems as far as electricity is being reported to the President at the Homestead and so he is aware of our situation. I am also finding myself and others saying “It is an adventure!” How little I knew when I named our blog how often it really, really is out here!

President and Sister Pace came out bearing gifts. She called it our rescue supplies which consisted of a bucket of candy. They were the bigger bags of skittles, Heresy Bar, etc. As she was handing them out I was thinking wow she must have a big bag of these candies because these look like the ones she has in a basket for the missionaries to choose from for their anniversary or birthdays. Later on Sister Pace says “if it is someone’s birthday is next week and there isn’t any candy. Don’t tell them I gave it all away to you guys.”  We all laughed and we decided it was a good cause. 

In our defense for those of us who are in permanent trailers having no power means…we have no heat, lights, etc. The RV’s have heat, etc if they have backup batteries or a generator. The other down side is we are all on a well out here RV and permanent alike. With no electricity we have no water either. 

The electrical company guy did come out and of course he had an audience watch him work. I hope he didn’t feel a lot of pressure but like I said what else is there to do in our small town community. What he was going to do was (going back to our analogy) would be the equivalent of replacing a fuse. If there wasn’t a short then all would be well and the breaker will work when everything is reset. But if there is a short somewhere then the breaker will trip again. He was able to get the end of the line pole things replaced and put back together which I’ll show you a picture of. Then he headed over to the other pole to do the same things to those. Now this was going to be the test because when he connects the last one it could “trip” again. If it did then he was going to have to call in another truck (the big one) and they would have to bring in a new transformer because it would mean it was bad. We had lightening with our storm and somewhere it could have hit a pole and since it will travel to the end of the line guess what that is where we are and we end up with the bad transformer and no power. We are all sitting there with our fingers crossed. 
I was designated as the picture taker so they could be used in the monthly newsletter. I was all ready with my finger on the push button to get the picture if the transformer exploded. Well it did explode but instead of pushing the button I jumped because it scared me and a big cloud of grey smoke came out of it. I asked him if he could do a do-over but well you know how that goes. :( We were back to square one and waiting for another truck. I didn’t want to go to bed until we had electricity and it finally came back on at 10 p.m. Thank heavens for gas stoves and Karl had a lighter in his tool box and we had a solar lantern and 2 candles. So we were warm and had some light to read by while waiting.
May 8th, Monday we had safety training which included how to properly use a fire extinguisher. Elder Roundy was in charge of getting a fire going. This guy loves to start fires. He is crazy! He starts the fire in Bertha all the time. Bertha is where we put all our trash and it gets burned up. The only things that do not go into Bertha are pop cans and tin cans. The pop cans are crushed and recycled and tin cans go straight into the trash bin. The ashes after being cooled for several days prior to the trash pickup also will go into the trash bin but we don’t want to cause a fire so Bertha is locked for several days until the ashes have had sufficient time to cool. Our trash is put into the front bin of the trash bin so it can easily be thrown into Bertha when she is back in business. Elder Ward was the lucky winner to use the fire extinguisher as we all watched how it is to be done.

9th of May, Tuesday, I worked in the office again with Sister Scussel. I love working in the office with her. We have a good time even though there is a lot to do. It is fun to have two people do a job and get so much more accomplished! 
She is the one who schedules all the treks and how they are all going to work around each other if there is more than one at a time which is usually the case during the warmer months. 

Just as an example about the 2nd week in June we have about 13 to 16 treks going on during that week. I don’t remember the exact number. We try to keep no more than 200 people with one set of Trek Hosts (us missionaries). So if we have a group of 400 people they will be two groups of 200. Elder Sigmon and I have a trek on the 2nd of June and they are 250 people. She is splitting them into 2 groups of 125 each. We are doing these groups with the Wards. They will leave first and we will leave with our group a ½ hour later. They need to be done and off the trail by 5:30 p.m. It is all a coordination thing along with everything they want to do on their trek. She has all this knowledge of how long things take, where they can cut time, what they could maybe cut out to shorten if they are in a hurry, campgrounds, travel times, food information, medical information, etc. 

So I have been coming up with some questions and we have decided to try and put together a procedure manual on how to do her job with all of this information in this manual. So this way the person who is in charge of scheduling next year has something to work with all written down and not just in Sister Scussel’s head. Believe it or not the piece of paper under my hand is every single trek coming through for 2017 all on an Excel spreadsheet listed by weeks.

When we came home it was nice no jacket weather. The Schows were preparing to have their RV return after having some repairs. Elder Schow was actually sitting in a comfy camp chair while his wife was doing something as we walked into our house. I turn to Elder Sigmon and say “Look at Elder Schow enjoying the nice weather.” NOT even 5 minutes later I look out the window and see the wind is going like 100 mph (I’m sure it wasn’t that bad but it was strong) then I say “Poor Elder Schow so much for that--now he’s going to be blown away.” Then I see something and I’m trying to figure out what is making the rocks blow across our lawn. Then I realize it is hail the size of a grape. I yell to Karl “it is hailing!” He gets all excited and says “My truck! I wish I had a blanket!” as he runs outside. So being the good wife I am I grabbed the comforter off the guest bed throwing everything on it to the floor and run out the door. So there we are holding the blanket over the truck and I yell to him “I can’t get it up high enough to cover the windshield.” His response is “Don’t worry about the windshield—that’s the cheapest thing to replace!” I am under the blanket getting pelted by this hail!  It hurt! It is hitting me in the head so I held the blanket up a little higher to diminish the blows but it is pelting me on the side of my hip and that was no fun. I also figured out to keep my hand under the blanket too because it hurts when it hits your hand. Karl tells me “Run into the house!” I’m like “No I am not! I am staying under this blanket!” I could imagine the hail hitting me in the face and I was not about to tell you what that felt like. You can call me chicken, I don’t care! Karl comes over to my side as the hail subsides some and he says “I wish I had another blanket for the top of the truck.” So…..I run in and get the Sherpa which we manage to get caught in the doors before another wave comes on again. But this time we made it inside to safer conditions. When it was all said and done Karl was afraid to take off the blankets and look at the truck. But I am pleased to report that we were successful in saving the truck as far as we can tell. Of course Bill Carr hasn’t given it the once over yet but I think we are ok. He will be checking it out in another week or so and we are so excited!!! I have made a list of things for him to bring us. Yes that is hail on the blanket!
We were sopping wet. I tried to take a picture of the two of us but you couldn’t see how wet we were. The one by myself shows it better so you get that picture.
May 10th, Wednesday Elder Sigmon and I worked in the Visitor’s Center. It was a beautiful sunshiny day! We enjoy the Visitor’s Center and we were with the Waldmann’s. Sister Roundy comes over and tells me “Sister do you see my glasses. I have been wearing them all day and Sister Harris just told me ‘Sister Roundy do you know you are missing a lens?’ I thought something was a little different but I didn’t know what it was so I have gone like this until now.” I had noticed a lens sitting on the table in the Visitor’s Center. So I told her about it and she had said that’s what Sister Harris had told her. So that’s why she was there. I asked if I could take a picture for my post. She is a good sport and let me. We had a good laugh as she told Sister Waldmann the story again. I know she isn’t looking at me because she just saw Sister Waldman and wants to tell her. But she is smiling and I like her smile. The other picture she looks all serious.
I want you to notice the sunshine and beautiful weather. Yes yesterday it hailed!

May 11th, Thursday was another small community gathering. We had a hydrant by one of our wash houses (where the RV people can do their laundry). This is where you can wash your truck or car if you want. We have noticed that the ground has a constant little pond there and something must be broken and needs to be fixed. So it was decided a small work crew (2 guys) would come and dig it up to assess the situation and then try to make the necessary repairs. 

Well to make a longer story short we hear some chatter on the radio basically saying the dirt is wetter than they had thought and they had a collapse and Elder Hall was going to change his clothes and his wife can take him into Casper. Of course the facilities manager (Elder Crist) asked him if he had a cell phone and what the number was and then he talked to him not on the radio. All of us are of course are concerned Elder Hall must be hurt. Then we hear some more radio chatter trying to get Elder Thunell to go to the emergency channel. But that channel doesn’t work with the distance between Ranch 66 and the Homestead. So they are back on the channel we can all hear and Elder Thunell is going to take Elder Hall into Casper. 

We figured out things aren’t good. Including President because you hear him call Elder Crist and ask if someone is hurt? So he was left out of the loop of communication. Oops. Then you hear President calling Elder Scussel to his office (the Safety guy). We found out later that Elder Hall was in the hole they had dug with a backhoe and it collapsed on him. They had dug it wide enough and even had a board plank to walk in and out of it but they had no idea it was as saturated as it was and it collapsed. Luckily nothing was broken. He is sore and some muscles were bruised so he was on a cane for a few days and is limping along now without one. Slowly he is getting better but he needs to take it easy. You know how well men listen to that. 

In the process some pipes were broken and Ranch 66 was without water. We heard requests for all hoses, piping parts, people, etc to work on fixing and restoring water to our homes. The funny thing when we drove home is we see all these hoses strung to every house going across the street from another well so we have some water while they repair the pipes to well #1.  But of course everyone has to go over and look at it but this time they are looking down. “Hello Elder Roundy.”
I am happy to report they were able to get it repaired by the end of the day. It took quite a few men and a backhoe to get it all done but the hoses were all collected and returned to their proper owners. I think.

May 12th, Friday I did School Group (field trip) and we had a real live blacksmith on site. He comes every year for a week. He takes vacation and comes and mans the blacksmith shop. Isn’t that so cool. There was actually fire burning in the forge! I think Karl’s brother, Morris, should come and do that! It really brought it to life instead of one of the Elders talking about what they do. The kids could see him in action!

After school tours I was put on the painting the picnic tables and benches duty out at Ranch 66. Thank you to Joy Zuniga and her wonderful scrubs. They are so comfortable and had great pockets to hold things like phones, etc. I could get used to wearing those. Elder Thunell had to go back to the Homestead to get more paint because we ran out. We were standing out in the SUN getting hot so I suggested we go somewhere cooler and maybe even eat some ice cream in the shade. Everyone thought it was a great idea (Sister Taylor, Gillespie, Thunell and of course myself). So we walked to my house and had some English Toffee ice cream bars, ice water, listening to Enya while we waited and visited. I think it was a great break!

Here is the evidence I worked and wasn’t loafing. The nice thing was we were able to break a little sooner because we had dinner and a speaker at a Fireside at Sixth Crossing we needed to go to this evening. The speakers were President Lorimar and his wife. This is exciting because it is like going out to dinner. I didn’t have to cook and Brother Lorimar is the person who had a lot of the dealings in purchasing the land for Sixth Crossing, Rock Creek Hollow and Martin’s Cove.

It was very interesting. He has had many interactions with President Gordon B. Hinckley, James E. Faust, President Monson and many other people in trying to get things taken care of and done. 

The other crazy thing is the Sweetwater is rising and Sixth Crossing is feeling the effects of it. We were told to take trucks and not to take cars because you have cross the river where it has come over the road going into Sixth Crossing.
President wasn’t kidding!

May 13th, Saturday was our preparation day and Karl’s sister Marla was here from Nebraska to see her new granddaughter, Parker Radeen Simpson. We also got to see her along with Marc, Tony, BJ and his wife. It was really nice to visit with them. We had a great lunch and good company. I’m sorry to say I did not get a picture of the baby. I was busy holding her. I did take a picture of the cat who seriously made itself very comfortable on Karl’s stomach. At first she jumped up so he could pet her and then proceeded to walk on his stomach, rub her head on his stomach and then laid down. What is even funnier is Karl has gotten much better over the years but he is more of a dog fan than cats. But they literally all throw themselves at him. This one beats them all and I couldn’t help myself. I had to get a picture.

May 14th, Sunday was Mother’s Day. We got roses in church and some handcart earrings. It was a nice day!

May 15th, Monday we had RRA RRA duty (restroom assistant). The Sweetwater continues to rise and before we even left you can see how it is trying to come into the parking and refueling equipment area. 
And behind the mechanics shop where we keep all the riding and push mowers.
While cleaning one of the bathrooms I spotted a pelican. Yes you read that right! I am a California girl and am familiar with pelicans. I just had no idea there were any in Wyoming but apparently there are. I was quite surprised.
I also want you to notice the sunshine! We had to go out on the trails and clean those bathrooms. The Sweetwater has managed to start crossing the trails in 4 different spots. One of the worst ones was 8-10” high. It was crazy! 
The picture doesn’t do it justice the river just flows right over like that’s where it is supposed to go and has always gone. The “S” curves to river are disappearing and it seems like one big river as it crosses over the banks and makes itself into one big river. Here is a view from the other side. The river is too high for Trekkers to re-enact a river crossing but just to stay on trail they will do a river crossing lol.
May 16th, Tuesday we got to do mowing again. I seem to really enjoy that! There is a lot of grass here but I think I have it down now. The Sweetwater continues to rise. This is the baptismal font we have here. The water is up to the seating section. Those darn pesky birds and their droppings. You can see it all over the benches. It is something we constantly are having to clean up after.
A lot of the men were busy trying to build up with dirt and the backhoe to keep the Sweetwater where it belongs. Hauling in at least 12 dump trucks of dirt. I am not sure of the actual total but it was an exhausting day for them.

May 17th, Wednesday I worked in the office again and several people have been busy filling sand bags.

May 18, Thursday we woke up to 5-6” of snow. Yes you read that right. It has been snowing since about 2:30 a.m. Don’t ask how I know that. Very first thing we go to at 8:30 is Correlation meeting every day where we have a song, prayer, thought, reading from our book to help learn the history and stories, information we need to know from President and others and then or work assignments for the day. Well the song today which was chosen was “Today while the Sun Shines.” Yes we all laughed. And then when it was time for the work assignments Elder Hall said “I usually say take it with a grain of salt but today it might be with a flake o snow.” Everyone is a comedian. Karl and I were both assigned to School Groups. It has been snowing all day. It finally quit about 7 p.m. We ended up not having school groups because they cancelled. They neglected to let us know until we called to see where they were. 
We have a group from Canada coming in to trek this weekend. They are aware of the rising Sweetwater and the snow which was forecasted. I do have to give the weather men credit over here. They are the most accurate weather men I have ever seen anywhere I have lived. Although it is hard to believe with how much it swings from one end to the other but what they predict is what happens. Granted I am getting it from my phone not the TV but it is the same way I get it at home. Just at home they are not very good at their predictions in my opinion. 

The Canadians are planning on camping outside but as the day raged on it was determined to have a backup plan for them. At least a place where they could get warm. If they got wet out on the trail and then their tents are wet and their sleeping bags get wet and they get cold and can’t warm up it probably wouldn’t be good. So for now I think they are separating boys and girls. Some are in the Barn and others are in the Gathering Room. As far as I know they are still planning on trekking tomorrow. Can I say I am glad I am not the trek host on this one? They will be wading through water and 40 degree weather. They are going to have to have water shoes and then change back into warm socks and shoes. I believe the snow is supposed to clear up. But I am not totally sure. It is crazy! I know I have used that word a lot but I don’t know how else to describe it.

We were told to wear warm work clothes for tomorrow. All hands on deck for sandbagging and dyke building. Sounds so fun!

You are all caught up! Can you believe it! Wow! There was a lot to report. We hope you are all doing well. We love and miss you. Thank you for your little snippets of comments, texts, etc to let us know you are thinking of us. It means a lot to us.
Karl & Monica

PS Elder Sigmon has decided to wait on hooking up the air conditioner. Thank heavens! I tried to tell him lol


  1. It's wonderful to read about the adventures you are having! As I read I was thinking of my ancestors who came thru there and everything they must have endured. A wave of gratitude has filled my heart! We love you both!