Murdo Girl…Sometimes you’re the tail and sometimes you’re the donkey

Catchy title isn’t it?

For a whiny baby, I had a pretty fantastic Mother’s Day. We met our two daughters and their families at a park for a picnic and it turned out to be just what we needed. Kip and I and the three dogs were among the last to leave. It felt so good to relax and have fun with all of the grandkids. We all had a ball…


A very big ball…and good food! I didn’t get to see my sons, but I got flowers and had good talks with them both…


Tiny Home living…

I was never completely sure I wanted to sell our house and move into a tiny home. I finally decided I didn’t hate the idea badly enough to fight it, so here we are. Things happened quickly at first. We sold our house and moved the dogs and cat into our RV. We had no idea it would be three and a half months and many challenges later, that we would finally move in.

I’m learning a lot about myself. I have always had sufficient stamina to get through whatever is happening. I have always managed to stay positive in most situations and if I  get depressed, it usually doesn’t last long. Maybe it’s because we’re getting older and I haven’t been getting much sleep these past few weeks, but I have had some times when I have been very emotional and little things can throw me for a loop. I don’t like being that way one little bit. I’m too big to hide under the bed and besides, there’s already too much stuff under there.

Maybe I’m talking like this because we had to call the water/sewer company tonight on the emergency line because we were having a problem with the sewer pump. It all worked out fine. They came out immediately and fixed what turned out to be a minor thing.

This is our fourth day living here and we have been trying really hard to put our house in order, so to speak. I have changed things around so much, I’m wearing things out. It’s more difficult than I thought it would be to discard things, but I have found it stresses me more to feel like the place has something in every inch of space. I have packed and repacked plastic crates in an attempt to be organized and know where everything is or isn’t. If I can keep the crates of the nonessentials in the barn for a couple of months and not need them, I will discard the contents without looking at them ever again. I know I have said all of this before, but guess what? I’m saying it again. If you’re thinking of a TH, it bears repeating.


On the plus side…

We love the neighborhood and we love the house. It’s kind of exciting now that the worst is over.

We still have to put in a small yard, fence the backyard, put in a mailbox, finish the asphalt part of the driveway, get the remainder of the siding on, put in the new door with the built-in dog door we ordered, build the steps front and back, put electricity in the barn, get the builder out here to fix things on our punch list, and whatever else comes up.


But do you know what I have to do right now? I have to read the last half of a book for my book club meeting tomorrow. I’ve decided it’s important to read what other people write once in a while. Looks like it’ll be another late night.

I should be able to take some pictures tomorrow to show you what we’ve done with the place…

Oh…I guess I should explain the title of the blog. I put myself in charge of games yesterday. I brought pin the tail on the donkey. Turns out I didn’t know how to play it.

Sometimes you’re the tail, and sometimes you’re the donkey…Mike nailed it.

Murdo Girl…Dollie time

Dollie: I know you’re bone tired, but can we talk? I can’t believe I just said “bone.” The dogs and I had a meeting today and I was chosen to be the scribe. My notes say, “Tell her we have a bone to pick.”

Can I come up on the bed with you?

MG: Sure…What is your beef?

Dollie: I have ten issues on my list. Only two include the word, beef. Now I’m confused. Can I call a friend?

MG: I’m your only friend, Dollie.

Dollie: I’m okay with that…I know you think I’m a loner, but even loners need someone to throw them a bone now and then…there’s that awful word again.

MG: I get it, Dollie. You think you’re not getting enough attention. I try very hard to give you some quality time every day. You do realize there is no fenced yard or dog door at this RV park. I have to walk the dogs several times a day. What does it say about that in your notes?

Dollie: We discussed my training them how to use a litter box, but they just don’t get it. They tried to bury their bones in my sand…gross. I seem to have bones on the brain. Forget them. Will you rub my ears and scratch under my chin?

MG: Sure…What exactly did those dogs have to complain about, anyway.

Dollie: They say you keep them on a short leash…and they want more of those whatchamacallits.

MG: Bones?

Dollie: Sounds about right. Gotta go! I hear Kip getting my food ready…

MG: Bone appetite

Dollie: You need to bone up on your French, MG

Murdo Girl…Slo-mo

Have you ever been so tired you can’t sleep? Lately, I’ve been dreading the nights because they can be rather long when you’re too wound up to sleep. In addition to the tiny home challenges, I have been having a little battle with the clock. I’m two weeks behind on a project that I decided couldn’t be more than three weeks late. I finally completed it yesterday… ahead of schedule.

Maybe I can sleep tonight. I feel like a zombie and my body and my brain feel like they’re both operating in slow motion and when I get like that, I begin to worry about everything.

I haven’t had any time to keep up with my kids and grandkids. They probably think I don’t care. They’ll grow up and say, “Grammy, Grandma, Lil Papa, (they all call me something different) was always too busy for me and she never gave me a birthday gift on time.”

The baby above is now the five year old below.

It’s the tiny home’s fault. It has taken four months of my life and I still can’t live in it. An inspector has to come and inspect the work the water/sewer guys did before the electrician can wire the water meter.

I try to find the time to take care of me. I always hear people say that to others when they don’t know what else to say. “You must take care of you,” they say. Tonight I had a chocolate explosion blizzard at Dairy Queen, so if not good, I’m at least better.

Well, I’m going to try to wind down, so I can sleep and my slo-mo isn’t  any worse, tomorrow.

The photograph is for Judy. She thought I should switch the little rabbits so the slope of the boy rabbit’s ears were going in the same direction as the slope of the ceiling. Judy is getting way too much sleep. She needs a little slo-mo brain intervention. I do like the suggestions I’ve been getting, though…thank you.

Next morning…

I slept great! I’m a new woman. I can’t wait for today’s visit to the tiny home.

Murdo Girl…See what you will see

In last night’s blog, I showed pictures of how I had decorated the ledge in the kitchen of our tiny home. I asked for opinions and suggestions, and I got some. Judy and Lav said to put the large egg between the two beasterhops on bicycles and the two smaller bunnies where the big egg used to be. I did that and I think it looks better. What do you think?

I think I still might need to move the larger beasterhop a little more to the right.

Jean and Lav seconded that I should change the display with the seasons; especially since this is virtually my only place to display things.

This cork board is my only place to display photographs. This is really a tough one for me. I think everyone who reads my blog knows how much I love pictures. I can look at them for hours even if I don’t know the people in them. There is something so magical about capturing a moment in time that you can look at and remember how you felt and what that experience or that person meant to you. I can imagine there are a lot of daughters out there pouring over old photographs of their mothers. I look at my old family photos all the time. I haven’t specifically taken pictures of items that I love, but at the suggestion of Patti Arnieri, I will in the future. It’s an excellent downsizing tip. I wish I had taken more pictures in the past. Kip wishes he had pictures of his first car. I wish I had a real picture of my dog, Berferd. I can’t believe we never took one.

I pinned some pictures of the grandkids to my board today. I don’t have everyone represented, yet. It’s time to print more recent ones. I will do that and take another picture for you after we get moved.

The second picture is of a plate Heidi had made for me. It has all of the grandchildren’s names on it. I think that was three babies ago.

On to the buffet. Here are a couple of choices. Remember, what I don’t use will be stored if it has a family attachment… or given away.

  1. Above the buffet is the traveler’s map Heidi gave us for Christmas a couple of years ago.

The smaller, framed picture is a picture of Kip’s Grandpa McNinch’s Lazy three Quarter Circle Brand. He named his ranch the Star Corral. The other figure is the Beasterhop sitting on a snail and reading a book.

Below is with the plate without the stand, two minimalist ideas, and the antique egg made in Germany that I want to get a dome for. I may put it in the glass display cabinet in the bedroom. I have several things, such as the Queen E. anniversary saucer and cup, Jean gave me, Grandma Sanderson’s demitasse cups and saucers, and Mom’s stemware to display in that case.

I’m trying to find the perfect spot for the ‘meaning of my life’ collage, Judy Dykstra Brown made and gave to me at the 2016 reunion in Murdo. It’s very special and includes a Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow pin contributed by Judy’s sister Patti. I first thought she had given me the very pin she won in high school, but she later told me she found it on eBay. It’s all very cool. I didn’t win many awards and I lost my pin years ago.

I included a couple of shots of a few other things I put on the counter. I am so determined to keep the counter clear of clutter.

I took a picture of the entry stand. I put a little RV replica Kip’s sister gave us and one of my hats on it. Any ideas here? I had Kip put a rack with hooks behind the door in our bedroom for jackets, since we don’t have a coat closet. The thing on the floor is an old boot taker offer.


I still have the remainder of the kitchen to complete. I’m almost finished unpacking and putting away all of the things stored in the cabinets and drawers. We have the bathroom and bedroom to put together, and we get to pick up the pictures that are being framed on Mother’s Day. I can’t wait to see them hung on the walls.

I also spent quite a bit of time, today, in the big barn going through the partially emptied boxes. I’m consolidating the ones that will be stored, packing the things that will be given away, and saving things we think the kids might want before we give them to someone else. We have four huge crates of photographs and I’m the only one who ever looks at them. There is something to be said about being able to download all of your photos onto your computer. I have also scanned thousands and stored them on an SD card. The next thing I will have to do is organize everything on my computer, but let’s not go there, yet.

This is a lot of fun for me. My tiny home might not be full of glam, but I’m beginning to love the idea of being a minimalist. It’s more difficult than I thought it would be, but I intend to stick with it.

Water tomorrow??? We Shall See what We Shall See

Murdo Girl…Inside progress

I said I was going to involve you in my minimalist decisions as I decorate our tiny home. I haven’t gotten as far as I wanted to before doing that, but I will show you some pictures and tell you the kind of challenges I’m having.

We have been pulling boxes out of the garage, one by one. On average, I have decided to find a place for about two-thirds of each box I’ve gone through. I already know what things I will be storing in the shed or barn, but I will keep them at a minimum. I do not want to have to go through the mountain of things that made the first and second cuts, a third or fourth time. I will store three categories.

  1. Christmas decorations…I only kept the tiny ones. I have my nutcrackers and a few other things with sentimental value. I feel good about the culling of the Christmas decorations.
  2.  I will store my beasterhops, and everything that goes with them. I want to continue writing about Beastertown and I will use all my pieces as props for the photos. I already have them organized in plastic tubs, so I feel fine about keeping the source of much of my writing joy.
  3. Off season clothes…I will store our winter clothes, now. I have cut down considerably on the size of my wardrobe. For someone who still struggles with finding her “look,” this has been tough. Keep in mind, I love to go to resale shops. If I have learned anything through this experience, it’s that too much is too much, no matter what you paid for it. That has been a depressing discovery for me.

That’s about all I will store. I know when I’ve completed purging and storing, and I sit back in my comfy chair on the porch, I will feel a sense of freedom. I’m sure I will miss a few things, but I will have everything I need. (I could still shop for others, but unless it’s for a really good friend, or a family member who won’t be offended, I can’t get comfortable with doing that.)

I started my challenge with the ledge in the kitchen. All this time, I have thought I wanted to decorate it with beasterhops. For those of you who don’t know, a beasterhop is a rabbit who rides on a bicycle. I want your opinion on this. I’m a little gun-shy because one year, I wanted to leave my nutcracker collection up all year, and my girls said, “absolutely not.” I haven’t asked them about the beasterhops.


The large egg on the left is an antique basket-weave egg that was given to me by a good friend. I like the way it looks, but I don’t want it to get damaged or dirty sitting up there. She did tell me it has been in her attic for years, so at least people would enjoy it. She gave me another egg that is an antique made in Germany. It’s much smaller and I could possibly find a little glass dome to put over it and display it, instead. It’s really beautiful.

When I find these eggs I’m going to put the large pink one in the basket behind the lady on the bicycle and the crown on another display

I found the large lady Beasterhop on the bicycle, when we were camping in Glen Rose with a group of friends. All the girls went shopping at these really fun places, so I associate Missy Beasterhop with an especially fun time with friends. I think she may be a bit too big to be up there. What do you think?

The ceramic boy and girl Beasterhops were given to me by another good friend. I love the way the boy bunny is looking back at the girl he must really adore. I think they look good. Maybe I should find another little bicycle to set beside or behind them. The Beasterhop on the bicycle is The Beasterhop. The day of the book signing for We Shall See what We Shall See, Kip found the bicycle and I took Mr. Beasterhop off of one of the thousands of decorations my friend, Pat had given me. He was on a ladder which is why his legs already looked like he was riding a bike. Kip took Mr. Beasterhop and the bicycle over to our friend, Scott’s, and he shaped and sanded the wooden stand that holds him up. He will be displayed all year round. See how special all of these are to me?

I promised Kip I would not load the whole house down with beasterhops riding on bicycles. After all, I must have some room for crowns and hats.

We have eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, so there is not room for everyone’s pictures on the walls, which is why two years ago, I asked for a nice looking board to tack pictures on. Heidi got me the neatest framed cork board. I love it and it’s easy to take down the old pics and replace them with more current ones. That’s it hanging on the wall in the hall. I haven’t put the pictures back on it, yet.


Heidi also gave us the map above the buffet to chronicle our trips. We put little pins everyplace we have been on our motor home vacations. It looks a little high on the wall, but I’ve since put a couple of things on the buffet so it looks better, and it needs to be at eye level so you can see all of the pins.

We now have little red stools around the island, and big stools at the counter. The bar stools are pretty big, but Kip wanted them to be comfortable for big guys like him.


As you can see, the place is still a cluttered mess. Remember, we are still moving in and we can only visit until we have water. The sewer is in, but of course, it doesn’t work without water….Sheesh! What an adventure this has been. Thanks for hanging in there with us. I’ll take more and better pictures of our progress, tomorrow.

We’re trying very hard to remain happy campers. Some days we succeed, and some days we struggle. Hey… at least the dogs and cat haven’t run away…yet! They’re just hoping the recliners still have their names on them.


I ran accross this beautiful South Dakota sunset photographed by Dianna Diem.


Murdo Girl…Living and learning

They showed up yesterday. I was so excited, I almost ran over and hugged them. They were strange fellows. They didn’t talk much and wouldn’t make eye contact. They got the sewer in and said, “We will be back tomorrow to do the water, if it doesn’t rain.”


Kip stood outside all morning waiting. The temperature was not very comfortable inside.

It didn’t rain until 1:00 pm, today. It didn’t rain hard until 4:00 pm. Kip enlisted the aid of a guy from our church, who knows his stuff as far as plumbing is concerned, and they worked all morning on the house-side of the connections.

Yesterday, however, we also got the satellite service transferred, so we have television and the concrete guy came and cut a couple of feet off the driveway.

wp-image-1906306846jpg.jpgRemember the retail therapy I told you we did on Monday? Well, three bar stools and three counter stools got there today. Kip had to do some assembling. He has assembled so much furniture in the last thirty-seven years, he has collected 38 allen wrenches. They always come in the box with anything that needs put together. We also got the headboard. I had to leave to get back to the RV to walk the dogs, so I didn’t get to see how everything looked when he finished. I’ll take pictures tomorrow.

I unloaded boxes and put things away, today. I still have too much and I don’t like the “too much” look, anymore. Tomorrow, I will decide on what will stay and what will go. I will take pictures before and after and you can help me decide. That will add some fun to it.


We’re still looking forward to the day we can sit by our fire pit on the porch and watch the grass grow. 

We will not get water tomorrow, because it’s supposed to rain again. There is no rain in the forecast for next week. I’m not going to despair, you all. I am sitting, right now, in a perfectly nice motor home with Cyndie sitting beside me. She’s in MY recliner. I’m at my makeshift desk with my laptop. My feet hurt and I’m tired, but on the plus side, I have reached my goal of over 10,000 steps every day for over a week, so I’m getting fresh air and exercise.

Stay tuned for pictures of the decor…



Murdo Girl…Invisible

When they said they were going to put our water and sewer in this week, they didn’t mean Monday or today. I think they’re purposely playing around with my emotions, and that can be a dangerous thing to do. They have added insult to the injury the electric company heaped on me until I was close to snapping. Do you think they could be in cahoots? Is there a conspiracy against my tiny home? Maybe they’re not used to tiny houses and to them they are of no consequence…invisible to the utility naked eye. Not worthy of their precious water. I should be happy they begrudgingly gave me electricity. I could still be waterless in the dark.

Wait…I forgot to breathe.

Kip said, “Call them.”

“Hello my name is Mary McNinch and I was told your guys were going to put our water and sewer in this week. Can you give me an idea what day that might be because we’re trying to line up a plumber to hook it up to our house so we can live there.”

The water company: We can’t  tell you that because it might rain and we don’t dig in the rain. We only dig when it’s dry and it’s supposed to rain.”

Me, again: But if it doesn’t rain, will you still do it this week? Hello?

In the beginning….


When I got off the phone I heard Kip on the phone with the satellite TV service.


“Hi, this is Kip McNinch. I need you to come and set up the satellite service at my new house. Also, I need a smaller box because I got this new stand with an electric fireplace in it, and the side shelves are smaller. When can you be there? You’ll be there at eight o’clock tomorrow morning? I guess I can be there that early…See Ya!”

I’m telling you…I’m invisible…