Cow Chips and Cabin

Now that our cabin is starting to feel like a second home, we can’t stay away!  McGyver and I both had a three day weekend and the baby boy is on school break still, so we headed on up the top of the mountain again.  We had some more furniture pieces to bring with us and a whole list of this and that’s to also bring.  First order of business was to unload as soon as we got there and then McGyver set off to Bozeman (6 hour round trip) to bring back a surprise.

That left the Baby boy and I to unpack what we could.  I got started on some small stuff and he got started on the cheapy futon I purchased at Wal-Mart to replace the daybed idea that didn’t work out.  The Baby boy really enjoys assembling things so there weren’t any complaints from him.  I helped hold a piece occasionally when needed.  After the base was assembled he checked out the length to see if it would be a good fit.  A little short, but with the futon unfolded he thought it would be fine. 

 He perseravered for as long as he could, then a small snafu.  When it came to put the metal screws into the wire mattress frame, they wouldn’t go.  I tried, he tried, I tried, I cussed, he tried, he didn’t dare cuss.  But my poor Baby boy stabbed himself three times with the screw driver (accidentally of course).

That was that, he gave it up and decided to let McGyver handle the rest.  For tonight, a mattress on the floor would suit him fine!

 One of the nice things about being up at the cabin is the absence of life detractors.  Take away errands, functions, work and hobbies and you suddenly feel like you have some time on your hands.  So Baby boy and I played a game while we waited for McGyver to return.

 The game is called MindTrap II, it consists of brain teasers, word/picture problems and puzzles.

It was fun but we never finished, we had Cow Chips on our minds, they were distracting, very distracting.

 Cow Chips

I realize that some people might just call them fried potatoes, some may even call them kettle chips.  Here in Montana they are Cow Chips.

The ingredients are simple.


Oil for frying

Salt and pepper or seasoning salt of your choice.


Slice the potatoes as thin as possible.

If I were at home I’d use my mandolin.

But I wasn’t at home.

If I were at home I might have used my Furi knife.

But I wasn’t at home.

So I used a Chicago Cutlery “ever sharp” knife that we received as part of a knife block gift set.

My slices were uneven.

 If I had limitless water I’d put my potatoes in the water so they wouldn’t turn brown in the air.

But I didn’t have limitless water, oh well, they were going to turn brown when I fried them anyways.

Heat up your oil, hot enough for frying.  I’m guessing I was on a med-hi flame.

I only had about 1/4 ” of oil because disposing of excess oil is an issue.

I fried a few taters at a time, flipping them over when they turned a nice golden brown.

 Drain them on a paper towel and season.

Seasoning salt is especially good.  You can add some cayenne pepper to make them spicy, or use Cajun seasoning.

I think I’ll even try some pickle salt one day.

 I warn you, they are addictive.

No matter how many I cooked our stack never got bigger then this.

 After not successfully completing MindTrap II, we decided to kill the rest of the evening by watching Gladiator.

Kind of lame to have a TV, but when it’s dark and cold (it was that day), it’s still nice to watch movie.

The next day McGyver couldn’t wait to play with the “Surprise”.

Summer puppy says “they’re coming, they’re coming!” 

Look what McGyver has gone and done!  He purchased a 4 wheeler.  A Yamaha Rhino, complete with mini-pick up bed, snow plow and winch.

 They brought me firewood to use to cook dinner.

I love this, our neighbor Jeff heard the Rhino and drove down on his, and they all had to do their man thing.

What kind of wench is that?

Are you gonna use the snow plow?

How many miles?

Tire’s look like new.

What kind of top does it have?

etc., etc., etc.

That stuff didn’t really matter much to me, but the fact that it can haul firewood so I could cook.  Now that mattered to me.

Here I have a 15 bean soup starting and some brats for lunch going.

We worked and worked then we were nagged to death by the Baby boy to play Settler’s of Catan.

The beans had a long way to go, so why not?

Baby boy played, while McGyver and I tried to figure out how to play.  Baby boy was killing us, so we took a break to check on the beans.

By now it was 8:00 pm and the beans still weren’t done.  So McGyver stoked up the fire and lowered the pot to help things along. 

By now we were starvin marvins so I made us all grilled cheese sandwiches.

Yeah for grilled cheese sammies!

If the beans ever do cook, they’ll just have to wait for another day.

After our sammies, McGyver and I gained up on the Baby boy, he still won but we gave him a run for his money.

He was sweatin it and we were enjoying it…no competition in this family.

On our last day we decided to stock up on more water before we left.

In other words, McGyver was happy to have another excuse to drive the new toy.

We rode around to our neighbors spring house (he has graciously allowed us to use his water until we get our own).

This is how it’s done.

 After the container is full, McGyver (certainly not me) has to climb out of the ditch.

And then carry them back to the vehicle.

The most important thing about a spring in the mountains?

Keeping the free range cattle out of the water source.

Can we say e. coli?  No thank you.

Jeff simply built a lodge pole fence around the natural spring area. 

The water runs into the spring house which houses a tank and pump.

The overflow trickles down like a little itty bitty stream.

Then drains into a pond, which the dogs looooove.

From the pond, it drains on down the mountain.

It’s simple, it’s beautiful.

It’s a constant 30° F and crystal clear.

This is the way to drink water!

Guess what?  I got to drive the Rhino back, woo hoo, fun for me.

I don’t understand why McGyver used his seat belt for the first time?

This is where the water story ends.

Actually it doesn’t end, it gets a whole new beginning.

Washing hands and dishes.

Making coffee/tea and cooking.

Best of all a nice cold glass of spring water to quench our thirst!

After the water run, McGyver and I decided to do some target shooting.

I recently got McGyver’s which is now my 30/30 pump action rifle back from our gun smithy.

He had to do what he called a “boob job” on it.  In other words he shortened the stock for me because of my short human arms and he cut the stock to fit my, ummm, curves.

Next to McGyver’s 30/30 mine looks like a mini rifle, something for a child, sheesh.

At first it felt strange, and I kept adjusting it after each shot (FYI 5 in the magazine).

I was convinced that I had missed the target every time, after all the target didn’t move one bit.

Upon closer examination I’d say I killed the paint can!

Mcgyver was not about to stop having fun now, after all this is why we have a place in the mountains.

He took me four wheeling, snow blade and all.

It was all great until we ran into this ↓

 That was our cue to head back to the cabin and pack up and go home, to our real home.

Here’s a few pics of our progress from what we had completed since last weekend.

We brought up my chest I bought in England, it just seemed right at the end of the bed. 

And this cheap armoir, that I bought used for $20 in Germany.  It was unfinished so I stained it years ago to give it an old world effect.

It’s flimsy and the bottom drawer is a bugger to open, but it looks good and it’s functional.


After McGyver rescued the futon assembly, it worked really well.

Matter of fact, I love it.

I will be making pillow covers for our euro pillows, Baby boy has already picked the fabric.

This is his “bedroom” so he wanted a say.

Notice the book shelf in the back ground?  A great place for books, cook books and our games.  Some of our ducks migrated up also.

I picked up the paintings  (pictured on the right) at Bed, Bath and Beyond (one of my most favorite stores).   The color match is perfection!

Our coffee table was won at a Safari Club International banquet.  It’s carved with a hunting motif and topped with glass (obviously I didn’t have any glass cleaner….)

I’ll have to share better pics another time.

Summer dog enjoys our new carpet (purchased at a killer sale price at Shopko).

Cabin and Cow Chips, Cow Chips and Cabin.

A good weekend, a very good weekend indeed. 

By the way, if you were wondering about the means, they finally cooked.

They came home with us and turned into a very nice soup (that we’ve had for two nights now).

Cow Chips
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  1. Potatoes
  2. Oil for frying
  3. Salt and pepper or seasoning salt of your choice
  1. Slice the potatoes as thin as possible.
  2. Heat up your oil, hot enough for frying. I'm guessing I was on a med-hi flame.
  3. Drain them on a paper towel and season.
  4. Seasoning salt is especially good. You can add some cayenne pepper to make them spicy, or use Cajun seasoning.
The Kitchen Witch
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One Response to Cow Chips and Cabin

  1. Kitchen Butterfly August 22, 2010 at 7:02 pm #

    What a wonderful hideaway – getaway- holiday home! I know the feeling, to abandon all wordly concerns and commune with nature! Have fun.