Fruits of My Labor

I miscalculated my firewood needs this year so, in the dead of winter, I’m out of split wood. I had some nice chunks of fir ready to split that, of course, were buried deep in snow, as was some ready-to-burn maple, so digging that out was my first chore. The upside was some good exercise and the calories I burned!

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I got everything set up in the garage out of the wind and sometimes horizontally blowing snow. In this solitary chore the fruits included time to anticipate the next week, contemplate life, and think about holding in stomach muscles 😀  Lots of bending, lifting, and throwing – my nice pile warming now, warming again later!

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IMG_9920Splitting up the pile of sixteen or so rounds didn’t take that long, six wheelbarrows full, leaving me with a very satisfied feeling and enough wood to keep me warm and snug through more of our doggone cold.

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The best fruit of my labor is a warm, happy Cooper!

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American Freedom

On Saturday I was invited to participate in an American symbol of freedom in Missoula, a women’s march. It’s emphasis was on women’s rights and included a variety of other viewpoints from thousands of participants with signs and banners that ranged from partisan to humorous, off color to profound.

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I’d never attended anything like this before, being one who sits in front of the computer stewing over current events stories, rather than getting out in the world and expressing myself. There were men there, too, and children learning about democracy and the importance of being informed and motivated. It was a social event with everyone bundled up to stay warm, playing with the dogs milling around, and meeting with friends – kindred spirits sharing ideas, wishes and, hopefully, answers to their questions. It was an orderly, friendly, sanctioned event. No one interfered.

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There were whites, Native Americans, blacks, and a brave transgender gal who all gave talks and inspired an eager crowd. It’s impressive to witness someone who feels strongly about their cause eloquently and intelligently express their concerns, ranging from abuse, discrimination, politics, and the current presidency.

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It didn’t matter whether I agreed with everything I heard or saw. The thing that struck me most was that we had the freedom to be there, the freedom to say whatever was in our hearts, to agree or disagree, and to openly discuss ideas. All were welcomed to participate – whites, blacks, Natives, undocumented Guatemalans and anyone else who wanted to voice an opinion. Though one march may not alter the current state of affairs, or even the hundreds of marches that were held nationwide, it’s helping to keep the women of the country united, sharing a common goal. Go back fifty years and the benefits of Americans letting their voices be heard are obvious. I was proud to be part of it!

Recycling Spirit

The holiday spirit came to me by way of recycling this year! I’m going to have some trees removed from my property and had to clear some little firs to make room for skidding out the bigger ponderosas that will be coming down. Those little firs have gotten more crowded every year and I’ve thinned them before – always just before the holidays so that the nice ones can go to a loving home for the holiday! Those pink ribbons mark trees that have to go – mostly for fire/fuel reduction but also to leave the healthier ones to thrive.

IMG_9658I cut down nine little firs and the tops were all perfect trees to decorate. All of them found good homes, including the very tippy top of one I’m using for a Christmas tree on my porch. It looks better in person 🙂

IMG_9759 Lots of the wonderfully scented lower branches also found their way into centerpieces and garlands. It took several days to get all the little guys trimmed up. One of those days some turkeys came through.

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IMG_9662The lower trunks will be next year’s firewood. Win/win!

IMG_9690The last day, as I loaded my truck with trees to be delivered, a young buck stopped by to see what was going on in his woods.

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In the spirit of the season, happy holidays to everyone! May you receive lots of love, plenty of gifts, and more than enough dessert!

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Montana Travel Blog – Heading Home

Once I made up the fouton with Coop’s bedding he felt right at home.  Maybe he thought we’d moved to the cabin!

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Sunday morning he wouldn’t get up.  A lot happened to my little cocker in just a few days.  Lots of exploring and splashing, lots of new smells.  And he wouldn’t get up – days off are for sleeping in!

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When I asked about going for a ride, he was finally ready.  We had good mountain breakfasts (oatmeal for me, kibble for him) and packed up.  Our vacation had been a success.  We had adventure, mystery, thrills and more than enough to eat 🙂  It wasn’t quite over, though, as we headed home.  Through Montana fall scenery that never quit,

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we headed to Libby with a planned stop at Kootenai Falls.  IMG_9603

This late in the season I didn’t expect to see such a crowd, lots of fisherman and a kayak “convention”, but I still got some nice photos and, yep, more exercise!

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This is where they filmed part of River Wild.  Will have to watch it again now that I’ve seen the falls.  There’s an impressive suspension bridge, and on such a crowded day there was a line to cross it, but Coop would have never gone for it and I was happy just to look.  I actually ran into someone I knew there – 190 miles from home!

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Then home.  I must say I was happy to get here and could tell Coop was too.  And since we were technically still on vacation today we slept in late.  There is no place like home!

Montana Travel Blog – We arrived!

This is Payne Creek, which runs about 30 feet from the cabin.  Lots of drippy, rain foresty hikes to take here and Coop drank and poked around in as many pools as I’d let him.  I kept the poor guy on a leash the whole time due to recent bear activity.

Then we headed to the Bull Lake, about ten miles south of Troy.  I told friends at work I planned to see a moose on my trip, and, sure enough, saw a nice bull moose splashing along the edge of the lake.

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I’d have missed see him if hadn’t been splashing.  Luckily there was a good place to pull off the highway and get a picture, a butt shot but awesome just the same 😀

I kept an eye out for him after we launched but the willows are thick there and we didn’t see him again.  Even the locals said it was a treat to see one.  As soon as we headed across the lake it started raining.  I was prepared and had a great time.  Coop got wet and I can never tell if he’s having fun or not 😉

 

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We did a lot of driving around during our exploring, as in LOST, but the scenery was great and it was intended to be an adventure, so we considered our vacation a success!

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Montana Travel blog – Getting there!

Turned out to be a pretty day for the start of our road trip, despite the bleak forecast.   IMG_9491

We did drive through areas of rain and it was snowing on the higher hills but overall a nice day to start vacation!

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This pretty spot was at Trout Creek, new territory for me.

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The main objective today, other than finding the cabin, was to see the cedars at Ross Creek.  Well worth the stop.IMG_9528.JPG

Though chilly, it was a lovely walk, damp and misty, which seemed appropriate.  Hard to believe there was ever a fire danger in this lush, green valley.

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Things grow happy and big here!

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Coop had a good time and said “thank you!”

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We did, eventually, find the cabin.  Coop settled right in.  The plan for tomorrow is to kayak and see a moose!

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Summer Summary

Labor Day weekend – the end of a long, hot summer. We all hate to rush it by, it will be cold soon enough, but still!!! It’s ending on a sad note in Montana with fires and smoke and continued worry of more. Losses have been great, including swaths of Glacier Park and one of her chalets. Still much to be grateful for and Coop and I had some fun and made the most of it.

Cherry picking is a summer staple!

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Hanging out on docks is too!2017_05_04.jpg

As well as a rodeo and a couple of road trips!

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We did some artwork, though I enjoyed it more than Coop did 🙂

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We hiked on our favorite trail, cool and wet!

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Hung out by the golf course – getting firewood!

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We kayaked at sunset on the little lake!

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We kayaked and picnicked in the smoke on the big lake!

 

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We count our blessings, made the most of it, and it’s time to move on!