I Get to Live Here

More Miscellaneous, More Nature

“The Earth Laughs in Flowers.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson 

I’m so blessed to be able to spend my weekends in the mountains of northwest Montana. Nature, in all its glory, is right outside our back door, and June is when it is at its most splendid.  These are just a few of the amazing displays from last weekend.  As you can see, it’s important to have my camera with me at all times!  The wild roses are in bloom, the Beargrass is beginning to appear, and the Lupine is in full-force!  The Arrowood is so fragrant, that the air is full of it’s sweet smell.  It’s times like this when I am especially grateful that I get to live here. 

rosebeargrasspurplekittenearschapparalleHey, I took these pictures myself. Please do not take them without permission.  Thanks for your respect.

I Get to Live Here!

More Nature

“I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.”  ― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

I’m taking a diversion from my usual reading-related and crafty posts.  I wanted to do a little show-and-tell of my backpacking trip last weekend.  It was the trip of a lifetime and I was lucky enough to enjoy the majestic Montana wilderness at its best.

Last weekend I was lucky enough to escape from reality and take a backpacking trip into the Jewel Basin wilderness area of northwest Montana.  With 30 pounds of provisions on my back, I joined my husband, dad, and three good friends to enjoy a perfect weekend of nature in Montana.  This was “off-the-beaten-path” hiking. We didn’t see another human being the entire time we were out.  However, we did have some very friendly, and unexpected visitors in our camp.

These mountain goats rarely see people in this remote area, but they were quite friendly and walked right into our camp and didn’t seem bothered by any of us.  After awhile, however, we were happy to see them move along.

If your idea of heaven includes a body of water, this pristine mountain lake is exactly what you would conjure in your mind.  No large lake homes….no jet-skis…no floating contraptions….just the sound of nature and jumping fish.  If fact, the fishing was excellent, and I have to say that fresh fish, caught from a high-mountain lake, cooked over a camp-fire is as good as it gets.

There is nothing more peaceful than the sound of running water outside your tent to put you to sleep, and brushing your is definitely much more enjoyable from this view!

Okay, I might be bragging a little, but I did make it to the top of this mountain.  It was hard, but worth it.  Can you see the little dots of white below the peal?  Those are the mountain goats that came to visit us the next day. They had absolutely no trouble making it down the face of this mountian. (By the way, we didn’t climb up the front of this side of the mountain.  We found an easier route.)

From this vantage point, it felt like the sky went on forever. If you wonder why we call our great state “Big Sky Country,” well, this is it! With mountain lakes surrounding us, and the beauty of Montana in each direction, it felt like I was on top of the world.  It was a weekend to appreciate my Montana home, my health, and my family and friends.  I realize that few people are lucky enough to see ever the kind of natural beauty that I did on this trip.  I feel truly lucky to say, “I get to live here!”

Perfectly Pumpkin

More Crafts, More Decorating, More Nature, More Treasures

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”   -Henry David Thoreau 

I’ve had a lot of fun lately, enjoying some fruitful thrifting, some bountiful fall blooms in the garden, and some happy crafting for Halloween.  First of all, let me say that two years ago, when I toted home a small Chinese Lantern plant from my farmer’s market, I had no idea that it would spread so eagerly.  I has literally taken over my front flower garden.  So, what’s a crafty girl to do?  Find a way to use them for fun fall decorating, and to make cute decorations to give away! I found this cute idea in the Martha Stewart magazine for turning Chinese Lantern pods into small pumpkin favors.  I’ve also had some exceptional luck at the thrift store lately.  The orange pot in the background is McCoy (I’m kind of a pottery snob!) and the pumpkin is a vintage Haeger planter.  I found these things just hiding among all of the other Halloween “crappity-crap.” (thanks for the term, Dottie Angel, it’s perfect!)  Fall decorating is my favorite, and I only wish the season wasn’t so short.  Right now I’m pressing some leaves for another crafty idea I saw on Martha’s website… I’ll be sure to share the results.

Delicious Autumn!

More Miscellaneous, More Nature

“Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”  ~George Eliot

Fall…… It’s my favorite season, and if I could push the pause button today, I absolutely would.  I love everything about crisp, sunny fall days.  Warm sweaters, apple cider, Halloween and fall decorations, bright yellow Aspen trees, and geese flying in V’s.  School is in full swing, leaves need raking, gardens need prepared for winter, and there hasn’t been much time for creating.  However, it seems as if every time I look around, there’s a photo opportunity.  Enjoy!

Cherry, Cherry!

More Miscellaneous, More Nature

“We’ll take the cake with the red cherry on top.”  Navjot Singh Sighu

One of the (many) things I love about living in Northwest Montana are the cherries.  Around Flathead Lake, there are oodles of cherry orchards, and the locals are always waiting for the cherries to be ready for pickin’!  This year’s crop was sweet, juicy and delicious.  I think cherries are such a happy fruit, and these sweet ones are perfect right out of the bowl.  It’s a quick season, and now I’m resigned to the reality that it will be one more year until I see the roadside stands with cherries spilling from the bins.  (The story of the Flathead Cherry would be a good one….. maybe I should do some research and write an article?)

The Huck’s are Here!

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“I’m your huckleberry…”             Doc Holliday

In Northwest Montana, there are few things as exciting as the first huckleberries of the season.  The husband, dogs and I headed out to find some of these delectable treats this weekend.  We went too high in the mountains at first where we usually like to go, and they weren’t quite ready yet.  So, we decided to head lower to see what we could find, and we stumbled upon a “honey-hole” of berries.  We picked all day in a a dream location – flat, open and shaded.  The reason huckleberries are so coveted is that you really do have to work for them.  The picking is slow, and you have to have just the right “feel” when you’re picking, so you don’t get the ones that aren’t quite ripe.  These berries were to die for, and when I would reward myself with a taste, it felt like a burst of sunshine in my mouth.  I love that huckleberries haven’t been domesticated.  It adds to the mystery, when you know that the only berries out there are ones that have to be picked on a mountaintop.  What a reward, what a treat!  We had huckleberry pancakes for breakfast on Sunday, and sprinkled some on homeade ice cream last night.  I will post my aunt Shelly’s huckleberry cake recipe soon, and will be freezing some of these for huckleberry cream cheese pie.  I delivered a cup to my uncle who stopped by the cabin for a visit, and took some over to the neighbor to add to her oatmeal for breakfast.  When you are  a huckleberry picker, you don’t just hand out these treasures to anybody, so if you have been given huckleberries by a friend, you should know that you are very special, indeed.