One of our favorite spots on the Wise River.
This week we were out and about taking photos for a retirement journal RangerSir has asked me to make for one his employees. Our daytime adventures took us to some of our favorite places in our neck of the Montana. One of those places was an out of the way place on the Wise River. Once we got there I just had to get my feet wet. The river was low as it often is this time of the year. Even though it was low the water was cold, a true mountain river. It made it easy to imagine walking out into the river because there was a log on that someone had placed in the middle of the river. RangerSir was not interested in getting his feet wet so this was a solo adventure for me. My destination was to sit on the log, enjoy the water and sunshine.
I could have laid there for hours listening to the sounds and relaxing. Too bad it is a couple of hours from our house.
I laid out there quite awhile until RangerSir and Zip reminded me we had other places to visit before the day was out and the sun would set. I was totally relaxed listening to the water, the wind and the sounds of nature. I could smell the resins of the evergreens heating up in the afternoon sun. It was a little bit of paradise.
Once I had gotten back in the truck and and we were headed on to the next place we wanted to photograph I realized I think I am more water than mountain. I suppose that is easy to say since I have a mountain front and center in my picture window, and no water near by. As a kid I spent my summers on the lake with my grandparents and spent years living in the land of 10,000 lakes. Until I moved to Montana I was always walking distance to a lake or river. Now as we start to think about where we might move to next, I think water trumps mountain. Not 100% sure but something to think about when picking our destination. Water or mountain? Mountain or water?
Our dog, Zip, has been full of challenges. Most of them come from his previous life as a puppy companion to an older woman. He ended up in the shelter when the woman could no longer stay in her home and family could not keep her dear pets.
Zip loves laying in the lush grass over the septic field.
Read between the lines, and you know what things Zip never learned. Zip’s main purpose in life was to sit on her owner’s lap and be the center of her world. We suspect his owner wasn’t very mobile and because of that he wasn’t house trained until he learned it here. He had never experienced grass before us. To this day he likes to walk and lay in lush Iowa green grass and hates prickly cured Montana dry grasses. He isn’t crazy about snow and absolutely hates rain. He can hold it for hours rather than go outside in even a light drizzle. We have learned that we just pick him up and carry him out to a spot because he likely will never choose to go outside instead he will explode. He will go on walks, but he is the first dog that we have had that is not passionate about them. He is not a dog who loves to train with me or gets me out when I don’t want to go. We don’t tell him this out loud, but we think he is a pansy dog.
He hates walking through even a little water on the road.
Today he fooled us. His terrier instinct kicked in and he was on the hunt for some ground burrowing animal that has turned up in our yard. We have not see what is making all these holes, but Zip was out there in the hottest sun of the day digging for all he was worth. He was dirty from digging with his front feet and tossing with his rear feet. His feet were digging through not only soil but also rocks and roots. Some how I imagine that was harder on his feet than the dry grass. His head was down in the hole, snorting in a highly unimaginable fashion before today. His nose was mud caked from sniffing out his imagined prey. It was fun to see him having fun doing something outside.
This is fun and I know how to do it. How’d I know how to do this, my humans have not tried to teach me this?
So we now ask ourselves nature or nurture? When does it kick in?
It was fun to see him enjoying himself doing something so dog.
Yesterday as twilight settled in four bluebird fledglings showed up on our deck. They had feathered out enough that they could fly, but still had lots of baby down on their bodies. RangerSir and I watched them huddle and jockey around on the railing. Though they were from the same clutch it was interesting to see that they were not all the same size. Some had obviously been at the front of the food line more often that some of its siblings. In all the years of having bluebird boxes on the fence post, this was the most up close and personal we had ever experienced. I pulled my phone out and snapped some pictures, my favorite was when mom showed up with a tasty morsel.
It is a hot day, but there is a little breeze that makes the temperatures feel quite nice.
RangerSir’s occupation means that he works the all the summer holidays, because on the holidays it is all hands on deck and everyone is out in the field with the increased visitors. Folks always act disheartened when they ask me about holiday plans and I claim none because of he is working. For me it is quite the opposite, it is a long weekend were I have no plans except of my choosing. I usually pick to stay home and do whatever possesses me. Working up to this holiday we had company for over a week followed by a summer cold that had me off of work for several days. I am still hacking a bit with a cough that hangs on so I am hanging around the house. All the chores and housework are done or will wait until after the holiday. Instead I am taking walks, cooking, writing, spending some time in my studio, reading and I am even thinking a summer time nap in the hammock may be in order. Sounds like a perfect summer holiday to me.
Zip is napping.
Each morning I am now out the door no later than 5:30 to get my morning walk in on the weekdays, before I start the rest of my morning routine to get out the door daily to commute to work. I wish I could take each of you with me on my walk. Not to experience the cold or the see overcast skies we had this week that prevented seeing a sunrise every day this week. Instead I would want to share with you the the sounds of nature waking up. The sound of a meadowlark announcing the morning. It is something I adore, though had never heard before coming to Montana. This year for the first time we have sandhill cranes nesting in the area. Each morning I hear eerily strange sound of cranes. I hope that this is the first of many years for them to be near by. There are the sounds of the robin family and the bluebirds letting the world know they too are awake. There are more than the sounds of birds I am familiar with. There are many birds waking up and calling that I can not identify their song, but I have become familiar with the sound they make as they wake up. It is an amazing peaceful, but energizing way to start your day.
Working outside the home I have become a maser at the lunch pail. The company where I work has a terrible lunch room. It is in the basement so it is windowless. A windowless room is like not having any break at all to me. When my lunch hour comes I am out the door pronto, rain or shine. I am ready for a break from the office building. I am ready to see what the world is putting forth. Since I make the choice to leave the building I could either go broke attempting to eat good lunches or have terrible health eating crummy lunches. Neither have any appeal to me, so I am working hard at preparing interesting lunches that pack well. My grocery shopping now takes portability in to consideration. I have dug out my oldest Tupperware items to hold my lunchtime treasures, since they really are the perfect size, unlike anything else I have found.
This last week I fixed an old-fashion roast beef sandwich spread from left over beef roast. It was a kind of throwback to two of my grandmas. One of them introduced me to sandwich spread and the other grandma gave me the meat grinder I still use to this day.
I am sure you can use your food processor instead of an old-fashion meat grinder, but for me it a connection to my grandmas.
For those of you unfamiliar with sandwich spread, you grind left over roast. Then you add chopped onions, celery,hard-boiled eggs, and pickle relish. Lastly you add store-bought mayo. For my modern version I added some red bell pepper and my favorite salt-less seasonings. I put it on bread with lettuce for my lunch, occasionally I add a slice of Muenster cheese for a little variety. For those of you having heart failure about toting something with mayo in my lunch, today’s mayo has enough preservatives in it that with a frozen blue ice it can safely to to lunch in a sandwich. I don’t live in fear on that one.
Each day at noon, I head out to my truck where my lunch box awaits me. Some days I eat at a local park. Some days when it rains and I sit there in my truck with a book and my lunch and read at the local park as the rain runs down the windshield. Many days I go to a friend who has business with big windows and sit in her classroom and eat my lunch and catch up with her and other folks who drop by.
It was hard at first, but now I am getting the hang of this. I am constantly on the look out for new or old ideas that will make for an interesting lunch. I am open to it it all from sandwiches, to salads and everything else in between. Thousands of folks do this daily and now so do I.
When you buy chicks, most folks buy them sexed, for a whole host of reasons. Many folks can not have roosters in the city. Even if you can have roosters, too many are problems because of too much testosterone.I have heard many a story of a nice or good rooster. The only roosters I have had have been hard on the hens, and wanting to attack us and our dog. I would prefer not to have the hassle of roosters. For this reason I generally buy sexed, female chicks. Sexing is somewhere between 80-90% accurate. Even in the best case scenario you will sooner or later get a rooster or two. This year the jury is not in but we think we got two out of six.
So if getting a couple of roosters was not a big enough surprise, I also got an unexpected breed. Instead of getting two Blue Laced Red Wyandottes we got two Blue Andalusian. That was the bigger surprise. I had never seen or heard of them before. I picked up my chicks when the regular chick lady was gone at the ranch supply. I thought the blue chicks they packaged up weren’t right. Wyandottes have a tendency to be mottled or chipmunk marked. My blue chicks were solid blue. Because the RLRW are somewhat rare, I did not question the staff, but assumed that my limited experience with these breed was the reason for the difference. The store was a couple of hours from the house, so at that point what was I to do, it was what it was.
This is the male. He is a handsome fella, though they sport a single comb, something I stay away from due to the harsh climate here. So far he is a pretty pleasant fella. I’d like to hold on to him for awhile and see how he turns out.
Here is the female. She was a lot more cooperative when trying to photograph her. They are eight weeks old right now. They are a pretty amazing blue color. What a fun surprise.