Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Into the Unknown : Happy in Montana

"How do the geese know when to fly to the sun? Who tells them the seasons? How do we humans know when it is time to move on? As with the migrant birds, so surely with us , there is a voice within if only we would listen to it , that tells us certainly when to go forth into the unknown."
~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

As we stand on the brink of the Unknown do you have eager anticipation in your heart or are you dreading the Unknown? What is your plan for experiencing the new year and the new opportunities that may present themselves? Will you follow along in the same old rut, the same old script ? Or will you reinvent yourself at this fork in the road and try something new ? Something you have put off for some time and now is the time to listen to the voice within for the wisdom that your eyes do not see.

Wishing you the best of the New Year. Health , happiness and the wisdom to make a positive difference in your life and in the lives of those around you.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Peace : Happy in Montana

Sunlit and snow covered the forest at it's finest
 A Christmas wish for Peace on Earth this 2013 th year of our Lord.  A couple of thousand years ago a child was born who would bring a profound message of Love. Sadly as humans we have not done a good job of hearing this message or putting it into practice. Perhaps some day we as humans will see the benefit of loving and working together in harmony . I look forward to that day.
Abbey Road
 Some Christmas fowl , turkeys making their way over the snowy road. Below the national symbol enjoying the afternoon sun and dinner.
Bald eagle protecting his dinner
 Peaceful Lake in the afternoon winter sun. I wonder if more people spent time outside in Nature would they be more harmonious and peaceful?

Part of the fur gang sleeping ( Bad Kitty, Marley and Saucey)
 Merry Christmas from the Fur babies ( part of them ) they are zonked out in the living room . The dogs spend countless undignified hours snuggling with Bad Kitty. Today Marley is the target of the "snuggle"
the perfect Christmas Tree
Every year I buy a small live tree for in the house but truly I have a ton of perfect trees in the yard. But it is fun to find a new species of evergreen and anticipate the spring thaw when I can put it into the ground. Peace to all this day.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy in Montana : Solstice

Wishing you a pleasant evening as winter solstice proceeds forward. This is the day that the sun appears to hover still in the sky as it passes over the Tropic of Capricorn. The Long Night is over. We welcome the Sun and it's warmth back to our sphere. A quiet night  with a light snow falling . Good Solstice to all !

"In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived , and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you " ~ Buddha

Friday, December 20, 2013

Lazy Day Becomes the Long Night

 Lazy snowy day for errands . Snow all night and everything is newly frosted. The Swan is quite glowy in the afternoon sun. Some blue sky peaking through the snowy clouds . Heading East on the Swan Highway after the days chores in town.
 A particularly bright spot on the mountains north of Jewel Basin . I stop by the lake to see what is going on . It is a slow day so I wait by the lake by a hole in the ice. There are bubbles coming up so maybe some kind of animal is lurking under the ice. I have to be very quiet. I am sure it has super human hearing and even my shallow breathing can be detected by this unknown entity that is locked under the icy crust of the lake .
 My patience is rewarded by a river otter that surfaces and slithers onto the ice. It is breathing hard as it had to hold it's breath waiting for me to leave. Of course I didn't leave and now we are face to snoot. It watches me and I watch it. Then it dives back into the icy waters.
 Before it climbs out again it pokes it's head out and peaks around the border of the ice free hole.
 North end of the lake is quite still in the afternoon chill. It was fun to spend some time with the otter.
 Back on the road to the house . Hovering near freezing as I travel past Jewel Basin. The roads are not too slick but still have patches of ice.
 The trees at the top of Jewel Basin are covered in snow. These trees are quite tall but look tiny on the 7000 foot ridges.
The road into the basin is beckoning but more work to do so maybe another day .
A quiet day of exploring the great frozen North West gives way to the silence of the night. Tonight is the Long Night . Tomorrow is Solstice and we will once again welcome the sun back from it's long journey in the Winter sky.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Happy in Montana : Teachers

 Some winter visitors to the yard. Early in the week we had about 16 inches of new snow. It has since warmed and the snow is compacting in the warmth. The deer come by a couple of times a day. Always a good thing to look left and right coming from the shop . We don't want to startle the "herd".  Although deer are fairly passive if they feel threatened they will stamp their feet and move towards you aggressively.
I was thinking this week , in gratitude , for the teachers past and present. Those individuals that have left a path of bread crumbs that lead to the next insight. There are a handful of individuals as well as many authors. Most of the wisdom from these teachers rest on the same principle . Think for your self. Test all information that comes into your sphere and make sure it is real and you are not being manipulated. In this day of grande media, ( my term for the invasive smart phone, laptop, satelite environment) we are easily led by the nose to believe what ever is the present day menu. I ask you to instead , research, read, test internally if what is being put out there is real . Is it helpful towards a compassionate loving functioning world? Does the prevalent thought inspire you to action , to creative productivity and does it make your life and community more cohesive and functional? Or does it numb your brain and immobilize you? Considerations for today ' Question everything' a Zen master once said.  Are you thinking clearly ?

" If you ask Zen people they will say tea is not something that you pour with unawareness and drink like any other drink. It is not a drink , it is a meditation; it is a prayer. So they listen to the kettle creating a melody , and in that listening they become more silent , more alert ."                                    ~ Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Monday, December 2, 2013

Arctic Blast

sniffing the camera
 Preparing for the Arctic Blast , I visit with the neighbor girls . They are very curious and want to know if I have any treats. Of course the fence could easily be mowed over but for some reason these giant horses think they should stay on the other side. I am relieved.  I am 'eye to eye' with that fuzzy nose and they stand several feet above me. They are very gentle but that doesn't change the fact that their feet are bigger than my head. So after a bit of horsey one on four time ( one of me and four of them ) lots of rubbing the giant fuzzy noses etc I continue to finish my outside chores before the snow starts. Earlier today it was sunny and 48 degrees. It has now dropped to 35 degrees as I am racing around fluffing the yard in preparation of the freezing temperatures. I am seriously glad I cleaned the dog yard earlier in the day. Freezing temperatures do not enhance the cleaning experience. I am down to 4 tines on the sweeper rake. I have no idea why they make these out of plastic .
After spending some quality time with the horses,  I had to go to the garage for some errands . However  Mr Buck was standing in the way . He also had his friends with him. By the way it is rut . I carefully made my way to the garage talking to Mr Buck the whole time with comments like " Move along"  "I am not afraid of you" "your family is safe ", etc. Ok the whole " I am not afraid of you " was a bit of bravado. I am actually terrified of several hundred pounds of venison with antlers. I didn't want to irritate him. But chores needed to be done. Truth be known a hoe would have been more helpful than the camera.
Mr Buck 
 Mr Buck knows that the hunters will not find him in my yard . I prefer veggies and rarely salivate thinking about this beauty. He is very proud and most sure of himself .
Two females nibbling 
 Mr Buck's friends  munching away at the exposed dry grasses. I fence most everything that I would rather not be dinner. The baby is quite filled out and has a good start for the long winter.
Snow flying from the North
The snow flies , the temperature drops to 20 F , just a few hours before it was sunny and nearly 50 degrees.  A good day with a lot of chores accomplished. The cabin is cozy with the wood stove. Happy to be in Montana. Happy to have a warm house . Grateful for many blessings.

"Will you ever begin to understand the meaning of the very soil beneath your feet? From a grain of sand to a great mountain, all is sacred. Yesterday and tomorrow exist eternally on this continent."
~Peter Blue Cloud , Mohawk Nation


bejeweled with hundreds of melting ice drops

It is 47 degrees out and the sun is shining after several days of grey ( see previous post ) . A brief respite before the Arctic Blast arrives this afternoon. The wind has picked up and tossed the trees about. Taking this opportunity or is it an obligation ? to go out and enjoy the sunny and warm day. Lots of last minute mulching to do around tender plants and trees . For the next 8 days the highs will be 15 degrees or less F, and the lows will be well quite low in the minus range. Here in the Great North West it is a duty to go outside when it is sunny and say hello to that great yellow orb that so sweetly warms our Earth.

Update 4 hours later . Now we are at 20 degrees and the snow is pouring from the Northern skies, blowing , twirling and bringing chill back the cozy cabin in the woods. The dogs are glad to be inside today.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Long Dark : Chasing the shadows

Front porch cheer
The Long Dark definitely needs the cheeriness of lights in the dusk hours. So the decorating begins.
Lights to buoy our spirits as we approach the shortest day of the year.  Winter solstice is just 3 weeks away then we can begin welcoming the sun back to the sky .

The Long Dark

November and December are the Long Dark. The Valley is filled with clouds that come off of the Pacific currents and dam up against the Rocky Mountains. Days and weeks of variations of the shade of Grey. This is the stuff that sends the weak running for their sunny climes to the south and west of here.
 I was lucky to find a field with hundreds of Canadian Geese on the way home taking the back roads. I love the geese and their sense of community and family. I see harmony when I see these Geese. I see them feeding peacefully in a large crowd. No fights . Just pleasant calling back and forth across the fields. When they take to the sky you see more cooperation. Grand V's of strong geese flying with a purpose.

 The temperatures are hovering around freezing and a light mist freezes to the trees.
 Delicate frost is everywhere on the tree limbs. For the moment in time and temperature Nature creates art.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Guest Artist: JohnHunterDesigns

This is a pastel rendition ,by JohnHunterDesigns, of a photo ( below ) that I took in Glacier last summer looking north from Logan Pass  at the Continental Divide and the Garden Wall . The short flat mountain is Haystack Butte. My son John , who earned a Bachelors in Fine Art  , is a multitalented artist in many mediums. He is skilled at painting , pastels, print making, ceramics, pottery, framing and matting, and furniture making.
Pastel Glacier National Park Continental Divide by JohnHunterDesigns (with permission)

This was my original photo of the "Going to the Sun Road" . It is truly so beautiful that it almost does not look real.  It is snow time now but you can bet we look forward to the road opening next June. For more information on John's art please click this link to JohnHunterDesigns

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Happy in Montana: Flotsam and Jetsam

A Flotsam and Jetsam Sunday walk on the North Shore of the Flathead. Officially a waterfowl production area that has wetlands surrounding the shoreline. This area is closed during the spring when the waterfowl are nesting . But at other times of the year a nice walk that my daughter introduced me to.
There is a whole assortment of driftwood from twigs to entire trees. Particularly there is a nice collection of multicolored rocks along the border of the wetlands and the sandy beach. Where the water has retreated , there are multiple water foot prints etched in the sand. We have had some nights in the teens so there is ice for about 50 feet into the lake . It is a windless afternoon but  31 degrees. One would think it would be  quiet but there is the call of the geese over head. More intriguing is the sound of the water moving under the ice , the gurgling , the creaking like a million whispers of something very important. Only Nature knows what was transpiring in those whispers. Between the sandy beach and the singing rocks is a layer of puffy material like peat moss that surrounds and cradles the dried timbers that have washed  ashore. Old bones of once stately trees cushioned in their final resting place.

As I started out that afternoon it was quite blue and sunny but the clouds moved in quickly to turn the colours to a muted palette. It was a great day for a walk . A day to pick through the debris of Summer and Fall .
A Maggie guarding his dinner

Beach reflections

Water foot prints

singing rocks full of color

Walking to the wetlands

Geese over head

Sand sculpture 


the last of the ancient forest

Sunset from the Eastern Shore

Wetlands  and Foothills

Ice fancy

Timber bodies washed to the north shore